Roasted Marrow Bones at Cirkulo
My photo doesn’t quite capture the mind-numbing, knees-gone-weak sensation that bones ”“ these bones ”“ invoke. It’s akin to a religious experience to scoop out a nub of the soft substance, deposit it on my tongue and then close my eyes. Every cell of my being is alert to the creaminess therein, the gentle rush of oil that follows, and then, as that glorious fat slides down my throat, the ensuing giddiness that comes with it.
900 Pasay Road, Makati
810-8735 / 810-2763
Meatloaf at Apartment 1B
I grew up with meatloaf, a much-maligned main dish suspected of being a catch-all for mysterious leftovers. Me, I love meatloaf. And when I cook it, I keep it simple: quality ground sirloin, minced onions, seasonings, and an egg to bind. Slap it into a loaf pan and bake. I suppose I could make beef gravy to go with it but I’ve always preferred my food unadorned. Eaten with rice, or ensconced in thick slices of bread with globs of ketchup or garlic-mayo, it’s quintessential comfort.
Sadly, my Bin and Boo don’t quite understand the mystique of meatloaf. “Why can’t we just have burgers instead?” They whine. It’s not quite the same, I want to tell them, but I don’t know how. So, on the days when I want meatloaf but don’t have the wherewithal to cook a whole loaf of it, I head to Apartment 1B. Perhaps the only local restaurant I know that serves this homely dish, it satisfies me on all fronts; making me believe, even just for a minute, that the whole world loves meatloaf.
132 L.P. Leviste corner SedeÃ±o St
Salcedo Village, Makati
French gastronome Charles Monselet had this to say about the pig, “[it] is nothing but an enormous dish which walks while waiting to be served.” Like-minded others agree that the only part that can’t be used in a pig is its oink. Giving credence to such pithy culinary wisdom is sisig, a dish invented expressly to make use of a pig’s head, cheeks, tail, ears, etc.
A favorite accompaniment with beer, sisig fans tell me that there are two camps: those who prefer the soft, Pampanga kind (all pig), and those who prefer the crunchy, chicharon-added kind. I belong to the latter camp, fan that I am of contrasts in texture. Then, to add even more of a good thing when wretched excess just isn’t enough, a raw egg is cracked upon the whole piggy lot. Indescribable when served on a hot plate with lashes of Knorr liquid seasoning and hot sauce, it’s so good it’ll make anyone say “oink.”
In this Chinese dish, mashed taro seasoned with Chinese 5-spice powder is layered on cooked slices of duck and then deep-fried to a crisp. For taro puff lovers like me, it’s everything we love about taro puff ”“the whisper of crunch, the smoothness of taro — with the added succulence of duck. In fancier places, this dish can boast a savory layer of sausage and mushroom but in nondescript joints, such as where the above photo was taken, it’s duck and taro served on a tacky plastic plate. But just as good.