Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Graceland Centro: Beautiful, Affordable and Delicious.

Graceland Centro
Beautiful, Affordable and Delicious. 

Graceland is the flagship store of Graceland Inc., 
a pioneering fast food chain in Bicol that originated
in Naga City. It had expanded to neighboring provinces
like Albay, Camarines Norte and Sorsogon

It also opened restaurants in the city
under different brands like Red Platter,
Geewan and Graceland Baker’s Plaza.


They recently opened another branch in Naga City
and we finally had a chance to dine there a week ago.

It was a pleasant surprise when we discovered
that the new Graceland did not look like a fast
food restaurant at all. It had a modern and chic
interiors and I believe, this is one of the most
beautifully designed restaurants in Naga City.

One wall had nature for inspiration where it was covered with 
realistic fake grass and decorated with a variety of fresh-
 looking  fruits with frames made to look like wooden crates.

While another side of the wall was decorated with various
 hip, feel good quotes framed with modern poster artworks.

There are also cozy nooks for
 those seeking more privacy.

We started our dinner with creamy Macaroni Salad
that was served in mini- plastic cups. It was delicious.

My daughter had Sizzling Sisig. It was served in a hotplate.
and this is one of the best dishes in Graceland. We always
order it whenever we dine here as it is our all time favorite.


My son had a Pork Barbecue. It is the sweetish type,
but the Graceland version has just the right degree of
sweetness. It is not like other Pinoy barbecues that are
sickeningly sweet that they appear  like meat candies.

My wife had a classic Pinoy Bistek. It came as
a deliciously saucy version, topped with strands
of white onions. Just like most Pinoy dishes, it
goes perfectly with a hot cup of white rice as it
neutralizes the naturally briny nature of the dish.


While I had a Pork Spare Ribs. It was bathed with
a sweetish tangy sauce and was tender and had a
melt in the mouth consistency. Yes, it was greasy
but was very delicious with the slab of fat and all.


The new Graceland branch came with a
section of Baker’s Plaza baked products,

…where the kids a grand time deciding  whether to have cakes
or cookies for dessert and finally decided to have both.


The new Graceland in Naga Centro is one of the
best value for money restaurant in the city as it is
tidy, beautiful, the food is affordable and delicious.

Read the links below for related posts 

Geewan at Centro Naga 
Geewan Naga Centro: Fast and Affordable Native Bicolano Dishes
Geewan; Great Bicol Dishes Fast and Tasty 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Country Grandma’s Home Cooking: The Most Delicious Pineapple Pie In the World

Country Grandma’s Home Cooking 
The Most Delicious Pineapple Pie In the World 

 Used to be known as Clementine’s, one of the oldest
and one of the most esteemed restaurants in Naga City
was renamed as Country Grandma’s Home Cooking. 

It was an ideal move as Clemen, may have turned
technically into an endearing grandmother to hundreds
of students, after decades of serving them delicious food,
being a long time Ateneo de Naga’s cafeteria operator.

This is also my family’s favorite restaurant
as we feel at home whenever we dine here,
as the restaurant had a homey ambiance.

Fresh fruit juices are a must try in this restaurant
and one would never go wrong with their 100%
freshly squeezed Orange Juice. The kids love it.

We ordered Spicy Wings for appetizer that had a
sweetish- tangy taste and it was so delicious. The
serving was huge and if it would come an extra rice,
I believe this dish good enough as a main meal.

We also had fish and chips as an extra appetizer
but they ran out  of chips so it was served as
Fish and Fries. With the thick- cut fries as a
side dish, my wife decided to make it her dinner.

It was served with tomato catsup and tartar sauce.
We always order this dish whenever we dine here as
this is the closest version to the iconic Bondi Beach
Fish and Chips that we can get in the Naga City.

My son had a Pork Chop that came as huge slab of
delicious, tender and perfectly browned fried pork.

My daughter’s T- Bone Steak was juicy, tender and
bathed with savory mushroom sauce. This is one of
Clemen’s specialties and a must try in this restaurant.

I had a Fish Cordon Blue. This is an  awesome twist 
as they replaced  the pork with fish. A much healthier 
alternative and interestingly, it tasted even a lot better.

We also ordered  a Classic Macaroni Salad. I have gotten used to the 
usual  tangy, creamy and cheesy version and this one was the  sour, spicy
 type with  a mild chili- like aftertaste. It tasted like a cheese  pimiento. 
I found it odd. It is something that I would not order again  in the future.

The Pineapple Pie was divine. It was glutinously
chewy and just had the right degree of sweetness.
We have been dining in this restaurant for a very long
time and this was the first time that we discovered
that they serve the most delicious pie in the world.

Dining in Country Grandma’s Home Cooking is never
complete without visiting their ‘swap meet’ type surplus
store that had a lot of gorgeous European décors on display.

We would always end up bringing home
several items which could be a downside,

…as they cost more than the price of a dinner for a
family of four, but these swap meet goodies are rare.

One would be saving more buying them here, as there’s no
need to travel to Europe to buy similar gorgeous home decors. 

As an after thought, we actually come to this restaurant to regularly check 
if there are new arrivals on display .We time it on our routine weekend 
family dinners as we can shop relaxed  while dining in homey comfort. 

Read the links below for related posts:

Clementine and Wolverine: Perfect Premiere Partners
Clementine’s Magsaysay Ave., Naga City
 Clementine’s, Naga’s Culinary Pioneer 
 Country Grandma’s Home Cooking by Clementine: Big Servings, Big Taste

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

1st Colonial Grill: ‘Gata’ and ‘Sili’ Overflow

1st Colonial Grill 
‘Gata’ and ‘Sili’ Overflow

Everytime we chance upon an available parking space,
(which happens rarely) at the 1st Colonial Grill in Naga,
Centro, we always take the opportunity to dine on a place
that showcases of some of  the finest Bicolano cuisine.

The restaurant was full of diners that night
but luckily we were able to get our seats fast.

I have always criticized the sinigang in this restaurant
in my past blogs, as I found it too sour for comfort.
This time I requested them to tone down the sourness
a little bit and what they served was one of the best
tasting Sinigang na Baboy in the city. The pork was
tender, and the veggies were fresh and not overcooked.

My son who is a fish addict, ordered the Fried Tilapia Fillet,
bathed in a steak sauce. We have ordered this dish in the past
and like it but this time, we found the sauce a little bit sour.

The Chop Suey sa Buko was a disappointment.
They added coconut milk on it and it did not go
well with the half cooked vegetables. It was a
bad tasting and uncanny version ‘ginataang  gulay’
and it didn’t  taste or look like chop suey at all.

The Bikol Express did not disappoint. This is probably
the best tasting version in the Bicol Region as it wasn’t 
salty and the coconut milk was creamy rather than being 
oily. Unlike most traditional versions where that usually
use smaller ground or chopped pork, this one was more
chunky and fleshy as it was cut as bigger nuggets. It was
also lean and tender and it making  a perfect rice viand. 

Of course, Albay’s version of Kandingga was the reason
why we keep on coming back in 1st Colonial Grill. I grew
up in that province and this is exactly how we cook ‘bopis’
or ‘kandingga’ back home, dry, chewy, a little spicy, with
just a little hint oh vinegar and a distinct peppery aftertaste.
This dish is a must try for anyone dining in this restaurant.

My daughter arrived late from school and
she ordered their Set Meals and she chose
the one with ribs, noodles and rice. She
enjoyed it as it was delicious and satisfying.

We shared the Halo- halo that tasted more of a melon shake as it was
 topped cantaloupe flavored ice cream which overwhelmed all the ingredients,
I believe  Melon Ice Cream is a halo- halo is not a good combination.

I enjoyed the very popular creamy Sili Ice Cream,  with  Level 3 Hotness
which I initially thought I would not be able to tolerate but surprisingly, it
was bearable. It challenged the Bicolano in me, and it was good.

1st Colonial Grill can be considered as a showcase
restaurant of Bicolano dishes, but offers some items
in the menu of non- Bicol origin modified into a fusion
cuisine by adding a Bicol twist like ‘sili’ and ‘gata’.

While it may be acceptable to a non- Bicolano palate,
 it may take a while for a true blue Bicolano diner to 
appreciate the half- bred, ‘mestizo’ dishes they offer.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Metro Café at SuperMetro Naga: Naga City’s Best Kept Culinary secret

Metro Café at SuperMetro Naga 
Naga City’s Best Kept Culinary Secret 

Tucked inside the humongous SuperMetro in 
Panganiban Drive, Naga’s main thoroughfare, 

Metro Café may only be accessible to those who are
shopping at this beautiful and modern hypermarket,

…it may be Naga City’s best kept culinary secret.

The hypermarket opens very early in the morning
so they offer really delicious all day breakfasts,

…but beyond their breakfast fares they also have some of
the best tasting local and international dishes in their menu.

We started our meal with a tasty and creamy 
Pumpkin Soup, generously topped with crunchy
croutons that had a delightful herb- like aftertaste.

My son settled for a box of oatmeal cookies
from the cookie bar at the nearby supermarket,
which he partnered with  Homemade Iced Tea. 

My wife had a classic Chicken Pork Adobo which 
was miraculously almost fat free as it was made of lean
 pork and chunks of chicken breast. But, it was salty just like 
most   adobos, and luckily it was served with a generous 
mound of rice. Eating adobo with a lot of rice makes it
 edible  as it neutralizes the almost unpalatable briny sauce.

The Hickory Pork Ribs that I ordered was divinely delicious.
It was a big slab of tender pork ribs and had a melt in your mouth
consistency. I was warned that the sauce was spicy, but it was not.
It tasted so good and the smoky- hickory aftertaste pleasantly lingers
at the back in your mouth for so, long making you crave for more.

The creamy Macaroni Salad was on a buy one take one deal.

We were amused as we came here to shop for 
ingredients for a homemade macaroni salad, 

...and what we got is a real bargain of our favorite
macaroni salad and with this awesome deal, there’s
no reason to cook our own salad at home anymore.

They also serve super delicious
and refreshing Pineapple Shake. 

We ordered Clubhouse Sandwich to go for my
daughter who was left home as she was studying.

The sandwiches at Metro Café are some of the best in the city
as they even have a delicatessen  that displays various imported
cold cuts and one may order custom made specialty sandwiches.

Indeed, this little café may be the city’s best kept secret
but I believe  it would not take long that people would
take notice and be trooping to the SuperMetro not just
to shop but enjoy the delectable dishes  in Metro Café.