Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pasta Pinangat at Small Talk Cafe (Bicol)

Legaspi City, Albay. The last time I visited Legaspi was back in 2003 and things were very much different there back then. I was only there for about 24 hours and that meant I only had one meal where I could choose the restaurant to eat at. My friends Karla and Sha recommended I either eat at Waway or Small Talk Cafe. They highly suggested I go to Small Talk Cafe.

After shopping for some bags I boarded a tricycle and had the driver bring me to Small Talk Cafe. It was located at a side street and the entrance looked similar to the old Cafe Lupe in Pasig. I was really hungry and eagerly went in the empty cafe (it was just 5 in the afternoon). The food server handed me a menu and immediately scanned it for Bicol dishes.

I am a Bicolana, but my Dad says I'm hilaw since I'm not fond of spicy dishes. I was happy to hear when the food server said that the Pasta Pinangat was not spicy.

Pasta Pinanganat

I love coconut milk dishes and pinangat is something that we always have whenever we are in Bicol. My favorite Tita Olive cooks it on wood. My Mom has a suki at the Naga Market where she buys as well to bring home to Manila. It was my first time to try Pasta Pinanganat and I absolutely loved it.

I wanted to order another plate, but thought I should try out another dish so I ordered the Pasta Mayon (pinanganat ravioli with tomato sauce). I felt quite sheepish ordering another dish, but the food server seemed to understand (and probably thought I need to gain a little weight heh).

Pasta Mayon

Sweetie is a huge fan of ravioli and I immediately SMSd him about what I was eating. I thought it would be strange combination, pinanganat plus tuna tomato sauce. It was great though and I was surprised that coconut milk plus tomato sauce would go so well together. I felt like I died and went to heaven.

There were several pili desserts but most had chocolate in it. I decided to try out the pili pie.

I actually ate about half of it before I ordered the Pasta Mayon so I was really stuffed already. The pie was packed and heavy. It was yummy though, not too sweet, not too nutty, just right. Maybe next time I'll try the dessert with ice cream on it.

After eating the three dishes I had a hard time hauling myself out of the cafe because I was so stuffed. It was an absolutely great experience and I hope I'd be able to go back and visit Legaspi again soon.

Price Range: I just paid PhP250 for the 2 dishes, dessert and a glass of calamansi juice. PhP150 would be enough to order one dish, dessert and a glass of calamansi juice.

Must try: Pasta Pinanganat

Just okay: Pili Pie

Lakwatsera's Rating: I want to go back now!

Small Talk Cafe (map)
Dona Aurora Street,
Legaspi City, Albay
Bicol Region
Phone: +(6352) 480-1393 or 437-8708

Monday, July 19, 2010

Kuse, Traditional Filipino Cuisine

Got our chance to explore The Venice Piazza last weekend with Sweetie's parents. We had no idea about the restaurants and just winged it by checking out the different restos at the first floor of the relatively new mall. Sweetie's Dad's attention was caught by Kuse's "Adobado". It looked delicious based on the photo so that's what hooked us in.

Loved the interiors of Kuse. It was modern Pinoy and I took pleasure in identifying the Philippine stones inlaid on the table (green elbert, yellow stone and tiger eye, mostly from Southern Philippines). We had a hard time going through the menu since everything looked delicious.

The Appetizers

Mini Ukoy with Visayan Sauce. I grew up having ukoy all the time since it was one dish my Titas loved to cook. Miguel said that he liked it. I unfortunately had to pass because of allergies.

Paco Salad sa Laguna. Paco is one of my Dad's favorite veggies. He lights up whenever my Mom manages to buy some from the market. I think it's been years since he had some because this veggie is hard to find. I never tried it when it was available at home so it was my first time to sample it. Now I understand why my Dad loves this veggie. The salad had kesong puti and mixed with tomatoes and onions plus special sauce (I don't know what).

Pork Sisig Kapampangan. We ordered this as a safety net. Sisig never fails anyone. The serving though was bitin.

The Entrees

BBQ Beef Rack Ribs Adobado. The dish that reeled us in. We had the waiter explain why it was called adobado. He said that the ribs were cooked like adobo with slow fire. The meat was very tender and juicy and easily came off the bone. Quite tasty and addicting. It went well with the Paco Salad. The dish was complemented with radish and carrot atsara.

Salmon Head and Belly Paksiw. We were supposed to get sinigang sa guava but Sweetie's parents changed their mind and ordered this dish instead. I just took a small portion but Sweetie's parents loved it to the bones!

 I didn't have enough space left for dessert so my comments below are based on Miguel and Jay's reaction.

Cassava Cake with Ice Cream. I was engrossed listening to Jay's Mom's story and by the time I was going to try it out it had already disappeared from Miguel's plate. He just said sheepishly, "Masarap kasi!!!" We were all surprised that it was gone in less than 5 minutes.

Turon with Langka and Sesame Seeds. The turon was served with melted sangkaka. I could only watch in awe as Jay's Dad polished one off after another. Next time I'm going to leave some space for dessert!

Leche Flan Napoleon. I'm not really sure what was holding the leche flan since I only tried out the leche flan. It was quite rich, but the boys loved it nonetheless.

I'm definitely going back with my parents next time. I'm sure my Dad would love the Paco Salad =)

Price Range: approx. PhP300 per dish

Must try: BBQ Beef Rack Ribs Adobado and Paco Salad sa Laguna

Just so-so: Sisig

Lakwatsera's Rating: Definitely going back

Kuse, Traditional Filipino Cuisine (map)
Unit 115-119 Mckinley Hill Piazza
Upper McKinley Road
Mckinley Town Center, Fort Bonifacio,
Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Tel. Nos.: +632-8364966/4969