Saturday, October 30, 2010

Beach Dreaming: Smoke Boracay D'mall

It has been almost a month since I've felt sand ooze through the in-betweens of my toes and on this Sunday afternoon, I cannot help but miss it. I am in my usual short skirt and slippers and I feel that I am more suited sitting on a damp sarong than on this dry coffee house couch.

But since I do not have the luxury to hop on the next ro-ro or plane out of the city, I will instead post a long overdue review of Smoke, a restaurant in Boracay known for serving affordable and delicious home-cooked meals.

It was my second night in Bora with the best friend and we were meeting up with my Bora-living friend, N, (don't you just envy her?) for dinner and some drinks. She suggested we meet up at Smoke.

We arrived earlier than N did and because I have no patience whatsoever, I started ordering up a storm.

First up, was a Beef with Ampalaya (bitter gourd) rice bowl. Now, before those noses start curling, I implore you to give this veggie a chance. Ampalaya cooked well is actually quite divine and is not as bitter as you imagine at all.

And this, was well-cooked ampalaya. It melded well with the oyster sauce and balanced the saltiness of the beef. It was my favorite dish that night.

I also ordered a serving of the Lechon Kawali. It was served with rice and a bowlful of lechon sauce. It was served hot off the stove, almost burning off my greedy tongue. It was crispy and it took me forever to convince myself not to eat the fat.

Lastly, I ordered the Beef Salpicao Rice Bowl. Described as spicy, it was not as hot as I expected it to be. If you like your salpicao with a strong olive oil and soy sauce taste, then this isn't really the salpicao for you. Smoke's version is garlicky and has a thicker sauce than usual. It works well as a rice topping.

When N and her boyfriend saw what I had ordered I think they thought I was slightly insane. I'm pretty sure my best friend did (as she was vocal about her concerns for my mental health). But it's hard not to get carried away with meals that only cost around 120 each. Besides, it's Boracay and a vacation. It called for a bit of excess.

I miss the beach.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Birthday Dinner! : Lorenzo's Way Greenbelt 5

Birthdays are the perfect excuse to be overfed. And on this, my 26th, everyone I knew seemed to have the single minded goal of of making me gain 24 pounds in 24 hours.

I had my fill of La Grotta (I forgot to take pics :P), Amber's birthday spaghetti, Greenwich Overloaded pizzas and ,of course, Goldilock's mocha cake.

The boyfriend capped my day full of eating with a night filled with eating still.
He whisked me off to Lorenzo's Way.

The birthday feast started with an order of Paneer Makhani. Listed under the Vegetables section and touted as the restaurant's Vegetarian's Choice, you would think that this dish would be the bastion of healthy. Not so. Made with fried cheese blocks in tomato curry sauce and served with rotti, Paneer Makhani is definitely a lip-smacking good dish but it will do nothing for bikini body aspirations. Thank God I have none. (Well, not at this moment. :P)

Up next was the unapologetically sinful Knock Out Knuckles. It's your favorite crispy pata (deep-fried pork leg) amped up with garlic and chili oil. Each bite was a medley of crunch, tenderness and water-grabbing spice. We ordered garlic rice to go with it. And although, I commend the flavors of the restaurant's garlic rice, it was a bit too much to be paired with something deep fried. We should have stuck with plain.

This heady heart-racing meal was capped off with a glass each of wine. The boyfriend says it's Chilean. I couldn't really tell the difference or discuss its notes and tannins and whatnot but I did know it was the perfect end to a very perfect, very filling meal. Yey! I love birthdays!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I deserve a spanking

I am aware that it has been almost a month since I have updated my blog.

And it is not as if I've stopped stuffing my face or face. I have just been to busy (naks!) to type up a decent entry.

I have made it my mission though to use my weekend to finally bring this blog up to speed. Especially since I need to clear up my digicam's memory to snap up new food pics.

So excuse me while I do that, and let me leave you with these parting words:


*image from

Friday, September 24, 2010

What Weighs 500 pounds and flies? : Buffalo Wings and Things Ortigas Home Depot

I have a thing for people who have a thing for buffalo wings.

The best friend loves her wings with a siding of fries. She orders them mild and eats it with her fingers. Her favorite way to wash it down is with a tall, cold glass of Vodka 7. The vodka must be Absolut Kurant of course.

The boyfriend on the other hand, loves his wings extra spicy. And although he loves fries with a passion, rice seems to be his carbohydrate of choice when taming these flaming pieces of meat. He then chases it all down with ice cold beer.

That brings us to one of our favorite places for wings - Buffalo Wings and Things at the Ortigas Home Depot.

The wings here are perfection. I've visited on a rainy night, a balmy night, an afternoon, a crowded weekend, a laid back Monday and yet the wings remain consistently big, juicy, crunchy, tasty, and filling. The sauce is salty and tangy and will cling on to your lips like a kiss. And depending on the variant you order, things can get pretty hot pretty fast.

But as brave as me and my boyfriend claim to be, we have yet to gamble on an order of their Nuclear and Armageddon wings. For now at least, we settle for the delicious and nasty burn of their Firehouse Classic, preferably a pound of it.
(I wonder, has anyone been brave enough to try either of the above? How was it?)

Right up there with the chicken is my favorite NY Dirty Rice or what I call Burrito Rice. It is the perfect chaser for every crunchy bite of your wing.

Buffalo Wings and Things have other things on their menu. Like hotdog sandwiches and quesadillas. But they supremely pale in comparison to the specialty. They are, as the restaurant name itself implies, mere things. Garnishes to the Buffalo king.

What weighs 500 pounds and flies? In awhile, me. I'm flying off to Ortigas right now in fact. HAPPY FRIDAY!

Worth the Wait: Krazy Garlic Greenbelt 5

I have waited for Krazy Garlic to open the day I saw the boarded walls in Greenbelt 5 bannering its imminent coming. Whenever I got the chance, I'd peek to see if it were finally open.

On the day I found out that it was in fact open, I was a pauper. My wallet was hooked up on life support as it painfully held on to the promise of sweldo day. The kind and wise thing to do of course was to let my wallet fully recover but I am not really known for my self-control. So, cruelly I suppose, I kidnapped the boyfriend and the already ailing wallet for a weekend feast.

There is one thing that should be said early:
The food is not as garlicky as I imagined.

I guess for those wary that Krazy Garlic may be overwhelming, this will assuage their fears. For those like me who expect clove mountains everywhere - it's a bit of a let down. But only momentarily.

Because once you get past the fact that vampires may be able to live through this restaurant's realize that you are in the presence of really good, really hefty food.

For our lunch, we ordered garlic bread, Hara Kiri Fried Rice, and their Grilled Porkchops.

The garlic bread is basically toasted french bread that was drenched in butter and topped with chopped garlic. And though I loved the crunch of the bread, I could have done with less butter.

The Hara Kiri, on the other hand, was lovely. The rice was hot and there were so many bits and pieces in it that it was basically an entree. I loved how each spoonful would have octopus and bacon and chili in it. Yum!

The Grilled Porkchops were also a great choice. Each slab was big and meaty and devoid of unnecessary fat. And the chops' glaze gave it a sweet-salty-garlicky kick. I loved the roasted whole garlic that came with the dish, allowing me to kind of ice my meat with self-mashed garlic cloves. The pork on the rice was perfect sinful happiness.

And the best thing about this belly busting meal? We were lucky enough to dine on the day their VP for Operations, Mr. Bob Santos, was around. Because for some weird and inexplicable (yet totally welcome) reason, he gave us free dessert!

He recommended the apple tart ala mode which he claimed to be his favorite and of course, the boyfriend and I very readily agreed to give it a taste.

The apples on the tart were aptly tart and it played with the cinnamon well. It reminds me of warm cider. The apples were a lovely contrast to the cold, sweet, and milky vanilla ice cream it was served with. The loveliest part of the dish though, was the base. I loved the flaky bread and its nutty undertones. It gave the dessert its needed solidity. It's a dessert I would've gladly paid for.

Overall, Krazy Garlic was definitely worth the wait and worth the wallet-suicidal-mission visit.

Next time, I'm trying the Crema Catalana. I'm quite curious to find out how creme brulee with garlic tastes like.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sweet Endings: Gelatissimo Greenbelt 5

A confession: I am not an ice cream girl. My dessert of choice will always be cake.
That doesn't mean I don't enjoy the occasional cone, only that - unlike the common generalization made about women - I cannot see myself ever finishing a pint.

The closest I've come to it, however, was during my first visit to Gelatissimo in Greenbelt 5. My friends and I had just eaten a healthy dinner of salad and cheese and we decided we deserved something sinful. And what could be more sinful than 3 scoops of gelato on a cold and rainy night?

Gelatissimo tempts you from the moment you enter with a freezer-ful of colorful gelato.

There are the usual favorites (Chocolate and Strawberry) and a few more unusual flavors (guava, chili chocolate, green apple and pineapple). I took advantage of the free taste and sampled the Guava, Choco Liquer and the Green Apple.

The Guava was refreshing and extremely faithful to the fruit. It was only slightly sweet and it had a residual tang. I almost expected to feel seeds on my tongue.

The Green Apple was less like the real fruit and more like candy. It reminded me of gummy bears and Hi-C. It wasn't bad. It was just a bit too kiddy for me. I bet my two-year-old brother would have a field day with it.

The Choco Liquer was just awesome. You could feel the alcohol heating up your throat as your tongue gets coated in very rich dark chocolate. Yummy! But a bit scary for someone who needed to drive home.

In the end, 2 of my friends and I decided to share Pistachio, Chocolate Truffle and American Chocolate. While my other friend got herself a cup of Chocolate Sorbet.

The American Chocolate was really good. It was milky and silky and sweet. It will remind you of American chocolate bars. The Chocolate Truffle is a slightly less sweet version of American Chocolate. It's denser on the tongue so its taste lingers longer.
The best of our 3 scoop lot was the Pistachio (and this is from a girl who doesn't really like pistachios) if only because it is very brave and liberal with the pistachio flavor. It is not vanilla with pistachio. No, this ice cream is unwaveringly PISTACHIO. As if the nuts were frozen then blended until they reached ice-cream consistency.

My friend's Chocolate Sorbet was my personal favorite. It's chocolate without any dairy added so the choclate tastes very potent and very dark. In fact, during the long weekend I came back to Gelatissimo and got my very own scoop.

No, I couldn't bring myself to finish the whole humongous scoop by myself but it's one of the best half-cones I've eaten so far. YUM!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

One More Week To Go: Tropezz Catering

It has been I think almost a week since my last post and I have been eating pre-packed meals from Tropezz Catering since then.

It sounds sad but, I can assure you, it is not. The pre-packed Southbeach Meals of Tropezz are far yummier than my usual fast food/ 711 run. Case in point, yesterday's lunch was a bowlful of crunchy lettuce housing 4 fat juicy shrimps swimming in what I think was a lemon butter vinaigrette. Or take last Saturday's dinner which was a tender chicken breast topped with a herbed parmagiana sauce and served with blanched asparagus.

In fact, today's dinner is something I'm really looking forward to (and yes I am aware that it is just 10:45am as I am writing this). From what I can tell it's braised pork ribs served with a cauliflower, asparagus and zucchini stir-fry. I stared at it for a good minute before putting it in the company ref, wondering if 10am was too early for dinner. (I don't have pictures now but I promise to post some before I devour it later. EDIT: Pictures posted! :D)

The thing I like best about this whole pre-packed deal is that I have no clue what the menu is and I only get to find out on the day of the delivery. And I find that exciting. It sure beats the monotony of choosing between Rice Meal A or B. And really, how often can I say that my baon was prepared by a chef.

Ang tagaaaal naman mag lunch!

Tropezz Catering can be contacted at 09178392630; Prices vary according to desired menu and delivery arrangement.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Southbeach Diet (To apease my family who thinks I plan to eat the world)

The irony (tama ba gamit ko?) of uploading this food blog and my most recent food adventures when I did is that I also recently committed to doing the South Beach Diet. And while my previous posts scream that I will fail in this endeavor miserably, the skinny bitch living deeeeeeeeeeeeep - as in 6 ft deep - inside of me thinks it's worth the long shot.

Besides. It's not as if carbohydrates is the only scrumptious food group. They only get the most publicity. For example there is a sashimi platter in Seryna (a Japanese restaurant at Makati Cinema Square) that deserves a whole blog-post-full of praises.
Or there is this Chicken Salad sold at Dome Eastwood Mall that can give a burger a run for its money.

I will miss rice (bye yang chow), miss bread (bye focaccia), miss pasta (bye lasagna) but the reviews will continue.

And if you don't want to read about vegetables. Don't worry. Beef is not a carb.

Happy long weekend everyone!

Friday Iskrambol: Iskrambol Rockwell Urban Bazaar

Before anyone thinks that I only eat meat, today I am reviewing a dessert.

Does anyone here remember skrambol? I'm not really sure what the exact ingredients are but people tell me that it's mainly crushed ice mixed with syrup, strawberry flavoring, chocolate syrup and powdered milk. In high school, a manong would sell this every dismissal time. He'd be standing just outside the school gate ready to pry what's left of the students' baon in exchange for this sweet treat.

But one day, my classmate (John Michael, hello!) bought a glass. And as he was happily eating it with his other friends, he took one last swig of his skrambol and what does he discover? He discovers a dead bangaw. Not lamok. Not langaw. BANGAW. (Big ass fly).

I have never tasted skrambol before that incident and I never did hence. Until today.

At Rockwell Mall's Urban Bazaar is a colorful stall manned by 2 lovely ladies. Their ware? Iskrambol. And just like other things that are now preceded by an I (Ipad, Ipod, Iphone...), this was also touted to be the skrambol to end all other skrambols. Not only was it priced at an affordable 20 pesos (for a large cup. It's 10 pesos for a small cup), it is also guaranteed to be made in sanitary conditions. Best of all, real strawberries were used to give it that extra worthy-of-Rockwell X factor.

I ordered a cup and asked for extra choco sprinkles on top. I closed my eyes, held my breath, and ate it.

And I loved it! It was smooth and creamy and the strawberries tasted real and not at all mediciney. And the chocolate sprinkles contrasted well with the iskrambol's overall sweet-sour fruity taste.

There were no unwanted surprises to be found at the end of the cup either. Just a hunger for more.

Catch Iskrambol at Rockwell's Urban Bazaar from Aug 27 - Aug 29 2010.

Free Steak!: Myron's Place Greenbelt

Yesterday, my team's metals turned into a grilled cow.

Our ECD treated me and my officemates to Myron's Place at Greenbelt 5. Not one to turn down the offer of free food, I was there the moment the clock struck 12 noon.

The waiters and the staff were really friendly and accommodating but it does not hasten food service. You really have to allow at least 15 mins. for your orders (may it be a main or an appetizer) to arrive.

But not to worry because Myron's has the best free bread in the whole wide world.

It's a warm, soft, sweet rye bread served with butter. You don't have to take my word on how comfortingly delicious the bread was. You can just ask the waitress how many refills of that bread we requested ALL THROUGH OUT THE MEAL. We probably wiped their stock clean. Trust me. It's divine.

The gluttony continued with a set of appetizers.

First off was the Mushroom Crostini. Let me just say right now that I love cheese. I just love it. And the Mushroom Crostini was just a cheese-lovers fantasy. It was melted cheese porn. I loved every bite of the crunchy bread drowning in cheese with an occasional mushroom popping out to complete the experience. YUM YUM YUM.

Then came what Myron's calls The Best Beef Hash...Ever! If you love sisig, you'll love this. Because it tastes the same except Myron's version is beefed up with, well, Angus Beef. The diced deep fried potatoes on top gives this dish a lovely finishing touch.

We also ordered Skewered Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp with Romesco Sauce, Rissoto Balls with Chorizo and Mesclun Salad with Tuna but they were not as memorable. In fact, I'd even say the shrimp wasn't good.

But we weren't here for appetizers were we? We were here for BEEF! And I ordered 240g of it. Presenting Bianca's Choice Steak - a slice of medium rare Angus Beef topped with Foie Gras, with a siding of baked potato, served with 5 choices of sauce.

240g is a LOT of beef. And my steak already cooled down considerably before I could even finish half of it. It was juicy and tender and cooked really well. And though not as tasty on it's own, the sauces made it come alive. My favorites were Peppercorn and the Shiraz-Cabernet Shallot Jus. That steak just made my day. In fact I took a cellphone picture of it just so I could MMS it to people and make them jealous. Then I took the digicam picture below to make the Internet jealous. Hehe.

Then I devoured it. Like a wolf that has been crossing desserts for days, I pounced on that cow and left nary a trace. Nor did any of my other officemates.

Our metals have become a cow. And the cow became an empty plate.

And as we complained about how tight our pants were getting and how we could no longer stand up, we summoned the waiter over and ordered dessert. Chocolate Mousse, Bread Pudding and Chocolate Fondue to be exact.

I don't have any recollection of how we managed to roll ourselves out of Greenbelt 5 and back into our office cubicles but one thing was for sure, if that meal was meant to motivate us then I say mission accomplished.

I'd win a metal to get to eat a Myron's steak again. Heck, I'd win to eat that rye bread again.