DoesThatHelp

When you just don't know what to do with that stuff

Posts Tagged ‘Bacolod City

Just the essentials

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Housesitting for the night and had everything else in mind except (ironically) dinner and snacks.

First and foremost, it was a work night, so the laptop and charger went in first. That was followed by the iPad and all the other chargers necessary to both get through the evening and begin the day – like making sure the Bluetooth headset was charged for a morning at the gym.

After packing clothes, then came the toiletries.

As somebody on a daily routine (and with the basics at the ready in the place I was housesitting), it was all about gathering the “beauty essentials.” Face wash, toner, moisturizer, face mist, hand cream, body lotion, and sunscreen were all thrown in the bag.

All packed and ready to go and I’m reminded, “What are you going to eat?” Perused the kitchen and packed more essentials.

Just happened to pick up terra chips at a local supermarket that morning, they were on sale ‘Buy 1, Get 1 free.’ They’re pretty dangerous though, especially during work, the bottom of the bag sneaks up on you. Also brought some mate tea bags, always works for a pick-me-up when staring at a computer screen and for a nice morning wake up call.

Then it was dinner itself. What else but ramen? A trusty bag of ramen, a bottle of soju, and also packed a container of kimchi – complete.

Needless to say, the evening and following morning flew by. On subsequent overnight stays, have found the same formula works every time.

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Written by Paulo Loreto

June 18, 2018 at 12:01 AM

A satisfying lunch in Manhattan’s Koreatown

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Based on the last couple experiences with Korean food establishments operating in Bacolod City, can only say the situation is disappointing. Have tried stopping by different places to give them all a try; I’m not even trying to measure it up against Seoul or Busan, but to at least attain that same satisfaction of enjoying authentic Korea cuisine – the kind served all over the world. While there have been highlights in the past from some of the local restaurants, it would appear everybody has begun cutting corners and it’s leaving customers with subpar offerings.

One place that promotes an all-you-can-eat samgyeopsal (pork belly) special has been good in previous times; however, on the last visit, was told by the waiter they may not have enough inventory to supply an all-you-can-eat order – he, then, proceeded to offer higher-priced options. Having a hard time seeing how that is anything but deception and walked right out of the place. What kind of management offers a promotion they cannot support? Not sure how many others fell for their bait-and-switch scheme, but it didn’t work for me.

Another place offered banchan comprised of vienna sausages in a mystery sauce, along with kimbap that was made with canned corned beef and mini squares of cheese. Thinking between whether the kitchen was working with scraps that day or those were their choice ingredients, either way, the circumstances were unacceptable. Both street vendors and even convenience stores in Seoul have much better kimbap. During the last visit to Seoul, a samgak kimbap, the triangle kimbap offered at every convenience store, became a daily habit.

With two places checked off the list, went to a third, which was once believed to be a reliable spot. To my surprise, that same corned beef-cheese kimbap found its way to the table. Oddly enough, the menu options were beef or tuna, considering the “beef” was canned corned beef, can only assume the tuna is canned tuna.

That questionable kimbap is most definitely a deal-breaker.

Officially, there are no places in the city where one can really enjoy delicious Korean food, which leaves me longing for places that do serve quality dishes, like in New York City’s Koreatown.

When hitting the strip of Korean establishments, located a few blocks from New York City’s Penn Station, usually eat at Miss Korea BBQ or Kunjip – the former was one of the first restaurants visited in the area, while the latter was introduced by a good friend.

One of the primary differences was made apparent immediately, the banchan. This wasn’t just two of three plates offering kimchi, wilted bean sprouts, and (like the second mentioned restaurant in Bacolod City) a plate of chopped up vienna sausages. It was a full array of side dishes, maybe around 10 small plates, along with a whole fried fish – a pleasant surprise.

Have found bibimbap is a regular go-to and having ordered other dishes like tteokbokki in previous visits, needed something different on this particular visit, and spotted the nakji bokkeum. Spicy, stir-fried octopus served with udon noodles on a sizzling plate – amazing stuff. The meal was so satisfying, threw back two bottle of soju with lunch; left both full and happy.

Doubt I could ever have that same feeling walking out of any of the restaurants in Bacolod City purporting to serve Korea food.

Phở

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It had been a while since visiting one of the local Vietnamese places in town, the Rau Ram Café, down a side street, a few meters from the Marapara Golf and Country Club in Bacolod City. Ever since the first visit, always ordered a big bowl of phở, a traditional beef noodle soup.

Arriving at the table, the steaming bowl comes with a plate full of fresh herbs, including basil, cilantro, and sawtooth coriander; along with hot sauce and hoisin sauce, in order to customize each individual bowl.

With ever bowl prepared, tore up various herbs and threw them in before adding in the soup. Once the hot broth makes contact with the leaves, the aromatics consume the table and before taking one bite of the soup, the impression the smells leave is already remarkable.

Even though this place does not serve it with the traditional thin slices of beef that cook quickly in the hot soup, instead its small cubes of beef, the dish is still delicious.

Sisig is always good

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With origins as a method of getting rid of the rest of the pig that wasn’t used to make a variety of other dishes, the iconic sisig is something that can be found at most Filipino restaurants. A sizzling plate of chopped up pig face and ears, with some hot chilies thrown in to give it a spicy flavor, the meal is one of the best representations of “comfort food.”

The dish probably isn’t the healthiest one to pick from, but it is one that has to be tried when in the Philippines – one of those dishes to have people try first before telling them it’s a sizzling plate of pig face.

Everything from crispy to chewy to rich, it’s a tasty adventure and, somehow, it always tastes good no matter where you order it from.

Sisig

A tall order

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Wandering the mall on a random weekend and needed to find a spot for lunch. The same old chain restaurants that occupy entire wings of the mall, all serving the same overpriced meal options – it’s very much, slim pickings. Zark’s, which also happens to be a chain, usually offers up good burger and fries options, always a go-to when there isn’t much of a craving for anything in particular.

Having visited several times before, it has always been good – although, still taken aback by the number of patrons who eat their burger and fries with a fork and knife.

On this occasion, picked the stone-cold stunner, described as “a double bacon cheeseburger on a bed of fresh lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, and caramelized onion,” it sounded great.

The plate arrives at the table and, having experienced double cheeseburgers before, this one did not disappoint in height. It took a bit to figure out the mechanics of it, and it was an absolute mouthful.

Zark’s has always been a good fallback when there didn’t appear to be many other options. Plus, the massive “stone-cold stunner” was some good eats to carry through the rest of the day.

Stone-Cold Stunner

Dulce de Leche for breakfast

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After years without a place that consistently sold bagels, Bacolod City finally has one, Bagels by ELG, located at the O Residence, next door to Robinsons Place. On the first visit, stopped in to stock the house with bagels and English muffins and they were great. Other bake shops in town either stopped selling bagels, probably due to unfamiliarity with the product, and another only sells stale bagels – literally, concrete.

Perusing the menu, found all the options, with a variety of bagels and the all-time favorite, smoked salmon.

Enjoyed the lox on the first visit and went through the different bagel options on the next, stopped at dulce de leche.

Spreading dulce de leche on a toasted plain bagel (to be honest, dulce de leche spread on anything in incredible) was an amazing way to start the day. The place is quickly becoming the regular Sunday breakfast spot.

Bagels by ELG, the first stop after Sunday mass.

Bagels by ELG, the first stop after Sunday mass.

Written by Paulo Loreto

September 7, 2016 at 9:56 PM