1. Pancake House's Sunrise Orange Pancake Tower. The best pancakes ever! Pillowy soft baby pancakes with whipped butter, cream cheese, lemon-orange syrup and orange zest. If I lived next door to a Pancake House, I would eat this everyday. I would gain a kilo a week, and then keel over and fall into a diabetic coma. But I would be happy.
|Sunrise orange pancake tower by Pancake House, multiple branches. 5/5
2. Asia's Biggest Loser first runner-up Chef Carlos Miguel's beef pot pie. The pastry crust is love. The beef is fork-tender and robustly flavored. Perfect for rainy days. I wonder if he has ever thought of selling this as a frozen dinner?
|US beef and dark ale pot pie with potato wedges at Opus, Resorts World Manila. 4.5/5
3. Will the real Razon's please stand up? The ubiquitous "Razon's" fast food outlets have become the default palabok and halo-halo stations in Manila, but I had never heard of Teresita R. Razon. I figured we were in Pampanga, so how bad could it be? Not bad at all, it turned out. The place was packed with locals who seemed to think that this was the real thing.
|Pancit palabok at Teresita R. Razon Halo-halo & Palabok in San Fernando, Pampanga. 4.25/5
4. The strangest thing I ate recently? The Miracle Berry. It makes sour things taste sweet. I ate a berry (which by itself has a pleasant flavor) and then sucked on a calamansi. Seriously, it became the sweetest, yummiest calamansi in the world. There were plans to market the juice as a sugar substitute for diabetics, and even to promote weight loss, but a government/ big business conspiracy thwarted those plans. Source
|Synsepalum dulcificum aka miracle berry. Is it going to be the miracle diet pill? 4.5/5
5. This duck breast was the ninth course in a 12-course degustation we had at Society Lounge at the old Atrium Building. I was pleasantly surprised. I guess my expectations were low because the meal was so cheap (only US$35!), but I liked almost everything. I especially loved the duck breast, but the three measly slices were gone so fast that I must give it a conservative score of only 4.25 until I can taste it again. A full portion next time.
|Magret de canard au pomme sauce a la liqueur de peche at Society Lounge, Makati City. 4.25/5
6. I heard that eating at Tao Yuan was almost as good as eating in Singapore, so I was really looking forward to my very first meal there. Too bad the service at the Resorts World branch was so bad that it ruined our meal. Still, their HCR is an acceptable substitute if you have a craving but can't fly off to Singapore at the drop of a hat. I would like to give their original restaurant in Malate a try.
|Hainanese chicken rice at Tao Yuan, Resorts World Manila. 4/5
7. We're always on the lookout for the perfect spaghetti with meat sauce. When we saw the "Bolognese Done Right" on Kiss The Cook's menu, we were really excited. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to the hype. It was just good, not great, and at PHP225 for a puny portion, a bad deal.
|"Bolognese Done Right" at Kiss The Cook, Maginhawa Street, Quezon City. 3/5
8. I'm sure that my British friends out there will protest, but honestly, I was quite happy with this beef at the Circles buffet at Makati Shangri-la. Not as tender as it should be, but taste-wise, pretty good. And cooked just the way I like it.
|Roast beef with mushroom gravy, whole grain mustard and Yorshire pudding at Circles, Makati Shangri-la Manila. 3.75/5
9. Fresh strawberries swathed in glutinous rice paste and rolled in cocoa powder. Sounds like a good idea, but fails in execution. They were really ugly and started leaking strawberry juice after a couple of days. The taste of the mochi was OK and the strawberries were OK, too. There's just nothing to be gained by combining the two.
|Fresh strawberry mochi at Dezato Mochi, Quezon City. 1/5
10. When Big J and Little J came to Manila last month, they just had to have some lechon, and there's no lechon like your very own whole lechon. This little piggy was excellent. The crispy skin was thoroughly addicting and the meat was tremendously flavorful. Minimal chewing effort required-- everything melted in the mouth. I still believe that we have the best lechon here in Aklan, but I'm definitely a fan of Mang Caloy's now.
|Lechon de leche from Mang Caloy. Not available in Toronto, Canada. 4.5/5
I'm getting hungry.