Wednesday, October 31, 2007

He Looked It

October 31
Trick or treat ....
The winner of the best costume in our annual candy-giving activity was a long time friend who came with a set of those cheapo lighted horns and nothing else ...
He said he was the devil
He looked it
So he won

Happy Halloween ...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ambiance Galore

"Tienes hambre? " - asks the wifey
"Uh ohhhhh" ... says my son .
He looks at me in a panicked way knowing like I do that tonight is not gonna' be adobo night

It is Spanish food night

We jump into the car while debating where to go.
Manila is chock full of Spanish influenced eating spots.
My subconscious takes over, and the car starts heading for the motel-rich Pasig area -as if it had a memory to relive.
"Hoyyyyyyy lalake - bakit ka papuntang Pasig?? " - my suspicious wifey asks
My son sinks into the depths of the backseat whispering ... "ngekkk, sabit si dad".
But I, unfazed by the blue ribbon committee interrogation , answer back -" uhmmmmmmmmm , kasi one of the best tapas bars in Metro Manila is located in Pasig"

Barcino is a small warehouse cum tapas bar located on the Valle Verde hill that is home to the City Golf complex.
Up the steep driveway
Into ample parking space
Then into one of the coziest (perhaps then- authentic) tapas bars in the metro
It is small - all of maybe 12-15 tables

Its like walking into a small warehouse or storage room
Crates, barrels,boxes, bottles, and baskets double as decor
Small table nooks are mixed into wherever they fit
We gravitated towards a tabletop on two barrels and sat on bar stools
Ambiance galore ....

Wifey is amazed
Eyes examining every corner
Her head nods in approval
A smile across her lips
She likes it
Her "Pasig" suspicions are forgotten
A smile across my lips ....

Barcino owners Dani Aliaga and Sergi Rostoll were schoolmates in Barcelona who saw in Barcino a chance to put into practice what they had learned.
They wanted small, casual, authentic
And they did it ...

The business concept is simple
A little over twenty types of tapas, plus paella, fabada,and ensalada.
Affordable, good quality Spanish wines
Tiny homelike 2 burner kitchen behind a curtain
Quick personal service
Strains of Hispanic music in the background

The people mix is encompassing
Makati's "oye como va" crowd sipping wine with their little pinkie fingers in the air fits right in with the more comfortable flip flop, jeans and t-shirt fashionistas of surrounding universities offices, and subdivisions.
There is a common thread that binds.
Good food and wine will do that ...

So if (ehemmmmmmmm) you just happen to be in the Pasig area
And you wanna have a gastronomic orgasm as well,
And you are looking for an unpretentious place for good tapas and wine
This has to be it

Seeya - I will be the guy eating paella , drinking wine and throwing furtive glances at the senoritas.
Join me - I will gladly share my chorizo with you .....

Spanish teacher: Class use 'fuera' in a sentence.
Student: Miss maestras son bonitas (my teachers are beautiful).
Teacher: Oh, that's very flattering but where's 'fuera'?
Student: Fuera ka!

Spanish Wines and Tapas
2/F City Golf Complex, Ortigas Town Center
Julia Vargas Ave., Pasig
(63-2) 636-2963
** reservations recommended

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Baby Boomers

Whaaaaaaaaaaaat a day yesterday was
Bombings, sirens, police, firemen, injuries ...

I really needed to end the day with a drink
I was looking for a comfort zone
Somewhere to rekindle memories of a better time...

Jill's is a resto/bar that really packs them in every Friday as legions of music faithfuls troop to listen, dance and sing along with the music of the 80's and 90's.
Vinyl and CD wizard DJ Boyet Almazan spins a web of music that transports everyone to a time filled with fond memories.

Fingers snapping and hands clapping
Heads bobbing and lips syncing with somehow recognizable words
Every familiar strain elicits shrieks of recognition
High fives and friendly finger pointing
Hips swaying, feet tapping, eyes rolling ...
People are just plain happy

I sat comfortably in my outdoor seat
Indulging in a deluge of "pica-pica"
Salpicao, gambas, calamares ...
A Black Russian with lots of ice to my lips
And my eyes agog at the sea of silicone orbs that bounce to every beat of music

There was enough botox on the premises to kill a tarantula
A bevy of curvaceous buffed bodies walked in and mixed with a group of liposuction weary friends
Paunchy "Determined Older Males" bantered in small talk with street smart college fresh sophisticates

Food, spirits and dance
A place for all adult age groups
Bridging the gap between baby boomers and GenX
The occasional Millenium hip-hoppers gawk at the overwhelming power of nostalgia, as even they, start to appreciate the structured rhythm of the 80's and 90's

Gosh - was I ever soooo glad that it was a Friday
The start of a much needed weekend
And what better way than to hook up with my old buddies DJ Boyet Almazan, his promoter/manager Teddy Dario and Jill's co-owner Rey E. (uhmmmm - the emphasis is on "buddies" - not on"old" )

Retro DecaDANCE night every Friday
At Jill's resto/bar
If you haven't discovered this portal to the hit sounds of the past yet
You are way behind the times

Come on downnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
(gosh-that is so 80's)

G/F at the Fort
Bonifacio Drive, Global City
tel: (63-2) 818-4557

Hindi ba pwede?

7 a.m - breakfast (Friday)

7 a.m. - breakfast (Saturday)

Gud morning ma'am-sir,
Hindi ho ba pwedeng mag-boksing na lang kayong dalawa sa Las Vegas at huwag nyo nang idamay pa ang taong bayan?
Suggestion lang naman po ...


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hihingi po

"Sa maybahay ang aming bati
Merry Christmas na maluwalhati
Ang pag-ibig pag siyang naghari
Araw-araw ay magiging Paskong lagi

Ang sanhi po ng pagparito
Hihingi po ng aginaldo
Kung sakali't kami'y perhuwisyo
Pasensya na kayo pagka't kami'y namamasko"

"Tenk you, tenk you
Tenk you, meri krismas ,tenkyou
Tenk you ..."

Monday, October 15, 2007

Welcome Back

In the 1990's - one of the metro's fave hangouts was a resto/bar named New Orleans.

Located at Legaspi Street of the then newly burgeoning Greenbelt area of Makati, it was a mecca for lovers of jazz and cajun cuisine.
Many of you still remember that ... don't deny
I can still picture you snapping your fingers and swaying your heads to the beat of Louis Armstrong
"I see trees of green -red roses too ..."
Hmmmmmm "what a wonderful world" and time that was ...

Sadly - the resto/bar was gobbled up by the rapid development in the area and eventually faded into the territory of fond memories after a 12 year run.

It was missed terribly

This week - almost a decade later - it has resurrected itself.
It's about time ...
Welcome back

Raymund Magdaluyo of the Red Crab group has partnered with his grandfathers best friend Murray Hertz of the original Greenbelt resto to open "Murray's New Orleans" at the Global City's Bonifacio High Street.

It was its first weekend
Soft opening
A 5-man brass group greeted us with ... "Oh when the saints ... oh when the saints go marchin' in "
A touch of Louisiana
A taste of New Orleans

An open air but climate -controlled bar area welcomed us
We chatted with the visibly proud Murray - the maaaaan
Raymund spent time explaining the concept
And the history ...
I listened as if I didn't know ... and told him that my father remembered the place :-)

Inside was a Bourbon Street setting
Complete with iron-grilled faux balcony ledges
And the wonderful touch of having cymbals on the ceiling acting as light reflectors cum shades

Cajun/Creole is a tricky cuisine
Despite the many variants of each dish, there is a certain correctness of taste that one expects if one would be a fan of the cuisine
This resto had it correct ...

Gumbo @235pesos
Oysters Rockefeller @320pesos
Bloody Mary Oysters @330pesos
Seafood Jambalaya @320pesos
Killer Lobster @443.52pesos
Baked Blackened Chicken @308pesos
And a couple of Black Russians from the bar ...

Just like its namesake city in the United States
New Orleans has risen from oblivion ...
Check it out
Relive the legend

Murrays New Orleans
1F14 Bonifacio High Street
Global City, Taguig

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Looking at my Eyes

Okay - before we go any further,
Let me apologize coz' I totally forgot to take food shots during this latest food tryst of mine

I was so enthralled by the company I was with, that I just plum forgot ...
By the time I remembered - we were well into the middle of the dinner and there were no shots worth taking

Maybe it was the 2003 St. Urbans Hof Riesling that we started with
Or the conversation that engrossed us
Maybe it was her eyes
Maybe the glossy lips
More probably it was the cleavage that kept looking at my eyes

I am such a dork
The truth is - maybe it was Alzheimer's

Lemuria is a place for a romantic's romance
Tucked in and hidden within the winding roads of Horseshoe Village,
This tops my preferences for a date with that special someone within the metro

The experience starts with a gracious "gateman"who welcomes you into the direction of a brick and tiled walkway that leads to a wonderfully peaceful courtyard
From there - an inspiring view of this cottage like restaurant cum wine cellar.
If you are lucky, the charming owner Kitt Schroeder will start engaging you in conversation about her passions- food and wine

Lemuria is cozy and romantically lit
Brick walls and wood beams create a cuddly mood right away
The attentive servers kick in
And you are off on a culinary journey that will cost you a bit
But then heyyyyyy ... what is romance for (if not to lead you to the poorhouse)

An extensive wine list will joggle your neurons
(Tip: this is one place with good Geman Rieslings)
And then comes the menu
Think French-Mediterranean fine dining ...

Consider starting with "Beurre d'Escargots" or a mouth-watering "Seared Foie Gras braised with cabbage and fig glaze". Then perhaps a "Chowder with Manila clams and scallops flavored with Pernod".

For mains - uhhhhhhm, I mean "entrees" - maybe a "Grilled Wagyu Entrecote served with Lemuria salad" a "Braised Lamb Shank with apricots and red wine sauce" or a "Squab, roasted and stuffed with duck liver and served with stewed grapes, onion and cabbage"

Settle down with brewed coffee and a Valrhona Chocolate Souffle cake.
This is the stuff that can really get my pheromones going ...

Lemuria is Metro Manila's little secret
Barely a year old - it is already on the A-list of those in the know
A touch of graciousness, warmth and intimacy
Find a date
Bring someone special
Fall in love ...

Lemuria at The Winery
#5 Julieta Drive
Horseshoe Village , Quezon City
(63-2) 7222185, (63-2) 7245211

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Today -I had crabs
Uhmmm that gives me an itch
Let me rephrase ....
Today - I ate crabs

Okay, that sounds better
I ate crabs and lobster and clam chowder
And other good stuff

Claw Daddy opened a new branch in Bonifacio High Street
We caught it in its first week
Already we are hooked ... or "clawed"
The brainchild of 3 restaurateur friends Raymund Magdaluyo, Murray Hertz and Peter Ayson - Claw Daddy is a niche for everything that one can claw into (as in eat with hands) ,
And more ...

It is incidentally the coming together of the Red Crab and New Orleans restaurant groups,
The menu is therefore strong on seafood and a Cajun influence

The place is very casual
Family friendly , kid friendly ...
Perhaps to a fault
Because I felt like I was in a playroom more than in a restaurant
But the great eating experience more than makes up for that ...

Things started out well as the servers gave us free buttered corn on the cob while taking our orders ...
Hey - freeeeeeeeeeee
This place is greaaaaaaaaaaaaat

Then there was a Boston Clam Chowder this time @ 135pesos .
Followed by Creole Crispy Shrimp @295pesos
This is crispy, crunchylicious shrimp with lemon butter dip
Next ...
Bacon Wrapped Crabmeat Stuffed Shrimp with Linguine @385 pesos
Add - Lobster and Salpicao SurfN'Turf @585pesos
Then last but not least - was The Drunken Crab
This is steamed crab cooked in premium beer @95pesos per gram

We were provided with bibs, washtowels, and instead of a claw "cracker" - a marble-like stone tile with a separate heavy river stone - to pound on the crab shell and crack it open.
For an overworked and underpaid dork like me - this was perfect for venting my frustration

I placed a mental picture of my boss' head on the crab claw - and started pounding away till the shell cracked

This is a fun place
Eating with your hands
And slurping the crabmeat off a huge crab claw is casual eating at its best

If shelled seafood is your trip
Claw Daddy is a good bet
Come in a large group ....
Claw your way through the menu

Claw Daddy
Bonifacio High Street
Fort Bonifacio,Taguig
(63-2) 856-4785

Monday, October 01, 2007

Anything for you?

Wifey: Dagul - I am going to the grocery.
Do you want me to buy anything for you?
Dagul: ... hmmmm - sum tsokoleyt

Wifey: What kind?
Dagul: pik one

Wifey: What kind nga ?
Dagul: pik one

Wifey: You have to tell me because I might not choose the right one
Dagul: pik one nga e

Ang kulit e - can you just please tell me exactly what you want?
Dagul: pik one

Wifey: Nakuuuuuuu -ewan ko sa iyo

toyngkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk (flying ballpen)

Pik-One is a yummy choco-snack.
Wafers in chocolate flavored shell.

Made by the Gandour company of Malaysia,
This choco-bar is proggressively converting chocosnackers like me
The wafers have the slightest hint of a coffee (or coconut?) like flavor
And the chocolate is not too sweet
A touch of Euro rather than Americain
It's hard to stop with just one ...
You will find your hand reaching out for the next piece

Go ahead - pick one
Pick the right one

24 grams /bar
125calories per bar
7.95 pesos @neighborhood grocery