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Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Guests entering a restaurant three minutes before it closes is technically okay.  But this situation is one of the most hated circumstances by that of the waiters and cooks.  This is especially true when the kitchen has started to do its cleaning and sanitizing.  Cooks would not have the choice but to gloomily re-grease their pots, pans and griddle and degrease it again later on when all orders of the oblivious close-to-being-late customer has been dispatched.

This is exactly what I did!  And in the above scenario, I was the customer.  Since it’s almost closing time, I expected that my orders would be nothing spectacular.  I was actually expecting the food to be unmeticulous, negligent and haphazard.

But all my worrying expectations were all false!  I was served, what could be considered one of the best gourmet burgers in Manila!  Congratulations to Hunger Buster.  This burger joint located at the 2nd floor of University Mall in Taft Avenue gave me what I never expected.

yum!

It was so delicious, I wanted to drag other folks dining at a nearby restaurant and tell them “what the hell are you doing in that measly resto when an awesome gourmet burger joint in Manila is just under your freakin’ nose!?

It was the type of burger that I love.  Hunger Buster provides disposable plastic hand gloves because their burger is a gloriously messy creation.  All elements I wanted for a burger was there: tender and flavorful meat, crispy bits of savory bacon, provocatively dripping greasy juices and gooey cheese!  And despite the dripping juices, the soft and tasty bun never turned sad and soggy.  For me it was one surprising burger!

I will definitely be back at Hunger Buster and on that time, I will step in 2 minutes before it closes! Hahaha!

An-ekspekted and sarap!

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Did you know that according to the readers’ poll by CNNGo in 2011, Prata Roti sold in Singapore is part of the top 50 delicious food around the world? Good thing, I do not need to go to India, Singapore or Malaysia to enjoy the deliciousness and palatability of this flat bread.  It is because Prata Roti can be found at Prata Avenue, a new Singaporean food stall located at The Mill in Pulilan, Bulacan.

the mill: pulilan food park

delicious (parang ako)

yummy prata roti

yeah! for main course… prata peanut butter, oreo and blueberry

Yeah, the most delicious Prata Roti in the Philippines is not found within Metro Manila.  A little effort of travelling to Bulacan is needed before you can enjoy this tasty Singaporean fluffy and flaky type of pancake.  I’m saying it’s so good because whatever you put or add into Prata Avenue’s version of prata roti, every bite evokes nothing but pure pleasure to the palate!  It was so good, when I came back to order another round of the Prata Combi 2 (ham & cheese), the lady attendant told me that this flavor (since it was so popular) was already sold out.

Another dish that put’s delight to my Prata Avenue experience was their kebabs! If CNNGo considers Roti Prata as top 50 most delicious food, according to BBC poll in 2004, kebab is one of the 50 food that a person must eat before he dies.

may angas ang kebab na ‘to!

Prata Avenue’s unique presentation of this skewered dish is so appealing!  The presentation is quite unique, buyers deemed it “instagramable” (is that a word?).  Personally, I would call it as curtain kebabs!  The presentation is so distinctive and prominent, it gives you a dash of baseless smugness and arrogance each time this curtain kebab gets served on your table.  I don’t know, but guests in the area who has curtain kebabs on their table looks richer and well-heeled.  While those without it and settled for other dishes looked lowly and deprived. And since I’m conceited, I ordered 2 curtain kebabs!

I enjoyed my munching and chomping at Prata Avenue.  By the way, did you know that “prata” means silver in Portuguese?  Yeah, Prata Avenue at The Mill is definitely one silvery path that will lead you to an awesome palatal experience.  Thanks Prata Avenue for featuring 2 lip-smacking CNNGo-and-BBC-recommended dishes that the Filipinos must try before they die.

Prata Avenue is located at The Mill: Pulilan Food Park,
Pulilan National Road, Poblacion, Pulilan Bulacan.  
It’s open from 4:00PM until 12 midnight.

Dalawang hinlalaki pataas!!

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I am more of a burger person than a pizza person.  I more enjoy the juicy-ness of a beef as compared to the gooey-ness of a mozzarella cheese.  I can’t actually remember when I boast or wrote about a pizza.  Maybe it’s because my pizza experiences has always been a letdown.  However, when I chomped on a slice in a pizza joint in Castro Street, I promised myself that I have to write about it.

It’s Oz Pizza.  After grasping the LGBT vibe and feel of Castro streets in San Francisco, I decided to have pizza for lunch.  This was because of a pregnant lady with a young kid gleefully munching on a big box of pizza slices at the patio table of Oz Pizza.  Water falls came down from my oral cavity while seeing them do colossal bites and enormous chomping of their pizza.

the castro

oz pizza counter

a slice of heaven

Since I am not a pizza person, and there were too many varieties to choose from, I asked the mild and smiling attendant for a recommendation.  He endorsed the Combo, which I supposed is a mix of all toppings in their menu.  I gladly obliged.  And on my first bite, I realized that the attendant knew what he is endorsing.  The crust was chewy and crispy at the same time, which I personally prefer.  The toppings, which by the way is so generous, were all tasty and flavorful.  That slice was one spectacular treat!

Though there is nothing to praise about the interiors of the eatery, the wonderful taste and impressive quality of their pizza however compensates for all this drag.  I am not a pizza person but if Oz Pizza will be the one offered to me, I will gladly drop a sumptuous burger for it.

Yum yum…

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One downside of being a solo traveler, which I realized during my San Francisco CA solo expedition, is that I am to eat alone.  Good thing I am living by myself in Manila, thus, the impact of eating solo in a foreign country is not disturbing if compared to those who are so used to sharing a thought and their food with someone else during a meal.

Because of this glitch, I avoided fancy restaurants and during meal periods I can be found in a communal table of a food court, an indie coffee shop or in a park munching a dish I bought from a food stall or food truck.

nice interiors…

crispy baby romaine, grana & croutons

main event!

main course! hahaha!

will be back!

But when my college best friend Marie (now based in Los Angeles) recommended that I should try and dine at Stinking Rose, I never had a second thought. One late lunch period, I navigated the streets of SF and proceeded to Columbus Avenue where the Italian restaurant is located.

The receptionist upon knowing that I am dining “just myself”, she was smart and gentle enough to assign me to a good and strategic table (a corner by the window) which seem intended really for solo diners.

I ordered a 3-course Prix Fixe Dinner bundle.  For the main course I settled with the one recommended by the waiter, the Forty Clove Garlic Chicken.  And when the food was served, I totally forgot about the glitches and hurdles of dining solo in a fancy or busy restaurant.

On a bright side of this experience, since my mind would not be diverted or side-tracked from this gustatory encounter, I actually was able to indeed levy the quality and taste of the food that was served at Stinking Rose.  I was more focus and conscious about the palatal attributes of the food I was devouring.  And my verdict about Stinking Rose?  Let me just say that my super friend Marie cares for my palatal satisfaction.  She indeed gave me an excellent recommendation!

havin’ a blast!

I may forget that I dined solo at Stinking Rose but the gustatory experience I had with this Italian restaurant shall be remembered for a very long time.

Salamat Marie…

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I did not miss the Philippines when I was in San Francisco CA.  Aside from the copious presence of Filipinos everywhere in SF, there are bounteous existence of Filipino dishes around.  The mere fact that at the back of my mind there is a Filipino whom I can easily approach while in SF and there are Pinoy dishes around, I never have to suffer the looney craving for my home country.

During my early stay in San Francisco I had an unfaltering decision of not eating any Filipino dish during the whole length of my stay in the City by the Bay.  And at the same time will munch on a big and heavy burrito, a seem-to-be-staple for the locals.  This decision however was easily modified when I saw a food truck named Señor Sisig parked along the corner streets of Powell and Ellis at downtown San Francisco.

it must be the filipino in me that i just have to fall in line

pabili!

popular choices…

sisig burrito

gone in a couple of minutes

Since there is a queue of people on the said food truck, out of curiosity, I quietly fall in line and looked unto the menu board that the food truck offers.  To my surprise, Señor Sisig offers a variety of Filipino fusion dishes.  This therefore made me decide to violate what I have earlier promised yet will achieve what I intend to eat at the same time.

I ordered the surprisingly large and heavy “Señor Sisig Burrito” – a Filipino-cum-San Franciscan dish because it is a fusion of Sisig (a Kapampangan dish) presented in a San Francisco burrito way.  And what’s my verdict as to how this dish faired? Let me just say I gasped on my first bite and the large burrito was gone in a matter of minutes!

My experience of chomping on Senor Sisig Burrito can therefore be summarized as a promise that was broken yet a fantasy that came true wrapped into one.

Sarap!

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It is starting to become a habit that every time I and my colleagues got to spend an overnight weekend adventure out-of-town, we would first have to dine in a well-liked or budding restaurant or coffee shop. Part of the adventure is to scout and google the nicest food joint that our destination can brag about.  And when we have chosen one, we would agree that before proceeding to our final destination to check-in we would have a detour by having either a breakfast, a brunch or a lunch in our chosen eatery.

On our way to Las Casas De Filipinas De Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan for an overnight weekend, I and my colleagues stopped over the agricultural city of Balanga in Bataan.  We had lunch at Stregato Geleteria, a cute and charming Italian-inspired diner right in the middle of the city (right beside The Plaza Hotel and at the ground floor of Galeria Victoria Mall).

cute!

Stregato Gelateria was one surprising restaurant.  First timers like us easily fell in love with the interiors and ambiance of the place.  And surprisingly, the service was pretty quick and the food were superb!

I particularly ordered the Slow-Cooked Roasted Pork Belly.  And that was indeed a winner!

slow-cooked roast pork! yum!

All of us agree that another impressive thing about the food is that the serving-size were just perfect.  The portion was not too much neither too little for its reasonable price.  Their prices were actually not reasonable because it’s unreasonably low!  With an endearing ambiance and flavorful food, Stregato Gelateria is definitely comparable and in the level of pricey diners and coffee shops here in Manila.

And since our tummy were not too full nor felt shortchanged we decided to order two slices of cakes – the mindboggling Ferrero cake and the marvelous Mango Crème Brulee cake.  One Tagalog word for their desserts… sarap!

sarap!

cakes cakes cakes!

a reason to come back

mga batang bagac!

All of us further agreed that Stregato Gelateria is a gem of a restaurant in Balanga, Bataan.  If given the chance to be back in this beautiful old province, I will definitely not miss eating at Sregator Gelateria.

Sarap sa Ingles… dilisyus (parang ako)!  

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travel buddies

travel buddies

One of the things that I look forward to when I go to Baler is their creamy, yummy and locally made peanut butter.  Aside from a private vehicle, dwellers of the city can reach Baler through a 6-hour bus ride.  And right beside the bus station is the souvenir and take-home-presents (pasalubong) store where Nanay Pacing’s peanut butter can be purchased.

Via bus ride, I was in Baler this weekend.  And upon arrival and while the bus was to park at its station, I took a peek from the window to check the store.  The store was closed and it seemed no longer there. My friends and I, who equally loved Nanay Pacing’s Peanut Butter, wonder how can a very busy store located at a very accessible and perfect spot, could cease operation?

When breakfast time came while spreading the same delicious peanut butter on my toasted bread (hotels in Baler serve this peanut butter in their buffet), I got to ask one of the restaurant staffs about what happened to Nanay Pacing’s store and where it may have transferred.

I was told that Nanay Pacing’s peanut butter is no longer owned by Nanay Pacing.  I was told that Nanay Pacing, the label, is no longer owned by Nanay Pacing.  And that indeed, the big store beside the bus station has closed.

The restaurant staff through a whisper told me that the label has been acquired by the most powerful family in Aurora and that the peanut butter is now being sold at one of the halls of the municipal building.  But with a flicker of hope on catching and tasting the original recipe, I was further told that Nanay Pacing’s new store is now smaller and has relocated and still sells a creamy peanut butter but already of a different brand.  I asked the staff where the store was, she answered she didn’t know.

To validate the story of the restaurant staff, I asked our tour guide cum driver to bring us to the Nanay Pacing’s Peanut Butter store.  And indeed, he drove us at the municipal hall!  We entered the building, climbed the second floor and indeed saw the bunch of jars of Nanay Pacing’s peanut butter on a shelf waiting to be purchased by mesmerized buyers.  I purchased a couple of bottles for pasalubong.

Upon exiting the municipal building, I then instructed our driver/tour guide to bring us to the new store of Nanay Pacing.  He humbly told us that the store at the bus station is already closed.  I then ordered him to inquire with people at the bus station on where the new store of Nanay Pacing is.  They for sure would know.

good bye nanay pacing, hello great harvest!

good bye nanay pacing, hello great harvest!

And indeed our driver through a whisper by one of the folks at the bus station was told on where the new Nanay Pacing’s store was.  He then drove us to the nearby Baler Public Market and pointed to us the new store of Nanay Pacing.  The store was smaller, offers fewer items but still clean and organized.

The bunch of peanut butter jars can easily be seen displayed on the shelves.  I asked the lady manning the store on what happened to the label.  With a smile, she ignored my question and simply answered “we have our own version of a peanut butter and free taste is available”.  I simply told her, “My God, you are so professional!”

I of course took a tasting spoon and whipped a spoonful from the jar.  And when I tasted it, I can suddenly hear my taste buds cheering and clapping for joy!  I knew then that it was the same lovely peanut butter which I was mesmerized when I first tasted it as offered to me by no less than Nanay Pacing herself during my first visit in Baler.

my new favorite peanut butter plus the usual nengkoy's favorite fried pastillas (for pasalubong)

my new favorite peanut butter plus the usual nengkoy’s favorite fried pastillas (for pasalubong)

the true deal in baler peanut butter

the true deal in baler peanut butter

I purchased a couple of jars and regretted buying at the municipal hall. I then decided that I will just give away all the peanut jars I purchased at the municipal building and I will keep the peanut butter I bought at the public market for my own personal consumption.

While writing this story, I am munching on a piece of bread with heaps of the delicious Great Harvest Peanut Butter!

Ayana, alam nyo na ang hindi dapat bilin at dapat bilin sa Baler…

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Nengkoy is the nickname of my mom during her pre-school years. Her parents and relatives call her ‘Ang Neneng Ko’. With her pretty charm and appeal, she was usually called in a melodic way using this lovely phrase. Until it evolved for easier articulation of the phrase, Ang Neneng Ko was shorten to Nengkoy.

Nengkoy

Nengkoy is the nickname of my mom during her pre-school years. Her parents and relatives call her ‘Ang Neneng Ko’. With her pretty charm and appeal, she was usually called in a melodic way using this lovely phrase. Until it evolved for easier articulation of the phrase, Ang Neneng Ko was shorten to Nengkoy.