Since the pandemic began, I have not dined-in at any restaurant due to safety concerns. Food pick-up and delivery apps have, therefore, been a huge help in giving some semblance of “old normalcy” to my family’s dining routine. But it isn’t without its fair share of problems. I have experienced some issues with Foodpanda’s merchants and their customer service policies:
Chat autoresponse, receipt, siopao buns
- Kowloon House, Matalino St. branch – Issue: Missing order, bill amount paid in full
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.
Photo from Meatdepot.ph
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.
Mogu Tree, Marikina
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!
Miguel & Maria, Marikina
It seems like all I want to do with my free time is to catch up with friends in cafes. Am I maturing, or is the holiday season making me more nostalgic than usual? We’ve all been so busy, especially this year, that it’s becoming a challenge to get us all together in the same room again. From the looks of it, that long-awaited get-together might even be postponed until the new year. Sad, but at least I’ve got a potential venue to pitch when the time comes. I had a nice dinner at Mary Grace with my mum the other day, and the warm cafe setting is looking to be a strong contender.