Thursday, November 28, 2013

AK Bistro's Rustic Apple Pie

There are restaurants I want to visit again, and this is one of them. I like how the restaurant looks (it wasn't too cool and stand-offish, which is perfect for a bistro), and I wanted to give the chili tinapa with artichoke another go. But for the apple pie alone, AK Bistro deserve a recommendation.

There were mixed reviews online on the apple pie, but I love it. I was well-balanced--just the right sweetness and punch of cinnamon. They didn't stint with the chunky apple slices, as the pictures show. Make sure to dip the crust in the sauce. I must add, the whole nuts gave the pie an earthy character.

AK Bistro
G/F One Rockwell
Rockwell Drive
Poblacion, Makati
(+63) 02 478-9880

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Myron's Place for Seafood Spaghetti and Franco's Choice Angus Beef Rib Eye

I've been to the Rockwell branch of Myron's Place before, and I was quite impressed. I've been going to Makati to meet friends and catch up on one another's affairs. Since I blog on food, I'm given the task to scout around for restaurant choices. Good thing there are quite a few good selections at Greenbelt, including Myron's Place, so we decided to meet up there. Here are the dishes that rocked my boat: 
The spaghetti with seafood, anchovies, roasted garlic, and extra virgin olive oil. I prefer my pasta in olive oil and topped with seafood. Having one that is well-balanced is tricky, I often have more misses than hots. For me, the spicy tuyo (dried fish) pasta I had in the BenCab Museum is still the standard. Good thing this pasta was flavorful--the anchovies punched up the subtler flavors of the other seafood. This gets my vote as one of the better seafood pasta I've tried.
Myron's is known for its steak, and the Franco's choice, topped with pan-seared foie gras, didn't disappoint. The beef was soft and tender, and since I was the only one who wasn't on medication, I thoroughly enjoyed the heavenly foie gras. I will go back for this next time, definitely medium rare, since we had it well-done.

Myron's Place
Greenbelt 5
Legazpi Street, Legazpi Village
(+63) 02 757 8898

Monday, November 25, 2013

Top Picks from Tagaytay's Breakfast at Antonio's

It's a good time to be a foodie--there are countless options available, helped in large part by media playing up the restaurant scene. One of my officemate's mother watch Kris Aquino's morning show to see what restaurants the latter will recommend. Back at the office, my colleague would regale us with their latest weekend adventure, complete with Instagram-worthy pictures.

Breakfast at Antonio's came in my radar via one of the blogs I follow. One day, while stationed in Tagaytay, I called up the gang and headed there for dinner (smile). Below are my favorites:
I love the beef tapa and eggs. The tapa was savory, and flavorful, perfect with rice.

If I had to go back, I would order the sauteed corned beef. It was soft and flavorful, and not too salty. I also love how peppery it was.

If you're a fan of burgers, try Breakfast at Antonio's version.The patty was beefy, the capers gave a sour-salty punch, and the bun was wonderfully creamy.

Breakfast at Antonios
Brgy. Neogan Purok 138
Tagaytay City Cavite
(+63) 46 413 0975

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cioccolata Cafe for Churros and Pretzels

Churros. My former boss love this fried dough-pastry snack, which usually comes with a chocolate dip. We would order from Dulcinea, which was near our office, and her eyes would lit up. Sadly, that branch of Dulcinea has closed. Fortunately, Bayleaf Hotel has a pastry shop that has this as its banner item.

Ciocolatta Cafe's churros are soft and quite chewy, and quite addicting. If you look closely at the dates stamps on the photo, you'd see that we bought these on separate dates. Between caramel and chocolate, we agreed that the former was the better dip.

We also tried this lovely cinnamon pretzel. Best when hot off the oven. It remained soft, though, even when it has cooled a bit.

Cioccolata Churros Cafe
The Bayleaf Hotel
Muralla cor. Victoria Streets
Intramuros, Manila
(+63) 02 328 3170

Monday, November 18, 2013

Top Picks at Old Swiss Inn Restaurant

Once we entered the restaurant, this crossed my mind: it needs a make-over. I'm willing to look past the tired interiors if they serve good food, though. Fortunately, the bacchanalian gods were with us during our visit. Here are my favorites:

Corned beef. I learned quite late that corned beef is salt-cured beef, and not limited to the canned variety. Old Swiss Inn's was soft and superb, and quite interesting with either the mustard and horseradish dip.

The shrimp and bacon pasta. I wasn't inclined towards it at first, but I ended up loving it.

The sausage platter. I was partial to the the Schublig and Hungarian variants, the rosy, full-flavored beauties in the pic.

For dessert, we had the choco fondue. The fragrant Toblerone dip was intoxicating.

Old Swiss Inn Restaurant
Garden Plaza Hotel
1030 Belen St
Paco Manila
(+63) 02 522 4835

Monday, November 11, 2013

Peking Garden Restaurant's Golden Prawn Salted Egg and Fresh Scallops with Asparagus Soup

I'm lucky to have office-mates who, like me, are on the look-out for good eats. Since I pretty much confine myself to Manila, I get tips from them whenever I visit neighboring cities like Taguig or Quezon City, which, because of the traffic situation, might as well be far-off provinces. In a recent visit to Makati, I prevailed upon my friends that we eat at Peking Garden, based on a colleague's recommendation. Peking Garden, by the way, is a dressy Chinese restaurant, so prepare to spend more. Below are two of my favorites from that lunch-out.

I was smitten with the Fresh Scallops with Asparagus Soup. Don't let the picture fool you. I love light soups, and this is a winner. Delicate flavor, sweetish fresh scallops, home-cooked appeal. The asparagus was also fresh and plays well with an unfamiliar ingredient, which turned out to be sea cucumber--what an interesting taste and texture. The slight heat from the ginger added just the right amount of zing.

This is what I came for: Golden Prawn Salted Egg, which my office-mate was raving about. Lovely, fresh prawns with the achingly delicate saltiness from the egg batter. This straddles the line between flavorful and delicate, and pulls it off beautifully.  

Peking Garden
4th Level Greenbelt 5
Ayala Center
Legazpi Street, Legazpi Village

(+63) 02 729 0820

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Top Picks from Tagaytay's Marcia Adams's Tuscany

Some meals are magical they are forever etched in your mind: Ka Lui's. My Kitchen. First Colonial Grill. Rafael's Farm and Garden. Here's another: Tagaytay's Marcia Adams's Tuscany. Just being there is an event (I'll post about this later).

It's with a tinge of sadness that I write this. An earthquake and a super-typhoon has just wrecked havoc on the Visayas, and having visited some of them, Leyte in particular (see here, here, and here), I'm not sure if the restaurants I wrote about are still standing after these twin tragedies. As of this writing news is slowly trickling in, and I do hope that the people behind these establishments, as well as the general populace, are safe.

But life must go on, we must soldier on. Tragedies have a way of bringing people closer. For a date or dinner with family and friends, I could not recommend this enough. Below are the highlights of our Tagaytay dinner, which consists of a three course-meal including an appetizer and a dessert. Every dish was cooked by Marica Adams herself. Since we went as a group, we were spoilt for choice. Be prepared to pay more, but with food as good as this, it's money well-spent.

For appetizers, we chose:

Amalfi prawns--crispy prawns marinated in salt, pepper, olive oil, parsley, coated with bread crumbs, and pan-fried. Amalfi is a Italian coastal town and a tourist draw.  I wrote in my notes: "fat, crunchy prawns."

The provone, melon and aragula salad is the bomb. Refreshing, pretty salad. At first I thought the yellow orbs were tomatoes.
Warm cheese-filled salad with walnuts and pistachio.
The Aaegean (vegetarian) salad consisted of grilled pear, mixed greens, grilled Italian ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, and roasted pistachios in herby, tangy dressing.  Very flavorful. You can do no wrong withe either of the two salads.

For mains we had

The Al-funghi--spaghetti with mixed fresh mushrooms, basil, and garlic. This vegetarian pasta disappeared in seconds.

The Italian pork chop--grilled loin chop seasoned with fennel and pepper, accompanied by organic rice made with leeks and chives.

We also had the shish kebabs. These were wonderful  even without the sauce. The lamb was not gamy at all.

For dessert we had

the lovely grilled banana split. Warm thick choco was poured over the bananas.

We also had the delicate panna cota with lemon sauce. Lovely lemon rinds. Don't forget to bite into the mint.

Marcia Adams's Tuscany
JP Rizal Street, Tagaytay City

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Abe for Tuna Panga sa Bawang

One thing this blog is not is being painfully hip: I don't believe in fads, as I believe that the most crucial thing when dining out is good food.  When it comes to reliable, consistent meals, one go-to chain is the LJC Restaurants, which counts Cafe Adriatico and Abe in their roster. I've featured the former's version of adobo here.

The last time I visited was with friends, and one of the stellar dishes we ordered was the tuna panga sa bawang. It was moist inside, crunchy inside. Obviously fresh. The dish comes close to the crispy tuna fish tail I loved in Ka Lui, which you can read here.

Abe Restaurant
3F Trinoma, North Ave., cor EDSA
Quezon City (+63) 02 901-5692

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Batangas City's Tree House Restaurant for Lomi and Camaron Rebosado

In a trip to Batangas City, quite a few recommended we eat at the Tree House Restaurant. The place is straightforward and unpretentious. Of the meals we ordered, two stood out: the lomi and the camaron rebosado

Lomi, popular in Batangas, consists of thick egg noodles, meat and liver, and soup stock thickened with cassava flour and beaten eggs. The restaurant's lomi was flavorful and rich without being salty. I love innards in my noodles, and the calamansi and raw chopped onions cut through the rich soup. 

I also loved the camaron rebosado, deep-fried battered shrimp. Best eaten warm. It was flavorful--battered just right, and best served with sweet chili sauce.

The Tree House Restaurant
Diversion Road, Bolbok, Batangas City
(+63) 43 300-1110

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Bayleaf Hotel's Pritchon

In my last post, I wrote about  La Mesa Grill's pritchon, chopped fried suckling pig wrapped in pita wedges. Since I have a soft spot for pita, those round, flat wheat breads, as well as shawarma (a liking I developed back in college), I was keen on sampling Bayleaf Hotel's version of the pritchon.

Here's my verdict: I love the presentation--the pita came in its natural color, not sickly green like La Mesa's. The pita was flavorful. The pritchon itself reminded me of shawarma. I was already full, but I made space for this. It was crunchy, and bright. The only quibble I have is I wished the garlic sauce was more garlicky, but over-all, I love Bayleaf Hotel's pritchon and I love it best with the dark, sweet sauce.

Disclosure: Unless otherwise stated, I pay for the meals I review. This was part of the tasting menu of the hotel when we came by for an ocular inspection for an activity related to my day job. Yes, I have a day job. 

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