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!
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!
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…
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.
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!
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.
I thought my best choice of restaurant in Queenstown that me and my friends dined at would be the establishment that will fix my rice-deprived anatomy. Yeah, unlike the Philippines, rice is not a staple in New Zealand and my few days of stay in that fresh country made me yearn for it. I know that I get all grumpy and grouchy if I don’t have rice in my meal for a couple of days.
But surprisingly, the best and finest food establishment I encountered in my recent New Zealand adventure was that of Winnie’s Gourmet Pizza Bar. Located at The Mall in Queenstown, Winnie’s is a relaxed and casual part-bar and part-restaurant kind of a joint. I loved the ambiance because it is not plush, ritzy and intimidating.
What particularly made me love this restaurant was the food. Their gourmet pizza was really outstandingly delicious! And with a quick look into their pizza selection, I can tell that their pizzas were not just the classic types but instead seem to embrace various flavors around the world. I noticed some Thai inspirations, a Moroccan fabrication, a Hawaiian motivation and some Mexican creations.
With limited tummy space, my friend Denton was smart enough to order one large sized pizza in which each half is of a different flavor. We settled for the Montanara, which I consider to be the sinful half of the pizza and the Zucha for the wholesome and healthier half. Both are gluten-free by the way.
Zucha according to my happy taste buds got some roasted pumpkin, olives, some feta cheese, capsicum and toasted almonds. The blending of these flavors above the crunchy pizza crust, pizza sauce, Parmesan cheese and parsley brings magic to ones palette!
Montanara according to our gracious waitress was the most popular among all their pizzas. That is why we ordered for it. And from the first bite of this delectable creation, I knew that the waitress knows what she was doing. This is actually the first time that I have eaten a pizza in which you would have to spread pistachio sour cream on it. A mound of this yummy cream is actually placed at the middle of the pizza!
The Montanara toppings which consists of chicken fillets, brie cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, spring onions and sweet chili sauce, no doubt, was absolutely delicious. It’s one pizza that gives me a reason to return and revisit Queenstown. The taste was just marvelously unforgettable!
Aside from the pizza, we also ordered the succulent chicken wings which surprisingly was not oily and so tasty and crunchy. And to add a Kiwi flavor in our meal, we of course ordered New Zealand Green Lipped Mussels. Winnie’s freshly steamed NZ mussels in shallots, capsicum, white wine, cream and sweet chili sauce was one of the best in Queenstown. I can say this because in almost all restaurants that we dined we always seem to order NZ mussels. And Winnie’s version was always our basis of comparison.
With all these superlative thoughts, accounts and narratives about Winnie’s, I guess, I can really say that it is one of the must visits if you happen to be in Queenstown, New Zealand.
Let me add some class, sophistication and culinary elegance to this blog by posting photos of the interiors, table set-up and a couple of tasty food dishes of China Blue.
China Blue Manila inside Conrad Hotel (the newest five star luxury hotel in Manila) is not the first on the planet. The first China Blue, a classy modern Chinese cuisine restaurant is in Conrad Hotel in Tokyo.