May 6, 2012

Sunday feast

After many years in Vancouver, Chef Sandy Daza is back in Manila and recently opened a new restaurant along Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City. Named the Wooden Spoon, it basically serves Filipino food as interpreted by Sandy. And Chef Sandy seems to be influenced by anything and everything that he tastes and sees—which I heartily approve of. I do love chefs and cooks who like experimenting.

Stuffed Pechay from Chef Sandy Daza's Wooden Spoon The pechay (pak choi) stuffed with lean ground pork and tinapa (smoked fish) and cooked in a spicy coconut sauce is easily one of my favorites. According to Chef Sandy, this dish came straight out of his imagination.

 Breaded Fish Fillet with Wansoy Sauce from Chef Sandy Daza's Wooden Spoon The breaded fish fillet may look like any perfectly fried fish fillet anywhere in the world, but it is the dipping sauce that makes this one unusual.

 Lechon Kawali from Chef Sandy Daza's Wooden Spoon Lechon kawali is a common dish in the Philippines since it is just pork belly that's boiled then fried. That doesn't mean that all lechon kawali is the same though; quite the opposite, in fact. If not done well, the meat can be chewy and the skin tough enough to break teeth. I think that the Wooden Spoon has achieved perfection with theirs. Everything—every bite, every morsel, every millimeter of the skin—is crunchy. Aside from the regular liver sauce for dipping, it is also served with sweet chili sauce, and ginger sauce.

 wansoy dipping sauce and ginger dipping sauce from Chef Sandy Daza's Wooden Spoon The dipping sauce for the breaded fish fillet is based on wansoy (cilantro). It can easily overpower the delicate taste of the fish, as I discovered when I literally dipped the fish in the sauce; two or three drops placed on a bite-size piece is enough. Of the three sauces for the lechon kawali, I liked the ginger and green onion sauce best.

May 5, 2012

Under the stairs

a collection of decorative pieces at Tatung's Garden Café This collection of home accessories and art pieces caught my eye at Tatung's Garden Café. I'm not crazy about how they're all put together (there's no unifying theme that I can see), but I do like the inlaid chest and the framed matchbooks, individually. The stairs lead to the private area of the house, where Chef Myke Sarthou and his family live.

May 3, 2012

Tree ornaments

lanterns and string lights hanging from the trees in Salcedo Park I do not know if the lanterns and string lights hanging from the trees of the Jaime C. Velasquez Park in Salcedo Village, Makati City are there all year round, but I imagine the residents of the many condominium buildings in the area would want them to be. Because its real name is quite long, the park is better known simply as the Salcedo Park.

May 2, 2012

Not real

sunflower decorations at Eastwood Mall It is summer in the Philippines and Eastwood Mall's central atrium is decorated with gigantic sunflowers. Red sunflowers may not be real, but their fiery color is most appropriate, with Manila's temperatures already hitting—and going beyond—36˚C (98˚F). Factor in the humidity and it's not surprising that "malling" (which isn't a real word, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary) is a part of our Filipino-English vocabulary.

May 1, 2012


Banapple THEME DAY: BAKERIES • Banapple opened its first tiny kitchen and café five years ago along Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City. In those five years, it opened four other branches in others parts of Metro Manila, and the one along Katipunan Avenue is so popular, they opened another, bigger branch across the street, where most of the baking is now done. This is the original store, fondly called Banapple One.

The pie that made Banapple famous is their Banoffee Pie, a photo of which I posted back in 2009, and which I'm re-posting below.

Banapple's Banoffee Pie

It's going to be a mouth-watering day with City Daily Photo bloggers showing off their cities' bakeries. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.