I am carnivorous, and I can’t have it any other way. No disrespect to the vegans out there, but because reasons—primarily, steak and bacon. It doesn’t even have to be a fancy place that I visit to get my fix. As long as the meat is fairly tender, cooked to my liking, and well-seasoned, I’m there. I think meat lovers will seriously appreciate the no-frills approach of Meat Depot in Quezon City and Parañaque City.
My idea of personal torture is watching a cooking show right before bed. Second to that, it’s lying in bed getting ready to sleep, then suddenly thinking of food I’ve been craving. My thoughts immediately shift to how I’ll be getting to eat that food. Sometimes, I am even emboldened with the idea that I could cook it myself. This is what happens next:
My college friend, K, has been after me over the past five months to try out the restaurant he works in. On a whim last week, M and I decided to finally make the effort, but not after K got super dramatic about it over Facebook. lol So it was off to The Belle & Dragon in Makati for an east-meets-west dining experience.
What’s so interesting about The Belle & Dragon is how it was constructed from the ground up. Literally. Apparently, the area it stands on used to be a parking lot before this old-timey gastropub was dreamed up from scratch. At first, M and I were afraid our cab would miss the building, but we needn’t worry. The structure is so unique that it immediately draws your eye, especially since it’s the smaller, painted building in that block that’s kind of hard to miss.
Perhaps, like most Filipinos, my earliest recollection of surimi came in the form of the Pinoy street food sensation, fish ball. It wasn’t so much the memory of snacking on them as it was being expressly forbidden to touch the stuff. My fearful parents heard all the stories of customers unscrupulously double-dipping the fish balls into the communal vat of sweet sauce, a practice that has led to many a spread illness. Therefore, my first taste of surimi/fish ball involved a covert operation orchestrated by my then-best friend that included two big no-nos: sneaking out of school grounds and eating street food. That day in the first grade was memorable, because of our little mission and because the fish balls were honestly pretty darn delicious.
Since then, my encounters with surimi have mostly been limited to hot pot eat-all-you can restaurants and DIY shabu-shabu meals at home. The dining experience itself has changed drastically. The humble fish ball and its BFF, the squid ball, have branched out into the likes of mozzarella balls, crab claws, cartoon character balls, etc. And in the spirit of the new year, the search for surimi heaven has brought me to a packed Mogu Tree Noodle House in Marikina for another ball-centric adventure.
Some diners tend to avoid crowds, but my family likes to go where the action is. I notice so many people do the same. You can either attribute it to the habit of being usisero (curious or nosy), or you could just say people here are quick to jump on trends. I like to think it’s the latter. We already did the Teacher’s Village thing, but now we’re moving further. Lilac Street in Marikina is the place to witness crowded restaurants, one after the other. We’ve passed by Miguel & Maria on several occasions, and it was the constant crowd that made us get on the wait list. What hunger? We’re fifth in line? Let’s goo!