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Thread: "Saan Tayo?" Postgame Eats and Drinks

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  1. #131
    I haven't been to a single good "Saan Tayo" place in SMOA yet, as in tomaan at hindi kainan, kasi kung kainan marami siempre 'yon.

    People keep telling me about this place there called "Hooters". Is that THE Hooters from the US...?
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  2. #132
    Same thing. Ask LION, pre. Hehehehe. Hoot! Hoot!
    COURAGE SAN BEDA! / ¡ÁNIMO SAN BEDA!
    Understand? / ¿Entiendes?

  3. #133
    In case you are watching at the San Juan Arena or Jacinto Tiu gym in Xavier...

    Fig ‘roka’ salad, ‘arni lemonato,’ ‘paidakia,’ baklava–one more Greek resto on the block

    By Margaux Salcedo

    Philippine Daily Inquirer

    11:14 pm | Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

    You must not fall into the tourist trap of Greek food, Greece’s restaurant critic Albert Arouh has advised. He calls moussaka, Greek salad and souvlaki “cliché” dishes for tourists. He also warns that hummus isn’t even Greek; ubiquitous tourist traps serve it as the quintessential Greek food only because Cypriots often run Greek restaurants abroad where they serve this Middle Eastern delicacy.

    And yet when The Greek Gaydess, a Greco-American friend, visited Cyma three years ago, he loved the food, cliché though they may be.

    “I can cook better,” he joked. “But it’s good!”

    It’s the same sentiment expressed by many Cyma fans, who have followed its growth from a Boracay favorite to a recipient of Best Restaurant awards.

    If imitation is the best form of flattery, then Robbie Goco, chef and creator of Cyma, must say thank you for the compliment that is Greeka Kouzina, a restaurant reminiscent of most things Cyma. Another friend whispered that Goco was upset that his menu was copied. But this is grapevine tittle-tattle and unconfirmed—either by Cyma or Kouzina.

    Anyway, Goco need not be bothered because if indeed he was copied, it only proves he has blazed a trail. He may take inspiration from the Starbucks Siren, who remains the queen of quick espresso (and the Christmas planner) in spite of Figaro and Bo.

    Full operation

    But Greeka Kouzina may keep the Cyma group on its toes now that it is on full operation. Clearly, it has been gaining an acceptable reputation through word of mouth, as the wait for a table may take as long as half an hour on a Sunday. And it doesn’t accept reservations on weekends.

    At first glance, it is difficult to see why. The restaurant is out of the way, on P. Guevarra Street in San Juan, not even on J. Abad Santos (Little Baguio) where the quaint but popular restaurants are. And while the giant sign outside its doors helps, once you step in, you may be greeted by Greek chaos: a confused waiter, a guest screaming directions to the restaurant on the phone, hungry patrons sitting on the stairs waiting for a table, and a lady in shorts barking directions to the servers as to where to seat people.

    Yet like a Mark Webb movie, chaos is juxtaposed against calm. There is utter disparity between those who are standing and those who are seated and have been served their food. It is as if the food on the table creates a bubble that confines seated guests to their space, suddenly oblivious to the rest of the restaurant.

    That is, in fact, the magic of Greeka Kouzina’s food—enticing to the eye, alive in the mouth and effortless to digest, such that you are inclined to forget the chaotic world around you.

    The fig roka salad, which astounds you with its size (good for four to six), becomes more impressive with its orchestra of flavors and textures: sweetness from chewy figs; saltiness from chalky Parmesan cheese; bitterness from crisp arugula and walnuts. As if all that wasn’t enough, sun-dried tomatoes are thrown in, too.

    The watercress salad with blue cheese, though less snappy, is also laudable and proves with its pears that the restaurant does not scrimp on ingredients.

    The hummus, origins notwithstanding, is an ode to the chickpea, not so giddily mashed as to become flavored Gerber the way other restaurants serve it. The lamb chop burger is juicy and well-executed.

    Highly recommended

    The resto is proudest of its Arni Lemonato or roasted lamb, highly recommended by the servers, and rightly so. Roasted for five hours, it lives up to its menu-proclaimed description of meat that “falls off the bone.” It also maintains the gaminess lamb-lovers seek, while being gently refined by rosemary.

    The lamb ribs, aka Paidakia, is also a delight. Be ready to nibble.

    While the lamb appears to be the specialty, the beef is also very impressive. The beef souvlaki is even more tender than the Krasates (pork chops).

    But other items are less stellar. As with the pork, the salmon is just okay. The Spanakorizo, Greece’s rice version of spinach risotto, is also just okay, especially on a Monday when it is less fresh than over the weekend. The stuffed zucchini and moussaka, like the gravy, bring back great memories—of your high-school cafeteria.

    However, you will end on a high note with the baklava—that is, if you can appreciate the generous scoop of authentic yogurt atop it. (Be ready to explain to those not accustomed around you that the yogurt is not panis but sour, as it should be.)

    Note also that this is not the drier baklava more predominantly seen in Mediterranean restaurants here. At Kouzina, it is thicker, more chewy and with softer filo. So the yogurt may be sour but it will be a sweet ending.

    Slow service

    Be ready for slow service, mains delivered before the salad, and a frazzled waitress. But let it go. It’s a kitchen, as its name says, not a stage. It is Greek, not French. It is hot (literally, if you sit beside a window), not haute.

    Plus, cliché as the menu may be to Grecian purists, the food served will succeed in making visitors appreciate the restaurant’s concept of Greek food. And in the end, that’s what matters.

    Greeka Kouzina is at 285 P. Guevarra St., Little Baguio, San Juan; tel. 02-6245974. Open daily for lunch, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; and dinner, 5:30-10 p.m. Major credit cards accepted. Wheelchair accessible for the ground floor. Limited parking.

    Reservations accepted Mondays-Thursdays. First come, first served, Fridays-Sundays.

  4. #134
    Bar Chow, Bar None

    The Black Boar serves straightforward, really good hardcore drinker’s food

    Published April 5, 2018, 12:05 AM

    By Gene Gonzalez

    Chef Nich Viray is quite an interesting and colorful character if we compare him with the younger chefs who lead similarly multi- faceted lives. The varied jobs he has taken point at activities that need a certain finesse and artistic leaning. Fresh out of school, he worked in a pizza place that honed his knowledge in bread and fermentation. He also worked in his mom’s thriving home based pastry business and because of his drawing skills got interested in tattoo art where he professionally rendered tattoos concurrent with his life as a culinarian.

    His last stint was with his uncle a construction contractor where he acquired his know-how and where he found the knowledge to build with a few assistants, The Black Boar, in the bustling restaurant row of Kapitolyo. The rustic pub or dark wood facade immediately conjures and a warm, quaint, and friendly bar sizeable enough to be given a personal imprint by Nich and his wife.

    The formula for a good and successful drinking place is an owner who understands the service of food and drink that truly restores the spirit after a long day’s work, a week long stint of studying or gaining positive points on a date who also likes good food and drinks. The regular beers are cold and served at sub-zero temp while there are choices also of craft and imported brews such as the Inedit which was surprisingly priced low. There is a good stock of spirits, a good choice of triple and double distilled vodkas, a decent range of gins including Tanqueray Ten and the Botanist. There is also a reasonably priced selection of Scotch and Tennessee whiskies plus some popular Tequila brands. The small capacity and subdued lighting gives the serious bar drinker an opportunity to gather his or her thoughts without the rowdy noise of these giant pavilions like “drinker’s havens.”

    So with well served drinks, one has to complete the ideal bar formula with great bar chow. I would characterize Chef Nich Viray’s food to be hardcore drinker’s food with the addition of one element. Nich’s culinary training comes with a touch of refinement in what can be described as his food for barakos or those people (including women) who like straight forward, honest, and unpretentious cooking. Take the simple chicharon bulaklak in his menu served to you with chili vinegar. The Offal is rendered off fat and is fried carefully to a state where the frills or “petals” are crisp and the center is still moist and chewy with clean flavors. A spiced salt finishes this pulutan dish but the dip is no ordinary chili vinegar as it adds to the tastiness of the dish without artificial additives. In many cases, an order of chicharon bulaklak in many establishments would be overdone and would just taste of the oil it has been fried in. A look in Black Boar’s menu shows that salpicado seems to be a saleable item as there are at least four variants of this dish. Most recent was a clamor of the older bar habitués to have something “healthier.” So Nich came out with tofu salpicado which is the same wholesome garlicky dish (this tome meatless….) with a good dose of olive oil, wine, and genuine asturian paprika. For those who want other appetizers, I would recommend the parmesan wings (especially enjoyed by a group of women in the other table) and the flavorful and robust Andouille sausage that was being ordered by the people unwinding and watching basketball by the bar.

    Two of the best revelations for me that I was lucky enough to try were the pork chops and Chef Viray’s slow roasted beef belly. These items at a certain time are not available anymore because of the growing number of fans who spread the word. The pork chop is a humongous (smallest is 400gms) and special custom cut that has an added lip of pork belly to ensure juiciness. Tender without the powdery texture of commercial tenderizers this Black Boar pork chop is my concept of honest cooking without the flavors of commercial gravy mixers or seasonings (and I hope he keeps it that way). Similar to the concept of honest cookery is the rich and rather creamy flavors one gets from his slow roasted beef belly. I asked him if he brines the beef belly and he says it is rubbed with herbs and spices and goes straight to the oven for a very slow roast. Trying this one understands why these items always are bestsellers in his menu. When asked about his future plans he says he is adding a couple of tables from his defunct smoking room. If my cravings for that sinful pork chop or beef belly gets too powerful, I might need to go there soon…. but I’ll have to stay away from that evil bottle of absinthe standing solo in his bar…. it’s going to Hades in every shot!!!
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI


 
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