Beef Ninja is a Pares In Disguise

About two weeks ago, Nengkoy, I and my family had an early dinner in one of the posh and popular Filipino-fusion cuisine restaurant just beside the lobby of the deluxe and swanky Conrad Hotel (hahaha! I refuse to name the restaurant). It was my first time tasting Pares in that dinner.

Pares is the Filipino’s common reference to a Braised Beef Stew usually paired with garlic fried rice and a bowl of clear soup. Pares is a common dish served in carinderias (small local eateries) usually found along the side streets of Manila.

Since it was my first time, I don’t really have an idea how a good Pares tastes like. That is why I did not know if the version of the posh restaurant was way superior as compared to other Pares-es served in customary, regular and more economical carinderias.

My adventurous nephews however are more well-versed than I am in terms of the taste of Manila’s street food and cuisine. My nephews particularly Denden commented that the Pares served in Café Adriatico is way more delicious as compared to the version served in the restaurant we were having dinner at. He nevertheless commented that the food presentation by the posh restaurant was way more gorgeous as compared to the plain and simple Café Adriatico dish.

When I try to recall if Café Adriatico serves Pares, without batting an eyelash, I reminded Denden that Café Adriatico does not serve it. He then informed me that Café Adriatico’s Beef Ninja dish is actually a Pares disguised in a modest presentation and is called in a different appellation.

beef ninja (pares in disguise)

cafe adriatico in malate

My other nephew Luis confirmed this observation and stated that indeed, Beef Ninja of Café Adriatico is a Pares dish. Both agreed that though it needs improvement in terms of food presentation, Café Adriatico’s Beef Ninja is among the top three Pares-es they have ever tasted.

This inspired me to order Beef Ninja when I had the chance to dine at the 40-year old Café Adriatico in their Malate, Manila branch. While doing some photo shoot of the dish, I wonder which came first in terms of evolution. Was it Beef Ninja of the 40-year old restaurant or was it Pares served in carinderias? I may not know the birth of Pares and how it really tastes like, I nevertheless savored the delicious flavor of one of the best Pares (in disguise) dish on the planet.

Ang sarap!

Ensalada Esmeralda & the Caveman in Me

My friends and colleagues know that I am not a salad person. While dining in restaurants, I frequently tease and ridicule friends who prefer having salads than the specialty main courses. I would often tell them that maybe they may be a goat or a rabbit in their past life. Plus, salads for me are not an effective meal. It may be filling but only for a short period of time.

I usually don’t understand how some people eat only salad for lunch or dinner because in my case, after about an hour, I am craving for something to chew and swallow. But the good side for salad-eaters on how I perceive them is that they seem to be more civilized, more refined and more sophisticated.

They are so unlike me who is a meat lover! For me, meat lovers are the total opposite of the very urbane and cultured salad lovers. I and the rest of the meat lovers seem to be more savaged, ferocious and brutal. I prefer chunks of animal carcass may it be grilled, broiled, fried or roasted. Because of this, I have always thought that in my past life I am a barbaric cave dweller during the prehistoric times who loved hunting animals for food.

But there’s one kind of salad that seem to convert me. It’s the Ensalada Esmeralda of Café Adriatico! Picture this, a bed of fresh greens with slices of crunchy apples and luscious oranges, savory almond flakes and dried cranberries dripped with generous amount of raspberry-yogurt dressing topped with chia seeds! It’s raw and it’s meatless yet I L.O.V.E. it!


I can no longer count the times I had Ensalada Esmeralda as my lunch. It is unlike other salads that is filled with grated odorous cheese or smothered with unhealthy mayonnaise or with robust repulsive vinegar dressings. This salad is something unique for it is on the fruity and sweet side. Having a sweet-tooth myself, I particularly love the sweet tangy taste and fluid texture of the raspberry-yogurt dressing!

The refreshing Ensalada Esmeralda, makes me now think that sometime in my prehistoric past I was the first caveman who converted from being carnivorous to being a fruitarian! And at this modern present time, Ensalada Esmeralda seem to have erased the deep-seated savaged caveman in me!


Café Adriatico Premiere is located at
790 Adriatico Street in Malate Manila. 738-8220
(only cavemen or people living under a rock would not know this cafe!)

Represhing pramis!

The Steak & Cheese Sandwich That Made Me a Sandwich Person

inside the new ca expressExcept for burgers, I have never been fascinated with a sandwich.  I have always accepted the notion that I am not a sandwich person.  I’d rather be the one who prepare my own sandwich and not get from a store or order it from some fancy restaurant.  Because of this, I have always considered that for me to be fascinated on a sandwich served in a diner or a cafe, such must really be very good.

The supposition of me not being a non-burger sandwich person has however been changed.  There has been one sandwich that has finally mesmerized my sense of taste.  It is the Steak & Cheese Panini Sandwich served in Café Adriatico Express.

If my restless cravings and squirmish budget permits, I would at times order a Steak Sandwich in Café Adriatico at their Malate branch.  But the one they served in their new outlet located at the ground level of The Block in SM North Edsa, Quezon City were further improved.  They added loads of mozzarella cheese and used a tasty kind of Panini bread instead of the usual white bread.  Moreover the new sandwich version is served with potato fries and pickled red onions, the latter is actually a genius add-on because it is great palate equalizer for the very savory flavor of the sandwich filling.



The appetizing presentation, the perfect portioning and the toothsome taste were right on target.  My taste buds were not jumping for joy, they were instead doing two and a half back-somersaults with two and a half twist on a ten meter platform dive!  This sandwich is definitely very delicious!


Best Classic Burger

imagine? this beauty is not even the plated version.  this is a "take-out" which i enjoyed inside my office.

imagine? this beauty is not even the plated version. this is a “take-out” which i enjoyed inside my office.

Some would put truffled wild mushrooms, others would add blue cheese or cream cheese.  Some would enhance it with expensive foie gras while others would swell it up with smoked bacon.  Some would insert it with organic sunny side-up egg while others would intensify it with thick slices of chorizo.

Everyone should agree with me when I say that choosing the best burger in the universe is a personal choice.  Therefore, it is but an opinion based on the chooser’s sense of smell, sight and taste.

For me, I want my burger simple.    No intricate, diverse or complex byzantine flavours are needed to be added for me to enjoy it.  My burger must stick to the classic.

Thus, my favourite burger in the universe is the Classic Burger served and found in Café Adriatico. It’s unpretentiously thick, mouth-wateringly juicy and uncomplicatedly tasty.  The look, the texture and of course the taste can simply be described as a magical harmony for the senses.

Iikot ang pwet mo sa sarap…

Kris Aquino Inspired My Breakfast

Turning on my old bulky TV after rising from my bed each morning is one proof that I am a creature of habit.  I do my usual morning rituals to get ready for work with the hosts of all the local TV networks’ morning shows.

But yesterday morning, I got stuck watching TV when Kris Aquino host of “Kris TV” guest-ed a chef who cooked Arroz Caldo.  With Kris’ usual sosyal antics and the chef’s preparation of a somewhat high-end variety of Arroz Caldo – imagine a congee topped with crispy tofu, toasted long-jawed anchovies, slices of hard-boiled egg, crispy garlic, sesame seed oil and squeezed with lemon – I was drooling on my way to my office.

When my office mate asked if I already had breakfast, the words I uttered was “I want lugaw”.  I ordered take-out delivery from the nearby Café Adriatico in Malate, and this is what I had…

i was half way through with this lugaw, but i had to take a photo for it was sooo good,,,

i was half way through with this lugaw, but i had to take a photo for it was sooo good. btw, mine had quail eggs, freshly chopped leeks, caramelized onions, toasted garlic, calamansi with big chunks of chicken meat, YUMMY!

I may forever wonder how Kris TV’s ornate Arroz Caldo could have tasted but one thing is for sure Café Adriatico’s Arroz Caldo is so good I could cry.

Para syang manok na may lugaw, di na lugaw na may manok!

Chicken Ala Kiev in Café Adriatico

When I read by chance the popular blog of Chuvaness, I was envious.  She posted that Chicken Ala Kiev is back.  It has been revived and reintroduced in the menu of Café Adriatico.  After reading her post I promised to myself that the meal I will order in Café Adriatico the next time I would get my nourishment from there would be that infamous dish.

While reading the comments section in Chuvaness’ post, I was a bit infuriated by someone who commented that the dish looks amazing and asked what camera Chuvaness used in taking those photos in her entry.  I was annoyed because for me an excellent photo is not based on what equipment being used but because of the excellent eye the photographer or photo-taker possesses.

chicken ala kiev, photo taken by chuvaness

It’s like saying a chef prepares a delicious and excellent dish and the one who consumed it asked what pots and pans the chef uses.  No restaurant diner who enjoyed a superb meal in his right set of thinking will attribute the delicious taste of a dish based on the brand of knives or potholders that the cook uses.

Like photography, cooking is an art.  Kaya nga may Culinary Arts! Tange! (Translation: That is why there exists what you call Culinary Arts. Moron!)

Anyway, I indeed ordered the renowned dish today and devoured it as my early dinner meal.  While cutting through the breaded chicken, I was literally jumping off my seat because the wicked butter literally erupted from the crust when I punched a hole from it.  It was so enjoyable my taste buds were jumping for joy and the only thing left on my plate was a small piece of bone and the squeezed piece of lemon.

my early dinner meal

yummy chicken ala kiev of cafe adriatico

May it be taken in a good or disastrous photo Chicken Ala Kiev in Café Adriatico is definitely a heavenly yet sinful dish!  It is such an evil of a dish I need to confess my sins for two hours inside the gym this coming weekend.  Try it…

Pihado, ga-mantikilya ang pawis ko sa sabado.

Biting a Tasty Tongue at Café Adriatico

I envy Virginia.  While having my lip-smacking Tamis Anghang Longganisa (Sweet & Spicy Filipino Sausage) served with fried rice for my lunch at Café Adriatico, I suddenly got envious with what Virginia (my voluptuous officemate) was having.  She was having the delicious looking Lengua Estofada (Ox Tongue Stew).  I failed to resist my supreme urge for I took a slice from her plate and bite it.

Definitely not just a slip of a tongue but the taste was sooo heavenly I want to repent!  Lengua Estofada is a dish that richly justifies that ox tongue is not only edible but also delicious.

I even became more envious (guilty actually) when I remembered that the meal she is having is part of Café Adriatico’s Good To Dine Promo.  As part of its worthy campaign, the restaurant donates portion of its sales of Lengua Estofada dish to the UP-PGH Cancer Institute which provides care to indigent cancer stricken Filipinos.

Parang ako ang dilang yan… Masarap.