Gastronomic Adventure

Last weekend was one fabulous gastronomic adventure.  I went from Middle Eastern Ziggurat to Kapampangan Lorenzo’s Way, followed by Italian Cibo to New York style Mandarin Deli, then back in time to hispanic Philippines Damaso to home-cooked Thai Som’s Noodle House. Then off to New Orleans followed by Hong Kong Choi Garden, with dessert at The Icecream Bar.  Four mouth-watering days of gastronomic exploration.

My gastronomic adventure started thurday evening, with my foodie cousins.  We travelled to Makati in search of Ziggurat, an Indian, Mediterranean, African, Middle-Eastern restaurant, which we found located at the corner of Euphrates and Tigris Sts. near Makati Ave., G/F of Sunette Tower.  It’s a veritable hole-in-a-wall restaurant, with a quaint middle eastern touch, imagine the sultan inside a harem.  There were very few chairs, except for an elevated platform with abundant cushions thrown around and low tables for diners.  It was very comfortable and relaxing. We ordered the Sweet Lassi (syrup on the side), a yogurt based drink, which we all voted the best we’ve had.  
Mezzo Mezze, a combination of dips with the Arabian Kobiz flat bread, which we lapped up in no time.  
Masood, a set of their distinctive curries, chicken in yellow curry (very good), beef in red curry (very like kaldereta) and mixed vegetable curry with rice.  Very delicious. Couscous T’faya, lamb couscous cooked with honey, which I found to be a bit too sweet.  
Shurabat Trio A soup sampler, Indian Mulligatawny, Arabian Harira & Nigerian Groundnut.  I personally loved the Mulligatawny soup. Moussaka, the famous Greek eggplant layered casserole.  Nigerian Coconut Rice, Afghani Rice and Arabian Khobiz, to accompany our dishes.  We would definitely return and try their other dishes.  Just added Ziggurat in my favorite restaurant list.
Mention India and chai tea always comes to mind.  I joined a Buddhist pilgrimage tour a few years back and I remembered drinking chai during the tour group’s mandatory rest-stops along road side cafes.  I loved the smell of the tea laced with spices and mellowed by milk, sweet, fragrant and refreshing.  Better than the ones served at the hotel!  The perfect perk me up drink, second only to my love – coffee.  Ziggurat, for me, serves the most authentic chai tea I’ve ever tasted in Manila.
Friday night was Kapampangan cuisine at Lorenzo’s Way.  Located at the ground level of Greenbelt 5, the menu’s a compilation of the best and popular dishes from all LJC restaurants like the Empanaditas, mini savory pies filled with spinach and pinenuts from In the Mood Ballroom Dancing, which was light and crisp.  Heart of Palm, Mango & Shrimp salad with an oriental vinaigrette.  Knockout Knuckles from Bistro Remedios, always one of our favorite together with, KKK short for Kare-Kare Klab from Bistro Burgos, which was so creamy and rich with peanut sauce, we had to order additional rice to sop up the sauce.  Dilis-Cious Rice of Fely J’s, a recent favorite, steamed jasmine rice topped with crisp fried dilis was a meal in itself. One order was not enough.  Vegetable Burgers, mixed vegetables patties with tomato mushroom sauce, to counteract the meats we have been eating and Rosemary Chicken, pan-fried boneless chicken with rosemary-tomato sauce from Larry’s Cafe and Bar.  We were so full, there were no room for desserts nor coffee.

Saturday was a busy day for me.  I had lunch with friends at Cibo Shangrila Mall, where I ordered my favorite Farfalle alla Genovese, farfalle pasta with mushrooms, basil pesto and cream.  No meat.  I try to eat healthy if I’m with my friend whom another friend dubbed a chicketarian (one who eats fruits, vegetables, seafood and poultry.  no four-legged animals).
Then I met up with another set of friends at the Mandarin Deli Gateway Mall for a cup of cafe latte and assorted cold cuts with bagettes.  The assorted cheeses were delicious but the cold cuts were salty for my taste.   The bagettes were good but I’ve had better butter.
I then rushed back to Greenbelt 5 to have an early dinner with my dad at Pia y Damaso.  I was not supposed to order anything but ended up having the Bacalao A La Vizcaina which was a stew of salted dried codfish in olive oil, garlic, onion, tomatoes, fried potatoesand wine served with garlic rice.  I finished my order.  
Dad had their Chinese Lumpia Salad which was tossed julienned vegetables with shrimps, served cold, on a bed of lettuce topped with fried vermicelli mixed with seaweed, garlic and crushed peanuts.  I guess they cooked the lumpia ahead of time and chill before serving.  I still prefer my lumpia rolled in wrapper, served hot with lots of garlic, crushed peanuts and a dash of Tabasco’s Original hot sauce.
My brother-in-law had their Lucban Longganiza Pasta, which was pasta with garlic-flavored longganiza from Lucban with roasted bell peppers, corn kernels and olive oil.  I tried it and like it.
Then I was off to Som’s Noodle House, along Algier St. near Rockwell, for some delicious home-cooked style Thai food.  Parking’s limited so my friends parked their car at the Power Plant mall and we took one car going there.
Everyone dines al fresco underneath giant umbrellas with monoblock tables and chair.  If I remembered correctly there were only 20 tables.  No reservations accepted nor were there a waitlist taker, but you can order ahead either for dine-in or take-out.  Patience adviced, but the food more than made up for the troubles.  Not to be missed were their Pad Thai and Red Curry.  Order lots and lots of rice.  We arrived late and they ran out of pandan chicken and beef.  
I was told to order their green curry and pandan chicken on my next visit.  Will definitely come back.  I just hope they set up a better system with wait-list, order taking and service.
Sunday was my sister-in-law’s birthday and we celebrated at New Orleans Bonifacio High Street.  The birthday celebrant, and I, loved their Buffalo Wings so much, they ordered two.  Me happy. It has the right balance of spiciness and sweetness that I like specially enjoyed with bleu cheese dip that seemed to blend the taste well.  
We usually order soups split into two so we could taste them all and since their soup portion were big, it was perfect.  We had seafood gumbo and vegetable gumbo.  I find seafood gumbo better, it has a richer more flavorful taste.  This was followed by Pear Salad, cut up pears with caramelized walnut tossed with a vinaigrette sauce.
Our main courses were Ratatouille Rambalaya which was creole style rice dish cooked with vegetables and Seafood Jambalaya (pictured above).  Again I liked the Seafood Jambalaya more because the seafood and shellfish added more flavor to the dish.  
Next time, I would leave room enough to try Beignet, a Lousianian cousin to doughnut without holes, and Chicory Coffee.  A New Orleans breakfast staple, much like our pandesal and coffee.
Dinner affair was at Choi Garden along Annapolis St.  for my sister’s father-in-law’s 70th birthday.  It was the usual 8 course chinese lauriat that started off with Chinese Appetizers.  A platter of cold jelly fish with chopped ginger, sliced century eggs, roasted white chicken, roasted duck and roasted pork asado.  
Followed by Supreme Double Boiled Black Chicken with Chicken Feet Soup which was very rich and invigorating.  Then there were Steamed Shrimps topped with chopped garlics and leeks, would have been perfect with rice but there were more food to follow.
Peking Duck was served two ways.  First, sliced duck skin wrapped in thin pancakes and the next was deep-fried duck carcasse with chili and garlic, a perfect beer match.
These were followed by Braised Mushrooms with Abalone and Lettuce in chinese style gravy. Next came Steamed Lapu-lapu with ginger and leeks in soysauce and topped with very hot oil before serving and finally Fried Crabs with lots of fried garlic.
Desserts were Masachi, similar to our native malagkit and Hot Taro Sago in Coconut Milk.
Four days of mouth-watering, belly busting, gastronomic exploration worth repeating and sharing.

Contact Informations:
Sunette Tower, Durban St. corner Makati Ave.
Tel. No. 897 5179
G/F Greenbelt 5
Tel. No. 729 0047 / 729 0013
2/F Shangri-La Plaza Mall 
MANDARIN ORIENTAL CAFE & DELI (operated by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel)
Upper G/F Gateway Mall
Araneta Center
Tel. No. 913 5505
2F Greenbelt 5
Tel. No. 729 5511
5921 Algier St. (near Rockwell)
Poblacion, Makati
Tel. No. 757 8079 / 0917 9227648
NEW ORLEANS (beside Claw Daddy)
Bonifacio High Street
Tel. No. 856 4785
12 Annapolis corner Purdue Sts
Tel. No. 727 6042 / 727 7489


2 Responses to “Gastronomic Adventure”

  1. nagutom ako!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. you will enjoy your trip to bacolod with super good food to try also!

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