restaurants

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!

 

My Ippudo Experience In Tokyo

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I read recently in Spot.ph that Ippudo is coming to the Philippines on September 10 and opening its first branch in MegaMall Fashion Hall. That’s great news! I loved the Ramen and Gyoza which I tried in their Tokyo branch and I would like to narrate how I got there.

On one Saturday afternoon, my wife, Ken and I decided to have a late lunch somewhere in Harajuku. So we took the Yamanote train from Shinjuku, went down in Harajuku, and walked down for about a kilometer to a still-developing, American-looking part of Tokyo. Ken’s first choice of restaurant was a Gyoza place but there was a long line outside which surprised me because it was already 2:30pm. Maybe it was a weekend so people eat a late breakfast and also a late lunch. Then we went to an American BBQ place which was packed with expats having a party. At that point I was willing to eat anywhere. Normally I eat between 12-1pm and I could feel myself getting hungry…and cranky! image

So my son tells me, “There is an Ippudo nearby. Just walk up the hill a bit.” At that point I was sold! So we walk up the hill. Yeah, nearby meaning another kilometer uphill! We walk up the Omotesando shopping mall – thank God we didn’t even stop to look because stores were super high-end! Every corner we passed I would look left and right and ask, “Where’s Ippudo?” When we finally hit the main road, we turned left and walked another 200 meters. Finally we made it . . . but it looked closed! No one seemed to be inside. Anyway, I was so hungry since it was already 3pm, I go in and there were waiters and cooks waiting. Ok, let’s see what the hype is all about.

Since I love Tantanmen, my son ordered for me and him a relatively spicy Ramen. My wife had the usual Tonkotsu Ramen. We also ordered the Gyoza and it was excellent! We ordered one more. It was my first time to see garlic, sesame seed and pickles to add taste to the Ramen. In my hunger, I ate the pickles already while they were still ordering and I even ate the raw garlic (since I love garlic) and this made my family laugh. “Why? What did I do?” I asked. “You are supposed to crush the garlic on top of the Ramen, not eat it raw!” Oh well, you learn something everyday.

Ramen came and it didn’t disappoint. Everything was excellent! Broth, noodles, pork. I don’t remember being asked choices to customize my Ramen but what I ate tasted good. I told my family I wanted to eat here again on our next trip to Tokyo but next time, we should go down the nearest train station. If people used to walk a mile for a Camel, I can walk a mile for Ippudo if I really have to. Hehe

So I’m eagerly awaiting the opening of Ippudo in MegaMall. Well, not really eagerly because I don’t want to wait in line. Let’s see how it goes. When Ippudo comes in, the food has to be impressive because Ramen Nagi has just set the bar for Ramen chains. Having tried both, I can give my two cents worth but I will reserve further comments until I try the local Ippudo.