The Sunbaked King

Yearend Series 2008: These Are A Few of My Favorite Things (II)

On to the second part of the Awards! It’s time to take a look at the favorite things that defined my lifestyle:

Favorite Restaurant, Prices Within Reach

The nominees are:

Andok’s
Bacolod Chicken Inasal
Chiggy’s
Jollibee

KFC
Mang Inasal

And the Favorite Thing Award goes to:

mang_inasal

Mang Inasal

I’m a sucker for inasal. Mang Inasal’s chicken is especially special because the ones they serve are moist, huge, and coated with the most delicious sauce. The price is also quite affordable given the taste and the proportion of the meat.

Ma’am… Sir… EXTRA RICE?


Favorite Restaurant, Prices Beyond Reason

The nominees are:

Chateau, Greenbelt 5
Fish and Co., Greenbelt 3
FlapJacks, Greenbelt 2
Foccacia, A.Venue
Heaven and Eggs [not H&E], Glorietta 4
La Piadina, Glorietta Food Choices
Pepato, Greenbelt 2
The Old Spaghetti House, Katipunan
The Taipan, Philamlife Tower
Zong, The Fort

And the Favorite Thing Award goes to:

pepato

Pepato
Greenbelt 2

When you get served an amuse bouche for the first time, it’s bound to be a treat. When you’re offered freshly squeezed oranges displayed by the window, it’s bound to be a perfect meal. And Pepato was all that and more. Great service, wonderful ambiance, and most important of all, delicious, well-cooked food. I’m eagerly anticipating a repeat.


Favorite Dish

The nominees are:

No need for nominees, this one’s easy. No matter what the restaurant, the Favorite Thing Award goes to:

seafood_marinara

Seafood Marinara

You know that question, “If you’re stuck in an island, and there’s only one dish you can eat for the rest of your life, what would you eat and why?” This dish is my answer. And I could just get the ingredients right there, just beneath the ocean.

Favorite Drink, Caffeinated

The nominees are:

Caffe Mocha, Starbucks
Caffe Mocha with Hazelnut, Starbucks
Passion Iced Tea, Starbucks
Signature Hot Chocolate, Starbucks
White Chocolate Mocha, Starbucks

The Favorite Thing Award goes to:

starbucks_tall_caffe_mocha
Caffe Mocha
Starbucks

It’s quite obvious from the list that I’m a certified Starbucks boy. I was able to complete the sticker thingie last year twice. Given that, I’m also pretty much loyal to one drink: Caffe Mocha. It has the right blend of bitterness and sweetness, it’s not too cloying on the throat, and gives me the necessary jolt that I need. I used to be a White Chocolate Mocha boy, but that was a tad too sweet for me.

As for my favorite non-caffeinated drink:

calamansi

Calamansi Juice

I love sour, refreshing drinks, and this one fits the bill quite nicely.


Favorite Study Place

The nominees are:

Starbucks 6750
Starbucks Powerplant Mall
Starbucks Rockwell (Jungle)
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Makati Avenue
Seattle’s Best Coffee, Katipunan Avenue

The Favorite Thing Award goes to:

starbucks

Starbucks Rockwell (Jungle)

It doesn’t meet all the requirements I have in choosing a perfect coffee shop for studying, but it does hold a special place in my heart. Sometimes, good memories override any kind of objectivity. Sometimes, emotions trump the mind. (But that’s just waaaaayyy too serious for this post.)

******

That’s it, folks! You just happened to view the little things that made my 2008 a happier year to be in. Some of these may change, some may not, but we’ll never know until the end of this year. So stay tuned, kiddos, and watch out for the next Annual These-Are-A-Few-Of-My-Favorite-Things Awards!

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Filed under: Being Blue, Bibliomania, Gastronomy, Geekery, Sunshine, Utter Joy, Yearend

100 Words

heaven + ground + storm + archuleta + happening + rejection + pasok + flapjacks + forgotten + incredible + california + hermit + games + good + journey + taipan + cows + single + knight + kaban + sunday + boob + four + wall + aisle + august + tomb + chris + iphone + entry + history + sassy + wall-e + birthday + way + breakfast + clone + sumosam + study + darkness + competition + poem + jacques + death + coffee + eavesdropping + contented + corollary + catch + atenista + eagle + embers + other + recovery + melancholia + retreat + one + sidebar + thunder + q + hush + coat + waltz + letters + exam + know + family + musical + incomprehensible + leche + minutes + comeback + comeback + universe + blast + joke + brothers + yearend + series + 2008 + 2009 + goodbye + forgotten + sing + united + nations + avenue + honeymoon + american + hopeless + rest + idol + night + honors + honesty + hot + half-empty + hee + hope + 100 =

100 posts in 100 words.

I’ve gone a long way, and there’s no sign of stopping.

I will never tire of writing.

Filed under: ...And Others, Being Blue, Bibliomania, Cinema, Domesticated, Eros, Fiction, Yes?, Gadgetry, Gastronomy, Geekery, Helios, Mindlifting, Ra, Rat Race, Sunshine, Testimonial, The Couch Potato, Them, TV, Untamed, Utter Joy, Utter Sadness, Vanity, Yearend

Sumosam

What? Japanese Cuisine

Where? Powerplant Mall, Rockwell Center

Jel and I were craving for something Japanese last Friday night. Jel initially thought of Saisaki, but we immediately discarded the idea. Eat-all-you-can is NOT something we intended to participate in. Our bulging tummies were already carrying two separate ecosystems, and those should be enough. In any case, when the lengthy discussion over food finally ended, we were still choosing between two restaurants: Red Kimono or Sumosam. Our laziness got the better of us, so we headed out to nearby Powerplant to eat at the latter.

Let’s break it down:

Food. Jel, wanting soup, ordered the Sukiyaki. We were shocked by the pot when it came. It was big enough to feed a family of five. It would have been good enough to feed me by my lonesome had it been delicious, but it was too sweet for me. The shiitake mushrooms were splendid, though, but I couldn’t get them without getting some of the cloying soup sweetness in.

The Crunchy Squid Teriyaki, on the other hand, had “sweet” in its right place. Do you know those spicy red dilis foodies sealed in small plastic packets and sold in sari-sari stores everywhere? The squid teriyaki tasted exactly like those, and I was immensely satisfied munching on them.

It would seem like the sukiyaki and the squid teriyaki were the end of it, but no, those were just Jel’s orders.

I ordered the ones I immediately thought were “safe.” You most definitely can’t go wrong with bacon, and seafood has always been a perennial favorite, so I ordered two of those: Bacon-wrapped Dory and Bacon-wrapped Kani. The dory was succulent and very tender to eat; the crab was, as usual, superbly tasty. Two thumbs up for these two. (Oops: Not too fond of the teriyaki sauce, though. I never were.)

As a final course, I decided to try something new. Sumosam had unique offerings called Okunomiyaki or Japanese pancakes, available in three varieties: the all-seafood pancake (Tsukiji), the spam and mushroom pancake (Waikiki), and the chicken and pharma ham pancake (Ginza Glam– is this even Japanese?). I chose the all-seafood pancake, of course.

I wasn’t disappointed. The pancakes had a base made out of egg and something leafy, which normally would have sent the dish on Jel’s plate, but surprisingly, the egg and the seafood toppings masked the bitter taste of the vegetable. I ended up eating three-quarters of the dish. It’s not something you’ll be craving while you’re in the office, but, when served, it’s good enough to warrant another bite. And another. And another.

Ambiance. Normal. Nothing out of the ordinary. 

Service. Normal. Nothing out of the ordinary. (This happens when you’ve exhausted all your adjectives in describing the food. I’ll do better next time.)

Sumosam is a pricey place for a casual dinner; you better reserve those funds elsewhere. But if you’re already there, and you’re feeling adventurous, try the Japanese pancakes. They’re delightful. Don’t repeat our mistakes, though, especially if you’re just eating with a friend. Two dishes ARE enough.

Filed under: Gastronomy

Five Cows

 

What? It seems to be proud of its ice cream creations.

Where? Trinoma, North Avenue, Quezon City

Let’s break it down:

Food. For our entrees, Kenneth ordered the Red Wine Chicken Adobo (FTM: Thigh, drumstick, and wing. Red wine adobo sauce. Pickled vegetables. Rice.). I chose the Grilled Honey-Bourbon Chops (FTM: Porkchops. Honey-bourbon glaze. Buttered vegetables. Rice.). Actually, I urged Kenneth to take on the adobo. I was intrigued by the inclusion of red wine, and besides, chicken adobo is always a delicious dish, wherever it may be served. 

Sad to say, the adobo was bland, and lacked that little kick. I’m not even sure if the red wine was present. If so, it was underwhelmingly subtle. The chicken was cooked perfect, but the lack of taste nullified that positive aspect of the dish. My pork chops, on the other hand, were superb. The honey-bourbon glaze really gave the meat a sweet but tangy taste which my taste buds appreciated.

Speaking of sweet, we moved on to dessert.  Since the restaurant was so confident of their ice cream delicacies they named their place as a “Resto and Ice Cream Bar,” we had to taste for ourselves. Kenneth had the Ferrero Crunch Supreme (FTM: The most talked about creation! Classic vanilla ice cream mixed with crunchy bits and our very own concoction of choco hazelnut filling. Definitely a must try for those who enjoy a truly amazing chocolatey experience!), while I had the House Specialty, Blueberry Crumble (FTM: Two generous scoops of classic vanilla ice cream, blueberry filling and streusel bits.) The lack of exclamation points in my description was a give-away that the Ferrero Crunch Supreme was, indeed, going to reign supreme. It’s sin in chocolate form.

Ambiance. I hate restaurants with seats that extend to the outside, where people walking by can see you struggling with your pork chops, or licking the underside of your spoon for residual ice cream bits. Five Cows is one such place. The inside looks inviting (yellow lights, yay) and comfortable, but the outside was just a dreary place to be in.

Service. Given our unfortunate seating, it was difficult to get the servers’ attention. Fortunately, all bad feelings were gone by the time they’re done, since the servers make it a point to be as accommodating and as yielding as possible. And we got a free Five Cows cap!*

* Not exactly free. It’s an additional 50 pesos for every single receipt worth 1,000 pesos. Hee.

Filed under: Gastronomy

The Taipan

What? Chinese (Cantonese) Cuisine

Where? Philamlife Tower, Paseo de Roxas, Makati City

Let’s break it down:

Food. Eat-all-you-can dim sum buffet! I didn’t recognize half of what’s being served in our table, and I wasn’t even able to take a look at the menu. What I know is that everything is shrimp-based. Hakao, shrimp dumpling, abalone on top of shrimp, pork on top of shrimp. I’m not complaining; I love shrimp. However, some variety would have been nice (yes, there were chicken legs, but no one even touched them).

4.5  out of 5

Ambiance. The place is as opulent as the jewelry in The Forbidden Palace. As such, it was not the place for loud conversations, camwhoring, and excessive display of gluttony. But we had all three, anyway, because how often can you say that you got in the most posh restaurant in the Philamlife Tower? Not very often, that’s how.

4  out of 5

Service. The waiters were very professional, both in style and form. They were efficient winds– unseen and unfelt, yet our glasses never seemed to run empty. We would have wanted the same treatment when it came to our soy sauce saucers; we had to ask for a refill.

 out of 5

The entire dinner was free, so I couldn’t really rate anything based on price. And since the place was available only to members, I couldn’t openly recommend it to everyone. You’ll just have to take my word for it; the dim sum, shrimp-monotonous as they were, were simply delicious.

———————————————

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s take a peek at some of the scenes during dinner. (Yes, I have to post this.)

 

While the food may be delicious,

it wasn’t as smoldering

or as sexy

or as sumptuous

as the rest of us.

Filed under: Gastronomy, Vanity

California Pizza Kitchen

What? American/Italian/Asian Cuisine (fusion?)

Where? Glorietta 3, Ayala Center, Makati City

 

Let’s break it down:

Food. We ordered the following: Bangkok Calamari (From the Menu {FTM}: Light fried calamari served with sweet Thai dipping sauce and homemade remoulade), The Original BBQ Chicken Pizza (FTM: Our most popular pizza, introduced in our first restaurant in Beverly Hills in 1985. Barbecue sauce, smoked Gouda and Mozzarella cheeses, BBQ chicken, sliced red onions and cilantro), and Marsala Marinara (FTM: Linguini with our marinara sauce, garlic, Italian marsala wine, mushrooms and fresh basil. Topped with shaved Parmesan cheese)

Among the three, the pasta was the tastiest. Of course I’m biased with anything that contains shrimp, but this dish was extra delicious. I don’t know how marsala wine tastes, but maybe it was the ingredient that added that little oomph. Most important, the food came with a generous serving of shrimps, which some pretentious “shrimp” dishes puzzlingly try hard to avoid.

That’s where the good news ends. The other two dishes failed to amaze. The Bangkok Calamari tasted good, but it was to be expected; after all, it’s fried squid. Of course it’s going to taste good. Looking back, I’m wondering if I should have used the remoulade dip more. Nah, maybe not. It looked too much like coleslaw.

On the other hand, the pizza, for me, was a disaster. I’ve never been fond of BBQ Chicken pizzas (even in the equally delicious Yellow Cab), but something about their advertisement (“our most popular pizza“) beckoned to me. Hoping against hope, I succumbed. And regretted. Topping pizza dough with the sweet BBQ sauce and the chunky chicken bits was still not a favorable combination for me. Jeland ended up eating the pizza, while I ended up licking the sauces off the pasta plate.

3  out of 5

Ambiance. The place was huge, which was great. And the yellow lighting? Good for photographs. There were several types of seats and tables; there were seats by the bar, there were couches, and there were normal seats by normal tables. The place was divided into smoking and no-smoking areas, which, though customary in some restaurants, still appear thoughtful. 

 4  out of 5

Service. The waiter took our orders without writing them down, which impressed me, then went back 5 minutes after to check if the pizza we ordered was Chicken BBQ, which disappointed me. Aside from that little bump, service was alright, and the waiting time was not that long, considering all that we have ordered. Or maybe it’s because we were camwhoring once again. Hmmm, it’s hard to gauge these days.

3.5  out of 5

California Pizza Kitchen is a great restaurant to go to, but only if you order the right kind of food suited to your tastes. Furthermore, something tells me that I could have gone to Yellow Cab and got a higher level of satisfaction for a cheaper cost, instead.

Filed under: Gastronomy

FlapJacks

What? Breakfast Cuisine (if there is such a thing)

Where? Greenbelt 2, Ayala Center, Makati City

 

Let’s break it down:

Food. Jeland ordered Country Ham, which, according to their menu, is a “thick slick of ham steak cooked in honey butter sauce, served with griddle potatoes, 2 eggs any style, and house salad.” Jel chose to have his eggs scrambled. I, on the other hand, opted to try out the Smoked Cheese Sausage, which is a “poached sausage stuffed with chunky cheese, served with spiced potato salad, toast, and 2 eggs any style.” I chose to have my eggs cooked sunny-side up, which is the only way I’ll have them.

The Country Ham was superb. I think I’ll have more of that honey butter sauce on all my meats next time. The square thing you see on the left side might seem small, but it was more than enough to keep me full.

At this point you might be wondering what I’m doing eating my roommate’s dish, and you would be right: I did exchange my Smoked Cheese Sausage with his ham. While any little kid would love cheese in their hotdogs and sausages, the sausage I was served was just really difficult to digest. It was really huge, and for some reason, I got turned off by its size. Furthermore, I’m not really that fond of sausages (I prefer hotdogs myself), so it would take a really extraordinary variety to make me eat it all. Unfortunately, the FlapJacks Smoked Cheese Sausage was not that particular sausage for me.

The rest of the food was standard breakfast fare, which meant, of course, that they were delicious. Even the potatoes, despite having some kind of an onion topping, grew on me.

 4.5  out of 5

Ambiance. The place looked and felt cozy. The bright yellows and oranges on the walls and on the couches infused a bright, sunshine-y atmosphere into the restaurant, which was appropriate for the food it was serving. 

4  out of 5

Service. The servers were very attentive to our needs, although initially, we had to catch their attention before they took our orders. They looked relaxed and, dare I say it again, sunshine-y. And look! A specialized stamp for each server! It’s a nice touch, especially for people who love calling servers by their names. “Weng, do you think I can have more black pepper on this? Thanks.” One thing that bothered me about the stamp, though, just a little pet peeve of mine– what’s with the quotations marks in “SERVER” for? Ak!

4  out of 5

All in all, we had a good time in FlapJacks.

Filed under: Gastronomy