Sunday, April 20, 2014

Say malinamnam at Namnam!

My college friend recommended Namnam Comfort Food for our get-together lunch. Good idea for a restaurant name, I thought. But I kind of got lost looking for Namnam because the last time I went to Greenbelt 2, the occupant of that space was still Masas. Plus, another resto was occupying the top floor of Namnam (BurgerBar).

Anyway, I find their menu quite interesting and new. They serve traditional Filipino dishes with a modern-day twist.  Also, they have small servings (good for one) so that we can sample as many dishes at possible.

What I loved was the Caramelized Patis Wings. It is chicken wings in Palawan honey and patis glaze.Promise, there’s no hint of the patis taste, it’s actually more on the sweet side. I also liked its crispiness.
Caramelized Patis Wings (or what was left of it)
PhP 155 (small size)

Next is the Beef Belly Bulalo. The beef is so tender and the soup so flavourful. It goes well with plain rice.
USDA Beef Belly Bulalo
PhP 298 (small size)

A classic favourite, Adobong Kangkong was good also, as expected.
Adobong Kankong
PhP 100 (small size)

We also tried the Ensaladang Namnam made of bagoong, mango, tomatoes, and—surprise-- tinapa flakes and shredded pomelo! But i find it quite “dry” though.
Ensaladang Namnam
PhP 115 (small size)

And of course, a trip to a Filipino restaurant wouldn’t be complete without adobo and sisig.

I don’t usually order shakes when dining out because it makes me feel too full, but Namnam’s shakes selection is really inviting that I had just to give in. The Ube Sago and Strawberry Camias is too die for! The Ube Sago is like ube ice cream and very tasty and creamy. I was having second thoughts on trying Strawberry Camias but the waiter prodded me—and the sweetness of strawberry coupled with the subtle sourness of camias—turned out to be a refreshing combination.
Ube Sago, PhP 95
Strawberry Camias, PhP 115

Our stomachs have no more room for dessert. We haven’t even tried their popular dishes (more reasons to go back here, haha). Plus, their prices are quite affordable for a restaurant in this row in Greenbelt 2. With their innovative menu and more, I can’t wait to dine here again.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Stackers Burger Cafe at ATC

My church mates and I were supposed to watch Captain America: Winter Soldier at the Alabang Town Center (ATC), but then all the good seats were taken so we decided to just eat instead.

Since it is a Sunday afternoon, most of the restaurants at the ground level of the mall’s expansion wing (“The Garden”) were jampacked, so we ended up at Stackers Burger Cafe, which was not full at that time. It’s good that we were seated in front of their two wide screen TVs which shows foreign movies and trailers.

I remembered that I already tried their burger at their branch in Newport Mall, Resorts World Manila a year ago but I can’t recall if it was good or not. No one ordered a burger this time, we decided to eat “light” instead.

I feel like eating “healthy” so I ordered their Asian Burger Bowl. It is made up of romaine lettuce, red cabbage, carrots, chopped nuts and topped with a quarter pounder burger patty and fried wanton flakes. It comes with an oriental dressing on the side. I was not able to finish it because this is the worst veggie salad that I’ve tasted. What a disappointment!

One of my friends also ordered a salad, the Barbeque Burger Bowl. Angus beef patty is served on a bed of greens with cherry tomatoes, corn kernels, fried wanton flakes, grated cheese and barbecue sauce. It comes with a ranch dressing on the side. I guess her salad was good because she didn’t comment.

The rest of the orders included:

Creamy Carbonara – spaghetti with creamy garlic carbonara sauce with sliced mushrooms and bacon bits

Classic Rocky Road Glacier

Premium Blueberry Cheesecake Glacier – this one looks really tempting! I have to order this next time.

Capuccino with that cute heart design. No, they don’t have biscotti (as shown in the photo below) – that was baked by one of our companions.

Although disappointed with my salad, I think I’ll go back here and try their burgers and baked fried chicken next time.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Sambokojin at SM Southmall

Since buffets are the rave these days, we decided to try one to celebrate my mom’s birthday. Luckily, Sambokojin has a promo—birthday celebrants get to eat-all-you can for free!

Sambokojin’s branch in SM Southmall Las Pinas is big, but since it is a Saturday, we have to queue for a few minutes before we got a table.

Sambokojin has a wide variety of Japanese and Korean specialties, such as tempura, katsu, furai, bulgogi, kamameshi, sushi and sashimi to name a few! 

Each table has a smokeless grill and a variety of sauces that you can mix and match (teriyaki, ponzu, sesame, takumi, etc).

Here are just some photos of what we had:
chapchae, kani tempura,
ojingo bokum (spicy squid), fish cake

foil wrapped & grilled salmon in miso,
foil wrapped & grilled prawns in garlic,
asparagus wrapped in beef,
various meat & pork slices

kani bacon rolls,
us marble beef, fish fillet

shrimp tempura, agedashi tofu,
various ready-to-eat meat

From all that I’ve eaten, what I liked were the US marble beef, the beef and bacon rolls, the katsus and furais.  My companions said that the chapchae, sukiyaki and gyoza were also good.

Since I’m not so much into oriental cuisine, I filled my tummy with green tea ice cream. I don’t know if I’m just too full but the chocolate mousse cake, ube torte and crème brulee fell short of my expectations.

Overall, it was worth it since it is only PhP 699 per head (They have different rates for weekdays, please check their website).  Plus, they sang a birthday song for my mom and gave a cake, so thank you! I think I’ll go back here on my birthday :)

Sambokojin SM Southmall
Ground floor, Eastwing Food Street

Old Manila Elegance that is Legarda Mansion

I’ve always been fascinated with old casas, museos, antiques and paintings so I’m quite thrilled that a guided tour of the Legarda Mansion is in the offing as part of our dining experience at La Cocina de Tita Moning (see related post).

Located at San Rafael Street in San Miguel District, where the alta sociedad of the Old Manila reside, the house was built in 1937 by Dr. Alejandro and Doña Ramona Legarda.

First off, is the foyer where my amigas and I saw an original Oscar Zalameda painting. Our guide said that it may be worth a million pesos now.

From the receiving area, I can admire the escalera and the araña. (I’m crazy about stairs and chandeliers!)

On one of the walls hung the Legardas and the Hernandezes family name history.

Towards the hallway are some antique cooking gadgets such as bread toaster and waffle maker (so it seems that waffles are already popular during those days).

There is also a souvenir shop where we can buy La Cocina’s signature goodies such as queso de bola spread and bread pudding, among others.

Still on the ground floor, at the left side of the house, is the camera room. Dr. Legarda was a founding member of the Camera Club of the Philippines and in this room I found various camera and equipment he used.

Among the photos is a shot of Roxas Boulevard in the 1930s taken and developed by Don Alejandro himself.

Facing the camera room is Dr. Legarda’s clinica. It gave me the creeps because there was a real human skeleton dangling in there. Amazingly, the x-ray machine, doctor bags, and other medical instruments are still intact.

At the right side of the house just below the stairs is the biblioteca. I saw really old copies of some magazines, medical books and encylopedias.

The guide led us to the second floor of the house where the sala is located. Its attraction is the 1901 “La Inocencia” painting by National Artist Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo.

Also here is a painting by Juan Luna, wow!

The sala is spacious with two sets of sofa. There are a lot of paintings, family portraits and various antiques.

Near the sala is the radio room. Dr. Legarda is also fond of radios and his various radio equipment are well-kept. In this room also are more china, glass and silverware and family photographs.

There’s also a paper mache collection done by Doña Ramona herself. 

Adjacent to the radio room is the cuarto de vestir where their daughters’ ballet dresses and shoes are kept. I find the vintage perfume collection tasteful and the vintage mirrors and accessories really ‘girly’.

And finally the comedor! I noticed a gong and the guide told us that Don Alejandro used this to call his children for almuerzo or cena.

The guide pointed at the collection of Meissen plates displayed on the walls, each one hand-painted and lined with gold. She told us that there are no two plates in the entire set with exactly the same design.

The tour of the Legarda ancestral house gave me a glimpse of what was life like during the late 19th century. Even for just awhile, I experienced the old world charm of an era almost forgotten.

(Note: To be able to explore the Legarda Mansion, place a dining reservation at La Cocina de Tita Moning)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

19th century dining at La Cocina de Tita Moning

Old Manila opulence combined with great-tasting food makes La Cocina de Tita Moning not just a restaurant but a dining experience.

Upon arriving at the Legarda Mansion where La Cocina is located, mi amigas y yo were ushered at the sala and given complimentary drinks and pica-pica, in the same fashion one would receive guests in his home. 

The lemongrass iced tea was refreshing while the warm ladyfinger toasts loaded with their decadent queso de bola spread was truly appetizing that I even brought home a jar!

After taking our orders, a guide gave us a tour of the mansion (which I’ll write about in a separate post). We found out that Tita Moning is actually Doñ Ramona, the wife of Don Alejandro of the illustrious Legarda clan.

After exploring the casa, we were seated on our designated table in the comedor. The set-up itself is already remarkable as rose petals and lit candles were attractively placed on the elegant table cloth. I was excited to use the Legardas’ antique collection of china, glassware and silverware.

Adding to the experience is a personalized print-out of the menu we will be having. A small campana is also placed at the head of the table to call the staff, just like how they did back in the good old days.

For our lavish multi-course meal, they first served bread and butter. Of interest is the salsa monja on the table. It is a condiment made of pickled shallots and olives made by nuns for the Spanish friars to accompany meals. It is suggested that you eat it together with the other dishes to make it more delicioso.

For starters, we had two kinds of ensaladas—(1) fresh organic greens with herbs, poached egg, roasted pumpkin & davao goat cheese, and (2) salad with caramelized walnuts and cheese.

Their sopa de oro (cream of pumpkin soup) is very rich, delicious and filling.

Next, is whole baked lapu-lapu and grilled eggplant with homemade vinaigrette. I must say that this is the best-tasting baked lapu-lapu i had! It is oven-baked in olive oil & garlic.

I noticed that the waitresses were scooping the food on our plates instead of placing the serving dish on the table. I guess this is how the “old rich” dined in the 1930s.

We then had Tita Moning’s signature dish of slowly roasted pork with its own cracklings served with candied sweet camote. The candied sweet camote alone is too die for!

As if it is not yet enough, we also had tender lengua cooked in white wine, sautéed fresh vegetables and their famous paella valenciana served in a dainty paellera.

To cap it off, we were served with a Legarda original, the bread pudding topped with candied pili nuts. This is unlike the usual pudding that i was accustomed to because it is soft and like leche flan. And the hot choco is good for that afternoon siesta too!

Though the cost of dining here is about PhP 1,000 to PhP 2,000 per person (at regular prices), it is definitely worth every centavo. Muy deliciosio food served in style is definitely priceless.

La Cocina de Tita Moning
315 San Rafael St. San Miguel District, Manila.
By reservation only: Telefax: 734-2141

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