Thursday, December 18, 2014

PHIL'S BBQ SAN DIEGO: CHECK ONE OFF MY MVF BUCKET LIST!


      The very first thing I did when I booked a flight to the United States earlier this year, was go through my (complete, mind you) collection of Man V. Food episodes, and watch the ones that featured the cities I knew I would be visiting. 
     
    On top of that list was Phil's BBQ in San Diego. We were staying in Laguna Niguel, which is roughly around two hours away from San Diego, and by happenstance, it is also where my niece Cara lives (The reason why we were in the United States in the first place). 

    And as if I needed a second opinion, when I asked my friend Dani (Who I happened to meet through my blog and is a former resident of San Diego), for suggestions on nice places to eat in San Diego, she elicited a high pitch screech which eerily sounded like, "Phil's" (But in actuality sounded more like,"OHMYGAWDDDPHIIIIILLLSSS!!".
   

Monday, December 15, 2014

NEST MODERN TABLE & BAR: SOARING THROUGH BGC!


           Since my very first meal in URBN Kitchen & Bar, I knew that their Executive Chef, Benjo Tuason was the real deal. More than anything, it's his versatility that impresses me most. One minute he's delving into oriental dishes, the next thing you know he's whipping up a European delicacy. The next, he's schooling you in classic Pinoy dishes.

            The man simply refuses to keep his culinary talents in a box, and is unafraid to explore flavors and dishes from around the world. When Rina and I were graciously invited to Chef Benjo's newest baby, Nest Modern Table and Bar, I knew we were in for yet another mouth watering evening of food and fun!   

     Nest is perched on the roofdeck of W building on 5th Avenue Cor. 32nd St. at Bonifacio Global City. The altitude makes using an Al Fresco setting a no brainer, and at the same time, helps set Nest apart from other dining experiences. 

   Nest is a few steps away from one of Manila's newest Super Clubs, "RAVEN", offering guests a more serene place to hang out or pre-game. Perhaps "Serene" is pushing it a little, but definitely a quieter ambiance from the booming bass filled Raven. 

      Apart from dynamite food, Nest offers a whole slew of signature cocktails that customers can choose from.

THE FOOD



     The Chunky Butternut Squash and Chickpea Soup with Naan Bread (P150) was remarkably hearty, especially when you consider that it didn't have meat in it. It was definitely chunky, but packed with flavor, and the soup made a great dip for the tasty Naan Bread. 


      Afterwards, Chef Benjo brought out his take on the classic breakfast dish, Ham & Eggs. Of course with Chef Benjo being Chef Benjo, he had to take it to a whole new level entirely. The "Ham" in question are paper thin strips of Jamon Serrano, while a poached egg lays on a bed of char grilled asparagus, edame and green pea salad, and garnished with Parmesan cheese shavings.


     There are times when I adamantly declare that I do not care for a certain food, and suddenly, a specific dish manages to get me re-thinking my stand. One such dish is the Foie Gras & Mushrooms (P550). I don't eat anything that has to do with an animals innards, but I couldn't help but enjoy the richness of the Foie Gras, that is given a delicate creaminess by the Poached Egg. The Parmesan and Balsamic give a nice contrasting flavor, while the crunchiness of the croutons adds a nice texture to the bite. 

BAR BITES



      Right off the bat I'm going to warn you. You will find the Buffalo Chicken Popcorn (P220) incredibly addicting. You will tell yourself that you're ok wih two or three nuggets, but the next thing you know you're having a fork duel with your companion for the last piece. Juicy cutlets of chicken are glazed in a Buffalo sauce that, much to my delight isn't overly spicy or acidic. The sauce is balanced beautifully, and goes well with the bleu cheese dressing, whose pungent taste is also very subdued.


    The Spiced Sweet Potato Fries (P200) is one of those dishes that is a tad too spicy for my taste buds, but those very same buds demanded I solider on. The thin slices of sweet potatoes were cooked to a softness, and topped with delectable Crispy pork, and topped with a Sriracha Aioli that gave a strong kick of heat. 

ENTREES


      I have no doubt that my friend Grace, from A View From The Leftie would be in tears when she sees the Fillet of Salmon (P650) of Nest. A juicy Norwegian Salmon fillet that had a great crispiness in its skin, and served with Grilled Leeks, a unique Black Yakemeshi, and resting in a pool of Roe and Miso Sake Sauce.


     I was a little concerned when I saw the char marks on the Roast Chicken Supreme (P280). The funny part was, those same char marks had a nice caramelization to it, making it one of the best parts of the chicken, to go with the moist meat. 


     The Rack of Lamb (P950) was truly a sight to behold. The mouth watering rack of lamb, seemed to sparkle as it basked in it's Herb and Mustard Glaze, and it's own juices. The lamb went perfectly with the Smoked Eggplant and Glazed Zucchini garnish. The price may sound a little steep but this can easily be shared by two people (provided of course, that one of those people is not named "Richie")


     And the award for the best Bang for the Buck dish at Nest is... The 5 Spiced Roast Pork Belly (P250)! Make no mistake about it, the Rack of Lamb is a must try, but this dish, when taking price and taste into consideration, this is the absolute winner. Thick cut slices of delicious Kurobota Pork Belly, doused in a flavorful sauce, and resting on a bed of Soy and Garlic Noodles, and garnished with a Sesame Cucumber Relish. I honestly hate cucumbers so I pretty much pushed the relish aside, but the noodles were a wonderful compliment to the melt in your mouth savoriness of the pork.  

DESSERTS


   Words cannot express the elation in the eyes of my wife when the Chocolate Textures (P200) was brought to our table. A rather unique dessert consisting of layers of Chocolate Marquise and Fudge Brownies, with a touch of Rasberry Coulis for a bit of sweetness, and topped with thinly sliced fresh Strawberries.



  Although I did enjoy the Cronut craze, I still felt that a preference to those deep fried sugar donuts that you can find in those small unassuming bakeries. For me, the Donuts and Dips (P200), pays homage to that comforting dessert treat. 

     The punched out fried donut holes are dusting in sugar, and served with a selection of dips, including Peanut Butter Cream, Salted Caramel and Strawberry Jam. My favorite turned out to be the "Peanut Butter Cream", but it didn't have the nuttiness I was expecting. In fact, I didn't realize it was peanut butter when I first tried it. 



      Even the Reese's Sansrival (P200) didn't taste so "Peanut-Buttery" to me, but that doesn't mean it wasn' delicious. That Peanut Butter Cream, mixed with the smearing of Chocolate Ganache worked well when eaten together, however my own problem was the wafer sandwiched between them was served frozen, making it incredibly hard to slice through. Other than that though, it was delicious.  



   It's great to have a place such as Nest Modern Table and Bar to add to the growing number of drinking and dining spots in Bonifacio Global City. 

    I like the fact that as a guy that isn't really into the whole nightlife scene but loves to eat, Nest is a great compromise for me and my friends who on the other hand, loves to drink.

NEST Modern Table & Bar
Roofdeck W Fifth Avenue Building, 
5th Avenue corner 32nd Street
Bonifacio Global City


NEST MENU
(Click to enlarge)

Friday, December 12, 2014

MY FIRST TIME IN 2ND'S! (AND THIRDS. AND FOURTHS. AND FIFTHS.)




       As a blogger that has been at it since 2010, I am quite ashamed to admit that I had never had a full meal at the popular restaurant, "2nd's". I can't give you a valid explanation why, but my schedule has usually been the culprit.

      2nd's burst into Manila dining scene in 2011, with an eclectic menu that features unique takes on some of your favorite "Comfort food", including their version of Bacon that helped put them on the map. 

     As teary Renee Zelwegger told Jerry Maguire, "You had me at bacon.." (At least in MY version that's what she said)


Monday, December 8, 2014

CLAWDADDY'S & NEW ORLEANS WITH TAGGO!


       I really love American food, but I'm not too big on Seafood. This is the dilemma I face, every time I think about eating at Clawdaddy's. I've heard that the food is delicious, but fish is the only seafood that truly appeals to me, so I was always concerned that I wouldn't get my money's worth. 


    All that changed when I visited Clawdaddy's last week, and learned how to avail of a discount, using "Taggo"!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

FARMACY ICE CREAM & SODA FOUNTAIN: THE PRESCRIPTION FOR ICE CREAM AWESOMENESS!


          I've always found the concept of a "Drugstore" an intriguing piece of classic Americana. Let's face it, to us Filipinos, the first thing that comes to our mind when we think of a "drug store" is Mercury, right? Well, back in the late 1800's to the early 1900's, a Drugstore was more associated with Soda Fountains than an actual Pharmacy. I'm a assuming the mixing of the chemicals and syrups to make your carbonated soda was once thought to be best left in the hands of the Pharmacist, who in turn employs a "Soda Jerk" to take care of your drinking needs. The Drugstore pretty much involved into an ice cream parlor as well, and became a very popular hangout, especially for the teen crowd.  

        A new restaurant in Bonifacio Global City opened recently, that gives us Pinoys a glimpse of what it may have been like to enjoy a nice Chocolate Fudge Sundae under the summer sun back in the day. 

       One lovely Sunday afternoon, Rina and I took Baby Rain to Farmacy Ice Cream and Soda Fountain, to experience the vibe of an old school Ice Cream parlor, but it turns out it was us who ended up feeling like kids again! 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

TONY ROMA'S: JOIN THE RIBVOLUTION!


             I must admit, it's been years since I've been to Tony Roma's.  The first time I went was in the late 90's, when I visited the beautiful island of Hawaii with my cousin Raffy, and he made sure Tony Roma's was one of our first stops. He wasn't just raving about the ribs, but the Onion Loaf as well, which featured the wonderful sweetness of the Maui Onion. 


       The quality of Tony Roma's food, particularly their ribs, has been known throughout the world for its excellence. Let's face it, you don't open roughly 260 restaurants in 27 countries because you suck, right? 

     The knock on Tony Roma's, however, seems to be the price range. Though it is admittedly on the pricier side, the restaurant Famous for their ribs has developed a special promotion that will open people's eyes and join Tony Roma's Ribvolution! 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

KRISPY KREME MAKES MAGIC HAPPEN THIS CHRISTMAS!


           Christmas came early at the Pickiest Eater household! Just the other day, the doorbell rang, and much to our surprise (and delight), was two boxes of Donuts from Krispy Kreme! 

     What was in it? Krispy Kreme's Holiday Donut series that will surely make Magic Happen! 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A DREAM COME TRUE: GORDON RAMSAY BURGR IN LAS VEGAS

          Before you go any further, please let me apologize for the quality of the pictures, which is nowhere near the level of previous entries in my blog. During my trip to the states, I left the DSLR camera back home, and relied solely on my iPad, which I've come to regret, but at the time it was the smarter move.

         Nonetheless, enjoy the first entry from my trip to the United States, earlier this year. 


          I don't know if I mentioned it before, but I am a fan of Chef Gordon Ramsay. In fact, One of the greatest moments of my blogging career was this:






A photo posted by RichieZ (@pickiesteater) on 
      Yup, Chef Gordon Ramsay followed me on Twitter. He has probably unfollowed me by now, but you can imagine how excited I was when I saw this! 


   He followed me after I tweeted him, "If I ever go to Las Vegas, I'm going straight to Gordon Ramsay BurGR". 

   Well, last June, I went to Las Vegas, so it was time to put up. We got a great deal for rooms in Planet Hollywood, so I had no excuse. Even though I'm fairly certain Chef Ramsay forgot about my tweet by now, I believed I had a promise to fulfill. 

   Finally something to to check off my bucket list.. dining in a restaurant of Gordon Ramsay.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

HE'S BACK! TOM SAWYER'S FRIED CHICKEN IN TIENDESITAS!


       As a child studying in O.B. Montessori during the mid-80s, trips to Greenhills were quite frequent. We would usually stop by McDonalds for lunch, just before my 11am class. The lure of course was the happy meal and the toys that it came with. There was one instance though that I recall being extremely disappointed because we arrived a little later than usual, and the place was packed. Since we couldn't get seats, my Yaya decided that it would be best to take us somewhere else for lunch, rather than risk us being late because we were waiting for a table at McDonald's.

      You must remember that I was only a few years removed from living in the United States, so places nearby such as Goodah had absolutely no appeal to me. Thankfully, my Yaya (believe me.. If there's anyone who knows how Picky I am, it's her) spotted a restaurant that she knew would be to the approval of my finicky taste buds.

     And that was the first time I had tried Tom Sawyer's Fried Chicken.

   Events in my life unfolded, leading me to move to Cebu, where I lived until I graduated High School. As I returned back to Manila years later, the name "Tom Sawyers" was only spoken of in sentences that usually began with the words, "Whatever happened to...?".

  Enter 2014. 

  Guess what folks? He's Back! 

   You read that right.. Tom Sawyer's Old Fashioned Krispy Fried Chicken is back in the metro! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

KESSAKU'S AWESOME BUY 1 TAKE 1 PROMO

sushi

        We went back to Kessaku Alabang the second time around and guess what? They have an awesome deals on their sushi every Tuesdays. It's the BUY 1 TAKE ONE on ANY sushi!!!! How great is that?!?! It's certainly another good reason to visit Kessaku in Alabang on Tuesdays (besides being hungry and craving for good Japanese food)

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