Best kept secret

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Joel came by house so early in the morning since it’s the 1st Tuesday of the month hence we will have our regular.barangay session in the afternoon. Light-sleeper that I am I  suddenly noticed his presence in my room – and as usual we had a little chit-chat until we realized we’re famished and like a small secret that we keep, we automatically knew were to eat.

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Traffic!

Ormoc’s traffic is starting to gain notoriety; everyday it just.keeps on getting more congested. I do not believe in the notion that traffic is sign of a good economy. I hope the local govt. will address this situation before it goes out of control. Yesterday, I was stuck at the bridge along Osmeña St. f
or almost 30 minutes – that’s like forever for us Ormocanons. From my vantage point I can see that the traffic from the two other bridges (Alegria and Cogon) are at a standstill for minutes on end. I could blame the inummerable tricycle and single motorcycles who are mostly in a hurry and so forget or refuse to follow and abide traffic rules and basic road courtesy.

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eating out: boylin’s

this could  be ormoc’s best kept secret. tucked in a nondescript road whose name i do not even know, at the 1st corner to the left as you enter the New Society Village (NSV) in Brgy. Can-adieng towards the southern part of the city, facing the picturesque ormoc bay – well in this case- there’s no view as houses block it. here you will find this little shack that’s been serving the best carenderia fare to a market unclassified, yet unified by their love of good home cooking.

Just lately, I learned that the place is called Boylin’s. People normally call it ” Sa baybayon” or sa “kandingan sa can-adieng“. I had my first kalderetang kanding here when i was still a freshman in high school. dad would drag me and my brother erik, to eat here for breakfast/brunch. we normally come here when they have real pawikan (sea turtle) available. it was available only for a chosen few . they would call my dad, if pawikan is available. i remember, they would hide the caldero at the back of the restaurant. it was already a little “taboo” a that time, to eat real pawikan; although the people weren’t as environmentally aware as nowadays. i only realized that our food adventures there was like a rite of passage of sorts.

i really didn’t like the taste of pawikan mind you, it revolted me. it has a funky after taste – a cross between the gamey taste of a wild land animal and the cod-liver-oily kind of taste of a sea creature. but i remember eating it a lot just to please dad. eating it was a salvador dali moment for me – eating it with gusto, but abhorring it at the same time. but i do crave it sometimes, i guess this is what they call acquired taste. and yes they still call my dad too.

what i enjoyed eating there was their caldereta, a far cry from the caldereta served in most fiesta, even in our own home. that kind of caldereta is rich, thick and as my friend would call it “pang dato” or spanish type, you know, the kind with olives and potatoes. this caldereta is the typical tagalog caldereta, the sarsa is a little thin, almost like a soup rather than a stew, with hints of tomato sauce, native bell peppers and the taste/smell of goat’s meat sans the goat-y smell that i abhor. this can only be achieved by handling the meat properly and of course slow cooking. it takes a real kitchen pro to handle goat’s meat from becoming smelly or “langsa“/gamey, so imagine doing that every single day?

calderetang kanding

calderetang kanding

kinilaw nga nangka

kinilaw nga nangka

paklay!

paklay!

pali

pali

and since this is a kambingan, they serve anything and everything goat, and other home cooked dishes of course. i love their paklay! the best paklay, hands down. to the uninitiated, paklay is sauteed chooped goat innards with pineapple and red bell pepper and lots of ginger strips.

i also love their pali. it’s goat’s lungs, boiled, sliced thinly and dressed with a sweet and sour mixture of coconut cream, native vinegar, ginger and tomatoes – almost like kinilaw. this dish is not for the weak of heart. the texture plays between soft, rough, mushy and crunchy. but it is good. you should try it at least once in your lifetime.

then i had the shai (pronounced sha – ee). this is pig’s small intestines, boiled in aromatics (bay leaf, peppercorns, native vinegar) and then deep fried. this is unlike your chicharong bulaklak, that’s crunchy. i mustered enough courage to avoid this (every guy with gouty arthritis is familiar with this predicament) but admitted defeat in the end. there’s colchicine in my drawer anyway!

sha-i

sha-i

sha-i in nitibong suka with sili

sha-i in nitibong suka with sili. gout attack!

joel gaquit, official model. not the agtang. nagsingot sa kahalang sa suka!

joel gaquit, official model. not the agtang. nagsingot sa kahalang sa suka!

excited to eat. ayaw sa kay mag piktyur pa ko!

excited to eat. ayaw sa kay mag piktyur pa ko!

boylin’s also serve a bevy of kinilaw. from kinilaw na isda native style, kinilaw na puso ng saging, kinilaw nga nangka. sometimes, we order everything kinilaw-ed! it makes your appetite a little wild.

if i come here early, i always have their tinolang native free-range chicken with green papapya or tinuwang preskong isda, also native style, soured gingerly by ripe tomatoes, lest it becomes sinigang! they also have humba, the kind where the fat was rendered first and then stewed in a sweet and sour sauce with taoshio (black beans) and lots of azucena (dried banana flower blossom). they also have this pickled and then cooked vegetables – ampalaya, eggplant, bell peppers – it’s really good to cleanse your palate and prep your appetite. of course they also have balbacua, pinawikan, a dish of carabao meat cooked like it was pawikan, hence the name. then they also have lechon kawali or we call it adobo here in ormoc – deep fried pork belly. kuyaw gyud intawn sa high blood! so i’ve never ordered that since like 3-4 years ago.

boylin’s is not cheap. their price is a little higher than most carenderias. but it is clean, the place is also comfortable and the servings are generous. plus they only serve really, really ice cold softdrinks – the kind that bites your throat!

you also have the choice of rice or corn for your carbs. i chose corn sometimes, but it’s a little heavy on the stomach. business starts as early as 8:00 AM. As early as that, the place is packed with office workers, businessmen, students – everyone! by 11AM, most of their dishes, especially their specialties will be gone. So you better go there early.

so, let me go take my colchicine now.

eating out: big roy’s

Let me begin by saying that i am no chef but having to eat out a lot with as a way to pamper myself, pat myself in the back for doing something good, celebrate, or even when i have extra money to blow. I guess I can say i have a pretty well-rounded sense of what’s good and what’s not when it comes to food.

so earlier today, for some reason, good friend rhoderick omega announced in his facebook message to me, that he is treating me and alex alegarbis to dinner at big roy’s. my heart skipped a beat!

big roy’s is one of the best of only a few restaurants in this sleepy city. in a place where people opt to eat at home and dining outside is reserved only for special occasions, big roy’s still stands proudly after all these years.I have always thought that ormoc’s dining scene to be old fashioned and un-exciting. but restos like big roy’s make this known fact a little more bearable. their extensive menu makes eating out here a little more exciting. extensive yet it does not overwhelm you. they are also reasonably priced – commensurate to the quality and the taste of the food that they serve you, not to mention the service – impeccable! and the staff here address me on a first name basis, so that makes it even more comforting.

i still remember the first time i had the chance to try roy and teling pangilinan’s cooking, they were still in the SRAC (Sports Recreationa and Amusement Center) then. big roy’s is almost like bigby’s resto in cebu that’s orginally from cagayan de oro. true to it’s name, their servings are rather large, american size serving as they call it and they’re reasonably priced. roy and teling do not scrimp on their ingredients, so you are assured that you are getting your money’s worth plus everything they serve you is fresh. they are also consistent to the quality and taste of their food. i have experienced one too many times when you fall in love with a particular dish at a resto, you come back a few days after to try it again, and to your dismay, that same dish doesn’t taste like the last time you had it, which was why you fell in love with it in the first place. that’s a really big let down. but at big roy’s, the food tastes exactly the same as the last time i ate there. that is very important, that could very well be one of the reason why they’re still open up to this day.

their food is fastfood sized and it’s taste isn’t too restaurant-y, you know the kind that makes you umay right away — here it’s more on the home cooking kind. stuff on their menu eventually became comfort food to me.

i particularly love their tenderloin kebabs (a must try!) – perfectly seasoned, perfectly grilled. i didn’t order that today. i was still a little full when i got there, so i opted to get their fish and fries. big chunks of firm fish fillets seasoned with hints of dill, hand breaded and fried just right. served with a thousand island-like dipping sauce + a  bed of field greens chopped tomatoes and fries.

then we had the Bouillabaisse. A creamy french seafood soup. it’s pink bombil’s favorite. it’s almost like a meal of it’s own. creamy and milky soup with butter and generous amounts of chopped fresh tomatoes and lots of fresh seafood – fish cubes, mussel meat, tender squid rings and shrimp. this soup is enough to cure any hangover.

we also had the chef’s salad. it was a typical salad, yet very refreshing. hand torn iceberg lettuce, shredded carrot, chopped tomatoes, slices of ham, grated cheese and slices of hardboiled egg, served with a thousand island dressing.

since most of the people in the group were really hungry, so they ordered the big roy’s barkada platter. the name says it all – it is enough for your barkada! hand breaded perfectly fried chicken, pork strips, shrimp, squid and fries with a mayo based dip and even more salad greens!

Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse. lovely.

chef's salad

chef's salad. refreshing.

fish and fries

fish and fries...

big roy's barkada platter

big roy's barkada platter

rhodz had the chops in mustard gravy. two big chops fried and smothered with a mustard based sauce.

alex had the rellenong bangus, three slices from obviously a really big stuffed bangus served with a side of pickled ampalaya (bitter melon). it looked good. alex said it tasted good. it was a dish that looked like it took a long time to prepare.

chops with mustard gravy

chops with mustard gravy

rellenong bangus.

rellenong bangus.

sizzling chops.

sizzling chops.

kowloon style beef steak.

kowloon style beef steak.

Tata Gidayawan had the sizzling chops. 2 big slices of grilled pork chops served on a sizzling plate with the customary mushroom gravy. it was typical but it was not  “lu-od” like most sizzling dishes.

Bobby and Balot Quijada shared the Kowloon style beef steak. Generous serving of tender beef with a soy and sesame based sarsa topped with white onions. they have to order extra rice — you need lots of rice with this dish.

It was a great dining experience. we were able to catch up with each other, updates, chika, over good food. non stop laughter! after all these years, i am comfortable with the homey ambiance of the resto.

for a party of five ordering enough to fill the whole table, the tab was about Php1600.00 – that is really a great deal!

i am looking forward to our next dining there.

eating out at big roy's

eating out at big roy's