Like I mentioned in my previous post about The Boutique Bed and Breakfast, Tagaytay is a favorite "Out of Town" spot for barkadas and families. It's far enough so that you're away from the pollution of the metro, but not too far that it becomes an exhausting drive just to get there.
Now, lets say you do go to Tagaytay for a quick vacation.. Where would you eat? I have a few suggestions that I'd like to share with you, these coming weeks, but the first place that comes to mind is this awesome place located within The Boutique Bed and Breakfast.. The Original Hawaiian BBQ!
The Original Hawaiian BBQ is the brain child of Happy Ongpauco-Tiu, and is part of The Happy Concept Group, which includes impressive brands, such as The Boutique Bed and Breakfast, and Pamana.
Together with another Happy Concept Group member, Tsokolateria, The Original Hawaiian BBQ serves as the in-house "Cafe" of The Boutique.
Recognizing that not capitalizing on the natural splendor of Tagaytay would be a mistake, you may also choose to stay in the Al Fresco area that offers a spectacular view of the hills of Tagaytay. (The Hills are alive, kung baga).
After arriving from our short road trip, I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into what The Original Hawaiian BBQ had to offer!
Although Tagaytay is known for their "cooler" weather (The "cooler" part is pretty much only compared to Metro Manila), It would be remiss of you not to try some of Hawaiian BBQ's line up of shakes, especially the Kit Kat Shake (P120), and/or the Oreo Cheesecake Milkshake (P120)!
Although I'm not interested in Salads, but if I had to (gun to my head), I felt the Oriental Chicken Salad (P320) wouldn't be a bad way to start the meal. Grilled Chicken slices are laid on top of a bowl of mixed greens, then topped with fried wanton strips, and refreshing mandarin orange slices.
Being the kind hearted person I am, the let my friends finish of the Salad, while I concentrated on the other items from Hawaiian BBQ's Appetizer menu, starting with the Onion Rings Tower with Three Sauces, (P200). The onions are dipped in a delicious batter and fried to golden perfection, and stacked together on a platter. The available sauces are an in house BBQ Sauce, Garlic Mayo, and Gravy. The natural sweetness of the onion makes the fried rings quite tasty even without a sauce, but I have to admit, the lightly, sweet, smoky BBQ sauce, was a great condiment.
Spam Masubi puts me in quite the conundrum. Spam is one of my favorite comfort foods, but I really hate Nori (Dried Seaweed). The Crispy Spam Masubi (P275) , however, is a good compromise. Since the seaweed is dipped in a Hawaiian batter before being deep fried, lightly tempering the Nori flavor to a more tolerable level for my palate.
Best enjoyed with the BBQ sauce or the Garlic Mayo!
GOOD OLD FASHIONED ALOHA SIDINGS
I feel that Chef Happy conceptualized The Ultimate Baked Potato (P150) with me in mind. I am the ultimate meat and potatoes guy, and as you all know, I have a love affair with bacon. So this dish was pretty much everything I was looking for in a side dish. Soft potato chunks, drowned in a cream cheese sauce and topped with bacon strips? YES PLEASE.
Yet another dish in which I felt a little bit of Serendipity, was the Buttered Corn with Bone Marrow. You scrape the marrow off the bone and into the bowl of buttered corn kernels, and mix everything together, to add a savory richness to what is usually a simple, but dependable side dish.
Many of you still get surprised to hear that I eat fish. I love love love LOVE fish, although I admit that it's pretty much the only seafood that I actually eat, (with the exception of Shrimp Tempura and Calamares). The Baked Seafood Pockets in Lime and Honey (P420), This is a bucket of seafood, particularly Fish, Squid, Shrimp and Mussels, baked in a lime and honey drizzling, giving it a light sweetness with a citric tinge.
I have to admit, Hawaiian BBQ's batter for their deep fried seafood is quite exceptional. This is evident in their Seafood Tacos. Supposedly a mix of Fish, Deep Fried Mussels, Squid and oysters, I ate it thinking it was pure fish. I would normally have a violently reaction when I feel the texture of oysters or mussels in my mouth. But seafood was fried so perfectly, that the crunchiness made beautiful music in my mouth, leaving me unable to distinguish the mixed seafood from one another.
I'll give you a heads up.. I'm a fan of fried rice, and I really enjoyed the very flavorful Spam Rice (P150) of Hawaiian BBQ. There are some people that don't like having too robust flavored rice with their meals, but I do, and the comfort of the rice, which seemed to be a simple stir fry of Rice mixed with ketchup, bits of Spam, Pineapple and Corn Kernels, was irresistible.
The Pineapple Chicken Rice (P190) is pretty much a meal in itself, as it uses the delicious concept of the Spam Rice, replacing the spam with a succulent, BBQ leg of Chicken.
HAWAIIAN BBQ'S FAMOUS BABY BACK RIBS
In order to understand what all the fuss is about, it might be a good idea to start with the their Original Hawaiian Baby Back Ribs (Small P380/Medium P765/ Large P990). These glorious slabs were incredibly tender and slathered in a sweet, tangy sauce, that helps accentuate the smokey meatiness of the ribs.
The Ribs were served with Pineapple slice, and a pile of French Fries on top of it.
Or you may opt for the intriguing flavor of Waikiki's Rootbeer Sesame Ribs (Small P380/Medium P765/ Large P990), which offers the unlikely pairing of those two ingredients.
The result? A delightfully sweet and savory sauce that works perfectly with the ribs.
For those that like a little heat in their ribs, try Sam Choy's Hot and Spicy Ribs. (Small P380/Medium P765/ Large P990). Spicy hot with a gentle touch of smoky sweetness, this will definitely satisfy even the most fiery of palates!
THE ORIGINAL HAWAIIAN BBQ
For dessert, we feasted on the Chunky Monkey (P160), which was essentially an ice cream sunday, topped with banana slices, then drizzled with chocolate syrup and a scoop of peanut butter!
The Oreo Overload (P190) is a cookie lover's fantasy.. Scoops of creamy chocolate ice cream, topped with crumbled Oreos.
The S'Mores Dip (P190) Offers a delicious bed of gooey chocolate, topped with torched Marshmallows! Perfect for dipping with the Graham crackers!
Everything I tried from The Original Hawaiian BBQ was more awesome the next! This is definitely a restaurant that is worth stopping at when you're visiting Tagaytay!
The Original Hawaiian BBQ
#45 Aguinaldo Highway
(Inside The Boutique Bed and Breakfast)