Saturday, August 20, 2011

Adobo Connection at the New Eastwood Mall Food Junction

 I have always said that adobo will always be the hardest recipe to give any restaurateur success. Any adobo you make will always be compared to the home-cooked version every paying customer will associate with good memories at the family dining table. That's very hard to compete with.

So I was Amazed to find Adobo Connection at the Eastwood Mall's Food Junction. 

This relatively new food court looked promising. A second floor walkway from New Eastwood Mall leads to the well-lit dining place. Going inside, one will find only a hand full of food stalls.

Adobo Connection looked like the most promising food court stall.

 From more than a dozen adobo recipes, I picked the Mestizang Adobo,
which I discovered was just a starchy version of Lechon Paksiw.

A. picked the Modern Adobo...
which he described as vinegar-laced afritada.

The P100 peso meals were filling but you still end up missing your mom's home-cooked adobo.


Burnt Chicken Wings FAIL

Proof that one should not blog and cook at the same time.

Food Find: RegRub Burger

I thought, this Metrowalk burger stall...

was owned by this guy.
Photo by Kevin Cayuca for Party Pilipinas

Until I realized hat the stall name was just 'burger' spelled backwards and that Reg Rubio of Greyhoundz, Greyhoundz, who gets 20,000 FB impressions when he says good night to his fans,  is too cool to put up a burger joint.  Silly me.
Just so I could ask the kuya who was in-charge of the joint if the rocker owned it, I bought a burger. (No need to tell me about my stalker fan habits). I got the Pesto Cream Cheese Burger.

The P95-peso burger was flame grilled 

and topped with cold pesto cream cheese.

The burger was just hot and juicy enough and not heavily marinated, the cold pesto cream cheese a great add-on flavor.

It was a filling answer to my fan curiosity. Like Reg Rubio, this flame-grilled burger rocks!

Food Find: Connie's Kitchen

This food find was discovered by accident when A. and I recently had to visit a friend at the Mount Carmel Church for her mom's wake.  Though we are not highly superstitious people, we observe the Filipino practice of 'pagpag'. After a wake, one is supposed to stop by a public place,  usually a coffee shop or a convenience store for us, where one shakes off the trail of death that may be following you.

Just a corner away from Mount Carmel, is Connie's Kitchen, the first deli stall of the brand known for their bottled seafood products. I have been using the brand's bottled tuyo and daing for my pastas and decided it might be worth a peek.

The small deli was packed with an assortment of refrigerated perishable meats and cheeses, a whole wall of their bottled products and imported pastas and  legumes. I even saw a paellera at the bottom of a shelf.

They had an interesting choice of cheeses from Mambos and a few imported brands. I got the smoked Keson puti. For those who like really salty cheese, you might want to hold back on this one as it is not salty at all. The infused smokiness and the firmer texture makes it an interesting cheese, though.
I also saw packs of vietnamese coffee in a corner but decided to forego purchasing it as I still had half a lifetime's worth of coffee at home.
Aside from the fresh frozen suahe (shrimp), the best food finds there are the microwaveable Duck Sisig...
ad the surprisingly refreshing Mint Merengue which tastes like Colgate Lite on a bed of sugar (sinfully funny in my mind).
So if you find yourself in the area, you may want to pass by and find yourself a treat in this little deli by the corner.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Casa Bongga sa Sarap!

To be fed by friends is always a treat. And to be fed by friends who know what a good meal is cause for celebration. Recently had to do an interview with two good friends, P. and A. They are not an item but are BFF's and recently chose to be housemates in a house they christened as Casa Bongga. Both are flamboyant drama queens who can make a pregnant pause give birth to a plethora of scenes fit for an Oscar moment.

 The Casa Bongga drama queens at their housewarming party.

Photography: Frances Makil-Ignacio
When it comes to food, though, they are pretty straightforward. Tasty, filling meals are their specialty.  On my first visit to their French Boudoir inspired house A. made laing, dried gabi (taro) leaves cooked in coconut cream while P. made dry-rub herbed Pork Chop.
The gabi leaves were mushed up to creamy perfection (not watery at all) and the coconut cream was  infused with a lot of chili and the fat of the tender pork that was used to sautee and spices.
The chops were the size of a grown man's palm and covered with the herbs used for the dry rub. I only have three words: Crispy, salty, fat.

For the past year, I have lessened my intake of carbohydrates, rice in particular. My visit to Casa Bongga was a major back slide for me, having eaten at least 10 cups of rice, I think. But all the carbs I took in triggered a truckload of serotonin and  made me so dizzy with happiness, everything else after the meal was a blur.

Since then, the memory of that hearty meal at Casa Bongga is one happy place I always go back to when confronted with a lonely styro-packed meal. Thank you P and A for one great food memory.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Warm Avocado and Potato Salad

Got cookbook, will cook.

Are you the type to follow recipes from a cookbook? I am. This little bundle of Avocado recipes was given as a  gift by N., a friend and colleague from way back. It's actually a ref magnet for our ref magnet collection.

Here's the actual recipe.

Just follow it using fresh avocados

Dice it along with the potatoes

Brown that bacon until it gets crispy
 Toss everything and dig in!


Living in a certain Cubao district for more than a decade gave me the luxury of discovering the different neighborhood treasures like this hole-in-the-wall barbecue shack run by Aling Inday and her family along Bostons St.
I first heard about her when colleagues from a nearby production house frequented the place for lunch. She had a regular menu of some soup recipes that goes well with grilled food: Munggo Guisado, Sinigang na Baboy and Nilagang Baka. But it was her barbecue that they raved about.

I bought my first stick from her more than a decade ago and have been a regular ever since.  Her specialties include chicken wings, tenga ng baboy (pig's ears), and the de riguer pork barbecue.

Aling Inday would pour a fresh batch of charcoal, point a dusty plastic electric fan towards the makeshift yero grill, get a batch of barbecue sticks, dip them in the marinade and place them on the metal grill, the marinade dripping onto the coal, sizzling and creating short wisps of white aromatic smoke.
The secret marinade
After a few minutes brushes the marinade on the and turns over the barbecue sticks. More aromatic smoke. And after a few minutes, it's done. Hot. succulent, saucy meat on the plate.