Who would think a former parking lot could offer so much fun, excitement, and culinary delight? Well, trust trendsetting City of Dreams to come up with big surprises all the time.
Manila has a new fun place to go to. Recently opened in what used to be my favorite parking area in this luxury integrated casino resort complex is The Garage, a 2,714-square-meter air-conditioned VR Zone and Food Park. Here, guests, especially the young ones, can immerse themselves in virtual reality entertainment and enjoy the wide range of casual dining choices from a selection of top-notch food and beverage trucks and trailers.
Kevin Benning, City of Dreams Manila’s chief operating officer told everyone at the launch that they wanted to have something new to offer. After going over several options, they decided to partner with Bandai Namco Amusement which is known for the creativity and cutting-edge technology of their video digital entertainment.
There are three stations in The Garage’s VR Zone. The three-minute Mario Kart Arcade enables one to play either as Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, or Yoshi in the action-packed Mario Kart universe, racing through an exciting obstacle course filled with menacing creatures that attempt to crush the players.
The Hospital Escape Terror is another thrilling adventure VR station which may be played by up to four participants who are 13 years old and above. Those who are pregnant or with medical conditions are advised not to play this game for the sheer horror and shock elements that come with it. The players have the goal to survive by escaping the dark, cursed, and abandoned hospital, within nine minutes, while being restrained on a wheelchair.
The third VR station was what I enjoyed the most. The Ski Rodeo makes the player ski down a vast snowy mountain course with sharp slopes and steep drops at an immense speed, with the goal to finish at the fastest time possible or within the allotted two minutes.
I enjoyed the cold wind caressing my face as I skied down the slope in this VR game, enhancing the feeling of “really being there.” Of course, I died four times as I smashed against a large tree trunk twice, crashed against a boulder once, and fell into a deep ravine once. But, it was fun and I enjoyed it.
Going hand in hand with these exciting one-of-a-kind VR games is a selection of 10 food and beverage trucks and trailers offering a wide variety of culinary specialties from the global arena. And, what makes the casual dining experience in this City of Dreams venue truly significant is its sustainability drive, using only eco-friendly, biodegradable, and compostable plates, utensils, and take-out bags.
The Bar offers carefully prepared cocktails, iced teas, and mocktails, the names of which are enough to entice any thirsty, fun-loving individual—Six Pack, Sit On The Beach, Love and Passion, and others.
Of course, I had to queue up for everybody’s favorite food stand—Chocol8, which sells handcrafted chocolates in many shapes, and enhanced by fruits, nuts, and spices. I ended up tasting everything on display, as each specially-made confection looked deliciously attractive.
Known here in Metro Manila as the home of street tacos, El Chupacabra serves them in a freshly made soft corn tortilla made from corn masa, with your choice of filling, then topped with chopped onions and fresh cilantro. Yum! I am now a fan of its supremely satisfying taste!
The Farmacy gives out the best medicine any sweet tooth can ever have—home-made ice cream in a variety of flavors. Of course, you can also have their thick milkshakes, sundaes, floats, ice cream sandwiches, or ice cream bars. I tell you, this food stall is a paradise of frozen delights.
There are two Japanese food trucks you can choose from. One is Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, which is widely known for its superb ramen in mild, pearl-colored Tonkotsu soup, with vegetables, dried fish, kelp, and other special ingredients.
The other is Katsu Sora, which is talked about as having the highest quality pork tonkatsu. They use pork that is either Iberico Pork that has butter-like texture, or the marbled Shimofuri Pork that is tender and flavorful, or the melt-in-your-mouth goodness of Kurobuta Pork, or the Sakura Pork which has a moist, mild flavor. As far as I’m concerned, any of these four makes for a very appetizing meal.
Pink’s Hot Dog has been my favorite comfort food every time I visit Los Angeles, so you can imagine how glad I am to have them here in Manila. Their hotdogs and burgers are beyond compare. They are so appetizing that, sometimes, I can finish two servings in one sweep.
Also present at The Garage is the younger “sibling” of Wild Flour—Little Flour, which serves all-day brunch and rice-bowls that are always attractive to the Filipino palate. Then there is Juiced which offers freshly squeezed juices, smoothies, and slushies that can quench anybody’s thirst, while The Roaster is where one should go to for premium Arabica and Robusta coffee freshly roasted in-house.
Of course, Italian flavor can be had at Pizza Grigliata, serving artisanal pizza grilled and torched to perfection. There are many varieties to choose from but my favorite is the Quattro Formaggi Pizza.
With The Garage in full operation, City of Dreams Manila has certainly changed the landscape of entertainment and dining here in the metro. Thank goodness for that, you, your family and friends can now park yourselves and have fun at The Garage.
For feedback, I’m at [email protected]YOUR weekend CHUCKLE
Little Johnny asks the teacher, “Mrs. Roberts, can I be punished for something I haven’t done?”
Mrs. Roberts is shocked, “Of course not, Johnny, that would be very unfair!”
Little Johnny is relieved, “OK Mrs. Roberts, I haven’t done my homework.”
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