Fast Fantastic Food at Estero

Last Sunday, I woke up wanting to go to Ongpin, the Chinese Capital of the Philippines.  As soon as I opened my eyes after a long and quiet sleep, my katawang lupa (flesh and corporeal being) just suddenly crave for the look, the noise and the smell of Ongpin. 

Thanks to super friend Willie, he accompanied me and made my silly craving a reality.  My longing was really plain and unchallenging.  I just wanted to walk the super busy street of Ongpin, buy a snack and then leave.  But thank goodness I was with itinerant Willie because he knows a very good eatery in this old and hoary part of Manila.

We dined at what is known as Estero.  It is a non-air-conditioned diner that is right beside a creek and a tidal channel used as drainage canal in the overly populated area of Manila. I was at first so tentative and doubtful about the place.  But when the gentle lady manning the eatery approached us and handed the menu, I knew that I was into some exciting gastronomic adventure. 

estero (if I was the owner, i would call it “estuary” para sosyal)
classic yang chow rice and the surprisingly good hototay soup!
joyous version of their mung bean sprouts
buttered chicken is love
happy tummy!

Estero is tagged as a fast food on the internet but it is unlike the usual fast food that items were pre-prepared and placed on a heater display.  Estero food are only cooked upon ordering.  Maybe the reason why it is called fast food is because the kitchen is equipped with high pressure burners and the cooks prepare their dishes so fast.  In a haste, the server was already serving our freshly cooked Hototay and the surprisingly crunchy Stir-Fried Mung Bean Sprouts.

Aside from the very good food, Estero’s price was surprisingly cheap.  Total bill of all the fantastic dishes we ordered was roughly around 8 (US) dollars.

Yam yam!

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The Food at Apartment 1B

A friend learned that I dined at Apartment 1B of The Henry Hotel and suspected that the food must have been no good that is why I did not write or post about it in this blog.  But since now that I am writing about it, it only means that I indeed enjoyed the food that they served us.

The selfish in me actually wanted the restaurant of The Henry Hotel to be a secret, but since friends learned that I dined there with Nengkoy and family, might as well spill the sumptuous beans! 

apartment 1b got some delicious secret…
beef burger with australian cheddar cheese and bacon
whole wheat spaghetti with grilled veggies (my personal favorite)
baby back ribs with honey bourbon sauce
croque madame! 
main course number 1: white toblerone cheesecake with rapberry coulis
main course number 2: carrot cake 
with nengkoy (of course)

I have nothing bad to say about the warm service, the appealing food and the relaxing ambiance.  The food at Henry Hotel actually was a big positive surprise!  I never expected it to be so good.  Their well-presented dishes were amazingly fine and delicious.

I have nothing but alluring and charming praises for the food served at Apartment 1B.  I will surely be back!

Angcharap!

Khaoniao Mamuang: Best Thai Dessert

I can no longer count the number of times that I have posted in this blog that my favorite course in an entire meal would be the dessert.  The confectionery course has always been my main course!

When I was in Bangkok with my mom and sisters, we of course got to try Thai dishes.  I have always revered how uniquely sensual and remarkably palatable Thai dishes are.  But still, it is a simple dessert among all the striking Thai dishes that really makes my modest and artless taste buds happy.

I love Khaoniao Mamuang.  Don’t be fooled by how the words were spelled and how should it be read.  The best Thai dessert for me is simply known as Mango Sticky Rice!

I adore this dessert for it is uncomplicated, simple and straightforward!  No lavish implements are needed for its presentation; no rare, pricey and uncommon ingredient is need; no knotty and confusing procedures are required for its preparation; and, no intricate and confusing way of eating and enjoying it.  Yet the taste is so heavenly! 

mango sticky rice in the past are simply sold by street vendors of bangkok, but now it is conveniently available in groceries and supermarkets…
a night in bangkok…

It was my fifth time in Bangkok about a week ago.  I may have failed to revisit some the beautiful and spectacular tourist spots of the city, but I never failed to eat, savor and enjoy the divine and blissful Khaoniao Mamuang!

Uulit ulitin talaga…

Jamie’s Italian Bangkok

One epicurean highlight of me, my sisters’ and my mother’s adventure in Bangkok was the opportunity to dine at Jamie’s Italian.  It is a popular worldwide chain of Italian restaurants conceived and run by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.  Thanks to cable TV my family knows who Jamie Oliver is.

This chain of restaurants has recently been in the news in which about a dozen of its branches scattered around the world are reportedly beleaguered and will soon be closing.  It is so ironic that it has yet to open a branch in Manila, yet branches in other spots on the planet are already closing.

So before Jamie’s Italian would completely dissolve and utterly disappear from the face of earth, me, Nengkoy and my sisters took the chance to savor some of its dishes.  My family love watching cable TV cooking shows (including that of Jamie Oliver’s) and now that there is an opportunity, we will no longer forever wonder how a popular celebrity chef’s creation actually taste like.

These are what we ordered…

Soup of the Day… pumpkin soup! This surprisingly passed the palate of Nengkoy whom I consider to be an authority when it comes to pumpkin soups.
Meatball Pappadelle (free-range pork & fennel meatballs in ‘nduja tomato sauce with olives, herby breadcrumbs, rocket and parmesan) this is sooo good…
Spaghetti Alla Norma (a classic sicilian pasta dish or aubergine, chilli & basil in rich tomato sauce) it’s vegetarian yet my personal favorite! 
Truffle Shuffle (white sauce, truffled salami, fontal, balsamic onions, free-range egg & black truffle) super savory!
Epic Chocolate Brownie (with proper chocolate sauce, salted caramel ice cream and caramelised popcorn) super yummy!

And after enjoying all these savory dishes, I wonder why a significant number of Jamie’s Italian branches around the planet are in the brink of closure.  Maybe it’s because taste buds of people around the world has mutated, regressed and had a relapse that it can no longer fathom, appreciate and recognize what good food is.

Good to know that the Bangkok branch stays strong and dynamic.  This is considering the fact that Thai people seem to be one of the most discriminating in terms of flavor, taste and palatal experience.  With the luscious taste and flavors we experienced at Jamie’s Italian Bangkok located at Siam Discovery, I hope that this chain remain for a long period of time for others with discerning taste to enjoy. 

me and nengkoy… enjoyed the food so much!

Parang ako ang kasarapan!

Unexpected Hunger Buster Burger

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!

A Slice of Oz Pizza

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…

Just Myself at Stinking Rose

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…