Excellent Filipino Cuisine at Provenciano

Karen’s here for Christmas and we met up with her for lunch. She lives in the UP Village, so we chose to go to Provenciano to avoid the horrible December traffic.

Provenciano is one of the restaurants along Maginhawa Street. They have their own parking space in front of the restaurant. There is a quaint little stall outside the main dining hall, where a lady cooks puto bumbong and bibingka. Don’t forget to bring home some after your meal.

The main dining area is quite big. It is very tastefully-decorated. But even though the restaurant is spacious, the place got filled up very quickly soon after we arrived.

collage_fotor_fotor

We ordered the Crispy Pata, Sugpong Bataan (fresh prawns simmered in coconut cream and crab fat cooked the Bataan way), Sinigang na Baboy, Pinakbet, McArthur’s Rice (garlic fried rice with crab fat and smoked fish flakes), Leche Flan and Turon sa Sikwate.

collage_fotor-prov_fotor

Everything we ordered was delicious! Provenciano serves Filipino food in an excellent setting. This is one place where you can bring your guests to proudly show off Filipino cuisine.

collage_fotor2_fotor

Advertisements

Checking Out Another Burger Place: Grind Burger

There are a lot of new restaurants in The Block, SM North EDSA. We saw a burger place called Grind Burger. It’s located right in front of the Hypermarket at the Ground Floor.

img_4369_fotor

Interiors are simple and pleasant to the eyes. The space is quite small, so there is no room for unnecessary clutter.

img_4384_fotor

We ordered the Grind Burger, described as having “100% USDA house ground beef, brioche from the oven, vine ripe tomato, iceberg, sweet onion, American cheese and tiny’s secret sauce”. We were intrigued by the Deep Fried Mac and Cheese Balls, so we got that too.

img_4387_fotor

The burger was a winner! The beef was juicy and the bread was delicious! They make their own brioche buns and they complement the burger wonderfully.

img_4388_fotor

I liked the presentation of the mac and cheese balls. It gives a different twist to an old dish. But I wasn’t too crazy about it. I don’t think I’ll order it next time.

We enjoyed our burgers in Grind. It’s really great that they have delicious buns too.

 

Eggs For Breakfast: A Garden Oasis

Not too many restaurants are open at 7:00 am. Even those that serve breakfast usually open at 8:00. We were lucky to find Eggs For Breakfast one early morning.

IMG_4321_Fotor

Eggs For Breakfast is a small and cozy restaurant within a compound of an events place. They have manicured lawns, a pretty gazebo and a small koi pond. It was beautiful with the early morning sunshine.

Collage_Fotor_FotorThey have a wide range of breakfast options – omelettes, egg dishes, sandwiches, pancakes, rice meals. We had the beef tapa, Vigan longganisa and omelette. Everything tasted good! Serving size is adequate. Lovely place for a date or a quiet meal.

Checking out Landers Superstore

There’s a new warehouse superstore in the area – Landers Superstore. It is located along EDSA, further north from Congressional Avenue. They just opened last month and they have a promo offering discounted membership fees, from Php800 down to Php640, until September 2016.

IMG_4284_Fotor

One whole side of Landers is made of glass, giving the place a lot of ambient light, so the place doesn’t feel like a warehouse. It’s a lot like S&R, but Landers feels airier and brighter. The selection is pretty much the same but each store has its own unique finds. Landers has bigger spice and cheese selections, but there are better meat options in S&R.

The dining area of Landers is bigger and roomier than that of S&R. The food options are the same – pizza, roast and fried chicken. Our verdict: it’s a tie with the pizza, S&R has better roast chicken, and Landers has better fried chicken.

Archery at Gandiva Archery Range

My nephew is visiting from the US and I wanted the kids to have a unique activity. I had heard of Gandiva Archery from a friend whose kids had gone. I asked the kids if they wanted to try archery and they said yes. I made reservations for a weekday slot, just to make sure the three of them would be able to go together.

The Gandiva Archery Range is located on the 7th floor of One Corporate Center, Julia Vargas corner Meralco Avenues. The range was empty when we got there, it being a weekday early afternoon. I got them one hour sessions each, which included a set of archery equipment, target face, and safety gears, plus the instructor.

Collage_Fotor2_Fotor

The kids had fun channelling their inner Katniss, Legolas and Hawkeye. Their arms felt sore afterwards, but they had a lot of fun.

Collage_Fotor3_Fotor

 

Comfort Food in My Old ‘Hood

When we were growing up, our area in Marikina was purely residential. We had to drive elsewhere if we wanted to eat out. Nowadays, Lilac Street is lined with restaurants with various food choices. We decided to try out Miguel & Maria for dinner when my brother and his family came over to visit.

Collage_Fotor_FotorWe ate there twice in a week and both times, the place was full! The ambience was homey, perfect for family gatherings. The food can be described as comfort food, food that is familiar, but given a new treatment. Serving sizes are quite generous. On our first visit, we had the tomahawk steak, spiced shrimps and baby back ribs. All of those were delicious! On this particular night, though, we had the roast herbed chicken, the stuffed pork chop and the mac and cheese. The mac and cheese was the best of the three. The chicken was good, but the pork chop was a disappointment. It was tough and dry.

For dessert, they had “home crafted ice cream” with unique flavors. We tried the butterbeer and it was yummy! The brownie ala mode, chocolate cake and blueberry cheesecake were also delicious.

Eating in Miguel & Maria is like having a family reunion in your grandparents’ house – good food, homey ambience, great company.

IMG_4120_Fotor

Quick Day Trip To Nagcarlan

We are firm believers of domestic tourism. We try to bring the kids to a new town/province/region in the Philippines every year. With the change in the academic calendar, vacation was pushed to the rainy season, so we didn’t make plans to go far. I chose Nagcarlan, Laguna as our local destination this year. Our good friend, Amie Malabag-Hernandez, was recently elected as the Vice-Mayor of Nagcarlan. I got in touch with her and she agreed to meet us.

nag3_Fotor

With Vice Mayor-elect Amie Hernandez

Amie first brought us to the Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery. It is the only underground cemetery in the Philippines. During the Philippine Revolution, the cemetery served as a meeting place of leaders of the Katipunan. It also served as hideout during the Philippine-American War and World War II.

Collage_Fotor nag_Fotor

Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery

We also visited a candy-making factory and the vegetable tram which was high up in the mountains.

Collage_Fotor nag2_Fotor

For our last stop before lunch, Amie brought us to the Nagcarlan Forest Resort. Aside from the usual swimming pools, this one had a stream of running water. The water was cool. Too bad we weren’t ready for swimming.

Collage_Fotor nag3_Fotor

Nagcarlan Forest Resort

By then, we were famished. Amie brought us to what used to be an abandoned warehouse, but is now a “boodle fight” restaurant. Boodle fight is how soldiers eat – the rice and viands are placed on banana leaves in the middle of the table and each one gets from there and eat with their bare hands. The food was delicious!

Collage_Fotor nag4_Fotor

Boodle fight!

Our last stop in Nagcarlan was the San Bartolome Apostol Parish Church. It is a beautifully-preserved church. The original floor tiles from Talavera, Spain are still there on the walls. This church was used as setting for “Kampanerang Kuba”, the movie which starred Vilma Santos, as well as the television series which starred Anne Curtis.

Collage_Fotor nag5_Fotor

San Bartolome Apostol Parish Church

This trip was very educational and fun for all of us. Thank you to our very gracious host, Amie, for a day of discovery.