So I am trying to revive foodiemanila. Here’s a little taste of what we have upcoming on the blog. I’ve added new writers and sources. Hope you guys can try it and leave a comment at the bottom about the taste and how to tweak it!
So I am trying to revive foodiemanila. Here’s a little taste of what we have upcoming on the blog. I’ve added new writers and sources. Hope you guys can try it and leave a comment at the bottom about the taste and how to tweak it!
Casa Verde in Cebu is a staple, must-visit place when you first land in Cebu. I’ve been hearing about their monster burgers and unbeatable ribs that I JUST HAD to try according to a lot of my Cebuano friends. When most of my non-cebuano friends also raved about the place I just had to demystify the entire “What’s up with Casa Verde?”
YakitoriÂ (ç„¼ãé³¥/ã‚„ãã¨ã‚Š/ãƒ¤ã‚ãƒˆ), or grilled chicken is now open at the fort Burgos Circle. From the same people who brought you Ramen Bar, comes to you one of the most authentic japanese yakiniku restaurants.
When I saw the restaurant from outside, everything was quite simple and yet almost the entire restaurant was full. We were glad to be seated quickly and the service was polite and efficient.
Upon seating, the servers will hand you a piece of paper and you basically tick off which one you want to try and customize your whole dining experience.
I was quite excited and yet overwhelmed with all the choices. I quickly asked for the best-sellers and was quickly prepared.
Every Filipino has his or her own preference regarding food, most especially when it comes to Filipino Food. It is a tough task to enter native cuisine restaurant business, somehow you just can’t get it right. Whether it be too salty, or too sweet, or not enough seasoning, one has the tough task of having to live up to the dishes your mom or grandmom used to prepare. Its just the way things are. Nothing can live up to your mom’s cooking. But every now and there breaks unto the scene a star and man among boys and this is Kainan Au Gusto. With its peculiarity and in your face character, you would be surprised why I would regard this as the quintessential Filipino restaurant I’ve eaten at to date. Cheap, full of flavor and character, and most of all tasty, this restaurant, to quote our most prolific mall, has got it all.
I’ve always been asked about those special niche places where dining is at its best and not everyone frequents it. I have an aversion towards restos in Malls because they tend to go for the generic taste which drives traffic rather than the authenticity and of the meal. Don’t get me wrong, I know quite a few restos in malls which do offer quite good cuisine, but I am more inclined towards those hidden gems scattered all over the metro.
Tsumura is definitely one of them. Hidden in the heart of the Makati CBD, lies one of the most authentic Japanese restos. Being heralded and a nominee for one of Manila’s Best Kept Secrets for Japanese cuisine, Tsumura actually is a place you must check out at least once in your life.
I love breakfast. Whether it be a Filipino breakfast with atsara, tapa/tocino/hotdog, sinangag, pritong itlog, at kape or a continental breakfast with eggs benedict, bacon, waffles, and sausages complete with marmalade and some orange juice, breakfast food is just awesome. Since I am in Singapore, I couldn’t pass up the chance to go try some authentic Singaporean breakfast. So last Sunday, I got up at 8 am and start strolling the streets for a quaint Kopi Tiam.
What is a Kopi Tiam?
AÂ kopitiam orÂ kopi tiam is a traditionalÂ breakfast andÂ coffee shop found inÂ Southeast Asia. The word is aÂ portmanteau of theÂ Malay word forcoffee (as borrowed and altered from theÂ Portuguese) and theÂ Hokkien dialect word forÂ shop (åº—;Â POJ: tiÃ m). Menus typically feature simple offerings: a variety of foods based onÂ egg,Â toast, andÂ kaya, plusÂ coffee,Â tea, andÂ Milo, a malted chocolate drink which is extremely popular in Southeast Asia, particularly Singapore, Malaysia and Riau Islands.
Kopi tiams in Singapore are commonly found in almost all residential areas as well as some industrial and business districts in the country, numbering about 2,000 in total. Although most are an aggregate of small stalls or shops, some may be more reminiscent ofÂ food courts, although each stall has similar appearance and the same style of signage.
In a typical kopi tiam, the drinks stall is usually run by the owner who sells coffee, tea, soft drinks, and other beverages as well as breakfast items likeÂ kaya toast,Â soft-boiled eggs and snacks. The other stalls are leased by the owner to independent stallholders who prepare a variety of food dishes, often featuring theÂ cuisine of Singapore. Traditional dishes from different ethnicities are usually available at kopitiams so that people from different ethnic backgrounds and having different dietary habits could dine in a common place and even at a common table.
Kopitiam is also the name of a food court chain in Singapore.
Some of the more common foods that can be seen in kopi tiams, besides the ever-popular eggs and toast, consist of char kway tiao (fried hor fun, sometimes cooked with eggs and cockles), Hokkien mee (mee noodles served with various seafoods as well as egg) and, possibly the most common, nasi lemak, or coconut rice (a Malay dish of coconut-flavoured rice, served with sambal chilli paste, egg, and ikan billis or anchovies).
It took no less than 5 minutes to chance upon a Kopi Tiam. I found it at the corner of Rocher Canal Rd and Short Street. I entered and quickly looked for the open stall. The Auntie who was there was very accommodating. Although initially she tried to speak to me in Chinese. Only 1/4 of which I understood. (Ok I really am going for Mandarin classes when I get back to Manila!) I ordered Set A which consisted of Kaya Toast, 2 Soft boiled eggs and a drink. I didn’t want coffee or tea since I can have those anytime, so I went with Milk Tea. The entire meal cost me about $5 I think.
I took my tray back to one of the many empty tables and sat. There was a light breeze and the sun shone brightly which just lifted my spirits. I love breakfast. I am the few who relish breakfast alone. It allows me to gather my thoughts and prepare for the day.
The eggs were perfectly done. I guess over time they have perfected the way to boil these eggs just right to get the perfect combination of firm whites with the yolk just runny. It was just the way I liked it. The kaya toast was also just right. The thin slice of bread not burnt but toasted just perfectly. It allowed the Kaya to just burst with flavor upon biting into the toast. For the uninitiated, Kaya is made of eggs, sugar and coconut milk and flavored withÂ pandan. Don’t get me wrong. The place was nothing special nor was it fancy or a MUST-TRY. But it was on my list. I wanted to try a general Singaporean breakfast.
Sitting in the heart of Old Makati, along what used to be called Reposo St. (now called N.Garcia) lies a quaint little italian restaurant. I had already heard about this resto from some other foodies and was delighted to be invited over for a special lunch with traditional press people over at L’Incontro.
Reposo, which means repose or rest, was so adequately named that I sometimes wonder why they even changed it. With trees looming over the narrow street, and rows and rows of tiny restaurants just waiting to be explored. This place had some mystique over it. I guess the area is/was really pleasant as it was called Plesantero or pleasant place during the Spanish times. It was even believed that the famous composer Nicanor Abelardo wrote his famous La Perla del Pasig, the Mutya ng Pasig in his rest house near the river along Reposo.
L’Incontro which means “The Meeting Place” is aptly called so because at first glance, the place just fees homey. There was a certain comfort that usually dissipates with top grade food which just feels downright intimidating. The high ceilings and the decor did provide the air of sophistication, but the knowledgable and friendly staff just made me feel at home and comfortable with asking questions about the menu. (Half of which I couldn’t pronounce!) The place was just subtly beautiful. I would look out the huge multi-paned windows and just feel like I’ve been transported into Italy as the entire feel and look was just about right. Nothing overboard, there was no hard-sell, the place just spoke for itself. Although, I was one of the last to arrive, we still had to wait for some people of the media to arrive. Apertif’s (Something usually enjoyed as an appetizer before a large meal, such as Campari, Cinzano Prosecco, Aperol, Spritz, Vermouth) were being passed around. I was glad to say that I enjoyed my Peach Bellini. I was definitely eager for more.
When the entire press core (yes, the blogger me is part of a press core!) arrived, we were ushered into the lanai as a group table was prepared. We all took our seats and the gracious host and owner Ms. Tina Pamintuan just expressed her gratitude in taking the time out to try out her restaurant. (Little did I know, that it would be OUR pleasure!) We all took our seats and gladly engaged each other in small talk. The first course arrived which serves as our Antipasto. (Literally it means before the meal, hot or cold appetizers) Insalata Caprese (Zonin â€“ Prosecco Special Cuvee Brut) was served to me. I don’t usually eat tomatoes in whole or cut form, but this was just too appealing to pass up. Layered of slices of pomodori & mozzarella di bufala drizzled w/ olive oil lay on my plate and I just devoured it. I enjoyed the sweet juiciness of the tomato with the saltiness of the cheeses. It definitely set the mood right for the upcoming dishes.
As the last remnants of the Antipasto was consumed, wine was quickly poured into one of several glasses that were laid out in front of us. Kendall-Jackson 2007 Camelot-Chardonnay was a bit of a sour wine and was bubbly. I don’t usually drink wine, but I enjoyed this particular one because although it hinted at alcohol, the taste was subdued and it was quite refreshing.
The wine was paired with the first course or primo as they call it. Crispella Tartuffo was served. At first glance the dish seemed unassuming. It sat there like any other dish, ready to be consumed. But upon first taste and closer inspection (with a bit of prodding) I found out that it is actualy a layer of thin crepe w/ Italian ham and Mozarella Cheese, topped w/ creamy truffle cream sauce w/ fresh button mushroom. Sounds like a mouthful right? Don’t worry it is. It tasted every bit of the way it sounded. Awesome. The saltiness of the cheese and ham, just went over well with the creamy and buttery goodness of the truffle sauce. I thought this would be the dish of the afternoon for me.
And since the trend of wine pairing was already started, Carmen Reserva 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon was poured into one of the bigger glasses. I didn’t quite enjoy this wine as the alcohol taste was too strong, (obviously not a wine connoisseur here but I do know what I like and don’t like!) but I heard it was supposed to be paired with a fish.
The secondo was first brought out, showed to the diners, and then taken back to be cut and deboned for you. I actually enjoyed this bit since the reason I don’t enjoy eating fish is because of the whole deboning process you have to do as compared to just enjoying the meal. It was paired with a homemade aioli sauce. The Seabass Al Sala or Baked local seabass (apahap) covered in rock salt was just one of the best tasting fish dishes I’ve tasted. The first impression was that it would taste salty because of all the salt, but since the process was to bake the fish it locked it all the tastes of the sea and kept moisture in it making the fish tender and moist. The aioli just went perfectly with the dish adding that little bit of oomph at the end.
Just to add variety, another secondo which means second course usually the main dish which is a fish or meat was served. Roast Beef Tagliata con Rucola with the contorno (which means side dish, usually a salad or cooked vegetables) Roasted Rosemary Potatoes, Onion Gratin, & Arugula Salad was laid out on the table before us.
Being a meat lover, I knew this was going to be good. The steak or roast beef looked like it was just done perfectly. The juiciness and flavors of the meet was brought out by the perfect way of cooking. These were no amateurs in preparing their meats and it showed in their roast beef. Served on a wood slab, it preserved the juices and boy did I enjoy this dish. The texture and softness of the meat quietly masked by the simple elegance that is roast beef.
I thought the dish couldn’t get any better. I was wrong. A quick scoop of the onion gratin meant that I was in foodie heaven. The caramelized onions and the slightly toasted cheese on top just meant for such a wonderful experience. Just these two things along should make you already try L’Incontro.
Now what would an Italian lunch be without its wine and cheese right? FORMAGGIO e FRUITTA – 4 kinds of cheese w/ dried fruits were served on a special marble slab. Combination of four types of cheeses, which are Parmegiano Reggiano (dry & flaky), Caramelized Brie (sweet & creamy), Gorgonzola (creamy, sharp, & spicy) and Cheese Log (soft). I don’t know much about cheeses, but I did enjoy the Parmegiano Reggiano. But I think more than the cheeses I enjoyed the wine that came with it.
Natalie Sweet 2007 Syrah was a wine I definitely had too much off. I loved it. Not being big on wine, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this one. Only hinting at alcohol, it was sweet and light. Reminded me somewhat of Bellinis that I quite enjoyed.
And finally for dessert, DOLCE e CAFFE â€“ Affogato = Gelato di Nocciola + Espresso + Amaretto Liqeur + Biscotti Croutons.
This would have been awesome, but I think either I put too much Amaretto or the Liqueur was just a bit too strong for the taste. I love this dish and have it as much as possible when I go to my other favorite italian place (that I have not featured yet!)
The nice thing about affogato is the novelty of the idea. Pouring in a hot espresso and some liqueur onto a scoop of gelato was a bit of conflicting and yet it somehow melded together.
And finally just to wash things off, Digestivo Limoncello. It was like a shot of lemon vodka or tequila. I tried not having this as by this time I was a bit buzzed already.
Just like in italian movies, the italian lunch was filled with great food, some great wine, and even better company and stories. The festive mood that was lunch at L’Incontro was reminiscent of that of some great lunches in Italy. Not only was the food somewhat authentic but the overall experience and ambiance of the place was real. I thank Ms. Tina Pamintuan for not only welcoming us into her new restaurant and venture, but also for whisking me albeit for a few hours, away from Manila and into Italy. It was truly an experience worth writing about.
Lâ€™incontro is located at 207 N. Garcia (formerly Reposo) St., Makati City
For Reservations call
899 0638 / 899 0642
Its been a week since the initial taste test was conducted, and based on the comments I got last week, we have improved the recipe as well as variety of burgers. This time around I came prepared as well. With the right equipment as well as right lighting techniques. I knew I was going to be styling the food.
With each dish being prepped for my styling skills (or rather whatever I thought looked pretty and yummy!) I washed my hands and got down to it! It was raining burgers galore and at the end of the day was proud of how I did.
The Burgers looked plump and juicy and rightfully so because they were. The task for me was to capture the moment. I had my doubts on whether I did have the skills to do so. What do you think? Do you think I did the food justice?
The Burgers got bigger and bigger, and more complicated by the minute. The sauces, toppings, and variety just kept rolling off the grill and I had to pick up the styling as well as the shooting.
I am proud to say that every burger on this blog post is something I can come up with on my own as well. I promise to do this for my friends, (FAB 5 I mean you guys when you are free!) and my online friends as well. It does take some time to come up with each burger so better that I prepare ahead of time!
Expect the resto to open within the year! And I just got word that YES I WILL BE GIVING AWAY GCs on this blog for this place. As to how much, that is yet to be discussed. Also, I am giving away a prize to the reader who can give me a creative name for each burger found on this blog. The person we choose with the best name that best describes that burger will get that burger specially made by me! How about that! Just leave your email underneath in the comments section and we will inform you if you won!
Carlos aka. The Chubbychef
Every now and then blogging does have its perks. The other day a friend of mine invited me to be the official taste tester for his upcoming project. I took up the burden (yes the burden!) of having to go through the burgers, fries, buffalo wings, and a beers for his up-coming resto. Since I can’t really name who my friend is, where his resto will open up, when, what the concept is, and the different burgers and the toppings, I’ll just let the photos speak for itself.
The thing is, I came into this tasting with pre-conceived notions. (Yep just like we discussed in Philo Class) I knew what I wanted to taste, what I didn’t want to taste. Another positive side again is learning and relearning stuff I knew from way back. Ever hear about Brunoise? I learned how to do it! (despite almost chopping a finger off! My blade work needs polishing!) Without further ado, I give you, THE SECRET TASTE TEST.
I call it a secret taste test because the recipes for this one are all secret and will be essential to the success of an up and coming resto. Don’t worry I’ll be blogging where and when the resto opens. I might even give away some GCs. (working on it!) But the best part for me was the Buffalo Wings. They were exactly what I wanted in terms of what I expect from Buffalo Wings. The Taste, the texture, the exact amount of spicyness, the explosion on your tongue when you first make contact, the lingering hotness in your mouth, and the line it draws in your throat when you swallow. They all burn and yet some how very very tasty. It was soo good, I had to take more than 1 picture!
We made the dip. The dip we made was Bleu Cheese. Again we used and did something different to the sauce to perfectly compliment the taste. And it worked beautifully. It was like a little symphony of taste and hotness in my mouth. I was literally hearing angels with bells and trumpets singing “allelujah” with every bite. (Ok so I’m exaggerating! But they were damn good!)
It was a great afternoon. Filled with cooking, learning, shooting, and even styling. I wish I could spend more afternoons like these. Maybe I should open up sign-ups for some readers to come over and eat.
Whatcha guys think? Leave a comment please! I would love to hear from you guys!
Written by: Jane Chua of Between Bites
Tuesday night, Bubba, Zips and I trudged to Jupiter Street to meet Eva Wong, the wits behind creative chocolate at the fabulously posh Maitre Chocolatier Boutique CafÃ©. Eva is Bubbaâ€™s long time friend but she can easily pass off as his cousin as well since they share the same family name.
Situated along the street of Jupiter in Makati, this chocolate boutiqueâ€™s interiors is smartly decorated with plush furniture that are foxy, modern and posh â€“and all the chocolate sweets around create a romantic vibe perfect mood setting for a date. Last time I was here, service was less inclined. Forgivable since we visited during the first months of operation. Restaurants usually have their birthing pains and if youâ€™re impressionable, itâ€™s only safe to visit on 3rd or 4th month when the kinks have been finally ironed out. Service was more enthusiastic this time around but I surely hope itâ€™s not because the proprietor is around.
Carlos a.k.a Zipster was the first in mind when Eva invited Chris and I over. Other than being the author behind FoodieManila.com, Zippy is the genius behind the most appetizing food photography. And like me, he carries a curious appetite with him.
Letâ€™s begin the chocolate eclectic journey through Maitre Chocolatierâ€™s menu.
On the Table
Eva and Chris happily did their catch-up over some light starters.
Fried Eggplant with Chocolate Sauce PHP 160
Interesting appetizer of very thin eggplant chips that are lightly salted, ready to be dunked in dark chocolate. Since the eggplant slices are lightly battered before deep-fried, it doesnâ€™t swiftly absorb the chocolate sauce but one can taste the rich chocolate unmarred and with a bite.
Maitre Chocolatier Garden Fresh Salad PHP 210
A colorful mix of lettuce, tomatoes, crispy Parmesan-crusted chicken tossed with a tangy White Chocolate Orange Vinaigrette creating a perfect healthy salad. Start with a healthy and much lighter fare with the garden fresh salad served with pieces of crusty chicken dressed delicately with subtle white chocolate vinaigrette with tips of orange taste.
Grilled Chicken in Pomegranate Sauce PHP 295
Evenly grilled chicken with the slightest hint of chocolate-charred flavor with supple vegetables on the side served with pomegranate sauce that adds a sweet tarty pop that lifts the dish
Linguini in Pesto Sauce with Parmesan Crusted Chicken PHP 255
Al dente pasta linguini with fresh herbs and spices with crisp and tender Parmesan-crusted chicken strips
Zipster is not a fan of Pesto but this dish surely converted him to the other side. Pesto pasta was firm but soft to the bite with a fair amount of partly minty pesto sauce.
Roast Beef Panini PHP 225
The roast beef panini clearly won my attention among the savory dishes on the table. I believe chocolate really goes well with beef and this is a prime example of it. Bite the crunchy Italian herbed bread and sink your teeth into the tender strips of chocolate-coated beef, fresh carrots and zucchinis made more exceptional with the Mozzarella cheese and white chocolate dressing.
My attention consequently shifted to what Maitre Chocolatier Boutique CafÃ© is all about â€“it is what droves of people come here forâ€¦ late night, mid-day or at any given chocolate craving moment. The highlights are the absolute chocolate pleasures that are more delectable than the savory dishes.
Ferrero Hazelnut Crunch Cake â€“this is supposedly Maitre Chocolatierâ€™s bestseller where a tempting creamy Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse meets a velvety Chocolate Sponge Cake and then beautifully decorated with the enchanting Ferrero Hazelnut.
Sweet Revenge PHP 250
Lindt Molten Lava Cake â€“Dark chocolate molten lava cake made from Europeâ€™s finest Lindt Excellence Dark 70%, filled with oozing sweet and vengefully spicy chocolate served with vanilla ice cream
Sweet Revenge was the unanimously favorite on the table with its gooey warm chocolate that ruptures from the moist cake thatâ€™s bittersweet dark and spiced with chili. Midway when the chocolate flavor sinks in, the chili essence abruptly creeps in creating a sweet heat inside your mouth. Cool off with the vanilla ice cream that soothes your taste buds to a calm reverie. Bubba, Zipster and I loved the yin yang taste of darkness and sweetness, as well as the heat and arctic feel.
Virtuous Temptation PHP 237
Lindt White Strawberry Mousse Cake â€“Heavenly White Chocolate Mousse Cake topped with slices of fresh strawberries and Lindtâ€™s classic white chocolate
All the chocolate desserts laid on the table are visually striking. Except that what gets me entranced is the well-designed chocolate taste thatâ€™s significantly distinctive from one dessert to the other.
Maitre Chocolatier Boutique CafÃ© combines the elegance of premium chocolates with modern day cuisine, on top of excellent chocolate-ridden desserts and the results are sublime. For true chocolate comfort, head over to Maitre Chocolatier Boutique CafÃ© and order their chocolate-laced dessertsâ€¦ make sure you order a cup of hot chocolate to go with it or chocolate beer for a total experience!
Maitre Chocolatier Boutique Cafe by Eva Wong
2A (Beside Starbucks), No. 28 Jupiter Street
Bel Air, Makati City, Philippines
(632) 897 8559
Carlos Palma Maitre Chocolatier Set http://www.flickr.com/photos/carlospalma/
Carlos Palma of FoodieManila.com