Dec 29, 2005

Kamay Kainan

I woke up lazy on my birthday and decided I wouldn't cook. (If I had my way I'd spend the day having a complete body massage.) Mike decided we'd have a lunch blowout at Kamay Kainan instead.

The resto is in the food court of Market! Market! in Global City, Taguig. For P218.00 per person, you can eat all you can.

On the buffet table: (in order of appearance from the stack of plates...hehehe)
1. Bopis
2. Lechon Paksiw
3. Fried Bangus
4. Fried Tilapia
5. Binagoongang Baboy
6. Papaitan
7. Caldereta
8. Menudo
9. Beef Steak
10. Kare-kare
11. Tahong soup
12. Fried porkchop
13. Pork Sinigang
14. Beef Nilaga
15. Lumpiang Togue
16. Adobong Pusit
17. Inihaw na hito
18. Inihaw na Liempo
19. Steamed Oysters

And in the salad bar:
20. Lumpiang Ubod
21. Garden salad
22. Sliced green mangoes (with bagoong)

And we were seated at our table, we were given Kakiage Tempura and a plate of lechon. :)

Thumbs up for the: food taste and quality, serving (eat all you can nga, e!); resto cleanliness; f&b prices; service (friendly, accomodating staff).

Little problems with the layout/space. The resto was jampacked. If you plan to come on busy days like holidays, better call ahead and make a reservation. We were lucky to find a table outside, but the others weren't as lucky and had to wait a while to be seated.

My best note for the day: I love their hand-churned ice cream! Hadn't there been my weight and my waist to worry about, I would have eaten a pint! :) I settled for a cup. A big cup. :)

Dec 28, 2005

Ichiban and Goto de Caliraya

I've been an unofficial food/restaurant reviewer for the longest time. Friends know that when I like something I tried, I go all-out telling the world to go try it. And when I hate it, I also go all- out telling people to avoid it. So here goes, my first written food review, to tell you what I've lately found to be OK, and also what I found worth my okray (in English, lambasting). :)

OK: Ichiban :)

Located at the west wing of the foodcourt of SM Southmall, the store must have just opened recently (that, or I've not been going to that mall often... hehehe). On their menu are Japanese resto staples: tempura, teppanyaki, buri and yaki. I went for Ebi Tempura Bento (shrimp tempura meal, sold at P99.00), expecting the fare one usually gets from Tokyo Tokyo.

Well, I had a pleasant surprise. Not only did the food look better (I give points for presentation...hehehe), all three items on my bento box (tempura, sauteed mongo sprouts and rice) tasted better than those in Tokyo Tokyo. (They had a home-cooked feel to them; and the quality approximates that of Teriyaki Boy, which is priced higher.) What's more, the shrimps were bigger, and the serving, larger (4 pieces vs. 3 at Tokyo Tokyo). The only thing I found wanting was the tempura dipping sauce, which, in my opinion, needs a little more grated ginger. :)

If and when I go to Southmall again I will definitely get their 6-piece ebi tempura (no rice), which sells for P115.00, and probably try their teppanyaki. And yakitori. And soba. Hahaha.

Okray : Goto de Caliraya :(

This quaint eatery's in Chrysanthemum Village (in San Pedro, Laguna), so I suppose this part of my review will only concern you if 1) you're from the area or 2) you like travelling great distances and trying quaint eateries. :) Anyhow...

Goto de Caliraya started in the late 80s, first getting attention for its hot, tasty goto (congee with ox tripe) but later blooming and adding home-cooked Filipino dishes like Kare-Kare and Bulalo to its menu. Service is by point-point [turo-turo ;) ], and you either enjoy your meal on garden chairs under their shady trees or you have it packed to take home.

It's a little more pricey than the other point-points in the area, yet the place is often busy and packed, owing to the home-cooked goodness of the food, the cleanliness of the place, and well, perhaps, the "ambience".

This afternoon Mike and I had late lunch there, ordering Ginisang Upo, Ginataang Tambakol, and Bicol Express. I found those okay, what I didn't like was the steamed rice.

To me it looked, smelled and tasted like it was in the early stages of spoilage. The grains were moist and soggy. Mike said it wasn't panis, just that they used mumurahing bigas. (Two translations: cheap rice, or rice you can curse!)

Well, I don't care about their cost-cutting measures. I paid for good, edible rice and I expect good, edible rice. What's more, business logic dictates you serve good rice so that customers eat more (more sales) and enjoy their meal more (customer retention). If costs are rising, to serve at the same level of quality you can increase your price, or cut down on quantity. I can't get it why they have to serve bad rice! (And yes, to answer your question, I take MBA seriously. hehehe.)

I didn't have the energy to raise hell about my cup of bad rice. (Normally I speak up and at the minimum, send objectionable food back to the kitchen.) In this case I just lost my appetite altogether and we just left, Mike assuaging me with a promise to have salad at Pancake House.

Well, on hindsight, can you imagine what spectacle it would have been, me, hands on hips, lecturing the turo-turo staff about the business repercussions of them serving bad rice? That would have been one for the books. :)

At any rate, in case you're wondering, no, I don't plan on coming back there. And yes, if the almost-spoiled-rice is any indication, their food stinks.

Dec 27, 2005

Noche Buena

The boon of having a Christmas eve birthday is that you'd never be wanting for party food. (Laging may handa. Hehehe.) The bane, however, is that when it's time for Noche Buena, you end up feeling full and satiated already, coming up with a menu is a challenge. [My mom's had that menu issue for 30 years or so. ;) ]

Anyhow, faced with the same predicament (we had stuffed ourselves full during lunch at Kamay Kainan), we skipped dinner and had Noche Simple instead. :) We had fiesta ham, a loaf of Malt Oat Paton and a cup each of Tsokolate-e. :) Feeling a little guilty about the 'spartan' surroundings, I lit two votive candles to inject some festive touch. :) Posted by Picasa

Jing Du Spareribs

As I was saying in my email, we spent Christmas Day at home and I cooked as usual. Mike likes ribs, but I've tired of Caldereta --cooked and had it on his birthday last September; cooked it, on his request as part of our baon when we visited dad on All Souls' Day; cooked it again, on his request again, for our Christmas party a week ago...

So I decided to try something new -- Jing Du Spareribs, a cantonese dish that's sweet-spicy and a bit tangy (quite like me!!). I first had the dish back when I was still with Amkor, liked it and meant to ask the concessionaire for a recipe, but never got around to doing that till I resigned. I searched around in the net for a recipe; wala. So I worked with the memory of what I saw, smelled and tasted almost 5 years ago.

Kinaya naman ng powers ko. :) The experiment turned out well. Mike liked it, hope you do too. Here's the recipe.

Jing Du Spareribs

1 kg short beef ribs, chopped into individual pieces
1 tsp iodized salt
4 to 6 cups water
1/2 c soy sauce
1/2 bot. Del Monte sweet blend tomato catsup
1/4 c washed sugar (in between brown and white)
1/4 c cooking wine or rice wine
1/4 c worcestershire sauce
1/4 c hot/red pepper sauce (reduce by half if weak-hearted...hehehe)
1 med. onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 T sesame oil

To thicken sauce:
5 T cornstarch, dissolved in
8 T water

green onions (sliced into 1/2" bits)
tomato wedges and toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Wash beef ribs, transfer onto a pot or pressure cooker, add water to the level that just covers the meat. (This is important. This method is called braising.) Let boil and simmer for about 40 minutes (if using ordinary pot) or for 15 mins. from the time the cooker hisses, if you're using a pressure cooker. (Need I say, don't forget to let the cooker cool, or release all the pressure through the vents before opening the lid, if you're using a pressure cooker.)

When meat is almost tender, add the rest of the ingredients (except those for garnish) and simmer until beef is tender. Adjust seasonings if needed. (Me I like the tug-o-war among sweetness, spiciness and tanginess.) :D Add cornstarch mixture and let simmer, stirring until thick.

Best eaten while hot, garnished with spring onions, tomato wedges and toasted sesame seeds. And with steamed rice, of course. :) Posted by Picasa