Friday, June 28, 2013

Spoils of War: Bacon and Cheese from Missy Bon Bon

Team 6 writes for CDOmnivore

Often, the most inspired food choices are combinations that draw upon the best qualities of the two individual food items and merging them into something that boggles the mind. Like, peanut butter and chocolate; chocolate and caramel; or bacon and ice cream.

Missy Bon Bon's Bacon and Cheese

Missy Bon Bon Breadshop (MBB) bakes the best pastries this side of Cagayan de Oro, the softest and puffiest of crumbs of their baked delights. What if that pastry is combined with something that provokes the most elemental reaction in men; that would be pure fried pork fat strips with all their grease. Yes, I'm talking about bacon as a topping to MBB's lates savory pastry, added with some cheese for good measure.

The Bacon and Cheese pastry is the scion of MBB's delightful pastry and bacon. It is both soft and crunchy at the same time, the pastry offering minimal resistance to one's bite and the fried bacon bits providing that crunch. It is a tad salty though; after all bacon is essentially salted pork fat fried to sinful perfection. The cheese add some flavor to keep it interesting, but still, bacon is bacon and some people just can't get enough of it.

We wouldn't mind getting more of this snack in our gift boxes Missy Bon Bon, that is if we win.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Spicing Up the Ordinary, Boyong's Special Bagoong

A few weeks back I won a contest on the Boyong's Special Bagoong page on Facebook for one bottle of Boyong's Special Bagoong. Early this week I got my prize. Let's see how this goes.

Bagoong is a popular Filipino condiment that is made from fermented fish or shrimp and salt. Normally used as a condiment, it could be by itself an appetizer or as seasoning in cooking. Boyong's version of this venerable paste is prepared from shrimp fry (uyap) and cooked in vinegar, garlic, onion, pork and other spices and then bottled.

Simple yet classy packaging

My first reaction after seeing the product from all angles is that the packaging is well produced. The design although simple is easily identifiable with the product that what I'm buying is shrimp paste and that it is the hot and spicy variety. It is easy to see that much thought was given to make Boyong's packaging classy. This makes it an excellent gift or pasalubong suggestion.

Boyong's Special Bagoong comes ready to serve as a condiment or to be used in cooking as a flavor enhancer. I decided to try it as a condiment and side dish to our dinner the day I received my own bottle of Boyong's.

It was spicy. Perspiration readily flowed from my temples while I was eating, which only served to enhance my dining experience. It was spicy enough that it did not overpower the other flavors in the paste. I could detect the other flavors but the saltiness threatened to overwhelm it. This was what my father immediately commented after a testing a dollop of the paste. It was tasty but it was too salty. Still, it did not deter him from getting another helping and more after his initial taste. It means that because of the intensity of flavors, a bottle of Boyong's could go a long way.

Greens cooked with Boyong's bagoong
The morning after, my mother cooked some camote greens with some Boyong's. It made the dish a little too spicy for the morning. Spicy Boyong's works better as a condiment or dip but using it as a cooking seasoning you risk losing control of the spiciness of your dish.

I heartily recommend Boyong's Special Bagoong as an excellent dip for your green mangoes and steamed bananas. I have not tried yet the original flavor but I enjoyed their hot and spicy variant since I usually like a little heat in my food. It also makes an excellent gift or pasalubong, especially since it says "Product of Cagayan de Oro" on a really nice and classy packaging.

If you are interested in getting one to try or to gift, I'm posting Boyong's contact details at the bottom of this post. Remember that if you are planning to bring this on a plane, this has to be checked in with your luggage and packed well since it is made of breakable glass and the paste is a natural corrosive since it was cooked with salt and vinegar.

Go check Boyong's webpage where they post some recipes and serving suggestions for their bagoong. They also hold regular contests on Facebook.Who knows, soon you maybe trying one of their recipes with bagoong you won from posting a comment on their page. It could happen.

Mobile: 09228970251

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Top 3 Best Breakfasts in Cagayan de Oro

Breakfast. An important part of one's day, especially if you want to start your day right. It is the meal of champions and it is my favorite part of the day. I like it so much that I wouldn't mind having it all again for lunch; except by then it would be called brunch.

For me, a good breakfast needs to have these essentials: fried eggs, processed meats and garlic rice. The presence of all three components would almost certainly guarantee a great start to one's day. Coffee isn't really for me so it isn't important factor, though I would rather have hot chocolate instead. Fruit juice works for me as well.

I have selected three restaurants in Cagayan de Oro whose breakfast meals I found to pass muster. I left out breakfasts buffets because it would be unfair. Hotel breakfast buffets would crowd the top places in my shortlist.

Honorable Mention. Tapsi Time.
It has the pre-requisites, plus it available all day; but their garlic rice is hit or miss for me. Sometimes it is perfect, sometimes it is too stale; and their fried eggs aren't cooked that well. It would do in a pinch if one's having the craving for some breakfast fare.

3. Chub's Diner.
Another eatery that serves breakfast all day, they have the best burger steak in the city. They even serve hot chocolate with it. This could easily be the top breakfast but the top two have something that trumps Chub's.

2. Jollibee.
The Bee has the best garlic rice among the fast food joints that serve breakfast. It goes quite well with their Breakfast Steak. Although only available during morning hours, from opening to 11:00 PM, it is worth getting up early in the morning. However, it loses the top spot because of one side dish.

1. McDonald's
Mickey Dees has the best breakfast to get up early in the morning for since they also serve it only during breakfast hours. I usually go for their Sausage Platter: garlic rice, scrambled eggs and a sausage. The Bee's garlic rice may be superior to their relatively tepid version but they have one thing that I totally love: they serve hash browns. This side goes so well with all their  breakfast meals. Their eggs may be too watery and the sausage too dry but their hash browns wins breakfast for them.

Sausage Platter plus Hash brown from McDo.
This was a close race. Chub's could have easily taken the top place had they served hash browns. Maybe I can suggest they do. There other restaurants I considered. Missy Bon Bon has a fine breakfast menu which they serve all day but falters in pricing and serving size. I've heard Greenwich has started serving their omelets again, but I've tried it yet. Chowking has a nice breakfast selection too but I don't enjoy it as much as the one served by it's sister company, the Bee.

So what do you think? Agree or disagree? What is your best breakfast in the city? Feel free to comment and share your opinion.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Spoils of War: Chocolate Coffee Cake from Missy Bon Bon

In the short brief span that our food blog has existed, our readers have seen columns that have fallen by the wayside as writers came and went. A few remain still, often released in alternate weeks, a change from its once weekly schedule. So in the tradition of Snacking Around XU, Uptown Cravings and Just Desserts, CDOmnivore is proud to present the Spoils of War by Team 6.

Team 6 is a collective of trivia night enthusiasts that have made the Trivia Night at Missy Bon Bon in Limketkai Drive their weekly ritual. More often than not they have placed consistently to win goodies from Trivia Night sponsor and host Missy Bon Bon and are usually the first to try some of the new products which they often include in the gift boxes for the winners. This gives Team 6 a unique opportunity to be the first to sample such products and share what they think of Missy Bon Bon's newest offerings.

Team 6 writes for CDOmnivore

Team 6 received a cake for being the monthly champions of May 2013. That was a memorable victory, which marked Team 6's third monthly prize for 2013. The cake given for that occasion was the Chocolate Coffee Cake.
Chocolate Coffee Cake
Despite the name, this dessert was not intended to be eaten with coffee. The name describes it truly, a blending of chocolate and coffee flavors in a cake. The bitterness of the coffee enhances the natural bitter taste of the raw chocolate and the sweetness of the processed milk chocolate at same time.

It is a rich dessert, a squad of six composed mostly of 5 perpetually hungry teenagers could barely finish it all. Still, it was a very nice addition to our prizes that night.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Snacking Around XU: Turning Japanese at Tokyo, Tokyo

Tokyo,Tokyo.The first fast food restaurant that has made Japanese food accessible here in the Philippines. I've been waiting for franchise to open in the city ever since I tried it in Manila and got hooked on affordable Japanese cuisine. I was glad to see someone brought it to Cagayan de Oro and it has found a home in Limketkai Mall.

Cagayan de Oro is no stranger to Japanese cuisine. Aside from several standalone restaurants in the city, Limketkai has two ramen restaurants, the high end Ramen Tei and the more casual Rai Rai Ken. However, Tokyo, Tokyo takes a different approach to their offerings. Their menu is a fusion of Japanese and Western fast food fare. From Shogun burgers, wasabi fries and California maki, it caters to a younger clientele who have been fed a regular diet of Japanese anime and manga and curious enough to sample the food they've read or seen on their entertainment media.

It is not authentic sushi, but it sure is colorful.

On my visit to Tokyo, Tokyo, I tried some of their snack offerings. I ordered some Americans rolls with onion rings and a glass of their signature red iced tea on the side. The rice rolls are examples of the Japanese-Western fusion I've mentioned earlier. Instead of raw fish, this is sushi made with ham and cream cheese. Instead of soy sauce and wasabi, it has some sort of sweet sauce and mayo as a dip. It was quite disappointing since It wasn't the fresh taste I expected. It was some sort of fancy substitute for people too timid to try actual Japanese food. The onion rings were better and looked appetizing enough, but biting into it, it didn't had the crisp I was looking for in rings.It would in a pinch but I've had better rings.

I like how their onion rings look but it lacked crisp.

Still, Tokyo, Tokyo has some gems. Their Shogun burger is the best fast food burger I've had in Cagayan de Oro. The bun tasted refresh with actual poppy seeds on it. The beef was also satisfying as was the onion rings that totally made the burger. I had it on an earlier  visit and I would definitely have it again. They still have more menu items that were interesting, especially some rice meals and toppings suitable for lunch, so I definitely would be coming back.

Are you curious enough to try some accessible fast food with a modern Japanese twist? Visit Tokyo, Tokyo on the second floor of Limketkai Mall.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Having Your Ribs And Eating It At Home.

Who doesn't like ribs? Meat that falls off the bone and slathered with barbecue sauce. it used to be that you had to go to a steakhouse or a casual dining restaurant to get your ribs fix. It can get pricey too, since it is usually one of the high end items on a restaurant's menu.

the stall
That is no longer the case though; ever since I found that you could order ribs for take out at Captain Richie's Baby Back Ribs, I felt the clouds parted and the dark days of no ribs are finally over. Located in Nazareth in the city, it is on the corner of Tomas Saco Street, across the neighborhood Monterey meat shop. Their ribs are just the way you like them, soft, tender and falls off the bone. They also have this savory barbecue sauce which is included with every order. The best part is that they are able to price a single order for less than what restaurants charge for theirs. Captain Richie's is able to do this by being a purely takeout counter, without having to invest in fixed costs and other overhead that would have otherwise went into the pricing.
that is a clean work area

When it comes to ribs, this is the city's best kept secret, hidden it is in the suburbs of Nazareth. I've passed their stall numerous times without realizing that they sold takeout ribs.It isn't really the most convenient of locations though, one would really have to go find their stall. But once you do find their takeout counter, you would be able to order what I consider the best ribs for your peso. Customers have four options regarding how their ribs are done. One could have barbecue, garlic, hot and spicy and chili garlic.

Liempo, lechon manok, and pancit may be cheaper takeout options, but ribs has surely upped the stakes. Anyone too tired or too lazy to cook at home need not settle for burnt pig flesh, under-cooked chicken or salty noodles any longer. Now they can have ribs and dinner with takeout food has never been better.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Just Desserts: Chocolate Panna Cotta from Missy Bon Bon

Just so all of CDOmnivore's followers would know, MJ won't be writing the Just Desserts segment of the blog but I will be picking up the slack. This is actually my second Just Desserts feature, I did one on Korean ice cream bars which you can check again by clicking here.

Missy Bon Bon Breadshop of Cagayan de Oro is known for its pastries and gelato, but it also serves chilled desserts in single serve containers. The feature dessert for this post is its Chocolate Panna Cotta. For this review, Team 6 provided two cups of the dessert from their first place prize haul from Trivia Night. Thanks guys!

Panna Cotta is an Italian gelatin dessert made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar. The mixture is then blended with gelatin and allowed to cool. It usually topped by fruit, caramel, chocolate sauce or fruit puree. Missy Bon Bon's version makes for a much richer dessert. The gelatin cream is actually set over chocolate gelatin with chocolate bits. It is then topped by whipped cream, dark chocolate, a piece of preserved orange and a cherry. I enjoy the texture of gelatin desserts but too much of this cloyingly rich concoction could be monotonous. The fruit pieces serve well to break that monotony of sweetness with a little fruity sourness; as does the small dark chocolate bar with a little bitterness.

I really like how Missy Bon Bon packaged this to sell. Set in its own cup and covered with a tamper-proof clear plastic dome to protect the dessert; it sure looks so tantalizing.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Tale of Two Burger Steaks

Chub's Diner, located just across Xavier Gym, has changed the way Kagay-anons enjoy burgers. At least, the way I enjoy burgers. No longer does a burger enthusiast has to stick to the overcooked and undersized offerings of corporate fast-food chains, not when he can opt to go to Chub's Diner and order their juicy Chub's sized burgers.

Still, despite having Cagayan de Oro's best burgers, I don't go to Chub's for the burgers, but for its burger steak. Cooked the same way they do their burgers, it's juicy and huge.

Recently, the supreme overlord of all fast food restaurants in the Philippines Jollibee released an over-sized burger steak rice meal as part of its offerings. One could speculate about the timing of the release since Chub's Diner was getting traction on its own extra-sized meal offerings, but I'm giving Jollibee the benefit of the doubt since it is basically a soulless corporate entity that doesn't give a damn about the smaller players plans, especially a niche operation like Chub's. But CDOmnivore is going to pit the two in a head-to-head death-match between their respective burger steak offerings. Let us see goes out on top.

Contender 1. The Ultimate Burger Steak from Jollibee.
For the centerpiece of its "Ultimate" offering, Jollibee uses the patty from their venerable Champ burger, a third of a pound of beef set on a bed of their potato fries and topped with mushroom gravy. It has a single serving of rice and fried egg on the side. The value meal option comes with a regular drink.

Jollibee's "Ultimate" Burger Steak Value Meal (comes with a regular drink)

The Good.
It has fries! Burger steak meals always improve with some fries on the side. It is also cheaper than its opponent, it comes at 119 pesos and beats the 130 pesos of Chub's. There is a reason for this, one would be that the Bee has the advantage of the economy of scale and is able to spread a lot of the overhead for this item over a lot more units.
The Bad.
Soggy fries, the gravy is generously poured over the steak and the fries and this made it soggy. The gravy itself isn't spectacular, just some runny sauce with shredded bits of what appears to be button mushrooms. The egg is even a tad rubbery which indicates it isn't freshly cooked. When I ate at a branch for this review, the service crew was able to put it out quickly but the food just seemed to be warmed over and not freshly cooked as I would have wanted.

Contender 2. Chub's Burger Steak from Chub's Diner.
Now this is a burger steak, grilled yet still juicy enough for it to ooze when slicing through it. It comes with two eggs cooked at your option either scrambled or sunny side up and an extra-sized serving of garlic rice. It also has a tasty and thick mushroom gravy poured liberally over your steak. It comes at 130 pesos but Chub's burger steak is at least twice the size offered by the Bee. The meal comes with a drink, your choice of ice tea or hot chocolate; and I always go with the hot chocolate.

Chub's Burger Steak

The Good.
The size. Twice the burger steak size, twice the eggs and twice the rice, Chub's offering handily trashes the Bee here. The gravy features actual mushroom slices, something the Bee doesn't do with their gravy; and I will pick hot chocolate every time over the Bee's drinks choices of sugared carbonated water or too sweet powdered fruit juices.
The Bad.
It may cost eleven pesos more, but the goodness offsets the extra you have to pay. It may not come with fries but I've never particularly enjoyed the Bee's brand of coated potato slices. I don't think Chub's has anything bad when it comes to their burger steak.

The Winner.
Chub's Diner wins this one handily. I don't think the Bee had any chance when it came to this dish. Chub's has become my go-to place for burgers in CDO.  But if the Bee included garlic rice with their "Ultimate" Burger Steak, it may just have a winner. The Bee probably has the best garlic rice among all fast-food chains in the country. Too bad it only serves it during breakfast.

So, who do you think offers the best burger steak in the city?

Monday, June 3, 2013

A New Direction For CDOmnivore

CDOmnivore has been a relatively successful experiment in blogging and e-marketing. The group has exceeded its targets and has received an appropriate grade for it. Still, I believe that this site has a lot of potential and we have barely even scratched the surface on the tip of an iceberg. We have still much to learn on how to effectively manage this blog. Although its initial rewards are not yet financial in nature, we were able to learn much even if it we did started out blind and groping in the dark.

The summer term ended weeks ago but still this blog continues on.  Much gratitude to CDOmnivore's followers and fans who remained with us. But it is now time for a new direction. Whitney, Estela, MJ and Nancy have moved on to other pursuits. Their contributions will remain and you can still view them in our archives. I will now be the sole content generator and editor of this blog; until I could get other people willing to share to internet their love for food.

I hope you will still continue to support CDOmnivore whether you are on Twitter, Facebook, or Google.

Thank you and good eats.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Uptown Cravings: Turquoise Turkish Restaurant

There is one restaurant in SM Cagayan de Oro that is almost criminally underrated. It has been open for several years already and is probably one of the more interesting eateries in the city; serving a unique and interesting menu featuring dishes that carry a Middle Eastern and Balkan flair. Yes, I'm talking about Turquoise Turkish Restaurant. Now, before one suspects that I have taken leave of my senses; there is more to that establishment besides its gaudy furnishings and mysteriously foreign menu items. I suggest one should take time to check in and just read their offerings.

Being a Turkish restaurant, Turquoise offerings are halal, meaning the meat is prepared according to Muslim ritual. That means a lot of beef offerings but also vegetarian dishes too. The dish I had when I visited the place was Hummus with Lawash bread. Hummus is mashed chickpeas blended with olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. It is a dish that is quintessentially Middle Eastern, though it appears also in selected Mediterranean cuisine. I really like the texture of hummus and the various flavors in it. It is great to pair it with bread or in this case lawash or cracker bread. I spread it liberally on a piece of lawash, roll it, and dig in.

Hummus with Lawash bread
The Turquoise menu actually has dishes familiar to even the least adventurous diner. It has grilled meat skewers, stews and salads. Their offerings isn't entirely Turkish but contains a variety of courses from both Western, Middle Eastern, Balkan and Filipino cuisine.

It is great to have place like this where one can indulge one's international epicurean fantasies. I don't have to leave the Philippines to taste something Middle Eastern. There aren't many restaurants that offer what they have and it is in a convenient location. So if you're feeling adventurous but can't fly, let your taste buds do the  traveling for you instead.