The 10 Best Things We Ate in January
Noteworthy dishes in this food-filled month
(SPOT.ph) If you didn’t already know, here at SPOT.ph, we love food. You need it to live, but we find that there are some dishes that go well past the virtue of necessity. While others content themselves with a deep fryer and the usual salt and pepper, there are some who make-or at least try to make-an art out of it, with delicious displays and even yummier flavors. We believe those that go above and beyond their duty deserve necessary recognition. So here are our top picks among the dishes we ate throughout January.
This list is not ranked.
Spud Buds’ Spud Balls
The Spud Balls are nothing more than croquettes turned into amazing snack food (what fries?). Each piece is the size of your everyday squid ball, with a wonderfully creamy core speckled with bits of salty bacon. The surprise touch? A blob of cheese in the middle, because some potatoes deserve more than ketchup. The owners are so committed to these snacks (P120/five pieces) that they measure each cube of cheese that goes inside the Spud Balls-all for the sake of consistency. A golden crumb coat gives it a distinct crunch, and for a bigger flavor, pair it with the Honey Wasabi dip.
Spud Buds is at Entertainment Mall, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City. Read more about it here.
Backyard Manila’s Chicken Skin
All the soggy ones got away, thank goodness, because Chef Ed Bugia only allows the crispiest chicken skin to be served in his new restaurant. Our preferred alternative to chicharon, the curly strips are in a pale gold hue, long, large, and incredibly crunchy. Dare we say, "crispy-licious"? Only this is better than your fastfood-variety. It’s painted with rich salted egg yolk, and served with, what else, vinegar!
Backyard Manila is at UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City.
Red Ginger’s Green Tea and Macadamia Cookies
First of all, these cookies are enormous, which already justifies the P110 price tag. One bite, and you’ll forget the lightness of your wallet. They’re soft, like the kind that just came fresh from the oven, with large chunks of melted and gooey matcha chips giving off a delicious earthiness that elevates the usual cookie-sweetness. Then, just to give us a break from that pillowy texture, whole pieces of macadamia.
Red Ginger is at City of Dreams, Asean Avenue corner Roxas Boulevard, Entertainment City, Parañaque City.
The Bowery’s Lobster Shrimp Truffle Mac and Cheese
Admittedly, a dish priced at P1,200 in a skillet the size of a pingpong paddle would seem steep. But you have to consider the ingredients-shrimp, lobster, truffle. These aren’t things you can get on a shoestring budget if you want quality. Perfect for celebratory dishes or just a really good payday, you can taste the price in every luxurious bite. Fusili held together by the stringiest cheese is embellished with chunks of lobster and shrimp; flavors of the sea swimming in rich crème fraîche, cream cheese, and mozzarella. Truffle gives off the most appetizing aroma, and cracked black pepper puts a little heat amid the goodness.
The Bowery is at Forbeswood Heights, Rizal Drive corner Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City. Read more about it here.
Churreria La Lola’s Nutella Xuxos
Fried choux pastry and Nutella. We don’t see a reason to explain, but we’ll take any excuse to talk about this delicious masterpiece. These stuffed churros aren’t fresh from the fryer (unlike the Classicos) because the kitchen takes time to lovingly fill them; this process reduces the oil (by the way, Churreria La Lola uses olive oil) and makes them softer, like eating incredible bread.
Churreria La Lola is at Power Plant Mall, Makati City. Read more about it here.
Egg White Omelettes from Cheesecakes by Guy
Gregory Guy is a master of eggs, and this dish exemplifies that. His egg-white omelette is so incredibly fluffy and perfectly cooked-no brown splotches anywhere. The texture is almost like velvet, crumbling like custard to reveal the filling within. We have a preference for the mix of goat’s cheese and spinach, just proper amounts of subtlety and richness.
Cheesecakes by Guy is at 2/F Eastwood Mall, Libis, Quezon City. Read more about it here.
Va Bene’s Lobster and Prawn Cappellacci
The second in this series to feature lobster and shrimp is this delicious ravioli from pasta maestro, Chef Massimo Veronesi. The pouches of fresh pasta are large and plump with whole shrimps swimming in a pool of a lobster bisque turned sauce. The flavor of both lobster and prawn is unmistakable-the chef opting to highlight it with squid-ink-infused cappellacci and just a bit of perk from parsley and basil. This pasta is more than a dish, it’s an experience you ought to be trying.
Va Bene has branches at Petron Gas Station, Dasmariñas Village, Makati City; and 3/F Central Square, Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City.
Nobu Tea Lounge’s Tonkatsu Sandwich
Said to be the favorite of Nobu part owner Robert de Niro, this tiny tonkatsu sandwich challenges others that are filled up so much to the point of being too much. Talk about underdog, but then it is Nobu. This sandwich only has three simple components: the fluffiest Japanese shokupan bread, slow-cooked pork belly, and delectable tonkatsu sauce. Minimalist but confident-sometimes, that’s all it takes.
Nobu Tea Lounge is at City of Dreams, Asean Avenue corner Roxas Boulevard, Entertainment City, Parañaque City. Read more about it here.
Hiyas Palabok from Hiyas Restaurant
It’s not the most novel treatment of a timeless Filipino favorite, but Hiyas’ rendition is undoubtedly good. The rice noodles are crispy for better texture, and there’s more than enough shrimp to go around. The icing on top of this proverbial cake? The egg with an incredibly runny yolk that gives a creamier foundation to the sauce. Bits of milkfish add a yummy bit of earthiness and salt in there, too!
Hiyas is at United Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig City. Read more about it here.
Yogi’s Breakfast at Runner’s Kitchen
This is complete breakfast fare that’s light but not insubstantial. A perfect start before meditation, this no-meat meal is made up of vegan longganisa (that, looks-wise, fools us into thinking they’re the real thing), squash zucchini nuggets, and garlic black rice. As if to debunk the myth that healthy food has no flavor, the kitchen at Runner’s Kitchen packs on so much that each element on the plate is equally memorable: the crumblier sausage is deep and salty, the nuggets delightfully sweetish, and the black rice perfect al dente and garlicky. We want to be healthy now.
Runner’s Kitchen is at Tomas Morato Avenue, Quezon City. Read more about it here.