Jan 30, 2009

getting the fish out of the water

this time around i had dinner with my friends from company x. it was a bit tough choosing the right resto and after several reroutes or restos rather, we ended up in fish out of the water. we had expats with us as well so food has to be picked out correctly. let's see if we got a relatively good score in terms of food selection.

for appetizers we got gambas al ajillo (PHP 289). it was ok, nothing special about it, i actually like my gambas glistening with oil with loads of peppers, this one is not too oily which is good for diet conscious people and the chilli seems to be the bottled ones bought in supermarkets.

the stuffed kalabasa flowers (PHP 169), is a unique and delectable dish. deep fried pumpkin blossoms stuffed with cheese, herbs and pork. the batter was light which is perfect for the delicate blossoms. i would have wanted it super hot and very crisp but over all it was a nice pick.

another one is the crispy baby squid (PHP 235), all along i thought they were baby squid cooked tempura style or something breaded. but it was fried to almost being burnt. very crispy and has the balance of sweet and salty but the "squidness" was no longer evident that you'd wonder what is it made of. as my friend k puts it, "ang mahal na bukayo" (an expensive coconut candy).

the entrees...finally! first is the grilled saranggani bay milkfish belly with risotto (PHP 299) . this is a perfect dish. the belly was well seasoned and the risotto complemented the fish without any overpowering flavors from the lucban longganisa. i liked this one.

we also had the crisp changi butterflied tilapia with black pepper sauce (PHP 295). nothing extraordinary on this one, my friends liked the uniqueness of the pepper sauce. i would have to say that an uber crispy tilapia would have made this dish perfect.

also got singaporean chilli crab (PHP 1400 ++). again, i somehow tasted a hint of those commercially available garlic chilli sauces out in the market. i had better tasting crabs than this.

we also got primo's clam and seafood paella (PHP 475), it was a huge serving for its price which makes it a good choice. but there's not much flavor in it, all i could taste in the rice was the peppers and saffron. ample seafoods on top, but it would have been much better if the flavors seeped through the rice as well.

lastly, as if the carbo from the risotto and paella are not enough, we also had percy's shrimp penne (PHP 295). the sauce was really flavorful even though i wasn't able to get any of the shrimps and it was just the pasta and sauce, this one was definitely a hit. i would have to thank c and s for ordering this =).

overall it was a good meal, prices are not over the top as i expected them to be. filipino food with a couple of twists - good place for balikbayan and expats to try out. service was a bit off probably because we were seated outside and the place was packed. but still, i think they ought to improve on that one.

fish out of the water
3rd level, greenbelt 5

Jan 23, 2009

what's in your doggy bag

the last time i ate out, my mom and i had extras so we had the resto wrapped it to go. then my mom remembered her friend's story.

the story was, my tita had some kare-kare wrapped to take home. she wondered why when she got home it looked much less than what was left at the resto. so when she ate at the resto again and had her food wrapped, she counted the number of pieces first. she then counted them again after getting home and found out that she was indeed missing a couple of pieces. with this story in mind, my mom counted the pieces of meat we were not able to consume before having it wrapped to go. and when we got home she counted the pieces again and true enough it was missing a couple. i only know about the lechon manok story when the chopper would slide a few pieces off the chopping board so you wouldn't know that you no longer have a whole chicken. but this was the first time it dawned on me that such things happen at restos as well.

i just could not fathom that people result to that, it's unhygienic because other people has already touched that food and who knows if we used the serving spoon for that dish. also, that's basically stealing. i now somehow felt cheated. as i told my mom, it's a lesson learned, so we should not have leftovers. if it's inevitable we should finish the expensive dishes and just have the cheap ones taken home hehe. dining out should be a pleasurable experience but with such incident it now brings a sense of paranoia if you will be cheated off with your doggy bag.

Jan 21, 2009

a date with john and yoko

had dinner with my friends from company xx and the guys wanted japanese. i would have suggested haiku but then i kinda got a haiku overdose during my last outing. so i thought of john and yoko at greenbelt 5.

we found nemo (PHP 790) is a platter of sushi and sashimi. it has the philadephia roll, 2 other rolls which i do not know, kani, tuna and salmon sashimi. we all liked the philadelphia roll and the salmon sashimi, it was delectable in the palate. so for this platter, the salmon items were a hit.

for our mains, we got scallop teppan (PHP 399), which my friend j wanted. it's basically scallops cooked teppanyaki style but were served on the shells. very straight forward, if they have huge scallops inside i might have been wowed.

another shellfish is the baked oysters which i geared away from because it was night time and don't want to get into any stomach trouble.

fried green chicken (PHP 228), is fried chicken with nori bits. i find the chicken dry and overcooked.

the best thing in this meal for me would be the japaella. well cooked rice, soft and tender with the japanese flavors lingering in your palate topped with huge shrimps and very tender chicken teriyaki. this is probably a reason for me to come back.

they serve bottomless iced tea at PHP 108, pretty steep but it's bottomless and you have access to three flavors. they are all colored iced teas with red for calamansi, green for lime and blue for dalanghita. wasn't able to try the green one but i loved the dalanghita flavor.

john and yoko
second level, greenbelt 5

Jan 16, 2009

where good friends dine

abe means friend in kapampangan. as such, the tagline of this famous resto which initially opened at serendra and has now branched out in trinoma.

i never got interested in this resto despite the raves and long waiting line. why? because i am not really fond of filipino restos except for sentro which i really like, but that's another story. similar to sugi, mbkrs had something to do with this recent foodtrip.

i had one thing i have been obsessing about. the betute (PHP 290) which is basically stuffed fried frogs. i love frogs and so this one is on my must try list. two whole frogs with a pork stuffing which tasted like longganisa sans the reddish color, served on a bed of onions, tomato and cucumber with a vinegar dressing. i love the veggies, the frog was a bit chewy and i find the sweet stuffing inapt as well. moving forward, i'd stick to adobong palaka (frog).

another appetizer is the sinuteng baby pusit (sauteed baby squid) PHP 168. the dish might look unappetizing but this one is a winner. baby squid cooked adobo style but with loads of garlic, laurel, chili and oil. there's too much oil that it basically becomes the sauce so there's not much of that brown/black sauce of adobong pusit but the hint of vinegar is very evident. perfect with loads of rice.

we also had mutton adobo (kambing) PHP 395. it has loads of garlic, a dish cooked and garnished with a lot of garlic including the skin. the mutton is tender and very flavorful. again, another dish perfect with rice.

overall, it was a good meal. the dishes were perfectly executed except for the betute. perfect viands for a rice centric diet. with this meal, my mom shared the same sentiments. the reason why i am not fond of eating at filipino restos is because i could eat the dishes at home. and this was a perfect example of that. the dishes could be simply replicated at home and it would be much lighter on the pocket. there is no doubt that they serve good filipino food, a perfect place to bring expats and even ofw friends, as for me, i'd stick to homecooked meals whenever i get a kambing or palaka craving.


Jan 7, 2009

best jap resto in town: sugi

winning as the best japanese resto in the recent mbkrs compelled me to finally eat at this place.

we got some freebie appetizer which is eggplant with some sauce in it. the eggplant was perfectly cooked, i was impressed on how the eggplant was fried and yet maintained its color and form.

got the soft shell crab roll (PHP 280). crunchy and flavorful softshell crab with creamy mayo in a roll. hard to eat but definitely worth the try. i love softshell crab!

from the chef's recommendation menu, we got the gyu kobashira steak (PHP 460). it's beef with scallops with some veggies. nothing spectacular about it. just ate the veggies and scallops because i was gearing away from meat. i also found the sauce a bit strong considering i was sick and my palate is still unable to capture most of the flavors of what i've been eating lately.

another teppanyaki type dish is the kaki kari kari yaki (PHP 340). i was already set on getting this one so it was a non negotiable. crispy oysters cooked in a sauce with shiitake and spinach. i love the veggies and of course the crispy and yet flavorful oysters. since both dishes tasted almost the same i found this more interesting because of the contrast in texture and the more unique veggies that comes with it.

i was very pleased with this meal. the softshell crab roll really did it for me. i would love to eat here again and make sure to try out the other dishes. they have bento meals for lunch that costs around PHP 500 which i deem is reasonably priced especially with the inclusions.

greenbelt 2

Jan 5, 2009

finger lickin coffee

i just had to write about this, i was so irritated the other night when i had coffee at the first starbucks in the philippines. for those who do not know which one, it's the 6750 branch.

i ordered two drinks, a caramel macchiato and toffee nut. so i was holding the two cups and the temperature difference was really obvious. it was like holding a gloria jeans cup once again. my macchiato was relatively cold...actually it was cold. so i had them reheat it. c even said, you should have asked them to replace it. i said, it's ok. so it was taking them a long time to reheat it and i was having stomach pains that time so i couldn't really stand that long to wait.

i was already embarassed because it was my other friends who were watching out for it. but when all their orders were already out i had to stand up and wait for it. so finally, it's my macchiato..and what do i see? the barista accidentally dipping her finger in the cup. they ignored the incident then covered it and were bound to shout out my name when i said, do you really plan on serving that to me? then they just said, they will replace it. no apologies whatsoever, so my eyes were intently looking at the new cup, the pitcher where they put the milk and all that sh!t to make sure they don't put anything nasty in my new cup. how was the cup? it didn't taste like caramel at all and it was basically hot milk, which in this case was favorable due to my stomach pains. the point is, i wonder how many times that happened in starbucks. now i feel the need to really watchout for my coffee to make sure it's hygienically prepared. the move from greenbelt to 6750 was really a bad decision...scarred for life na ang sb 6750 saken. tsk tsk.

Jan 4, 2009

starting the year with solihiya

my ofw friends are increasing in number but they're primarily based here in asia so coming home is just a breeze. last night i got an impromptu dinner invite from someone who kept his return date a secret. i actually thought he already left manila but was surprised to get a call from him - an impromptu dinner, which i obliged to.

we tried out solihiya. it's basically chinese-filipino cuisine. i was expecting chinoy cuisines...chinese dishes that have been localized like pansit but to my surprise i found distinctly filipino dishes like bulalo and sinigang.

we got some freebie appetizers - pickled quail eggs, crispy anchovies (dilis) and jicama strips (singkamas).

the sponsor and i, being tofu lovers had to get some tofu dishes. we tried breaded tofu, lightly breaded soft tofu cubes which was perfectly cooked and served with a black vinegar sauce.

we also got tausi fish, which is fish fillet with tofu. a unique set of flavors for a typical fish with tausi dish, i could taste the ginger flavor but didn't find one strip or i might have just been oblivious. it was well seasoned.

the sizzling bulalo was perfect. tender meat with all the tendons and bone marrow served with a mild gravy. would have wanted the beef to be more flavorful but for those who are not too keen on salty food then it was perfectly seasoned.

the solihiya fried chicken is basically the chinese style fried chicken flavored with star anise. much like savory's chicken.

we also got sinigang na ulo ng salmon but since they served them in separate bowls, i didn't get to take a picture of it.

overall, it was a pleasant meal. no misses among the dishes and the bright colored interiors gave a clean, sleek and inviting ambiance. i'd think that the relatively steeper price is due to the location. the menu items can be had at other establishments at a much affordable price unless you are craving for two dishes or more at the same time. but if you decide to try this place i'd recommend the sizzling bulalo and for the tofu lovers the tausi fish and breaded tofu.

level 3, greenbelt 5