Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On Love And Destiny

March 31, 2010
New Bombay
Podium, Ortigas

I’ve always loved Indian food. Although I’ve never been to India and actually taste their authentic cuisine, I still crave for it often. I mean, I could probably have been Indian when you believe in past lives and such. And that could be the easiest explanation as to why I keep having these insistent cravings. Destiny though, didn’t bring us to New Bombay but intense desire and longing.

Chicken Tandoori is grilled chicken marinated in yogurt and seasoned with masala. It is a bit on the spicy side but the difference with masala is that the spiciness withers quickly compared to curries and chilis. This branch had thinner chicken which meant less meat making it tougher and less tender. It would have been better if the cuts were better. The redeeming factor here would be the taste. The slightly tangy-salty flavor was really good. The cilantro chutney sauce was a fresh accompaniment to the strong spices involved in the grilled chicken.

Palak Paneer was a recommendation of a friend who frequented New Bombay much like I did. The dish is a mix of spinach and curries over paneer cheese. I find similarities between tofu and the paneer cheese because of its texture. The vegetarian dish is not at all spicy and really filling because of the thick sauce. It is great over the Basmati rice we ordered.

Shrimp Malai is probably my favorite dish here in the restaurant. I mean, how can you go wrong with combining shrimp, curry, and coconut milk? It has great heat coming from the curry and the chilis and it’s also an awesome topping for the rice or dipping sauce for the Roti.

Mutton Rogan Josh may sound like someone’s name gone bad but it’s actually a dish gone good. It’s chunks of mutton cooked in oil, curry, yogurt, and spices. Another curry dish but definitely distinct in flavor because of the different meat and cooking method. It was not at all gamy given the mutton and all the tastes and spices blended well together. Different complex flavors in one bowl of creamy goodness.

Rice is ubiquitous in India. One of its varieties and definitely one of my favorites is the Basmati rice. Being known for its long grained qualities, it’s a staple in many Indian meals. A very fragrant rice that adds another flavoring dimension to the meal. It is perfect to top with sauces, curries, and even plain unsalted butter.

Bread is as common as rice in India. The specific bread we ordered was the Buttered Tandoori Roti. It is your basic Roti bread cooked in a tandoori oven and then lathered generously with butter just before serving. My love of butter dictates that anything you lather it with becomes even better that it’s supposed to be. Not denying the Roti from praise, it was perfect with or without the butter. Just kidding butter, you make everything better still…

To wash all this yummy food, I had Lassi. A yogurt-based drink that can come in various flavors but I still prefer that plain one. BUT if Bhang Lassi was offered (and LEGAL), I would have immediately ordered that. For people who don’t know the main ingredient of Bhang Lassi, I suggest you go do your research and google it. It’ll make you smile. I promise. Oh, another addition to my bucket list: Drink Bhang Lassi in Rajasthan.

I'm sure New Bombay is far from the authentic Indian cuisine but I guess this will do for now. Someday I hope I'd be able to visit India and experience its food and culture. I believe destiny will send me there. If not destiny... love. The love of travel. The love of culture. And in this case, my love of Indian food. Love is, in actuality, the main component that provides the fuel for all our actions anyway.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Dive Acacia: Pygmy Seahorse

March 27, 2010
Acacia Resort and Dive Center
Anilao, Batangas City

My first Pygmy Seahorse.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Globe Run For Home 2010

March 21, 2010
Ayala Triangle
Makati City

The Globe Run was reportedly the first ever user of the timing chip in the Philippines last year. This year, they were the first to ever hold their running event at the Ayala Triangle and the first to ever have the 15k category in a race. The originality and innovation of their runs makes me look forward to the next.

It was really awesome to be able to run in an urban area for a change. Although the streets were quite narrow because of so many participants, at least it brought a nice change from the clear roads and level running I was used to. It was also my first time running on the flyover (which was a killer, by the way) but really fun.

Official results are out and my time for the 5k improved from the last run. I finished with a gun time of 32'54 and a chip time of 32'25. Mixed emotions though since I wanted it to be under the 30-minute mark but quite elated with my 17-second improvement. Targeting under 30 at the next run (Earth Day Run 2010).

Fellow runners can get their results at the Globe Run's official website.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ensaymadarrific

Probably the best Ensaymada in the land.

(photo by Aileen Tong)
Diamond Hotel's Ensaymada

It comes in plain, ham, or ube. But I still like the plain above all.

Fluffy. Cheesy. Buttery. Just the way I like it.

You will never look at another the same way again.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Le Coin Français

March 6, 2010
The French Corner
Westgate, Alabang

Coming to this restaurant was almost a year in the making. It's not a question of delaying the inevitable but all a result of wrong timing. Tonight, we finally got to try it out.

I was still on my 40-day abstinence from beef so instead of getting a steak, I got the (Seafood) Brown Rice Risotto as my main course. For starters, we got a small portion of Foie Gras and being it a French restaurant, French Onion Soup.

Our appetizer of the Foie Gras with mixed greens and arugula was pretty nice. The goose liver was perfectly seared and yet maintained that creamy delicate texture in the middle. The dressing on the salad was a tad bit on the salty side though.

I only tasted some of the soup since it was beef consommé and I was, like I said a few paragraphs ago, staying away from beef. The broth was a bit bland. Usually, onion soups would be really flavorful because of the stock and herbs. Their version was too watery and lacked punch. Even the melted cheese on top.

The Brown Rice Risotto was my choice for main course. I wanted a dish that I really haven't tried before and this was the closest I could get. I've never really tried brown rice in a restaurant before so I wanted to test their capabilities. Those on a diet are quite familiar with it since it is supposed to be the healthier alternative. I never really liked it though. For me it is both aesthetically and texturally unappetizing. The risotto of The French Corner was a different story all together. Frankly, I never knew brown rice could ever taste this good. The flavors were all sucked by the rice making it really tasty. The texture, surprisingly manageable this time. This is how you prepare brown rice: Unhealthy with lots of butter and meat... Yum!

My meal at French Corner was a bit incomplete because it lacked the "meat factor". Maybe after Lent, I can try it out again this time ordering the dishes with more texture so I can check their cooking methods and techniques. After this first time, we will surely come back for more. Next time free from all of this healthy/abstinence crap... I want my meat!
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