Friday, December 31, 2010

Degustation at The Goose Station Part 1


Let's end 2010 with a big bang. What better way to do it other than blogging about one of the biggest raves- THE GOOSE STATION by Chefs Rob and Sunshine Pengson.

Might I just add, I'm attempting the impossible to write this amazingly long blog especially after a 9 hour car ride. Anyway, let's get started.

some of the kitchen plus the dining area.
When I got to The Goose Station, it was empty, and pretty much for the entire duration of the meal, it was EMPTY. I know, it's pretty strange especially given the fact that people are really anxious-excited to try this place out! The waiters were formally dressed and the place kinda reminded me of a barn with the frills and thrills in this modern day.

First off, even if you order the degustation, you get some bread and butter. It was very much typical, no flares just yet!

olives remind me of lily and marshall.

1st course: SNACKS. Foie Cone, Potato Glass, Olive Tapenade Oreo, Savory Macaron

What followed was what they called the snack. It was started off with their famous foie gras cone which was filled with a silky smooth and ever so delicate foie. The potato glass, olive tapenade oreo, and the savory macaron followed. The potato glass was a perfect square of a thinly cut potato. You could literally see through this much like glass, duh. But there wasn't anything particularly special about it. The olive oreo was flavorful, much like the essence of olives with a swig of cream cheese. And my favorite was the macaron which had proscuitto inside and yet it had some sticky substance that held everything together. The contrast of the saltiness of the proscuitto and the sweetness of the macaron created the perfect mouthful.

with dry ice and some rocks to add to the effect.

see the layers?

2nd course: CAVIAR SURPRISE. Alaskan King Crab, White Asparagus Flan, Prawn Jelly

The prawn jelly had a certain smokiness and the asparagus flan was melt in your mouth smooth. I would definitely want to have more crab and apparently the caviar is beluga caviar? I just don't know. I'd describe this dish as a layered soup.


3rd course: FARMER'S EGG. 63 Egg, Air Dried Bacon, Mushroom and Gratin Pilaf, Cocido Broth

Egg was at 63 degrees, might I just say that I see no significance in this other than it oozed out slowly. Kinda amusing, but we had to wait to a fair bit for them to prepare the meal since they couldn't get the egg to the proper temperature without breaking apart. The pilaf which was puff wild rice was really crispy and nutty. Cocido is the ham hock broth, and I'd say it was heaven. I love it, the mere drinking of the broth was just truly packed with flavor that I can't even describe. The whole scene really reminded me of a farm with egg as its sun, pilaf as worms, and the other things as crops.

see what a big beauty this is?
4th course: BEET GARDEN. Beets, Goat's Cheese, Orange, Greens, Garden Garnish

Nature at it's BEST, most likely- MOST SCRUMPTIOUS. The component that I liked the most would be the beet film filled with goat's cheese. The film was really glossy and the goat's cheese was soft and the combo just oozed in your mouth. The walnut and gingerbread soil gave the needed much rough texture that the whole lacked. And the small squares of watermelon served as a palate cleanser in between elements on the plate. The microgreens and the small carrot were equally fresh and sweet. The last component was the compressed melon which was supposed to serve as the final palate cleanser. I didn't find it especially extravagant. Probably one of the most intricate dishes on the menu. I love the amount of detail and care taken in order to deliver this dish.

Well, as all the food is coming out of the kitchen at the moment, I might as well lend a hand downstairs to make this evening right. Watch out for the second half of the degustation tomorrow, hopefully!:) Hope you've all had a nice holiday!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ramen Bar, Eastwood

Yes, it's Eastwood again. I never really knew that a place called Ramen Bar existed. It's just that my friend who has a place in Eastwood mentioned it to me. I guess some cafes and restaurants in Japan would actually look like this since there seems to be some sort of artistic flare in the form of anime, but at the same time, some minimalism is present as well proved by the clean lines and furniture.

Super Chasyu Ramen- Soy-infused Tonkotsu Ramen 
topped with overflowing slices of chasyu and tamago.
I wouldn't precisely call it affordable since it would cost you around 400 pesos a pop (around $10- that's Aussie dollars!) My friend had the Super Chasyu Ramen while I had the R.B.S #1. We shared an order of the Kankuni Buns.

R.B.S #1-Soy-infused Tonkotsu Ramen 
topped with tamago, naruto, nori, negi, chasyu and kakuni.
The servings were rather generous and the broth was really soy infused and tasty. My stomach is rumbling as I'm actually trying to describe it. The noodles were al dente (Is there an Asian term for that?). The Chasyu was slices of pork belly cooked until really tender, and of course, there's nothing much to expect from pork belly rather than the fact that it would be fatty. The tamago was very flavorful but I must say that it was a bit too salty for my taste. My ramen had portions of nori, naruto, and negi. I couldn't really pinpoint each and every one of them but I will say that there are these mushroom things that are just fantastic, they have a bite and yet they don't give any crunch.

Kankuni Buns- Melt in your mouth pork buns.
The Kankuni Buns are the things that you shouldn't miss out on. The white buns are a pretty typical Asian thing, the pork belly was really melt in your mouth tender. Succulent! It was accompanied by lettuce, spring onions, and some hoisin sauce. Did I mention I have a thing for hoisin? Anyway, it was such a good combo. I could've eaten like 5 if I probably didn't have the ramen. Yummo!:)

On a weekday, it was really packed with people. As per Philippines, I think it just might be one of the best ramen bowls I've had or more authentic rather. As for Australia, wait for my post on Zenya Noodle Bar in Eastwood, Sydney. It's impeccable. And I swear, all the people there actually speak Japanese!:) So authentic!

Ramen BarG/F Eastwood Mall 
Libis, Quezon City

Friday, December 17, 2010

One of the Christmas Parties

I'm counting down the days. It's 8 days left before Christmas at the moment, but can you feel that Christmas is right around the corner? Cause I certainly can't, it feels like a fair bit away. And for some reason, I can't find all the Christmas-sy songs in my iPod either.

A few days ago, I went my friend, F's place to cook for a Christmas Party. I was reasonably tired after spending the whole morning at ISCAHM (which I still think is AWESOME.) We cooked a whole mod podge of different things, and I enjoyed myself a lot. By the way, F finished Diploma of Culinary Arts and Kitchen Management in ISCAHM. So I learned a quite a bit from him.

Moroccan Lamb Tagine.
It was cooked for at least 12 hours.

Beautifully deep fried paprika spiced fish.
There was hummus, a simple salad, paella, lamb tagine, a cous cous stuffed chicken, paprika spiced beer battered fish, a mango torte, and apple pie. It was such a fulfilling meal. There was obviously a lot of variety, and of course, the people who had the meal enjoyed it a lot.

Silky Smooth Hummus
The hummus had just the right configuration. It felt light without being taken over by olive oil. I swear I could've had it over and over again with wholemeal pita bread. The lamb tagine had the typical Moroccan spices and flavors. It was a bit too heavy for my taste that evening. But i really loved the raisins in the stew.

Stuffed and Trussed Chicken with Cous Cous Stuffing

My favorite thing would probably be the cous cous stuffed chicken. It delivered a lot of flavor cause the cous cous had dried fruit and nuts even though it might sound a little weird and a little out of your league. The chicken remained really succulent and moist. I definitely had to do with the basting of butter over and over again.

Paella with Artichoke Hearts, Mussles, Squid, Prawns and OTHER THINGS.

The paella was packed with flavor. There were a lot of ingredients. I bet y'all I couldn't even remember each and every one of them! They came together in such an epic harmony. We were extremely generous with the saffron so the rice was amazingly fragrant with the scent.

Cuerva's Mango Torte
The mango torte came from a place called Cuerva which is apparently really famous for that particular dessert. But I'd say that I like the one from Dulcelin more since there's the crust is 10 20 times better! I love the nutty crusty of Dulcelin's. Oh, and there's a lot of whipped cream too!

Apple pie with the best crumble topping ever.
As for the apple pie, I seriously can't remember where it was from but it has the most delightful oatmeal crumble topping. I skipped out the apple and I was just heading straight toward the topping. Yes, if you must know, it was THAT good.

The caroling children
There was a special program from some children who were caroling around the neighborhood as well. They were orphans and they were funding for their cause. It was so heart-warming and I could've sworn I saw some people teary-eyed.

So dear readers, tell me, what do your Christmas parties look like?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kogi Bulgogi, Eastwood

After an outrageously tiring workout at the gym, I reckon that I deserved a bountiful lunch. At first, we were thinking of heading to Outback, but along with Outback comes a lot of fat and calories. So we settled on heading to Eastwood and finding a restaurant there.

Kogi Bulgogi
We had a few puzzling conversations before we decided to head over to Kogi Bulgogi which is obviously a Korean restaurant. I've heard about it in Appetite magazine before and it's apparently a good place to go for Korean fare.

The place isn't as full as it usually is, but there's a reasonable crowd inside. I chose not to order since I was with some frequent diners. We ordered a fair bit of food but all went down without a hitch.

Top: Kimchi, Beansprouts, Veggie Cake
Bottom: Potato, Sweet Potato and Banana, Small Fried Fish

Gleaming Slivers of Salmon
As for starters, there were the 6 typical Korean appetizers. I especially liked the small fish often called dilis, there was a nice crunch and slightly spicy tinge to it. The salmon sashimi that they served tasted very clean and fresh. It was a tad bit frozen though.

Sae-u Bibimbap (Prawn Bibimbap)
My portion of bibimbap, I told the prawns were tiny.
Tuk Bulgogi (Bulgogi Pot)

There was bibimbap with prawns, the bibimbap had such an intense kimchi flavor. I, for one, loved it, the only problem I had with it were those tiny tiny prawns. Next came the Bulgogi Pot. The broth that came with it had that sweet-savoury vibe, I wasn't the biggest fan. The beef wasn't the best thing either, it looked really shriveled and sad.

Jang O-Gui (Grilled Eel)
Ko Chi Gui (Salt Grilled Mackerel)
The other dishes we had were the grilled eel and grilled mackerel. The grilled eel I especially loved because it proved to be really tender and packed with loads of flavor. It was cooked perfectly and didn't have that cheap fishy vibe to it. The mackerel on the other hand was a little bit overdone but it was compensated by those gorgeous grill marks and the calamansi juice that was sprinkled over it.

bye bye fishie.
I'd say this would definitely be one of those places that has a good value for money, and they have great service as well! Another plus would be the no service charge! Definitely a check plus, plus!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A blur of cookies

So I really ought to be reading up on my Sociology-Anthropology notes right now for the BIG EXAM tomorrow, but I'm (clearly) NOT!

The other day, my sister and I made enormous batches of three different cookies-- the prerequisite Chocolate Chip, a very sweet take on Peanut Butter Cookies and something we tried out of the blue, Carrot Cookies with Orange Icing.

You are about to be bombarded with a lot of disordered pictures.

Bon Chon Chicken, Ayala Triangle

What New York Times thinks of Bon Chon Chicken.

Amidst the chaos that December brings, I finally found time to squeeze in my visit to the Ayala Triangle Gardens. There are the usual restaurants that people visit. And there were a few that caught my attention such as Kanin Club, Bonchon Chicken, Wee Nam Kee, and Bfast.

Among all of them, Bonchon chicken was the one that appealed to me the most cause of it's popularity in the United States. I just had to have some. I don't want to be the one missing out on the BIG thing since it was right in front of me already.

The place was PACKED, well mostly with business people. I fell in line, it felt like forever. As I waited for my order, my stomach continually grumbled. I could smell all the amazing aromas coming out of the kitchen. I just wanted the chicken more so much MORE.

Possibly the most tasty chicken drumsticks I've ever had.
Even though they are famous for their wings, I chose the drumsticks instead cause they have more meat, OH DUH. When I saw them, they were steaming and fragrant. I can't tell you how magnificent these drumsticks smelled. I ordered the soy garlic ones and boy did they give a whole damn new definition to the words SOY & GARLIC. Yes, it was that good. I usually don't eat the chicken skin but this time, I couldn't resist. I just had to have the juicy succulent sauce-laden skin. It was crisp and flavorful. The chicken was tender and succulent.

I heard the Philippines has an answer to Bon Chon Chicken, and it's called Chicken Charlie. That, I must try out real soon.

Bon Chon Chicken
Ayala Triangle Gardens
Paseo de Roxas
Makati City

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fundamentals in Culinary Arts- Day 1, ISCAHM

I discovered my love for cooking when I was around eleven or twelve. It started with cooking scrambled eggs, omelettes, and pasta. Over the years that passed, I just enjoyed cooking more and more. I'd start to delve into the more intimidating things. And recently, I had a really big love affair with baking and pastries- but more on that next time.

Some of the veggie cuts.

A few of the many potato cuts
So during my summer holiday, which I'm obviously spending in the Philippines, I decided to take a short course in the Fundamentals of Culinary Arts in ISCAHM. So on the first day we had, we learned about Food Safety and Sanitation. Yes, I will admit that it was boring I was on the verge of falling asleep. But after the first half of the 5 hour class, we were actually brought to the kitchen which is a good sign nonetheless. We learned 12 cuts for vegetables in general, and what's was more intimidating was the 18 astounding cuts for Pommes (Potatoes). It's even harder than it seems cause most of the name of the cuts are in French. All of these complex names were for the mise en place apparently it becomes easier cause it is a universal cooking language that proves to be very essential.

Chef Gerd Menge with the other students.
We watched our instructor, Chef Gerd Menge who skillfully demonstrated each and every one of these cuts slice all sorts of vegetables precisely. We even took a ruler out and measured his cuts. Precise to the last millimeter. Now that's what I call perfection.

When it came to my turn, I couldn't tell you how easy he made it seem. I had such a hard time. I couldn't even cut up perfect matchsticks. It was such a challenge. But with practice and a ceramic knife in hand, I think I'm gradually improving.

Did I mention Chef Gerd met Julia Child? So lucky.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Avocado Cake, Lia's Cakes in Season

Sitting pretty waiting for me to take a slice and indulge.
I'm an avocado freak. I love guacamole, avocado ice cream, and smoothies. Then there's avocado with toasted bread, avo in my caesar salad, and my avo in my sandwiches. Crab and avo, tomato and avo, shrimp and avo, salmon and avo, fried egg and avo, oh let's just put it this way, I can't get enough AVO.

I got to Kapitolyo to get some grub from Charlie's Grind and Grill which is totally legendary. So anyway, one time after dining at Charlie's, we noticed a cake shop next door and it had an ad which read Avocado Cake. No words were needed to be said, we were getting one.

Crunchy pistachios

If you can't see, it's a 2 layer cake! More ICING in between!
It appears like your ordinary cake, the icing and the chiffon. But wait till you take a bite, it's very moist and tastes completely like avocado. It's an avocado explosion. The pistachio nuts on top give that contrast and crunch that would just encourage you to eat more. I love the fact that the cake isn't too sweet like the normal ones you get. The only improvement? I'd like the pistachio nuts to be caramelized, that would just elevate the presentation of the whole cake.

Discovering the Avocado Cake is a total revelation. Well, I guess you should expect nothing short of that  when it's a recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation!

I'll be seeing eating more of the Avocado Cake really soon. Their other cakes look equally good, I'll give em a try next time. One last thing, they make deliveries too, PERFECT.

Lia's Cakes in Season

25 A&B East Capitol Drive
Barangay Kapitolyo, Pasig City
(from Kapitolyo Rotunda in Shaw Blvd, turn to West Capitol Drive (Petron), Left at
East Capitol Drive, 150 meters, left side)

Stall 29 Delicacies Village, Tiendesitas 
Frontera Verde, Pasig City

For deliveries: 2121212 (30% off for orders after 8pm)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The breakfast of my dreams

Guess what I had the other day, after 1 2/3 days of pure cranberry+apple juice hell.


A fried egg, garlic rice, and corned beef with tons of onions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Shall I describe it to you? Food porn time. The egg was perfectly and shamelessly FRIIIIIIIIIIIIED to perfection! Crispy, crunchy, egg-y, and ever-so-slighly salty. The rice was tasty, extremely garlic-y, with a hint of olive oil. And the corned beef was juicy and succulent, perfect with the caramelized onions...

And here's how this beautiful breakfast of mine looked:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mamou: A Home Kitchen, Serendra, The Fort

I've been to Mamou endless times. I like the place cause it brings back flooding good memories dating back to high school and as well, it has undoubtedly good food that reels me in. My favorites are the Fish and Chips with Malt Vinegar and Lorenzo's Truffle Cream.

The kitchen and busy staff
Today, I decide to cut back on the fried stuff as well as the creamy buttery ones. I shuffled through the menu a couple of times and I was puzzled which dish to pick. I know Mamou has been very famous recently for their Dry Aged USDA Prime Grade, the issue is, I'm not allowed to chow down a wad of beef since it's bad for my particular diet. So, I decided to get the Roast Pork and Chicken cause it did seem appetizing.

Bread and butter
As per always, they always give complimentary dinner rolls and butter. I like their bread very much cause it is dense and a fair bit nutty. I do however favor the brown bread over the white ones.

Roast Pork and Chicken- Mamou's citrus roasted pork and chicken,
buttered onions, red cuban rice, cinnamon saba, and black beans.
When my main arrived, it seemed like a whole plate of cuban influence was dumped right in front of me. The plate looked gorgeous with all the different colors outshining one another. The beans seemed a tiny bit overcooked, but that wasn't the case with I swooped some into my mouth. It had a smoky flavor that was utterly satisfying. The bananas were partially caramelized with cinnamon sugar, the slight crunch proved to be very inviting. As for the chicken, it was moist and packed with the citrus flavor, it was impeccable. The pork's skin was burnt and not quite palatable.

Beer Battered Fish with Malt Vinegar- Choice of potato wedges,  mashed potato,
red or white rice with tartar sauce and malt vinegar.
We also ordered the Fish and Chips with Malt Vinegar. Still the same banana as it used to be. The hot crisp batter with the velvety flaking of the fish. Bliss. Arguably still my favorite item on the menu. Oh there was a side of rice since someone decided to choose it over the chips. The rice was buttery and perfectly cooked.

Slow roasted bone-in, Prime Rib/ Yorkshire Puddings
Choice of two sides.
For the ultimate piece de resistance, there was Wawa's Prime Rib. We had a short chat with the owner and she said that this is one of those dishes that has been passed down in her family. I would simply describe it as a full-on juicy steak with a perfect gravy. The steak was a pleasure, or it was up until we hit the bone which proved to be a little bit shifty cause it was hard to carve and the meat there was definitely on the raw side. There was a huge amount of fat on the steak as well. The Yorkshire puddings were dry and bland, not their best. The mashed potato and creamed spinach were equally good, and did I mention the amount of butter? It's something that you probably wouldn't miss in any case.

Mamou: A Home Kitchen

Serendra, Bonifacio Global City
Taguig City, Metro Manila

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