FOOD TRIPPIN’

 

There are always new food places popping up in the “Queen City of the South” and here are three new discoveries i found in my last visit.

 

CAFE SARREE

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Me and my cousins decided to have brunch in this quaint cafe in Escario Centrale, called Cafe Sarree.

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We started with TORTA which is a pastry that Cebu is known for but Cafe Sarree smothered their torta in butter and cheese and served it warm.  Perfect pair to their brewed coffee.

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I was craving for EGGS BENEDICT so thats what i ordered. The eggs were properly prepared, the yolks broke when i cut into them and the smoked salmon hit the spot.

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My cousins ordered the LAMB ADOBO which was so tender and flavorful and the SOUTHERN STYLE PORK BELLY was savory.

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We had the “CHURROS NI LOLA” for dessert.  It came with three sauces – deep fried dessert goodness.

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Apparently, the BRAZOS DE MERCEDES there was also a must try but we were too full. Something to look forward to on our next visit.

 

ABASERIA 

After a good movie, we headed to Abaseria for snacks. Abaseria is a restaurant / pasalubong store.  They have artisinal food items from all over the Philippines that the owner personally chooses.  The ambiance reminds you of an old filipino house and you immediately feel at home. Plus, while waiting for your food, you can browse the pasalubong offerings from bottled sauces, to flavored salt to custom jewelry to household items.  There is definitely some shopping to be done in Abaseria.

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I had the CHORIZO SANDWICH which was interesting and they even had ADOBO and HUMBA SANDWICHES.

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The definite winner in this place is their DECADENT CHOCOLATE CAKE.  It was so good, the kind that brings back good childhood memories.

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We also sampled their SUMAN with LATIK and dalandan juice.

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This is a great place to bring balikbayans and foreigner friends so they can enjoy true filipino food and hospitality.

 

PHAT PHO 

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For dinner, we decided to try the newly opened Phat Pho in Crossroads.  This Vietnamese restaurant has gotten good reviews and for good measure.

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The GOI CUN, fresh spring rolls were fresh and delightful appetizers.

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The PHO SPECIAL was very flavorful and i dont know why but it made me think of our island in Guimaras.

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The ANGUS BEEF SATAY and WOK FRIED NOODLES were flavorful and cooked to perfection.

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Phat Pho has an open kitchen and we were entertained by the chefs preparing our meals.

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The Vietnamese COFFE DRIP was strong and sweet, just like Vietnamese coffee is supposed to taste.

For dessert, we had the CARAMEL FLAN and the COCONUT CREAM PUFFS.

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If you have a sweet tooth, these two cannot be missed.  The flan had a very silky texture and the caramel had that sublime burnt sugar taste.

If you are craving for Vietnamese food, this is the place to go. It is not cheap but its worth it.

NOTE BEST:

Before I receive any violent reaction on how much food I posted here, I just want to make things clear that these dishes were SAMPLED by at least 3 – 4 people and not just by myself. Clear?? So, spare me the “fat comments”. Peace out.

A WEEKEND IN TOKYO

One of the perks of being a performer is that you get to travel the world. Last weekend I was flown to Japan to perform in a show to raise funds for the representatives of Team Philippines – Japan for the World Championships of Performing Arts 2013, the same contest where I won in 2005.

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The flight to Japan is a bearable 3 hours and 50 minutes but most of the flight, I was fast asleep. Taking the morning flight on Delta Airlines, I had to be up around 3am to give enough travel time and the checking in at the NAIA Terminal 1.

The moment we landed in Japan, the first thing I noticed was how clean and fresh the surroundings were.  A light rain shower welcomed us.

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We travelled for about an hour to get settled into our hotel at the New Sanno Hotel in Shibuya, Tokyo.

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THE REAL DEAL

I am a fan of Japanese food. It’s not just a feast to the palate but also to the eyes. Edible miniature art!

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Our host brought us to one of the places in Shibuya called SUSHIZANMAI where we were treated to such amazing Japanese food!

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We started out with the seaweed miso and the crab miso soup.

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Ah.. to those who know me, I’m allergic to crab. So, I settled with the seaweed miso.

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Then I had my “broiled fatty salmon”… well, it’s grilled salmon belly. LOL

Then we feasted on different kinds of sushi.

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Toro & salmon (tuna and salmon sushi)

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Anago and ama ebi (eel & sweet shrimp sushi)

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Tamago (egg  sushi), Kani miso (crab paste sushi), Uni (urchin sushi)

Right after the meal, we washed everything down with a cup of hot green tea. I was pretty full but not to the point that I felt sluggish and couldn’t breathe. It was a really good feeling of being stuffed.

SHIBUYA AT NIGHT

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Vending machines are everywhere.

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They still have Tower Records.

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Of course, I didn’t understand anything. LOL

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After dinner, we decided to walk the streets of Shibuya to burn some calories from that amazing meal. Though it was raining, the streets were still filled with people.

 

We were told that the busiest “intersection” in the world was in Shibuya and yep! we were there to experience it.

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Every few minutes, when the traffic lights would change, it would be an exchange of hustling cars and walking pedestrians.

Another popular spot in Shibuya is the famous statue of Hachiko.

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I’m sure most of us know the story of the dog who would wait for his master at the Shibuya train station every day until one day his master didn’t come home because of a heart attack. But still he continued to wait every single day until the day he died. That act of love and loyalty was immortalized  with a bronze statue of the famous dog.

DRUNK KARAOKE

After the second show on Sunday, I got a text from a very good friend of mine inviting me to do karaoke! Hmmm… karaoke after 2 hours of non stop singing??? Okay… I’ll just go for the drinks! And what the heck! It’s Lea Salonga who texted. Sheesh! Just a Tony Award and Laurence Olivier Awardee… Pffft! Hahahaha

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I asked my friend to drive me to this karaoke place called Shidax and when I stepped into the VIP room, there I saw Lea with a shot of saki in hand. But I was in for a big surprise! In that room were 2 of my Broadway idols! Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess. When Lea introduced me to them, all I could do was shake their hands and say, “Of course, I know you guys…”. Ramin played lead roles in both the Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables and Sierra is popular for doing Ariel in the Broadway staging of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Also I was introduced to another performer, Japanese artist, Yu Shirota. These 4 are part of a touring show called “4 Stars”.

So I sit beside Lea and across where I was seated was Ramin and Sierra goofing around and screwing up their songs on purpose! Sigh… I just switched to fan mode. Then Ramin goes, “Hey Jed, you should do a Michael Bolton song… like How Am I Supposed To Live Without You?” I obliged but my heart was pounding. When the music played, He suddenly said, “Stop! No.. no… no… the original key is too low for you…”. Then punches the buttons bringing the pitch 2 notches higher. Eeeep! But it all went well. Hahaha

Lea and I did a “kick ass’ version of Separate Lives. Heaven.

When we left, Lea was really nice to take pictures of me with these awesome stars.

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LAST DAY

They say your trip to Japan is not complete if you don’t try the “real deal” ramen. So before heading to the airport, we dropped by this placed called Ippudo in Ropponggi.

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Their noodle wall.

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We ordered what they call Akamaru.

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The soup is a broth made from boiling pork (including the bones) for days! Talk about really extracting the essence huh? The richness of the pork broth is enhanced by black sesame sauce, sesame seeds, green onions, garlic, seaweed, egg and the noodles! Every slurp was an experience! I also had pork dumplings on the side.

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Oh my goodness!!!

Pure yum!

It reminded me of our own Lapaz Batchoy but richer and more tasty.

I am definitely putting that place on the number one to do list when I get back to Japan!

You should too!

 

 

A DECADENT DAY IN TAGAYTAY

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” – George Bernard Shaw

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Some days are just worth indulging yourself and this day is definitely one of those times.

Arguably called the best restaurant in the Philippines, Antonio’s has long been on my list of places to eat in… and what a truly sensory experience it was!

Me and my cousin made reservations and we were welcomed in a very beautiful house turned restaurant that had understated elegance.

Browsing through the menu was like going through the table of contents of a story book where every chapter was as interesting as the next one.

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We started with the house salad with mesclun greens and glazed walnuts and raspberry vinaigrette and basil oil.  I am not a fan of salad but i cleaned my plate.  It was like edible art.

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Next came the soup which was cream of pumpkin and carrot with a delicate foam on top. The symphony of flavors were sublime.

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The piece de resistance was the porter house steak which was just cooked to perfection.

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Our knives glided through the meat like it was cutting butter.

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The meat was the star and it was accompanied by the brown chimichurri, lemon and pink salt.  Freshly ground pepper was offered to your liking.

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The Antonio’s trio was beef fillet plancha topped with seared foie gras, gratin potato with port wine sauce, honey glazed lambloin gratinated with goat cheese and the grilled beef fillet gratinated with cepes morel black truffle and mashed potato. Perfect plate for the undecided.  Hahaha

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Even the side dishes, coriander gnocchi and tomato risotto, held their own in the taste department.

The chef who conceptualized this menu is a true artist and it was such a treat to be able to experience his artistry.

Every mouthful was like a party in our mouths.  Sometimes, i would even close my eyes from pure bliss! My cousin was teasing that i might just belt out a song number from happiness.  Hahaha

It was the perfect setting for a leisurely lunch with great food and animated conversations and the positive energy of the place makes you feel like everything is right with the world.

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They say God is in the details and it was the attention to detail in Antonio’s that truly won me over.  Their ice cubes were frozen dalandan juice so as not to dilute our delicious drinks.

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The lemons for the steak were wrapped in mesh to catch the seeds as you squeezed them over your food and they even serve you Himalayan pink salt.

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We ended our meal with homemade sorbets that were so tantalizing to the tongue. Calamansi and siling labuyo gave you a jolt, the pineapple with toasted coconut was like the taste of summer and the green mango was tart.  A light finish to a delicious meal!

Antonio’s makes you feel truly pampered!!!

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For reservations and for more details, log on to http://antoniosrestaurant.ph

BEEF STEW ALA MADELA

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Whenever I cook my version of beef stew, everyone who has tried it, always end up with either an “Oh my…” or “How do you make this?”. It’s actually pretty easy! Here it is.

In a big pot, place 1 1/2 K BEEF SHORT RIBS… cover with water and bring to a boil.

Add 1 BEEF CUBE, 1 cup SOY SAUCE and 1 cup BROWN SUGAR. Keep boiling on low heat.

Add 1 T BLACK PEPPER and 1 T CHILI POWDER.

Peel and slice GINGER,  2 CARROTS and 2 BELL PEPPERS into big pieces and add to the pot.

Turn off the fire when carrots are tender.

Add SESAME OIL  and toasted SESAME SEEDS.

Steam BEAN SPROUTS and serve as side dish.

Note: You can adjust the sweetness or saltiness by adjusting the brown sugar and soy sauce. Also, the black pepper and chili powder can be adjusted according to taste.