Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

kikufuji in little tokyo, makati

In eating in manila on May 31, 2011 at 12:36 pm

we’re japanese food lovers so it’s actually quite surprising it took us this long to get to little tokyo – a cluster of japanese restaurants along pasong tamo (near pasay road) in makati.

my brother recommended the restaurant kikufuji which is on the side of the compound. we wanted our lunch to be heavy on the sushi/sashimi, so that’s what we had more of, but the whole meal started with standard appetizers

then it was time for the good stuff. first off, tuna sashimi

this was very nice. the cut of fish had no ligament. we know it should really be ligament-free, but the reality is many japanese restaurants don’t meet that standard. next was a spicy tuna salad

many restaurants have a version of this – raw tuna tossed with tempura batter, panko mayonnaise and spiced. this one was not bad, but we could have used a bit more spice.

we also had a mixed sushi plate

this was also pretty good. not great, but solid. made us realize though that we’re not fans of raw squid

the last dish was unagi

this one we enjoyed quite a bit. perfect melt-in-your-mouth texture and very flavorful. the portion was a bit generous as well.

unfortunately we can’t remember the prices but we paid something like P1,200 including beer. it was reasonably priced.

given that parking is so difficult, we’re not sure if we’ll be back. the food wasn’t necessarily magnetizing enough to draw us, but it’s certainly a viable default japanese eating place when you’re in the area

as if we haven’t gushed enough – one more on angelina’s

In places on May 16, 2011 at 2:04 pm

we can’t leave the discussion of memorable dishes at angelina’s without talking about the seafood risotto we had one lunch

again, one of those things we marveled at how they could create this on an island that doesn’t even have a drugstore. the risotto was packed with seafood goodness, sign of a really well-made stock. and the texture of the rice was just right. in the middle of us eating, the proprietor came over and asked if we had it with lemon – which we hadn’t, so she marched into the kitchen and marched out with a lemon and instructed us to squeeze a bit onto the risotto. it was fantastic. the tartness was perfect to round out the flavors.

one night we also had pizza – but of course!

the good things about this pizza are those that make italian pizza great. the simplicty, first of all. this pizza was spinach and parmesan cheese. that’s it. and the individual flavors really came out. with pizza, less is really better. then the crust. this was thin and crisp, quite impressively so.

and last, but most certainly not the least. dessert.

chocolate panna cotta that was… To.Die.For. perfect texture. smooth and creamy. if ever there was gelatin, we couldn’t detect it. and the flavors – out of this world. i have yet to try a better panna cotta.

our only regret is that this restaurant is too far to visit all the time. had it been any nearer QC, we’d go broke. but as it is, angelina’s is one very very good reason to visit malapascua.

two salads at angelina’s

In places on May 14, 2011 at 10:22 am

one lunch we wanted to have something cool and light – especially with the intense summer beach sun. i’ve always been fond of the insalata caprese – tomatoes, mozarella, olive oil – and was excited to try what angelina’s did with this. on their menu, insalata di capri

as far as i could tell, this wasn’t real buffalo mozarella – but it hardly made a difference. the salad was light and very very flavorful. each component bursting through.

the other salad we tried was a bean and onion salad during one dinner

this was literally just beans, onions, some tomato with olive oil salt and pepper. not a dish commonly found in italian restaurants in the philippines (perhaps due to its sparseness), but this was quite good. not something we would have automatically put together either but a great combination with the beans mellowing out the huge bite of the onion.

each salad was around the P250 mark – but the portions were good enough for two.

perfect for hot beach weather

angelina’s: is the best italian restaurant in the philippines 600 km from manila?

In places on May 12, 2011 at 11:41 am

we arrived in malapascua starving. and since there was an italian restaurant right beside tepanee, we decided to have lunch there.

just looking at the menu was a fun experience. there were some dishes not typically found in manila italian restaurants and since the owner and chef is from bologna, we decided on 2 pastas local to that part of italy.

one was tagliatelle al ragu or fresh noodles with a traditional meat sauce

the other one we tried was tagliatelle with shrimp and asparagus

these were stunningly delicious. and, admittedly, surprisingly so. first of all, they made their own noodles – not what you’d expect on a remote island. and the flavors were so rich and full – better than almost all the big franchise names in manila. at around P320 per plate it wasn’t the cheapest of meals, but it was so incredibly good, it was more than worth it.

we knew we were on to something good in that restaurant, and we certainly have more to say about their offerings in posts to come. but really, it’s almost worth going all the way to malapascua just to eat here.

on finding grilled fish on an island

In places on May 10, 2011 at 11:22 am

for our 4 days on the island, we were hell bent on finding what we felt should be typical island food – grilled seafood, seaweed, shellfish, that sort of thing. the great irony though is that these things were not readily available in malapascua. our theory was that the locals don’t sell them being food they catch or pick for their own daily consumption.

we got our grilled fish fix by harassing our “canvasser” named seasun. the island has a number of these canvassers or fixers, which they actually are, to book tours for you or take you sightseeing. or in our case, find fish.

so seasun the canvasser took us to a beach side grill stall which had a stock of chicken, chorizo, and now and then, fish

we picked our fish from a cooler

they then cleaned it, stuffed the cavity silly with onion and salt, and tossed it on the grill

with this we had puso – cebu’s famous leaf-wrapped rice

all in all, this meal cost P108. the puso being the P8 part. the trick is to order a big fish because they charge P100/fish regardless of size.

but we only did this meal twice, having quickly exhausted the fish repertoire of the stall. maybe as more people visit malapascua, the seafood business will steadily grow.

a little slice of beach paradise at tepanee

In places on May 8, 2011 at 9:37 pm

we really wanted the beach this holy week, but were afraid of the crowds. not really having the budget to do a super upscale place, we figured on looking for a place that wasn’t so well-known yet. the first thing we decided was malapascua island off cebu. and after combing the web, we booked our stay at tepanee beach resort.

the communications were very good and we were informed that the first night we’d have to spend at their adjacent resort called logon beach resort. it shared the same beach as tepanee, just with more basic rooms. it wasn’t bad at all, actually – the logon room having a really great view.

the room had no airconditioning, but was prepared for open windows and any entering bugs

this cost P1,500 but the next day we moved to tepanee which had more modern cottages outfitted with a ref, aircon, and running hot water. at P2,700/night it was still quite reasonable.

the best part about staying here was that we had our own strip of beach that we didn’t have to share with anybody else

it was a good beach with marvelous white sand. the main beach stretch actually had a fantastically wide stretch of powdery white sand – what i would imagine boracay to have looked like decades ago. but that stretch is dotted with places to stay making it rather populated. we truly cherished the privacy and were happy to be in a place that was the result of the dream – the owners having left their jobs in italy to put up a beach resort on an island they loved. it was a great way to spend the holiday benefitting from that dream

bacolod dining: 2 soups and a slice of pie

In places on May 4, 2011 at 12:29 pm

our favorite part of our quick bacolod trip was going around silay. love the old houses and the old-world atmosphere of the whole city. of course, merienda had to be in el ideal, the 90-year-old bakery. we had fresh lumpia (which people said we must try) and an ilonggo classic, la paz batchoy (P70).

the color of the broth alone showed the richness. lots of pork and liver goodness in there making every other batchoy i’ve tried seem watered down. they were also quite generous in the meat and chicharon bits making it a very filling and flavorful soup.

in el ideal, we also had the guapple pie (P30)

made from a fruit that’s a hybrid of an apple and a guava and, i think, native to this part of the country. it was flavored like a regular apple pie, but the fruit itself gave a good twist on the taste being quite tangy with a little tartness. another thing we loved about it was that it had this feel of a homemade pie – it wasn’t too refined, but was very comforting.

for our last lunch, before heading to the airport, we had a nice big bowl of kansi (P220)

the ilonggo’s own version of bulalo. beef shank – make sure you have the bone in – with a sour element making it a combination of the tagalog bulalo and sinigang. the broth tastes like the beef has been simmering for more than a day making it incredibly tasty. but the big difference is the souring agent, batu-an, a relative of the tamarind. so the sourness is more subtle than sinigang, but adding great personality and roundedness.

we ate in a carinderia type place called sharyn’s which is beside another popular place called connie’s. very very good.

so our dining lesson for this trip was that for ilonggo food, it’s always best to have the real thing. somehow the places in manila, good as the efforts are, just don’t have the same zing to them.

aida’s: one of bacolod’s go-to inasal places

In places on May 2, 2011 at 5:44 pm

when in bacolod, one must eat – and one must eat inasal. camille kept telling me that nothing in manila comes close to the real thing – and she was right.

as soon as we had a dinner slot free, we headed to manokan – the part of the city (across from SM) that’s a strip of carinderia-type joints all serving inasal. it is very confusing with all the tempting smells, but we had a goal in mind – a place that everybody told us we should head off to – aida’s.

once we got there, a girl came up to us with a slip of paper and a pen. no menu. she was just standing there waiting for us to mention chicken parts we wanted grilled. we were prepared: 2 paa (leg and thigh), 2 orders of pakpak (6 wings in all) and 1 pecho (breast).

and, since we felt we were near clean waters, we had a plate of oysters to go with the chicken

taken with 2 cups of rice soaked in achuete oil and washed down with a couple of beers, this was a meal made in grill heaven. the whole thing cost us just P325 and the experience just made us hanker to get back to bacolod as soon as we possibly can. for this, to date, is the best grilled chicken ever made as far as we’re concerned.