Archive for Restaurants

Stinky Tofu Challenge

I consider myself to be quite the daredevil when it comes to eating. I will try anything once, especially when I’m in a foreign place and presented with a rare food experience. I think I’ve tried most of Manila’s street food, but I have to admit that I am very afraid of trying Betamax chicken blood, skewered and grilled. I love dinuguan – a pork blood stew, but I just can’t seem to bring myself to eat chunks of grilled blood.

Stinky(est) Tofu ever. I had to finish all of this to get an iPad.

But I love a good challenge. One day, my sister and her brother in law mentioned this place that served something called Stinky Tofu and talked about how offensive it’s smell was. I couldn’t imagine anything that offensive to the point of being inedible. What could be worse that our bagoong or balo balo, which I both love? So I asked them to take me so I could get a whiff of that infamous tofu. I arrogantly went up to Boiling Point’s door, a very unassuming restaurant, already filling up with regulars. I opened the door and was immediately overcome with this horrid stench that I didn’t even realize how quickly I let go of the door. I couldn’t get away from the smell fast enough and just had to laugh. It was bad. That was my first encounter with Stinky Tofu.

Boiling Point, Hacienda Heights

A lot of stupid bets occur in my family, and I mean STUPID. After my first encounter with the stinky tofu restaurant, I was even more challenged and voiced out that I could probably psych myself into eating it. All I had to do was overcome the smell. So my brother in law made a bet with me, that if I finished a serving of the stinky tofu house special, he would get me an iPad. If I lost, I’d have to get a Lakers tattoo (because my brother in law is probably the biggest Lakers fan). So, it was game on.

This is what happened on that day.

The verdict – no iPad. Only scarred taste buds that couldn’t seem to shake off the most undesirable flavors combined. I’d describe how it tasted like but I’m afraid I might offend people who actually enjoy eating stinky tofu. I will probably never acquire a taste for this but would still recommend people to try it at least once. After that, everything will taste like rib eye steak. 😛

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Food Trip

After three weeks of being with my siblings and their kids, I am back in Manila. It was a fantastic trip and I was extremely sad to say goodbye (as always), but there will always be more reunions to look forward to.

During this trip, I told my siblings not to worry about taking me around. All I really wanted to do was to be with them so it didn’t matter if we were home most of the time. One thing we all enjoyed doing was of course, eating.  We hit our usual dining spots and discovered a few new favorites.

Taquitos are my favorite Mexican food. We discovered this taqueria (Casa Treio) through my sister’s neighbor and the food was excellent.  I wish we had more good Mexican restaurants in Manila.

The obligatory In and Out burger.  I think these burgers taste a lot like the ones from Sango.

Akasaka serves fresh and authentic Japanese dishes that will never disappoint. My brother and sister go so often that they have become good friends with Sako, the restaurant owner. This Chirashi bowl ($32) can easily feed 4-5 people and is my absolute favorite.

Jalapeno Tempura. Need I say more?

Rainbow Roll. Can you tell how fresh the fish are in this picture?

One night we decided to visit the neighborhood night market and discovered this delightful Salvadorian staple food, Pupusas. It’s like a cross between a tortilla and a pancake, infused with flavors like cheese, jalapenos or even chicharon! And on top of the tortilla is either beef or pickled cabbage. Dangerously delicious!

Hooters Wings. Too good to pass up. Each fiery and butter-filled bite is definitely worth all the calories. Check out this site for the shocking reveal on how many calories there are per serving.

Lucille’s BBQ biscuits are heavenly. Light, buttery and creamy, paired with their apple butter is absolutely divine. I couldn’t stop eating them and the servers just kept giving more.

But this, my friend, will turn any non-beer drinker to a lover. Lucille’s Hefeweizen is the best beer I’ve ever had. I’m tearing up just thinking about the distance between us. I predict that my brother, who has also fallen in love with this beer, will be back in Long Beach pretty soon.

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My First Trail Run and the Best Recovery Meal

It was hard for me to work today. My mind was still my recent weekend getaway where Mister M and I stayed overnight in Sta. Rosa for the Northface Nuvali Trail Run. It was my first trail run and I couldn’t be more excited.

Day 1

Things already started on the right note when we arrived at our home base for the night, El Cielito Inn. I am really not finicky about where I sleep. All I want are clean sheets, a clean bathroom, and preferably an air conditioner. For the price of P2,512 (discounted rate for race participants), we got what we wanted with good service too boot. We were so happy with the place that we were already thinking of staying there again for my first marathon (TBR marathon).

We were at Sta. Rosa for a full afternoon so we decided to look around for a nice place where we could have dinner and load up on carbs. The plan was to hit Kanin Club at Paseo de Sta. Rosa, but we got side tracked when I remembered what someone told me that there was a good Japanese restaurant in the vicinity. Nothing excited Mister M more than Japanese food so we went and looked for the place. Much to our surprise, there was a whole lane of Japanese restaurants, almost like a Little Tokyo. We chose from about four restaurants but gravitated towards the one with simple interiors and what seemed like an authentic Japanese menu, Ichi.

Ichi at Pase de Sta. Rosa

I have to say that their menu was quite overwhelming. They had a plethora of dishes to choose from but I suppose if you know what you want, you should be ok.  There was also a menu available in Japanese and one Pinoy friendly version with pictures on it.

reasonable prices at Ichi

We ordered a lot on our first visit – sushi mix, soba, chicken terriyaki with rice, salmon sushi, eggplant tempura and beer and our bill was almost exactly P1000. Not bad at all for the quality and the servings were just right.

Sushi Mix

Pork Soba proved to be unforgettable since Mister M was still thinking about it until the next day.

Eggplant Tempura

Chicken Terriyaki

Salmon Sushi, like butter.

the white rice was actually my favorite part of the meal. sooooper sarap!

ever present beer

Again, all that for P1000.

Day 2

Race organizers were spot on when they called the even Thrill of the Race. Nuvali was buzzing with excitement and anticipation people were at the assembly area as early as 4:00 am. I was overwhelmed with good vibes.

The race was an absolute success. Nuvali provided a scenic and serene route that left all of us happily challenged.  It was a great first for me! But I think I was also quite elated to have Mister M waiting for me by the finish line 🙂

Catching the sunrise during the run was an amazing experience

good job, Northface!

Despite the horror stories of some participants who got lost during the trail run, I think it was a memorable experience for everyone. After the race, we headed back to El Cielito to wash up and rest then headed back to Ichi for our lunch/recovery meal.

Sashimi sampler

Chicken Fried rice

Tempura Soba

Gyoza goodness (although I think it had MSG)

Ichi's interiors

I can’t help but still gush over such a good weekend. Everything about it was perfect and I’m already looking forward to my next Sta. Rosa visit.

*Food pictures courtesy of Mister M and his LX3.

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Live a Little

Although I am on a (perpetual) quest to shed off some pounds, this does not mean that my quest for good food has to end. Inspired by a post about a new and obscure Chinese restaurant, I went off and broke my diet for a day.

Duck Hot Pot is very, very spicy!

Sauteed Chinese Cabbage was gone in a flash.

6404 Camia offers authentic Hunan cuisine which is known for it’s hot and spicy flavors. True enough, all the dishes, except for the white rice of course, were abundant in chili. So if your tolerance for spicy food is low, this restaurant might not agree with you. But if you’re willing to give it a try, bring a small carton of milk so you can easily douse the heat. 🙂

Steamed kuchay dumplings were good and fresh and there were more vegetables than the pork. But somehow, I still prefer Dong Bei's dumplings.

All beef stir fry. Tasted like there was a lot of cumin in it.

I went there with my heart set on the duck hot pot so with that, Mister M, Dr. O and C ordered Chinese cabbage, fried rice, steamed kuchay dumplings and another beef stir fry.  We were very pleased with all the dishes, most especially the duck hot pot. Turns out that this was one of their more popular dishes as most of the other tables had ordered this as well. With the total price of P1090 for food and drinks, the four of us were very satisfied.

Fried Rice. But the waitress actually suggested to just stick to plain rice "para mas malasahan ang ulam."

The restaurant was actually quite easy to find. We decided to walk to Camia street from Powerplant Mall which turned out to be a wise decision since parking was quite scarce. We arrived at 6PM to an almost empty restaurant but people started trickling in shortly and was almost full by 7PM.

It used to be that I had to travel all the way to Binondo for my Chinese food fix. Those days are now gone.  🙂

* See Our Awesome Planet’s post on Hunan House for directions.

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After a very spicy dinner, we decided to take a side trip to a nearby ice cream parlor in Rockwell, The Ice Cream Bar. Perfect for extinguishing the fire in our mouths.

Banana Split from The Ice Cream Bar.

Now, it’s off to the gym I go.

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Band-Aid at Basty’s

I have never been a victim of foreign objects in food, until yesterday.

While waiting for my car to be fixed, Mister M and I decided to grab merienda at Basty’s, one of our favorite restaurants at The Fort. We (used to) like it there because we found the place cozy, quiet and they serve good Spanish food.

As we were halfway through our usual order of chorizos fritos, I noticed something unusual-looking in the dish. I picked up what looked (to Mister M) like garlic skin and stupid me, popped it in my mouth quickly to confirm whether or not it was garlic! Well guess what?! HINDI SIYA GARLIC! &*@!*! I can now tick offpopping a used band-aid in my mouth from my list of things to do before I die.

The waiters were very apologetic but how do you appease someone who just chewed on a used band aid, right?

Too bad it had to happen at one of our favorite restaurants. I might go back if they promise never to serve band-aid ever again.

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New Deli in Kapitolyo

I’m starting to develop an aversion towards Pasig. Traffic, especially in the Ortigas area is horrible and parking in commercial places is always a nightmare. City Golf on Julia Vargas used to be the default setting for impromptu dates, but the influx of bars and restaurants in that tiny area have made it almost impossible to visit on weekends.  So out of desperation and desire to escape the chaotic watering holes, I suggested to Mister M that we head for Kapitolyo and try our luck at the newly opened delicatessen slash wine bar.  Much to my delight, it was open. It was almost 12mn when we got there and it seemed like they were about to close. Luckily enough, the accommodating owners were there and allowed us to enjoy a bottle of wine.

Poco Deli offers the usual delicatessen fare of cold cuts,sausages and cheese (some coming from Mickey’s Deli) along with pizzas and pasta dishes.  They had a pretty decent wine selection that can satisfy the occasional craving for a sophisticated buzz. The place was quiet with a very relaxing ambience.  That night, it also offered the respite that I needed.

Sausage Platter (P280)

Sausage Platter (P280)

My visit to Poco Deli was short but sweet and certainly made my drive to Pasig worth it. It’s good to know that I now have a new place to go to for my vino fix, and far away from the maddening crowd.

Poco Deli is located at East Kapitolyo Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig (a few meters from Charlie’s)

*all photos taken with a Nokia 6700 Classic

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Fat Michael’s Place (after 5 years)

funny disclaimer

funny disclaimer

I first dined at Fat Michael’s Place, a quaint little restaurant in Bangkal, Makati about five years ago. I remembered the place to be very charming, cozy and worth visiting at least once. So when Mister M made plans for us to go to that area one Friday night, I quickly made reservations for us to have dinner at an old favorite.

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I actually wasn’t sure if Fat Michael’s Place was still open. You would think that after in operation for a while that a restaurant that has gained relative fame would either branch out or eventually meet it’s demise and close down.  Taking from the friendly voice I spoke to for my reservarions, it seemed like nothing had changed.

When we got there, I was actually pleased to find that the place was empty. I badly needed some peace and quiet after a long day’s work (and not to mention, the horrible traffic) and found this to be a pleasant surprise. The interiors of the place actually went through a few minor changes. What used to be a wall of books was replaced with frames that served as menus. I particularly missed the books and thought that this was part of the place’s appeal but also realized that it made the place look less cluttered.

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I carefully browsed their new menu and found that my old favorites were still there – Chicken Rosemary (P195) and the Fruit and Walnut Salad (P150), which we both ordered along with the Pan Seared Fillet in Olive Oil and Thyme (P220) and mashed potatoes on the side (P60). The food was simple and straightforward, just like I remembered. I loved that all the dishes were well seasoned and portioned perfectly.  We also ordered their kielbasa sausage (P275) to go with our beers and we were very happy to be served a very generous portion.

chicken rosemary

chicken rosemary

Pan-Seared Dory

Pan-Seared Dory

As we paid the bill and said goodbye to Sacha (who is part of the family that runs the place), she delightedly said, “Napatagal ata kayo.” I think this was a clear indication that Mister M and I both enjoyed our visit to this lovely restaurant. I honestly can’t wait for the next time and hope that I won’t have to wait too long for that. Hint, hint. 🙂

Fat Michael’s Place

115-A Rodriguez Ave., cor. Gen. Lacuña Street
Bangkal
Makati City
Tel. 843-1953

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