I was not longing for Ruby Roman Grapes, the most expensive grapes in the world. I was never looking for Ackee, one of the rarest fruits on the planet. And not once did I crave for Cherimoya which according to Mark Twain is the most delicious fruit known to men.
I was only yearning to try a Miracle Berry and experience for myself the magic and oddity it does to my taste buds.
And this yearning has finally been resolved when Chef Clark Soliman, a co-employee, learned about my hankering. He’s got a Miracle Berry plant in his backyard in Pampanga. Chef Clark when he visited my office actually gave me a handful of this amazing berry.
I right away tested it. I ordered the nearest restaurant from my office to deliver me a chopped calamansi (a very sour citrus fruit abundant here in the Philippines). I munched into the miracle berry as soon as my chopped calamansi has been delivered. And after a couple of minutes, I was supping, lapping and sucking on what supposed to be the sourest citrus fruit on the planet. But my discernment was different, my taste buds were telling me that I was supping on the sweetest and most delicious honey orange in the universe!
from notorious sourness to heavenly sweetness
Miracle Berry indeed tricked and deceived my precious taste buds! I never knew that my brain could further be twisted by such a mere fruit. It’s fun! Find one and be twisted by the effect of Miracle Berry.
Tikman nyo! Kaaliw!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
crispy baby romaine, grana & croutons
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.
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).
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!
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)!