Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fresh Fish at Isdaan

Today, Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino, III is inaugurated as the 15th president of the Republic of the Philippines. He started his political career as congressman of the third district of Tarlac. Thanks to this event, I am reminded of our stopover on our way down from our Baguio trip, which was in Tarlac. Gerona, Tarlac to be exact. Isdaan to be absolutely precise about it.

(Ah, talk about segues!)

Before that trip, the only notion I had of Isdaan is from a travel TV show. Images of gigantic statues, teeming fishponds, and the Taksiyapo Wall had captured my imagination, and I had thought that Isdaan would be such a nice place to visit someday.

It certainly lived up to every single one of my expectations. The place was like one huge theme park and it made for fantastic photo ops.

If you are up to the challenge, you could score a kilo of fresh fish by crossing a narrow concrete trail in between two fishponds- the San Kilo Bridge.

Be wary of the fineprint though- aside from simply crossing the perilously narrow bridge, you must do so carrying a bucket of water the whole time (Putting the bucket down is forbidden, lest you forfeit your chance at getting that free kilo of fish.), go over conch shells, and try to avoid water fountains being spewed out of giant monkey statues.

Then you must do the same thing again on your way back.

It sounds daunting, yes, but our friend, Spocky was able to do it (Yay, Spocky!). We enjoyed watching him do it just as much as we enjoyed the kilo of fresh Tilapia. We also had a ball running up to the statues to take pictures, feeding the fish in the ponds, and ringing the bell at the Golden Buddha tower for luck. Of course the food at Isdaan, a sister company of Barrio Fiesta, is also something to look forward to.

Before leaving, maybe you'd want to stop by the Taksiyapo Wall to smash some plates and release all your tensions and leave them behind in Tarlac. I think it's a great way to cap off a vacation.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Revisiting Anahaw Island View Resort

Anahaw Island View Resort Boardwalk

Our good friend Leen's father is celebrating his birthday (Happy Birthday, Tito Dennis!) this weekend and we were invited to the party, to be held at Anahaw Island View Resort. It's been three years since our last visit at Anahaw and I am really looking forward to going back.

Boardwalk Restaurant

The food choices in the resort are simply delicious, thanks to Chef Leen, who oversees the preparation if not personally prepares the food at the Boardwalk Restaurant of Anahaw. The original Sili Rolls is my favorite. The Calamares Fritos is a close second.

Shoreline

The sights, like the food is phenomenal.  Plus, there is always something to do there as they offer lots of recreational activities. Only recently, Anahaw has introduced the lake cruise on board the St. Ezekiel Moreno Lake Cruiser and Floating Restuarant. I can't wait to try that one out.

Kayaking

Island hopping, anyone?

Unfortunately, we have prior commitments and just like that, another chance at a wonderful vacation in Calapan fluttered away from our grasp. I hope Leen wouldn't tire of inviting us over. Hopefully, next time we'll get lucky.

Rooms with a view


Visit the Anahaw Island View Resort website at: http://www.anahawislandviewresort.com/
Contact Nos.:
Mindoro:
     (043)288-8260
     (043)288-8982
     Smart: +63921 251 2750
     Globe: +63917 321 0503
     Sun: +63922 622 9217
             +63922 600 3527
Manila:
    (02)546-4680

Sunday, June 20, 2010

To Dads Everywhere:


Happy Father's Day!

 Dutch Chocolate Cupcake with Confectioners Frosting

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Roast Beefin' on the Edge at Heaven 'n Eggs

Roast Beefin' on the Edge

 When in those posh hotel buffets, I go straight for the roast beef and lots of it. Hotel buffets normally have the choicest quality beef for their roast. Who can ignore the Siren call of prime rib roast beef, yeah? On occasion, I have gone to buffets and ignored the rest of the food save for the roast beef (If all I eat is roast beef and no mashed potatoes or rice, does that fall within the parameters of any diet school-of-thought?). I say it's all worth it. And I am not just talking about the fact that it may be the most expensive item on the buffet.

Heaven n' Eggs hails it as the "ultimate comfort food" and has named their version Roast Beefin' on the Edge. Roast Beefin'  is a rockin' plate of Roast Angus beef slices, steamed rice and buttered vegetables smothered with home-style gravy. This was my choice on the menu when we had dinner in the Glorietta branch of Heaven 'n Eggs a couple of days ago. Even without the suggestion from the menu though, I must admit that roast beef is one of my favorite comfort foods, so the choice was pretty much a foregone conclusion. It was a lovely meal- can't go wrong with wonderfully tender Angus beef and generous amounts of good gravy. Nothing like good roast beef to send you to a relaxing slumber right after dinner, which I had as soon as my head hit the bed that night.

I'm pretty sure I'll be dreaming about roast beef tonight.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Hand-Forged" Chocolate Doughnuts at Starbucks

Starbucks made two new additions in their menu that kept me coming back more than ever before- the Tazo Full-Leaf Green Tea and the Top Pot Old-Fashioned Chocolate Doughnut. Melodramatic much? Maybe so, but I really really want Starbucks to keep these two things in the menu, and lots of them so that they don't run out when I go there for my fix. Which, as I had insinuated, would be frequent. Let me illustrate about the doughnut. We went to Starbucks after dinner last Friday in Alabang Town Center. There were two old-fashioned chocolate doughnuts on the showcase when I ordered my perfectly soothing cup of full leaf green tea. I didn't order a doughnut yet because I was still full, and I figured, they would be restocking them soon enough, hopefully right when it's time for my midnight snack (my Friday coffee night with friends have been known to stretch until two in the morning). Around eleven o'clock I noticed that the doughnut tray was empty. It didn't bother me much especially since I've noticed the pastry delivery truck had arrived and pastries had started streaming out of it. They would definitely be restocking soon, I thought (this started a two hour marathon of me craning my neck to look at the pastry counter every five minutes or so to see if they have restocked the doughnut tray). They didn't, so I went home without having had my Top Pot hand-forged doughnut. Long story short, I didn't sleep well that night. And it wasn't because of the caffeine in my tea.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

Bibingka for everybody! 

(In this case, bibingka souffle from Oceana)

Oceana is located at Seaside Boulevard, SM Mall of Asia Complex. While there, why not go the whole nine yards and catch the fireworks at 7PM while you enjoy your bibingka souffle? It's Philippine Independence Day Weekend afterall.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Bretto's Osso Buco


Found these pictures stewing away in my stash of food photos. This is Osso Buco from Bretto's. The pictures have been there for a while because I remember having this meal a day right after the elections in Pampanga (exactly a month ago today). I remember how much I've enjoyed this meal- right down to the baked potato. Come to think of it, this was actually a very memorable meal, which makes me wonder how these pictures fell off my radar this long.

The meat is falls-off-the-bone tender and I loved the flavor of the sauce it was served in. The vegetables were crisp and, far from acting as garnish (as how some vegetable accompaniment in my meals sometimes end up),  they provided a wonderful contrast to the rich flavors of the whole meal. Bretto's Osso Buco is big and hearty, and like a male construction worker at lunchtime I finished every delicious morsel of it.

Now, I'm hungry again... Although I did have a satisfying dinner not too long ago... and I really should watch my food intake...

Ah. Now I remember why I completely forgot about these.

Read more about Bretto's here: Deli Treats from Bretto's Restaurant.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chona's Delight from Tea House

Was in Baguio last weekend where we celebrated the birthday of our friend, Sandy (Happy birthday!). Her birthday cake was this outrageously gooey and delicious chocolate refrigerator cake called Chona's Delight that her friends from Baguio got from Tea House*. Sandy calls the cake "Sonia's Moist" for some odd reason. We've tried asking her why but couldn't get a straight answer. Even her closest friends appear to have no clue how she conjured up the name. One thing's for sure though, the darn thing really is moist.


Chona's Delight's anatomy is composed of a layer of rich custard between two layers of what looks to be very moist chocolate cake crumbs, topped with a layer of mocha cream and garnished with rosettes of whipped cream and cherries. It is a very pretty dessert as it is but I swear to you it tastes even better than it looks. And if you're thinking that this looks throat-scratchingly sweet, let me stop you right there. Chona's Delight has just the right sweetness to satisfy the sweet tooth in anybody but it is not nearly as sweet as a handful of Maltesers.

I for one, could not keep myself away from it and I spent the better portion of the evening spooning away at it, even in between tequila shots! (Yes, I am well aware of the possible consequences of the combination for any ordinary human being. But then again, I have it on good authority that I am not exactly ordinary.)

Camp John Hay

*Tea House is located along Session Road in Baguio City.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Like Chili for Chocolate... Gelato by Gelatissimo

Chili and Chocolate Gelato

Finally got a chance to taste gelato from Gelatissimo last Saturday. Ever since it opened its glass doors to the public in Greenbelt a couple of weeks ago, the place is always teeming with people. And who can blame them? Anyone passing by Gelatissimo would be drawn in by the gorgeous display of creamy and colorful globs of gelati. I love the fact that every gelato lining Gelatissimo's immense freezer is garnished by the fruit, nut, or other ingredient representing its respective flavor. A whole pineapple, a cracked-open coconut, a shelled hazelnut, red hot chili peppers... It's a playful touch that, I imagine, appeals to kids and the kid in every adult. It certainly appealed to me.

I picked my gelato in Chili and Chocolate. I have heard a number of people sing praises about Mexican hot chocolate and it always intrigued me what it, nay, how the experience would be like. Not that I thought it didn't make any sense. On the contrary, the combination of the sultry heat of hot peppers and the aphrodisiac allure of chocolate made perfect sense to me. Mmm, mmm, mmm... Think "Like Water For Chocolate". Think "Chocolat". That is why I find it apt if not absolutely poetic that my first visit to Gelatissimo would be my first encounter with the fabled flavor. And delivered in an icy cold yet  velvety creamy medium via gelato... how could I not?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lechon Manok and Lechon Liempo from Chic-Boy

Last Thursday, we were invited over at Chic-Boy in Jupiter Street, Makati City to sample the establishment's Cebu style lechon manok and lechon liempo.  
Chic-Boy is a fairly new fast-food restaurant which explains why the first time I ever heard of the place was when Spanx sent us the invite. (That and the fact that I rarely go to Makati and when I do, it is usually to mallrat in Glorietta or Greenbelt or meet with some friends in The Fort or Rockwell or bring family members for a checkup in Makati Med. Other than those places, I would most probably get lost there what with the city's manifold confusing streets and disconcerting one-way roads. Apparently, when you get to Jupiter Street, Chic-Boy is quite easy to find.) 

What sets Chic-Boy's style of lechon apart from its competitors is the abundance of local herbs and spices stuffed into every possible nook and cranny of the meat of choice infusing it with a distinctive flavor. 

The lechon manok kind of reminds me of my father's famous lechon manok, a frequent request at get-togethers in the house. Like my father, Chic-Boy uses a generous amount of tanglad in their lechon, an ingredient I had grown to associate with Visayan cooking, thanks to my father's Ilonggo roots.

Chic-Boy has a broad menu apart from lechon manok and lechon liempo, like their pork barbecue, chicken sisig, and sinigang. Thankfully, they have a nice selection of desserts, too. Their Turon con Leche is very yummy. The dip (the con leche part of the dessert) made from condensed milk is divine. Bad for the diet but divine nonetheless.

Learn more about Chic-Boy at http://www.chic-boy.com.ph/

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