Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Manoy’s Sports Bar and Grill: The Tastiest Adobo in Town

Manoy’s Sports Bar and Grill 
The Tastiest Adobo in Town 
Magsaysay Avenue, Naga City 

The drainage construction going in Magsaysay Avenue
made it doubly difficult to find for parking in the strip.

Our dining habit is dictated on wherever we find
space to park and that’s exactly what happened
when we dined at  Manoy’s Sports Bar and Grill,

…located right beside the M.Bargo Grill

The restaurant has two dining areas
a dimly lighted outdoor dining area,

…and a well lighted indoor dining veranda,
where the main bar and kitchen are located.

I was delighted to learn that it is owned by my former
student in medical school, and he welcomed us. He also
apologized for the rather slow service as most their
staff  were off duty due to the coming All Saints Day.

This restaurant is known for their all day
breakfast menu so that is what we tried.

First to be served was the Sizzling Pork Chop,
made of pre-fried slab of pork chop, bathed with
tasty whitish sauce with veggies as a side dish
and served sizzling in a hot plate. It was good.

Then came the Tosilog, a Pinoy mnemonic for Tocino,
Sinangag at Itlog, a very typical Filipino breakfast  fare.
We liked the tocino as it wasn’t as sweet as other typical
Pinoy versions that are nauseatingly sickeningly sweet.
We found the egg overcooked though, as we always want
our egg yolk still a little rare when fried sunny side up.

The Tapsilog, (or Tapa, Sinangag at Itlog) was delicious
and has just the right sweetish, salty and vinegary taste.
It was also served with an overcooked sunny side up fried
egg topping the delightfully garlicky fried rice or sinangag.

They also have Chickensilog, which was served as
a pathetic looking breaded itsy bitsy- tiny weeny
fried chicken  with garlic rice. It tasted good though.

In general most of Manoy’s breakfast fares were
delicious but since they are nothing but generic
Pinoy dishes, so there was no WOW factor at all.

The real fun began then they served the Adobong Natural.
I used to love adobo in my younger years, but as I got older
I began to dislike it as most of the Pinoy adobos are salty,
reeking with disgusting grease and hideously briny sauce.

But this Manoy’s adobo is one of the best tasting adobos that I have ever tasted in
my lifetime. It is made of lean pork, had just the right amount of oil, but not greasy,
 and best of all, it didn’t have those gross looking dark colored briny sauce that masks
 up the real meat flavor. What you see is what you get in Manoy’s Adobong Natural.
One hundred percent tasty lean cuts of naturally tasting vinegary sweetish pork adobo
 devoid of nauseatingly fatty chunks of pork and not bathing in awfully salty soy sauce.

I was a little disappointed with the Onion Rings. We
ordered it as an  appetizer, but it was served  very late,
it was soggy and wasn’t perfectly coated with dough that
falls apart when touched. Otherwise it also tasted good.

The restaurant also boasts that one would have
the best shawarma experience in Naga City and
indeed, they are not exaggerating. Manoy’s
is so delicious that a gobbled up two
servings of the tasty and delightfully smelly dish.

The real WOW factor in this restaurant is when they
gave us the bill that cost us only a little over 500
pesos, a real bargain in the glitzy Magsaysay Strip.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ten Delicious Uniquely CamSur Dishes: Where to Find Them in Naga City?

Ten Delicious Uniquely CamSur Dishes
Where to Find Them in Naga City

These are actually regular Pinoy dishes modified and tinkered
by talented Bicolano Chefs into a more exciting fusion cuisine
and made them more delicious and stand out among the rest.

These dishes were uniquely re- created by Bicolanos and 
could not be found anywhere else in the country and in the world.

These are the must eat and must try dishes
for anyone visiting Naga City and CamSur.

This is  Stay, Stray, Play and Feast’s  list  of
“Ten Delicious Uniquely CamSur Dishes”
and where to find them in Naga City.

1. Suman sa Ibos

Some may disagree that Suman sa Ibos is not a unique
CamSur dish as it is found everywhere in the Philippines.
But nobody does it like they do in CWC Clubhouse.

In CamSur Watersports Complex, the chef deep fries
the sticky rice, (a pre-cooked Suman sa Ibos), bathes
it with coconut jam, sprinkles it with crispy honeyed
pili nuts and tops it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The result is a delightfully scrumptious snack or
it could even pass as a heavenly deliciously dessert.

2. Death by Burger Combo

Any burger deals anywhere else in the city or
even in the Philippines would pale in comparison
with Blue Plate Diner’s Death by Burger Combo.

A mind boggling combination of four homongous 
tasty burgers made of , Western Angus Burger, 
Jalapeno Angus Burger, A1 Angus SteakBurger 
and  our favorite Bacon Mushroom Angus Burger.

That’s four giant burgers in one big plate, with
generous servings for French fires and onion rings
 on  the side and could put the Big Mac to shame and 
make it look like a Small or Mini or even a Micro Mac.

3. OMG Crispy Pata

Bob Marlin is an iconic restaurant in Naga City
and serves as a showcase for popular Bicolano dishes.
It is where Naguenos take their guests out whenever
they want them to sample the best of CamSur cuisine.

Just as iconic is their OMG Crispy Pata, which was
acknowledged as one of the best tasting Crispy Pata in
the Philippines on a nationwide search done in the past.

The name of the Crispy Pata speaks for itself: OMG.

4. Crispy Pinagat

Little kitchen with a big taste. That is what the
unassuming Woodstone Kitchen is known for.
But this restaurant is also big on idea as it is
probably the only place in Bicol where one
can find the odd and outlandish Crispy Pinagat.

The native Pinangat was coated with dough and
fried  to crispy perfection, without  affecting 
the texture and the taste of the laing inside.
It was served topped with curdled coconut milk.

It’s weird, but it works and very, very delicious.

5. Laing Cordon Blue:

Red Platter is one of the restaurants at  the Naga City’s
famous Magsaysay Strip known to serve delectable, a
mixed variety of Bicolano, Filipino and International dishes.

Lately, they cleverly tinkered the cordon blue dish
that customarily uses cheese filling. The Red Platter
chef used the iconic Laing  wrapped with pounded
thin breaded meat and fried to a golden brown perfection.

The combination was unexpectedly delicious like it
was an incongruously perfect match made in heaven. 

6. Fried Giant Pangasius:

Krypton Grill offers exotic dishes like crocodile, wild
boar, silkie chicken, rabbit and goat to name a few,

…but what we liked most was was the Fried Pangasius.
It was served in a humongous platter as the fish was
 SOOO BIG that it almost filled up the whole table.

We even thought the gigantic fish was more than
enough for us, but surprisingly, it was so tender,
juicy and very delicious that we consumed every
bit and pieces and every morsel of the delicious
fish until there was nothing left but the bones.

7. Kare- kareng Lechon Kawali

Chef Doy has perfected the art of combining elements
of different Filipino culinary traditions,  and comes out
with delicious new recipes but with the familiar but
more improved taste that we have gotten used to.

One of his creations was Kare- kareng Litson Kawali
In contrast to most Kare- kare made of slimy oxtail.
Nobody would have realized its crispy version using
lechon kawali- would be a perfect combination. 

This dish was a brilliant work of a genius.

8. Auntie’s Chicken:

Casa Soriano is a beautiful restaurant that
serves delicious heirloom family recipes, 

…and Auntie’s Chicken is one of them. It apparently
takes four hours to prepare and  the chicken is served with
skin coated with a  flavorful crust that caramelized  from
their secret marinade. The chicken was plump and was so tender,
 juicy and was bursting  with flavor of herbs and a savory spices.

There was a dark glutinous filling that tasted so good and when
we asked what it was, we were told that it was a secret ingredient. 

9. Cinammon Pork Kebabs

It is difficult find the right words to describe how delicious
is the food in this simple but elegantly designed restaurant,
that specializes in dishes cooked with flavorful spices.


The Cinammon Pork Kebabs was their most impressive dish.
We have never thought that cinnamon would go well with pork
and no other barbecue versions ever smelled better than this.

The Chef used sugar cane as skewers that made that made the pork
sweet but not sickeningly sweet as the regular Pinoy pork barbecues.
The mild sweetness from the sugar cane and the sweet- smelling
cinnamon tasted so naturally with the perfectly grilled lean pork.

10. Laing Maki:

Okuya Naga is the only Manila based restaurant
in this list and I am happy that they adapted their
menu to include an interesting  Bicolano Japanese
fusion dish in their only restaurant in the Bicol.

This popular Bicol grown taro leaves cooked in creamy coconut oil
incorporated to a sushi is a brilliant idea. It’s a perfect combination 
as Laing is always and should be eaten with nothing but rice.

Okuya made eating Laing more chic and palatably
acceptable even non- Filipinos. It is a Pinoy food
riding on the global popularity of a Japanese dish.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Red Cactus Restobar: Magsaysay Ave., Naga City

Red Cactus Restobar 
Magsaysay Ave., Naga City 

We were supposed to dine at Anelle’s  but it was full packed, 
so we ended up in Red Cactus, its next- door neighbor. 

Red Cactus Restobar is a beautiful open air restaurant
that gives you a feeling that you are in a seaside cabana,

…where the stage backdrop had a panoramic image
of a serene coconut tree- lined seaside sunset scenery.

I was expecting a sultry desert oasis or western inspired
interiors, rather than the tropical beachfront ambiance, and
this made us wonder what the Red Cactus name stands for.

Since Red Cactus is positioned as a restobar and not a full-
dining restaurant, the menu was limited to three categories:  
Bar Chow, Pica- Pica (or finger foods) and Drinks.
They serve rice for those who wanted to dine though.

We ordered Crispy Maskara, which is a pork dish taken from
the pig’s face and fried to crispy perfection. It was very delicious,
but it was scary to eat as it was reeking with grease  and fat and
I could smell the delicious aroma of heart attack in a platter.

We were looking for a vegetable dish and there was none,
so we settled for the Sizzling Mushroom. My wife found
the dish salty. I didn’t notice it, since it was so hot and spicy
as it was cooked with both red and green pepper and I had
to eat it with lots and lots or rice to be palatable. It was good.

We all loved the Seafood Platter, that had Shrimp Tempura,
Crispy Breaded Fish, and Calamari, served with a perfectly
concocted Mayo Dip. We found the servings rather small and
limited and gobbled up every bits and pieces of the delicious dish. 

The Buttered Chicken was the best, as it was juicy and
tender and one would enjoy the buttery after taste in every
bite. Unlike other local briny versions of buttered chicken,
this Red Cactus version is so flavorsome and not salty at all.

We unexpectedly had a wonderful
dinner in Red Cactus Restobar,

…and I hope they would broaden their menu and go beyond
the bar chow and finger foods and include more dishes,


.... to give us enough reason to return
 to this wonderful new restaurant.