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Showing posts from 2007

Addison's, An American Grill, Columbia Missouri, Part Two

I've mentioned my fondness for Addison's in Columbia, and I just had to put a picture that I recently found of my favorite dish there, their Baked Tortellini.

According to their menu, it's "Sautéed artichokes, romas, scallions, and mushrooms, tossed with ricotta-stuffed tortellini in a pesto cream sauce. Topped with mozzarella & cheddar cheeses and baked to a golden brown."

I think that description is not misleading, and that the dish tastes as good as it sounds (reads?). I really miss Addison's, not just because of their food, but also because it was a common place for us grad students to hang out and get drunk (particularly during happy hour).

709 Cherry Street
Columbia, MO
65201 USA

Sycamore Restaurant, Columbia, Missouri

One of the restaurants I had wanted to try in Columbia since I got there was Sycamore. It looked pretty fancy from the outside, and the menu that I saw posted outside featured items that sounded very appetizing. However, I didn't get to eat in this restaurant till I was about to graduate.

Felicity, Blaine, and I went to dinner at Sycamore around the last week of school. So the restaurants in town were usually packed with families celebrating their children's graduation. Thankfully, we arrived early and were able to get a table. About an hour after we got there, the place was already filled to capacity.

We ordered some Parmesan Fries to start (which were delicious), then I had Sea Scallops as my main course. It was very, very good. I love scallops, and I really liked the way they cooked them. The dish had an Asian twist to it. Their menu described it as "Seared jumbo sea scallops with sesame shiitake lo mein and steamed brocolli". I really wish I'd tried the restau…

Alain's Birthday Spread at Punta Fuego, Batangas, Philippines

Last month, I was lucky enough to be invited to the birthday weekend of my friend Alain Panlilio. He celebrated his big day with nine friends at the house of his sister Deanne-Deanne in Punta Fuego, Batangas, a three-hour drive away from Manila. The house was gorgeous, with an infinity pool and a lovely view of the sea, which was right behind the house.

Other than the beautiful venue, I was excited for the grub as well. Alain and his sister run Urban Feast, a successful catering business, so I was looking forward to his birthday dinner (It was bound to be great).

The birthday celebrant and his spread

When dinner was about to be served, I couldn't wait to dig in. Only one dish was not seafood, so I knew I was in for another session of near-gluttony. Most of the food was grilled, so I consoled myself with the thought that the healthy manner of cooking the food would compensate somehow for the sheer volume that I would be sure to consume.

Grilled Squid

Grilled Shrimp

Crispy Crablets


Cafe Enzo, Hunter Valley, Australia

It's been a month since I ate at Cafe Enzo, and I was hoping to find their menu online to get the names of the dishes that I had there, since I can no longer remember them. I can't seem to find their website, though, so I'll just have to go on my rather faulty memory.

At any rate, on my birthday, Gigi decided to bring me to Hunter Valley for some wine tasting. She brought along a lovely friend of hers, Kristine Young, who made the trip more fun. It was a three-hour drive from Sydney to the valley, and the rain was pouring in buckets. I admired Gigi for driving all that way despite the dismal weather and poor visibility.

Since we left Sydney late in the morning, we were already starving when we got to Hunter Valley. Gigi already knew where to bring us for lunch, since she had eaten there in the past and she was very happy with the place. We ate at Cafe Enzo, and it was a quaint, cozy little restaurant. There was a log fire burning when we got there, which was perfect because …

Thai Fusion, Sydney

One morning, Gigi and I wanted to have an early lunch, so we walked once more to the little row of restaurants near her apartment. We felt like eating Thai, but the first two restaurants we went to were not yet open for lunch (it was only 10:30, after all). We ended up eating in a place called Thai Fusion by default, since they were the only ones who were willing to serve us that early. (Actually, we practically begged them to feed us.)

We were very hungry, so we had Tom Yum Goong, Stir Fried Vegetables with Tofu, Prawn Macadamia, and Salmon Choo Chee. We ordered the prawns because Gigi and I both liked nuts in our food, and the element of macadamia was intriguing. We had the salmon because Gigi particularly likes choo chee sauce. The prawns were good, but I thought the macadamia didn't particularly enhance the dish. I liked that there were nuts, but it was not the kind of dish where you would say it was a perfect combination. The salmon choo chee, I liked, because of the sauce. Bu…

The Mad Italian, Sydney, Australia

Italians comprise the fourth largest ethnic group in Australia, which explains the large number of Italian restaurants in Sydney. Gigi took me to one that was within walking distance from her apartment, within the same row of Thai restaurants I had mentioned in the previous post. It was called The Mad Italian, and like the other restaurants in this block of restos, it was a bit cramped, since the individual establishments were all pretty small and could only seat three to four dozen people.

We had the Insalata Caprese (Caprese salad) and Quattro Formaggio (four-cheese) Pizza. I loved the four cheese pizza. Some friends of mine have praised the cheeses available in Australia, and the pizza demonstrated proof of this. The Mad Italian's Caprese salad is the one that Gigi replicated in her apartment. As I had also mentioned, the restaurant's version of this salad was different in that it had greens. All other restaurants where I've ordered this dish only had tomatoes, mozzarell…

Spice Market, Sydney

There are so many Thai restaurants in Kirribilli, which is the area where Gigi lives. Just a 5-minute walk away from her apartment is a short row of restaurants, and three of them serve Thai cuisine. This made me very happy, since I really love Thai food. Gigi first brought me to Spice Market, which is the only one she goes to on a regular basis. She ordered her favorite dishes, which were Choo Chee Fish, and Tofu Stir Fry. I couldn't help ordering a rice dish, so I had some fried rice (so much for the South Beach diet).

I particularly loved the fish, which is Nile perch. Gigi said there is some controversy regarding this fish, involving the exploitation of Africans. (I have to find out more about this and see if this will lessen my desire to eat this fish, which by the way is just yummy.) The Choo Chee sauce, which is some kind of curry, went perfectly with rice. I practically ate the whole rice dish by myself because Gigi was being a good girl and avoiding her carbs.

It was a gr…

Pasticceria Papa

On my first weekend in Sydney, Gigi brought me to Pasticceria Papa in Little Italy, which offers a lot of pastries. She was eager to let me try two of her favorite desserts, which were ricotta cheesecake, and ricotta cannoli. We got up early on Saturday morning, so we could have a calorie-laden breakfast. When we got to the restaurant, it was all I could do to stop myself from just grabbing one of each of the pastries displayed on the counter. They all looked so fattening; ergo, good.

Aside from getting a piece of the cheesecake and the cannoli, I saw that they sold florentines as well. I love florentines, and never pass up a chance to have some. I ate all three of the pastries, aside from some pizza that Gigi had for herself. I liked the cannoli best, followed by the cheesecake, then the florentines. I was slightly disappointed in the florentines because they were not sweet enough for me :) I must've consumed the calorie requirements for the whole week in that single meal (if you …

Yum Cha at Emperor's Garden in Chinatown, Sydney

I'm always up for good dim sum, because it's not that easy to find in Manila. Here in Sydney, you will find dim sum in Chinese restaurants offering "yum cha". At first, I thought that yum cha was simply another name for dim sum, but after some quick googling, I discovered that dim sum (literally "touch the heart") refers to the food itself, while yum cha (Cantonese slang for "drinking tea") refers to the custom of eating small servings of different kinds of food while drinking tea. So, as I understand it, you eat dim sum at yum cha.

Anyway, my friend Kate has a cousin based here named Cel, and she was kind enough to show me the sights by bringing me on a Sydney Explorer tour. The bus tour has 27 stops (each one at a Sydney landmark), and it's up to you when to get off. A bus passes by each stop every 20 minutes, so you can go down wherever you want and be assured of a ride to your next destination. One of the stops was Chinatown, and Cel and I …

Gigi cooks for me in Sydney, Australia

(I've decided, to heck with chronology, I'm writing in present tense for now.)

I'm currently in Sydney, Australia to visit my friend Gigi. The food in Sydney is great (more on the restaurants later), even when she and I eat at her apartment. That's because Gigi is a fabulous cook. It's a joy to eat whatever she whips up. One evening, after a chilly afternoon walking around town, she made Butternut Squash Soup, which is my absolute favorite soup in the whole world. Another great thing about Gigi is she always makes sure the food is presented well, even when she eats alone. Now that's a way to treat yourself well.

Butternut Squash Soup

Another time, we went to the seafood market to buy some supplies. She got some transatlantic salmon, which I assume, is not farmed salmon. (unless there are transatlantic fish farms? haha) Anyway, she at first wanted to bake it to make it healthier to eat. But we were already hungry so she decided to fast-forward the cooking process b…

Noodle Garden, Evanston

I've mentioned my fondness for Thai food, and having strong feelings about Thai cuisine helps when I can't seem to make up my mind as to where to eat. It's a reliable default that never disappoints.

Anyway, one day, Vicky and I couldn't decide where we wanted to have lunch. We were too lazy to think about a new place to try, so we just narrowed down our choices to Thai restaurants. She brought me to Noodle Garden which is near her place in Evanston, and I was happy with everything we ordered. I particularly liked their fried shrimp rolls and their shrimp dumplings. (Actually, if any restaurant has those two dishes, I'm pretty happy already.) If I remember correctly, we had two orders of the shrimp rolls since the four pieces went quickly.

I would want to come back to Noodle Garden if I ever go back to the Chicago/Evanston area.

Fried Shrimp Rolls

Shrimp Dumplings

Noodle Garden
1241 Chicago Avenue
Evanston 60202-1337

Mambo Grill, Chicago

While I was in Chicago, I did some research on top restaurants in the city which didn't have prices that were way too outrageous. I came up with Topolobampo, a Tex-Mex restaurant on North Clark street. Vicky and I went to check it out, but unfortunately, we were not forward-looking enough to make reservations. The hostess (is that the right word?) told us that there would be a two-and-a-half hour wait. Since we were already hungry, we went down the street and tried our luck elsewhere.

We stumbled upon Mambo Grill a few meters down the road. We looked in a bit, saw that it was Zagat rated, so we sat and waited for a table. We ordered a pitcher of mojito, which is something that Mambo Grill is apparently known for (it has been voted best mojito in Chicago by Metromix, a lifestyle website). It went well with the chips and salsa, and I had too much of both before the main course arrived (well, I was VERY hungry.) I had the Plantain-Crusted Halibut, while Vicky had the Coconut-Curried T…

Park Grill at Millennium Park, Chicago

(This entry took place some time in May. The chronology of this blog is getting messed up, but what the heck.)

From Missouri, Vicky and I drove on to Chicago as my first stop on my long way back home. I love Chicago; it's one of my favorite US cities. Aside from being able to see a body of water despite being in the midwest (I pretend the lake is the sea), I also like the food that the city offers.

Vicky and I went to Millennium Park, where I did the tourist thing and took a gazillion pictures of the bean. After all that picture-taking, we decided to eat at Park Grill, which is smack in the middle of the park. It was pretty outside, but it was too hot to eat lunch al fresco, so we just sat in the comfort of airconditioning. I didn't want to eat too much, so I chose not to get an appetizer. I did, however, have a couple of cosmopolitans to battle the heat.

I had the Sunburst Trout, which was described to be "herb roasted with poached butter potatoes and roasted garlic-lemon …

The Forge and Vine

I was often stressed out during my last semester at Mizzou, much like most of my fellow graduates-to-be. Rushing papers, finishing up projects; these things were enough to make me want to pull my hair out. I had to write a mini-thesis that I needed to defend before a committee so that I could graduate, and I spent around five days with barely any sleep writing it up. After I did a final spell check, I sent the paper off to my committee members for them to review before my defense.

Although I wasn't sure that I would defend it successfully (though it turns out I would), I was just so relieved that I had finished the paper at all that I figured it was time for a celebration. I decided to go to the Forge and Vine, a restaurant that becomes a happening bar after dinner hours. I had a late lunch by myself around three in the afternoon. When I went there, there were no people at all. I thought that was great because no one would rush me to leave the table. I eat very slowly, and when I e…

Brockton Villa

I've fallen way behind in posting my pictures from the US, and I've already been back in the Philippines for a month. So I've decided to just post the pictures as I find them on my computer, and forget about being obsessive-compulsive about chronology.

On my last weekend in the west coast, Kuya, Liz, Aidan, and I went to San Diego. We went to Sea World and San Diego Wild Animal Park, and we also had a chance to visit a dear friend, Ida Sandico-Whitaker. It was very nice to see her, since I hadn't seen her in seven years. She's been based in San Diego for ten years or so, and it was great to finally pay her a visit.

She brought us to La Jolla, a quaint little town with a nice beach with lots of seals sunning themselves on the rocks. After taking a leisurely walk in the area, we decided to have lunch at Brockton Villa, which has a nice view of the sea. (Also, we were very hungry and that was the first restaurant we saw.) It was fun to have lunch with an old friend, ju…

A Taste of LA, Quezon City

A Taste of LA holds a special significance for me and some of my friends from the office. We used to have a regular get-together there on the evening of July 26th, where we would eat and have a few drinks to usher in the birthday of Gigi, which falls on the 27th.

Gigi is based in Australia now, and in our group, only Chi and myself are left in the station. We haven't held that tradition for a few years now, but we still go to this restaurant to get together especially with friends who now live overseas and visit Manila once in a while.

Chi and I went to A Taste of LA soon after I arrived back home. We had a lot of catching up to do. I had their pan-fried sole, and we had a few glasses of wine to go with our dinner. There were a few almond slivers on top of the fish, and I wished there were more, much like the fish in Terry's (That's another story though).

Pan-fried sole

The dim lighting in A Taste of LA is perfect for couples going on romantic dates, but I find that it's a…

Deep Sea Crab at Alavar Seafood Grill and Restaurant

I'd only been back in Manila for a few days, and I was still feeling the blues that I usually get after I return from travelling. My very thoughtful brother John and his equally sweet wife Tintin probably thought that a good meal would be a great way to cheer me up, so they brought me to Alavar Seafood Restaurant, which is known for Zamboanga cooking. We had their curacha, or deep sea crab, with Alavar sauce.

Curacha in Alavar Sauce

I loved it! Alavar sauce has some coconut milk in it, and it was perfect to go with white rice (which I ended up eating too much of). It certainly was a good meal, and it did lift my spirits. After all, if there is one good thing about Manila, it's all the great eating to be had.

Alavar Seafood Grill and Restaurant
39 Scout Ybardolaza Street Corner Timog Avenue
Quezon City
Tel. No. (632)926.5636

Panera Bread

I found some more pictures I took in restaurants in Columbia, and aside from making me sentimental about the little university town, the photos also made me realize I hadn't written about some of the eating experiences that I will really associate with my life at Mizzou.

My friend Felicity and I often used to go to Panera, which is just a very short walk away from the Journalism school. We liked hanging out there because of the free WiFi and the fact that they didn't kick us out even after we'd been nursing our coffee (in my case) and tea (in Fil's) for three hours. It eventually became our default place when we couldn't decide where to eat, or when we just felt like talking over coffee/tea.

In all the times I'd been there, I almost always had the same thing. I would have the half-and-half order that they offered, where you could have two of the following things: half a sandwich, half a bowl of soup, and half a salad. The sandwich would be portobello mushroom, th…

Tommy Nevin's Pub

After a long day of shopping and sightseeing when I finally got to Chicago, Vicky and I decided to get a drink (and some food of course) at an Irish pub, Tommy Nevin's. We sat outside because the weather was nice. However, instead of having a relaxing drink, we ended up getting stressed because of the poor service. We had to wait 25 minutes before the waitress came to take our order. I first asked for one of the specials of the day, shrimp tortellini, but with my luck, they had run out. I instead ordered the smoked salmon on garlic flatbread, and tilapia with asparagus.

Then the food took around 20 more minutes to arrive. We were planning to leave the place because of the wait, but we had already invested too much time and were too tired to look around for another place. I just tried to enjoy the food. The salmon was okay, but the tilapia was unremarkable. I don't want to complain about that experience anymore. (Even during that evening I just tried to be zen about it.) Suffice…

Cracker Barrel

No, this restaurant was not on my list of places to eat, it was just a convenient place to stop for a meal during a very long drive. My friend Vicky had helped me pack my stuff when I moved out of Columbia, and we were driving from Mizzou to Chicago when we decided to stop for lunch. I believe we were somewhere near the border of Missouri and Illinois when we saw the sign for Cracker Barrel. I told Vicky I'd never eaten there, so we chose that place to have lunch.

The restaurant had a sign outside that said something along the lines of "everyone here is welcome, regardless of race, age, etc." I forget the exact words, but that was the gist of what the sign said. I took note of this sign, which I thought was interesting. Cracker Barrel, aside from being a restaurant, also has a country store which sells little bric-a-bracs. I wandered around the store for a bit before we were seated, but saw nothing I particularly wanted to buy.

I looked at the menu, and it had typical offe…

Trattoria Strada Nova

Another restaurant on my Columbia list was Trattoria Strada Nova, since my friend Felicity had told me good things about it. So on one of my last days in town, I went there for a late lunch. To start off, I had the Grilled Portobello. This picture isn't very appetizing, but the mushrooms (drizzled with olive oil) were really good.

Grilled Portobello

For my main course, I had the Grilled Tuna. According to the menu, it was to be "served rare, with traditional nicoise accompaniments in dijon dressing". Sounded promising, and besides, in my limited experience, it's hard to go wrong with grilled tuna. However, the dish proved to be a bit of a disappointment. It tasted bland, fish included, which I found strange. Usually, tuna is very tasty even by itself (raw and unseasoned). The dressing was unremarkable, and as mentioned, even the tuna lacked flavor. I was not very satisfied with the dish, so I decided to have dessert to feel better about the meal.

Grilled Tuna

I chose the…

Cafe Berlin

I discovered Cafe Berlin through my good friend Felicity Duncan, who brought me there when I was in the mood for a hearty, post-hangover breakfast. I had slept over at her apartment after a night of partying, because she had been in no state to drive me home. Apparently, Cafe Berlin is a great place to eat after waking up from a late night out, because they serve breakfast fare until 3pm.

I like the place because they serve organic food (including ketchup), offer vegetarian options, and employ a very, very cute waiter. Felicity pointed out this last one to me, and even in my post-party haze I could totally appreciate the beauty of this man. He had longish curly blond hair, and fantastic blue eyes. I've gone to Cafe Berlin several times, for all the reasons mentioned above.

Anyway, before I digress any further, I will start talking about the food. Usually, I have the Eggs Benedict with the vegetarian sausage in place of the Patchwork ham. I like the veggie sausage because it has the…

Sophia's, Columbia MO

I'd been studying in Columbia for going on two years, and just recently realized that I had not really documented much of my eating experiences there. Also, I had not taken time out to visit the restaurants which old-timers in the college town have said to be the best. In true crammer fashion, I left this all until the last minute. I took the food and restaurants there for granted simply because I lived there, and assumed that I would always have lots of time to go to my favorite places and visit new ones. As my graduation day loomed, I realized I had very little time to do either, so I had to step up the eating.

Sophia's was at the top of my list of places to go. It's a sister restaurant of my favorite restaurant in downtown Columbia, Addison's. I asked my friend Holly Villines to have lunch there with me, and we were both happy with the menu. Neither of us eat meat other than seafood, and there were a lot of dishes we could choose from. To start, we shared the Spinac…

Finbars Italian Kitchen

This is the last of my super-delayed entries from the holiday season (haha how's that for late) which I spent with my family in the LA area. We spent one whole shopping day in the complex of South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa (mostly digging for bargains at Nordstrom Rack). An important part of the shopping process is fueling up for all that walking and carrying of shopping bags. We were all hungry by late afternoon, since we had not had lunch yet. We looked for restaurants in the complex so we could still shop after eating.

We found Finbars Italian Kitchen a few meters away from where we were shopping, so we went in and quickly ordered our food. We were all famished. To start, we had the Caprese (fresh mozzarella with sliced roma tomatoes), then for my main course I had the Southwest Portobello Mushroom Ravioli. I often have dishes that have portobello here because these mushrooms are very expensive back home.

The food actually took some time to be served, so we were all so very hung…

Mimis Cafe

I'm now on vacation since I just graduated (yay, me!) so I have more time to update this blog. I've been looking at pictures of food that I've taken in the past months, and sometimes I have to think about where I ate particular dishes. Before I totally forget details of more meals, I'm writing another much-delayed entry. This is about my last meal in Southern California before heading back to Columbia, Missouri for my final semester (that's how long ago it was).

On my last night at my brother's before I flew back to Mizzou after the holidays, my family had dinner at Mimi's Cafe. The restaurant supposedly has French and New Orleans-inspired decor and food, so I thought it would be interesting to eat there. I had the Blackened "Soul" with Shrimp Creole, while my sister-in-law Tintin had the Scallops with Butternut Squash Ravioli. We agreed to divide our portions in two, and exchange halves so we could try both dishes. I ended up liking Tintin's d…