Sunday, November 25, 2007

Good Origin

According to karabau, this place has closed down. Sad siya. (updated 12/30/07)

Riding around Makati late one night, I came across Good Origin Bento along Pasay Road. It looked new and cheap - how could I resist. I ordered the niku curry soba udon, which wasn't too yummy. But then it cost only P75 so I shouldn't be complaining. Also on the menu are your usual rice toppings, gyoza, and some salads.

Good Origin Bento supposedly closes at 5am. Seems like a decent place to fill your stomach after a long night of partying, when hot and cheap *almost* make up for taste.

Along Pasay Road, between the corners of Amorsolo and Paseo de Roxas. You can't miss the huge neon sign.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Suzukin, at the corner of cheap and tasty

Well actually, it's at the corner of Kamagong St. & Sampaloc st. But yes, it IS cheap and tasty, and quite filling too. So after a sulit saturday, hungry and beat, I declared I wanted cheap japanese. Noone else had an opinion, so we piled into the car and headed for San Antonio village.

As we were all too tired to read the menu off the walls, we settled for the laziest choice and also the most sulit item - the set meal. For php123, you get 2 ebi tempura pieces, tuna steak, chicken furai, tai kimiyaki (fish fillet), squid balls, pork kushiyaki, rice and miso soup. Yes, aaalll of that for 123pesos. On a little steel serving platter.

It's almost like a menu sampler. And as you can glean from this selection, you shouldn't expect anything sophisticated in Suzu Kin. Their cook's imagination stops at frying. But he does it well, haha! And it lets them deliver big on taste and value despite the small price.

Take the free miso soup, I find it tastier and more savory than a lot of the miso soups I have to pay for in other, higher-end japanese restaurants. They put little bits of fried batter to add to the tastiness. And the broth is opaque from all the miso, tofu and veggies.

Everything on the set is yummy, each in its simple, fried way. I like too the uniqueness of going through little bite size meats prepared in different ways. It's a mini buffet! For me though, the tuna steak is a stand-out. (A lighter, tuna version of bistek. Garlicky and dark with toyo, but still retaining the taste of tuna.) I just keep forgetting to order it on its own, instead of succumbing to viand polygamy. You can get tuna steak a la carte at php120. Mmm-mmm. The chicken furai is great too, juicy and memorable thanks to its dark but tangy sauce. The tai kimiyaki is tender and packed with taste.

Their menu has all the japanese fastfood basics: donburi from php109 (Oyakodon) to php129 (Gyudon), teppanyaki from php157 (squid,chicken) to php202 (shrimp), tempura (6-8 little pieces of shrimp for php155), sobas, udons, sashimis and makis. If you're a raw fish connoiseur though, I wouldn't reccomend ordering here as these really aren't their specialty.

What I appreciate most about Suzukin is that they know their target market. The average salaryman who just wants a good, no frills, inexpensive meal at the end of a tiring day. I want to commend them for turning out solid, filling meals at low prices, WITHOUT scrimping on their ingredients.
Plus, i mean, they're basically a carinderia. They serve their water in thick glasses and their food in steel plates. The staff hardly smile. They have no ambience at all. But I think they get by on inadvertent charm. Their menu's hand-pentel penned on cartolina. There are japanese-y curtains above the doorway. And they all scream "arrashaimase" when you go through the door. These make me fond of Suzu Kin - the little japanese carinderia that tries.

Going down Metropolitan ave. towards Quirino ave., turn left at Caltex. It's right on the corner - facing the dress shop and lying tangent to Metrobank. You can park along Sampaloc st., right by SuzuKin itself. At lunch, there's an old man who watches your car while you eat fried meats.

Snackaroo, yahoo!

Somewhere in the lower-middle class suburban jungles of QC is a steak joint where the staff is overworked and surly, and where the tables are wet, and the utensils greasy. So, come prepared with a very good sense of humor about these things, because Snackaroo is worth the trouble.

For P130 bucks, you get an excellent t-bone slathered with wonderfully unhealthy gravy.

Photo actually shows two orders of well-done t-bone steak… I was really hungry.

Snackaroo is located on Judge Jimenez Street. Coming from T. Morato, get on Kamuning, and you'll find J. Jimenez on your right.

Friday, November 16, 2007

spreadable chocnut

In an informal taste test, 3 out of 5 people found that Candyline Co. had succesfully duplicated the ChocNut taste. I guess it depends which ChocNut taste you remember - the sweet&nutty earlier formula OR the more recent too-sweet version. For me, ChocoMani captured ChocNut at its best and upped the ante by playing with the consistency. There's a good balance of the swetness and nuttiness (insert crazy joke here). You can taste each distinctly but appreciate their mingling together too. Plus, the change of texture from crumbly to buttery made a 'classic na pinagsawaan na', suddenly fresh.

At Php56 (at 7-11) for a 40gram jar, it comes to php1.40 per gram (WHO calculates cost like that?). But the experience of spooning the chocolatey peanut butter, licking it off and letting it melt in your mouth is priceless. Besides, the alternative - stuffing actual ChocNut in your pan de sal - sounds a bit weird.

On a vaguely related note, I appreciate 7-11's adding single Dole bananas by their check-out counter. Tells me they support my wanting to eat healthier. AND gives me a great idea for dessert. Anyone for ChocoMaNana?
(Wait, does that sound right?)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Kikufuji Updates

Taped onto the back cover of Kikufuji's regular menu is their specials menu. It changes every couple of months and contains items that give me temporary kuripot amnesia.

Right now, I find guilty pleasure in the fresh oysters sunomono (P250+). Around four pieces of oysters off the shell are served in a vinegar bath and sprinkled with chopped spring onions. Ultimate pulutan, I think.

Friday, November 09, 2007

not another Greenhills Chinese resto review

First off, shout out to YUMMY for being crazy enough to feature a delinquent blog like ours. Now we feel the pressure to keep this place up.

Anyway, back to my Greenhills-based Chinese restos. While Greenhills on weekends is such a chore, Greenhills on weekday mornings isn’t so bad. When I have the time, I make sure to work out at the gym early so that I can get a big lunch at Le Ching Too (the second one, orange interiors, not the first one, green interiors, food is the same though).

Le Ching Too is my mother’s worst resto nightmare. She questions the restaurant’s hygiene and food preparation techniques. Personally, I turn a blind eye. You do that for love.

Le Ching is best at what it does. It doesn’t have an extensive menu. And from that short menu, stick to what you know. You either get a rice topping, or noodles. A lot of people like the Beef Brisket Rice, I’m not a big fan though. I like the Chicken and Black Mushroom Rice a lot. But what I really love is their Spareribs Rice. It’s a load of tender, tasty pork ribs on top of steamed rice. Served in a steel bowl. I wonder if the steel bowl is for making me feel that eating at Le Ching is an authentic Chinese peasant/proletariat dining experience. I’m not quite sure.

When I was there last, I sort of veered off the tried and tested path. I tried their Shrimp Cheongfan. Not so good. The flour-y(?) wrap was too thick, and sort of overwhelmed the pitiful shrimp stuffings.

Next time, I’m sticking to the rice toppings. Or I’ll finally try their noodles. Like I said, I’m not a big noodle fan, but I’ve been… growing up. I saw someone order the Stewed Beef Brisket Noodles. The noodles get served with a hearty amount of brisket on top, and the soup is served separately. I’m looking forward to that.

It has to be said that a large part of Le Ching’s success are the little things that come with the food. Like their famous chili garlic. I want to know how they make it. Or at least where they make it. I want to raid the place, and steal a whole vat. That ought to give me half a lifetime’s worth of chili garlic. While I was there, there was a guy at the next table who raved that he takes his sinigang with Le Ching’s chili garlic. Weirdo. But hey, I want to know where he gets his stash. No local Chinese resto has duplicated the truly garlic-flavored Le Ching mix.

And so as not to be overpowered by the wonderfully spicy chili garlic, order their cold soya milk too. It’s not too sweet, and it retains the subtle flavor of soy, unlike the over-flavored, commercial variants.

Le Ching’s been around for years. I started eating there in high school. It’s not really a secret, given by the large lunch and dinner crowds at both Greenhills branches. But I haven’t seen anyone write about the place. Lately, at least. So I’m giving it my stamp of approval: It’s the only place where I’m happy to pay to eat out of a steel bowl.

Le Ching and Le Ching Too are both located in the basement level of Shoppesville, Greenhillls Shopping Center. Le Ching (green interiors) is across McDonalds, Le Ching Too (orange interiors) is closer to the tiangge, the row of Ricky Reyes. I hear there’s a branch at Trinoma, but I haven’t been. Dishes are large single servings, and are mostly in the P70-100 range.

Monday, November 05, 2007

pancit nanaman!

On most Sundays, I avoid Greenhills like the plague. The whole shopping center may be undergoing a facelift, but the place is still an urban planning nightmare. Traffic and parking sucks on weekends, and especially now that we’re heading into the freakin’ holidays.

So I was sort of pissed that our mother wanted to eat lunch at Casa Reyes, another offshoot from the Aristocrat family of restos (by my count, there’s Alex III, Serye, and Reyes BBQ). I was hungry, in no mood to argue, and even more ticked off to find the resto full.

That turned out to be a blessing in the sky(!) because I suddenly remembered that we hadn’t eaten at Sun Moon Garden in the longest time.

Sun Moon Garden has been in Greenhills since… forever. We used to eat there almost every Sunday when our church was actually in the shopping center. And Sun Moon isn’t actually a garden. It’s really in the basement of Shoppesville, right behind the row of ID photo booths, where I used to get my ID photos done back in the pre-digital age. (Nowadays, I just shoot myself.)

Anyway, Sun Moon is known for its pancit canton and that’s because it has the best pancit canton. Ever. And that’s coming from the guy who’s not very fond of noodles and pasta. Hold on, I’m not sure if it’s actually listed as Sun Moon Pancit Canton on the menu. Basta. It’s the one with tender noodles that’s not so thin, yet not so thick (medium?). It’s got this tasty brownish sauce that’s not too gooey. Also it’s got a mound of vegetables and seafood on it. Like a lot of the Chinese dishes that have come our way, it’s a meal in itself. The small-sized order was just right for the three of us.

For nostalgia’s sake, we also ordered my favorite Fried Shrimp Balls. It was deep fried to a golden, crispy outside, nice and soft inside finish. It’s served with a more-sweet-than-sour sauce, and should be eaten with that.

Our only mistake was ordering the Deep Fried Lapu Lapu with Oyster Sauce. The fish wasn’t fresh at all. It was also an expensive mistake, being the priciest dish among our orders. We should have gone with the Oriental Sizzling Beef (something like that) that every table except ours seemed to have.

Since it's located in the basement, and because it's a Chinese resto, don’t expect much ambiance. Here’s a photo of the interiors, in all its fluorescent-lit glory.

Small-sized orders are good for three, or a hungry two, and average around P200. Except for that lame Lapu Lapu dish which set us back around 400 bucks. Sun Moon Garden is located at the basement level of Shoppesville, Greenhills Shopping Center. Tel. no 721-0856.