During the Christmas vacation, Rina and I planned to go with a few friends from my work to Enchanted Kingdom. Believe it or not, my buddy Mark had never been there yet at that time, and it ended becoming a running joke between us. (
No matter what he has achieved, it didn't mean anything cuz he still hasn't been to Enchanted Kingdom) Mark felt it was finally time to rectify that situation, and so we all planned a trip to Laguna so he could finally feel the magic of the Country's premiere amusement park.
Unfortunately, fate had a cruel game to play with my poor friend. Upon entering the gates of EK, we quickly realized that this was not going to happen today. The lines for ticket admissions were ridiculously long, and based on the sign boards outside, each ride would entail a minimum of three hours of waiting in line. We realized that it wasn't the ideal way to spend our free day, so the gang decided to head off to Tagaytay instead for a road trip.
Of course, since I was part of the group, the so-called "Road Trip" instantly became a "Food Trip" :)
To everyone, it was a no-brainer. If you're hungry, and you're in Laguna, you go to Kanin Club. I heard about the place before, but it didn't really interest me because I heard the star of their menu is the "Crispy Dinuguan". I haven't heard a single bad review about it, but still.. I don't eat dinuguan. Nothing personal to people who do, but the Picky Eater in me just thinks that eating pigs blood is a waste of stomach space. Why eat that when you can eat something like BBQ or Liempo? hehe
We saw signs for a newly opened restaurant called "Pig Out" and that seriously caught my attention, but alas, I could not thwart the will of the majority - so it was off to Kanin Club we went.
All Pix courtesy of Rain DG (left).The man doing the Stevie Wonder impression of the right, is my boy, Ted.
When we decided to go to Tagaytay, Rina was not a happy camper. Don't get her wrong, she was all for the road trip. Her ire was pretty much aimed at me. *Flashback* Earlier, before we left the house, I convinced her NOT bring her Nikon D80, with the mentality being it would be cumbersome to lug it around an amusement park. It makes sense, right?
But the moment she heard the words "Tagaytay", she imagined the lush trees and the breathtaking scenery against a hand painted sky, that had to be captured solely on the strength of her iPhone - she quickly gave me an " I told you so" gaze that could've bored a hole right through my skull.
The Enchanted Kingdom Virgin, Mark (left) and me.
Laguna is actually a really lovely place. It's of those places where you can imagine yourself buying a rest house in just to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, without going too far away. Its clean and quiet, and not very much traffic going on, but of course, you don't get the same picturesque landscapes that the neighboring Tagaytay has to offer.
But I wasn't there for the scenery. I was there for the food.
Look at the smile on their faces a the waiter brings out the food.. (Ted (L), Karen (C) and Cathi (R))
Given the fact that we went there during the holidays, I shouldn't be so hard on them.. But their service was god awful. It's hard to really blame them, because when we walked in, it was sheer chaos. There were so many people, and they were all so noisy, it was almost like there was a war going on. (
I guess that serves us right for coming at the height of lunch hour, right?) Even though everyone was hungry, they were willing to wait it out, because they had already built up the hype of the Crispy Dinuguan in their minds, and had reached the point of no return.
Once I saw they had "Pork BBQ" in their menu, I left the rest of the ordering to them, because I knew I had to be extremely careful with what I ate because we were on a road trip, and my mom would kill me if I messed up the seat covers of the Van she lent me hehe..
So.. umm.. you think we've got enough cholesterol in our diet?
I found it a bit strange that the Crispy Liempo was added in the appetizer section, because if you add rice to it, it's good enough to be a stand alone main course. The funny thing about me though, is, despite my professed love for oily food, I'm not too fond of deep fried pork dishes. I don't like Lechon Kawali, and the likes. This was actually pretty good though, because it came with three different types of sauces to give it a slight twist. (
The "sauces" were actually.. ready for this?? "Pinoy Vinegar", "Soy Sauce" and "Chili Sauce".. stuff you can buy at the grocery.. hehe.. no wonder the sauces weren't advertised in the menu.. hehe.. THAT'S marketing at it's finest, people!) The Pork BBQ was really good, but I was actually curious about if it was actually grilled or not. The meat was already separated from the stick ( just like the way I eat BBQ), but it seemed to be bathed in a yellow oil that kinda made it look like it was fried. It did have the smokey taste of the grill, though. Anyways, The Aligue Rice was quite a heap full and Rina really liked it. I don't eat Aligue so I have no idea if it was good or not.. hehe..
Dinuguan.. I just don't get it.. seriously..
The Crispy Dinuguan was a hit with my friends. They loved how the deep fried pork and chicharon bits mixed with the pigs blood. (
Which I found weird, but that's just me) On another note, the best Dinuguan in the world is made by my yaya kit. It is in all honesty, the only dinuguan that I've ever tried.
- As a fish lover, I thoroughly enjoyed the Binukadkad na Tilapia (P165) The fish was really fresh and tasty, and seasoned to perfection. A few of my friends added Soy Sauce, but I liked it just the way it was. You could eat everything in it- including the bones! (
This bad boy stole the show..
Something that they ordered that ended up being my favorite thing on the menu that I had tried was the Sinangag na Sinigang (
try saying that ten times really fast). I'm not much of a Sinigang eater, because I'm not very fond of sour food. But this was just too good to pass up. Whoever conceptualized this is a genius. Everyone who eats sinigang mixes the soup into their rice. This dish does it for you. ( For you lazy bums out there) And it throws in a juicy strip of liempo in just for good measure!Are you worried that you'd be eating a soggy dish for lunch? Well don't be! They added vegetable tempura on top of the rice just so it won't look like they're serving you a bowl of mush! And guess what? It's absolutely delicious!!! The wetness and sour tinge of the rice, and the crunch of the veggie tempura creates a tasty balance that makes this dish awesome! ( not to mention the pork is really fatty hehe) Rina swears that she'd drive up all the way to Laguna for this dish ( Even though I did tell her there's a branch already in Katipunan and Alabang.)
After our meal, the girls headed off to the outlet stores (Rina: "I'm not going to buy anything, I swear., Oh! Havianas!") The boys walked it off. Of course when we got the car, we all pretty much dozed off on our way to Tagaytay...
We all had a blast on that trip and our lunch at Kanin Club, despite the hitches in the service, was definitely one of the highlights..
What's the first rule of the Kanin Club? Well to me.. Forget the Crispy Dinuguan..you gotta go for the Sinangag na Sinigang!
Oh and just so you know? My buddy Mark popped his Enchanted Cherry a few months back! (
I'm so proud of him.. my little boy is all grown up .. sniff)