Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tagaytay's Mochiko for Mochi Ice Cream

Lately I have taken a liking to mochi ice cream. This confection is made of mochi (pounded sticky rice) on the outside and ice cream filling. The dough reminds me of palitao. The first time I ate mochi ice cream was from Mochiko's outlet in Cliffhouse Tagaytay, and every chance I get I try out the different flavors. Featured here are my favorites so far. Tip: wait for a few minutes for the mochi to soften before eating
red velvet and blueberry mochi. 

bestselling oreos and milk mochi 

this is my absolute favorite--durian mochi. very authentic, like eating frozen durian

Cliffhouse Tagaytay
Maharlika East, Tagaytay City
(+63) 917- 831 0624

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dipolog City's Umami Room for Japanese Cuisine

I wrote in an earlier post that I only learned to appreciate Japanese food recently. Having been used to flavorful Filipino cuisine, I initially found Japanese food as too subtle for my taste. But with age I learned to appreciate the clean and pure flavors of the latter. When I find myself yearning for respite from the bombast of local cuisine, I go Japanese.

While in Dipolog City, we treated ourselves to dinner at Umami Room located at D'Hotel, ranked 1 of 5 hotels in the city. Standouts for me are the ebi furai (fried prawns) and the sashimi platter, the latter beautifully presented in a wooden boat-shaped serving plate.

I'm not a fan of ebi furai, since most of those I've sampled were more batter than prawn, but Umami's version was different. The batter was light and exquisite, allowing me to appreciate the prawns. I love sashimi, and the fresher the seafood, the better. I love the squid sashimi--so soft, not gummy, and the sprinkling of fish roe made it more delicious.

Umami Room
5/F, D'Hotel and Suites
Rizal Ave. cor. Osmena Street
Dipolog City

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bayleaf Hotel's Champorado

About two months ago, I was assigned to Bayleaf Hotel, ranked # 1 by TripadAdvisor for hotels in Manila, for work. If you are familiar with how whole day seminars are, these usually involve, at the very least, lunch and morning and afternoon snacks. This is one reason I'm having trouble doing battle with the bulge--but, well, I shouldn't really complain. Some meals are so excellent they end up featured in this blog.

I was about to ignore that afternoon's merienda--champorado--until I detected the strong, unmistakable whiff of tuyo (dried fish). Champorado is chocolate rice porridge, and is popular snack or breakfast item during the wet season. Evaporated milk is usually poured over champorado to make it creamier, and many households add a sprinkling of dried fish. I found the latter unusual, until I tried this one featured below. I love the mix of sweet, salty and creamy, not unlike Happy Lemon's cocoa with rock salt and cheese foam, but that is best reserved for a future post.

Bayleaf Hotel
Muralla corner Victoria Streets
Intramuros, Manila
(+63) 02 318-5000

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Chocolate Treats from Dipolog City's Tablea Chocolate Cafe

I'm not really crazy about chocolate, but I won't turn down a chance to sample good chocolate. We were in Dipolog City, located in the southern island of Mindanao, scouting for new seminar venues. In one of the newer hotels, Ariana, located minutes away from the airport, is a branch of Cebu-based Tablea Chocolate Cafe, specializing in tablea-based food and drinks. The Dipolog branch appears to be the first outside the Visayas. Tablea is a tablet made from pure cocoa and is traditionally used in the country for hot chocolate. The company claim to source their cocoa locally. This is our picks from the menu, and they're all excellent.

The choco silvana. I love its toothy goodness. It was nutty, with a crunchy outer layer, and creamy inside. As you can see, it's pretty and lethal. Silvana is described as a frozen cookie made up of a layer of buttercream sandwiched between two cashew-meringue wafers.

Dark choco goes well with mango and churros. Churros are fried-dough pastry-based snack of Spanish origin.

Pictured above is the puto maya. The mango provides a welcome acidity.

Lastly, the pure, dark, and thick choco.

Tablea Chocolate Cafe
Ariana Hotel
Airport Road, Minaog, Dipolog

Monday, May 6, 2013

Garlicky Longganiza: Alaminos and Laoag

It all started with this photo I posted in Instagram. I was craving for garlicky longganiza last December, and I posted this Laoag variant which I ate during breakfast in Fort Ilocandia the month earlier. I remember how potent the Iloko vinegar was, perfect with the longganiza, and how happy I was. My Instagram friend recommended the Alaminos variant, which is garlicky--not sweetish at all--like the Laoag longganiza. She said Kalye Juan serves Alaminos longganiza. I made a mental note to try the latter.

A week later I dropped by Kalye Juan and promptly ordered the Native Longganiza (P150). You can also have the set meal all-day Longsilog Breakfast (P175). The former has more sausages. For those craving for garlicky longganiza, both are good value for money. I love the accompanying omellete, which is how we cook our scrambled eggs at home. It also reminded me of poqui- poqui, without the eggplant. 

Just a few weeks ago I was at MOA and had my Alaminos longganiza fix.

A quick note: Philippine longganiza comes either as garlicky or sweet (hamonado), and some provinces are known for their peculiar takes on this Spanish influenced sausage. Needless to say, I'm partial to garlicky ones.

Kalye Juan
Robinson's Manila
(+63) 02 525-8052