Archive for August, 2010|Monthly archive page

pino along malingap street. a place i never thought i’d see in teachers village

In eating in manila on August 26, 2010 at 3:40 pm

this was a long overdue meal at pino. yet another of those places i’ve been hearing about – non-rugged dining in teachers village. who would’ve thought this day would come? so to find the place, go down maginhawa street until you hit bayantel, then make a right (that’s malingap st) and you’ll see pino on your right soon after that turn.

the place is cozy, with a few tables and ample parking. the menu well-designed. we decided to go with the kesong puti salad which had quail egg, fried white cheese and crushed peanuts. it was good. solidly good. not fantastic, but worth having again.

the we went for the tofu balls stuffed with cheese

i love the concept. i just feel they used the wrong kind of cheese and too much of it. it tasted like regular block cheddar cheese and i feel a milder kind would have worked better to help bring the tofu flavor out and not totally drown it.

then tofu stack-o with bagnet and mushroom rice, aka tokwa’t baboy

obviously, plus points for presentation. but in the end it was just tokwa’t baboy and i felt the dish to be rather overpriced. the main saving grace was the rice. very savory, earthy – a perfect way to tie up the other elements.

i forgot to note prices but all in all the meal came out to somewhere between P600-700. overall, the value could have been better – like this meal would maybe be in the 500-600 range – but no complaints really. i’m just happy to have a restaurant like this in the area.

you jie xiao chao – a secret chinese restaurant in makati

In eating in manila on August 24, 2010 at 7:00 pm

now many people talk about secret restaurants – meaning places that are holes-in-the-wall serving up good food. this is one of them. except maybe it’s a little more secret than others because there really is no indication it’s there. like… none, unless you count crozz cutz (or is it cozt cut) beauty parlor. so to get to this restaurant, go down estrella heading towards the pasig river. when you see a sign that says “this way to guadalupe barangay hall” or something like that, turn right then take the first left (should be camia street). you’ll see the parlor and to its right is a row of apartments with glass doors. the leftmost apartment is what you want

the only way you’ll know the name of the restaurant is because it’s printed on the menu. and a very interesting menu it is. the speciality is hunan cuisine, which should be on the spicier side of things. we ordered duck hot pot

it struck me as a stew that had been recooked and therefore dried out. camille mentioned that an adobo thing was going on and that’s definitely in here. the vinegar and soy tastes were palpable. there were bay leaves. there was also another spice which i identified as star anise but am not sure. the interesting thing here was the sili which was roasted then added to the dish whole.

we also had spicy cabbage

this was very good. being a cabbage person, i’m inclined to like it, but really it’s a very tasty dish and looks very simple to prepare – cabbage sauteed in something that is oyster sauce-ish.

and the perfect beverage to wash this all down

tsingtao beer is on the thin side. not the sort of thing i’d recommend if you wanted to go drinking with your buddies. but perfect for food.

all in all the meal cost P660. The duck was around P400 and the cabbage a little under P200. maybe not the sort of prices expected from such a nondescript place, but definitely worth the price. excited to go back

on the road from tagaytay, fried itik (duck)

In places on August 21, 2010 at 4:19 pm

we headed down to manila early afternoon and were really not in the mood for a heavy lunch. we figured we’d just eat in the alabang area and then just have something light. that was, until we saw this

the sign stood out along the highway, and the duck in the picture looked pretty good. so after a quick discussion (which brought us a couple of kilometers further down the road), we decided to try it and we turned around.

it’s a simple turo-turo place and they had other things, but we had a mission and so we ordered one duck. didn’t take long before they served it

and it was good. well, the skin wasn’t really crispy – but it had enough meat on it and it was well-seasoned. for a little under P200 for a whole bird it’s hard to complain about anything. the sauce in the little plastic container was like a gravy, but then they gave us others like vinegar with sili and – what went best with the duck – calamansi and chili sauce, the kind they serve with dimsum.

you should try this if you’re on your way to or from tagaytay – a good roadside dining experience.

tagaytay weekend part 2 – the food

In places on August 20, 2010 at 10:49 pm

we got to tagaytay in the afternoon so our first meal was dinner Р an early dinner at T House. for starters we had the signature salad

most of the components were regular salad ingredients, but what made this truly interesting was their use of dried mango. good sweetness and texture. main courses were spiced grilled chicken and roast rack of ribs

the chicken wasn’t bad. well, the meat itself was on the dry side, but the flavors were very nice. the rib though was incredibly salty. for a price of something like P400 per dish, overpriced. but what saved dinner was the herb butter – that was very nice.

so, yes, suggest have dinner elswehere – but make sure you have breakfast at T House. they do get bed and breakfast right in that they have really good breakfasts. i had one of the best mushroom omelets ever – they use 3 kinds of mushrooms. it’s a hefty dish but the flavor combinations were enough to keep the dish from being tiresome. very toothsome, a must try.

and, of course, a classic breakfast combination: eggs, bacon, hash browns, and fruit

how can one go wrong with that?

breakfast at T House is definitely a must. check out their menu online, they certainly know how to start a day.

Thouse in tagaytay, getting the bed and breakfast concept right

In places on August 19, 2010 at 10:06 am

another incredibly overdue post.

last month we spent a weekend in tagaytay. all we needed really was a place to sleep and have nice food and instantly T House came to mind. i remember when it was still being built and then completed and it struck me as a really peaceful place. that impression hasn’t changed.

this is the area where the front desk is located

and the walk which serves as the path leading to the rooms

they also have a spa, which they did from the beginning – but this was the first time i had seen the relatively new outdoor spa. here’s the entrance

the whole place really has a zen garden feel to it which makes it an ideal spot for a quick weekend away from it all. the staff is also quite efficient. the only thing that was a slight snag was the doors. they have sliding doors which can be a challenge to lock, but hey trifles. all in all, a great place to be

they charge P4,600/night which includes breakfast for 2. and their breakfasts can be quite good. next post, food.

boracay food – beachside grills

In places on August 4, 2010 at 11:46 am

this post is long overdue.

i was in boracay (for the very first time) last month for a convention. most of the time we had hotel food, but for the last dinner there i insisted we try one of those places by the beach that grill things. i actually can’t remember the name of the particular place we went to, but looking at other similar establishments, it seemed like the prices were pretty standard and i can’t imagine how wide a range of tastes and flavors there would be – so this is gonna be a non-restaurant specific post.

the way it works is you choose what you want cooked and then they’ll take care of it. these places keep a wide array of food on ice – from pork and chicken to different kinds of fish, squid, prawns and… the thing that enticed me to do this in the first place… lobster.

we had a lobster, 2 prawns each (they were huge), squid, and pork belly. after choosing, on to the grill they went

notice how meaty the lobster was and how the fat reached all the way to the tip of its head. served with a lemon, butter, and garlic sauce it was a good treat. my only concern was it was slightly over-grilled. if you’re the type to be really particular, best hover over the grill and tell them to pull it out when you want.

while waiting for our food we were seated on the beach, sand between our toes. i could hear the surf and would now and then just walk over to enjoy the sound and the smell. it was a very good evening.

all in all we paid around P1,000/head for this meal (the lobster easily accounting close to half of this). not the cheapest of dinners, but given that it’s not easy to find such hefty lobsters elsewhere and the whole beach ambience, it was well worth it.