Sunday, January 31, 2010

Caffe La Lotte

Another Chinese haunt this time at the Paco Area. This is the sister company of Sincerity, a popular Chinese destination in China Town. This outlet has more choices but I notice people come here for their fried chicken and so that was what we got.

The fried chicken was really really good. It was cut up into bite sizes that was crispy on the outside but juicy inside. The sign says they do not use MSG but I suspect they do because you feel thirsty and your head gets kind of heavy after. Or perhaps because i finished half of it?!?! :p

We also got kalderetang kambing which was weird to find in a Chinese restaurant I think. Maybe because they have many drinkers in the house? Their kalderetang kambing is one of the best I have tasted. It is hot and spicy and no trace of goat meat's "anggo"(?!?)

Glorietta Food Trip

I seriously cannot recall the last time I went to Glorietta. After the bombing, I consciously stayed away from it and just went to Mall of Asia, Eastwood Mall or Robinson's Midtown.

Last Friday though, Chef had a meeting there and has asked me to follow so we can have dinner together. We first had to stay at Burger King because I needed to send a few work items over. Bless BK for their free wifi! :)

We then agreed to go to the foodcourt to check what's there. We were first lured into President's stall, a popular Binondo place but their food that time did not look fresh nor appetizing so we decided to walk further. As we were walking, I cannot help but be pleased with the interior make over. Chairs and tables were replaced with more comfortable and stylish ones and lit dividers accentuated the place. It seemed like a good alternative to hang around especially when you're on a budget hehe.

Towards the other end of the food court (near the Bizu area) are two stalls that got us interested:

Go Greek!
I told you I love Cyma and this to me was the cheaper alternative. Since I wasnt able to have Cyma's Lamb Chop, I got the Lamb Chop platter which came with rice and salad for only, are you ready for this, PHP 195! It was love at first bite hahaha. The serving portion is just right for me and the grilling was perfect. Chef got 4 dressings but I don't know what they were called.

New Bombay Canteen
I have come to love this place since the first time I tried it at the Sagittarius Building in Dela Costa. Now they have a branch at the Columns and this one at the Food Court. I wasn't in the mood for Indian though that night, but Chef said this was really good. I also don't know the name hahaha

We had our favorite churros con chocolate. I don't know what's with Dulcinea but everytime we go there, there would always be funny characters we run into it. Like the last time, there was a seemingly well to do family with a beautiful mom and daughter bashing a classmate (Daughter: And you know what momma, that girl is a bitch! haha) and this visit, there were two ladies talking about lovelife perhaps (Lady: I don't know if assuming lang ba ako or what :p). Okay fine, we love to eavesdrop hahaha

You better...Eat Well!

Chef's Chef friend, who happens to be Chinese tells of a good but affordable Chinese restaurant at the Fort. Everytime we pass by that area we always wonder whether we would like it or not. And so finally, one Friday night, we decided to give it a try.

Eat Well! Delicious Kitchen. That's the full name of the restaurant. When you hear a restaurant name like that, your gut always tells you, it's authentic Chinese :p

Apprarently, the one in charge in the kitchen is Chef Law Kwok Keung who used to be a Chef at the Shangri-la. Here you can find most of the usual Chinese fare you have come to love: Dimsum, Noodles, Rice Topping, Sauteed Dishes, etc.

We ordered:

Seafood Hot and Sour Soup
My hands down favorite soup. You can have the order split into two

Steamed Shrimp Dumplings or Hakao
My exposure to Manila Chinese restaurants might be limited but to me, this has been the best Hakao I have ever tasted.

Steamed Chicken Rice
White Chicken with lots of ginger and leeks

Roast Duck Rice
What can I say, duck makes me happy.

For dessert, Chef had Chilled Almond Jelly with Mango Sago. I wish I can articulate what it tasted like but Chef devoured it in less than a minute

Cyma Greek Taverna

Cyma is one of those places I consider going to whenever I feel like celebrating or rewarding myself. To many, Cyma may come across as a usual place but to a regular wage earner like I am, Cyma is already bliss :p

I have only been to Cyma at Greenbelt and Eastwood Mall. I have yet to try the original one in Boracay. That would be pretty neat, having Greek right beside the sea.

The food is consistently excellent in both outlets however, ambience-wise, I much prefer the one at the Eastwood Mall Veranda where you can dine al fresco. Al fresco dining at the Veranda from Ber months all the way to February is a treat especially with the romantic night breeze. I have good news for Erap, this branch doesn't charge for ambience hahaha okay that was corny :p

Although a bit pricey for me, I still think there's value for money because their servings are always for sharing. For this visit, we feasted on:

Tonno Salata

This is an original recipe of Chef Robby Goco. It has perfectly seared Ahi tuna with fresh mixed greens, baked onions, Gavros or anchovies, for us mere mortals, bell peppers, black olives, marinated potatoes, green beans, boiled eggs and feta cheese that provides saltiness to the mix. Dressing is Cyma's own Summer Herb Vinaigrette. We have asked the food attendant to already split this into two.


I was really craving for lamb chops but it was expensive hahaha so we decided to get this one. This dish has baked lamb with orzo or rice shaped pasta served with grated parmesan, parsley and extra virgin olive oil. From the picture, you can already tell there was too much butter or perhaps too much EVOO?!? Nonetheless, it was pretty greasy but very delicious. It was my first time to try orzo so when I first saw it, I thought, it was arborio rice! Of course when I tasted it, it tasted like any other regular pasta except it was rice-shaped. The entire time, I was finishing the dish, my mind still could not properly process that it was pasta I was having hahaha weird. Anyway, this dish is a bit heavy so be sure to squeeze in some lemon for a little bit of tanginess.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Double Surprise, Aylavet!

So we're one of those cheeseball couples who celebrate monthsaries hahaha! December 8th was only our 7th month so I didn't really plan for anything. I just saved a reminder in Chef's phone and anyway, Chef said we won't be able to go out on the 8th because he has an office thing. He said he was just gonna cook dinner on the 7th since our trusted house angel is on vacation and I cannot be trusted in the kitchen :p

I picked him up at the lobby of our place (until now, the guards at the lobby still think he's up to no good hahaha) at around 7. He was carrying a small plastic bag and he said it has Dory in it. Aylayk! When we got to our place, he unpacked the package and guess what was in there...

...USDA Steak!!!

It was super yummy. In fact, truth be told, I like the taste of USDA better than Wagyu. Making steak is very simple. In high heat, place the butter (President is the Chef's butter of choice) and then place the meat. Cooking time is only 5-10 minutes. Oh but before that, you have to season the meat with salt and place it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes. I don't know why, I just saw Chef do it perhaps it's to lock the salt or to make it easier to cook. Toldya I cannot be trusted in the kitchen hahaha. Anyway, you can top the steak with butter.It's super yummy served that way.

The next day, I was getting frustrated because the whole day, I only got a couple of one-liner texts from Chef. Finally around dinner time, he asked me to pass by his office. So I did. When I got there, he was carrying a paper bag, put it at the back and said those were planners for my sisters and then he said he needed to go back to work again. He texted when I left to remind me of the "planners". I was naturally pissed, I cried driving home hahaha.

When I got to the parking and was about to go down, I remembered the paper bag at the back. I was a bit intrigued why it seemed almost weightless and decided to snoop around. The first thing that I saw was this:

And inside the paper bag was:

Aylavet! Thank you chef! :)

Halal Resto in The Metro

Sitti's Greenhills Food Court

Sitti's Market! Market! Food Court

If you are a Muslim and you live in the Metro just like I do, chances are you are constantly plagued by the same question everytime you eat...where to eat and what to eat that does not have pork.

Luckily, if you are in Market! Market! or in Greenhills, you can feast on Halal dishes at Sitti's Halal Food Hauz. Why people name their restaurants "food hauz" with a "z" is beyond me but never mind that. Sitti's serve mostly Tausug cuisine although I've seen sisigs and steaks in their menu perhaps to attract a broader customer base.

We ordered Tiyulah Itum, Pyanggang and Satti. For first time eaters, I am pretty sure you will be shocked when you get to see these dishes. Here's why:

Tiyulah Itum
Tiyulah Itum is a black soup as in super black. This is the Tausug's version of the tinola without the papaya slices and chili leaves. It is a dark spicy broth of beef seasoned with ginger and chili. Chef said it also has turmeric and the black color came from toasted coconut flesh that takes quite a while to make i.e. you roast it and once it's burnt, you scrape it and roast the next layer until you finish the whole coconut! The first time I saw it, I was very hesitant to taste it because it seriously looked like soup with powdered charcoal but when I took my first sip, I was in love :)

Pyanggang is roasted chicken smothered with toasted coconut flesh. I forgot to ask Chef how to make it as I was busy devouring our treats. Anyway, this dish looks like the chicken was rolled into powdered charcoal. It's salty and spicy and worth raving about.

Satti is actually a breakfast dish in Zamboanga and Jolo areas. It's cut up sticky rice floating in sambal sause topped with three to four little sticks of beef barbecue. Of the three, this is the dish that I didn't have a lot of because it's on the sweet side.

Tausug cuisine, according to Chef is one of the more advanced in the area. It was not influenced by Hispanic cooking therefore you find a lot of chili, turmeric, coconut and their cooking. Thanks to Sitti, we can now have a taste of Tausug cuisine without going all the way to Jolo! The best is that, the dishes are all under a hundred! Yay! Happiness! :)