Friday, July 27, 2012

Tacloban City's Cinnamon Cookies

I'm back in Leyte, and I'm thrilled to be eating roscas cookies again. You can read about my entry on the latter here. I made another discovery, courtesy of a team-mate who grew up in Tacloban--cinnamon cookies, sprinkled with sugar on top. Like roscas, this goes well with coffee or tea, and is perfect for souvenir.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tacloban City's Stephanie Smoke Haus' Seafood Buffet for Fried Spareribs and Alimasag (Blue Crabs)

By some quirk, I'm here at Leyte for the second month in a row. You can read my prior posts here, here, and here. I wanted to try something different this time. Luckily, I have a team-mate who grew up in Tacloban. Considering that we'd be subsisting on hotel food for three days, we decided a restaurant buffet is the way to go, so Stephanie Smoke Haus it is, located right across Robinson's Mall. 

Basically the restaurant serves pork, seafood, some token vegetables, fresh fruits, and for those with a sweet tooth, fruit salad and buco pandan. The items were cheap, the choices decent. Everyone agreed that the best of the lot was the fried spareribs and the boiled blue crabs. 

What made these dishes stellar? We were lucky we got them fresh from the kitchen. The spare ribs were nicely browned in soy sauce and very flavorful, dispensing with the need for dips. The crab meat were sweetish, suggesting that the crustaceans were freshly caught that morning. I've been partial lately to mud crabs, but this time I came to appreciate the qualities of blue crabs--it is easier to pluck out the meat from the claws and the body, the meat is uniformly white and firm, and the fat buttery. 

Stephanie Smoke Haus
Avenida Veteranos, Leyte
(+63) 53 325-3797

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

This is Not a Food Post

part of my quest for the best bulalo. this did not make the grade--the meat was fine,
but the marrow  was dry, and it  had a spoonful of fish paste too many.
During lunch in an all-you-can-eat buffet, I realized I've been blogging fairly regularly since March. While eating, I went over why I started this blog, the audience I intended for my posts, and my reluctance to label myself as a food blogger. 

It all started with the food pictures I posted on Facebook, many of which I took during my travels all over the country. They were quite a hit with my online friends, and pretty soon some of them encouraged me to come up with this blog. While I don't pretend to be a food critic, I'd like to believe I know the rudiments of what is good food. And I'm not really a snob--I don't discriminate based on ambiance, since I believe good food is everywhere. But I operate on a budget, so many of the restaurants I go to are those that a typical middle-class Pinoy can afford. And so this blog is mainly for them--my middle class countrymen, wherever they may be in this age of the diaspora. If you're familiar with my blog, you'd notice that there are things that I feel strongly about, like my romance with all things porcine, and my displeasure over the abuse of sugar in local dishes (please, leave my binagoongan and adobo salty, not sweet). And there are things I'm hopeless with, like cooking, as well as asking me where to eat in Manila (I'm working on the list--I'll get back to you on that). Basically I'm starting out--I'm barely in my fifth month--too green to call myself an expert. 

Again, one thing's sure, I love to eat. Like many of my readers. That, and my camera's fantastic--it does half the work for me. (It also helps that I have a good foundation in English, care of my parents, lola, and elementary and high school alma mater Ednas School). Let's start there. 

On my next post we'll be back to regular programming. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Zamboanga City's Knickerbocker

I had no agenda when my colleagues invited me to Zamboanga City's Paseo del Mar. We were there for the dancing water show. We made a stop first at one of the stall selling "knickerbocker"--it's basically assorted fruits (apples, melon, bananas, papaya, pineapple), condensed milk, and jelly topped by strawberry ice cream. Quite refreshing, and cheap, a sweet way to cap our last night in the city .

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Zamboanga City's Alavar Restaurant for Curacha (Spanner Crabs)

one item stricken off the bucket list--yehey!

For the longest time, I have always wanted to try curacha or spanner crabs. The last time I visited Zamboanga, I finally did, courtesy of Alavar's restaurant, a must-visit. They taste like crabs, with firm, white flesh; and unlike what I assumed based on the write-ups online, they were not really difficult to eat. The meat is concentrated in the body, so fans of claw-meat, you'll go away disappointed. The sauce made it more special--aligue (crab-fat) and coconut in the mix. You can buy the sauce separately from Alavar's. The dish is best paired with garlic rice to cut through the heavy taste.

Alavar Seafood Restaurant
173 Don Alfaro Street
Zamboanga City
(+63) 62 992-4533

Monday, July 16, 2012

Manila's Emerald Garden Restaurant for Hot Prawn Salad

fruit salad + prawns
Emerald Garden Restaurant, located along Roxas Boulevard near the US Embassy, is said to be one of the oldest restaurants in Manila, and some say the best, although I'm still not convinced. It's not a fancy restaurant, and it's a favorite of families and politicos. It is known for its humongous siopao (Hookien for steamed buns), one of its signature dishes. My favorite from its offerings, though, is the hot prawn salad. 

On paper it doesn't add up. The nearest I can compare it to is a fruit salad drowning with mayonnaise, with hot prawns included in the mix. But it's so good, and has been consistently so the few times I've been to the restaurant. Highly recommended.

For inquiries, you may call (+63) 02 523-8510. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cello's Doughnuts

...or chocnut? Why choose? I had both
If half-a-dozen is love..
..why not make it two?
It's Sunday, and my thoughts are of home. Growing up with a father who worked far away, his rare home visits means greeting us with a box of donuts. Those were the days untouched by Krispy Kreme. Still, it was always a treat for us kids, opening that little carton bearing an assortment of flavors, and heaven for me was fishing out a sugar-dusted Bavarian cream-filled orb. I still have the occasional doughnut or two, but I find many a tad too sweet. 

Cello's doughnuts I find just right--not too sweet, dough so soft, and quite a selection of flavors.  I had the blueberry variant, my new favorite. I shared my loot with my office-mates, and I tried my best not to go beyond two, taking a mental note to visit the nearest branch in a week or so. 

Cello's has branches at Katipunan right across Ateneo, at the 2nd Floor of the PS Bank and Eastwest Bank Building; and at SM North Edsa near the Skydome at the Sky Garden.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cyma's Skolatina

not the usual molten lava cake
I was craving for something different, so off I went to the Greek restaurant Cyma. I didn't know what to expect, but as long as it's not the usual Filipino-Italian-Japanese-Chinese, I'm good. I went for the excellent char-grilled octopus ktapodi (I can still vividly remember the taste weeks after) and the well-recommended roka salata (I fell in love with what I thought of as anchovies--they turn out to be sun-dried tomatoes). But what was stellar for me was the skolatina, Cyma's molten lava chocolate cake. Imagine piping-hot chocolate filling, caramel crust and sauce, balanced by creamy vanilla ice cream. I was in sugar-induced heaven. I really   love scooping the ice cream into the molten chocolate. Can't wait to return.

2F Robinsons Place Manila
Adriatico St., Ermita
(+63) 02 354 3909