Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sumo Sam Gateway Opens in a Great, Big Way Today


SumoSam... Champion Eater... Legendary Fighter...

The legend of SumoSam began one spring when the finest Sumo Wrestlers in all of Japan awoke to the vigorous resonance of migrating cranes flying high towards mighty Mt. Fuji. As the legend says, the champion fighter Sumo Sam always received a grand banquet in his honor every time he fought with other Japanese Sumo Wrestlers. He is known as the Champion Eater, Legendary Fighter.

He is the icon that is carried by the Sumo Sam, the Japanese Restaurant that desires its guests to feel like champions by combining different techniques and elements of international cooking and integrating it to Japanese Cuisine. 

And today, the legendary fighter finds a new home in Gateway Mall. It has now opened its doors at the 2nd floor of The Gateway Mall, in Cubao, Quezon City.

Salute to the 3 great minds behind Sumo Sam: Mr. Raymund Magdaluyo; Mr. Ricky Laudico and, celebrated actor and restaurateur Mr. Marvin Agustin. Together with renowned chefs: The Chef of the stars - Chef Florabel Co-Yatco; Chef Nikki Nicolas, pioneer batch of CCA and Chef Benjamin Gonzalez, this young and determined group of business entrepreneurs has already achieved a total of 11 Sumo Sam stores all over the archipelago, and is still rapidly growing the business, and will close 2012 with over 20 branches.

The hands-on restaurateur and Sumo Sam owner, Mr. Marvin Agustin, with SumoSam's fab, indefatigable Marketing Manager and pole dancer extraordinaire, Miss Tina Andrea Papera.

Instead of the usual ribbon cutting ceremony, the cutting of the ginormous tuna sushi led by Mr. Marvin Agustin, marks the grand opening of Sumo Sam Gateway. Sumo Sam offers Japanese food with a Western flair. Hmmm.. talk about creating Japanified American food or maybe some Americanized Japanese food. Either way, it's yummy!

So long, you can tell the Sushi Chef put in a lot of effort to make it.  :)
Ready, set, slice! 
           
 I admire how cool and talented Marvin is. Ah.. and handsome as always. :)

On to the highlights of the event... Food tasting! :)

Spoon and fork ready... Chopsticks ready!

After the ceremonial cutting of tuna sushi, everyone had a bite. 
It's definitely a great sushi and one BIG bite to remember.
Attack of the orange sushi rolls! 
Attack! :)
Sumo Sam Gateway Branch boasts of ever-so-popular selection of grilled seafood and steaks, rolls, sushi, tonkatsu, with its top 3 best sellers such as ebi tempura, beef teppan, and chicken teriyaki, providing a high quality, Japanese dishes in a generous Western serving.

For Yori-Kiri Starters, I've tried the Fried Gyoza and Vegatable Kakiage.

Fried Gyoza with  dip
It's slick, it's yummy, it's tasty, but most of all, it's heaps of fun.
Vegetable Kakiage
This one is surprisingly good! I really love these crispy vegetable fritters. Kakiage is a tempura dish with mixed vegetable strips that were deep fried well and  absolutely delicious when paired with the dipping sauce provided. 
Then immediately following the Yori-Kiri Starters were tasty, yummy dishes like Chicken teriyaki, Ebi tempura and Japanese Fried rice.  

Chicken Teriyaki.
The sauce is delicious and the meat is tender, very 
tasty and satisfying.
Ebi tempura
It is tastier and bigger than most of us would get at similar Japanese restaurants. Love it!  


Japanese fried rice
This fried rice is one of my personal favorites! 
Definitely the best fried rice I've had in the metro... very delicious!

Bacon Dory
One of SumoSam's grand champions where you can taste the authentic Japanese flavor. Winner!

Yakisoba
So yummy, it's so easy to slurp down. 
SumoSam's Pride Salad

This is really good, although I would have liked it to have more mangoes just because I love mangoes to bits! Haha The flavors worked well with each other and the mango gave it a very nice sweet taste that complemented well with the lettuce, tomatoes and some nuts. 

A great plate of  assorted Tuna and Salmon Sashimi with some fresh lemons and wasabi on the side. 
Fresh and flavorful!
For serious sushi eaters. That's the way to go... 



They also have a plate of assorted sushi and sashimi mix. 
So what did Sashimi A say to Sushi B? 
Wasabi! (Wassup B?) :)
Har. Har.
I'm not a sashimi or sushi eater, or maybe I just don't like sushi. I love Jap food for its simplicity, uniqueness and art. Nothing raw though. But according to my blogger friend who loves sushi, it is as fresh as it gets, as if its fresh taste just jumps out at you!

The Gateway branch has a 100-seating capacity dining area. I love the funky yet swanky, classy interiors,  and upbeat ambiance.  Lighting on the warm and soft side, with Asian-themed walls and cool Japanese artifacts. It's a comfortable feeling and for some reason,there's a kind of quaint and romantic feeling to me. So yeah, it's a great first date place! Also, the lunch menu has lots of different options to gorge yourself on. Their food on a large, ceramic plate  is beautifully presented and will easily feed two or three people. 

For the service, Sushi chefs are all smiles, just like the rest of the staff. It'll make you feel  like you can come here and feel like they'll remember you forever. The staff is always attentive without being bothersome... which I really like.

My verdict?  Everything is pretty good. Taste and quality are unsurpassed and lest I forget, it's one of the most authentic-tasting Japanese restaurants I've been to. Now I know why the owners were not afraid to pick such a busy and popular location like Gateway. They really have something to brag about!  Yes, it's a bit pricey and a tad bit more expensive compared to the other budget sushi restaurants in the area, but such is the price for awesomeness and authenticity. It isn't the cheapest, but I don't mind indulging every once in awhile. On the other hand, it isn't the most expensive either and for the quality and quantity of their food plus excellent customer service, the price is quite reasonable! 

The last time I had a dinner at Sumo Sam Shangri-la, I was expecting to fork over at least a half more than I did, and I was pleasantly surprised. Quite frankly, it was the best and most affordable Japanese food I've had so far. I would overall rate this between Very Good and Incredibly Yummy, leaning more towards Incredibly Yum. 

Would I recommend? That's a deep-fried YES. :)

Here's what we munched on at Sumo Sam Shangri-la:


I thoroughly enjoyed our meal. I love their Tonkatsu and California Rolls. Best of all, the Salmon Ankake is every Champion's ultimate reward. God bless the Japanese! ;)

Gahhh leee... my tummy's rambling while I'm blogging this. Amazing Kani rolls and Spicy Tuna Salad would be nice right about now. 

So guys, there's still plenty of time go get your grub on at Sumo Sam. For more information on new offers, visit the Facebook Page Sumosam.




A Back-to-School Shopping Challenge at Tutuban Center: Challenge Accepted

Classes will officially start next week & it's never too late to think about back-to-school shopping. I understand there seems to be no easy way to think of shopping for school supplies. It's a tough job but someone's gotta do it. :)

This time of year can be very stressful for most parents. Obviously, the cost can be astronomical and it can wreak havoc on our wallets. Between the punishingly high tuition fee, backpacks, shoes, basic school supplies and uniforms, the expenses add up quickly.

Got some ideas that will help keep everyone's sanity intact? Well, one way to save is to shop as early as possible to take advantage of the back-to-school sales, for us to avoid the back-to-school blues. From pencils to sneakers, it is important to always look for the sale items because shopping from one store to another might be worth the money saved.

One of my favorite childhood memories was shopping with my mom for the coming school season each year. For me, it was the best part of going back to school. We shopped for the best deals, ensuring every peso was spent wisely. One of the favorite places we shopped at for top quality clothing and school supplies at discounted prices was in Tutuban Mall in Divisoria.


Tutuban Center is today's hottest "tiangge"! It is one of my favorite shopping destinations because of its expansive selection of stores. You’ll find everything from tiangge to convenience stores. Tutuban recently opened their newest addition to the family, namely Primeblock where it is less crowded and the aisles/pathways are much wider plus the fact that it is air-conditioned where you can shop comfortably. 


Cluster Malls 1 and 2 offers a wide array of products including clothes, shoes, accessories down to pirated cds and vcds. Also, this is more accessible than Divisoria Mall and Baclaran. A ride to Divisoria would get anybody to Tutuban and have their shopping done in no time. 

For shopaholics who believe that shopping is pretty much as important as breathing, it's a shopping haven. As for me, I always have 100% happy shopping experience in Tutuban. :)

On the other hand, this is what I do when I like something extremely expensive at some high-end shopping malls: 
1% - Buy them. 99% - Stare & Drool. :) 

Yesterday, I revisited Tutuban Center. Along with four fellow bloggers, we were invited by Tutuban Center mall to participate in a Back-to-School Shopping Challenge! We were given PhP1000 cash each to shop for some great school supplies for our kids. For a budget of Php1000, I asked myself, "Am I up for the challenge? Would I be able to stick to the budget? If I had just P1000, would that be enough to cover everything on my list?" These were the questions running through my head as we were listening to the PR staff of Tutuban Mall. Shopping on a microscopic budget is ridiculously hard. But what the heck, challenge accepted! 

Armed with a list given by Maia's teacher, a P1000 peso cash and a Tutuban Mall shopping bag, I was frantic to buy school supplies and get the best value for my shopping money.


Tutuban has a lot of stalls selling school shoes and uniforms with pants as low as P130 and polo shirt as low as P120.  But since Maia's school, the Integrated Montessori  Center in Mandaluyong, provides each child with a school and P.E. uniform, I skipped those stalls.


There's also a huge number of stalls and kiosks selling popular character backpacks, lunch bags and school supply bundles with very affordable prices. Again, I skipped those stalls because Maia's bag will also be provided by the school.

Shopping for my Maia at Papermart!

First stop? Papermart! It was a breeze because I had a list. They also have National Book Store right in front of Tutuban Center Mall 1 but we opted to buy at Papermart. I spent a total of P511.25 for all the school supplies.

In case you’re wondering where the school supply came in, here’s the breakdown:


I got a plastic envelope with a cute pink and purple flower design with a durable pushlock for P70. This is where I put the other school supplies I bought for my little girl such as pencils, eraser, sharpener, coloring books, writing pads, crayons, crayon case, scotch tape and practice writing book. I also bought key rings to use as tags for Maia's school bag and handbag. I think this one is very important. If you're buying bag tags for your kiddo, don't hang it outside of your child's bag/backpack. Simply attach it inside and don't forget to include your child's name, teacher's name and room number as well as your phone number and a phone number for the school.

I also added some art supplies (make sure they are washable) like crayons, crayon case, and Mongol #2 pencils.

 
I also got this cute Dora pencil case for P65. Just 'cause Maia loves Dora to bits and this will surely keep her things organized. I bought some ABC and Numbers flash cards for some practice at home, as well as a dry erase board. I also bought plastic wrapper for her books and extra writing pads.

I love these polka dot socks! Got 3 pairs for only P50! :)

And, would you pass on these fab black flats for PhP250? Not me! Especially since I have seen the exact same pair of shoes in a slightly different design for double the price at a major department store. I haggled from P300 to P250. Not bad huh? I think comfy shoes and soft socks are important for preschoolers because they are extremely active and they often find it more comfortable to go to school in soft and comfy flat shoes.

 
 Because it's part of the teacher's list and included on their student's personal grooming list, I got these soft face towels for only Php35 with embroidered name for free! Sweet!



Last but not the least, I bought this cute, pink umbrella featuring Dora the Explorer! If ever it rains on Maia's first day of school, I won't let the rain spoil it! That being said, a cheap yet high-quality umbrella is an investment. I believe this umbrella is my best find because it has a smooth, thick and raincloth-like material which I like! The vendor said it's P150 and I haggled a wee bit more and got it for P140. There's a cheaper version for only P120 but I checked the material and I didn't like the quality.

My shopping bag! :)

The total of everything I've bought for the shopping challenge is P1021.25. I just added P21.25 just to get the better quality of the umbrella! :)  Remember, when you downgrade for something cheaper, expect cheaper and lower quality. After all, high quality is cheaper. It also proves that you don't have to spend a lot of money when shopping for school supplies for your kids.

Overall, shopping at the stores in Tutuban Mall was a pleasant experience. After an afternoon of shopping with my blogger friends, we were treated to a delicious merienda at Goldilocks! The halohalo is my favorite but I tried their sotanghon and mango sago and it was delish! Winner! :)



I went to another popular bookstore this morning just to compare prices of the things I've bought and I found out that I saved just about half on some stuff at Tutuban and it is definitely way cheaper. Yay!

To avoid overspending, let me share some budget-friendly shopping tips here:

1. Make a list and check it twice! It isn’t enough to make a mental note dear. Believe me, you will always tend to forget something important to buy along the way. So, before you start shopping, you may want to check with your child's teacher to find out what supplies they need and what they would prefer you don't buy.

2. Always, I repeat, always stick to the list. The teacher's supply list is daunting enough and extra supplies and some other stuff you don't need, while they may be cute, will just leave your pockets empty. Also, buying everything in one place will save time and money for gas or transpo.

3. Search for sales! Check and compare prices from store to store and find the best deals on the items that you need.

4. Buy more and save more when buying in bulk. Buying in bulk can help you save money in the long run.

5. Shop alone and leave the kids at home. When buying supplies you're better off going alone! Some sneaky, little kids always find a way to sneak the little extra’s and some cute stuff that are not included in your list.

6. Double check the items you buy because shopping, my friend, is like dating. Make sure you check out the fabric, as well as the fit and the finance before you take them home. :)

Back 2 School Sale at Tutuban!
So there, are you fraid back-to-school shopping will break the bank and be stressful!? Think again. Hit the Back 2 School Sale at Tutuban Center early and use as much of your budget as possible so you won't have to scramble to spend too much money in the end. There is no reason to buy school supplies at full price, if you can buy them today at 50% off.  :)

And there's something new in Tutuban... FREE Wif-fi! :)

So why don't you get more value for your money this back-to-school season by shopping at Tutuban Center mall!? Is it worth a shopping trip? Well, absolutely YES! :)

My back-to-school shopping experience was so much fun! :)
Happy shopping!