Every time I visit the Laguna area, I’ve always wondered which buko pie is the best among the San Pablo-based Collette’s and El Mare vs. the Los Banos-based The Original Buko Pie and Lety’s Buko Pie. All of these four brands are raved about by people and each one has its story to tell. Once and for all, I will settle the question for myself on “What is the Best Buko Pie in the Philippines?” (Laguna has the best buko pie in the Philippines). One of the best way to answer the question is to do a relative taste test at the same time. So my friend Lui and I decided to buy all the best buko pie in their main branch in San Pablo and in Los Banos, and decide for ourselves based on four criteria:
Are you a Vieux Chalet virgin? If yes, then you are missing on one of the finest swiss cuisine in the Philippines for 21+ years now. Yes, I was a Vieux Chalet virgin too along with my friends Lui and Maong. I was ashamed that I was only able to try this out last Saturday and I cannot call myself a certified food adventurer if I was not able to try this out. If you are looking for that quaint out-of-the-way restaurant that serves excellent food made from the freshest natural ingredients and mostly home-made from its pasta, bread, cheese, etc., Vieux Chalet is the place to be! As an added bonus, you get a magnificent view of city lights during dinner time and excellent excellent service from Rico!! Vieux Chalet is Antipolo’s pride and best kept secret established by Tony Hassig for 21+ years now (since 1984) and it sits on top of the hill in the middle of a subdivision. It has been a witness to countless valentines date, anniversary dinners, and surprise dates for love ones that is truly memorable. Servings are generous perfect for sharing and family-style dining. The trip to this place is not that easy but it’s definitely worth it 🙂
I still can remember a couple of years ago when eating a carbo-loaded krispy kreme donut is a cool thing when you visit the US. Now, that’s a thing of the past, and Porto’s bakery is a better alternative. Its famous cheese roll is a must try along with the other cakes and other pastry delicacies. The cheese roll taste like Otap baked to perfection with cheese inside it, similar in texture to a croissant. It’s super addicting and I easily ate 5 pieces in one sitting. Porto’s Bakery is a cuban family-owned and operated business that has served Glendale and its surrounding areas for over 35 years and they recently opened a beautiful new store in Burbank.
One could argue that Becky’s or Conti’s taste a lot better, but the I’ve never tasted a cheeseroll as delicious as porto’s. If you can manage to bring one home as a pasalubong, it is highly recommended.
This is one of the famous must-eat destination in LA, and I was extremely curious why a chili dog can be this famous for 66 years! Paul Pink started this hotdog stand in 1939 and it stood on the same spot, giving the same quality of hot dog for years. I’m glad that Atty. Joseph Joson who was kind enough to accompany me to eat in this so-called hot dog to the stars. The hot dog heritage is a great marketing sell and they have photos to prove it (amazing)! I’m not really fond of hotdogs and I’m eating a vegetable rich diet lately, but this one is a must try (not to mention my weakness is chili). In the Philippines, we don’t really have something equivalent to this and Ogie Doggie would be the closest but far from the heritage that Pink’s hotdog built over the years.
The verdict: The chili is phenomenal, polish dogs are the best! Read on…
This is the ONLY restaurant I love while I was on vacation and I visited Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, and Chicago. The Inn of the Seventh Ray is L.A.’s most romantic restaurant and in fact, when we were eating on a Saturday Lunch, there was an engagement proposal with the beautiful setting — 12 red roses bouquet, a carpet of petals and dining beside Mother’s flow ( in other words, creekside :). I felt that most of the US restaurants are either man-made, full of dead food (steaks, white bread, etc.), pretentious service and too commercialized. This creekside dining experience is a dining made in heaven indeed and this is a must-eat destination for all of you who will have a chance to visit L.A.
(Note to Jay of Kinabuhayan Cafe: Jay, Kubli Springs can be a lot nicer than the Inn of the Seventh Ray. You just need to have excellent food and an overall concept. Check out the photos… )
Let me pause for a bit here before we go to the rest of the review, it just occurred to me how lucky the Philippines is with the kind of world-class nature inspired restaurants that we have and I can already count seven easily…
1. Antonio’s Restaurant, Tagaytay
2. Sonya’s Secret Garden, Tagaytay
3. Nina’s Kusina Salud, San Pablo, Laguna
4. Ugu Bigyan’s Pottery Garden, Tiaong, Quezon
5. 85/15 Restaurant, The Farm @ San Benito, Lipa, Batangas
6. La Cocina de Tita Monings, Manila
7. The Prana Restaurant, Mandala Spa, Boracay
I LOVE THE PHILIPPINES! I missed it during my vacation and I’m glad to be back. I’m creating this series of [Los Angeles vs. Manila] to challenge your own mental models that the Philippines is the best place to be in. I felt like Neo in the matrix scene where he suddenly realized that all of the reality he is seeing is computer generated, and I suddenly felt that visiting the US, everything is man-made. Enjoy this series…
I was surprised one day, when I say our favorite business lunch place Chef Ed’s was converted into Fig & Olives Mediterranean and Spanish Restaurant. The story is Chef Ed decided to concentrate on his other restaurants (Filos in the Fort, Teak Bistro in Rockwell and managing the Splendido, Tagaytay Resto?) and Chef Canoy took over. However, what’s great is that they kept the spanish cuisine menu intact and Chef Canoy introduced Mediterranean cuisine specialties. I’m a great fan of mediterranean food because of its unique taste, the availability of couscous in the menu and it has healthier food options than Filipino cuisine. The ambiance was kept intact, the great service of the waiters, and unfortunately, the expensive pricing too (Hummus for P180?!) But I love the healthy name of the restaurant — Fig & Olives!
Ever since I’ve tasted Greek cuisine in Australia three years ago, I’ve been looking for an authentic greek cuisine in Manila. The first time, I saw Manos Greek Taverna with its inviting blue and white structure, I hesitated to try it out because of the fear of being disappointed with a Filipino-style Greek cuisine similar to Mati in Rockwell. I was waiting for raves about this place before I try it out. AJay’s first blogged Manos Greek Taverna in Nov 2005, and I recently read a poetic tribute by Dr. Honrado Palugod on his hellenic dining experience to this place that made me decide to check it out. On our way back from Playa Calatagan, we decided to have this as our last stop before finally heading back home. I’ve tried the best sellers in the house: Tzatziki, Hellenici Salata-Greek Salad, Mousaka, and the Baklava dessert which are indeed very good. On the contrary, the kebabs were ordinary.
I love this place because the food is healthy, ingredients are freshly made by the owner, and Manos is almost always there to entertain his guest — very hospitable fellow. Manos claims that everything is cooked in Greek virgin olive oil which comes from their olive plantations in the island of Crete 🙂
I got a sudden urge to check out Fat Michael’s Place again and I missed the ambiance more than anything. This used to be an Intel secret years back, but after 5 years, I’m sure this is not a secret anymore because of the thousand dinner dates it hosted and the word-of-mouth raves/ rants. Carlos also uses this as his starting point for his Evangelista tour. The food is better than the usual restaurant, they offer intercontinental cuisine not filipino surprisingly. My only issue about this place is the cocky service embodied in their motto “We cook slow, live with it!” Also, by now Fat Michael is already Fit Michael who is all grown up already (Michael is the son of the owner). In a nutshell, it is a cool homey place to have an intimate dinner with a special someone or your barkada or office teammates.
I have glad and sad news for you. I’m glad that there are bakeshops now that are catering to the healthier lifestyle trend. Sugarnot along South Super Hiway is a blessing for us. I first heard of this from Carlos’ who recommended it in his blog. Their bestseller, Last Temptation Cake is sugar-free and they are using maltitol powder instead. This powder is a sugarless sweetener and green food with pure sweet taste. The sad news is, the taste needs a lot of getting use to and there are no crowd every time I pass by this place. So I’m worried that this might not survive specially in the Philippine’s high-carb diet scene.
Kaizen Gozen (P250) — one of the set menu best seller in the house 🙂
I’m back! I have a hectic travel schedule lately and will be out in March. Before I go on a blog leave again, I want to give you another food delight — this time a Japanese restaurant in Little Tokyo. It is a modern japanese resto and have been less than a year in operation. I’ll rave about their food presentation that makes the food soo appetizing when you see it. I judge all the japanese restaurant I’ve been to based on the taste of their Kani Salad, California Maki and the Wasabi. Only the Kani Salad failed the test, the maki was good and soo is the wasabi — not too strong but it has that kick in the nose when you eat it. So generally the food is OK but since there are a lot of Japanese eating here which is a testament of its authenticity. We averaged around P300/person so not too bad for a japanese resto with a good ambiance and good food! This is one resto that I’m going back for more…