Archive for September, 2010|Monthly archive page

le ching. when you’re not sure where you want to eat, eat here

In eating in manila on September 21, 2010 at 10:48 pm

i love dimsum. and so when i got the text “i’m hungry. le ching tayo.” i hopped into the car and went.

thank goodness this gem exists at the UP Technohub. good, reliable dimsum and noodle soup – two food groups that always have to be in close proximity.

so first, the noodle soup. i asked the waiter for a recommendation and he suggested the beef and wanton noodle soup (P115)

this was good – pretty much what you’d expect from a non-expensive but non-fastfood place. the serving is big enough for one hearty meal, but if taken with other dishes can serve two easily.

then the dimsum. first the ones in steam baskets starting with the must-have in any chinese place, hakaw. steamed shrimp dumplings

hakaw definitely makes my list of top 10 favorite food. it’s a delicate balance of cooking the shrimp right but showing off its freshness and at the same time making sure the wrap is firm but delicate. each time i go to a new chinese place, hakaw is the first thing i try and the one in le ching at the hub is really good.

we also had shark’s fin and pork siomai

the pork siomai was surprisingly tender and tasty. it almost never is, in my experience. will have this again

then it was on to the fried stuff. first up in that set, my favorite – radish cake

again, well done. crisp on the outside, tender on the inside with just the right amount of chewiness. it’s been a while since i’ve had this and i’m glad to be able to eat this with someone again.

and last on the table, taro puffs

a light crispy exterior housing pleasantly soft and glutinous mashed taro (gabi).

this was, in a way, a lot of food for 2 people – but we did it justice. hard not to. it all tasted good. and i didn’t detect any msg (usually my head feels like it’s swelling up). total bill? a shade under P500. i was floored. considering we both consumed copious amounts of food, we were paying only around P250 each. another good surprise.

a classic ruins dinner

In places on September 12, 2010 at 6:29 pm

people who eat at cafe by the ruins a lot probably have their staple dishes. this dinner was all about ours.

for starters, forest stream soup (a bit over P100)

this is full of shiitake mushrooms and watercress in a strong ginger broth. perfect for the cool weather and i swear i feel healthier just by eating it.

next was fried kesong puti salad (around P150)

unlike the pino version, this has nice big hunks of cheese. and this makes it so much better

after this we had the ruins pasta which is spaghetti with fish roe in a cream sauce

this was my first time to try this dish and i found it very interesting. a meatless carbonara of sorts. the roe, and we feel there were anchovies in here, served as the equivalent of bacon – the salting agent. so instead of a smoky meaty flavor, it was a smoky ocean flavor. very nice.

my own favorite is the long life tofu pouches (P180)

this dish is done with shiitake mushrooms cooked in a ginger glaze and then stuffed into tofu pockets. a really old favorite. it was off the menu for a while, but even during that time the waiters assured me i could still order it. but now it’s back and is certainly a must-try.

the whole meal was washed down with ruins herb tea

i’m not entirely sure what goes into this pot of tea, but i know there’s lemongrass and ginger in there. and it’s very very good, especially with the honey. that heavy black pot in the photo is pretty new and seems to contain a lot of tea as we kept pouring and pouring and it never ran out.

we did manage to finish everything and were incredibly stuffed. good thing it was an early dinner. it was all healthy and all very very tasty and obviously the reasons why we keep coming back to this restaurant.

never in ruins. a breakfast post first

In places on September 11, 2010 at 2:01 pm

i’m not a breakfast person. the only time i ever eat a real breakfast is when i’m on vacation. and some of the best breakfasts are in baguio. what’s not to like? the air is chilly – appetite stimulating – the pace is easy. and the food… awesome.

our first breakfast was at cafe by the ruins and i was determined to have their bacon, which they smoke themselves. the best way to do that? farmer’s feast (or some other item on the menu with the word farmer in there). as with all the breakfast specials, it begins with a cup of fruit. you may notice that there aren’t any strawberries in that cup. they really weren’t in season. but during the summer and closer to christmas, strawberries would definitely be in there.

i usually don’t do fruit cups, but i was ready for the whole thing and the fruit did make a good intro to this

now this is what it’s about. that bacon is some of the best ever. it’s not the thin crispy kind – but really more of a farm bacon. thick and smoky. if i’m not mistaken, the people at the ruins smoke it themselves.

we also had a mushroom omelet

we had kamote bread with it instead of pandesal, and on the far end of the dish is herbed cheese, a perfect complement. all in all we spent a little over P500 – but this was for a meal that lasted us through most the day.

cafe by the ruins really has their way of doing the hearty breakfast and a trip to

breakfast at the hill station, casa vallejo

In places on September 9, 2010 at 7:43 pm

each time i’d go to baguio, i’d walk past the old casa vallejo. it was falling apart, dark and dank and looked really creepy. but i knew it had a rich history and so i really wasn’t much surprised that somebody thought of reviving it.┬áthe next time i saw it, it did look very different – it was white and spruced up and there were a whole lot of cars parked around it. so i made sure that when in baguio again, i would peep.

a couple of weeks ago, we went to casa vallejo for breakfast. it was a good time of day to go – hill station, the hotel restaurant, has huge bay windows that reveal a great view… one of the few places in the heart of the city that still looked like the baguio of old. and with the exception of narrow corridors, the architecture of the rest of the hotel is also very charming with symmetrical staircases and all.

back to breakfast. being a longganisa fan, i ordered the baguio longganisa and a cup of hot chocolate

this was very nice. i’m pretty sure the egg was native – had a different color and flavor to it. quite pleasant. the cucumber relish was very pleasant and refreshing.

camille had bacon and egg and we ran into a couple of service snags with that one. she asked for it with toasted bread and it came to our table with rice. so she asked to change the rice to toast and it came back with the egg quite toasted. ah well.

but regardless, it was a very pleasant breakfast and fairly reasonably priced (we paid close to P400 for everything) and the next time dinner is in order.

the second (and much better) thai place: Thuk Thai at the rockwell center in ortigas

In eating in manila on September 2, 2010 at 3:16 pm

i first ate at thuk thai when it was just this little hole in the wall (quite literally). joanna took me there years ago and while i hadn’t been in a while, i always had fond memories of the food. and so on a recent trip to ortigas, i got really excited when i saw a tarp on meralco avenue that said thuk thai was now open at the rockwell center (the complex beside medical city – right after the hospital if you’re heading to ortigas ave).

it was a rainy day and we were starving. first up, tom yum goong (but of course!)

the serving is good for about 3 people and just scooping through it i immediately saw it had a fair quantity of mushroom and shrimp that made it well worth the P300+ it cost. on the first sip camille declared it to be the best she’s had and i do think she’s right. it was spicy and bursting with flavor. i like the tom yum of soms too, but thuk thai’s is less sweet and quite spicier which is a good thing.

we also had chicken with cashews in chili oil (a little under P200)

a very simple stir fry dish. straightforward in flavor but very satisfying.

we also had a green vegetable curry (a little over P200)

of all the dishes, this was perhaps the least satisfying. not that it wasn’t good, but maybe it lacked a certain zing especially after coming from that tom yum.

as beverages we had thai iced tea (which is a milk tea) and lemongrass tea

the lemongrass was mine, and while it was ok, i’m definitely having the milk tea the next time. and there will certainly be a next time, and soon i hope. we already know what to order

a tale of two thai places. first – just thai at the fort

In eating in manila on September 2, 2010 at 11:15 am

managed to wheedle my boss into a free lunch and he suggested this place near our office. Just Thai is in the forbestown complex, and is part of a strip of restaurants that don’t all seem to open yet. the restaurant has around 10 tables making it very ┬ácozy.

as with any thai place i’m trying for the first time, i started with the tom yum goong

it was tasty enough but the flavors weren’t really that bold – and for P150 for an individual bowl it came with only 1 shrimp.

then we split a pad thai

this i enjoyed more. the texture of the noodles was just right. though the flavors were also slightly mild, they didn’t seem diluted. and at P180, it was fair value especially relative to the tom yum.

unlikely that i’ll eat here again unless i have to, but for those working in the area, it’s an option to consider.