Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Grub Love

Want relatively fancy food at not so fancy prices? Check out Grub Club, tucked away at the 2nd floor of RCBC plaza, past 7eleven and Tapa King. Good bets are the grilled porkloin, pictured below, pork/chicken cheesewraps and grilled tomato basil and cheese panini.

But what I find exceptional about this place, aside from their art directed dishes and eager-to-please crew, are their desserts. They have the moistest carrot cake in the universe! And when I'm having a bad day, nothing cheers me up faster than their moist chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. Mmmmmm... Except maybe the Devil's Food Cake at Chocolate Kiss Cafe in UP. But that's another post altogether.

Expect to spend P70-150 for meals and P50 for desserts.

Photo and logo courtesy of Grub Club manager Lee, who is straight and has a pretty girlfriend, much to the chagrin of the gay Makati yuppie community. Hehe. Peace, Lee! Please don't spike my food next time I eat there.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Anti-Bollywood

Note: This is filet minion's post. It was misfiled under my name.

Bollywood Greenbelt 3 is the newest place-to-be that depicts the gaudy but chic, brightly cheerful yet mysteriously romantic, very exotic and almost erotic-- transporting you to an entirely different country south of Asia where not even high society fear to tread despite the possibility of rubbing elbows with the "untouchables."

I think “The Guru” triggered the Bollywood fascination among non-Indians, albeit not a full-fledged Bollywood flick (meaning, not produced in Bombay and starring the hottest Bollywood stars, not Hollywood hotties Heather Graham and Marissa Tomei with some homegrown American as leading man who can still copy perfectly his ancestral sing-song accent). Ever since then, I had been awaiting in anticipation the next Bollywood movie sensation. Strangely, one would wonder what makes Bollywood films so engaging when they are all so "formulaic": 1) always with silly song and choreographed dance numbers interspersed in dialogues; 2) boy-meets-girl and once you are led to believe that the fairytale romance is blossoming, some conflict will spring forth out of nowhere (or should I say, from the river Ganges); 3) but the cheesy plot must always finish with a happy ending (where, everyone, of course, MUST erupt into song and dance for the nth time). Quite reminiscent of typical 80s pinoy flicks actually, but I never did find ours amusing. How can I love Bollywood flicks and at the same time despise anything produced by Mother Lily?!? Am I just being unfair to the likes of Romnick and Sheryl when I immediately brand any movie featuring pinoy loveteams baduy?!

I digress. I have nothing against Bollywood in GB3. I practically fell in love with the whole ambience when I first dined there. It’s just that we must never forget that India, albeit overtaking us in outsourcing and is the new Silicon Valley of Asia, is still an impoverished country, so their food, no matter how exotic it looks or smells, can never cost even 1/18 of how much it is priced in Bollywood.

So lo and behold when my eyes serendipitously gazed upon this sign while the cab I was taking detoured from traffic and took a side street near Kamagong/ Pasong Tamo. It looked like the most enticing, most bogchinoypi-able hole-in-the-wall joint! So the next day, we scoured the area for about an hour in broad daylight just to trace it, and I was not the slightest bit disappointed when we found our unicorn. I entered to check their menu, and true enough, it seemed more appetizing with a delightful array of mutton, curry, basmati, etc. I think what piqued my curiosity the most was when the boy who was guarding the place during the day said: “uh mam, sigurado kayong gusto nyo kumain dito?” "Oo, bakit naman hinde?," I replied. To which he answered, “Ah kase mam, kayo lang po ang unang pinoy na makakakain dito, wawarningan ko lang po kayo na gabi-gabi po kase [Indian] o arabo.” Move over Bollywood, welcome to Mumbai, India!

So that night we trooped to Curry Kebab Place with our P200 wine in tow (no corkage fee of course!) And true enough there were at least 20 boisterous Indians drinking who were silenced into stupor at the sight of two pinoys, one korean and one white man in their erstwhile virginal resto. I thought we were violating the exclusivity rule of their private enclave, but they happened to be very much accommodating and even offered us their leftover Johnnie Walker.

The inside is very bare, like a cafeteria but airconditioned. They asked if we wanted to stay in a separate room, but we decided to be amongst the Indians hoping to get a better rate.

The 35 peso for two big samosas were yummy! So were the aloo wadi, the various paneer dishes, and the Mutton served ten ways. The servings for sharing were reasonably sized. For P120 bucks this was a steal.

By the end of the night we were a bit tipsy and asked the men who seemed like the owners why the Bollywood MTV was on mute. Finding out that we didn’t at all mind, is what started the festivities. The next thing we knew, tables were set aside so we could bellydance the night away to the sounds of Ice, Ice Baby remixed Hindi style. Of course, we (the only ladies) were each partnered with the elderly Indians. One stout and another incredibly skeletal.

Then they started treating our white male company to beers (SMLs are dirt cheap P27), and as the night dragged on, Stout dancing partner invited us all to proceed to “the real Bollywood” (his treat) where his son is a DJ and he is part-owner. We politely declined as strutting our stuff at one venue is enough excitement for a night.

My conclusion: if you want true-blue Indian food and the whole Bollywood experience, with your own booze too boot, then go to Curry Kebab on a Friday/Saturday night. If you want to pay 12% EVAT and 10% service charge over and above the exorbitantly priced tamely-spiced but aesthetically presented Indian food, and are hopeful for the remote chance of getting your left shoulder featured in Yaparrazzi, head to Bollywood GB3.

Curry Kebab is located along Estrella Street, off Pasong Tamo and is open until at least 12 midnight. If you want your food Indian-spicy, you must specify so beforehand, as the chef graciously takes the initiative of tempering the spice for non-Indians.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Nameless Pakistani Carinderia

There's this strange place along Angel Linao in Manila. It has no sign out front, no aircon, and no menu. You choose from the food items scribbled on a grungy piece of cardboard posted on the wall. Dine amongst the inebriated barangay tanods - beer costs around P25. The curry is pretty good and the chapatis are steaming hot. Kebabs come hand-rolled and unskewered.

After dinner, dessert comes in the form of videoke. Choose from English, Tagalog, and Bollywood hits and make sure you bring enough P5 coins to drop in the machine. If you're a pretty girl, bask in drunken and soulful serenade of one of tanods. The serenade really did happen, by the way.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

have your cake and eat it too

Check out the chocolate cake at the bakery section of Robinsons Supermarkets. It's moist and fudgy but surprisingly light. Seriously, it defies the laws of cakery! It's so light that you can eat a fourth of it and not feel sick. Well, maybe a little sick. But it's soooo worth it. Especially since a whole cake costs only P385.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Yakiniku Senri

Something that always bothers me about tabletop grilling is the distinctive ulam smell that sticks to your clothes. No matter how well ventilated the dining area is, the smoke from the grill has to pass through you before diffusing into the atmosphere.

This doesn't happen at Senri, where their hi-tech tabletop grills suck the smoke as soon as fat meets fire. I woke up this morning and smelled the shirt I wore to dinner last night and any bad smell there was didn't come from the restaurant. I think it's those bentesingko sized holes that ring the interior of the grill that work the magic.

We've eaten in Senri only a few times and it's been good so far. You can't go wrong with the Karubi (beef), which I think is a safe first order. Also good is the Sangyu (pork) - it comes with lettuce, garlic, and siling pangsigang. I can't help but feel that I'm in a Korean restaurant with a Japanese feel. Karubi = Kalbi, Sangyu = Samgyupsal. Our current favorite is the Solty Tong (salty beef tongue) or its variation with Welsch green onion.

Senri also has very fresh draft beer. It's cheap, at P42 for about half a liter. The kitschy muscular mugs are kinda cool too. Just go visit to see what I mean. Oh, and for the month of September, each table gets a bottle of (Korean) Jinro soju for free. Mix it with some lemon or calamansi for a nice, refreshing drink.

The service isn't all that good though. While eager, the staff has a hard time answering questions. But this is forgivable, since they opened only last July.

Senri is along Pasay Road, across Dusit and beside some girlie bar. They're open until 1230 am, and they'll kick you out if you overstay.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Rainy Day Comfort Food

This rainy Monday afternoon, our office lunch/merienda lady brought over steaming hot champorado. It wan't as chocolaty as I wanted but a P5 plateful of tuyo more than made up for what it lacked in richness. La lang. Cheap thrill for the day.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Pirate M&M's

Ahoy there, chocolate lovers! M&M's released their Pirate Pearls to go with their Pirates of the Caribbean promo. The candies come in light pastel colors- baby blue, pink, yellow, and white. And if you look closely, you'll notice that instead of the usual m, sometimes you'll find a skull, ship or hook on them. Best of all, they're WHITE CHOCOLATE inside!!! Homaygad! Hoard bago maubusan!

Available at supermarkets and departments stores. I'll check kung meron sa Mini Stop and 7-eleven when I go for my Mine Shine break.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

what I've been hoarding lately...

Ever on the look out for cold milk tea, I was happy to find out from karabau that you could get a perfectly good bottle of milk tea from the 7-11 at the corner. It's called Mine Shine and it's the best cold milk tea I've had since Wan Chai stopped serving theirs. It's no poor substitute either.

Mine Shine seems to have gotten the perfect milk tea mix right. The milk isn't too sweet as to overpower the subtle black tea flavor.

On their nice, classy, blue bottle, they've got the label, "Finest Quality Milk Tea." I'm inclined to believe it.

P36 bucks at 711. Gilmore's 711 carries it. And so does the Mini Stop near Salcedo Park.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Grill and Beer It

Aackk! Over a month since the last post!

I just don't understand why many of us, if given the choice, would prefer a bottle of San Miguel to a nice fresh mug of San Miguel Draft. Draft is meant to be consumed soon after kegging while a bottle of beer can be drunk even a couple of years after bottling. Now what does that tell us? Draft beer is fresher probably has less preservatives (I don't know if this is true and, while I'm generally curious, I am not about to do any extensive Marketman-esque research. We love you, Marketman!).

Which brings us to Yakiniku Heijyoen. First brought to the "team's" attention by filet minion, this Japanese restaurant serves free beer. I can actually end the post right here but I'll be nice and say a bit more.

On Sundays, you can drink all the draft beer you want. It's not buy one take one, or buy one take two, or buy a bucket of six for P100. It's simply order one, and another, and another, and another, and *burp* another. You don't have to pay for a single beer.

Their food menu seems to be designed with the beer drinker in mind. They have a decent selection of what I would classify as Japanese pica-pica. Each dish comes in a small bowl: uni is P50, edamame is P50, kimuchi is P50.

But the ultimate pulutan is the yakiniku. While not as good in quality as Sakura's, it is decent. I'd go with just the thinly sliced beef tongue, lightly sear it on the tabletop grill, and dip it in some lemon juice. It's cheap, at P200 per plate so if you order that and have four beers, its as if you ate for free! Have five or more beers at parang kumita ka pa!

For those who prefer bottled beer, they do serve San Miguel Pale and Light, but you'd have to pay for it. Why, oh why?

So go and get wasted at 2277 Pasong Tamo, Makati. Right beside Kikufuji. Tel. 888-2288.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Mutant North Park In Cubao

Some sort of mutant North Park sprung up in our neighborhood in last couple of months. It’s called North Park Kopi Tiam and I’ve always wanted to check it out. I finally got to do that, when I had dinner there with my dad last night.

Just in case you think that it’s just the modern-Asian architecture and interiors that makes it distinct from the other NP branches, they have a very… interesting menu. While its menu still keeps some of the usual NP mainstays like lechon macau, salted garlic squid and congee, the rest of it is mostly made up of Japanese and Korean dishes. That’s sort of interesting since aren’t the Japanese and Koreans… historical enemies? Anyway.

While waiting for my dad to get there, I started off with an asado roll and cold milk tea. You can hardly go wrong with an asado roll but theirs was huge but had a lot of air inside. I was expecting something better and honest from an old reliable like North Park. But I was even more disappointed with their cold milk tea. The best cold milk tea used to be at the Wan Chai resto along Meralco Ave, but they’ve phased that out and I’ve been searching for a replacement. So far, masarap pa yung cold milk tea ng Chowking. In hindsight, I think the cold milk tea at North Park Kopi Tiam lacked that sort of sweet syrup that goes with restos that make you mix your own iced tea. Maybe they forgot to give it, maybe I should have asked for it.

(L-R chapchee, shrimp pajion, yasai itame)
Anyway, we got the following:

Chapchee - Korean sotanghon with beef and veggies. Spicy enough, and I like the subtle sesame seasoning.
Shrimp pajion – Korean pancake with shrimps and onion leeks. A bit too sour for my tastes, but hey, it’s probably authentic Korean flavoring for all I know.
Yasai itame – Which is Japan’s version of chopsuey. The vegetables were crunchy, and I liked it that the spiciness of the dish took time to fully develop on my palate.

Those were just all to share between my dad and I. For myself, I got khalbi (a.k.a. Korean beef stew). I have this thing for sesame (flavoring, seeds, etc) so if I have that, I’m good to go. My only issue with their khalbi is that I felt it had more litid (cartilage?) than it had beef.

Another thing that makes North Park Kopi Tiam different is that they have baked good and pastries. Aside from that airy asado roll, they have bola bola and cheese cornbeef rolls too. They have cookies, brownies, banana loafs and mamons. They also have a much longer dessert menu. In fact, they have cakes. My dad and I settled on their Moist Chocolate cake, which was definitely moist, and very, very good. It’s a family thing, the sweet tooth.

Looking at the menu, it feels like North Park wanted to serve every Japanese and Korean comfort dish imaginable, and decided to come out with a coffee shop (which is what kopi tiam means, said the waitress when she had to hazard a guess). Sounds confusing? A bit. But that’s what you get when you combine food from ancient and historical enemies. I’m still slightly hung up on that.

I’ve almost forgotten to say that, at North Park Kopi Tiam, they have steak. They serve porterhouse and rib eye cuts. They also have an Angus Charbroiled Burger, which I have to remember for when it’s a burger sort of day for me.

North Park Kopi Tiam is at No. 3 C. Benitez St., Barangay Horseshoe, Cubao, QC. They deliver from 1oAM-10PM. 722-7946 and 722-7948.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Best Rockwell resto yet

Well, it isn't really IN Rockwell. Just ober-da-bakod, actually. From Kalayaan, past Grilla, along the small eskinita with the iron-grilled fence separating the fancy from the not-so-fancy, you'll find SOMS-- arguably the best restaurant in the area. Oh, and it isn't really a restaurant either. More like a semi-upscale carinderia. 'Upscale' because they have waiters (and, I hear, a pretty waitress), incandescent lighting (or at least lightbulbs), and really good Thai food. How good, you ask? So good that tables are almost always full during dinnertime, and it is not uncommon to see Volvos, BMWs, and the occasional Porshe pulling up to get take-out.

Must-tries are the Thai milk tea, catfish salad and their assortment of curries. Red, if you like it hot, green, if not. I've never been a curry person. In fact, if you asked me a few years ago what my top 10 dreaded dishes/food items were, curry would be right at the top of my list. Next to durian, of course. And adobong paniki. But back to the curry at SOMS. I don't know what exactly is good about it, but if I had to hazard a guess (Naks! I've always wanted to say that.), it'd be the sauce. It's flavorful enough so that you can pour it over rice and eat it kain-karpintero style, but mild enough that you don't feel the need to use extra-strength deodorant after your meal. Also good, albeit not extraordinarily so, are the Pad Thai, spring rolls, and bagoong rice.

What makes SOMS so special, what endears it to me the most, is its prices. I took 10 of my friends there last month and our bill totaled P1020. I kid you not. With their dishes priced at P60-P80, with their perfect-for-hot-summer-nights cold milk tea, it is, hands down, my favorite restaurant of the moment.

There is also something to be said about their charming eat-along-the-road-under-naked-light-bulbs set-up. As you lean back on your monoblock chair, enjoying the cheap but yummy fare, don't worry about alikabok. Spice of life, I say. Something to be savored. Every now and then. Preferably at SOMS.

SOMS is open everyday, from 9am to 11pm. Try to go before 9pm, before they run out of milk tea.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Let's Go Sango!

With the opening in the past few years of specialty burger joints like Brothers, Hotshots, Bite Club, and Wham!, not to mention the McDonald'ses, Jollibees, BKs, and Wendy'ses (did I do my possessive plurals right?), I thought this city had no more room for another burger joint. But Sango! is a welcome addition because it isn't like anything I've ever come across in Manila.

Sango! - don't forget the exclamation point - is a Japanese style burger restaurant that prides itself on cooking your food as you order. If you were to compare it to another burger chain, I think it would be pretty close to MOS Burger. The inside is bright and spotless and you can see the burger grill, with Mr. Kobayashi flipping the patties, through a glass pane. For food that's cooked as you order, the burgers are ready surprisingly fast (although it was a slow day).

Now to the food. You can get the regular "Hamburger Burger" or be adventurous and order the Master Burger in any of its variations (Double Master Burger, Triple Master Burger, with or without cheese). The difference between the Master Burger and the Hamburger Burger is the presence of chili con carne and a tomato slice in the Master. The burgers are juicy but not that special. Their French fries are excellent - big pieces, not the frozen kind. If you order a Master, you'll notice that you have some excess chili after finishing the burger. We were taught to scoop up the chili using the fries. Nice.

The real draws here are the rice burgers. They have two varieties: Kimpira and Yakiniku. The Kimpira - which is bacon, dried seaweed, and stir-fried burdock root - was just wonderful. The Yakiniku looked good too but I'm saving that for my next trip, when I'll also order their Tonkatsu and Teriyaki burgers. Their cold green tea goes well with the Asian flavors of the rice burgers and any of their milkshakes would be a good cap to the meal.

Sango!'s prices are very reasonable. From P50 for the barest burger to P148 for the Triple Master Cheeseburger.

Sango! Hamburgers
Room 5 Ground Floor Creekside Mall
Amorsolo corner Legaspi Streets
Makati City

Sango! is right beside CO-OP, a nice Japanese grocery where almost everything costs P75. It's worth a visit in its own right.

Sunday lunch at Cafe Juanita

If you’re craving for the good ol’ Pinoy dining experience without the fastfood feel of Triple V, or with an ambiance that’s richer and quainter than Kamay Kainan, you might want to head over to Pasig and check out Café Juanita.

Eating in Café Juanita is just like eating at your lola’s house. The food is just as great, and the interiors are... well, just like Lola’s house. In a hyper real sort of way. The place is chockfull of old china, antique chairs, tables, cabinets, and other sorts of Filipiñana-themed clutter. And true to our national heritage, there’s also a lot of Spanish, Chinese, Americana bits and pieces scattered about. They have elaborate chandeliers made of little Chinese lanterns hanging from the ceiling, Coke paraphernalia mounted on the walls, and kitschy little European ceramic figurines all around.

But, even if it is possible to let your mind wander just staring at all the charming clutter, you’re there for the food. I’ve only eaten there on Sundays, and that’s the only day when they prepare their sumptuous lunch buffet. You can start off with their molo soup. It looks really great, and they say it’s really delicious. I’ve never tried though because right beside it is their lechon kawali (sorry, I ate it before I took a picture). It’s cooked just right, the meat kept tender and juicy while the skin is deep fried to crispy perfection. So for my first round, it’s usually the lechon kawali, the tasty Bicol Express (gata rocks), the fried tilapia, and the nutty kare-kare.

After getting my basic food groups over and done with, I head back to their cute little round buffet table to sample the other traditional Filipino fare. They’ve got caldereta, inihaw na liempo, adobo, adobong pusit, menudo, okoy, and all the other foodstuff that any Noypi worth his/her rock salt grew up with. I sometimes feel, though, that there’s a bit of redundancy in the buffet menu, but who cares. Filipinos know that when it comes to eating, there’s no such thing as an overkill.

Anyway, personally, I try to pass on the rice on my second trip to the buffet line. Only because I firmly believe that one must always leave room for dessert. At Café Juanita, they have the usual minatamis na saging saba and DIY halo-halo with very fresh ingredients. But I usually skip those too because I like to zero in on the sweet foods of my childhood. I eat Café Juanita’s homemade (I presume) puto because it reminds me of the breakfasts I’d have as a kid in my Lola’s house. Lola would buy them off the lady who goes from house to house selling puto, kutsinta, palitaw and sapin sapin out of her banana leaf wrapped bilao. I eat their ginatan because it reminds me of the warm merienda I’d use to have when I’d come back from an afternoon of playing hard with the kids on our street.

Dining at Café Juanita not only transports you back to the time when you were five and things were good and simple. For your trip down memory lane, they feed you with all these delicious, great and timeless dishes that remind you that, really, there’s no place like home.

Cafe Juanita is at No.2 United Street corner West Capitol Street, Brgy Kapitolyo, Pasig. 632-0357.

Sunday lunch buffets go for Php 375.00++. Slightly pricey since I remember that it only used to be around 300 bucks. But it's well worth the good food and ambiance (apparently, something we pay for).

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Izakaya Kikufuji


You're in Kikufuji and you just ordered California Maki? Shame on you.

I'm no food snob and I like my kani-mayo-mango roll just as much as you but there are better things to order in this bustling Japanese bistro - things they don't serve in Tokyo Tokyo.

DSC00056Start with some edamame (parang nilagang mani pero soya beans) and order a nama (they have some of the freshest draft beer in town). The ika wasabi is also pretty good, especially with the nama. For sashimi, forget the usual suspects. Try the nigitoro - finely chopped tuna belly mixed with onions and chives, or the aji tataki - salay-salay chopped up with ginger and chives.

Then try their beef nikomi soup - tripe and other innards boiled in a miso, ginger, and garlic broth. Make sure you pre-order some grilled stuff - yakimono. Nankotsu (chicken cartilage) and gyutan (beef tongue) are my favorites. For variety, order some grilled green chilies and mushrooms too.

Feeling sated? Don't quit now - just order a salad. The maguro daikon helps clear the palate. When you're ready, order the grilled salmon head and don't forget to suck on the gooey cheeks. Another nama will go down really well just about now. While waiting for the salmon, get some uni temaki - a nice generous scoop of sea urchin in a seaweed cone.

DSC00052For more food ideas, call over your server and order what the Japanese salaryman seated at the next table just ordered. Don't point with your finger - that's rude. Be discreet and point with your lips. Oh, and order another nama while you're at it.

Izakaya Kikufuji
2277 Pasong Tamo
(just outside Little Tokyo)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Market in Salcedo (but not the Salcedo Market)


Among the things I like about Salcedo Village are the small streetside shops you can find around the area. One of these is The Market, which is a charming little place along Leviste (Alfaro) Street. It's a deli/restaurant with around six tables (half outside, half inside). They serve sandwiches, pizzas, and salads within the 130 to 200 peso range.

I've tried the Cuban (P190), a hearty sandwich with three deli meats and mozzarella; the Tuna Bagna Cauda (P135), a sandwich with tuna, egg, and olives in achovy sauce, an the Steak and Cheese sandwich (P175), which is roast beef, gruyere, and caramelized onions; and the Grilled Hungarian Sausage (P150).The salads are also ok, but not enough to fill me up. Other things that might be worth trying are the pizzas (P115-140) and the Raclette Toasts (P175).

The Market sells beer in can and wine by the bottle and will provide you with wine glasses if you ask (but you can only drink until 9 pm). They also sell deli meats and cheeses, salad greens, fruits, japanese groceries, milk, ice cream, cereals, etc.

The Market
156 L.P. Leviste Street
Makati City
Tel. 887 2993
Delivery available within the area

Friday, April 07, 2006

leche talaga...

When I was five, we’d spend Sunday mornings biking inside Elliptical Circle and having brunch at Aristocrat. They had the best BLT, and I remember getting upset when, in one visit, it was out of stock. I may have been five but I knew that not having bacon, lettuce and tomato in stock was unforgivable.

Anyway, as I got older and got over my fear of orange rice, I developed a real appreciation for Aristocrat’s Pork/Boneless Chicken BBQ with Java Rice. And let’s not forget, it came with the only atchara (pickled… stuff) I ever bothered to eat.

Years and countless branch closings later, I’ve found a new reason to visit any of the two remaining Aristocrat outlets (there’s the original resto in Malate, the one in Jupiter, and another one, soon to rise, in T. Morato).

Get out! Get out now and get your hands on Aristocrat’s Mucha Leche cake.

It’s best served straight from the freezer so that eating it will be like eating leche flan and pastillas de leche in rich, creamy, soft ice cream form. I'm no expert but something tells me it's made of milk.

By the way, this is Miguel, your bogchinoypi chikiting reporter from the North.

Call 8995035 (Aristocrat Bakeshop, Jupiter St. branch) first to check if they have it in stock. P370 for the whole cake. A pittance for a cake that’s de calidad

100 Beers and more

IMG_1687_resizeI would never pay a hundred bucks, or even 70 pesos for a bottle of San Miguel in any pretentious Makati bar when I know I could get it for less than 25 bucks in any supermarket, and it will taste exactly the same, maybe even better, kahit hindi nakatambay dun sina bestpren Tim. But I’m willing to pay the 150 pesos for freshly brewed imported Belgian beer in this place ironically called Paradise, located on the corner of the street where the lights are red and women roam to sell flesh.

This isn’t the first time I’ve gone from stingy to galante on pricey beer. Bogchief and I used to frequent Grappa’s for the Czech beer they brew, Pivo Praha. They serve banana-y wheat beer that’s very refreshing, but too much of it could make you constipated. Or in Bogchief’s case, run to the toilet every 5 mins. The best European beer fare is in Salcedo Market though: ice-cold German Oettinger, sold in 1/2 liter aluminum cans, perfect for a sunny Saturday at the park with spicy Hungarian sausage for lunch. If you want to get hammered at 12 noon, you can also try the extra strong just below 10% alcohol content beer. The after-effect is like finishing a whole bottle of wine all by yourself for 80 pesos.

IMG_1688_resizeBack to the 100 Beers. The ambience is pleasant but all the potential coziness is ruined by the blaring taxicab sounds. I generally like sitting by the bar, not because I like to flirt with the bartenders and coquettishly beg for an extra bowl of nuts. My God, there is this Belgian dude owner/manager behind the bar who resembles Albert Einstein, hairdo and all.

I digress again.

IMG_1698_resizeI would recommend for the lady drinkers, especially the morena or sige na nga Boracay-tanned ones with long hair, to bring male companions with them, lest you be subjeted to the advances of sleazy, balding white men that are on the prowl in P. Burgos.

Now to review all the 100 Beers, one by one. I wish. Since I couldn’t afford most of the bottled beers there [the picture with the fancy looking bottle costs a whopping 269 bucks!] I just tried everything on tap.

IMG_1695_resizeThis green drink is mint beer. Drinking Listerine beer is not exactly my thing. You don’t see any green fairies after finishing a glass of this either. But if you’ve had one too many garlic pizzas for dinner, then you should have this first, cos it’s better than any breath freshener. It’s not bad. It is just strange. And the teenage mutant ninja turtle color doesn’t exactly make it seem all the more appetizing.

Then there’s Cherry beer. To cater to the ladies. It coats the bitterness of the beer and leaves a sweet tangy sensation. I am no fan of this either. I like my beer the good old fashion way, and drink it like a man, bottoms up. What’s interesting about this Cherry beer is that this is no sherry temple; no artificial flavoring added or so the owner claims. Actual cherries were brewed over a period of time with the malt.

IMG_1700_resizeThen there’s the least interesting coke beer, where SURPRISE! SURPRISE! Coke is added to the beer.

My personal favorite [ergo, the most value for your money, you can’t find this anywhere else in the country so go ahead and splurge 146 pesos on a glass of it] is the white beer, Hoegaarden. This is supposedly popular the world over. I can’t feign beer connoisseur-ness, why the white tinge is significant to its taste. Basta astig na puti, saka masarap sobra. Mark my word, if all draft beers tasted like this, I promise to never make fun of Tim Yap again.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Chowking chow

Run, skip and hop to the Chowking branch nearest you! Try the Mongo Pao for just P15. Soft siopao bread with sweet mongo filling. Not bad at all. My favorite merienda munchie of the moment. And while you're there, samahan mo na ng Nai Cha, similar to the milk tea they have in Hong Kong, may gulaman lang. A bit pricey for me at P33 for a small glass, pero di hamak na mas sulit sa kape sa Starbucks. Oh, and unless may kasama kang marunong magHeimlich Maneuver, best to order the Nai Cha sans gulaman. It's a bit tricky sucking the jello-like morsels up the thick straw without going into a coughing fit. Mas sulit this way anyway as you'll get more milk tea for your buck.

Oh, and they've also started selling fortune cookies at P5 each. Syempre wise-old Chinese sayings yung tono nung fortunes. But if I had my way, I'd stick Inquirer Libre horoscope-type predictions in there. Waaaay funnier. Although dapat may malaking warning na-- Do not read while drinking Nai Cha (with gulaman).

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Best 4-cheese pizza ever! (at least in Makati)

For the best 4-cheese pizza ever, visit Timpla at the 2nd floor of Paseo Center. Quesong puti, parmesan, mozzarella and some other kind of cheese, on ultra-thin crust. It's so good and so light, you almost don't want to share it with your dining companions. It's the type of pizza where there is no hesitation when it comes to the last slice. Walang hiya-hiyaan. Unahan!

Other must-tries are the camaron mango salad, adobo-cheese-green mango spring rolls, Timpla pancit, boneless fried chicken and, I've heard, their boneless crispy pata. The desserts are also supposed to be yummy but I have yet to be able to muster enough self-control to leave room for them.

According to Google, the geniuses behind Timpla are the same ones responsible for Kulinarya and Cascada (which, incidentally, has the best BBQ prawn salad ever!). They're a husband and wife team. So imagine what the food must be like at their house! Grabe. Pwede kayang magpa-ampon? Or better yet, I wonder if, in between putting up fabulous pinoy-fusion restaurants, the couple also managed to have yummy-looking, now-aged-twentysomething kids. Hhmm...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Beer in Vietnam

One of the things which we really enjoyed about Vietnam was the beer. Almost every major town/city we passed through had its home brew. Some even had two or more. Beer is cheap too, from as low as 2,000 VND to around 10,000 VND (Php 6.50 to Php 35).

Bia La RueHere's a picture of our beer being enjoyed on a lazy afternoon by the river in Hoi An.

The cheaper beer is called Bia Hoi (which I think means draft beer) and it is served in establishments called Bia Hoi. These Bia Hoi (the place) range from a couple of stools on the sidewalk to beer hall style places which can seat up to 500 people. In the more quaint places, Bia Hoi is served fresh from a keg without a canister of CO2. The proprietor sucks it out using a mouth-powered siphon. That's strange looking foam on my beer! Yumm.

Bia HoiSome even have take-home beer. One time, we went up to a Bia Hoi with an empty bottle of Coke and had it filled with beer to drink back at the hostel.

Hanoi is the home of Bia Hoi. I've heard of people having it for breakfast. To the left is a picture taken at a cheap sidewalk place in Hanoi.

I miss Vietnam.

Pick Me Up, Bring Me Down

Good espresso is hard to find. I used to take it for granted until I went with my cousins to Cantinetta and had what I now think is the best espresso in Manila. My cousin says it's because Illy's office is located just behind the restaurant. That means that the Cantinetta coffee crew gets regular training.

Training, you ask? Pulling an espresso apparently is art. From the beans to the grind to the pressure to I don't know what I'm talking about. I'm happy to leave it to the experts or the coffeegeeks.

But there are some who serve espresso without the art component. You know who you are.

Let this be our first espresso review: Cantinetta - Pick me up!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Mini Stop Munchies

Baka gutom lang ako or naghahanap ng silver lining to being stuck at the office on a perfectly nice Saturday but...

Medyo masarap ang Boy Bawang Chili and Cheese. And it surprisingly has less saturated fat than the garlic flavored version. Ok din yung Mr.Bean. MSG overload :).

Mini Stop's Asado siopao is also supposed to be good. Can't vouch for it myself, but my ultra-Chinese officemate highly recommends it.

For dessert, you can have chilled chocolate pudding. I forget what brand exactly. Either Kraft or Hunt's single packs. Current flavors available are chocolate and chocolate caramel. You can also have good soft-serve ice cream in big waffle cones for P14. P18 with chocolate syrup. Their Belgian chocolate flavor was really good, but alas, they've discontinued it.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Tita Cely

If you're in Makati and want good old Pinoy comfort food, check out Tita Cely's Sinigang Bar at the open foodcourt of Market Market. They have really good adobo swimming in sauce na malinamnam. Perfect pang kain-karpintero.

Also try the Escargot in Coconut Milk a.k.a Ginataang Kuhol. I've always been wary of kuhol and gata in general (except in desserts), but I must admit na masarap pala yung dubious combination. At least at Tita Cely's. They give you oversized toothpicks to help you pry the mollusk out of its shell. It's great fun, I tell you. Messy too, as the kuhols tend to slip from your grip as you wrestle with them. I highly recommend ordering this on a first date. At least malalaman mo na kaagad kung OC, corny o high maintenance yung date mo.

Another reason to go to the Sinigang Bar is Tita Cely herself. She's very hands on. Like an over-eager, gracious hostess. You get an earful as she tells you what to order and how you should eat it. She even follows you to your table to make sure you get settled in okay, showing you how to arrange your tray so as not to spill anything. She's adorable. Sobrang maasikaso na by the time you leave there, feeling mo tita mo na talaga siya.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Tapos Na Ang Boksing

With no time to try out new places on a regular basis, there's just no point continuing this blog. Unless, dear reader, you'd be interested in reading everyday about the fare in the Citibank cafeteria or in Top of the City. And that would just be sad. Now, I just look to wysgal for food suggestions around my area.

Weird that I post this farewell today, when I just had dimsum and Chinese seafood at Golden Fortune in Soler Street and picked-up some take-out at Assad's along U.N. avenue.

P.S. - If anyone out there wants to contribute, then maybe this thing can keep going. Anyone?