Monday, April 30, 2012

Ukkokei Ramen Ron in Makati

There are few foods that I constantly crave.  Artisan pizza, quality burgers, sushi/sashimi, Mexican, and ramen.  In Manila, I can easily get the quality sushi and sashimi - both imported from Japan and some great local catches.  As for the other foods, I've still been searching.

And the constant search has paid off!  I finally tried out the hyped Ukkokei Ramen Ron in Makati.  This is the tastiest bowl of ramen I've had in Manila.  I've already went for seconds, and I'm sure I'll be back there again when I come home (I'm currently eating my way around San Francisco.  SF updates start on Thursday.)

You have your menu choices and there are also the usual Japanese specialties written on the walls.  I have yet to try any of the ramens in the menu because I want to work my way through the wall specialties first.

The Hokkaido Miso Ramen is a rich, thick miso broth that has a great salty miso blend.  Anything "Hokkaido" attracts my attention.  The noodles have a good amount of chewy.  Overall, I was satisfied with this bowl.

My next ramen was the Tonkokei.  This might end up being my usual order.  It's a blend of tonkotsu, miso, and shio (salt) ramen broths.  It's lighter than the Hokkaido Miso Ramen, less salty, and still as flavorful.

The ideal ramen joint has the great gyoza and karaage as well.  The menu here offers both as well as many more choices.  The gyoza was small and pretty good, although I wasn't completely satisfied with the taste.  The filling could have been filled with tastier pork and seasonings.  The karaage was decent, too, with its coating and the taste of the chicken.  The winner at this place is definitely the ramen.

If you can't see the slide show, check out my Flickr album: Ukkokei

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Revisiting Shang Palace

There was a time in my family's eating life when Chinese food was a weekly staple.  It was our usual Sunday family/friends gathering.

Then there was a time when I took a loong break from Chinese food.  All those weekly meals made me need that separation from the routine.

These days, I really only have Chinese food when I'm in Hong Kong, China, or Taipei - it's where it's best.

But, occasionally, you just can't fight the craving.  So one Sunday night, my family went to Shang Palace.  Since we were four people, we were given a selection of set menus (the a la carte menu is also always available).  One in particular stood out because of the variety of dishes, even a Hainanese chicken course thanks to the new Singaporean chef.

From the night's meal, I was really impressed with the new chef.  He has brightened up the dishes with some delicious classics and tasty additions.  The Hainanese plate was a standout - the best I've had in Manila so far.

(Unfortunately, I went back a couple weeks later, but the poor service made us want to stand up and leave.  The manager appeased us and promised to make up for it next time.  It's unfortunate that the new chef is bringing back deliciousness, but the service does not match.)

Place your cursor above "Notes" below to read the captions for each photo.
If you can't see the slideshow here, check out my Flickr album: Shang Palace

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Afternoon Tea, Revisited

I'm alway going to have a soft spot for afternoon teas.  It's a nostalgic time for me as they used to be special girls' day outings for my mom and I when I was in grade school.  Hair cuts, afternoon tea, and shopping in Union Square.

These days when I find myself in a hotel lounge for an afternoon snack, I will almost always order the afternoon tea set - for old times sake, and because afternoon tea is so much fun with the variety of savory and sweet.

So I found myself back at the Lobby Lounge in Makati Shangri-la giving their Afternoon Tea Set another shot.  The menu always appeals to me and brightens up my stomach.  But when the set arrives and I'm eating the tea sandwiches and sweets, I was again disappointed.  It totally lacks freshness and tastes like it was made yesterday.

Now I'm craving for some quality afternoon tea - perhaps I'll look venture around Makati.  And I'll definitely explore the afternoon tea action when I'm next in Hong Kong.

Place your cursor above "Notes" below to read the captions for each photo.
If you can't see the slide show here, check out my Flickr album: Afternoon Tea - Makati Shangri-la

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quality Filipino Feasting

If you're looking for some Filipino food to make your stomach and palate happy while impressing your sense of sight, Chef Laudico's Bistro Filipino is the place to go.

The a la cart menu is always available if you're not looking to gain a pound.  But, if you don't mind throwing in an extra workout the next day, the A La Carte All You Can is best option for feasting.  It's a "clean plate" policy, so choose wisely.

My choices for this particular evening included 8 selections.  The appetizer bites start the evening with an excellent first impression.   Smartly plated bites of classic dishes revamped in such a fresh manner.  The subsequent dishes all followed suit.   My eyes were attracted to every dish which made my stomach open up and eager to taste it all.

The menu is quite extensive which encourages me to always go back for more and to try out all of these beautifully crafted dishes.

Place your cursor above "Notes" below to read the captions for each photo.
If you can't see the slide show here, check out m

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Traditional Filipino Feasting at Mesa Filipino Moderne

"Filipino food" and "feasting" go hand-in-hand, especially when you're with family.  Without a doubt, your stomach will be filled for the night.

At Mesa Filipino Moderne, you get traditional plates of Filipino food in a pleasantly casual setting with affordable value pricing.  It's no wonder that I've never seen this place empty on any day of the week.

Some of the dishes are modernized with appealing plating.  Every dish has strong flavors, many with fun sauces like shrimp paste or tamarind sauce.

If you're looking for an affordably priced Filipino restaurant that serves good tasting selections, this is a great option.

Place your cursor above "Notes" below to read the captions for each photo.
If you can't see the slide show here, check out my Flickr album: Mesa Grill

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Baking my favorite restaurant dessert - Bostini Cream Pie

San Francisco has always and continues to give me some of my favorite food memories.  It's the area where I grew up, and it's the area where I had some of my favorite childhood meals and dishes.

If you ask me what's my all-time favorite dessert, I'd list a few of my mom's signature baked specialties.  As I travel around the world, every city is building up my list of favorite dishes, and desserts included.  So ask me what's my favorite all-time restaurant dessert in San Francisco.

Scala Bistro's Bostini Cream Pie (also found on the menu of Bistro Giovanni in Napa).  Hands down, my favorite San Francisco treat.  Now, I haven't tried this in a few years, so I can't tell you if it's still consistent.  But from what I remember, it's a generous cup of vanilla bean custard that drowns a little orange chiffon cake, and wonderfully topped with a semi-sweet chocolate glaze.  That combination of vanilla, orange, and chocolate.. they are made for each other.

I remember when I was in grade school, I cleaned the cup and the chocolate glaze all over the plate so well that the waiter couldn't help but comment that I must have enjoyed it.  Yes, I totally did.

This Bostini Cream Pie dessert is always on my mind.  I've been wanting to make it to relive my happy memories.  So over the Easter weekend, during the height of my baking spirit, I gathered the recipe together.  It's a long process to completely cool the cupcakes, and then chill the custard.  But, it's all so worth it once you have that first spoonful of that custard, orange, and chocolate goodness.

If you can't see the slide show, check out my Flickr album: Bostini Cream Pie

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Baking at Home: Hazelnut Cookies

As this past Easter weekend approached, my mood to bake was in full swing. Now was a great time to make use of a tub of hazelnuts. That's right, mmm hazelnuts.

My mom recommended I check out her baking book collection, particularly Gina DePalma's Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen.  From its opening, Batali hand-picked her to be the pastry chef.  So, yes, that Babbo.

The hazelnut recipes had a great selection of biscottis, chocolate hazelnut cookies, and a plain hazelnut cookie.  I wanted the hazelnuts to shine, so I chose the Hazelnut Cookie recipe (this is a blog that writes up DePalma's recipe).

I made two batches.  One is as the recipe dictates, with just a gentle coating of confectioners' sugar.  I also left the hazelnut skins on.  I love the homemade, speckled look; and the skins really don't give off any bitterness to distract from the nut's flavor.  These cookies turned out really great - chewy, crispy, and intense sweet hazelnut.

The second batch was coated with more confectioners' sugar, flattened, and twice baked - Hazelnut Biscotti Cookies.  They are perfect dipped in my daily cup of Americano.

I'm inspired to tweak this recipe into my own now.  Maybe lessen the sugar and bake it a little less for more chewiness.  I'm also curious to try it flour-less and/or egg yolk-less.  I'll keep you posted when I try out these new batches..

If you can't see the slide show, check out my Flickr album: Hazelnut Cookies

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Korean Food in Taipei Food Courts

From the variety of cuisines available in Taipei, it is obvious that locals appreciate an eclectic range of foods. This is seen at the malls' food courts. I LOVE Asian malls' food courts. These food courts are nothing like those in the states. They are a food lovers Disneyland - the happiest place on earth.

In Taipei, small stalls have fun snacks and desserts. The eating area have a representation of Taiwanese eats, specialty Japanese, Malaysian, Indian, Western, Korean, and so many more. If you can't think of what to eat, there is always something for everyone. Places that you'd think are only for nice restaurants settings, they are here at the common food courts.

These Taipei food courts were the perfect place to fulfill our Korean cravings. Some of the tastiest bowls of sizzling dolsot bibimbap and some fun hands-on bulgogi cooking.

Taiwanese know and enjoy some good food at these everyday food courts.

Place your cursor above "Notes" below to read the captions for each photo.
If you can't see the slide show here, check out my Flickr album: Korean - Food Courts - Taipei

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Banchan at B/a/n/n/c/h/an in Taipei's ATT4Fun

Sometimes I crave for a specific dish - a burger, a bowl of ramen, a solid burrito, etc. And sometimes I crave for a specific cuisine - Vietnamese, Mexican, Spanish, and lately, for Korean.

Korean cuisine is flavorfully and visually vibrant. Plus, all the banchan (small plates of kimchis and more) is a great source of free-flowing vegetables.

B/a/n/n/c/h/a/n in ATT4Fun in Taipei serves up fun Korean classics with the usual banchan of kimchi variations, seaweed, and even a whole fried sardine. Our orders included cold Korean chili noodles, fried chicken (one of my Korean favorites), bibimbap, and seafood tofu stew.

All this for 3 hungry Korean-food cravers. Our stomachs were stuffed and happy.

Place your cursor above "Notes" below to read the captions for each photo.
If you can't see the slide show here, check out my Flickr album: Banchan ATT4fun