Friday, July 30, 2010

BOHOL Once More

Was in beautiful Bohol again and this time I got the chance to eat along the Alona beach stretch. A quieter, less crowded version of Boracay.

Staying in this part of Panglao island with its  sun, sand and gentle surf gave me the chance to sample different grilled delights from the different restos along the shoreline.

Dinner was at a paluto called "Oops!" where we could pick fresh seafood, marinated pork and poultry, sausages and vegetables and have them cooked to our liking.

With the order of inihaw na liempo (grilled pork belly), sugpong guisado sa bawang (prawns sauteed in garlic butter sauce) and sinigang na isda (fish in tamarind soup) came the grilled scorpio shell. Also known as a spider conch, this seashell has a pretty exterior  with curled finger-like extensions protruding from its brownish oval body. inside is a tongue-like flesh that can end up tough and chewy if not grilled properly. Cooked over hot coals in the right amount of time, the flesh becomes tender, flavored by the sea. You have to coax it out of the shell with a fork and  before you have time to examine it closely, pop it into your mouth. No condiments required.

The grilled meal was accompanied by a perfectly chilled bottle of beer.

Also sampled the Four Seasons Pizza from the next door Hayahay restaurant. 
While around town, got the chance to sample some cold delights like home-made Avocado ice candy at the Baclayon Church...

and the "fried" ice cream at the Chocolate Hills viewing deck.

Of course, I did not pass up the  the chance to help myself to some  Kinampay at Cafew Lawis at the Dawis convent. This time though, I got the chance to see how the cafe's accommodating staff prepared the three-part dessert.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Weekend Food Trip- Iloilo

Was in lovely Iloilo with A. a couple of weeks ago and just got the chance to unload my mobile phone of the pictures of our weekend food adventure.

Our first challenge was the Battle of the Batchoys:
Ted's                                       or                          Deco's                                      

 A.'s internet survey winner was Ted's although Deco's batchoy was not far behind. The soup for both actually taste similar- beefy, salty with a little peppery kick. The difference between the two is in the texture. Batchoy ingredients include chopped liver and innards. Ted's liver slices were crustier and have that  grilled taste. Deco's batchoy had more al dente misua noodles. In the end wherever you find yourself, it doesn't matter as long a you get your batchoy, piping hot, with a dash of pepper and a siding of pandesal or puto manapla.

Next up on our list was Breakthrough, a beach side restaurant frequented by locals and tourists alike for its fresh  seafood fare,  paluto style. We went there for lunch and for starters had fresh plump oysters blanched just long enough to get the shell to open and soon enough so that the succulent meat remains tender. Dipped in spicy sinamak (vinegar falvored with chilies and langgawas, a pungent type of ginger) the oyster was a I finished one whole serving with the help of a bottle of ice-cold Cerveza Negra.
We then treated ourselves to lechon, prawns, crabs and the surprising puso ng saging  sa gata. The shredded puso ng saging was  cooked in coconut cream and a hefty amount of ginger and siling labuyo. It was the dish that held the meal together, matching the spicy crabs in rich coconut cream and the sparely salted prawns. The bite of the ginger and the chilies was a welcome balance from the fatty lechon.

We topped the meal with a simple dessert bought from a streethawker. "Pulot" is like liquid kalamay hati  (a concoction made of sticky rice, brown sugar and cconut cream) (heavily infused with melted panutsa or molasses. The sweet amber dessert was packaged quaintly in a piece of slender bamboo covered with dry banana leaf.

By dinner time, we were craving for some chicken inasal and decided we'd go to Nes & Tat's (run by the long-time seaside resto, Tatoy's) in Mandurriao. The place was a bit deserted which left us wondering if the food would be worth the visit. They had no chicken inasal on the menu but we were offered the lechon manok using free range chicken. It was expectedly gamier and the meat darker than the usual broiler chicken we are used to but it was easy to eat and the skin was crispy. Dipped in sinamak (local spicy palm vinegar) and paired with hot rice, the chicken  was a tasty treat.

As it was drizzling, we also ordered Malaga (Bass) and had the head made into Sinigang soup (Tamarind-based soup with local vegetables) and the rest of it grilled.

Dinner at Nes & Tat's was filling, although it makes one miss the rural seaside ambience of the orginal Tatoy's.

Since it was A.'s first trip to the province, we decided to skip a day at the beach in Guimaras and opted to go the touristy route, visiting churches.

Miag-ao Church

Tigbauan Church altar mosaic

During our self-imposed Visita Iglesia, we chanced upon many bibingka stalls outside the churches. these are not the type you get from Ferinos but the palm-sized rice cakes made of ground malagkit and grated coconut baked in open-fire make-shift ovens. The sweet, chewy cakes are packed in brown bags, hot and ready to eat while you walk around the church and the adjoining pasilios.

Our guide for the day also took us to the home of Mama's kitchen where one can buy hand woven pinya cloth and the famed Mango Chewies.

One destination I never miss when visiting the provinces is the local wet market. At the Iloilo  Central Market, I got me some freshly made langgaw (palm vinegar), batuan (a souring agent used for Kansi, the Ilonggo Bulalo) and guinamos (dry shrimp paste).

It was a pleasant surprise to find out that the market vendor could pack the guinamos, ready to be hand-carried for the trip back to Manila.

On our way back, I nearly had a fit as the airport security guy didn't want me to check in the langgaw. Had to bring out my Ilonggo accent and whatever little of the language I knew to convince him. A few hair flips, and a stilted dialogue that included mentioning that my dad is Ilonggo, airport guy finally relented and let me go home with the my smelly stash of Iloilo wet market goodies.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cheers! Take Me Out!

Our last day of taping the the Philippine version of "Take Me Out"  was  a blast! At least what I remember of it.

The culprit...

Vodka shots.

Waking up with no hangover (apparently because I was still inebriated) was a new experience. 

The show has aired its final episode a few weeks back but I'm still hungover on the experience of working with a great team. To my colleagues at Take Me Out... Cheers!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

La Mesa Ecopark - Textures

My talented phone camera works best with natural light. I just want to share this montage of images taken at the La Mesa Ecopark.