Monday, April 25, 2011

TIME OUT: Me, myself and HT hubbie in Singapore (2011)

There is a saying, it's better late than never...HT couple wanted to greet everyone...

a Happy Happy Easter!!! :) A friend of mine handpainted this herself (thanks renza!)

Here in the Netherlands, we have the so-called Easter Monday or Tweede Paasdagen(2nd day of Easter).  Yes, you guess it right, it's our holiday for the whole holy week.

And the weather also gave us a very nice Easter warmth.  :) (Trivia:  This year was the hottest easter in the Netherlands since 1901)  How lucky can I be? :)

And blame it to the nice weather, I can't resist of being out in the sun so blogging at home became a second priority.  (You'll understand how sun is important when you live at this side of the world :D)

And with everything nice, I can't help but think about what I've enjoyed during my short trip in Singapore 2 months ago.  My 4-day trip became like 2 1/2 days as I was not feeling well due to the virus i got...thanks Phily. :)  Thinking about it might take a year before I get back to SG ...hmm..I just have to do these...

get up, close and personal with chili crabs ( i know you guys miss me too!)


klang style bak kut teh and pig's trotter - since this is situated near to our ex-home in SG, we paid the surrounding a visit and all the good memories came back...


since we're missing the restaurant week in NL, our friends (who's used to the virus in Phily), reserved this dinner @ Brasserie Wolf (HT couple's first time to try a restaurant week menu).  Thanks Majel!


of course, i wouldn't forget my favorite hokkien mee...(dream, drool, dream, drool, drool, drool)  If only there is an eat-all-you-can hokkien mee...I would be a good customer.

And HT hubbie made sure he gets a few pics with his love (after me, of course)...
this one showed his side of gluttony.  Having chicken rice and bak kut teh meal in one seating.

HT hubbie thinking: " Come to me baby" (showing off as well his chopsticks skills)

And even with the sore throat, I just can't leave this country without this...

suddenly i felt better.

We will surely be back my beloved Singapore!  And next time, i'll make sure i get a good dose of Vitamin C...or a huge bucket of Tom's palette salted caramel ice cream.

And this ends our asian vacation for 2011!  Now time to explore again NL and Europe food scene again...'till the next post!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Philippines - Antonio's Tagaytay - a one-of-a-kind

Have you ever heard of a place that you're so eager to go but you told yourself that one day you'll be there with your "THE ONE"?

And this 2011, my dream for almost a decade has finally came true.

it all started passing by at this sign.

This mansion look-a-like from the front gate makes you already feel at home.  And aside from the staff, this happy elephant  greeted us at the front door.

Before we were lead to the dining area, we passed by at this section, where lots of memorabilia of the owner are displayed.  I am in love, it's so homey.

Antonio's setting is just like home.  You can eat outside and be closer to nature or you can sit inside with big chandeliers and still be in contact with nature.  Big windows are open  and Tagaytay, where this restaurant is situated, has this fresh air and coolness that we Manilenos love going to when we want an escape from the pollution and busy-ness of Manila.

We were given this bread...while still deciding for our orders.

freshly made bread with well-balanced squid ink infusion...just lovely!


For drinks:
freshly squeezed pineapple juice (refillable or drink all you can) - $7 sgd or 3.5 euro


when you order this fresh mango juice, you get the same mango ice cubes to complement with it :)  good idea, isn't it? - an order is about 2 glasses - $7 sgd or 3.5 euro


We were given only the main course menu, and each main course comes with...
raspberry vinagrette salad with blue cheese - greens were fresh just like all their ingredients

soup of the day

*They also offer other starters and salads but this is what is served in their standard menu (i'm sure upgrades are welcomed)

For our entrees...
this was my order and every single bite was so tasty.  Even though it's a bit burnt outside, it gave the tenderness of the meat that crunchy bits.  I picked pumpkin sage risoni as my side dish and it was heaven!


boasted that this organic free poultry came from Antonio's farm...the bourbon tomato complemented well to the chicken, giving its wonderful taste. 

And they catered this sampler for those who can't decide what to order in their seafood specialties(just like my sister LOL).  from left to right: Pan-seared scallops on truffle cream sauce, prawn thermidor and the chilean seabass baked with tomato, olive, parsley, pine nuts on mashed potato.  Looking at this in the menu may not be enticing, but trying it out says otherwise.  A light entre√© but exquisitely heavy in taste.

I chose this for dad and i'm so glad i made the right choice for him.  I think this was the 5-star plate of the day.  From left to right, grilled beef fillet gratinated w/ wild mushrooms on mashed potato, honey glazed lamb loin gratinated with goat cheese (HT wife's choice!) and beef fillet on plancha with black pepper sauce.  Each piece was nicely cooked and the taste is just inexplicable.  It really deserves having Antonio's name (period).

A wonderful meal wouldn't be complete without...

desserts!!! I'll be honest that the desserts were just ok, or i guess i made high expectations after tasting all their entrees wherein negativity was out of my vocabulary.  I love the chocolate terrine among these sweets.


After everything, the Tarragon Tea still impressed me...

What i like about Antonio's is not only the food but the whole dining experience.  We didn't even notice we were there for almost 4 hours!  We were just enjoying every moment of our stay.

And the best part of the story is:  It was worth a decade waiting to experience Antonio's being with my..
"THE ONE".  :)

  Happy weekend! - from your always hungry-trotting couple!


Price Summary:
*depends on your main course
on average 2200-2500 pesos (80 sgd or 40 eur)

Antonio's Tagaytay
Purok 138 Brgy. Neogan
Tagaytay City, Cavite
Philippines
*for dinner, reservation of at least a month before is a must!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Philippines-Puerto Princesa, Palawan: Another food haven


I've been missing HT hubbie.  He's somewhere out there ...and might be having his cup of Guinness beef stew.  To overcome this missing syndrome, I reminisced our times together...
And i still can't forget our Philippines' trip that made us difficult to come back to reality...

Palawan is about an hour flight from Manila.  This is my 4th time in the island and I wouldn't mind going back there for a millionth time.  There is something in the island that makes me feel at home and relaxed.
I just love those rocky mountains...

it is the home of the the famous Underground River (finalist of the 7 wonders of nature) - please vote if you think it's worth to visit http://www.new7wonders.com/

A paddle boat will be waiting for you at the site with a tour/boat guide.    Thinking of just a cave, with stalagmites and stalactites, i thought i would get bored easily.  But the tour made our trip entertaining and letting us imagine what those mineral formation looks like.  Expect to laugh a lot but hold on to the boat  so you won't topple over and don't look up while laughing if you don't want some bat poop inside your mouth. :)

I won't elaborate more...as I want you to experience personally this wonderful nature...highly recommended by HT COUPLE (Promoting Philippines' Tourism *wink*)

 This underground river can be the best pride of Puerto Princesa.  But what other people didn't know, this city is considered a food haven!  We enjoyed our every bite and slurp here.  Come and join us as we tour you around Puerto Princesa through our appetite.

ONG's MAKI HOUSE - Rizal Ave, Puerto Princesa

Maki Mee - most Filipino-Chinese even Filipinos know this bowl.  Ma means meat and Ki means sticky, the soup is starch-based making it very thick with some chewy beef balls or pork balls.  Their version is only with beef. (while i'm writing this, i'm starting to drool).  This is similar to Lor Mee in Singapore or Malaysia but I prefer this Maki Mee in the Philippines as it is not sour as vinegar is not used.  The soup is well seasoned and you can order this without the Mee (noodles).  I grew up eating this bowl from a fastfood chain that was really close to my family's heart.  And what was great here is that the chinese family who owns the maki house uses the same recipe for years...no frills added...just authentic chinese meal in front of you.
Now a dutch loves this bowl too!


Homemade Siomai - packed with meat and a must-have on your table.

Wanton and Beef Mami - generous serving of meat, noodles and wanton(they used the same as their siomai) and the beefy soup was delicious with a tinge of sweetness.  My smile was up to my ears as this made me remember my younger years when I would help out mom at work and get a bowl of this as a reward after a long day. :)

Now, me and my siopao!  In the Philippines, we usually get it big! (Ta pau)  And there would be a sweet sauce on the side that you smothered on it just like ketchup on burgers.  (This was the smile that I was talking about :D)


Ka Lui- Rizal Ave, Puerto Princesa

You should never leave Puerto Princesa without dining in this place.  And every night, only reservations are accepted as they're always fully booked!  I suggest to book 2 days in advance to secure a table.  And if you're lucky, you'll get a table as cozy as this.

they don't allow shoes or slippers but don't worry they have nice cabinets if you're wearing Louboutins :D)

Any misses in their food?  The answer is a big NO!!!  Every dish was cooked well and very tasty.  They change menu like every week but they have a few homegrown dishes that is available daily and they're unforgettable!

Adobong Pusit - squid simmered in soy sauce, vinegar with bay leaf (adobo style).  Adobo is like our national dish, we use this style with pork, beef, kangkong..name anything, we can do it the adobo way!  The squid was well-cooked...it was tender and not bland.  Usually, it's difficult to have squid absorb the sauce or marination, but Ka Lui made them lip-smacking good!


Seafood Sisig - I don't usually eat sisig as originally it's made of pig's ears, cheeks and some internal organs.  It's delicious but just thinking of what was in the plate makes me say NO to it.  But as creative as Filipinos can be, if we can cook anything the adobo way, we can also do anything the sisig way!  Sisig is seasoned with lime, salt, pepper, garlic and is usually served in a sizzling plate.  Usually with an uncooked egg on top that you mix with the meat while it's still sizzling hot!  And so far, sisig never disappointed anyone who has tried it (even Anthony Bourdain ate it as sides with beer - the very Filipino way).  For those in Singapore, check out this post  when i brought 2 fellow foodies who loved the sisig BONIFACIO.  And if you're somewhere around Marina Bay Sands, you can get this, in the Rasapura Master Food Court, Gerry's Grill stall (this is a restaurant in the Philippines that serves good Filipino food).

Let's now explore Palawan's delicacies

Lato - is a type of seaweed in Palawan and is served in every meal as your veggie for the day.  Those poppy greens are kind of fun to eat but it is very salty.  People in Palawan eat it alone or with rice without anything else. 


I was a bit disappointed that I have to say goodbye to Palawan and I was not able to try their Tamilok.  I conditioned myself for days to try it...and when I was ready, it was out of stock :(. 

What is Tamilok?

It's a mollusk living inside rotting mangroves.  It's also called "wood worm" as it's in a form of a worm.  But as per any locals, if you can eat oysters, you can eat tamilok (i'm ready to try the ones soaked in vinegar).  You eat it like herring in the Netherlands, you pick up one of the ends (except this one is slippery) and let it slide thru your throat.  Then a good way to digest it is with a few sip of alcohol. 

photo credits to Rita (http://www.flickr.com/photos/rietje/4631747412/in/photostream/) - it's your own discretion if you want to see an enlarged version by double clicking the pic.

 
I guess Tamilok and I are not meant to be...maybe next time. 

 And that ends our trip in Palawan...and another good thing is...HT hubbie will be back soon!  Enjoy the weekend everyone!  'Till the next post!