Kitchen MIshaps and Victories, Restaurant Rants and Raves and a whole lotta wanderlust!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Kitschen Escape: I pick, you cook!

So, aside from never being to Kanin Club before a month ago, people are also surprised when I say I've never eaten at a "dampa" For those not in the country, a dampa is a place where you can basically pick out your fresh seafood then choose one of the surrounding booths or restaurants to cook it for you. It comes out cheaper because you are buying the seafood at market price...but then again you end up paying an extra 150-200 for them to cook it for you. Still cheaper than a restaurant that will charge you double the price though.

I was actually doing an ocular for a possible shoot, and ended up eating there. The question is...why have I never done so before? Silly, silly me.

Love that red orange color of the fish!

Lobsters are so pretty, and they aren't all looks. They taste good too ;p

One of my favorite things to eat- squid!

Sugpo--a new word I learned today. I thought all prawns were called hipon haha.

1/2 kilo prawns baked with cheese. I'm maarte, I don't like cheap processed cheese anymore and that's what they use for this. Prawns were nice and juicy though. I'd make this and use a bunch of deli cheeses ;p

1/2 kilo squid...fried and seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and chili. This is my favorite anywhere, but it was particularly good here. I ate about a quarter kilo of this stuff. With garlic rice!

We also asked for grilled lapu lapu with lemon butter sauce. This is a 500 gram fish. Oh my god, my friend Gina and I were so full!

Outside they also have fruit stands. Saw some avocados. Love these mashed up with milk and sugar. Mochiko's avocado mochi is pretty bomb too!

Mangoes and one of my favorite fruits that for some reason I don't see around often enough- guyabano. i remember my mom freezing fresh guyabano so we could have shakes year round. So, sooooo good! do you choose which "Paluto" spot to go to? It's really up to you. In this particular one in Alabang, there were about 4 or 5 restaurants to choose from and Gina and I chose this one called "SIS" because these two ostentatious gheys caught our attention as they worked their PR skills at the door....and you know how much we love our gays ;p When we sat down to take our orders, we also realized that EVERYONE who worked in that restaurant was gay. Loves it!

Seaside Dampa is located along Daang Hari Road in Alabang

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Restaurant Review: Pazzo

The Gourmet Kitschen lover (aka went on a week long trek to the mountains of Kalinga to meet the 90-something year old Fang-ud and get a traditional tattoo done. After 8 days of very little communication, and for 4 days none at all, I was starting to miss Mr. Deerhunter--a lot.

He told me all about the way of life over there and some of the stuff they ended up eating (Ant eggs anyone?) so I told him I'd get his stomach back to city speed and treat him to dinner. I hadn't eaten at Pazzo in awhile and he wanted pizza so off we went.

We started off with a really rich cheese fondue made with fontina and served with garlic and parmesan bread. This could have seriously been a meal on it's own. I love cheese fondue!

This was like an Italian version of salpicao made with bites of rib-eye steak and cooked in olive oil, garlic and rosemary. It was good, but could have been cooked a little better in my opinion. Taste wise though, me likey!

We originally were going to get the 5 cheese pizza but I'm kinda glad we forgot and ordered the garlic and anchovy instead. It would have been major cheese overload and for slightly lactose intolerant me, I don't think my lactaid would have stood a chance! The crust was nice and thin and light, tomato sauce tart and there was a good amount of cheese. I wish they spread out the anchovies a bit more because my tongue hurt from the pockets of saltiness after.

I suggest you don't get too full for gelato. I only had a taste but the Guyabano flavored one was SO BOMB!

For more about The Deerhunter's Kalinga trip, keep checking his blog because he took 9 rolls worth of photos and I'm sure he'll be posting numerous entries about it!

Pazzo is located at level P1 Powerplant Mall

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Out of the Kitschen: Hippity Hoppy Easter!

For the second year in a row, Ananda and I spent Easter at the Mandarin Oriental. I love the whole candy buffet they had. I think I ate a million jellybeans last Sunday.

When I was a kid, I actually hated fairy bread. I couldn't stand the tie-dyed look of it. When I realized later on that it's just like regular bread, I started eating it. Now Ananda refuses to eat it. Ah well, she'll come around. These were filled with ham and cheese, tuna or egg.

What do I like more than cupcakes? Babycakes! Ironically, even if I love baking them, I can only take them (any sweets in general) in smaller doses. I may eat 5 babycakes-equivalent to more than one regular cupcake, but the idea of smaller bite sized ones appeal to me more.

I love gummy anything. Favorite color? White/Clear followed by red. I totally ignore the green ones.

More candy! More! More!

And of course, kiddie food staples french fries and chicken fingers!

Heard Mandarin is having a Thai Festival from May 2-15 at Paseo Uno. Yum Yum.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Out of the Kitschen: Just Kickin' it (Poolside)

As far as I'm concerned, unless I am going abroad, Holy Week was made for Stay-cations. I have experienced countless hours stuck in traffic and resorts filled to the brim with people during the long Holy Weekend that Manila actually seems like paradise during that time of year.

I decided to have a small pool party on Good Friday instead. It was a perfect mix of good food, drinks and great company that it ended up going on from 1-930pm! :)

It was a great day for a swim :)

Habanero Sausages w/ Pepperjack cheese and Bavarian Cheese Smokies

Yummmy with mustard

Japanese Meatballs c/o Tina and Tomo

Dukkah, oil and balsamic with focaccia

Grilled chicken and Mango salad c/o Hylton and Rae Le Roux

My favorite popcorn flavor. OMG!

My favorite little baby, Lucy! I want another one! (but not now;p)

What did you do/ eat this Holy Week?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Brunch in the Kitschen: A Gourmet Good Friday

Watch out for a new cooking show (hopefully soon!) with my friend Chef Hylton Le Roux. He made us an amazing brunch yesterday that really set the tone for all the eating that followed for the rest of the day. It was a great way to start the long weekend, and it was worth not eating my usual early breakfast for!

What we had:

Raisin bread French toast sandwiches with banana, peanut butter and bacon. Everything I like in one sandwich. Seriously, how can you go wrong?

Cream cheese, parmesan, bacon, asparagus tart topped with egg on a puff pastry. This was the clear winner. It was gone before you could say "Can I have another?"

And of course, a brunch staple- Eggs Benedict. Oh, If only my stomach could fit more food!!!

Check out Pi Catering on Facebook to check out photos of his awesome food and dinner parties he's cooked for!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Restaurant Review: CAB Cafe

My workmate Tanya brought this awesome cake to the office once. It was a cross between a cheesecake and something lighter like chiffon and felt not far from what you would imagine a Tempur pillow to feel like if you put it in your mouth. I took one bite and felt the urge to rest my head and sleep on it- yes on the cake!

It turned out to be Cotton cake from CAB Cafe in Kapitolyo. Apparently, it's one of the few extensions of Cafe Bob's in Bacolod, a family-run restaurant that has been open there since the 60's. She told me the rest of the desserts and food was really good too, so being the food lover that I am (read: Matakaw)of course I had to go check it out myself.

I started with the Country Sausage platter. This was so good and tasted so familiar. I realized later on that it tasted like my favorite sausages from this other place that serves pancakes (hint hint) and they actually supply to them! I think I ate half of this.

Abdul loved the Delipinoy Spaghetti, which had smoked bangus, tomatoes and salted egg. I had a few bites of it and it was surprisingly...light! I was expecting to be assaulted with saltiness but it was actually pretty tame. That is not to say it lacked flavor because it had a lot of that for sure.

I tried two kinds of pizza, the best selling Alfredo Deluxe and the house specialty Pizza Negrense. I really enjoyed both because I love chorizo, and theirs is home-made and Bacolod style and it had quail egg too! Really yummy combination of ingredients. As for the Alfredo Deluxe, it was like eating Fettucine Alfredo, but on crust instead of with pasta, it was so awesome. I think I liked these pizzas best out of everything I ate!

Don't expect this Mango Pavlova to have the traditional white meringue pavlova that you're probably used to having. This one is more akin to to the layers of Sans Rival and is also less sweet. Even the cream wasn't loaded with sugar and the sweetness of the mango really came through. I was so full by the time I had this I only managed a few bites. I can't wait to try their other sweet treats especially the Canonigo which looked so YUM!

They even have their own microbrewery which produces Bog's Brew, a really light beer that is a bit sweeter than most. I'm not a beer drinker but Abdul is and he had a few, so I'm guessing he liked it!

CAB Cafe is located at 18 East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig City.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Comfort Food: Make it fried, make it chicken

Last night I was in such a bad mood over something that had happened, so to make me feel better, Abdul asked where I wanted to eat (Yes, all it takes is food)

He started counting off all my usual haunts.."Cafe Mary Grace?" No. "Cibo?" Meh. "Cafe Med" *silence*

I looked around Town Center to see what looked interesting. Suddenly I was like "I know what I want." Pancake House Pan Chicken."--->This is one of my ultimate comfort foods and one of the only meals when I actually finish a whole cup of rice and two bowls of gravy. It's usually a good idea until it's all gone and I feel sick the rest of the day but that's never stopped me.

Always does it for me. EVERY SINGLE TIME!

Pancake House is located at...well, you know where your nearest one is at ;p

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kitschen Essentials: My favorite food group

I think it's safe to say that carbs are by far my favorite food group. I'm sure many of you feel the same satisfaction as I do when eating a plate of spaghetti when you're mad hungry, or leisurely chewing on your morning pan de sal or ensaymada.

I already know I can't live without carbs, but I also know how unhealthy and fattening they can be. Sometimes though, you just gotta live a little.

Bread dough waiting to rise so they can be baked!

I love me my morning bagels with onion cream cheese. Yum.

Pain au chocolat- I had 3 of these in one day.... so horrible, but not. ;p

Chocolate, coffee and blueberry muffins!

I wish I brought some of this home. Didn't get to try it, but chocolate bread! OMG.

My favorite raisin bread is still from Baguio Country club...hmm, might have some in my freezer...

Next stop...Paris Delice!

Lartizan is located inside Mickey's Deli, along Jupiter in Makati

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Brunch in the Kitschen: Mickey's Delicatessen

Once a month, all the former Metro staffers try to have brunch somewhere to catch up with each other. I love these monthly pig out + chismis sessions because I genuinely loved working with these people, and we were all together for about 2 years. We're all in different places right now but good to know we still make an effort to stay in touch.

This month's Brunchies session was held at Mickey's Deli along Jupiter. Had a really healthy week last week eating nothing but salad for lunch and dinner and wheat toast and soft boiled eggs or fruit for breakfast-I was ready to pig out!

Kat had the Spaghetti with goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes and roasted pepper.Look at all that goat cheese---damn I would have gotten this except I don't like bell peppers of any color!

Andrea had this big mountain of Spaghetti Bolognese. I'm surprised Ananda didn't try to steal this from "Tita Vicky" (I don't know why she calls Andrea Vicky)

The Ocampos had Nurnberger sausages and chicken--w/c I didn't get a good photo of.

I had not one but 2 sausages and parmesan fries- My kielbasa and cheese krainer. technically I only ate one, because Ananda ate half of both. So fatty but so good.

Ananda also had the Margherita Pizza. It was bigger than I expected and we had a lot left over to take home.

While you are there, visit L'Artizan, the little bakery located within Mickey's. I had pain au chocolat after my hefty meal (told you I was gonna pig out) and went home with madeleines du miel, chocolate and blueberry muffins and more pain au chocolat. Since weekends are now my only days to eat junk, guess I need to finish it all by tomorrow night. Lucky me!

Wish I had better photos. It was dark in there and I hate using flash for food!

Mickey's Delicatessen is located at 144 Jupiter St. cor. Orbit St., Bel Air 2 Village
Makati. Call 896-9650 for reservations.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Small Bites: Sweet dreams are made of Cheese

Have you tried the THREE CHEESE ENSAYMADA at Cafe Mary grace? Booooooooooommmmb!

Go! Now na!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Kitschen Quickie: Cupcake Lovin'

I REALLY miss being in the kitchen. I miss experimenting on new cupcake flavors and miss baking all YOUR Birthday Cafe orders! Sometimes certain career decisions cause your life to go haywire but I'll be back, I promise!

These four flavors of mine are by far my favorites *pats my own back* Red Velvet with White chocolate cream cheese, Barnaby, Salted Caramel mud cakes and Banana Split.

I think the upcoming holidays (Holy Week) will be spent by the pool and in the kitchen. Holla if you wanna be my taste tester! ;p

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Gourmet Kitschen: This little piggy went to Mercato Centrale

I've featured Midnight Mercato before, but going to the daytime one is a whole different experience. First of all, there are more merchants. Second, I don't eat breakfast so I am starving by the time we head out at 1130.

I had to pry myself away from Margarita's Paella Negra- something I usually get both in Mercato and Salcedo Markets. I love it so much but I keep telling myself to give the other stalls a chance. I'm usually too full for anything else after a serving of it.

As any big bazaar, there are the clear winners and those that are so-so, to those I really wouldn't even bother with. Here are a few of the things we've tried.

Theo and Philo Artisan Chocolates- Their claim to fame is that they are the only "bean to bar" chocolate from the Philippines. The bars are relatively small and pricey at P90 pesos but you don't really need much to satisfy your craving when eating this chocolate. It's rich and dark, smooth and full-bodied. I love dark chocolate with green mango and salt. I don't like green mango, but it ended up being my favorite.
Manang's Chicken- This has been dubbed the local "bon chon" of Mercato. I had read a lot of people raving about this before I tried it so I wanted to see for myself if it lived up to the hype. It was good, but it was definitely not bon chon (Note that I have only tried bon chon in New York and heard the one here is "different")I found the soy garlic sauce a tad bit too salty and too watery. I would have liked the chicken not soaked in sauce, but rather just coated in it.
If you want something a little more Filipino, go to Lola Diding's ihaw stand. I didn't eat these but I always wondered where they go these huge chicken butts to sell on a stick. My daughter was bothered by the sign that said "Chicken Ass" because it's a bad word. haha!
FOr something even more Pinoy- Isaw. Again, I didn't eat this but my girl Dane did and she said it wasn't that great. Womp womp. My daughter always gets chicken or pork barbecue from them though, and enjoys it every time.
Squiddy Corner- I didn't enjoy this :( Tasted like something I could have made at home, and it was served to me at room temperature meaning the batter around the squid was cold and no longer that crunchy, and the squid itself wasn't warm either. Ananda got it the week before and ended up giving it to her yaya. She didn't enjoy it too much either.
Offbeat Cafe was the first in Manila to give us what's known as the Luther burger (named after Luther Vandorss- his fave burger consisted of a pattie, cheese, an egg between 2 krispy cream donuts) Now they also have a burger using ensaymada instead of a traditional bun. The novelty of it is awesome, but has anyone tried this? I'd appreciate feedback.
potato thing- Im sorry forgot the name of this stand. Dane got this, it was ok. It's chips on a stick lol.
I really enjoyed Merry Moo Sea Salt ice cream. Anything sweet and salty and anything that tastes like burnt sugar is a win for me. Didn't enjoy their candied bacon ice cream too much. When making bacon w/ desserts, keep the bacon CRUNCHY! Otherwise it's meat with sugar and cream- not so sexy.
Little Miss OC's Kitchen Angry Birds- Ananda and Dane loved these!!!
The bottomless pits, Dane and Erica

Mercato Centrale is open every Fri-Sat from 10pm-3am and Sat and Sunday from 7 am-2pm. It's located near Home Depot at the corner of 8th and 34th avenues, at Fort Bonifacio, Global City Taguig