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5.329 Tortang Talong

-Cycle 5, Item 329-
30 (Sun) November 2014

-Filipino-
Tortang Talong

3.5

from Bistro Remedios [delivery]

at J/K's

-Malate, Manila-

with SCREAM

Tortang talong is a Filipino eggplant dish.  Consists of a whole eggplant (talong), ideally grilled, then peeled, plus sautéed ground pork, typically with garlic and onion, wrapped in an egg omelet (tortang--from the Spanish "torta").

Last supper of the original SCREAM (see most recently 5.300 Croquetas de Jamon y Huevas).  Again at J/K's.  My closet friends and colleagues in Manila, many leaving at the end of the year.  I will miss them all, dearly.


Rather than potluck, the organizers chose simply to order delivery from Bistro Remedios (see most recently 5.215 Binukadkad na Crispy Pla Pla).

The tortang talong was awesome.  I usually don't like eggplant because it tends to get mushy when cooked, but the texture here was pleasantly firm and dryish, even though only the insides were present.  And even with the pork, the overall vibe was light.  Now my favorite Filipino dish.

5.328 Seollong Tang

-Cycle 5, Item 328-
29 (Sat) November 2014

-Korean-
Seollong Tang

2.0

at Sinsun

-Malate, Manila-

with HRS

Sinsun is a Korean restaurant.  Specializes in beef-based soup dishes, particularly seollong tang.  Other than the name and the menu, nothing to suggest any official affiliation with the megachain in Korea.  Located in Malate, on Guerrero Street, half block north of Remedios.

On my first visit way back when, I found the soup itself to be just okay but felt that that the excellent kimchi more than compensated for it.  At some point, however, they switched kimchi suppliers, much for the worse.  And tonight, the soup also seemed to have tumbled a few notches down--the signage has changed, suggesting new ownership, perhaps new kitchen.

I've actually long since written the place off, but colleagues still like to go there on occasion.  

5.327 TEITY 27 Highlight : Steamed Fish Fillet with Black Mushroom

-Cycle 5, Item 327-
28 (Fri) November 2014

-Chinese-
Steamed Fish Fillet with Black Mushroom

3.25

at Tao Yuan

-Malate, Manila-

with EK Kim

TEITY.  Try Every Item at Tao Yuan* (see previously 5.324 Spareribs).   Attempting to eat my way through the restaurant, all 222 items (excluding shark's fin and desserts).  From what I've seen so far, it would seem to be one of the best in the neighborhood, solid on all counts: taste, quality, variety, service, vibe, proximity, maybe price.  Once I've tried everything, I'll know exactly what to get, depending on the circumstances, whether it's for a quick bite on my own, a casual night out with friends/colleagues/family, or a formal occasion hosting bosses/VIPs.  That kind of certainty, in the unpredictable culinary landscape of Manila, will be invaluable.

*The domain has recently expired, but I leave the link in case it comes back up.

Something of a sequel to TERRP (Try Every Restaurant in Robinsons Place), which had me eating my way through an entire mall, all 85 restaurants (see generally 5.247 Original Recipe Fried Chicken...), much to my eternal regret and shame.

5 new items tonight, total 144 down, 78 remaining; 27 visits so far, averaging 5.33 items per visit as of tonight, on pace to finish at TEITY 44.

BLUE: highly recommended / GREEN: respectable / YELLOW: mediocre / ORANGE: better avoided / RED: never again / GREY: off-limits due to ethical concerns


The highlight of the meal was the Steamed Fish Fillet with Black Mushroom.  Consists of bite-size pieces of white fish with sliced shiitake mushrooms and kailan covered in a simple gravy, classic Cantonese.  Ordinarily includes sliced ham, but it's way too salty, much better without.  In lieu of the fish, the dish is also offered with "imported abalone" (see generally 5.321 Fried Spring Roll with Shredded Taro) or "unicorn-style chicken" (see generally 5.324 Spareribs).  Good for when something light is in order.  

Pan-Fried Pork & Vegetable Bun (1.75)--could use more filling.

Ham Soy Kok (1.0)--glutinous rice skins, unpleasantly sticky/mushy.

Butter Cream Crab (0.5)--butter cream = margarine + sugar + salt--worst item on the menu thus far, by far; we asked them to rinse off the sauce and extract the meat.

Fresh Milk Tart (1.5)--too plain.


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ADDENDUM

10 (Fri) April 2015

Finished (see generally 6.095 Done).

5.326 Buffet Best-of-Worst: Mixed Veg, Mostly Carrots

-Cycle 5, Item 326-
27 (Thu) November 2014

-Filipino-
Buffet Best-of-Worst: Mixed Veg, Mostly Carrots

2.0

at Club Balai Isabel

-Batangas-

with WHO WPRO DNH

Club Balai Isabel is a resort.  Located in Batangas, about 80 km south of Manila, lying directly on the northern shore of Lake Taal.  Popular venue for large gatherings.

Our annual division retreat.

1.5 days.

At Club Balai Isabel.

The proceedings overall have been fine.

However, the food has been awful.  Breakfast lunch snack dinner, the longest string of crappy meals that I've had in the country thus far, plus breakfast and lunch tomorrow.  While the featured dish above was marginally edible (2.1), everything together wouldn't even rate mediocre (1.1).  I have to remind myself with every reluctant bite that I'm not here for the food.

 

By contrast, the food at our unit retreat a few months back was great, including dinner described as "the best Chinese meal that I've had in Philippines thus far" (see generally 5.222 Steamed Garlic Fish Fillet).   

 

5.325 Linguine in Zucchini-Clam Sauce

-Cycle 5, Item 325-
26 (Wed) November 2014

-Italian-
Linguine in Zucchini-Clam Sauce

3.25

by me

in my apartment

-Ermita, Manila-

solo

An old standby (see generally 1.304 Fettuccine in Milky Clam Sauce...), here in its classic form, good as ever.

5.324 TEITY 26 Highlight : Spareribs

-Cycle 5, Item 324-
25 (Tue) November 2014

-Singaporean-
Spareribs

3.5

at Tao Yuan

-Malate, Manila-

with EK Kim, R Kim

TEITY.  Try Every Item at Tao Yuan* (see previously 5.322 Shabuki).  Attempting to eat my way through the restaurant, all 222 items (excluding shark's fin and desserts).  From what I've seen so far, it would seem to be one of the best in the neighborhood, solid on all counts: taste, quality, variety, service, vibe, proximity, maybe price.  Once I've tried everything, I'll know exactly what to get, depending on the circumstances, whether it's for a quick bite on my own, a casual night out with friends/colleagues/family, or a formal occasion hosting bosses/VIPs.  That kind of certainty, in the unpredictable culinary landscape of Manila, will be invaluable.

*The domain has recently expired, but I leave the link in case it comes back up.

Something of a sequel to TERRP (Try Every Restaurant in Robinsons Place), which had me eating my way through an entire mall, all 85 restaurants (see generally 5.247 Original Recipe Fried Chicken...), much to my eternal regret and shame.

8 new items tonight, total 139 down, 83 remaining; 26 visits so far, averaging 5. items per visit as of tonight, on pace to finish at TEITY 43.

BLUE: highly recommended / GREEN: respectable / YELLOW: mediocre / ORANGE: better avoided / RED: never again / GREY: off-limits due to ethical concerns


The highlight of the meal was the Singaporean Spareribs.  Chopped into bite-sized pieces, some with bone, some without.  Breaded, deep-fried--nicely crisp.  Coated in a sweet sesame-soy glaze, tasting somewhere between Korean galbi and Kyochon chicken.  Straight to the top of the menu for the Korean WPRO staff.


Roasted Crispy Pork Belly (3.5)--essentially lechon kawali, amazing contrasting textures, crispy on the outside, ridiculously tender inside, delicate pork flavor.

Asado Steamed Bun (2.0)

Pan-Fried Beef with Flat Rice Noodle (3.25)--solid, but otherwise unremarkable.

 Taro Puff (1.5)--minced pork, encased in taro, but too mushy.

Egg Tart (2.0)--the classic Hong Kong snack, slightly sweet, could work as a mini-dessert, right before a final plate of fruit.

Unicorn Style Chicken with Ham & Black Mushroom (1.5)--essentially Hainanese chicken, ham was way too salty, mushrooms okay.

 Smoked Beancurd Sheet Roulades with Shredded Vegetables (0.5)--had been looking forward to this, but it turned out inedibly salty and greasy, the first dish that I've had to send back; to the management's credit, they admitted that it hadn't been properly executed and canceled the order from the final bill.

Beancurd Roll with Superior Sauce (3.5)--previously sampled, ordered again for confirmation (see previously 5.286 Beancurd Roll with Superior Sauce), wanting to end the meal with something good--confirmed.


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ADDENDUM

10 (Fri) April 2015

Finished (see generally 6.095 Done).

5.323 Shabuki Hayashi Rice

-Cycle 5, Item 323-
24 (Mon) November 2014

-Japanese-
Shabuki Hayashi Rice

2.0

by me

in my apartment

-Ermita, Manila-

solo

Hayashi rice with the leftover veggies from yesterday (see previously 5.322 Shabuki).  Disappointing, however, the medley making the sauce way too vegetative, not in a good way.  In any case, I managed to make use of the ingredients and derived the nutritive benefits therefrom.  

5.322 TEITY 25 : Shabuki

-Cycle 5, Item 322-
23 (Sun) November 2014

-Japanese-
Shabuki

2.5

by me

in my apartment

-Ermita, Manila-

with JB, EK, et al.

TEITY.  Try Every Item at Tao Yuan* (see previously 5.321 Fried Spring Roll with Shredded Taro).  Attempting to eat my way through the restaurant, all 222 items (excluding shark's fin and desserts).  From what I've seen so far, it would seem to be one of the best in the neighborhood, solid on all counts: taste, quality, variety, service, vibe, proximity, maybe price.  Once I've tried everything, I'll know exactly what to get, depending on the circumstances, whether it's for a quick bite on my own, a casual night out with friends/colleagues/family, or a formal occasion hosting bosses/VIPs.  That kind of certainty, in the unpredictable culinary landscape of Manila, will be invaluable.

*The domain has recently expired, but I leave the link in case it comes back up.

Something of a sequel to TERRP (Try Every Restaurant in Robinsons Place), which had me eating my way through an entire mall, all 85 restaurants (see generally 5.247 Original Recipe Fried Chicken...), much to my eternal regret and shame.

6 new items tonight, total 131 down, 91 remaining; 25 visits so far, averaging 5.24 items per visit as of tonight, on pace to finish at TEITY 44.

BLUE: highly recommended / GREEN: respectable / YELLOW: mediocre / ORANGE: better avoided / RED: never again / GREY: off-limits due to ethical concerns


Got a tabletop induction grill.  Powerful.  Quiet.  Flat.  Slick.  (Pricey.)  After the previous dinner party in my apartment, which had involved grilling pork belly in a small room without adequate ventilation** (see most recently 5.306 Feeding Institutional Memory), leaving the place to reek of burnt pork fat for weeks thereafter, still kinda does, I vowed never to do it again.  But wanting to continue hosting dinner parties of some sort, I thought about shabuki.  Having already brought my cast iron pot from Korea for that purpose, the induction grill completed the gear package.

If I get home early enough, this is what I see--I gotta get home early more often.

**I did it also once before (see generally 5.246 The KLHC Chuseok Chowdown), though the lingering stink hadn't been so bad that time, just a few days, probably because we didn't eat as much meat.  In any case, no more BBQ parties here.  


Whereas induction grills can maintain a boiling stock throughout the meal, a standard tabletop gas stove doesn't have a lot of firepower, allowing the boil to die whenever ingredients are added and requiring a minute or so to get back up to temperature.

For the pilot implementation, I used the opportunity to advance TEITY by ordering several items from the hot pot menu as takeout.  Items that seemed amenable to transportation and really couldn't prepare myself at home.  While the food per se was hit and miss, they did make the experience much more dynamic than sliced beef alone would have (sliced beef, independently acquired, was also on the table).  I'll be sure to do this every time hence forth.

Clockwise from top: Crystal Shrimp Ball (0.75)--the glutinous rice skin was sticky and awful + Fried Bean Curd Stick (2.0)--whatever + Hand-Made Squid Ball (3.0)--fresh and light, pretty good + Fish Tofu (3.25)--good + Fried Fish Cake (2.5)--okay + Hand-Made Beef Ball (0.5)--deplorable, the worst item from the hot pot menu thus far; the restaurant was also kind enough to pack sauce and garniture.  

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ADDENDUM

10 (Fri) April 2015

Finished (see generally 6.095 Done).

5.321 TEITY 24 Highlight : Fried Spring Roll with Shredded Taro

-Cycle 5, Item 321-
22 (Sat) November 2014

-Chinese-
Fried Spring Roll with Shredded Taro

2.5

at Tao Yuan

-Malate, Manila-

with JH Bae, EK Kim

TEITY.  Try Every Item at Tao Yuan* (see previously 5.320 How I Managed to Dine with a Vegan).  Attempting to eat my way through the restaurant, all 222 items (excluding shark's fin and desserts).  From what I've seen so far, it would seem to be one of the best in the neighborhood, solid on all counts: taste, quality, variety, service, vibe, proximity, maybe price.  Once I've tried everything, I'll know exactly what to get, depending on the circumstances, whether it's for a quick bite on my own, a casual night out with friends/colleagues/family, or a formal occasion hosting bosses/VIPs.  That kind of certainty, in the unpredictable culinary landscape of Manila, will be invaluable.

*The domain has recently expired, but I leave the link in case it comes back up.

Something of a sequel to TERRP (Try Every Restaurant in Robinsons Place), which had me eating my way through an entire mall, all 85 restaurants (see generally 5.247 Original Recipe Fried Chicken...), much to my eternal regret and shame.

7 new dishes tonight, total 125 down, 97 remaining; 24 visits so far, averaging 5.21 items per visit as of tonight, on pace to finish at TEITY 45.

BLUE: highly recommended / GREEN: respectable / YELLOW: mediocre / ORANGE: better avoided / RED: never again / GREY: off-limits due to ethical concerns


No bonafide highlights this visit.  The Fried Spring Roll with Shredded Taro--the filling was mostly minced pork, seasoned with a touch of five-spice, couldn't detect any taro--was the only item that I found remotely likeable.  Quite disappointing as we'd ordered a couple of premium dishes, ringing up the largest per capita bill to date: 2,000 pesos a piece, an astronomical figure by local standards, probably more than our server would spend in a whole month on food, the most that I've spent on a single meal here, not counting booze.  Oh well.  

With my VIP status, I don't get charged corkage.

Nevertheless, my dining companions generally seemed to enjoy the meal overall, which I suppose is more important--I have to remind myself on occasion that projects like this are intended to be for the fun of it.  And generally speaking, TEITY has been quite a blast thus far.  Whereas everyone thought the idea to be crazy at first, they all now seem to recognize the logic behind the insanity.

Curry Fish Ball (1.0)--like in the Curry Fish Head (see generally 5.298 Braised Pork Belly with Taopok), the coconut cream and curry didn't get along, making the dish both greasy from the cream and bitter from the curry; the fish ball and taopok were okay.

Steamed Crab with Rice in the Basket (2.0)--while the rice was nice, infused with subtle crab flavor, the crab itself was kinda bland, as if all of its flavor had bled out into the rice; one of Tao Yuan's signature dishes.

Sate Minced Beef Dumpling (1.0)--glutinous rice, the skins were sticky/pasty, not in a good way; fillings were mushy and bland, not in a good way; the worst dim sum item thus far.

 
Dried Scallop with Two Kinds Vegetable (3.0)--resampling blue items may be necessary to confirm the initial ratings; this time, broccoli was included in lieu of asparagus, while there was barely any sauce, making the dish far less satisfying than before (see for comparison 5.264 Seaweed with Minced Shrimp Thick Soup); all such notes will come into play whenever the Korean WHO WPRO staff dinner takes place here.

 Steamed Minced Pork with Salted Fish (1.5)--tasted just like it looked.


Braised Imported Sliced Abalone with Black Mushroom (2.5)--didn't really taste like anything, either way; the second most expensive item on the menu at 1,899 pesos a pop (not counting live seafood)--totally not worth it.

Cereal Prawns (1.25)--sweetish.

That's a lot of excess cereal.

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ADDENDUM

10 (Fri) April 2015

Finished (see generally 6.095 Done).