Friday, January 16, 2015

DAVAO EATS: Aling Foping's Halo-Halo + BluGre Coffee

During our first night in Davao, we decided to go to the Matina Town Square, a complex of shops, restos and bars, for dinner. I had imagined it to be a fairly upscale place, which proved NOT to be the case - it reminded me of Tiendesitas!

Anyways, I had heard of Aling Foping's Halo-Halo (via Instagram), so even if i wasn't feeling quite well with a dry cough and cold,  this proved not to be a deterrent to try their halo-halo. 

The order process starts by getting the selection list (pictured below). Basically, you customize your halo-halo by specifying which six (6) ingredients you want it to contain. If you want to pile it on relentlessly (like moi), you just pay extra - PHP20.00 for leche flan (creme caramel) and ube (purple yam), and PHP14.00 for the other ingredients. 

Then you pay at the counter, and after a couple of minutes' wait, they call your number and you get your customized halo-halo.

   And viola!

I really wouldn't say Aling Foping's is the best halo-halo ever, but it is quite good. It is chunky - you feel like you are biting into a lot of things, as compared to the more simple Kabigting's (the worst halo-halo ever, in my humble opinion) or Razon's of Pampanga. It is ideal for people who like to have lots of different ingredients. 

We also dropped by BluGre Coffee, a homegrown coffee chain known for using the exotic fruit durian in their concoctions. By way of background, the durian is known for its awful smell. 

This smell (or more accurately, stench) has been described by food writer Richard Sterling as 'pig-shit, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock'. The New York Times allowed that 'when ripe, it can smell like a dead animal' Hmm, not very inspiring, huh? :D

But on the other hand, the taste has been described as 'heavenly' and 'custardy'. So it can't be all that bad, right?

BluGre has two items on their drinks list which are infused with the durian flavor, namely: Durian Coffeeccino (hot), and the Durian Arctic Blast Ice Blended (cold). 

We tried both drinks, and once you get past that distinct durian taste, they were actually good. We also ordered the Durian Dulce de Leche Cheesecake [sorry, no photo due to low-light conditions]; and it had good texture and a sweetish, pleasant taste. I wouldn't mind eating more of it in the future!

Moral of the story: (Tell your friends to) stay away from durian, but (let them) eat durian cheesecake. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

DAVAO EATS: Lyndon's World's Worst Ribs & Awful Chicken + sagingrepablik

Was in Durian City over the Christmas holidays; and of course, a large part of the trip was devoted to eating at local restos. I had stumbled upon Lyndon's on the Instagram account of a semi-famous foodie blogger, and was immediately intrigued by the name. 

 What self-respecting restaurant would call its ribs the "world's worst" and its chicken "awful"? 

Of course, yours grumpily just had to investigate. So we set off one evening, hailing a taxi which took us to the downtown part of Davao City. Truth be told, the area looked rather sketchy (i guess it's like being along C.M. Recto in Manila at night); and Lyndon's turned out to be a more unassuming establishment than we had thought.

Check out their menu pages for more imaginatively (and self-deprecatingly) named dishes. Here's the eponymous ribs, and you can specify the quantity you wanted to order:

Lyla's (Lyndon's sister, perhaps?) Awful Chicken:

"Disgusting" Tilapia, represent!

The two tasteless pancits!

Han's Horrible Spicy Mechado and Leonardo's Rubbish Caldereta:

Naturally, we asked the waiter why their dishes were named as such. He admitted that it was really to downplay or lessen the customers' expectations of the food. Hmm, maybe there is something to be said about this particular strategy.

Ah, so we quickly dug in once our food came out.  Here's my friend Nanndeau's ribs, which looked really appetizing:

And here was my awful chicken order.

Both dishes proved to be quite tasty, and definitely nowhere near being the worst in the world. And good value for money too! Another person in our group surmised that the ribs were marinated in Sprite, which helped account for its delicious taste. 

And check out Lyndon's colourful decor as well:

What can i say? There's definitely method to the owner's madness ;-D

After dinner, we hied off to nearby sagingrepablik, which we had passed by the day before and made a note to check out. We had imagined it to be a hipster-ish cafe, due to its industrial minimalist interiors, and punny name (which was a play on that American apparel brand).

It was fairly deserted when we arrived around 9PM, but in an hour's time, became packed. Whoa! Apparently, they served meals as well.

I had ordered the Gigingka Solo with queso (below), which was basically bibingka (rice cake) using bananas. So-so, it was dry.

We also ordered their signature cake, the Banana Walnut Torte. Proved to be above-average, not too sweet; and they didn't scrimp on the ingredients.

The Cavendish chips with dip were very good!

Cappuccino was also okay.

Check out the cute little bucket with stand,  where they put one's change and receipt. So cute, we thought momentarily of stealing it. Hehehe! :D

sagingrepablik has a very nice line of apparel for sale, with understated and witty designs, and comfy cotton material . I was really keen to buy a shirt or two (or three, actually), but unfortunately their sizes were really very very small (i couldn't fit into the XL, tsk tsk ;-() Too bad.

Personally, i liked sagingrepablik and was, in fact, kidding Nanndeau to franchise it in Manila. However, if the establishment is to go beyond being a curiousity and becoming a regular fixture, the food has to live up to the interiors - in terms of taste and variety.