Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cafe Mary Grace's Scampi Pasta

Given a choice among olive oil, cream, or tomato for my seafood pasta, I'd always go for the first. Only a few restaurants do this right, and Cafe Mary Grace is one of them. (For an earlier post on Mary Grace, click here).

Cafe Mary Grace's scampi pasta is one heavenly dish. Very flavorful, and the shrimps are fresh. I love the addition of asparagus as it provides a slightly bitter touch. Lime added freshness.

Do you have favorites from Mary Grace?

Cafe Mary Grace
Robinsons Place Manila
Midtown, Ermita, Manila
(+63) 02 466-2812

Saturday, November 22, 2014

What I Ate in Bacolod and Iloilo

Next to Bicol, my favorite regional cuisine is Ilonggo. My introduction to this cuisine is via Ilonggo Grill, and right away I fell in love with the pork stew KBL aka kadyos (pigeon peas), baboy ( hocks), and langka (jackfuit), and the French-inspired pasty Napoleones. Later I would fall hard for the irresistible chicken inasal. There was no KBL during my last visit to Iloilo and Bacolod, but I had my fill of inasal, napoleones, and more. How do I differentiate Bacolod from Iloilo foodwise? Iloilo is batchoy and molo soup, while Bacolod is chicken inasal, napoleones, and Calea cakes. 

Bacolod City 

Bacolod City is the capital of Negros Occidental and is known as the City of Smiles. This is also ground zero for chicken inasal, stalls of which are clustered in the aptly named Manukan Country. For more on chicken inasal, click here.

1. Nena's Rose Inasal

I've been to Manukan Country before, and I swear by Aida's. For this trip, upon the recommendation of my officemate, we tried Nena's Rose. I was impressed with the generous sprinkling of garlic bits on the rice--the better to cut through the rich taste of the chicken barbecue. 

I also fell in love with the skewered chicken butts (isol)--juicy and soft, and presented in a novel way. Chicken inasal is not complete without the sinamak and the garlicky rice that cut through rich smoky taste.

Nena's Rose
Manukan Country
Fr. M. Ferrero Street, Bacolod

2. Calea

For my earlier entry on Calea's cakes, click here.

For this visit we went to the bigger branch located across the street. These are what we ordered:  

Choco Mousse Bombe--my favorite 
Pecan Pie a la Mode

Blueberry Cheesecake
I love all the cakes we ordered--except for one on the dry side--because they are not too sweet. There were still many we haven't tried--reason enough to fly to Bacolod in the future. 

Balay Quince Commercial Bldg.
15th Lacson St., Bacolod City
+63 (034) 435 8413

3. Roli's Napoleones

Napoleones is a custard-filled dessert topped with sugar glaze. Its origins can be traced to the French pastry mille-feuille. Two locals swear by Roli's, and I must agree: it was moist, the crust was flaky, and the custard was not too sweet.

Roli's Bakeshop
Roli's Arcade, La salle Avenue
(+63) 034 433-3257

4. Aboy's Restaurant

Aboy's is a must-visit whenever in Bacolod for good food and fast service. Never mind the distance from the city center. I love the free mint tarragon they served after the meal. Another plus for me was the lovely bangus inasal, pictured above. For more on a previous visit to Aboy's, click here

Aboy's Restaurant
Liroville Subdivision, Singcang
Bacolod City
(+63) 034 435 0760


Iloilo forms part of Panay province. Its capital, Iloilo City, can be reached from Bacolod via a two-hour ferry ride. Aside from the food, one should take time to visit Miag-ao Church, one of the few barioque churches in the country.  

1. Roberto's 

Roberto's is popular for its ginormous siopao, pictured below. With siopao this tasty and big, who can refuse?

I also fell in love with the lomi - tasty warm soup, firm noodles, crisp greens. Lomi is made of thick egg noodles, thin pieces of meat, garlic, and shallots.

JM Basa St, Iloilo City

2. Tatoy's 

Tatoy's is an Iloilo institution located along the beach. We always order the chicken inasal--tasty native chicken full of the aroma of tanglad.

Tatoy's Manokan Seafood Restaurant
Baluarte-Calumpang-Villa-Oton Blvd
Villa Arevalo Dist., Iloilo
(+63) 33 337 4276

3. Pacencia Cookies

I now have a new favorite snack: pacencia cookies. These are hard to resist mini-eggnog cookies. Pictured below is one I bought from one of the ubiquitous pasalubong shops for the blog, but the humble stalls offer better versions, with just the right amount of crunch and heft.

4. Molo Soup

When In Iloilo, having molo soup is a must. This cup was served to us during a work-related function--flavorful, rich in porcine goodness, warms your heart. Molo soup is made of pork dumplings, shredded chicken, and chicken stock. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Negros Occidental's Mila's Royal Bibingka

I have to admit I did not go all the way to Negros Occidental to try this. It came in a box as pasalubong. This bibingka post is timely, since Christmas is mere weeks away, and the holidays is not complete without this treat. Mila's bibingka is spongy, so soft even after a few days of sitting in the ref, cheesy, and with  welcome bits of salted eggs. If you prefer your bibingka sweetish, this is for you.

For my other bibingka entries you can click herehere, and here

Mila's Restaurant
Rizal Street, Hinigaran
Negros Occidental
(+63) 34 391 7849

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Army Navy's Querida Mia Verde and Charlie Bravo Querida Mia

Someone asked me the criteria I use in selecting what to feature. This stumped for a while, but basically I feature only meals that I enjoy, no matter what the restaurant or outlet. I'm not a snob, and for proof, here's Exhibit A. For today I'll be featuring a resto chain that has been consistently good, Army Navy. I love their quesadillas. Lately I've been ordering these two:

The stellar vegetarian Querida Mia Verde. Eating this deludes me into thinking I'm gaining nary an ounce.

I also love the Charlie Bravo Querida Mia, and open-faced quesadilla topped with cheese and bacon. I love this because it combines two of my fave things: soft taco and bacon.

Army Navy Burger and Burrito
Space 13 Solenad 2, Nuvali
Santa Rosa, Laguna
(63) 049 302-0130

Monday, November 3, 2014

Pepper Lunch's Molten Lava Cake

I'm not crazy about chocolate desserts, but I don't mind molten lava cakes. I love Bora's Zuzuni's Mati Chocolate Sin. Here in Manila I love Pepper Lunch's Molten Chocolate Cake: rich and just the right sweetness, and perfect with the vanilla ice cream with swirls of caramel syrup. My only quibble was the staff took ages to bring me the dessert.

Pepper Lunch
Ground Floor Robinsons Place Manila
Padre Faura Wing
Pedro Gil, Ermita. Manila
(+63) 02 373 6493

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Buffet Love from Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

I look forward to the amazing food at Cafe Marco whenever I stay at the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel in Cebu. There appears to be new items everytime we visit, and many of the offerings were top-notch. 

On the savory side, the standouts for me were the Hainanese chicken (the chili sauce is off-the-charts hot), the Cebu lechon (always tasty, no need for sauce), and oysters (fresh, sweetish). It was my first time to try radish kimchi, and I love it. I was always on the lookout for the pork ribs siomai wrapped in cabbage--moist, delicate, and filled with so much umami flavor. 

For dessert I was partial to the decadent chocolate truffle cake, while my companions were raving about the excellent cheesecakes. 

There were jars of cookies just by the entrance of Cafe Marco, and we look forward to one kind: the aptly named malicious cookies. Since they did not scrimp with the nuts and choco chips, these cookies will surely wreck havoc on your waistline. .

Marco Polo Cebu also does ensaymada right. The thought of eating again their ube variant makes me drool. Their ensaymada was not cloyingly sweet. and the dough soft and springy. Again, they did not stint on the ingredients, including ube.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Marco Polo Plaza Hotel
Nivel Hills, Cebu Veterans Drive
Cebu City
(+63) 032 253 1111

Monday, September 22, 2014

Azzurro Ristorante Mediterraneo's Baked Oysters, Braised Ox Tongue, and Paella Valenciana

A few months ago I visited the newly opened mall in Makati, the Century City Mall. Before watching a movie, we had dinner first at Azzurro Bistro and Bar which I enjoyed very much. Below are pictures of what we ordered.

I love the baked oysters: they used heavenly fresh oysters. generously topped with butter and cheese. The  braised ox tongue was buttery soft, with a rich mushroomy sauce balanced by capers. I'm partial to paella, and the paella valenciana was tasty. Can't get enough of the toasted rice lining the pan. 

Azzurro Bistro and Bar
Century City Mall
Kalayaan Ave., Makati
(+63) 02 519-3928