Breakthrough

This post has been languishing in my drafts for the longest time, among other posts. An unexpected, heartbreaking event happened the days following my going to Breakthrough. It didn’t occur to me (or to anyone if I may add) that this could be the last fulfilling and enjoyable meal for one of my dear friends at work. I will write more about that soon if I summon enough strength or will. I just take comfort in the knowledge that she was happy here, and we both enjoyed ourselves, feasting on the food whilst basking in the fresh air and the sounds of the ocean nearby. It makes me a little happy that she was happy this day at one of the famed restaurants in Iloilo.

Hukad

I was happy to see a newly opened restaurants in one of the fairly old malls near our place. Because it has been in existence for sometime (read: a few decades), most of the establishments there are the run of the mill restaurants. Maybe it is also because the mall-goers are your typical suburban homeowners who are just there for the convenience of the location, and are not looking for something new. So imagine my surprise when I saw Hukad by the Golden Cowrie. I gather that it had its beginnings in Cebu, and is now available in selected areas in the Metro. And is Cebuano cuisine known for? Lechon!!

But aside from the star of the Filipino table, lechon, the restaurants offers traditional, but tasty and sumptuous Filipino cuisine. And because we have a tendency to tone down taste (less salt and other pampalasa) of our cooking at home, I tend to have this feeling of being deprived. And so I compensate when we are outing out, and I order to my heart’s content, much to the chagrin of the health-conscious husband. I liked Hukad’s food so much that I dragged my parents here to eat the day after the hubby and kids dined here. These are what we had, which made my heart flipflopped :))

Baked scallops
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Pritchon
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Monggos
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Escabecheng tanigue
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Fried tuna fingers
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Pinakbet
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Lechon belly
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Livestock

I was drawn to this place after reading a review from Spot.ph that it has one of the best crispy patas in the metro. And I was not disappointed! Hoooh! I am kinda of speechless haha. See that popsicle stick wedged between the thing? The thigh is that soft that that can actually slice off the meat away from the bone but it still managed to be crispy and tasty and everything nice. I only have vague memories of the kare-kare and sisig but they must be good, too. I only had eyes (and mouth) for the pata.

Livestock is a meat lover’s heaven as you can see. It’s actually a half a bar, and must be alive and kickin’ when the sun sets. It was a good time though to have lunch there as they already serve what ought to be delicious pica-pica. ‘Twas minus the crowd (I am a certified Tita of Manila) and maybe the smoke and the loud noise.

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Y2k Talabahan

In one of our trips to Iloilo City, we stuffed ourselves with one of the most delicious native chicken dishes I’ve ever had. It was straight up adobo with generous amounts of toasted garlic. There must be some gayuma in here, it was indecently good.

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We had this at a restaurant called Y2K Talabahan, which is located at Atria, a spanking new place in Iloilo City. The Atria is a lifestyle complex developed by Ayala Land that boasts of restaurants, retail stores, the Seda Hotel, and a condominium for the middle and upper classes of the city. I liked it! It’s too bad that I am at the tail end of the project which had me coming to Iloilo all the time (my eldest is already complaining!). It is a breath of fresh air in the slowly becoming crowded city.

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Back to Y2K, we also had this wonderful squid to go along with the whole chicken.

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Next time, I have to have the oysters!

Angus Tapa Centrale

Mico brought us to this place in Quezon City called Angus Tapa Centrale for a late lunch last Saturday. We came from an errand in Taytay where we we used to live, and we were famished as we braved the horrendous weekend traffic. We were actually set to eat somewhere else but it was full by the time we got there so we were to Centrale instead. However, we encountered another disappointment when there was no Angus beef in sight! For a restaurant specializing in tapa, it is definitely a bummer when they cannot offer tapa! It’s like going to Starbucks and finding out there’s no coffee, or going to Kenny Rogers only to find out there’s no chicken. But oh well. We ordered several other things but I didn’t get to take photos of everything we ordered since we dug in the moment the waitress set down our orders.

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Bacon bagnet
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Bulalo
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Spam fries
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Seafood aglio olio
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Seafood marinara
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I especially liked the aglio olio. It was not too heavy as pastas always put me in a carbo stupor after pigging. And in my book, a restaurant which offers liempo or bagnet can never do wrong (I’d forgotten the lack of tapa by this time). The thinly-sliced baconized(?) strips of pork belly fried to perfection just hit the spot.

The restaurant itself was cozy. I just don’t like the way the chairs scrape the floor (bad combination of furniture). Yes it bothered me that much. It’s like listening to nails scratching on a board magnified a hundred times. And the servers would do well if they smiled a bit more. I don’t know if they were just having bad day but it definitely does not make customers feel welcome at all. Thank goodness we were that hungry!

Balay Dako

Our summer getaway usually happens during the Lenten season break. This is the only time that we are all free from school and work, and our schedules jive. When we were younger, we just stayed at home. But ever since I had kids, we have started making it a tradition to have our family outings. All for making good and happy memories!

Before we got to our final destination, we stopped by Tagaytay for lunch as we know it will be quite a while before we could check in and eat at our resort. I suggested Balay Dako because I had been reading many good reviews about it especially its breakfast buffet. But since we got around 11:00 in the morning, we just had to make do with their lunch fare, which does not disappoint.

Balay Dako is part of the chain of restaurants of Antonio’s so I was so sure that a visit would be terrific. It was a good thing we got there early enough because the restaurant began filling soon enough that it was a a frenzy by noon. Most vacationers and tourists trying to get out of Manila began pouring in Tagaytay by then. We were lucky enough to get a good table right in the middle of the room, which was designed for big groups or families. The whole place was bright and airy, and was not air-conditioned. Only the lovely Tagaytay breeze, passing through large windows, albeit covered by a net against flying insects, cooled the entire place. I have said this about a gazillion times throughout this blog but there is something to be said about old houses turned restaurants. There’s nothing but love for me for these places.

But as expected, what with it being a holiday, the service as a little slow. We patiently waited for everything as we can see that the hands of the staff were full.

We just ordered a package good for 10 persons (although we were 12, excluding the kids). I wished we had their specialty Sizzling Bulalo, but there’s always a next time. Everything was good.

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Fried lumpia
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Vegetable kare-kare
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Inihaw na liempo
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Sinigang na bangus
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Beef steak Tagalog
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Camaron Rebosado
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Chicken Inasal
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Avocado ice cream
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Buto’t Balat

I have dined twice in Buto’t Balat in Iloilo City. Beyond the unassuming entrance, one would be surprised to see a garden restaurant right at the heart of the city. And for visitors like me, it is always refreshing to eat at local stores that offer more than fast food fare. It serves mostly Filipino favorites aside from the usual Ilonggo specialties.

Most of the decor are also native. However, the lights are a little bit too dark if you ask me, and since the area is open, you sometimes get visited by flies or mosquitoes. It must also sizzle during the summer months.

But all in all, I like the place, and I probably would go back if I am staying anywhere near for my next visit. I have lost the number of times I’ve been to Iloilo for official activities, and eating has been the only times I could consider “touring” this wonderful city with the people with the malambing accent.

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Calamari frito
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Binagoongan
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Laing
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Adobong native chicken
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