Thursday, February 23, 2017

Yuba Dining in Ukyo Ward, Kyoto (Japan)

In the last 10 years or so, Japan has incorporated the English language in their grade school curriculum. As a consequence of this, the concept of being "lost in translation" is gradually diminishing, particularly in big cities. Still navigating around Japan isn't as easy as you'd think. Vending machines found everywhere (fro train tickets, fast food, etc.) don't exactly have English translation on them. But it's all part of the fun.

I visited Tenryu-ji Temple (UNESCO World heritage site) in Susukinobaba-cho in the Ukyo Ward of West Kyoto. But my main destination was the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. Before proceeding further, I looked for a restaurant for a fast lunch. I found this along the main road. It specializes in Yuba cuisine. Yuba is tofu skin (soy milk skin). It has rice in the soup; that heady, rich taste of the luxuriantly heavy broth. Yum

What's better: It costs a measly 980 yen, almost a quarter cheaper than many Yuba restaurants I know. Stayed at the second floor with a view of the surrounding hills around the area.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Restaurant Wang's Chifa Gastronomy, Cuzco-Style (Peru)

A day after doing Machu Picchu (MP), I was leaving for a day out from Cuzco, this UNESCO heritage city, but I haven't had breakfast yet. It was 10 AM already so I knew I had to eat first. I asked my driver to take me somewhere good but cheap. Maybe "chifa", Chinese? So he did. "It's a local shop locals order their take out from," he spoke in Spanish. Looking at the door, I wasn't so sure. The place looked rundown. Inside, the place was being refurbished.


I was alone because it wasn't quite time for lunch yet, even for take outs. I decided I wanted something familiar so I ordered "chaufa con pollo" - and if you're familiar with the word "chowfan", this is it. Fried rice with chicken. To my surprise, a noodle soup was served first. I didn't order it. Since there was no one there but me, I knew it was being served to me. Then my order came. Yum! It felt like being in the Philippines although I was at the other side of the world. The meal cost me roughly 10 Peruvian soles, one of my cheapest meals in South America.

I  was ready to explore the Sacred Cities.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Chaufa con Pollo

My complimentary noodle soup.

Locals as regular customers

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Purple Oven - Of Secrets and Sinful Desserts

"I was told that these are sought after cakes," my brother told me, as though he was revealing a much guarded trade secret. And that they're not easily available, he continued. That intrigued me so I had to read up to learn about Purple Oven. Where have I been all these years? I wasn't even aware of this bakeshop which serves some of the best desserts in the metropolis. They have a shop in Oranbo, Pasig; others in San Antonio and Legaspi Village and Quezon City. 

Their cakes run out fast and they allegedly don't accept credit cards. But here's the not-so-secret info that most internet articles whisper regarding this bakeshop: they supply the cakes and pastries of all Starbucks (those banoffees, etc.) and Pancake House outlets. They probably have legal obligation to deny this, but google them up and everyone talks about this secret. A box of these pastry bars has either 16 or 32 pieces of sweets - the former costs around P260 per box. My favorite is easily the lemon tortes I couldn't stop myself from consuming one piece after the next. Just sinful.

Their cakes are pricier, with a whole piece setting you back by P780 or thereabouts.

If you haven't tried, here's my two-thumb recommendation!

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Tavolata Restaurant: Italian Gastronomy in Mandaue City (Cebu)

Tavolata. Italian for "table". Lunch. Getting there was tricky because not a lot of people from central Cebu City would make their way to Mandaue City just for a leisurely lunch. The 4th taxi I flagged finally had an idea, but even his knowledge was sketchy at best. It was like driving from Makati to Las Pinas for a meal. It doesn’t help that Cebu’s traffic has mimicked Manila. 

I hopped in. Told him it’s where I’d meet friends, because having lunch alone in a strange place draws more questions. “Layo ng kainan nyo, sir,” he said, then started talking about a neighbour who got shot by tandem bikers. I refuse to get roped into that conversation. Not right now or I’d get upset. As if that wasn't enough, the Black-Eyed Peas were singing on the radio: "People killing, people dying; children hurt, and then they're cryin'." Pang-asar. Can we change stations please?

Tavolata is the Abaca group’s latest up-market restaurant, serving Italian cuisine. For two years, I’ve had Maya Restaurant (which serves Mexican) in my mind, but is yet to make it there. Same issue: the relative distance from Cebu City. Beqaa, that serves Mediterranean and middle eastern cuisine, is just next door. The restaurant didn’t even have a sign visible in daytime.

I loved the design, which makes use of available light filtering into every crevice of the joint; very energy efficient. In the evening, the interior lighting makes its magic.

At 11 AM, I was the only customer. So I was treated warmly by a chatty waitress. I was tentative at first. I thought of their sea bass putanesca (P900, like Anzani's) or a risotto. Gnocchi pomodoro with gorgonzola walnut (P495) sounded inviting too. Eventually, I got around to ordering Pappardelle pasta that has veal ragu, wild mushrooms and parmesan at P600. Soup for the day was creamy water cress with pancetta at P200. My mind drew blank. My friend Chiqui would have explained to me every single ingredient, the cono girl that she is (and violently refuse the reference). But I’m better with eating than pedantically knowing the nature of the ingredients enumerated in the menu. I am cool with that. 

Tavolata Restaurant is located near Gaisano Country Mall so you'll probably take the AS Fortuna Road to get there. Along the way, you'll pass through Oakridge Business Park in Banilad so you'll know you're close by. Address: 880 AS Fortuna corner Remedio in the Design Center of Cebu Complex in Mandaue City, Cebu. Telephone number (032) 505-6211, It opens at 11:30 AM, closes at 2:30 PM; reopens at 5:30 PM to 10 PM. Taxi from Fuente Osmena will probably take 40 minutes or so, but with traffic, good luck. 

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Pappardelle pasta has veal ragu, wild mushrooms and parmesan.

Creamy water cress soup with pancetta.


Ragu - In Italian cooking, it refers to a sauce typically made with ground meat, onion, tomato puree and red wine, and served with pasta.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Magic Lagoon Restaurant - Nature and Dining in Subic Bay (Olongapo City)

It's safe to say that the main attraction of Magic Lagoon (Bar and Restaurant) is the novelty location beside a lagoon where hobbyists can actually fish for their own seafood then have them cooked. It's the perfect place to relax those tense muscles outside a therapeutic massage, breathe a dose of fresh air and just kick back and consume delicious food. 

Reviews for the food are mixed so I had to make sure I try quite a few to get a more balanced judgement. It is more than just good, actually. Look at their lechon kawali. Pictures don't lie, and this tastes as good as it looked. I ordered sinigang na baboy but hipon arrived instead. I didn't mind really particularly because it tasted good. I ordered lumpia shanghai, 12 rolls for P155. Pansit guisado had thick noodles but the "mix" wasn't as tasty as I'd like it to be. 

The center piece for this would have to be the "deep fried hito" (catfish) which looked nasty. They serve these in the sidewalks of Bangkok and I never really liked them: too bony. Magic Lagoon's "hito" however was delicious; no after-taste, and the meat was tender. For someone who isn't a major fish-eater, I was fairly impressed. Any first-time visitor should try their "deep fried hito" (P350 for a large piece).  

Magic Lagoon is open 24 hours so it's perfect for those night caps just before going back to your hotel room. It's located at Bicentennial Park, Rizal Highway, just across the Subic Yacht Club, at the back of a gasoline station. Their local number is 516-3214. They have a Facebook page for further inquiries.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Lechon Kawali

Deep fried Hito (Catfish)

Adobong baboy at manok

Sinigang na Hipon

Pansit Guisado

Lumpia Shanghai

A piece of lechon kawali

Green Mango Shake at P85

Fishing and cooking rates.

#magiclagoon   # subicbay   #dining   #foodporn   #olongapo   #eat  #deepfriedhito  #catfish