Eggs Benedict at Bizu
This quintessential breakfast dish consists of two poached eggs reposing on a pair of English muffin halves, slapped with a side of ham, and slathered in Hollandaise sauce. It was the prefect prescription to quell my craving for a stick-to-my-ribs kind of breakfast, one that would see me through to the end of the day.
I openly lust for egg yolks, and the more fluid the yolk, the better, so this dish just sends me. It is, in short, a love affair on a plate. The eggs sit demurely on the muffin halves, but once my knife homes in, the golden liquid gushes forth. It’s a sensual thing to behold, I believe.
I like to alternate my bites between all egg and Hollandaise sauce, then egg sopped up with some bread, and then a mouthful of egg, bread, and ham and Hollandaise. It’s one dish that has me emitting all the appropriate moans of a person in pleasure.
See Bizu’s website for locations.
7. Crispy Pata at Luce
Now-defunct bar Insomnia has been reincarnated in the crispy pata served at Luce (LOO-che). Seems that Insomnia was known for this particular dish, and its fans rejoice at being able to partake of this pork trotter once again.
Luce is foremost a bar, not a restaurant. When we went there at 7:30pm on a Saturday, we had the place to ourselves ”“ not a bad thing for two people committed to consuming an entire pork pata. Ah, the sins we hide. Luce is a small place, it reminds me of a dark hallway, with the occasional lamplight to cavort with the shadows. Still, we were here to eat, not to inebriate ourselves.
The food menu is small ”“ a few pica-picas (finger food) here and there, and of course, that venerable crispy pata. It took a good 25 minutes I’d say before that oinker was served to us, and we ate it all in less time.
Crispy pata is in no way a photogenic dish, but that factor pales to the taste. If deep-fried properly, the pata is not oily, instead it’s moist and tender with the relishing crrrunch of skin. At Luce, the pata is served with a receptacle, nay, a bowl of accompanying sawsawan (dipping sauce) ”“ a merry medley of soy sauce, vinegar, pepper, and chili. Initially, I thought they were overdoing it on the sauce by giving us too much, but no, we were spooning in that sauce to chase down the pata. So. Good. In between bites, I gnawed on the pata bone feeling like the glutton I so surrendered to being. Oink.
The name doesn’t ring any bells I’m sure, but you’ll hear them once you taste these pies. Ricco Renzo is actually a small art gallery along Reposo. The owner decided to put up a cozy café in order for guests to better enjoy the art (good move, I say).
Go for the apple pie, which has a solid crust, apples sliced to the right thickness, and a delightful streusel (crumb) topping. It’s unassuming and homey and cinnamon-y, and more affordable than the one served at Sugarhouse that you’ll pay P144 a slice for. (!) Eek.
I also like the Banoffee pie, which is a banana-toffee mélange wrapped in whipped cream and laid on a short crust. Mmm. ”˜nuff said.
210 Nicanor Garcia St. (formerly Reposo)
Bel-Air Village, Makati
9. Spices at Life & Spices
I’m enchanted with the star anise, a star-shaped dark brown spice that contains a small seed in each of its segments. It’s redolent of cinnamon and tree bark, and it’s the dominant flavor in pata tim.
I recently came across this store in Market! Market! that sells a variety of whole spices per 100 grams. Truly fresh, they’re worlds apart from the McCormick variety sold in the supermarket ”“ not that the ones in the supermarket are bad, but these are better (and cheap too!)
Also available at the store are kitchen gadgets from Japan, fresh honey from China, and other assorted doodads for the kitchen. Have a look.
Life & Spices
Fiesta Market (this area is right beside the fruit stands that are situated under the Market! Market! sign.)
This store is now closed.
Last updated 6/21/06
10. Cocoa steamer at McCafé
I will go to the ends of the planet for a good cup of hot chocolate. In my quest to capture that elusive but ultimate chocolate experience in a cup, I am forever trying out new proportions and different kinds of cocoa powders. Alas, my goal has not yet been achieved.
To console myself, I have the cocoa steamer at McCafé, which I consider to be the mother of all hot chocolates. This stuff is dark as earth and heady as any brew. It’s also so rich that the liquid leaves chocolate marks around the cup. (see photo). It’s one chocolate hit that will have you begging on your knees for more, more, more! My friend, Toby, is so addicted to this drink that he downs a 16-ounce mug of it everyday. How he stays so skinny, I don’t know.
Anyway, this hot chocolate is terrific paired with the almond-chocolate biscotti. McCafé’s other coffee drinks are great too, notably the Mocchacino, the Café Latte, and their version of steamed milk. I’m still broken up though, about their decision to pull out the Honey Crunch Cake. But that’s for another post.
Branches in Glorietta 3, Greenbelt (across AIM), Eastwood, and Panay Ave., QC (near the Quezon Ave MRT stop).
Top 10 for August is here.