Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

21, a bacolod institution

In places on September 8, 2011 at 9:27 am

from iloilo we went to bacolod to do two things: 1. visit camille’s brother and, 2. eat at aida’s. from our first write up about ideas found here, nothing much has changed. if anything, the chicken was actually better this time around.

the other interesting meal we had was lunch at 21, along lacson avenue. we were told that 21 started out as a garage carinderia place and has since grown into one of bacolod’s go-to places for special occasions.

for starters, we had kilaw na tanigue

their version is not the usual traditional kilaw. they added black beans and salted egg. it was interesting, to be sure, and nice to see an attempt at elevating or at least putting a twist to a classic. personally though i like kilaw in its original form, but this is certainly worth a shot.

we hardly had any vegetables in iloilo so we immediately ordered laswa – an ilonggo vegetable soup

this reminded me of the bulanglang of southern tagalog and made me think of asking for fish bagoong to go with it – but the dish didn’t really need the condiment, it was tasty as it was.

up next, two appetizers. fried isol (chicken ass) and buffalo wings

those wings were a revelation. spicy, crisp – right now the best buffalo wing i’ve had. what an interesting place to find it in! the dip was something i found skippable, but would willingly have those wings again any time.

the other dish we had was a restaurant bestseller, grilled squid stuffed with lemon grass

this we truly loved. take the inasal flavors and apply them to squid which was perfectly tender. fantastic.

and, this being bacolod, of course we had dessert – another restaurant recommendation, banana foster

very nice. nothing held back on the sweetness. the way dessert should be.

all in all the meal cost close to P1,000. not cheap for 3 people, but very satisfying. easy to see why 21 is a preferred dining out choice in these parts.

buto’t balat in iloilo. an ironic name if there ever was one

In places on September 3, 2011 at 2:18 pm

aside from breakthrough, most of our meals in iloilo were at the home of our hosts – there we had a very good lechon and amazing pancit molo. but one of the places we did eat out at was called buto’t balat. there’s a branch downtown, but that’s nowhere near as charming as the one we went to near SM

we love the fact that you can be in the middle of the city and still find a place as rustic as this to dine.

of course we had our regular seafood favorite, oysters

this one i saw the price – it was P140 for a whole heaping plate full. these oysters were lightly steamed, but still – beer.

we also had a famous ilonggo dish, chicken binakol (with native chicken)

it was our first taste of binakol and we loved it! the base is very similar to a tinola but with an added dimension of lemon grass and the sweetness of coconut. and the native chicken does make quite a difference. served out of a palayok, this was fantastic.

there were two other dishes – simply because it seems one type of dish per person is never enough – bangus sisig and sizzling mixed seafood

these were nice, but not necessarily revelations. the revelation was the halang halang – a dish buto’t balat is quite known for

it’s spicy ground chicken on a bed of potato chips. a nacho concept. all the blogs we read said this dish had to be taken with beer. and all those blogs were right. halang halang is the quintessential beer food and way delicious. as i type i find myself with this strong urge to get some halang halang. too bad it’s like a plane ride away.

breakthrough in iloilo

In places on September 1, 2011 at 4:52 pm

one of the things we were most excited about our trip to iloilo was the good eats we knew we’d find. aside from classic ilonggo dishes, we were eager for seafood – and the popular breakthrough restaurant is enough to satisfy any seafood craving. unfortunately i cannot share any prices for not once did i see the menu. our very gracious hosts took care of everything from start to finish.

we actually ate in breakthrough twice. the first time was within 2 hours of landing in iloilo. of course we looked right away for oysters. over here they’re so fresh it’s like their harvested upon ordering

the beer is what kept us going actually. saved us from the perils of indigestion. the beer and the sinamak

and, in my opinion, breakthrough has the best sinamak i’ve ever tried.

the other delicacy that was a must-eat was diwal, angel clams. we had to have these since they’re native to this part of the country and quite hard to find elsewhere.

here we had them just steamed, which may not be the best idea because, being really big clams, they got a bit tough. we had them again baked and those were much better.

our second time at breakthrough, we had a feast. aside from the shellfish, we started with crispy crablets

these were very good. crunchy and fresh. very tasty. the rest of the spread included halabos na sugpo, kilaw na tanigue, and soup

and just when we thought we couldn’t eat any more, they served crab

not just any crab, but crab with this goodness inside

by the end of this meal i was quite dizzy. but happily filled with seafood glory to last me a long time. at least, until we return to iloilo