Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hand-pulled noodles anyone?

As part of our Rizal Rediscovery tour, we walked around Binondo for some authentic Chinese food. (Now that I typed it in, it doesn’t make sense.)
Anyway, we went to this small noodle shop called Lan Zhou La Mien (no, I wasn’t able to read the signage… I relied on what our “tour guide” told me).
We ordered Beef Lamien (PHP120), Beef Kan Pan Lamien (PHP130), Ba Bao Sha Guo Lamien (PHP140) and pork dumplings (PHP100). Our other friend ordered Seafood Lamien as she’s vegetarian.
While waiting for our food... we watched how the noodles were made.

First dishes to arrive were the Beef Lamien and the Beef Kan Pan Lamien. Well, the two are pretty much the same only the latter does not have soup. I prefer the Beef Lamien because I can’t help associate noodles with soup. Also, I find the Kan Pan Lamien a bit hard to swallow. A bit thick for me.
Beef Lamien
Beef Kan Pan Lamien
The beef however was very tender and flavorful. It was not salty at all and I’d say that it was seasoned well. Also, the noodles played a major part in the dish. You’d know that the noodles were cooked well. Chewy but not hard or of the texture of overly cooked rice.
Ba Bao Sha Guo Lamien
I wasn’t able to try the Ba Bao Sha Guo Lamien but I was told that some ingredients added were quite bland. I just took one quail egg so I can’t really comment about it.
Pork dumplings... not really photogenic. :(
The pork dumplings on the other hand were just right. Not really outstanding. I had better pork dumplings. I also prefer dipping it in soy sauce but the only one available there was black vinegar. I’m not very sure if that’s the proper way to eat dumplings as I am not really fond of Chinese food (though I’m Chinese).
We “stared” at the restaurant that served vegetarian dumplings. I’ll try that one next time.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My first kiss…

Okay, it was my second… with The Chocolate Kiss that is.
I still remember what I ordered when I first visited The Chocolate Kiss—their famous Devil’s Food Cake (slice: PHP70; whole: PHP700) with all of the gooey marshmallow goodness. It was really good. It deserved to be the  cafĂ©’s bestseller. Moist and flavorful yet you won’t easily get tired of it. It wasn’t very sweet either but still pleases the palate of a sugar-craving foodie.
Devil's Food Cake
Since I don’t like ordering the same thing twice, I ordered something different when I “accidentally” visited it last week (we were supposed to go on a picnic but Mother Nature was in a bad mood that day). I ordered Dayap Chiffon Cake (slice: PHP80; whole: PHP800) since the server told us that it is one of their best sellers. My friends ordered the Devil’s Food Cake and Carrot Cake (slice: PHP70; whole: PHP700).
Yey!!! The cakes have arrived. Happy… uh… day.
I was pretty disappointed that they did not serve the cakes nicely for picture purposes. Oh well… cake is still cake.
Now to taste the #2 (or was it #3?) best selling cake…
Dayap Chiffon Cake
It was… not something I will order again. I guess I am not fond of citrus cakes. It reminds me of cough syrup for some reason. Then again if you like dishes with a bit of tangy taste, then this is a must try.
The carrot cake on the other hand was nothing spectacular. It was moist and good but it is at par with the other carrot cakes I’ve tried before.
Carrot Cake
After having our desserts and on our way to have lunch (yes, we sometimes eat that way), I realized that I have never tried their savory dishes. I now have an instant reason to go back (and try the cheesecakes).

The Chocolate Kiss is located at the G/F Ang Bahay ng Alumni, R. Magsaysay St., University of the Philippines campus, Quezon City

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Restaurant Discovery: Kulinarya Kitchen

I still can’t believe it that I never noticed Kulinarya Kitchen before. When I saw it last July 17, 2011, I uttered, “Hey, new restaurant! Let’s dine here!” not knowing that this restaurant has been around for quite some time now (or so what my officemates told me).
We were like a bunch of curious George(s) reading the description of the dishes we fancy. What caught my eye was the Herb-Crusted Lamb Chops, PHP 525. (SPECIALTY ALERT!) It was a bit pricey so we had it split into two.
We also ordered Cream of Squash Soup, PHP150 (SPECIALTY ALERT again!), Crispy Chicken Fingers, PHP 240 (as we are French fries lovers) and a pitcher of their house iced tea.
The Cream of Squash Soup arrived first and it was… okay. It was not the type that will make my small eyes bigger but it was good enough. It was creamy and most importantly, it tasted like squash… not water or bacon… but 100% squash.
Next served was the Crispy Chicken Fingers. Served with mushroom gravy and white sauce that tasted like sour cream and onions, it is the perfect meal for the little tykes. Crispy and yummy! (By yummy, I do not mean that it way better compared to the chicken tenders of Tender Bob but it was of the same level).
Finally, LAMB CHOPS. Well, the photo makes it look like the serving was extremely stingy but we had it split into two. The creamy mushroom risotto complemented the lamb chops really well. The lamb chops were tender and were seasoned just right. It was one delightful dish.
Since we Filipinos love desserts, we ordered Suman Latik Fritters and Mango FlambĂ©, PHP180. It was a wrong choice for we were very full already. We just wanted something sweet to cap off the meal. In the end we didn’t enjoy it. It was good but there was just no more room for it. (Plus the mangoes were a bit sour.)
I will definitely go back for more of Kulinarya Kitchen’s delectable dishes. I noticed that they also serve margarita. Tempting. J

 Kulinarya is located at P1 Power Plant, Rockwell.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Filipino Food + Art = Balaw-Balaw

2011 is the 150th year of our National hero Jose P. Rizal and the Department of Tourism spearheaded Lakbay Jose Rizal @ 150, a good way for everyone to rediscover the Philippines (or at least the parts where Rizal went).
This July 16, 2011, we went to Antipolo to visit the Antipolo Church. Rizal went there with his father when he was seven years old for a pilgrimage to the Virgin of Antipolo.
Anyway, what I wanted to highlight in this trip was our dinner at Balaw-Balaw (also known as a native sauce made from shrimps and rice) which is a restaurant/art museum.

Since we were a big group, we decided to order their Balaw-Balaw group platter (PHP1160). It was a huge rice topping meal with fish, mussels, clams, crabs, abodo, salted eggs, tomatoes, egg plants, and pork, among others. The waiter told us though that 2 orders of that was not enough for a group of 20 (kinda) hungry travelers. But we decided to stick to the 2 orders. And to our surprise, 2 orders were more than enough. Perhaps their disclaimer of it being good for 5 people is for 5 GIANTS.
This picture wasn't able to capture how big the pot was but it was similar to the size of a huge baby tub.
We had a feast. The toppings were not outstanding but very filling. I find the fish too salty though and the pork too hard. There were also some fish that are not cooked well thus an ugly after taste. L
The highlight of that night was UOK, larva of beetles cooked like adobo (PHP300). I admit; I was grossed out when I saw it. It looked like fat hairy worms. But since I want to try something different (okay, exotic), I tried it… and instantly fell in love with it. It looked gross but it was really good. A bit salty because it was cooked like adobo, but it was like crab meat in hard longganisa skin seasoned like adobo.   
Uok :)
I find it a bit overpriced though since it was PHP300 for 9 pieces. I was lucky though since I managed to get three. J
Overall, the dining experience was good. The ambiance was pleasant and rather entertaining.
I will definitely look for more Uok  in Manila. Hopefully, it will be cheaper.
Balaw-Balaw is located at #16 Dona Justa Subdivision, Angono Rizal

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Max’s Chicken-All-You-Can 2011

I can’t believe it when I saw the post on Entrepreneur Philippines’ wall announcing that Max’s decided to bring back the well-loved Chicken-All-You-Can.
I still remember my first time to try Max's Chicken-All-You-Can and I managed to eat 3 pieces of chicken. Quite shameful compared to how much my friends were able to eat. Thus this year, my goal was to get at least 4 pieces (1 whole chicken).
I went with my boss this time and we dined at Robinsons Forum. Thinking that the place will not be crowded compared to high traffic malls such as Megamall, we went at 7:30pm.
We had to wait for 30 minutes before getting a table. Not so bad compared to other eat-all-you-can restaurants.
The first piece.
We finally had our first chicken. We finished it in less than 10 minutes and asked for more. The second and third one arrived quickly and we munched and munched and munched.
We were pretty full already but as mentioned, I MUST HAVE 4 PIECES to break my record.
We finally got our last piece after getting the attention of the waiters thrice and waiting for 5 minutes (apparently, they ran out of chicken and had to fry another batch).
While forcing ourselves to eat the last piece for the night, the server asked us if we want hot water. We declined and asked for iced water instead. (We found out late that the hot water was to help avoid aching tummies.)
Finally, we officially had 4 pieces each and one PHP20 gift certificate (we thought that the gift certificate goes with the chicken-all-you-can but apparently, you need P200 to get one gift certificate and our bill was PHP398!).
Today's the last day of Max's Chicken-All-You-Can. I can't wait for next year. Goal: 5 pieces! :)