Sunday, June 19, 2011

Recipes: A Food Review and A Flashback


Everything that happened is it still very clear in my mind. As much as I would like to forget those memoirs that really brought me to tears, I can't... I cannot do so for these things somehow had made an impact of who I am now; of what I believe in and how I see life in a much better light. Yes, I can say that I have been through a lot - heartaches, frustrations, disappointments, sorrows - it may seem that I am overreacting for these are nothing compared to what others have been through, but as for me, they're not. Each is a heavy load that I have learned to carry and eventually gave me wisdom to live life everyday. Surpassing all those things, I learned how to love and be loved, to move on, to forgive and at the same time ask for forgiveness, to see the people around me who lifted my spirits up and most importantly to pray and ask for some guidance. All throughout this process, special aspects which I call "F3" has always been there to keep me smiling - Family, Friends and Food.

Thank heavens I am blessed with loving friends, a supportive family and a big appetite. Everytime that the rain will fall down on me, I eat with the people I love. It effectively allows me to reflect on the things happening in my life and it is also a way for me to lighten my heart out. With that, let me share with you different dining moments happened at one of my favorite restaurants - RECIPES By Cafe Metro.

Recipes By Cafe Metro, founded by Mickee and Ria de Guzman, traces its roots from Mickee's grandmother, Lola Impression and her traditional family and Filipino home cooking. As what I have also learned, most of the entrees and bestsellers on the restaurant's menu was Lola Impression's original recipe - a fact that made every dish in this restaurant a part of their family's heritage. Over the years, they have made interesting twists to these traditional Filipino fares which made them known as a fusion restaurant as well. This is the reason why most families and group of friends keep on coming back in this restaurant; for it doesn't only offer food in to-share servings but at the same time serve the best-tasting and family-oriented meals you could ever find.

I have first encountered Recipes after attending my French classes in Alliance Francais de Manille in Makati. As what I can remember, I was walking around Greenbelt looking for a place to eat and at the same time lounge before heading home. That time, I badly wanted to reward myself with something good for dinner, something filling but still within my budget. Then, with its concrete walls, minimalist interiors, bright lighting and modern appeal, I found myself comfortably waiting for my dinner - the very same dish that me and my friends agreed to order - their version of Korean Beef Stew.

Recipes really got the right taste to its Korean Beef Stew - the push and pull of sweet, savory and spicy flavors greatly complements the tender beef making it such an amazing tandem with steaming hot white rice. I also got so hooked with how the soft meat absorbed those flavors from the sauce, a feat that makes this dish par excellence. The sauce and the amazingly soft beef makes the whole dish really stand out; it was something that you would crave and would prefer to have everytime you give their resto a visit.


Korean Beef Stew


this is how I usually eat my Korean Beef Stew -
I drizzle most of the sauce over rice, mix it and then
eat it with the delicious beef and sweet carrots.

Another equally scrumptious dish that you can only find at Recipes is the General's Chicken. The name might sound quite intimidating but you'll fall for its savory goodness and appetizing flavors. Imagine crispy chunks of breaded chicken and sliced eggplants covered with their rich, sweet and savory general's sauce - a dish that will truly capture and confine your taste buds. The chicken tasted extra special with its combination with the sauce, so as to the eggplants. I love how the sauce didn't overpower the mild flavors of the chicken but instead brought it to a higher notch of impeccable taste. Also, I am not a big aubergine fan but I was able to enjoy every bit of it in this one of a kind palatable dish. For those who prefer a lighter version, the Fried Tofu in General's Sauce is a must try. Perfectly fried tofu made more tasty and exquisite with the general's sauce, same delicious taste without the guilt!


General's Chicken


Fried Tofu in General's Sauce

I was first introduced to Lechon Kawali with Adobong KangKong when my best friend invited me to join his family for lunch in Trinoma. From that moment on, I have learned that deep fried pork meat and kangkong soaked in a soy sauce, vinegar and some spices base goes well together. It is very unique compared to how other restaurants serve it. As for my opinion, it's actually better compared to the usual liver-based lechon that we are all familiar with. The base adobo sauce interestingly rounds up the meaty taste of the pork and the freshness of the leafy greens. Also, the meat retained its crispiness and has absorbed some of the sauce making it such a feast to the mouth when you eat it. You can also enjoy this dish like a salad or make it a complete meal with a cup of rice. This is one true Filipino dish that will definitely become one of your personal favorites.


Lechon Kawali with Adobong KangKong

Another dish that was initially introduced to me during my bestfriend's family lunch at Recipes is the Gising-Gising. I am not a big fan of the veggie in this dish but it's team up with some rich coconut milk and its amazingly good spiciness left me in awe with eyes wide open, hence, truly standing to its very Filipino nature and name. The veggies remained crunchy with a certain bite into it and its flavors blended really well with the creamy texture and taste of the coconut milk. I am very particular with meals cooked with gata but this dish really captured my heart and is truly worth raving about.


Gising-Gising

I love anything from the sea. Although I am much of a carnivore, from time to time I prefer to devour bounties from the great ocean. That is why my heart jumped out of pure happiness when my friends decided to order some of their best selling fish dishes. First on our list is their Crispy Tilapia and its other two variants namely: Crispy Tilapia Escabeche and Crispy Tilapia in Tamarind Sauce. What I love about these dishes is that you need not to worry about the fish bones anymore, all that you have to do is pick it up, put it in your mouth and enjoy. The escabeche greatly appeals to the Filipino palate with its combination of sweet and salty flavors that deliciously highlights the freshness of the fish.


Crispy Tilapia Escabeche

The Crispy Tilapia in Tamarind Sauce is a more subtle version that behind its simplicity hides layers of flavors that will surely tease and tickle your tastebuds. Its mild and the tangy tamarind sauce impressively brings out the goodness of the fried freshwater fish. Also, the hint of lemony taste from the lemon grass adds a certain freshness to the dish making it even more interesting. It is another new twist to the regular crispy fried tilapia that everyone will surely fall for.


Crispy Tilapia in Tamarind Sauce

One more reason to visit Recipes is for their hefty serving of Kare-Kare. Since we are a group of hungry foodies, this dish is undeniably a perfect catch - with its deliciously nutty sauce, crunchy veggies and succulent meat - everyone will surely be happy. The consistency and taste of the sauce is just perfect, even without their equally tasty shrimp paste (bagoong alamang). Add some of the bagoong and it will surely leave you speechless and asking for some extra rice!


Kare-Kare

An unusual yet a yummy partner to their Kare-Kare is the Crispy Bangus. The crunchiness of the fried milkfish not only adds some texture but also a depth of flavor that harmoniously blends with the distinct taste of the sauce. On its own, it is a gastronomic finger food that you might not stop eating, especially when dipped into their signature vinegar and soy sauce.


Crispy Bangus

Speaking of finger foods, another dish that you shouldn't miss is their Chicharong Bulaklak. Recipes' version tasted really clean and has put this regular Filipino street food to the next level. I actually enjoy eating it alone as well as dipping it into their special chicharon vinegar - a true perfect pair that no foodie could ever resist.


Chicharong Bulaklak

Just like how I believe that at the end of the day, life still is as beautiful as ever and is the best gift given unto us, I always make sure to end special gatherings like this with something sweet and creamy, something more likely to be Recipes' Special Buko Pandan. This very Pinoy dessert reminds me of my mom a lot, for it was through her that I have learned how to make it (miss her big time!). What I love about this dessert is that instead of its usual ingredients, Recipes used more sophisticated elements to make this simple dessert very, very tempting. Imagine emerald-green pandan flavored gelatin adorned with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (in replacement of all purpose cream) and topped with shreds of macapuno to add just the right sweetness into it. Every sweet tooth will be amazed by the velvety texture of the vanilla ice cream and the macapuno, most especially how it mixes with the subtle flavors of the gelatin which gives its signature taste as a whole. Also, it's remarkable how my teeth sinks in to the gelatin that has an interesting bite into its core. Indeed, having this dessert is such a sweet and lovely ending to a hefty and savory meal.


Special Buko Pandan

While on the road, after indulging into those great-tasting dishes, reminiscing what I have been through and spending some fantastic time with my foodie friends, one thing suddenly came into my mind, an idea that made me nearly teary-eyed - "I am blessed and I will always be, so as to the people around me". Life conspires lessons that we need to learn and I believe that I have already understood some of mine. It will be a tough journey for sure but I know that in every storm that I am in, a person or could be a group of people will also be there to join me and help me get through it. Being blessed is not only getting what you want nor having a smooth-sailing life, it is still about sharing a smile and love to others, having wonderful friends and being able to see life in a better light. All in all, it was another memorable gastronomical experience that will be forever a part of me, an amazing food trip only at Recipes.




Recipes By Cafe Metro

Branches:

Alabang Town Center
2nd Level, Corte delas Palmas, Alabang Town Center
Alabang-Zapote Road, Alabang Muntinlupa, Metro Manila, Philippines
Phone Number: (63 2) 772-2216

Shangri-la Plaza Mall
5th Level, Shangri-la Plaza Mall
Shaw Blvd. cor. EDSA Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines
Phone Number: (63 2) 637-4050

Trinoma
Trinoma Mall
EDSA cor. North Ave. Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Phone Number: (63 2) 901-3686

Greenbelt 3
Greenbelt 3
Greenbelt Paseo de Roxas cor. Legaspi St., Ayala Center Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines
Phone Number: (63 2) 728-0917, (63 2) 728-0920

Robinsons Midtown
Midtown Wing, Robinsons Place Manila
Pedro Gil cor. Adriatico Sts., Ermita Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines
Phone Number: (63 2) 567-1912



***Will be opening soon in Newport Mall in Resorts World, Manila***



Credits: Special thanks to my friend, Chris Carreon for some of the food shots

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