29 May 2012

FOODIE THOUGHTS: Ziggurat Cuisine: A Pleasure to the Palate

One of Makati's best-kept secrets!

From the outside, it is an unassuming sight but once you step inside the vicinity, the vibe takes a different turn. You choose whether you get the alfresco treatment, or go inside the air conditioned area and sit in the floor, cross-legged style, or take a seat in one of their few tables. Whatever you choose, it does not have a significant bearing on the entire experience as their food is the main lead.

Lonely Planet recognizes this place as one of their 2009's elusive Editor's Pick! The only one in Makati to have gotten this distinction. Cool!
This is their menu! My photo does not give it any justice. The build-up of excitement will reach its fever pitch because one may find it an extra challenge to order food from cuisines that you are not quite familiar with, let alone read it from this HUGE menu with am equally HUGE array of choices..Indian, African, Meditteranean & Middle Eastern. 

Hummus (Ponded garbanzo beans with tahini) and Mutabbal (Hand-chopped grilled eggplant with tahini) with traditional bread
Arabian Salad (Garden fresh vegetables with special Arabic dressing). A different taste but delightful still to the tastebuds. 
Arabian Chickpea Salad (Special salad of chickpeas simmered in olive oil, herbs & lemon)
Our Drinks (what an experience!):
Indian Chilli Beer. Spicy tanginess!
Cameroonian Mango Shandy. Whatta kick for a mango juice!
African Ginger Beer. Just like our Salabat, but with an alcoholic taste. 
 Main Course:
Medium Kebab Platter (consisting of chicken tikka, beef tikka, and a choice of beef, chicken, or fish kufteh served with grilled vegetables). All were cooked tenderly, still juicy and very tasty. The parsley salad was something else. It triggered something in me. Haha!
Chicken curry dish (I forgot the name of this dish)
The Rice choices. I'm not sure what their names are but we ordered the ff:
1. Jordanian Rice ( premium Basmati, butter, vermicelli, and almonds)
2. Iraqi Saffron Rice (Basmati, butter, cumin, almonds & saffron strands)
3. Afghani Rice (premium Basmati rice, butter, parsley and cilantro)

They are all long-grained and tastes good and really stood out!

Baklava (a traditional Mediterranean dessert made with phylo pastry, honey, walnuts and almonds). definitely something that I used to watch only in foreign cooking shows on cable TV. So happy to have tried it! 
What time is it? Time to go home and digest all that good stuff!
Or stay a little bit and have a nightcap 
The moment of truth! LOL 

What's the best thing with this experience? Free of charge, courtesy of our immediate supervisor who treated us to this feast. What an experience!

Overall take on this place: A must visit and must-try! The whole experience is so worth it. Though my legs were feeling nothing after that cross-legged, or 1-sided, seating, I will still definitely come here in the near future to have the same experience like my first time here.  =)

Ziggurat Cuisine Restaurant
G/F Sunette Tower Bldg. Durban St. 
cor. Makati Ave. Makati City, Metro Manila
(02) 897-5179

14 May 2012

LAGUNA DIARIES: PILA - Small Town With A Bevy of Ancestral Houses & A Beautiful Church

Pila is a small 4th class municipality in the province of Laguna with a total land area of 31.2 kms. A quaint town that you will pass by on your way to much known towns such as Pagsanjan. Best known for their collection of ancestral houses that dates back to early Spanish period.

Per Wikipedia, the National Historical Institute of the Philippines declared the town plaza and surrounding ancestral houses a National Historical Landmark on May 17, 2000. Two years later, on July 9, 2002, the Diocese of San Pablo proclaimed the parish church of San Antonio de Padua de Pila as the Diocesan Shrine of St. Anthony. According to Philippine historian, Dr. Luciano Santiago, it is the only town in the Philippines that is formally recognized as a historical site by both the church and the state.

Shown below are the architectural structures that withstood the test of time.. that witnessed history in the making over and over again:
Well preserved!

Rudolfo Relova Ancestral House
Jose Agra Ancestral House

The Pila Museum at my back. Wished I could have had the time to enter and explore what it offers to the public. Next time..
Pila's charming Municipal Hall that blends well with its neighboring houses
The San Antonio de Padua Church. The first Antonine church in the Philippines established in 1581, the 350th death anniversary of St. Anthony himself. 

It looked very big from outside but just the right size when you get inside.
Angels guard this church
The interiors of the church looked visibly modern but the exterior facade more than made up for its old-world charm

My picture that was taken in a hurry! The hearse was fast approaching the entrance for their schedule and I was in their way. Sorry!

So beautiful!
A beautiful day highlighted theBeautiful and colorful.
The plaza. Definitely a place where everyone can convene for a formal affair or for a casual conversation with the neighbors, or other townspeople.
I would love to go back to this place and stay for a while, just sitting at the town's plaza and taking in the scenes in front of me. I really appreciated the charm of this quaint town, that's for sure!

07 May 2012

LAGUNA DIARIES: Foodspotting during 2012 11th Bangkero Festival

Who does not love fiestas? I bet everyone does. Of course, it's a celebration! All the people are in a festive mood and ready to forget their worries even for just a while.

Apart from that, fiestas or festivals brings out all the culinary masterpieces, or even un-culinary, of their beloved town. That's why during Pagsanjan, Laguna's Bangkero Festival, I knew that there would be lots of street foods at the plaza. And it sure did not disappoint.

Here's a rundown of what I had, some repeatedly:
Japanese siomai from a food cart for only P25.00. I liked mine with lots of garlic and I super enjoyed this!

The woman in orange opened an AK savings account with us and she mentioned that she hoped that we could drop by her stall and she will give a good deal. So since we  had not lunch yet, we went and she added lots of fillings on our shawarma. Nice doing business with you, ma'am.
One of my absolute faves in street foods--Shredded corn with margarine, sugar and cheese! I got this 3x in 3 days, for P20.00, sure made my day. The weather was giving lots of rainshowers but we survived it. Thanks to these 'comforting' foods.
Kuya Bobby!
A revelation for me-- I always see this here in Manila but I don't give it a second glance. I just did not care. But I gave it a shot here and I became an instant fan! The coconut meat that is a key ingredient is so fresh and over all, the Buko Shake was so refreshing. Totally loved it. I tried the Manila version of this, and somehow, the taste is not quite the same. I had repeat orders of this one.
'Sinful' snacks =) They came in droves during the festival
Innards, intestines, chicken skin..they got it! Deep fried to perfection and seasoned just right. Always a sure hit with the masses because it tastes so good yet so bad for the health especially for those with health concerns related to high cholesterol and the like. Just saying =)
I got P10.00 worth of chicken skin and its so good! But a word of caution to those with health concerns, just get 1 or 2 then stop it, or else... Hehe! I know you probably know that already. By the way, this chicken skin is good to be eaten all by itself or with rice, just dip it in vinegar. Yum!
Kindly manang who got camera-shy. Thanks!
Of course, you cannot go home without pasalubong. The main roads all over the province is lined with places like the one shown above. Just take your pick. Me, I just got Uraro and Shingaling.

All in all, it was so fun. I love events like this! =)
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