Monday, December 31, 2012

Sunday, December 30, 2012

hap chan = comfort food

I can already hear some people out there scoffing, "Hap Chan?"

Try to imagine being in my shoes. Since I started living on Boracay in 1996, there had never been a decent Chinese restaurant. No fried rice, no sweet and sour pork, no wanton noodle soup. For more than a decade I was deprived and desperate. And then Mongkok came... and disappeared in a blink of an eye.

About a year ago, Hap Chan opened its doors at Boracay Regency Resort. Happy happy joy joy. In January, I celebrated my birthday there.

Shrimp siomai, P90++

Sautéed beef with broccoli flower, P265++

top 5: aubergine again

Last year, I wrote that Aubergine was one of the five best restaurants I've ever been to. I am happy to report that after taking Ma there for dinner on 19 April 2012, my opinion about it hasn't changed.

(Some restaurants from my 2011 list didn't make it this year. I still love Cuc Gach Quan in Saigon, but the others had to be dropped to make way for L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Hong Kong, Bukhara in New Delhi and Guy Savoy at Marina Bay Sands Singapore.)

I always know that I'm about to have a good meal when the bread is good. Bread is like a welcome greeting. It doesn't have to be fancy-- the lowly pan de sal will do-- but it must be served fresh and warm, as a sign of love and care. Cold, stale bread is just a slap in the face.

Aubergine's excellent bread and butter. Like a hug and a kiss.

I'm always amused (duh!) by Aubergine's amuse bouche. Very creative, and just the right size to pop into the mouth and get the juices going.

Amuse bouche: bacon panna cotta.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

food porn @ mango tree bistro

I was cleaning up my files before I archive them for the year when I found some food pics that I had almost forgotten about. These were taken at Mango Tree Bistro at Trinoma Mall on 30 May 2012.

Som Tum Thai. Spicy green papaya salad with dry roasted shrimp, P250.

Por Pia Phak. Deep fried vegetable spring rolls served with sweet chili dipping sauce, P150.

We had dinner there just three weeks after I came back from a month-long food trip to Thailand, so I was fully prepared to hate everything. I was pleasantly surprised.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

sting & the apocalypse

It is now 9:30 in the morning here after the supposed Mayan Doomsday, but somewhere in the world, it's still 21 December 2012-- plus there's Daylight Savings to consider. So before we get incinerated by a gigantic solar flare, here's one last blog post.


Back To Bass in Manila on 9 December 2012. I was so happy, I could have cried. Sting fans, you know what I mean.

Here's the set list that I saved in my mobile phone, typing in the dark while screaming my head off. After the concert, my high was a teeny bit marred because I was stumped by the title of number 8, but two hours of Googling and Youtubing the lyrics later, I was able to complete my list and sleep the "heavy sleepe".

1. If I Ever Lose My Faith In You
2. Every Little Thing She does Is Magic
3. Englishman In New York
4. Seven Days
5. Demolition Man
6. I Hung My Head
7. The End Of The Game
8. Fields Of Gold
9. Driven To Tears
10. Heavy Cloud No Rain
11. Message In A Bottle
12. Shape Of My Heart
13. The Hounds Of Winter
14. Wrapped Around Your Finger
15. De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
16. Roxanne

First encore
17. Desert Rose
18. King Of Pain
19. Every Breath You Take

Second encore
20. Next To You

Third encore
21. Fragile

The next morning, I woke up to see that some die-hard(er) had posted the set list on Twitter already.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

a dinner for charity

Warning: This is a bit of a whingy blog post. If you're not in the mood for snark, you should probably wait for "the season to be jolly" to pass before reading it.

I remember when I first heard of Pinoy Eats World Guerilla Dinners. The blogger jinlovestoeat went last year and the way she described it, it seemed right up my alley. So when my friends told me that a dinner was being organized this December and it miraculously fit my schedule, I said OK right away.

Sad to say, there were a few disappointments.

First disappointment: Usually, you're given an address for the meeting place but it's not where the dinner is to be held, resulting in a sense of mystery and excitement because you don't know where you're going. Lo and behold, our group's meeting and dining spots were one and the same. Oh, there was a corny gag where we were led from the house's garage to its front door, but the short walk served no purpose, really, other than to highlight the fact that it was a very big house.

I wanted our venue to be more special, maybe outdoors under the stars or in a penthouse with a fantastic view. Instead, we got meh-- no offense to the homeowner.

Second: I was expecting just a few diners, like jinlovestoeat's batch who all fit in one long table. I thought that it would be an intimate affair where we would get to meet new people and learn stuff about Filipino and/or world cuisine. Nope. There were, if I recall correctly, at least five round tables and each group stuck to its own. The ambiance did not encourage mingling.

Third: I thought that since we were going to be a small company, we would be sharing our food family-style with beautiful platters laid out in the middle of the table. Instead, we were presented with... a buffet. I guess it was the most efficient way of serving 50 people or so, but unfortunately, there's just no way to make a buffet spread look appetizing, which is why I never take photos of any.

Also, how can anyone have a decent conversation when you're queuing up for food half the time?

Fourth: This dinner was way too expensive. More about that later.

Most of the dishes were pretty decent, actually. The egg salad (made with balut penoy!) on toast was nicely comforting, although I felt that the spread needed more salt to offset the sweetness of the bread.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

books 16 through 20

Oh, no. The world is about to end and I've only averaged about half a book every week this year.