Monday, January 28, 2008

wheee :D

Relatively quicker and cheaper. Been open at the Glorietta 4 foodcourt for more than a week now. Yehey! :)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Ihaw Balot Plaza

And then there’s the quintessential QC beer garden. Going to Ihaw Balot Plaza is like entering a time warp. They still have multicolored light bulbs. In-house rock ballads come from the videoke machine they’ve set up in the garden. And one time, I ordered a Coke Light, and got served what was probably the last bottled Diet Coke on earth. Serves me right for ordering a softdrink in a beer house.

A buddy of mine introduced us to this beer house/garden found along a little street between Panay and Quezon Ave. His father used to bring him and his siblings there, when they were little. Later, when my buddy married, he got his sisters together to bring them back to the place where you can find the best inihaw na pusit and chicken ass. There was also a drunken brawl at the nearby table as an added treat. (No worries, doesn’t happen that often.)

Nowadays, IBP is a brightly lit, wholesome beer garden. If you go early enough, say 6 to 9pm. Appetizers come in the form of kasoy, green mango, and bagoong, from the manang who sits by the gate (thought they've moved her indoors lately). Kasoy, sour, unripe fruit and sweet shrimp paste hardly go together. But it’s IBP, and anything goes, including your sense of what goes together.

At IBP, they have consistently excellent and simple food fare. Their grilled chicken ass is sweet, and the sizzling bulalo is tender and meaty. Their sisig is underrated. And lest you give yourself a heart attack, the inihaw na pusit is even better. Theirs is seasoned, smoked and slowly grilled to perfection. It’s not too soft, not too chewy, and always fresh. Arguably, the best pusit in town.

It’s the perfect place for the guys (with the patient, low-maintenance girlfriend or wife) to kick back and talk about the most important things in life: family, politics, and our NBA fantasy leagues.

At Ihaw Balot Plaza, you’ll find that the chicken ass good, the squid better, and the cholesterol and beer induced conversation best. I hope it stays the same for the time I bring the wife and kids over.

Going all the way (chicken ass, 1 kilo of pusit, sisig, bulalo, rice, softdrinks and beer) cost our group of 6 over 200 bucks each. Not bad, I reckon.

Ihaw Balot Plaza is along Scout Borromeo, between Panay and Mother Ignacia. Side of Tropical Hut.

Monday, January 07, 2008


After the extravagant spending and eating of the holidays, it’s back to work with as lean a meal allowance as possible. Can you get a good meal for, say, 50 pesos? Bogchinoypi was started to answer that question. And to find possible solutions like Poochini’s.

With a niche carved out of the Valero parking building, I expected higher prices than a jollijeep. They have seats after all. And bespoke at that – orange, with cut-out carrots like the one on their logo. Don’t expect to get your bum on any of them though, unless you come way before or well after the lunch rush hour. With only three sets of tables and its popularity because of the jollijeep prices, your best bet at lunchtime is take out.

Poochini’s set-up is carinderia-style. But rather than huge, stainless casseroles, they have food warmers. So lunch almost seems like a wedding buffet gone wild. Attendants stand behind the long table of warmers, while diners come up to the table and swarm around.

If there’s no free spot right in front of the table, stand behind someone and wait patiently. When he or she’s done, take his/her place and wait for an attendant to pay attention to you. Once one does, point out the viands you want and she’ll ladel them out for you. It’s chaos, but its organized. Typically Filipino, no?

The great thing about Poochini’s is that there’s lots to choose from. I’d say they easily have twice, even thrice the number of choices you’ll get at a Jollijeep. Just today, I counted 24 warmers of different viands on the table.

Plus, despite the jollijeep prices, their servings are more generous. And I guess because of the presentation, you’ll feel more confident about how sanitary your food is.
I usually come in for staples like their thick monggo (10 pesos), their very tasty, crunchy squid (30 pesos) or tokwa in black bean sauce (30 pesos). But officemates swear by their adobo (30 pesos), caldereta (30 pesos), pata tim (30 pesos) and sinigang (30 pesos). Biko lovers will be glad to know they always have a few slices on hand. Leche flan seems to frequently grace the table too.

They have a good range of choices for pork, beef, chicken and, important for me, veggies. Chances are, if you’re craving for a specific pinoy dish, they have it. And it’s bound to be truly satisfying too.

Poochini’s is along Valero st., along the line of Valero parking building shops like Bugong (another favorite!) and Mercury Drug. Open til 9pm, sometimes even later.

p.s. don’t forget to claim your free broth!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Dong Bei

Turns out I had to be in Escolta for work today. I decided to make a food trip out of it and searched online for recommendations. Dong Bei was mentioned in several blogs as one of the stops in Ivan Man Dy's Binondo walking tour (which I would love to take one of these days).

From my meeting in Plaza Cervantes, I walked in the direction of the Binondo Church and beyond. I took my cue from Gene Gonzalez and ordered fried dumplings and dry soybean noodles. A tour group (I presume Ivan's) entered the place as I was having my meal, allowing me to shamelessly eavesdrop for a few minutes. I would have wanted to try other dishes but the servings were too large. Next time, I'll make sure to bring reinforcements. 

I spent around P250 for 10 fried dumplings, a bowl of noodles, and a can of beer.