Onion rings from Burgoo
This has got to be number one on my “didn’t expect to like it, but now I love it” list. Before, onion rings were, to me, just onion rings. Personally, I preferred fries. My Bin has always preferred the former, and one day he ordered the ones at Burgoo. With edges about a half-inch thick and a crunch that reverberates in the mouth, these onion rings are a winner, especially when dipped in the wicked cocktail sauce they come with. These rings also make a mean topping on your burger, should you happen to order one.
Fried chicken at Chef d’ Angelo
I’ve never met Chef d’ Angelo, and God only knows if he exists, but that’s not of any concern once you take a bite of his fried chicken. As large as a man’s hand, these babies are heavily battered and fried ”˜til golden. The skin literally shatters in your mouth, igniting a gastronomic implosion of flavor. The meat glistens in its own juice, which proceeds to dribble onto your lips, making your mouth a cesspool of grease. You gotta love it.
Chef d’ Angelo locations
Burger and onion rings from Tender Bob’s
This restaurant migrated to the new Greenhills Promenade after an extended stint along Libis. They’re known for their steaks, which is why I found it odd that no one trumpeted the praises of their burgers. Burly and beefy, they smack of manly, bovine romance. Choose from a quarter, half or full pounder, and then opt for a topping, (or two or three). The man sitting behind me ordered a full pounder oozing with cheese, sautéed mushrooms and what looked like onion rings. So enticing was it in all its glory that I couldn’t help but turn around and stare. Only etiquette prevented me from grabbing this unsuspecting man’s burger and taking a bite.
When my own quarter-pounder arrived sans accoutrements, I wanted to weep, since it looked nowhere near as exciting as the neighboring diner’s burger. Sigh. I also like their onion rings here too, as well as the French fries. The steaks I can do without.
Greenhills Shopping Center
Tender Bob’s Express
Market! Market!, 4th Level
26th St. cor. C5
Bonifacio Global City
Noodles and dumplings from Mey Lin
Some people find the term “comfort food” to be boring and insufficient enough to describe good, down home hearty food. Whatever. At Mey Lin, their noodles and dumplings inspire comfort and benevolence in me. Having a bad day? Come here. Got told off for taking pictures at some lousy restaurant? Come here.
Their steamed dumplings are homemade and encase all sorts of fillings of choice. (I like the pork and the all-vegetable). Served with a zesty dipping sauce, all you need now is a steaming bowl of white rice.
I also go for the 8 Treasures noodles, a dry noodle dish with an unusual sauce-topping of pork, black mushrooms, tofu, carrots, and obviously, four other ingredients I can’t remember. At Mey Lin, all their noodles are made in-house by a hulking chef who looks irritable but really loves to ham it up for the camera. At Mey Lin, you must order noodles, and of course, their legendary pata tim.
138 Jupiter Bldg.
Jupiter St., Makati
899-6688 / 899-8999
Hardenera from Buddy’s
My friend, Joey, introduced me to hardenera, which is a pork dish likened to an afritada omelet. It doesn’t sound very appealing, no? But you should still give it a chance. A favorite from Lucban, pork chunks, diced green peppers, some potatoes, and green peas are cooked in tomato sauce and then baked in a llanera, the aluminum dish commonly used to bake leche flan . While I enjoyed it very much, it was a bit disarming to suddenly bite into a large chunk of pork fat. Spit out the errant piece discreetly and carry on. Hardenera comes in small, medium, and large.
Pililla corner Kalayaan Avenue
Market! Market! outdoor food court
26th St. cor. C5
Bonifacio Global City
Barrio Fiesta sisig
One Saturday found my Bin and I at Barrio Fiesta. At that late lunch hour of 2pm, we were the only ones in the restaurant, which was just as well since we ordered sisig and crispy pata. Porkers we are, and loving it.
As you can see from the photo, Barrio Fiesta’s sisig arrives at table sizzling, searing, its primary mission to tempt our eyes and enlarge our waistlines. Unlike most contemporary sisig, which are crunchy and chock-full of chicharon (pork rind) bits, this sisig harks back to the old-fashioned days, when sisig was made from whatever was leftover of a pig’s head. Soft, and nothing short of sincerely delicious, this is vertiginously delicious seasoned with plenty of Knorr and calamansi.
Barrio Fiesta locations.
Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream
My brother in law says that Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is for “people who like the chunk more than the ice cream.” If that be the case, then that be me. I adore Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, and the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is my favorite in the world. So enamored am I of this flavor that I’ve eaten an entire pint all by myself (twice!) with no intention of sharing it with anyone. My favorite part is when my teeth sink into a cookie dough chunk: ah, the surge of sugar, the tease of vanilla, and then the manly slap of chocolate on my tongue. Oooh. Moan.
Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is available at all Rustan’s supermarkets.
Ube milkshake from Nestle scooping station
I will apologize to no one for my unabashed love for milkshakes. This retro, frosty greatness in a glass is one of my ways of taking it slow and sucking the goodness of life, albeit through a straw. I have a soft spot for ube (taro) anything, and while it’s not a common flavor for a milkshake, it works. The people at the Nestle scooping station in Rockwell do it well: it arrives tall and proud, with a viscosity that vivifies.