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BTC’s Gourmet Street Food.

BTC’s Gourmet Street Food.

Inspired by the growing food market trends in Manila like Mercato Centrale, Banchetto Night Market and Legazpi Sunday Market in Makati, Cebu’s very own Banilad Town Centre recently launched the Gourmet Street Food Market.

My friends and I dropped by BTC on the opening weekend right after watching the last full show of that one big cliché of a movie called No Other Woman. Tonight I am here with 2 groups: the dormies and my dance classmates. We were hoping to fill ourselves up with lots of great food finds and well, it certainly didn’t disappoint. Considering that this is only the opening weekend, there are only 6 stalls all in all. The first one sold some incredibly good tapsilog. Although I didn’t get to try it one of my friends did and it got pretty good reviews.

Next there’s The Pantry’s stall which offered some really REALLY good sausages. You get to have your sausage just the way you like it here. Choose your meat, then the toppings, and put them all together inside a tasty but healthy wheat bun. YUMMM!

The next stall sold their own version of that famous Choriburger from Boracay. Their booth looked pretty basic with just an electric grill

But I was so totally blown away by how good the Choriburger is. OMG! The sauce is incredibly rich and bursting with flavor and ends with a nice spicy zing complimenting the meat beautifully. Looove this! 😀

Then there’s the Eats Delicious stall where we saw a good selection of meat pies and desserts. The owner convinced us to try one of the pies telling us we absolutely won’t regret it. I also found their bread soup bowls interesting but I in the end chose to go with the meat pie.

I slathered their chicken pie with their trademark salsa and upon swallowing a mouthful I savored the delicious interplay of the salty chicken with its rich sauce and the sweet, buttery, flaky crust. These meat pies will set you back a hundred bucks which is pretty steep for its size if you ask me. But I can tell the ingredients used are of the finest quality so it’s probably all worth it. 😉

This booth also showcased some yummy desserts and if only I was hungry enough I would have tried them all. I ordered the tiny custard cake thingy but I thought it reminded me a little bit of Cassava cake which was I totally didn’t expect. Maybe I should have gone with the lemon or mango tart instead.

Diets Are Evil featured some pretty interesting dishes but by then I was too full to eat anything more. This is will probably be one of the reasons for me to go back. That Lechon Sisig looks pretty intriguing to me.

The last stall is called Dos Hermanos which featured some traditional Spanish fare. I was so tempted to try the paella but then again there was just no more space in my stomach. Lesson learned? Come to the food market with a HUGE appetite. Trust me. It will be so hard to resist temptation here.

Here I am with my friendships. Don’t we all look so happy and FULL? J It doesn’t take much to please us girls. Just take us to a place with great food finds like the BTC Gourmet Street Food Market. Open every Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00pm to 1:00am at the outer lobby.

 

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Posted by on October 22, 2011 in Food Reviews, Where To Eat

 

The Yum2x Tree Of My Childhood

The Yum2x Tree Of My Childhood

*This is another re-post from my old blog, the now-defunct Eat, Drink & Be Loved. Once again, I am so incredibly happy that I was able to salvage this particular post. Thanks to my loyal reader Bong who saved his subscriptions. I just had to take pictures again during a recent visit here. Yay! 😀 * 

Do you ever get that feeling when you eat something and it feels like you just became reunited with an old friend? I get that feeling quite a lot especially when I get to eat dishes from my childhood. Growing up, my Mom used to do her groceries at Rustan’s when it was still located at Mango Avenue. And while she lines up to pay at the cashier my siblings and I always make a beeline for The Yum Yum Tree.

Fast forward to many years later, Rustan’s closed down for a long time. Well, to me it felt like a VERY long time. However, recently, it reopened under a new management in a new location. So imagine the happiness I felt when I knew I’d get to eat at Yum Yum Tree again! Although the new location is at the opposite end of the city, I purposely drive going there just to eat my favorites. Gone are the dark green and brown colors and comfortable, cushioned seats. They have been replaced with these plastic ones but I don’t mind at all. Some of their waiters have been here since forever and one of them even still recognizes me when I eat here with my siblings.

Their menu consists of more or less the same offerings that they had several years ago. And my oh my. Look at those prices! You can rarely see anything over p100 here. This is what I call value for my money.

I hardly ever order anything new here at Yum Yum Tree. I tend to stick to my old favorites if I eat at a restaurant that I frequent. And their Palabok (p55) is definitely on my list of ultimate favorite foods. When people ask me where they can find the best palabok I always tell them to go to Yum Yum Tree.

I think the secret is in their sauce. Compared to other palabok that have sauces that lean towards the thinner consistency, this one is incredibly rich and coats the noodles just perfectly. It bursts with bags of flavor in your mouth and the interplay of textures is just beautiful. From the smooth, silky noodles, to the rich, almost creamy sauce, to the crunch of the crumbled fried pork bits. Drizzle it with the calamansi for that extra kick that will get you reaching for the next forkful within seconds of swallowing. This is the palabok of my dreams and for that you must understand why I became deliriously happy when Yum Yum Tree opened again.

Then of course, there’s my OTHER favorite, their Spaghetti w/ Meatsauce (p45). Before placing my order I always ALWAYS have a debate in my head whether I should go with Spaghetti or palabok because I love them equally. This is the only spaghetti I ever dare to eat with rice (yeah, I know carbo-loading much) and the only spaghetti I can consume 2 orders of in 1 sitting.

Again, the sauce is Yum Yum’s secret weapon. Its rich, thick consistency punctuated by little bits of flavorful ground meat, its harmonious blend of spices, topped with glorious amounts of shredded cheddar cheese, all make for one simply amazing Spaghetti dish. I want to bottle the sauce and take it home with me because it’s really just THAT good.

I wish I had the time to take more pictures of these two but I was on a tight schedule when I took these. But then again, who cares about pictures right? I tell you to stop staring at the screen now and head on out to Yum Yum Tree whether it’s for a real meal or just for a snack. For less than a hundred bucks you’ll get so much Yum-yum for your tum-tum. LOL!

The Yum Yum Tree is located at

Rustan’s Supermarket Banawa branch

Arcenas Estates, Banawa, Cebu City

Open everyday until 9:00pm

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2011 in Food Reviews, Restaurants

 

The “Holy Cow!” Burgers From Frontgate

The “Holy Cow!” Burgers From Frontgate

At the beginning of this week I promised myself that I would head straight home at the end of the day and forego any plans to hang out with my friends just so that I won’t be able to eat or drink anything that might ruin my diet. It’s only Tuesday (September 28, 2011) and I have already broken that promise TWICE. But how could I resist when I am told that we will be eating at a place that serves one of THE BEST burgers in town? I gave in, sort of forgot about my diet, and soon found myself with a bunch of friends at Frontgate.

Frontgate is located at a place that holds a lot of memories for me because it’s just right next door to my old alma mater where I spent 13 years of my life. I don’t know why they decided to call it “Frontgate” though because as far as I know, our school gate right next to it is actually the BACK gate (or the GRAY gate). I guess Frontgate sounds better? Anyway, I was famished beyond words because I just came from the gym followed by an hour of dance class so we asked for the menu and start to place our orders.

Oh, and look what I found on their placemat! My love Michael Jackson doing his famous Smooth Criminal pose! Goodness. I LOVE this place already 😀

The appetizer, a bowl of french fries soon arrives. It resembles McDonald’s Twister fries and tastes just as good. I had just one piece of this because I know how incredibly fattening deep fried potatoes are and It took all of my restraint to stop myself from grabbing a few more pieces.

Then came Frontgate’s bestseller, their Bacon Mushroom Melt (p115). I tell you it was love at first bite with this burger. It even made Bong, one of tonight’s dinner mates, go “Holy Cow! This is GOOD!” with matching eyes that grew bigger as he continued to chew. The patty is tender, bursting with flavor, and oozing with juice. The combination of cheese, bacon, and mushrooms is absolutely to die for and I think it is the bacon that should get the most credit for this dish. The menu says it is homemade bacon and I have never tasted anything quite like it. It’s thick, crunchy, and salty just the way I like it. I swear, I can probably give up all kinds of pork except for two: Bacon & Lechon. LOL! So when they say that Frontgate has THE BEST burgers in town I am now a believer and a staunch advocate. This is an absolute MUST TRY!

The only other dish that one of my friends ordered from Frontgate is their Philly Cheese Steak (p115). I unfortunately had to forego tasting this one because that half a bacon mushroom melt is already sinful enough. But seeing how it is topped with glorious amounts of onions in cheese sauce, I think this should be on my list of orders on my next visit. By then I hope I won’t be on a diet anymore.

I love their waitresses’ t-shirts too! It’s so Facebook. I think I want one.

We then asked this friendly waitress to take a photo of myself and the rest of my dinner mates. It’s a unique mix of people here. There’s Jihannee who’s my barkada, there’s Erika who’s Jihannee’s highschool barkada, there’s Bong who’s a fellow foodie and a fan of my blog and my One Dish A Day Project, then there’s Lauren my friend from way way way back, there’s Mareu who’s Lauren’s gym friend, and then there’s Chin and Kimi my classmates from dance class.

It was a super fun night of eating and loads of story-telling. I can’t wait to relive this night and eat more food from Frontgate. Eating only half of that burger was so bitin in all sense of the word. Gaaah! I want to go back for MORE!

Frontgate is located at 21A Ma. Christina Extension. Right beside the GRAY gate of Sacred Heart School For Girls. Open from Monday to Saturday from 6:00pm to 2:00am. Call them at 09228235300.

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2011 in Food Reviews, Restaurants

 

Alejandro’s Filipino Restaurant.

**This is an entry that I wrote last August 20, 2011 for the now-defunct Eat, Drink & Be Loved food blog. I am re-posting this because this is one of the entries that I super enjoyed writing about. 🙂 For a while there I felt bad thinking that I had lost everything from the old blog when I pressed “Delete Permanently”. But thanks to one loyal reader (Hi Bong!) who kept all his subscriptions intact, I am able to save this particular post. Weeee! 😀 **

It is common knowledge that the Cebuano market is a very fickle and hard to please one. This is why I am not surprised why many seemingly great restaurants run out of business after just a few years of operations. However, there are those that stay in the industry for a LONG time and still continue to earn praises from its customers both old and new. One of those places is Alejandro’s Filipino Resto. They are celebrating their 20th anniversary this month and so today I got invited to my very first “press” event. It was lunch time and apart from a few close friends of the owners there were several newspaper writers and local TV personalities as well.

Alejandro’s has been operating since 1991 and started as a place for the owners Al & Malou Yap to meet with friends and colleagues over delicious Filipino dishes. Staying true to its concept of a true-blue Filipino restaurant, it was first built to resemble a nipa hut. Fast forward to the present time, both the façade and the interiors have been renovated and re-packaged to look for contemporary and to attract more of the younger crowd.

Their menu consists of everything Filipino that we hold near and dear to our hearts (and our appetites). Plus, they come with prices that are so friendly you could easily afford to treat a big group of friends, family, and colleagues without breaking the bank.

But out of all their delectable offerings, one thing stands out from their entire menu. From the very beginning it was their Crispy Pata that got great comments from their earliest patrons. Word spread about their signature dish and soon enough Alejandro’s became synonymous to the phrase “the best crispy pata in town”.

For lunch today we started with 2 appetizers namely the Crispy Kangkong (p70)

And Onion Rings (p 85) both of which comes with a bowl of Thousand Island dip. While they make for great starters, I know that these are also the perfect companions to alcohol. I like that the batter on the onion rings are light and crispy while the onion inside is thick and juicy, not wilted like those in other restaurants.

We also had a plate full of Baked Scallops (p130) which are so cheese-y, garlic-y and butter-y I had to stop myself from getting more pieces in respect to the others who were seated in my table. LOL!

Then came the Sinigang Na Pasayan (p150). A steaming bowl of soup with vegetables and several pieces of plump shrimp. I was pleasantly surprised at how good this was. Whenever I eat at Alejandro’s I always order their other specialty the Pochero soup so this was a very welcome change. Even if I’m not really a soup person, meaning it’s not a must-order at most restaurants that I visit, I know that I am clearly enjoying it if I start pouring it all over my rice. Which is exactly what I did with this one. I love that it’s not so overpowering-ly sour and that it’s just enough to tingle my taste buds and give a nice, sharp kick to my rice.

After the soup, the Holy Grail of all crispy patas arrived. I swear that nothing can compare to Alejandro’s Crispy Pata (p295). And honestly, there is no point trying to write about it because there are just NO WORDS to express the feeling of sheer bliss when I am crunching on its crispy skin and chewing on the tender, juicy meat. When I am old and frail and I am on my death bed this is the one thing that I will request on my last supper. Never mind that I will probably not even have the teeth to eat this with. Friends and loved ones, please remember that. Oh, and since Alejandro’s is 20 years old this month, you can get the Crispy Pata for only p220! Hooray!

We also had the Spring Chicken (p185). The thing that I love most about this is its strong sweet taste that starts at the skin and penetrates right into the meat. It’s the lip-smackin’, finger-lickin’ kind of yummy.

For our seafood entrée we had the Sizzling Squid (p135). Tender slices of squid rings swimming in delicious gravy that you just want to pour all over your rice. My favorite part of any squid whether it’s deep fried or grilled is the tentacles because I believe it’s where most of the flavor lies and well, it’s really just more fun to eat.

Since we always need greens in our system we enjoyed two vegetable dishes. First came the Rellenong Talong (p115) which is eggplant stuffed with ground meat. I am a big fan of eggplant whether they are stir-fried or grilled but seriously, I’ve never had it this good. With so much flavor going on plus the slightly crispy surface I couldn’t help but help myself to almost half of this entire thing. I like eating it with loads of ketchup just to neutralize the taste.

And there’s the Pinakbet (p95) which is an Ilocano dish made of a mix of different vegetables (eggplant, beans, squash, onions) lightly coated with shrimp paste. My father hails from the Ilocos region and he adored this dish with all his heart. So I am a bit surprised that for someone of Ilocano decent, I am not such a fan of this at all. Well actually, just about anything with bagoong is really not my cup of tea.

Now we go to my favorite part of the meal. Dessert! We were served 3 different dishes. First came the Mango Pandan (p50)

Then came the Banana Turon (p45) with extra latik please!

And the Suman at Latik (p45) which is my all-time favorite Alejandro’s dessert dish. I would love to eat this with several slices of sweet mango too.

photo courtesy of Alejandro's

In the countless times I’ve eaten here I cannot recall being THIS full. There’s just so much great food to be had here at Alejandro’s which is why it comes as to no surprise why they have lasted 20 years in the industry. Aside from the food this establishment has gained a solid following in the younger crowd especially the young professionals for their weekly events. They have the Acoustic Night, the Trivia Night, and the Pink Night to name a few.

It was one hearty lunch and one that I would remember forever because it was the first time I came home with an actual PRESS KIT. Thank you Alexis and Maureen for inviting me to my first ever food blogger (am I really calling myself that now? Haha!) event. Aside from the food I also enjoyed taking photos and spending time with you guys J Thank you and more power to Alejandro’s!

Alejandro’s Filipino Resto is located along
Don Jose Avila Street, Capitol Site, Cebu City
Tel. No. (032)2537921 (for deliveries, inquiries, and table reservations)
Open for lunch and dinner from Mondays to Saturdays

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Food Reviews, Restaurants

 
 
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