Archive for February, 2011
Posted on February 24, 2011 - by Vic
With what little is left of your monthly salary in these hard times this new year, KUSINA Cagayana Restaurant along Pengue Highway in Tugegarao, Cagayan is one of the few places where you can put your hard earned money to its best use – recharging your batteries over the restaurant’s sumptuous daily buffet menu and its ongoing Asian buffet special offering this part of northern Philippines in Tuguegarao City Cagayan. Kusina Cagayana’s dishes are basically modern Cagayan and unique twists to old time Filipino favorites, in comfy and functional surroundings.
“The Filipino palate deserves to be treated once in a while to new and exciting fare,” quips Tess De Leon Valiente, manager of the restaurant, and that is what KUSINA Cagayana would like to accomplish with its one-of-a-kind buffet menu spread of otherwise regular provincial dishes but with a unique twist! It also has a host of other familiar Filipino dishes that will surely satisfy one’s Pinoy cravings, whether these are local residents, balikbayans or even expatriates visiting the country.
Good thing though, I found out that KUSINA Cagayana uses only the freshest ingredients available daily in the local market with their dishes, allowing fresh and natural ingredients to enhance the flavor of each serving. The result has been rewarding with a consistently growing number of clientele who keeps coming back for more of the various choices on the buffet menu spread. Drive throughs are a common sight in the restaurant coming from nearby Isabela as well as Ilocos Norte, La Union and Isabela.
High on the list of must-tries is the mixed Filipino Salad delicacy and freshly grilled eggplants with bagoong, boiled okra, camote, or sweet mangoes on a bed of green lettuce dressed in sweet vinaigrette sauce. I found this dish, highly recommended for diet and health conscious individuals as I found it a filling meal by itself. There’s the Shrimp ukoy, an intriguing mix of small shrimp, dipped with farm egg batter, Tkwa’t Baboy, Garlic Longganisa or thinly sliced marinated Beef Tapa served with their own special vinegar with fresh garlic and sprinkling of pepper.
There is also the familiar Inabraw and Molo soup, this dish gives the all-time pedestrian Ilongo favorite a makeover. Cooked in a mild spicy sauce and served in a celadon soup bowl, as its name says, this dish is a welcome familiar surprise to the Pinoy taste buds.
Fish enthusiasts will love to munch on Tilapia Strips, crispy fried on the outside and light and tasty on the inside, it can be eaten on its own or dipped in its accompanying mustard sauce, or the crispy fried Hito, a common fresh water fish caught daily, for a completely different gastronomic experience. The restaurant has also cooked it with gata or coconut milk popular with the Bicolanos. Either way, these two dishes gives the effect of pallet addiction: as fans of these dishes know, one serving is never enough. Along these lines, try their newest Vegetable Laing or Bicol Express, a take off from the famous fiery specialty of southern Bicolandia
Folks who want a taste of the traditional will not go wrong with their Boneless Crispy Pata, served already sliced into roulades. According to Tess, this is one of the specialties of the restaurant and is never missing on all the tables of diners, especially during lunchtime celebrations and those other memorable occasions. There is also the beef shanks cooked ala Kare-kare with garnishing of leafy pechay, string beans, banana sprouts and other vegetables.
For those diners craving to eat something in between meals, one must try their Pancit Cagayana, a noodle delight which uses a combination of canton and sotanghon, mixed with a special, sweetish sauce and topped with bits of chopped lechon kawali. A rich meal unto itself!
KUSINA Cagayana’s other dessert or merienda menu is equally adventurous. It takes inspiration from our Japanese and Chinese influences and combines it with Filipino staples, resulting in a merienda to remember from the visually colorful Halo-halo, chilled gulaman, sticky suman rice, or their own version of puto and sapin-sapin, served with freshly grated coconut . Or fried native Saba with Muscovado(brown sugar) . Customers with a sweet tooth will be delighted with the restaurant’s in Banana Langka a sweet Float, or mouth watering sticks of mini turons served in a martini glass tucked with a generous scoop of lychee gelatin – a true celebration of texture and warmth or their own version of buko lychee pandan.
Thankfully, word-of-mouth has continuously drawn more people by the day attracted by the great eats and the reasonable price (expect to spend around pesos one hundred seventy eight pesos(for a satisfying KUSINA Cagayana dining experience per person Nothing is as it seems at this restaurant where Filipino cuisine is taken to new heights, and where customers can expect a different dining experience with each visit – the essence of KUSINA Cagayana.
For further details: Kusina Cagayana Restaurant is at JC Bldg. Cayosa Homes Pengue Highway, Tugegarao City, Cagayan Vallley. Operating hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. For reservations, call (076)844-2880 or 844-9324.
Posted on February 20, 2011 - by Vic
A stone’s throw from the Asian Development Bank Building in Ortigas, Pasig City is the new, Oakwood Premier Joy-Nostalg Center Manila which has made a comeback with new and improved facilities including their prime dining outlet, the Oakroom
Restaurant and bar which is open daily catering mostly to the business traveler. This chic new restaurant is the latest addition to Manila’s dining scene, with its clean and modern interiors that’s a visual feast of earth colors and themed furnishings of contemporary artworks. The restaurant serves standout menus including everything that runs from familiar favorites like New Zealand steamed mussels and Caesar salad for appetizers to soups, sandwiches, pizza and pastas to entrées like Chilean sea bass, Blue marlin, meat selections like grilled Berkshire pork chop to healthy choices of Layered lasagna and Veggie Burger. It also has comfort food dishes from Asian selection to familiar Filipino favorites like Kare-Kare to Halo-halo. All these menu offering is also available on their room service according to the amiable Executive Assistant Manager Rayner Simon. One shouldn’t miss out on their daily selection of executive lunch menu highlighted with an
interesting dessert compliments.
To chill out, the Oakroom Bar next to the dining area with its dark brown wood interiors and touches of fine silk and leather furniture, boasts of a fine selection of drinks and spirits including tempting martinis, vodkas and imported wines where patrons and dining guests can socialize in a relax setting while enjoying light jazz music and popular tunes. Local professionals and expatriates here have discovered this new place and love to hang out here for both before and after dinner drinks. The Oakwood Joy Nostalg Center Manila houses what is fast becoming one of the city’s best dining rooms. 17 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City tel. nos(+632)637-7888 or 910-888 www.oakwoodasia.com
Posted on February 12, 2011 - by Vic
This piece of travel story is one of my favorite trips that I made last year and look forward to doing it again soon. As the plane circles the virgin island of Amanpulo in Palawan, passengers look out the window, admiring the coral reef 300 meters from the shore. The waters sparkle in dazzling shades of blue and turquoise, bordered by immaculate white sand. These are just few of the sights that make Amanpulo, a private island in Pamilican and part of the Cuyo Islands, a world class wonder. One of the most popular of the Aman resorts in the world, this piece of paradise offers the ultimate beach vacation. Boasting a pristine beachfront that could put any postcard to shame, Amanpulo allows any lucky visitor to experience unrivaled luxury in a perfectly private retreat.