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!
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!
Taipei, Taiwan based on travel blogs seem not in the top list of places to go to on the planet. But I along with Nengkoy and elder sister Ester nevertheless adventured into seeing what Taipei has to offer. Actually, yesterday we were back to Manila and actually just arrived from Taipei. And before the lazy bug bit me, let me showcase an awesome experience while we were there.
Night markets in Taipei are quite popular. Shilin Night Market located near Jiantan train station is considered the largest is actually the most popular among tourists. This is the night market that Nengkoy, I and my sister chose to chill at and visit during a very short stay in Taipei.
Shilin Night Market is known to offer various food and nonfood items. Aside from a couple of cool t-shirts I purchased, I got to try two amazing stuffs at this lively, brazen and well-admired night market.
The Ampaet Drink
First, I got to try the white bitter gourd juice. Bitter gourd is known as Ampalaya in the Philippines. Here in my country, Ampalaya is green in color and never used as a juice drink flavor. Because of its bitter taste, it is one of my most hated vegetables.
But in Taiwan, they got a white/albino variety and they use it for a refreshing juice drink. Upon learning that such is mixed in a cold drink, it got me curious. I even thought that the albino variety would be a redeeming version of the green-colored variety. I was expected that it would be sweet to the taste. So as to end my pondering, I ordered a tall glass.
As for the taste, it was a disappointing bitter taste same as the green version. And same as the green variety, I hated the white kind. It was not my type! Ampaet! (Translation: so bitter!) But as a consolation, I nevertheless will no longer have to brood over on what the taste was of such a rare drink when I get back to Manila. To get rid of the bitter after taste, I, Nengkoy and my sister decided to gulp on a very cold bottle of pure and freshly squeezed sugarcane juice, which is also a popular street drink in Taipei!
The Uncut Cutlet
Second, Shilin Night Market shall be for the record the place where I actually had the largest piece of chicken cutlet. It was so big I thought it was an ostrich!
There was a long queue at store called Hot Star. I actually don’t know what people were queuing up for. And since the line is very long, I assume the food stuff that store was selling must be amazing. I just decided to fall in line and only got to realize that it was a humongous filleted chicken cutlet that was being sold when I was already paying for it.
Hot Star chicken cutlet was surprisingly very good and very tasty! The chicken meat is evenly coated with a crunchy deep fried golden brown batter. Before the ginormous cutlet was handed over to me upon payment, it was sprinkled with flavoring powder which I believe (based on the whispers of my taste buds) is composed of white pepper, sea salt and special spices. This chicken cutlet was surprisingly tender and juicy. It was so ginormous I shared it with Nengkoy!
These are just two of the million or more possible stuffs that people can try when they visit the vibrant Shilin Night Market. There is a cornucopia of stuffs that visitors can taste when they chill at this amazing night market. Try visit sometime and prove to yourself that Taipei is actually worth a visit!
This blog post officiates my being an avid fan of Celia’s Café, the number 2 restaurant according to TripAdvisor in Alaminos Pangasinan. Number 1 restaurant of course is the old and tired Maxine By The Sea located at Lucap. Though run-down and the food served were average, Maxine By The Sea is the leading restaurant in Alaminos. Its TripAdvisor’s number 1 because it is located at a wharf near the dock where tourists would have to take a boat ride to reach the majestic Hundred Islands. It’s one of those rare eateries whose reason for being number 1 is not their food nor their service but its location. I still remember way back in the early 90’s was the first time I dined there. It was also my first time in Hundred Islands!
The number 2 restaurant on the other hand seem to possess the thrilling potential of becoming the leader among restaurants in Alaminos. Celia’s Café seem to capture the urbanized and the ruralized feel. Their ambience and facilities are homey yet urbanite. Because of the modern feel of the ambience, you will never miss the feeling of being in an urbanized city when you dine there. But their warm service is naively bucolic. Celia’s Café are manned by gentle and courteous lads, which reminds you that you are indeed in a countryside away from the jungles of Manila.
But what I particularly love about Celia’s Café is the food. It’s surprisingly delicious! During my recent revisit, I again ordered the Pasta Longganisa for lunch, the one I ordered the first time I dined there. All I can say is that it is consistently luscious. The only thing that changed was the bread. It is because it is now tastier and more delicious. The focaccia bread was so good, I ordered extra and even ordered take-out so as to bring it back to Manila!
And since there seem to be no agreeable restaurant establishment in Alaminos except for Celia’s Café, me and my family returned at dinner time. We ordered the platter in which, one order is already good for four (4). I was especially impressed by the flavors of the Chicken Platter. It is because each dish in the platter tasted differently. It was unlike the platter offerings by other restaurants in which each dish seem to taste the same with other dishes in the platter. The Southern Style Fried Chicken was of a totally different flavor from the Chicken Salpicao and the Chicken Salpicao was of a totally different taste from the Pork Tonkatsu. And what is best about the platter was the generous serving of rice! To top it off, we were surprised to find out that our ordered platter comes with a whole serving of soft and chewy pancakes!
The following morning before heading back to the jungles of Manila, me and my family returned to Celia’s Café to have breakfast. I had the big fulfilling English Breakfast, which I guess is the only English breakfast dish served in the whole of Alaminos province.
Enough said and I am impressed if you reached this point of this blog. Hahaha! I think I already said that I am a fan.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.