Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Breakfast at Potter's Ridge after Batangas roadrip





Roadtrips are one of the things I look forward to during weekends especially after a tiring week. This time we toured the old churches of Batangas like Taal, Calaca and Balayan. It’s like going back in time with the altars dressed in gold and pulpits still preserved inside the church. It brings you back to the time where women wore veils during mass like my grandmother did and loud church bells rang to signal the start of mass. It was a reminder of simpler times.
 

After this cultural roadtrip we headed off to Potter’s Ridge, a small hotel perched on a cliff near Tagaytay and chose a room with a magnificent view. It may not show the Taal Volcano but you can see verdant trees on the balcony like you are on a mountaintop.
 

Though this hotel may lack some amenities like a pool, good wifi and cable, it has its rustic charm. You spend less time on the TV and just sit in the balcony while the sun set on the horizon or watch the city lights at night.

 
 
In the morning, you can have your breakfast served in the balcony while enjoying the view like we did. That morning, I had the fried tawilis, a local fish in Taal lake, fried rice, pieces of fried eggplant and a slice of pie.  I like their battered tawilis which was crunchy and tasted fresh and I also liked that they combined it with fried eggplant which I love especially with calamansi and soy sauce dip.
 
 
 
I just wished that they served the rice a little warm as it would have made the meal more enjoyable. But overall, it was still a good breakfast with good company and a nice view. Sometimes, it’s the simple things that you appreciate more. :)

 

Friday, April 6, 2018

Mary Grace: More than just food



This is one of my favorite restaurants beside Conti’s. The unique décor always draws you in with its vintage lanterns on the ceiling, its hanging butterflies and doves and the blinking lights during Christmas.  The ambiance has a modern Filipino vibe to it. From the knitted coasters to the stained glass windows in some stores and handwritten letters pressed underneath their glass-topped tables, it truly gives you a unique experience.

 
 
My son loves their beef sirloin tapa and rosemary rice without eggs. He liked it so much, he licked his plate one time after eating to my horror. After I reprimanded him for it, he would just say, “De -li -cious” after eating his fill. Out of curiosity, I tried one piece and it tasted a little like barbecue not the usual tapa which can be a little salty and tough. This one had a tender flavor and texture to it that’s why he liked and probably because barbecue is one of his favorite food.
 
 
Meanwhile, my favorite in Mary Grace is their garlic longganisa with rosemary rice and sunny side up eggs. Their four pieces of longganisa are always full and satisfying and coupled with runny egg yolks on the side and a cup of orang-hued rice it’s a breakfast you want to come back to when you have a chance.
 

But aside from their breakfast fare which you can order all day, I also like their kesong puti salad with calamansi vinaigrette. It is a different take on your usual salad with thick dressing. The cubed kesong puti is fried and encrusted with bread crumbs so it is crunchy and soft at the same time. Their calamansi vinaigrette is light and not too sour and even had a hint of sweetness to it. It is a good and light dressing for your crunchy greens and grilled tomatoes.


I like dining in Mary Grace because this place has become a respite from my usual chores, my oasis from the daily grind. Its unique ambiance lets me forget the hustle and bustle outside. Going in, I am momentarily transported to a different place  brimming with nostalgia and creativity while being served good food.
 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Breakfast at The Boutique Hotel Tagaytay



Back in August, we checked in at The Boutique hotel after our Tokyo trip was cancelled due to a typhoon.  It was just an overnight trip but it was memorable. Not only because it had a bathtub inside with a scenic view or you had options for  bath products like their handmade soaps but also because their iLust room was cozy and comfy. The furnishings were also tasteful and of course, I quite liked their breakfast.
 
 
We had our breakfast  delivered in our room at 7 a.m. and had it on the veranda overlooking Taal Lake. It looked sumptuous.  With a small tier of bread with butter and jam, fried rice and longganisa and a glass of orange juice, what’s not to love. All of this with a view. I just wish I had it reheated so I can see the butter melting on my croissant. But overall, it was a good breakfast.


 

Toasted, crisp longganisa, fried eggs, roasted potatoes and tomatoes, what a feast for the eyes. Adding to that was a small tier of croissants and other soft breads with marmalade and jam  then refreshing slices of mangoes and bananas for dessert. A hearty breakfast in the cool Tagaytay weather, I was glad.


 
Looking back now, maybe our canceled flight to Japan  was not that unfortunate after all (we went in September instead) because a local trip like this, one with nature sidelights had some invigorating elements that visits to cities cannot compare to. Of course, I also liked our Tokyo experience especially the food. But this trip in August was also special and something I would like to write about too.
 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Rose and Grace Restaurant: Some food reminders from my childhood


Sometimes those that are worthy of being written about comes in the most unassuming places. I have taken photos of restaurants I wanted to write about but they seem to get stuck on my phone and not get on pages of my blog.  It’s like a person you just like but not passionate about. He does not keep you awake at night or make you smile when you think about them. 
Anyway, after a while of not writing about food (I missed it) and fed up with business writing, I came across a restaurant that reminded me of my childhood and made me want to write again,  Rose & Grace Restaurant in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. I just came from Hidden Valley Springs in Laguna (still looked good even after 20 years) and Shrine of Padre Pio that weekend and we had an early lunch there.
 
Hidden Valley Springs resort
  
Shrine of Padre Pio
 
 

And like a long lost relative, Rose & Grace beckoned me into its arms. When I saw their pork adobo with this orange sauce among the rows of viands in the counter, it reminded me of my Lola’s adobong Batangas. I can’t help but smile when I pointed it to the waitress. By the way,  Rose and Grace Restaurant is like an airconditioned canteen where you can choose from a wide food selection behind a  glass case and the server will bring your food to you.
And their adobo did not disappoint. It was identical to what I used to eat in Batangas when I went on vacation in my Lola’s house during summer. We would eat adobo on  a wooden table while sitting on wooden benches with an overhead fan rotating above. The piping hot rice that accompanied the adobo would smell of pandan leaves which until now I can’t recreate.
Rose and Grace's adobo like my Lola’s was tender and oily. Yes it was sinful. The orange, annatto oil with pork fat  was yum (okay pardon the cliché ). I felt like a kid again eating in my Lola’s kitchen.  Adobo slow cooked in soy sauce and vinegar then simmered with annatto powder or atchuete for more color and flavor was my kind of adobo.



But I did not order adobong baboy only, I also ordered their adobong pusit, also a favorite of mine. Not as strong a flavor like the adobong baboy and not as oily but just as tasty. I like adobong pusit not only because I do not know how to cook it but because as an avid rice eater it went well with rice. Crunching on those small squid tentacles may sound morbid but was a treat especially pouring that dark,  sweet and sour  liquid sauce on warm rice :)
 

I also ordered their sinaing na tambakol (yes, we ordered a lot, I got excited) also a reminder of my childhood. A far cry to the sinful adobong baboy, this one is the”healthy dish” but just as satisfying. It lends a fresh taste to the palate and went well with the other dishes. From what I know, sinaing in Batangas is a type of cooking where fish is wrapped in banana leaves and steamed in a clay pot. Maybe it was marinated too because there was surprisingly good flavor on that fish.

 
Another surprise for me was the pork barbecue my son ordered. Grilled bite sized chunks of pork slathered in this rich red, tangy sauce. It didn’t look out of the ordinary but it was one of the better barbecues I had in a while. It was also tender not stiff or rubbery, just goes to show they know how to cook their barbecue well. Maybe that’s why my son wanted to hoard it all for himself.


To cap it off, we ordered their leche flan. It was ¼ of its actual size. It was also a nice reminder from childhood where there was always leche flan during fiesta. Here, their flan was bigger though not as creamy but still, a sweet way to end a good meal.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Bastille Revolutionary Bistro: Grilled Salmon on a leisurely day


 
I miss writing about food. It had been a hectic couple of months and I’m still trying to slow down and catch my breath so it was a good thing, I was able to wander in a restaurant that made me appreciate good food and write again.
 
Bastille Bistro is one of the many restaurants in Santana Grove in the Sucat area. I had dined there before with my son and tried their take on  the embutido. I remember theirs was like a fusion of cordon bleu and the usual embutido. I liked their creative spin on it but since my son was bugging me about his dinosaur cartoons that time, I was not able to take pictures and write about it.

 
So finding my way back here again  after doing some errands one mid-afternoon was nice. It was a chance to recharge without my persistent little boy and have a leisurely meal. This time I ordered their Grilled Salmon with Lemon Butter Sauce.


And I was not disappointed. With its vibrant colors, the Grilled Salmon looked appetizing. It was also cooked just right and had no charred bits nor it had a fishy aftertaste. The marinade on the salmon was also mild which I like and it complemented their soft lemon butter sauce well. The roasted vegetables were also tender and lightly seasoned plus I liked their mashed potatoes. It had the right texture, not too soft or crumbly and went well with the well-cooked salmon. The slice of lemon was also a nice touch if you want a hint of acidity to your salmon while the soft roasted garlic on top added a hint of flavor and garnish to the dish.


I like salmon a lot and being a fish imported abroad, ordering it in restaurants can be a hit or miss. I don’t know why maybe it’s in the storage or in the preparation. So when I sampled Bastille’s Grilled Salmon and it was cooked right, I was glad.


Finding time for oneself in these stressful times can be quite a feat. So dining in a restaurant that offers an array of dishes like Caldereta Pie or Beef Bourguignon with soothing piped in music can be a treat.

It was a treat for me that time because they were playing Boyce Avenue while I was enjoying my Grilled Salmon.J I adore this band a lot so this made the meal quite special too. Anyway, I was glad that I had this little bit of time-out. Having a good meal in a restaurant with a cool ambiance, relaxing music and a helpful staff takes the edge off living even for a while, giving you a bit of a boost so you can go out and take on life again J
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

J Co’s Alcapone Donut: A donut to remember


There are various kinds of donut, many have colorful toppings, some have zany shapes and sizes while others  have its thick oozing filling. What is not to love about these delightful creations displayed in rows for your exciting selection. Yes, what is not to love right? But though there is an expansive choice for me, there is only one kind of donut that I’d like to order again and again if I have the chance and that’s the Alcapone donut of J Co.


And because I only write about what I really like unless I was invited to an event so I can’t this pass up. I had to write about it since I just ordered a small box of it, all Alcapone baby J And it’s all mine, haha J My hubby and kid like the glazed kind which is a little boring for me, sorry, so this box is mine.


So what can I say about this fascinating donut. Aside from its notoriously unique name, it is a combination of subtle flavor and textures. The donut itself is soft which I like and topped with a thin spread of white chocolate and crunchy small almond chips. No fanfare here, no fancy colors or outrageous toppings.


As you bite, you can feel the crunch of the finely chopped almonds and taste the mild white chocolate flavor. I like the combination of the texture of the almonds and the softness of the bread. I also like the subtle sweetness chocolate, not saccharine sweet, just right, blending well with the fine almonds.


I don't have a sweet tooth but this right here is my favorite donut. There comes nothing close to it in my book maybe one kind with a certain kind of filling but this one I’d like to order one box of, always. I like it because it seems to have more substance to it not just frills and mind blowing sweetness. But that’s just me.


That said, I feel sad eating my last Alcapone donut in the box.  It’s like seeing someone special off at the airport gates. You know you'll see each other again if you make an effort but for now, it’s alright just to miss each other for awhile. I guess, I’ll have to miss this Alcapone donut until I come across another J. Co outlet again. For now, I’ll have to enjoy the last morsel of its soft bread and last bit of almond chip in my mouth till we see each other again, can’t wait J






Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Papa John's Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza: One guilty pleasure



In our busy life sometimes we ease our stress by having some kind of guilty pleasure. Some have their massages, their chick flicks, their invigorating liquor, their chocolates or sweets but me aside from a bag of Cheetos with Jalapeno, Pringles in ranch dressing or a bite size piece of Mr. Goodbar chocolate or an occasional mojito, I think I have discovered another one for myself, Papa John’s Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza.


I’m not a big fan of pizza and the only one I quite liked before was the shawarma pizza from another pizza place so it was surprising that I found another one I would also like. Anyway,  I “discovered” this pizza by accident, someone gave me a small box of it for a birthday. At first glance, I didn’t take note of it, just an ordinary pizza with some white sauce drizzled on it. Not the usual red sauce pizza with toppings brimming at the top. Actually, it looked simple.


But I guess, simple appearances can be deceiving . And just one bite, I knew I liked it. The crust was warm and tender, not too thick nor too thin, just enough to hold the white shredded chicken meat and bits of bacon embedded on it. Drizzled on top of it was its coups de grâce, its ranch sauce. It wasn’t too strong, just enough lather to blend well with the fine chicken meat and bacon bits. Maybe its understated layer of pressed fresh garlic, tomatoes and onion also contributed to its amazing flavor.


One tip of advice though when ordering it for delivery, make sure their ranch sauce is drizzled on top otherwise, the pizza loses its tasty appeal. Because it happened to me twice, one of their branches forgot the ranch dressing on top so I had it returned and they gave me back one with the dressing on top. 


So that is that. Another food discovery, another guilty pleasure I can indulge in when I feel stressed out.  A slice of this pizza and a can of ice cold Coke, regular not diet. Because if you have to indulge, indulge in it like you mean it J