Archive | November, 2011

Kusina Uno – The Best Pochero in town

8 Nov

Kusina Uno - Home of the Best Pochero

F. Ramos St. has been a daily staple for me for a few years. But it wasn’t until I roamed the streets of uptown Cebu til the wee hours of dawn did I get a taste of what was behind that red neon light that said “ABUHAN”. So, I when I too got my own taste of what was behind those doors, I was in love with the bone marrow. It wasn’t the ambiance that people keep coming back for, it was the signature dish , Pochero, that people loved so much.

So, when people heard of Abuhan Uno closing down, they mourned a little. They said Abuhan Dos and Tres were there as their consolation. Well, these two have indeed consoled the palate of the Pochero-lovers when the original hideout closed up. But people like me, are still on the lookout for the real thing and yes, I spotted the right place. THIS IS THE PLACE that took me back to the good times spent at Abuhan Uno, not because of their ambiance, but because of the taste. There is no place else like the new home of the best Pochero in Cebu – KUSINA UNO.

Sipping On Hot Pochero Soup

On a cold day, nothing beats sipping hot soup, especially when it’s infused with the rich flavors of beefy goodness. And whoever could resist the rich bone marrow gaping from that hole within the bone. It’s savory cholesterol-laden food at its finest. You can even take your pick – you want it soup style or sizzling style.

Calamares

 
For our meal, we opted for the pochero soup (without the meat) and sizzling Pochero, which was highly recommended by our friend, Onin, who works there. It was a rainy day and the soup was a great counter for the cold weather. And true to his word, the sizzling Pochero was heavenly goodness and the gravy around it was so savory I wanted to eat it alone (was sharing it with five other friends). And I haven’t stopped dreaming of it since.

With their pochero meals, they also serve one of the best traditional filipino dishes in Cebu. Practically everything on the menu is a must-try!  Aside from the Pochero soup and sizzling pochero, we ordered the sizzling Gambas (yum!), calamares and crispy kangkong. We downed a whole pitcher of iced tea and went on to our next destination barely able to walk. I would have Kusina Uno every day, if I was given the chance. You should too!

Yummy Gambas!

REVIEW

Kusina Uno Must Try - Sizzling Pochero

FOOD: 10/10 – what can I say? I am a junkie for all things Filipino. and the sizzling Pochero alone was a winner. I tried one from Abuhan tres, but this was tastier for me. I love the gravy – loads of it and the parts they serve their customers are very much worth the price that you’re paying for. The sizzling Gambas was a winner as well. TIP: ask the waiters what their bestsellers are if it’s your first time 🙂

VALUE FOR MONEY: 9/10– I’d give it a 9 because let’s admit it, cow born marrow is quite expensive. It’s best to go there when you have a family dinner or you’re out with your barkada. But then again, you wouldn’t be regretting too much how much food you could consume in one sitting 🙂

Crispy Kangkong

SERVICE: I would like to leave this part for you guys to judge. I don’t want to be biased on giving a score because 1.) it was our friend who belongs to the family of one of the owners that served our food 2.) there weren’t many people around so the service of the food was quite fast. If you want the service to be fast, reserve some seats ahead of time or go at a less busy time. DID I SAY THEY WERE OPEN 24 HOURS?? THEY ARE!!

CLEANLINESS AND AMBIANCE: 8/10 and here goes one of my weaker points for a restaurant. The ambiance is not as secluded as the old Abuhan. It’s an open-air space at the second floor of GND tower (where Club Ace is) near Cityscape and Sykes in Mabolo. The last time I went there, they were using the common Comfort Room of the building. But they have kept the whole place fairly clean and sanitized.

yummy! - Kusina Uno

I am proud to say that Kusina Uno was featured on Manila Bulletin by one of the most famous Filipino chefs – Chef Gene Gonzalez. He wrote for his Column – Pleasures of the Table – featuring Cebu Finds Part 1  published on October 6, 2011

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That Sudden Sugar Rush

4 Nov

To Give In or Not?

I know that posts are meant to be well thought about before posting but I am a lot hormonal now and there is just one main concept of food going round and round my mind. DESSERTS. I could have easily blamed it on Top Chef Just Desserts, but no there was no episode on air last night on my favorite channel. So, this could only be attributed to my love for desserts and some hormones.

If you look back through all my posts, I have three major go to places when it comes to desserts and one vendor for ultimately delicious and just-enough-fluff cupcakes. And I want to stuff myself in all things chocolatey and sugary, NOW. How I wish I could do that now, but all I can do is blog… blog about the best desserts that make me say “ooohhh” and “aaahh”.

Are you ready?

Number 5: French Toast Goodies at 30 Kitchen

French Toast at 30 Kitchen

I know it’s your regular breakfast food, but it sure is comfort food for me. There are too many flavors to mention that I couldn’t remember. All I could memorize was the sweet goodness of all flavors combined. And all that whipped cream won’t seem so bad when you’re done devouring these tasty breakfast treats at 30 Kitchen. Explore and let the flavors explode in your mouth.

Chocolate Fondue at Maitre Chocolatier

Number 4: Chocolate Fondue at Maitre Chocolatier at Ayala Terraces

Or it could be anything chocolatey… this place is the greatest authority in chocolates. It can be pricey, but it’s worth the try and indulgence. If you want to find your brand of chocolates you can’t find in the supermarket, you will find it there. Dip pre-cut fruits and what have you’s in oozing chocolate of your liking. You can even have spicy chocolate if you want (must try at least once in your life).

Number 3: Blueberry Cheesecake at Bittersweet Pastry Shop

Blueberry Cheesecake From Bittersweet Pastry Shop

My friends and I are always on the lookout for the right mix when it comes to blueberry cheesecakes. And yes, in a building across Cebu Doctor’s Hospital is the quiet and unassuming personal hideout – Bittersweet. It’s the next best thing (I’d still be biased to all things desserts at Shangrila Mactan’s Tides) for me. Their blueberry cheesecake is the right mix between sweet and salty with a little hint of tangy. You can see my review on Bittersweet here.

Warm Brownie Cup at La Marea Pastry Shop

Number 2: Warm Brownie Cup at La Marea Pastry Shop (Hands down)

This would have been on top had I not discovered a to-die-for dessert also concocted by another authority in Desserts – La Marea. If you want comfort food, this is your best buddy. My warm brownie cup and I have been through a lot for the past year. I build my own friendships around it and cried over past loves. But one thing remains the same, it’s the right sweetness and gooeyness of the brownie topped with the ice cream that completes the whole taste. It plays with your tongue being hot and cold at the same time. As you finish your bowl, you find yourself smiling and feeling better.

Finally, Number 1  on my list is the new craze to come to Cebu – Mochi Ice Cream at La Marea Pastry Shop

Mochi Ice Cream at La Marea Pastry Shop

I know ice cream is not an entire dessert, but in my book it is. My world seemed to revolve around Mochi Ice Cream when I first heard about it from a friend. From then on, I would crave for anything mochi, even my toppings on my favorite brand of yogurt ice cream. At La Marea they make it on their own. There’s a thin layer of Mochi covering home-made ice cream that’s just right for my palate. It’s available in different flavors – Chocolate, Mango, Strawberry, Green Tea, Yema/Brazo de Mercedes. I have mentioned this before on my past post and I’m still raving about it til now.

So that’s it, I gave in to my cravings the healthy way. But still there’s that need in me to devour all these five desserts in one sitting. Maybe one day in these coming weeks… 🙂

Pass Me The Patis Please?

3 Nov

Did you mean toyo or patis?

***DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURES OF THE CONDIMENTS, LECHON KAWALI, LARSIAN SELECTIONS AND PUNGKO-PUNGKO. I got them on the net. Credits to the owners who took and own those pictures***

If you’re from anywhere in the Philippines and you hear this, you would instinctively reach for the bottle of Rufina or Lorin. But if you’re in Cebu, they will look at you confused and sometimes irritated. If they ask you for the patis, hand them the toyo. I’M SERIOUS.

Wherever we got this trait from I really don’t know. I would laugh at friends and make jokes if they’d ask me to hand the patis. This is how different Cebuanos prefer their food and condiments. We find ourselves one with the rest of the Philippines, but separate from others especially when it comes to food.

Adobo or Lechon Kawali?

In my native island, I could find food that’s not in Luzon. I can find it in Mindanao though, especially since most people who live in some areas originated from the Visayas. And quite frankly, I would rather prefer our adobo and dinoguan. Now, there’s one dish you don’t want to confuse here as well – ADOBO. In Luzon and in some other parts of the country and the world, Adobo is sauteed pork with soy sauce and some bay leaves. But Cebu’s version of Adobo is get this – Lechon Kawali – and I am not kidding you. We use both terms for lechon kawali and the real Adobo. THAT’S HOW DIFFERENT WE TEND TO GET.

A normal array of selection at Larsian's

There is a lot to the Cebuano palate than I can explain here on my blog. For one we have this undeniable love for everything grilled. We love our grilled and barbecued food not just on Sundays, but we want it every day if we wanted to. When you walk down alleys or the bigger streets of the city, you will surely find a smoking stand where people line up to get their daily dose of barbecue. That’s why the Larsians theme is such a hit. You want grilled food at low cost? Try AA BBQ with branches all over the place. The toyo+suka+green tomato sawsawan is naturally the first course of the meal for some people, but these are mere condiments to others.

Pungko-Pungko

Another Cebuano staple are innards of the chicken, pig and sometimes the cow (not popular though). We LOVE our dose of uric acid even when can no longer move our thumbs and other joints because of arthritis. Try having lunch with me at the local pungko2 where you can enjoy your crispy fried chicharon bulaklak at 10pesos a piece. THAT’S A BARGAIN… Dip it in Sukang Bisaya with LOADS of white onions and you won’t care if you’ll live to see the daylights of tomorrow. Pungko2 is generally a small roadside ensemble of a small table, some 3-4 benches that could fit 2-3 people in it. You lay out your plastic on the table, grab some goodies in another plastic to have it chopped and you have instant meals. The plastic on the table IS your plate, mind you. You eat with your hands with some hanging rice – puso – to combat your need for carbs. To some this can be dirty, yucky or whatever you might call it, but to us, this is the mother of all cuisine. You can spot at one time or another a car parked by the side with loads of moneyed kids who eat pungko2. And they come back for more.

My First Taste of Zubuchon in 2010

And who could forget our love for lechon? NO ONE COULD. It’s actually a Cebuano staple almost every occasion or to some every Sunday. They say, we have the best lechon’s in the country and I would have to agree with that. Even Anthony Bourdain does. There’s just something with how they roast and season the pig that makes it so delicious from outside in. Don’t you just love that cracking sound you get as you bite that crunchy, salty roasted pig skin? And thanks to the demand, it’s possible to send and bring some abroad. But what makes it so much different from all other Lechons in the country? It’s the patis… toyo, I mean.

There is so much to a Cebuano’s palate that I could write about. Sometimes we’re weird, sometimes plain. At other times we never learned to let go of our old habits and dishes that we have grown to love. If I would live in another place, which I hope would not happen any sooner, I would long for Mama’s cooking or carenderias in Cebu. I will always long for Humba, Utan Bisaya, Cebu Lechon, and all things else that reminds me of home. This is why I love Cebu. And it’s time you should too 🙂

at the local tabo in Liloan which happens every Sunday