Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Modern Sichuan (The Fort Strip, Bonifacio Global City)

Full disclosure: the dinner I am about to describe was comped by the owner of the restaurant, who happens to be a long-time friend. We were not invited to dinner, but I had heard good things about the restaurant (I am a die-hard fan of its sister restaurant, Modern China at Glorietta, and its Sesame Fried Chicken), and decided to book a table for our mini-reunion of Rep old-timers. When we got to the restaurant, we were told that the owner had reserved a special room for us (I'm sure in anticipation of the noise that we were going to be making - an expected behavior from theater people). We had ordered stuff on our own, but when we got to the room, we were told that the owner had ordered for us. Soon he arrived, and it was good having him around because it took the guess work out of the ordering.

"Sampay" Novel way to serve a cold appetizer
If I am asked what my favorite cuisine is, I invariably answer Chinese and Filipino. Naturally. Modern Sichuan has a lot of good new stuff, starting with sampay, a cold appetizer of thinly-sliced pork belly and cucumber, hung (hence the moniker) from a bamboo serving dish with a spicy dipping sauce. Another winner was the Uni Fried Rice, my first time to try uni cooked instead of served raw. This was really, really, really good. I can't wait to go to Modern Sichuan again to pair this with the Sesame Fried Chicken (a bonus at this restaurant: they Modern China menu is also available here).
The evening's champion: sweet potato au gratin
By meal's end, we were really, really stuffed but the owner brought in two desserts: the avocado sago and a dessert that will remain in my dreams for the rest of my days: the sweet potato au gratin. Sounds un-Chinese, but the owner swears this is a Sichuan dish. My best guess as to how this dish is prepared: the side of the sweet potato is lopped off, its flesh scooped out and mashed with condensed milk, then reunited with the shell, and baked with a cheese topping. I thought I couldn't finish mine, but I did. I even ate (some) of the potato skin. It was that good.
A close second to the au gratin: uni fried rice

A very simple and fresh vegetarian soup: just spinach and chicken broth
By the way, I have had other meals that were comped but I did not write about them because I did want to seem ungrateful for someone's hospitality. I have written good and bad things about meals that I have paid for, good things for meals that I have been treated to, but never good things about bad meals that I was treated to, or bad things about bad meals that I did not have to pay for. I wonder if I expressed my philosophy correctly?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Halo-Halo + Cake = Halo-Halo Cake

OK. I'm a sucker for dessert so this is a no-brainer.

One of my favorite lunch buddies invited me to lunch, after I'd had lunch so I said I'd join him but would order only dessert. He likes UCC and it's near our work place so. He had pasta, which looked appetizing but. I went over the dessert list and everything looked boring. Then the menu card caught my eye: Halo-Halo Cake. Intriguing.

I ordered it and happily, the picture nearly matched the actual product. The concept and presentation are actually impressive: Using ube cake as the base, the first layer is topped with custard (leche flan), and the second layer is topped with macapuno, langka, beans, saba and more custard, and everything is plated with a huge scoop of langka ice cream and corn flakes. Masarap sya! A keeper! I'd go to UCC again just for this. I wonder though if all UCC branches serve this. This must be a best-seller.

Maple at The Shang Mall

The Shang Mall in Ortigas has a pretty new wing with lots of yet-to-be-opened shops and restaurants. It has a ramen place with good ramen, and it has Maple, the wealthier cousin of The Pancake House, one of my go-to places for brunch.

A friend invited me to World War Z and we had time for dinner so I suggested Maple, which I hadn't tried yet. I immediately chose a favorite, eggs Benedict. It is a simple dish which is in my list of favorites.

Maple's is definitely not a favorite version.

To begin with, instead of a muffin, this one uses a puff pastry "bread," and the eggs straddle lettuce leaves and greasy bacon. With a side of tater tots. Odd. And off. It was difficult to cut through the  eggs and the bacon, with the lettuce making things squiggly, and the oily "bread" layers giving way with each tug of the knife. It was one greasy mess.

Maybe I'm too much of a purist but to me, nothing beats doing a classic the classic way.

Too bad. I thought that Maple would be a keeper, but turns out it is not. Or maybe I am being too dismissive. I'll give its pancakes and waffles a shot, and if these are still fussy and off, then back to The Pancake House I shall go.

(My dinner companion had the tapa sirloin. We both thought the concept was all wrong and a waste of good sirloin. Again, nothing beats doing a classic the classic way).


If you like to eat well, live well, listen well and have the patience to go through my kilometric but hopefully entertaining blogs, then this is the page for you. I chose EATERSHIP because it sounds like "leadership," and because if you jumble it up, it could also read "hip eaters." Eat and read on!