Buffalo Wild Wings: Big Disappointment

One of our all-time favorite restaurants in California was Buffalo Wild Wings. Before I had their wings, I did not like Buffalo Wings at all. But since then, it is now one of my favorite things to eat. So I was very excited when I found out that Buffalo Wild Wings was opening a branch here in the Philippines. We scheduled a trip to Estancia Mall where it is located.

The Estancia Mall is a beautiful mall, with wide corridors and not too many people. There are ample parking spaces offered in the basement. The shops are on the higher end, with stores like Pottery Barn, Isaac Mizrahi, L’Occitane, Samsonite, among others. There are a lot of restaurants – a lot of them look promising.

Like in the US, the wings are served with celery or carrots, bleu cheese or ranch dressing. But the similarity ends there. The wings were small, the serving size was small, the chicken tenders looked pathetic. For a US-based chain, the small serving size was a big let-down. We ordered the wings in Honey Barbecue sauce, which was midway in their spiciness levels. It had no spice at all! We also tried the Mango Habanero. That one was better – flavorful, with a sweet-spicy combination. The large serving (at least 20 pieces) costs P895++. The basket of fries was okay, but again, serving size was on the small size, considering the price (P225++).

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We’ve had better-tasting wings in Manila for much less than this. What a big disappointment!

 

Kanin Club: Traditional Filipino Comfort Food

We had just come from a wake and according to a Filipino superstition called “pagpag”, one should not go straight home after coming from a wake. One had to stop somewhere else first before going home. So from the wake, we had dinner in UP Ayala Technohub.

The commercial area in UP Ayala Technohub is a nice place for strolling. There is a big empty space in the middle for kids to play, run, bike, skateboard, (or these days), use the hoverboard. The restaurants are arranged along the edge. There was a cool breeze tonight and it made the evening more pleasurable.

Kanin Club offers traditional Filipino comfort food. We started with Crispy Liempo (“light and crispy pork belly strips ready for dipping in three kinds of sauce”).   It is a light appetizer, with just enough saltiness to make you want to eat more. For dinner, we had the Binukadkad na Tilapia and Kare-kare. The tilapia was stripped to the bone and deep-fried whole. It was tasty and flavorful even without the accompanying sauce. The kare-kare was not very enticing. It looked pale and the sauce was runny. I prefer the kare-kare sauce that is thicker. But it proved to taste better than it looked. It was surprisingly good! It was a good thing that the kare-kare was soupy – we ended up pouring it over our plain rice for a tastier dinner. The bagoong that came with the kare-kare was also good. We were so full we couldn’t have dessert anymore.

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Delicious Pies

Pi Breakfast & Pies is another place that serves breakfast fare all day long. It is located in Malingap St. near the restaurant row of Maginhawa Street. Frontage is small, with very limited parking. The main dining area is quite cramped but there are more seats available in the back.
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We had the skillet frittata (made up of ham, bacon, longganisa, mushroom, spinach, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, green bell pepper, onion, garlic, tomato, ricotta, mozzarella and gruyere cheese cooked with three eggs), ham-cheese-onion omelette, smoked bangus and longsilog (house-made Vigan, Lukban and Cebu inspired longganisa served with aligue and salted egg rice). The rice meals came with a 5-minute egg, but you can specify how you want your eggs done.

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The food was okay but nothing spectacular. The bread was good too. They have a display of the bread and cakes they sell. I wanted to try their Spanish bread with dulce de leche, but they weren’t available yet. We brought home some banana cream pie and smores pie. Both the pies were absolutely delicious! We will definitely be back for more of the pies, if we happen to be in the area.

Wooden Spoon: Filipino Comfort Food

I’ve been wanting to try the Wooden Spoon branch in Katipunan for some time now. But parking is a big problem in Katipunan, so we end up going somewhere else to eat. It’s a good thing Wooden Spoon opened another branch in Pasig and that’s where we ate one rainy day.

The interiors of Wooden Spoon is very cozy. It gives you the feeling that you are in a friend’s house for lunch.

We were the first customers for the day. We ordered the Kaldereta, Boneless Crispy Chicken and Adobong Kangkong with Lechon Kawali Bite. When the waiter brought us the vegetables, he told us that the Kaldereta was not available. I wish he informed us much earlier so we could have adjusted our order. We ordered Kare-Kare to replace the Kaldereta.

The food was delicious, the interiors were great, but the service needs to be improved.

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Peri Peri Charcoal Chicken: A New Take on Chicken

Peri Peri Charcoal Chicken is described as Portuguese-style grilled chicken with spicy-sweet Peri Peri sauce. Peri peri (or piri piri) is also called African bird’s eye chili. They serve charcoal-grilled chicken that is flavorful even without any sauce. They serve a variety of sauces on the side. We ordered a whole chicken with 4 side dishes. The serving size for the side dishes was quite small though.

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The Halal Guys: Over-rated

Shortly after the Food Court opened in the Mega Fashion Hall, a huge tarp came up, announcing the coming of The Halal Guys. There was a lot of buzz about it, since it was going to be the first branch of the famed NYC-based food cart business outside of the United States. The excitement grew as the opening date was announced.

True enough, when it opened in Megamall last October, long lines were the norm, any day of the week, moreso on weekends. Initial reviews from people we knew were not very encouraging but we wanted to experience it ourselves. By December, the lines were manageable.

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The food was offered in three sizes – small, regular and New York size. While waiting in line, their attendants showed us samples of how big the platters were so we can gauge what size was best for us. We got the chicken and gyro platters, one small and one regular size. The chicken, gyro and vegetables are placed on top of a huge serving of rice. They put their trademark white sauce over the meat. They have a spicy red sauce, if you prefer yours with an extra kick.

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How did I find it? There was a lot of rice but not enough meat. The chicken was bland. The meal isn’t cheap for its size. I’m still glad I tried it, but I’m not getting in line again for this one.