Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Good Earth Restaurant, Metrowalk

One of the restaurants that I wanted my balikbayan brother and his family to try was Good Earth. It's one of my favorite Chinese/Asian fusion restaurants, and so I made reservations at their Metrowalk branch for one of our dinners out.

Again, my siblings and their families were all in attendance, and we stayed in the function room so that all the screeching and screaming that my nephews and niece were bound to do would terrorize the minimum number of patrons in the restaurant.

Prawns with Crab Egg

To use the function room, you have to order from their set menu. Thankfully there was seafood in the selections. We chose the set which included Prawns with Crab Egg. I love crab fat in all its many forms. So regardless of the aligue's high cholesterol content, I had a lot of this dish.

My siblings are very understanding of my dietary needs. They allowed me to get the bigger share of the prawns, since they could pig out on the chicken, pork and beef entrees.

Seafood Chow Mein

For noodles, we got the Seafood Chow Mein. I liked this dish because it did not have too much of a fishy smell or taste, (a.k.a. not malansa) and the noodles were not to mushy nor too undercooked. Just right, in my book.

Shrimp Balls with Sweet and Sour Sauce

Another thing I had a lot of were the Shrimp Balls with Sweet and Sour Sauce. This was not on the set menu, we just ordered it a la carte. I do love shrimp balls, and I order this dish in any restaurant where they are available. Again, I ate more than my fair share of this dish. Actually, if left to my own devices, I would have devoured the two platefuls that we ordered.

For dessert, Good Earth offered selections from Sebastian ice cream. We were very excited to have some, since we are fans of this brand. However, when we ordered some, we realized that it had the crystallized look of ice cream that had already melted and was just re-frozen. Like what happens when you don't finish a pint of ice cream, leave it on the table until it's melted, then put it back in your freezer to eat at another time.

That was an anti-climactic end to an otherwise good meal.

Good Earth Restaurant
Ground Floor, Metrowalk Mall
Meralco Avenue, Pasig City
Tel. no. 687.2881

Monday, April 21, 2008

Katre Mediterranean Fusion Cuisine, Quezon City

My LA-based brother Jerick, his wife Liz, and their son Aidan recently came over for a visit, and that meant, among many things, that we all had an excuse to eat whatever we wanted since being together was always a reason to celebrate. Eating is one thing that my siblings and I like to do collectively, so for the two weeks that they were here, all diets were put on hold.

Even before the three of them arrived, my sister-in-law Tintin even made a list of desserts that they had to try while in Manila (accompanied by all the siblings of course). We didn't have enough time for them to try it all, but we certainly gave it our best shot.

We also wanted Kuya's family to try our favorite restaurants, so for dinner one night, John made reservations at Katre. That restaurant is a favorite of John and Tin's, and I also like it for its ambience. Well, not just that, I also like it because they have a lot of seafood on their menu.

Grilled Mahi Mahi with Calico Scallops

We stayed in a function room, which was great because it gave us a lot of privacy and also prevented the other diners from getting bothered by all the racket that my nephews and niece created. The cast of characters for that evening were: Family #1- the three balikbayans; Family #2- John, Tin, and their new baby Raffy, and Family #3, so far the biggest family, my sister Giselle, her husband Bong, and their children Chino and Trixi. Oh, and there was me, of course.


We quickly got down to business when we got to the restaurant. We had the Boquerones and the Traditional Bruschetta to start with, then I had Seafood Bisque with Crab Meat. I love bisque, and this one didn't have "fishy-ness" which some versions have. The cream and the yogurt in it made me a bit full, but I made sure I had enough for the main course.

Seafood Bisque with Crab Meat

Traditional Bruschetta

I had the Grilled Mahi Mahi with Calico Scallops, and had greens with it instead of rice. It was a good choice, I think. Jerick had the Steamed Lapu Lapu Fillet and after tasting it, I liked what I had better than what he had hahah!

It was a very enjoyable evening. Because of the privacy the function room gave us, we could talk and laugh all we wanted. (The kids were pretty much screeching all they liked as well.) The food was good, the wine we had was too. We also had dessert (diets on hold, remember?), so no one could complain. The only thing we didn't like was that they closed early so they practically had to shoo us out so they could close shop.

(You would think that we would all be full after all we had to eat, but since we wanted to hang out some more, we went to Shakey's after we left Katre so Kuya could have some beer. We ended up eating pizza AND ice cream. I think we took the no-diet rule a bit too seriously.)

Katre Mediterranean Fusion Cuisine
103 Dr. Lazcano Street
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel. Nos. 373.4705/374.6650

Friday, April 18, 2008

Kozui Green Tea, Quezon City

Yeng and I wanted to have a quick light afternoon snack while catching up on the goings on in our respective lives. We decided to go to Kozui Green Tea, a small relaxing Japanese restaurant along Tomas Morato.

Kozui is a nice place to have a quiet chat with your friends. The green and white interiors contribute to the sense of quiet that you get in the place. We sipped our cold green tea drinks while munching on some seafood balls and tempura salad.

The food was not particularly memorable, but I did like the green tea drink. The food was reasonably priced as well. I think I would go back to Kozui on a hot day when I want to cool off with a healthy-tasting drink and hang out with a friend or two.

Kozui Green Tea
258 B Tomas Morato cor. Sct. Fernandez
Quezon City
Metro Manila

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lab-as Seafood Restaurant in Dumaguete

The first time I went to Dumaguete City was some six or seven years ago. I went there to go scuba diving in Apo Island, one of the Philippines' best-protected marine sanctuaries. Apo Island is a 30-minute boat ride away from the city. There are two things I remember from that trip. One, diving Apo Island was great, and two, the food in Dumaguete was cheap.

So when my best couple-friends Anjou and Anton invited me to go diving with them in Apo Island over the Holy Week, I didn't hesitate. They never make me feel like a third wheel, so I figured going on this trip would be fun, and not at all awkward. Diving + cheap food... what's not to like?

We stayed at Antulang Resort, which is more than an hour's drive away from Dumaguete (and the airport). We ate most of our meals in Antulang (that's a whole different story), so I didn't really get to eat in the city until it was my last day.

After a couple of days of fantastic dives and a day of just bumming around in the resort, it was time to fly home. Anjou, Anton and I went to Dumaguete a few hours before my flight back to Manila so we would have time for a meal.

We asked the driver where we could have a good lunch, and he recommended Lab-as Seafood Restaurant. When we got there, we were told that the airconditioning was busted, and that we would have to stay in the outdoor area. It was pretty hot outside, but we were hungry, so we agreed.

When I checked out the menu, I discovered that the food was reasonably priced, though not as cheap as I remembered it to be. (Then again, that was quite some time ago, and my memory is not what it used to be.)

I ordered the coconut-covered shrimp, and bangus lumpia to start with. Anton ordered some oysters and sashimi, which I ended up getting a lot of. The service was a bit slow, but we were used to waiting for our food already (The food in Antulang would take up to an hour to be served).

To kill some time, I engaged a waitress in some small talk, and asked her what "Lab-as" meant, and she said "fresh". It took them a while to bring the food, but at least when it got to us, we saw that the food they served was consistent with the restaurant's name. The food was indeed fresh.

Among all the dishes I ate, I liked the bangus lumpia best. I liked the prawns too but the coconut coating was a bit thick. As for the oysters, well, you know the effect that eating a lot of oysters can sometimes have. It's a good thing the bathrooms that I encountered in Dumaguete were very clean.

Coconut-coated Prawns

Steamed Oysters

Bangus Lumpia

Lab-as Seafood Restaurant
Dumaguete City

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The most important meal of the day (at Heaven 'N Eggs)

All my life (and probably everyone else's), I've heard it said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If not by my parents, it would be magazines that advised me that eating breakfast would help me lose weight, that it will help me think better during the day, that it will energize me properly, and so on and so forth.

It is not always easy to find time to eat breakfast though, as I (like a lot of other people) would rather hit the snooze button again to catch a few more zzz's, than get up earlier to grab a bite to eat so early in the day.

Well, the older I got, the more I realized that the reason this cliche is a cliche, is that there is some truth to it. I found that I just functioned better when I had something in my tummy to fuel me in the morning.

One way for me to be more diligent at having this oh-so-important meal is to make sure that I have something good to eat. This is not always easy as a pescetarian, because I do not eat many of the dishes that are usually found on the Filipino's breakfast table, such as tapa, tocino, longganiza, corned beef, and adobo (in other words, most of the things you can add the suffix "-silog" to).

So at home, I make sure that I have some of my favorite cereal and milk that takes almost zero time to prepare (twenty five seconds flat to open the box, put the cereal in a bowl, and add milk).

When I am able to wake up early enough though, one of my favorite breakfasts out is the Smoked Fish and Spinach Miracle at Heaven 'N Eggs. The smoked fish and egg go so well with the garlic rice that comes with the meal, and the spinach gives you a sense of having eaten something healthy.

One thing though, I noticed that they are not consistent with the amount of spinach that goes into the eggs. I really like spinach, so I get very disappointed when I find that there is sometimes less of it when I order this dish. I've learned to ask them to add a little more spinach when I have it, just to make sure that I will enjoy it as I usually do.

The Smoked Fish and Spinach Miracle

April 19- P.S. I just went to Heaven 'N Eggs, and I was told they don't carry this on the menu anymore. I asked if I could still order it, and they obliged. There's no harm in asking :)

Heaven 'N Eggs
Tomas Morato
Quezon City, Philippines