Tuesday, January 23, 2007

My Favorite Food Mag

Not that I read a lot of food magazines, but this one's got me hooked! It's called Every Day with Rachael Ray, and it was launched last year--and was even cited as one of the best new mags of the year!

I first stumbled upon it at a salon, and I actually didn't want to leave after my treatment was over because I wanted to keep reading! I found a couple of back issues at newsstands, and had a few brought over from the US by visiting friends/relatives. I just love that it's super laidback and fun and so not snooty--I mean, in what other food mag do you see little boxes with "Hey You!" to point out a bit of trivia or offer a helpful tip?

I am aware that not everyone's a big fan of Rachael Ray's--she can be a bit, er, vociferous, I know. But trust me on this--even non-fans of her show (such as myself--although I did pick up a yummy seven-minute meal when I caught it before) will appreciate this mag! I love that it has recipes for kid- and pet-friendly meals, unpretentious and very easy-to-read articles, and stuff like "Burger of the Month." Yum-O!

Cover photo from the mag's website.


I Know It Was a Steak Place...

...but I can't help raving about Steak MD's banana split pie! Yum!

It's got a crushed-Oreo crust, a layer of frozen bananas, a mound of strawberry ice cream, a dollop of whipped cream, and a cherry for good measure. I don't eat cherries (haha. Behave!), but I sure enjoyed everything else! Plus, it's only P75! (Hmmm, this is actually pretty easy to make at home...) The dude at the next table committed two of the seven deadly sins in one go--gluttony and envy! After polishing off two (yes, two) orders of steak, he asked the waitress for what I was having. Haha.

Now that that's out of the way, let's get to the meat of the matter! Steak MD's this small, super casual place (as in no aircon, so I prefer going in the evening when the air's a bit cooler) along Tomas Morato. For steak lovers out there, you don't have to shell out a grand to get your meaty fix--Steak MD offers T-Bone and Porterhouse steaks from P150 to less than P300 a pop! After choosing a cut of meat, you get to dictate which rub you want--you can choose from:
  • Rub Ko 'To - the "house blend," a secret mix of herbs and spices
  • Build Me Up Butter Rub - need I say more?
  • Ang Cha-Rub - a sweet and spicy blend
  • Atomic Rub - a hot, hot, hot rub
  • Heart Rub - a garlicky rub
And it comes with a small bowl of bulalo-ish soup to start you off. (And Queen of Clumsy that I am, I spilled it all over my jeans! Bah.) A note though: I got the Rub Ko 'To over the small T-Bone, and the gravy was already poured all over the steak. Would've preferred to have it on the side--best to mention this to your server if you prefer the same. Still, the steak was satisfactory, and H's Porterhouse was especially tender. It's what you'd call bang for your buck!

Aside from steaks, the place also offers chicken and sisig. But where's the fun in that?

Steak MD is located at Creekside Square, Tomas Morato, Quezon City; tel. 448-7114.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Viva Italia!

To celebrate my birthday, I had three (count 'em, three!) birthday dinners. Every morning, I'd wake up still feeling full from the night before, but still, I'd eat my way through the day. That's what the holidays are for, eh? Thankfully, my clothes still pretty much fit (a bit of a surprise actually), but I know that I can't keep this up. Starting today, I'm saying bye-bye to eating with reckless abandon, so I'm left to savor the memory of my holiday meals.

The first birthday dinner I had was the night before my actual birthday. My barkada decided to have our post-Christmas get-together on my birthday itself, so H and I had to celebrate beforehand. We finally visited Bellini's, a resto I've been dying to try for ages. Located within Marikina Shoe Expo in my 'hood, good ol' Cubao, the Italian resto is run by Roberto Bellini--a true-blue Italian who was once a paparazzo (for real!)--and his wife, Ma. Luisa. Roberto was present at the resto that evening, and I found it quite charming that 1) he made sure that our orders were already taken, and 2) he went up to the in-house musician, fondly patted his shoulder, and suddenly joined him in song (Put Your Head on My Shoulder).

There was something comforting about Bellini's. There were murals on the walls and on the ceiling, and faux vegetables hanging from the wooden pillars--it was cozy, kitschy, and unpretentious, and I loved it!

Since we were newbies, we asked the waiter what he would recommend, and I thank him no end for suggesting the Ravioli (spinach ham) truffle cream. It. Was. Divine. I'd go back to this place over and over again just for this, and for P250, I know that I can!

H ordered the Filetto al pepe, which was grilled tenderloin steak in pepper sauce (P350), served with a siding of potatoes. It was a bit raw, according to H, but he says this added to the flavor and made it more tender. (For the record, I liked it!) His final word: "Sarap!"

Gluttons that we are, we also split a pizza, opting for the Bellini's Special (P250 for the small one, which is about 12 inches in diameter). It had cucumbers, eggplants, and even hotdogs on a very thin, crisp crust. Instead of hot sauce, we were given some olive oil mixed with chili, and it did make the pizza more flavorful.

For dessert, I had wanted the Tartufo negro. According to the menu, it mimics the look of the truffle, made of chocolate gelato with crunchy chips and red cherry at the core. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), it wasn't available, so I had me the panna cotta. (Not a big coffee fan, so tiramisu wasn't that enticing--although the best damn tiramisu I ever tried was a Sara Lee type from a supermarket in Milan!) Sitting innocently on a plate with no trimmings, it didn't look impressive, but once I took a bite, I was in heaven! I actually said, "Kinikilig ako sa sarap!" because really, I felt chills up and down my spine, something that rarely happens when I eat. There were no strawberries or mangoes or anything--just this rich, creamy concoction lying in a pool of sweet syrup. It's not often that I fall this hard for something that doesn't have any chocolate in it!

I really did enjoy that evening. The music was good (H tried to copy the singer since they had similar raspy voices), the conversation was great, and the food was delightful. It must be what the Italians mean when they sing "That's amore!"

Bellini's is located at the Marikina Shoe Expo (at the Araneta Center area), Cubao, Quezon City. It's open daily from 10 am to 10 pm. Call (02) 913-2550 for reservations.

Labels: , , ,