Friday, June 29, 2007

BABY BACK RIBS... HOT OFF THE GRILL

This dish is a natural pleaser. The glaze is so scrumptious, you'll keep asking for more. You need not spend and dine in expensive Tony Romas, Friday's and other steak houses just to have a lip smacking baby back ribs. You can grill some in your own backyard!



Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 1 hr & 10 mins
Serves 6


Ingredients:

1 1/2 kg premium baby back ribs (cut in 3 bones / slab or piece)
1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
3 cups soda
2 1/2 Tbsp liquid seasoning (knorr; original flavor)
1 tsp pepper mill
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/8 tsp MSG
salt (to taste)
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp meat tenderizer
1/4 cup tomato catsup (for the sauce)

Procedure:
1. Rub the surface of the meat with tenderizer. Prick the meat with fork so it can seep in.
2. Combine all the ingredients except the tomato catsup and marinate the meat overnight in the refrigerator.
3. Thaw the meat and boil in a pot until it becomes tender. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.
4. Add the tomato catsup to the marinade and simmer in a sauce pan until it thickens.
5. Grill the meat and glaze with the sauce.
Cooking Tips:
You may already add some glaze to the meat while grilling
Immediately grill the meat as soon as it's taken out of the boiling pot to prevent the surface from overdrying. Otherwise, the meat will be tough.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Be The Chef @ MONGOLIAN!


Where else can you dine, where you were given the freedom to put anything you desire on your food but Mongolian?!. This restaurant serves "stir-fry - shabu shabu" style food. Diners get to choose their own ingredients so to speak. There are vegetables, meat, seafood, noodles, rice and spices to choose from. Even the flavour, they'll leave it up to you. What's more, you may opt for either a single bowl or eat all you can at P105 and P188 respectively. This is real value for your money and tummy! If you want to maximize your bowl's capacity, don't put too much of the carbo-loading ingredients such as rice and noodles. Put a mountain of vegetables instead. If you're not averse to spicy foods, opt for the sweet and spicy sauce so you won't easily get satiated. The chili will break the satiation, more so it will help boost your appetite.

Choose your ingredients here...




Mongolian Stop
3rd level Festival Mall
Alabang, Muntinlupa City

BATTLE OF THE FOOD MAGS.... Which one is yours?

It’s interesting how the world of culinary in the Philippines is elevated to new and exciting dimensions by many food enthusiasts, gourmands, chefs, and connoisseurs not discounting all the others who have laboured and continuously doing so in this gastronomic field. A good proof of that is the growing number of Food Magazines in the stands right now. The list includes Food, Yummy, Appetite, Celebrity Recipes, Cook - Connecting Foodies, SM Hypermarket- Flavours A Taste of Fine Living and Asia’s in Good Taste. You’ll certainly have a hard time choosing the one that deserves your hard earned money the most, simply because all seemed appealing, motivating and trying to be out of the ordinary. It’s really a feast in the eye for a foodie like me.

Among those available, the top 3 that caught my attention were Yummy by Summit Publishing Inc., Food by ABS-CBN Publishing Inc., and Appetite by Mega Magazines & Publications Inc. (MMPI). Yummy and Food are both priced at P95 whereas Appetite is more expensive by P30 selling at P125 per issue. The first two are coming out monthly while the later is publishing on a bi-monthly basis. Yummy is targeted towards A, B and upper C market. The look of the magazine is very hip and trendy. What’s more with the choice of colour, design and layout, it’s exceedingly eye catchy. The featured recipes have so much variety and they were explained well and simply. Even the newbies in the kitchen will not find any difficulty in sampling them. The food style is also remarkable. The food shots speak of a thousand words that anyone who haven’t even tried to handle a knife and a ladle will be encouraged to cook… and cook… and cook. The magazine is divided into categories such as columns, everyday recipes, recipe features, foodie-licious, and know how tips. The essentials are here to say the least.



The Food on the other hand, has a more serious appeal. If I would personify it, this is more traditional, “Filipino” looking. I somehow find reading a few articles a bit boring though. Not because the article in itself is uninspiring (in fact this is the one that got more stories to tell) but maybe with the way the article is presented. Probably it has something to do with the layout and the fonts used which I find dreary. Nevertheless, I like the way that each recipe comes with a story.





In contrast, the Appetite looks classy and the one that’s most formal so to speak. When you look at the magazine you have this perception that the target market is geared towards the upper SEC (socio-eco class) and probably those with a culinary background. This is mirrored by what’s inside the magazine. Apparently it shares the same target market with that of Yummy. It just lacks the fun that Yummy elicits with its readers. Appetite is more of the bits and pieces of the culinary trends. The who’s who and what’s what. Indeed it’s true to its claim – “Your Lifestyle Food Magazine Satisfaction Guaranteed”. Similarly, Yummy also lives up to its tagline of “Easy Meals Everyday”. On the other hand, Food’s label - “The Philippines Largest Selling Culinary Magazine” hold a very strong statement in itself.


If you’re more for the hound of food recipes and light reading I’d say Yummy is the right pick. It’s a “cook book” in its own right, filled with other culinary essentials such as grocery ideas, interesting articles which are simply told and helpful know how tips. If you want something more to read other than learning food recipes, grab the Food Mag. Yet, enjoy reading Appetite if you want to keep abreast of where and how Culinary is taking through. All in all, if I’m on a budget I’ll buy my Food Magazine in this order of priority - Yummy, Food and Appetite. How about you?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Creamy PANCIT MOLO... why not cook some?

This is an inherited recipe from a former Ilonggo colleague who already migrated to Canada. (If truth be told, Pancit Molo actually originated from Iloilo hence, I'm just lucky Tita Lyn generously shared this recipe). We served this soup when we celebrated our birthdays together in our office. All our guests consumed it with much gusto. Since becoming a hit in that party, I included it in our family menu. What I liked about this soup is, it's not the typical Molo Soup that most of us Tagalogs are familiar with. This is creamier and tastier. What's more with the pure meat used in the recipe without any extenders, flavoursome! This is what's best in home cooking. You are in control of what's getting into your food. So, why not grab your kitchen tools and make your home deliciously steaming! :-)




Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Serves 8

Ingredients:

1/4 kg chicken breast
1/4 kg ground lean pork
1/8 kg shrimp, deveined and chopped
1 154 ml can of evaporated milk
2 beaten eggs
1 head garlic, finely chopped, divided into 2 portions
1 med sized onion, finely chopped, divided into 2 portions
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp MSG
1 tsp soy sauce
1 chicken broth cubes
2 tbsps canola oil
molo wrapper
spring onions and fried garlic (as garnish)
6 cups water


Procedure:

1. Mix ground pork, shrimp, half portions of onion and garlic in a mixing bowl. Season with salt, pepper, MSG and soy sauce.

2. Add the beaten eggs and mix well.


3. Wrap 1/2 tbsp of mixture in a molo wrapper. Set aside.

4. Boil the chicken breast in 2 cups of water. Add the broth cubes. Shred the chicken meat once cooked. Save the broth.

5. Add canola oil in ahot pan. Saute the shredded chicken and the remaining portions of onion and garlic. Add the chicken broth and four cups of water. Allow to boil.

6. Add the stuffed molo wrapper one at a time and cook. Molo is done when it floats.

7. Add evaporated milk and continue cooking for 3-5 mins.

8. Top with fried garlic and spring onions. Serve while hot. Best consumed with "soy chilimansi" dipping sauce (soy sauce, chili and calamansi)

Cooking Tips:

Use Alpine milk for a creamier, full bodied soup

Make uniform sizes of molo wraps so the dish will be cooked evenly

Monday, June 25, 2007

SPICY CHICKEN FEET


One of our blogsite's promise is to share our family recipes with you, be it inherited or created out of the box. So here goes the initial entry to the soon to be long list of our cherished dishes....
Happy Cooking!
PreparationTime: 45 mins
Cooking Time: 1 hr
Good for 4 - 5 servings

Ingredients:
1/2 kg chicken feet, cleaned & washed
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 med sized onion, chopped
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp chilli garlic sauce
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste

1. Season chicken feet with salt and pepper. Fry until it turns slightly brown (do not over fry).
2. Soak in cold water until it swells (30 mins – 1 hr). Drain.
3. Saute garlic and onion. Add the chicken feet. Season with the rest of the ingredients.
4. Add the water and simmer until tender. Allow the sauce to thicken.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

RAZON'S of Guagua.., is it?

Razon's - the restaurant that originated from Pampanga, made famous by their Halo-halo and Pancit Palabok, started to invade Manila. To as far south as Alabang, we found one of their Food Court Stalls in Town Center. I have good memories of this restaurant from our NCL (North & Central Luzon) Taste Trek. For so long now, I've been wanting to try these best sellers again. Hence, we were happy that there's now a branch near to us. There's simply no reason to hesitate, we immediately get into the queue.
Unfortunately, to our dismay the pancit palabok is not the same as to what we have tasted back in their Guagua branch. What used to be one of our benchmarks in one of our noodle projects, is now an "okay to be missed" dish. It's short in meaty character, the sauce is almost bland and a bit satiating. There's just something lacking in its overall taste. How come? Is it because, this is a "food court version"? I wonder if the same quality is being served in their bigger Restaurants. We have to go and find out one of these days. (We also have to check the Halo-halo). Is this always the pay-off when you commercialize products? Needless to say, consistent quality seemed to be the most challenging battle for any manufacturer or merchant. Yet, isn't it also the foremost attribute customers will look for?






Pancit Palabok (P65)








Ensaymada bites (P120)








Razon's of Guagua
Choices at the Food Court
Alabang Town Center
Alabang, Muntinlupa City

Monday, June 18, 2007

ANTONIO'S TAGAYTAY (celebrating Father's Day in advance)

At long last, an Antonio’s experience befell us! It certainly was a good way to celebrate Father’s Day in advance in this amorous spot. All the raves, rants and reviews we’ve been hearing and reading about Antonio’s Restaurant came to reality. And yes, we ought to admit that this is a must experience for anyone who loves fine food and superb (to say the least) ambiance. The moment we arrived, we were greeted and assisted cordially by the staff, from the gate to the entrance door of the main hall. From here, we’ve already felt that we’ll be treated too well. When the main door opened, a very relaxing, inimitable dining area welcomed us. Complete with lighted candles spotted all over the place transforming it into a romantic haven. Genuinely perfect for an intimate feast.



Restaurant's Gate


Entrance Door of the Main Hall

When the maitre d’ showed us the menu, we had a hard time selecting the best entree. All 16 looked very interesting. It’s the main entree by the way that will determine the price of your set, so make sure you order the one that will satisfy you best. With your chosen entree, the menu set will include a house salad, soup of the day, dessert and coffee or tea. You have an option to upgrade any of these from their a la carte selection with a corresponding additional price. For our main entree, we opted to have Grilled Peppered Sirloin Steak with Maitre d’ Hotel Butter (P1600) and Antonio’s Trio Sampler (P1600). We upgraded one of our salads to Foie Gras Potato Truffle Tempura for an additional P250. (Which is worth it, this is far better than the Foie Gras experience in Buon Giorno!). The truffle tempura taste is so yummy. It’s simply lip-smacking. It’s something that we’ll keep coming back for. In fact, this is what I enjoyed best in my set. For the Sirloin Steak, Rynel had it well done and was found to be tender and juicy. It's actually the maitre d hotel butter that made it special. In the Trio Sampler, it’s the Grilled Sea Bass that stood out. The salad relish harmonized the light flavour of the fish, not discounting the right softness of its texture. For the dessert, Rynel had their Flourless Chocolate while I had the Chocolate SoufflĂ© with Cardamom Creme Anglaise. Both sinfully delicious, you’ll forget about the matching calorie intake. For our drinks, we decided on the refillable fresh Dalandan Juice (similar to what Sonya’s is serving – P130/glass). It’s refreshing and contrary to what we heard, the sweetness is just right. For the more daring, you might want to try the wines they’ve suggested in their menu that will rightly match your food. It’s unfortunate our stomachs were so full, that we regret to have forgotten to order our coffee or tea which was included in the set. Incidentally, this is the type of banquet that should not be hurried. It took us about an hour to munch through the whole meal. Even if we came with our one year old daughter, we took our time in relishing the meal. Besides, the food will be served one after the other depending on your own phase. This is another plus point, because you tend to enjoy the food without being overwhelmed.
For the bill, we paid a total of P4155.20 inclusive of 10%service charge and 12% vat. Thus, if you decide to check it out, allot a minimum of P2000 budget per person. You may blink on the cost, but anyway, however cliché it may go this is fine dining at its best.

House Salad


Foie Gras Potato Truffle Tempura Salad



Soup of the Day (we forgot to ask for its name but it tasted like Cheesy Dumpling Soup to us); surprisingly Sofie liked it so much :->








Grilled Peppered Sirloin Steak with Maitre d' Hotel Butter



Trio Sampler (Beef Medallion Gratinated with Assorted Mushroom, Mojito Crusted Lambloin, Braised Red Cabbage with Lamb Jus and Grilled Sea Bass on Truffle Mashed with Salad Relish)



Chocolate Souffle with Cardamom Creme Anglaise



Flourless Chocolate Cake











There are some things worth noting in this place apart from the food. Look at this door of the rest room, very ancestral. What more with its open-air concept, very adventurous. Eye catchy as well are the antique furniture used in the entire place which added to the old yet elegant mood. The dinner setting at Antonio’s is ideal for dating, small family gathering and private meeting. We’ll highly recommend the pond area. I can imagine this to be the perfect place for a marriage proposal. The lunch mood probably is more for friends’ get-together and bigger crowd assembly.


The Intriguing Rest Room


and its open air impression....





Our favorite spot, the Pond area








The Romantic Staircase


Antonio's antique bits and pieces
The food being pricey at Antonio’s is already given considering the quality that they will provide you. It’s actually the experience that you’ll come here for. Take it from us, it will haunt you positively. We can’t help but talk about it on our way home. We shared our own personal account of the food and how it’s prepared. It’s like having a “good hang over” if there’s such a thing. We’ll generously give 5 (out of 5) spoons for this restaurant. An exceptional food encounter, worth remembering is our way to end this Antonio’s dining experience.


Antonio's Restaurant
Brgy. Neogan, Tagaytay City
Strictly for Reservation; Closed on Mondays
Tel Nos.: 09178992866
046-4130975 / 046-4131054
Driving direction: From the Sta. Rosa exit, turn right after the toll plaza and Coca Cola plant then head straight thru the Sta. Rosa – Tagaytay road. Turn right when you reach the Tagaytay market then straight ahead passing by the infamous rotonda (where 7-eleven is). Continue your drive until you pass by Mendez Crossing (where the next traffic light is). You’ll see Antonio’s signage on your right roughly 3 – 5 minutes from Bag of Beans and immediately after the Tagaytay Transmission Tower. Turn right from here and follow the narrow road, you’ll find Antonio’s on the left side.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sentro 1771

We've already tried dining at Sentro 1771 in one of our benchmarking activities because of their famous Sinigang na Corned Beef. It's indeed good to come back. We all liked the food that we ordered. The Corned Beef Sinigang is delicious with the right sourness. Only the beef flakes is a little chewy. We were surprised by their version of Green Mango Salad. They used a different salad dressing not the typical bagoong. The tangyness of mango complemented the soy sauce (that of japanese type). The Maya Maya Escabeche is tasty as well. The fish is cooked just right (not tough) and the sauted / garlic note is pronounced but acceptable. The only dish that did not satisfy our palate much is the Hofan. It's too oily and almost bland. Overall, we'll rate the food 4 spoons for the taste, presentation and originality. Restaurant's ambiance is also homey so you can relax while waiting for your food to arrive. Service, we'll also give it 4 spoons. If there's one thing that'll keep us from dining here more often, it's the price. It's a little pricey for us. There are more restaurants out there which are really great at the same time affordable.
Corned Beef Sinigang (P340)

Green Mango Salad (P165)


Maya Maya Escabeche (P230)


Riley on his another mouthful experience :-)


Sentro Hofan (P180)





I'm the big bro! and I'm the little sis


Bistro Sentro 1771
Level 2, Bldg. 1B, Greenbelt 3
Makati City