Thursday, January 30, 2014

Boracay: All Things Savory

This is my second entry on my recent restaurant run in Boracay. You can check my earlier entry on the sweet stuff here. For my non-food posts, you can go here, here, and here

1. Smoke's Pork Kao Pad

The kao pad (Thai fried rice) also comes in chicken but since my default fast-food meat is poultry, I went for pork. This is one savory and flavorful dish from the 24-hour restaurant. Imagine rice flavored with either (I'm guessing here) shrimp or fish paste, topped with strips of fried egg and ripening mango, the sweet and sour of which contrasts beautifully with the fried pork and rice.

Smoke Restaurant
D'Mall, Station 2, Boracay 
(+036) 288-6014 

2. Aria Cucina Italiana's Marinara Pasta

Just divine. I went to other tony and/or hyped restaurants, and I ended up disappointed, but not here in Aria. I've never been partial to tomato-based sauces, but this one is light and delicate, making me want for more. I had to slow down to savor the dish--the squid and shrimp were so fresh, and came out sweet. This is one of the better pastas I tasted and I don't mind paying more for this.

Aria Cucina Italiana
D'Mall, Station 2, Boracay 
(+036) 288-6223

3. Dos Mestizos

I came for a mojito, but lingered after ordering their excellent chorizo tapa. Their home-made Spanish sausages were to die for--very flavorful and garlicky that I wanted rice to go with the tapa. Perfect with the complimentary bread and the accompanying potatoes. By the way, the tomato and onion dip of the complimentary bread  was so good.

Dos Mestizos
Remedios Street, Sitio Manggayad
Malay, Aklan
(+036) 288-5786

4. Real Coffee and Tea Cafe's Marty's Chicken Omelette with Pesto

For those with hefty appetites, this generous dish is just right to jump-start the day--it was delicious and creamy. Just be sure that your omelette include pesto, as it went well with the egos and tomatoes. This was heaven on a plate. For my post on the cafe's calamansi muffins, go here

Real Coffee and Tea Cafe
Sea World, Station 2
Balabag, Boracay
(+036) 288-5340

5. Manana Mexican Cuisine's Pollo Taco

The restaurant's chicken soft taco was a winner, despite the unsatisfactory service--the waiter who served me not only look bored, but he seems to prefer attending to foreigners. You can read the rest of the unfortunate incident here. If you don't mind extra heat, the chopped tomato and spicy sauces were quite potent. 

6. Bite Club Burger's Burgerella with Wasabi Mayo and Teriyaki Sauce

This is one hefty burger, truly a a meal in itself. This was my first meal in Boracay in my recent visit. It was juicy, beefy, and laden with mozarella, with the wasabi providing a nice kick.

Bite Club Burger
D'Mall, Station 2, Boracay 
(+036) 288-5947

7. True Food Indian Cuisine's Lamb Rogan and Naan Bread 

The soft, chewy bread was perfect with the aromatic, spicy, oh-so-tender lamb. I love sopping the sauce with the bread. The spice level slowly builds up to a satisfying end. 

True Food Indian Cuisine
Station 2, Boracay
(+036) 288-5947

Friday, January 24, 2014

Top Picks from Roxas City's Seafood Court, People's Park: Baked Scallops, Clam Soup, and Fresh Oysters

Roxas City is touted as the country's seafood capital, and a visit to the Seafood Court at the People's Park, along Baybay Beach, is a must. From the stalls we picked Japinu Mix Seafoods Restaurant, and a few minutes later we were in food heaven.

The baked scallops were fresh, cheap, and tasty. The butter and garlic did not overwhelm the delicate taste of the seashell.

I've always been partial to clam (halaan) soup, and as with most seafood, fresh is best. The shells have a sweetish flavor highlighted by ginger and spiced by chilis. The soup was so refreshing and I love scooping out the creamy flesh from the shell.

With seafood this fresh, it's a crime not to eat oysters. These humungous specimens are, as expected, fresh and sweetish.

Seafood Court
People's Park
Baybay, Roxas City

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Boracay: All Things Sweet, and the Best Mojito I Had

Last month I spent Christmas in the country's go-to island, Boracay, where what I did was eat and get soused, but not necessarily always at the same time (for more of my Bora trip, go here, here, and here). Unlike my Singapore trip where I made no plans, this time I made a list of where to eat. Halfway through my three-day trip I was wishing I grew another stomach, a problem I'm just happy to have. Instead of writing individual reviews I grouped what I ate into savory and sweet. Here's a list of things exemplary and sweet in Bora. 

1. Zuzuni's Mati Chocolate Sin 

I'm guessing the resto named this dessert after the Greek holiday resort. This is excellent choco lava with vanilla ice cream, perfect for cooling down under the tropical sun. It came well-recommended, and now I know why. This must try is not overly sweet, which is always good in my book. Bite into the mint for extra freshness. 

Zuzuni Restaurant
Station 1, Boracay
(+036) 288-4477

2. Lemoni Cafe's Mango Madness 

I've always been partial to cheesecake, and so Lemoni's best-selling mango madness is a no-brainer. It was so good--refreshing, creamy and light, the tartness playing well with the sweet crust. It was a well-balanced confection, the flavors melding nicely together. I came for the lemon muffins (they ran out), but this was a good substitute. 

Lemoni Cafe
D'Mall, Station 2, Boracay
(+036) 288-6781

3. Jonah's Banana Choco Peanut and Banana Mango Shakes 

Jonah's Fruit Shake is an institution in Bora, just like Real Coffee. The avocado shake came up on many online recommendations, but in my three or so treks to the restaurant, it's either they ran out or the avocados were still in transit. In it's place I ordered the banana mango shake--refreshing, creamy, and tart, perfect for the sweltering heat-- and the banana choco peanut, which is is to die for. It's like Chocnut  in a shake, but done well. 

Jonah's Fruit Shake
Station 1, Boracay

Mojito Recommendation

Whenever I'm on vacation, my cocktail of choice is either margaritas or mojitos. I love the mojitos of Discovery Shores--it was sweet and tangy, with just the right mix of alcohol and mint. I went there during happy hour, and it was a miracle I was able to find my way back to the hotel. Order the classic mojito--the watermelon variant wasn't as good enough. 

Discovery Shores
Station 1, Boracay
(+036) 288 4500

If you have no sense of direction like me, you can start at D'Mall, centrally located along White Beach at Station 2, your left towards the beach, and hit the restos until you reach the other end at Station 1: Lemoni Cafe-Zuzuni-Jonah's-Discovery Shores. Happy eating!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Kokoro Ramenya's Gekikara and Hakata Karaka Ramen

I first heard about Kokoro last year, and when I read that it offers good ramen, I was intrigued. I made plans for a conquest.

Hakata Karaka: "tonkotsu noodles soup spiked with spices. A perfect blend of
creaminess and spiciness served with...chashu, kikurage, and soft-boiled egg."
During my first visit, I ordered one of the spiciest on offer: the Hakata Karaka. It was clean, light, yet flavorful, like Santouka's Shio Ramen. Spoon in the spices and the flavor profile becomes more complex. I love how fiery it feels in my mouth. My only quibble is that the noodles are not good enough as the rest. I love the accompanying fresh and pickled greens. I'm adding Kokoro to my go-to places for ramen, along with Ukokkei, Santouka, Ajisen, and UCC.

Gekikara Ramen: "extra spicy miso-based noodles soup with chashu and beansprout"
In my third visit, I tried the Gekikara Ramen. It was spicy--the heat was evident at first sip, but nothing I cannot manage. The soup tasted clean and nutty, allowing the smokiness of the pork to shine through. This is my favorite so far. I love how abundant the greens were. Halfway through, the heat wass unrelenting, so fans of spicy ramen, try this. Compared to the ramen I ordered from a much-hyped restaurant I recently went too, the Gekikara broth was not salty or overwhelming.

Try the matcha milk tea or shake as well. Both are divine, and the creaminess tempers the grassy flavor of green tea. 

Kokoro Ramenya
2F S1-S2 1388 Roxas Boulevard cor. Sta. Monica & M Guerrro Sts.
Ermita, Manila
(+63) 02  254-9716

Monday, January 6, 2014

Buffalo's Wings N' Things for Pulled Pork Nachos and Honey Barbecue Buffalo Wings

Confession: if this wasn't recommended by my colleague, I wouldn't given this place a second glance. If you're a big group looking for tasty, cheap grub for sharing, this place is for you. We ordered the pulled pork nachos, and the serving was was hefty and generous, the toppings sweet, savory, and tasty, and just enough for the a group of five or so.

We also had a sampler of the buffalo wings: garlic Parmesan, honey barbecue, and the jalapeno and cheddar. 

The buffalo wings were tasty, but we were partial to the honey barbecue variant. The sweetly coated chicken goes well with blue cheese dip, which deserves an entry all to itself. 

Buffalo's Wings N' Things
Solenad 2 Nuvali
Tagaytay Road cor Nuvali Boulevard
Santa Rosa City, Laguna