**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