Food

Why Don’t Manila Restos/Bars Serve Ice Cold Beer?

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As I sit here in the resto bar waiting for my friends to arrive, I remember my Manila-based ilonggo friends complaining that Manila resto bars don’t serve ice cold beer. Granted that the hotels serve beer at 10 or 20 times the cost, the beer should be cold at the very least. Some Manila-based restos serve Beer Below Zero or BBZ and there is a listing in the internet. Unfortunately, the only resto I recognize on the list is Grilla and I don’t really go there. Oh, I nearly forgot that the Manila Polo Club serves BBZ. It’s not on the BBZ list but I always recommend it to my five-thirsty friends.

Why the big fuss? Because outside of the National Capitol Region or NCR, Region 6 of which Negros is a part of, is the next biggest beer market. So big that San Miguel had to put up a brewery in Bacolod. In Bacolod and Silay, we drink beer and we like it ice cold! Lukewarm or cool beer will not cut it. Beer must be cold…BBZ cold! Even if the drinking places have no BBZ freezers, some bar owners have their own unique style of keeping beers cold. Bar owners know if the beer isn’t cold, the patrons will complain and not return.

In the 90s I learned that Negrenses don’t like to drink beer with ice unlike their Manila counterparts. They would rather drink warm beer than take it with ice. That’s just the way it is. I however, cannot take warm beer and I have no qualms drinking beer with ice. Whenever my Negrense friends see me drinking beer with ice they would call me “Alog” which I didn’t really mind but later on I found out this comment wasn’t really a compliment. I thought “Alog” was short for “Kalog” of which I am, but it really meant “Tagalog”.

So why don’t Manila restos and bars serve ice cold beer? Beats me! No problem with electricity and such places are open early enough to make the beer ice cold. Maybe not enough freezer space? I sure hope it’s not because the restos don’t want to spend a little extra. Ice cold beer is a huge come-on and can be used as a marketing tool. With all the grilles and bars serving nearly the same food in the metropolis, wouldn’t you go to the place where the beer is coldest?

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My Top 5 Dessert/Coffee Shops In Bacolod

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Ok, so I recommended in an earlier blog my  five “Must Try Restos in Bacolod For Visitors.” These restos serve Filipino food, mostly seafood which is significantly more expensive in Manila but not in Negros. Normally, the Negrense will bring the guest to these places for lunch or dinner then bring them somewhere else for dessert or coffee. Hence, I present my “Top 5 Dessert/Coffee Places in Bacolod.”

1. Calea –  If you have a sweet tooth, you have to come here.  Choose your wild! The desserts are to die for! Everyone in Bacolod knows of Calea, the pastry shop of Yayi and Ging Consing named after their two daughters. I personally like the chocolate chip crusted blueberry cheesecake  or the pecan pie with or without ice cream.  The all-time favorite I believe is the chocolate cake which is the cake of choice for take home as it will survive the plane ride.

2. Felicia’s – This relative newcomer is doing quite well. It started off as a dessert place then quickly transformed into a restaurant. I like their butter Sansrival . Products here like Turrones de Pili and Oatmeal Cookies are attractively packaged so people like to give them away for Christmas or pasalubong.

3. Kuppa – This place in the Shopping district of Bacolod is known for its coffee and has excellent food. Atmosphere here is relaxing and you can stay as long as you want.  Recently The  owners opened a branch in Bonifacio Global Center (BGC) and on a Sunday, the high net-worth  individuals with their fast cars hang around there for breakfast.

4. Bob’s Cafe- An off-shoot of the Bob’s Restaurant, this place serves pizza, pasta, sandwiches, coffee and dessert. There’s also a deli which sources cold cuts, cheese and other deli stuff that rivals those found in Manila. When I’m in the mood for a thin crust pizza I come here.

5. Pendy’s – A restaurant cum pasalubong center. Someone orders something from Bacolod, I get it here if I dont know the supplier. Piaya, dulce gatas and pastel de mangga are some of the products sold. The favored desserts  are of the Filipino comfort food kind like  napoleones and brazo de mercedes. Illy Coffee is served here. BTW lunch and dinner ala carte is very good but i come here for the chicken dinuguan with Manapla puto which  is my favorite merienda.

Negros is the sugar capital of the Philippines so the desserts here are a bit on the sweet side but very good. Thank God I dont really have a sweet tooth but ocassionally I do indulge.  Sugar, spice and everything nice…thats Negros.

Must Try Restos in Bacolod For Visitors

Balaring, Silay

Balaring, Silay

Lately I read about a list of “Must Try” Eateries in Bacolod which I disagreed with. I got the impression that the writer was just promoting a new restaurant. So for the benefit of my friends and any first-time visitor to Bacolod, I have come up with my list of 5 Restaurants To Try.

1. Aboy’s – A must when visiting Bacolod. Although a bit out of the way now since it’s located near the Old Bacolod Airport, the trip is well worth it. Grilled Blue Marlin, Scallops, Squid, Liempo and other Filipino Lutong Bahay food served by amiable waiters in comfortable surroundings makes this dining experience a memorable one.

2. Chicken House –  All Negros visitors should try the chicken inasal and one of my favorites comes from Chicken House. Their spare ribs is very good too! And their beer…below Zero. Their Mandalagan branch has a nice comfortable aircon feel so many Bacolodnons bring their friends and family there. Other inasal places to try are Aida’s and Nena’s in Manokan Country.

3. Ading’s – Bacolodnons like to bring visitors to seafood market near the fish landing. The most presentable resto there is Adings. Try their scallops and crispy lapulapu.

4. Bob’s – A Bacolod institution since the 60’s. This family restaurant serves Filipino comfort food and is also known for their Mongolian buffet.  Desserts and Breads are excellent.

5. Balaring Seaside Restos – If one has access to a car, go to Silay and  try out the seaside restos in  Brgy . Balaring  and Lantad. The seafood served there is ok. It’s the provincial feel that makes it different. Seaside on one side, fishpond on the other.  There is a new resto in Brgy Lantad called MC Seafoods which looks nice and has been getting good reviews. This resto I will try soon.

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Dining in Negros is relatively cheap. In fact very cheap when compared to Manila prices. Prices quoted are already net of tax and service charge. One saves 22% right then and there.  Everybody loves the food in Bacolod. So why don’t you come on down and do a food trip. Kaon ta! Namets!

 

Tsuji Culinary Institute

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For the month of October, CNN International Travel Asia is featuring the Tsuji Culinary Institute. Every time CNN plugs the show, I can’t help but smile and remember my late father-in-law. I wasn’t even in the picture yet but in preparing his daughter for marriage, he sent her to this most prestigious cooking school. As a backgrounder, my mother-in-law had to learn how to manage her home but she didn’t go to cooking school. So my wife should consider herself lucky to enroll in this school.

Ok let’s get two things straight. One, my wife went to a branch of the culinary school coz she didn’t go to Osaka to learn cooking. And two, she took a short course only, short as in less than two months. I would like to state that my wife isn’t aggressive. The only time she was aggressive was when she was courting me! Hehe. So my wife really didn’t care much about cooking time. As she said, she didn’t enroll to be a chef! She didn’t mind her classmates doing the cooking. Anyway she got to eat their end-product. When it was time to clean up, she was first to volunteer. Boy, can she clean! 🙂

So what did my wife learn from going to cooking school? Well, she knows the terms and can follow a recipe. And most of all she can clean! I just love it. So why doesn’t my wife cook for me? Before she starts cooking, she wants her own kitchen and buys all the ingredients and spices. I believe it’s cheaper to hire a cook! But in all fairness, she has cooked for me and the family when we were in dire straits and food tasted great! I love it when she does this for me. But my wife will be less stressed if she didn’t have to think about cooking so be it. Maybe when she is officially retired I will ask her to cook something. Worth the wait!

Do You Know What This Is?

Aphrodisiac

Aphrodisiac

Care to make a guess? We went to an authentic Ilocano Lutong Bahay Resto in San Fernando, la Union. Fernando Lopez, the owner of Joanna’s Resto is an expert in exotic Ilocano cuisine.

I was told this dish was Kilawin or raw whatever so I just got a big spoonful of it. It tasted good so I had another one. Then other kinds of Goat Kilawin arrived. So if that’s the case, what did I eat?

My Ilocano family friend said that this Kilawin is made from the cow’s sex organ and cow brain. The cottage cheese looking thing is the brain finely chopped. The other ball looking thing is obviously the balls. And the gelatinous looking thing is the penis. Mixed with vinegar and some sili, it didn’t taste gamey at all. If I didn’t know what it was, well even if I knew what it was, I would have had more. I preferred it to the goat Kilawin.

Filipino Game Made Into An Appetizer Tray

Sungkaan

Sungkaan

When I was a little boy over 40 years ago, electronic games and toys didn’t exist. Kids entertained themselves by playing tex, marbles, cards. Sometimes I would play sungka in a Sungkaan with some smooth sea shells. It was fun trying to move all of the sea shells to my side of Sungkaan but just like another old game called Monopoly, I hardly ever finished a whole game coz it took too long. Chess was faster and more interesting.

Anyway, about a month ago I heard about this place in Silay called, “Chuck’s” that had a promo of 5 beers plus a Sungkaan full of appetizers for about P299. So I asked an uncle who liked to drink to join me for some beer and bar chow. My treat. Beer was very cold coz they have a “Beer Below Zero” freezer. When the appetizers arrived I was pleasantly amused. Never have I seen a Sungkaan used this way. In fact, I thought the Sungkaan was already non-existent! Each hole was occupied by different types of bar chow namely siomai, peanuts, fish, lumpia, pork and fried squid. Actually, this promo is enough to make two people full! The food in this resto is also quite good so if one is ever in Silay, try out Chuck’s Restaurant along Locsin St (going towards the sea). Kaon kag inom na ta!

Manila Polo Club Cogon Village

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I’m a Manila Polo Club baby. I have been going to the club since I was 10 years old and that’s about 40 years now. After school, during weekends and holidays or anytime friends want to meet up, the Cogon Village never fails to impress. Want to swim, sunbathe, eat, drink or just hang out? We can do it there. It’s a relatively cheap
place to entertain. Yun lang, someone has to be a member.

Entertaining on a lazy Sunday afternoon is so relaxing. Aside from the regular club food, there is a Sunday Mongolian buffet which my son loves. So we just lounge around, making kwento and cracking jokes. Perfect for bonding with my uncle from Sfo. Swimming pool seemed inviting but we didn’t bring our gear. We were there for the Mongolian and crispy pata. Not bad, not bad at all.

Best of all when the bill came, the waiter asked my uncle for his Senior card. All that my uncle had was his California license and this was enough. I didn’t know that! Uncle Joe, come and eat with us all the time and you order the expensive items ok! 🙂