CLASSIC CHEESEBURGER (CAFE RACER DINER)

By Bart Tancogo, Food Enthusiast

I’ve been following a strict diet these past few days in preparation for a summer kick-off with friends real soon. That being said, I’ve conditioned myself to having just the right amount of calorie intake – not that I’ve been literally counting it, but really just being picky about my bucket list of food trips. The beauty about “dieting” is being thrilled about what’s in store for me come cheat day. At least that to me is exciting. You know what this means, right? It is that day of the week when you can think about indulging even in decadent gastronomic feast and actually turning it into a reality – in the company of friends who also love to pig out of course? Well, true enough that day has finally arrived. My friends and I found ourselves giving in to the “junk” I love the most – THE mighty cheese burger, no less.

Cafe Racer_Classic Cheeseburger

We wound up checking out this relatively new Cafe Racer Diner because a little busy buzz told me that their cheeseburger is impressively good. Even though it was out of the way from our work place, off to this new diner we went. It was around lunch time when we dropped in on the place and I was surprised at how huge the place was. It has both indoor and outdoor dining areas with a fully functional carwash and gasoline station as well. But what really set this restaurant apart from the others was its seemingly late 50’s US diners’ vibe which I truly liked. Not bad, huh?

We decided to finally feed our famished tummies when some nice waiter snapped us from our make-believe trip down memory lane back to our present time by handing out the menu. Being a self-confessed cheese burger lover, I chose the obvious. And boy, Cafe Racer’s Classic burger did not disappoint me at all! I’ve already worked up my appetite, yet nothing has prepared me for how oversized it was. I remember sinking my teeth into those soft buns, then taking in its hearty burger patty that was so tender, so meaty, so bursting in my mouth with flavours, and finally engaging in its cheesy goodness and the freshness of the lettuce. It was equally satisfying with its size and tempting with its savory smell. I have not ignored the fact that I also helped myself to a serving of crispy fries which even meant more hours spent on the treadmill. But then again, no one was calorie-counting that day, remember?

So there you have it. I’m sure you already got the picture. Like pepper to salt, burgers and fries together are ultimately the very reason why “cheat days” are a must. If you’re up for a great casual meet-up with friends, commendable staff service aaaaaaand seriously good burger, you may `skip “the bee” and the striped farmer (wink!). This is the new go-to diner in town.

Classic Cheeseburger
Cafe Racer Diner
Location: North Reclamation Area, Mandaue City

TOMATO AND GARLIC PASTA

Two of my favorite dishes in the world are chicken and pasta. In fact, if I had a death sentence looming before me, I would ask a big plate of pasta with a roasted chicken with it. And it’s a done deal.

Anyway, I’m in for another pasta treat today. I know what’s running in your mind right now. Can I not get enough of pasta on this blog? My answer is NO! I’m a pasta maniac. And this humble crib deserves it. Trust me, this recipe is not something “ohhh, that’s outside my reach.” but instead can make you think, “ohhh, it looks easy and tasty.” I tell you this is an ultimate comfort food with a sophisticated flair.

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FOURS SEASONS HALO-HALO (BUTTERBEAN STYLE)

By Bart Tancogo, Food Enthusiast

It was past 2pm when my shift ended and so I stepped out of the office. Obviously hungry and tired, I was looking for an ideal dessert or a refreshing snack that’s going to beat the tropical heat. I opted to give in to my “icy” needs. The first thing that crossed my mind was to pop in on one of the currently most talked-about dessert hubs, Butterbean Dessert and Cafe it was.

Four Seasons Halo Halo

I’ve always been a fan of Halo-Halo. Whenever there’s one on the menu, I couldn’t seem to resist the urge to try it. Unlike the classic halo-halo with a hundred different ingredients, what drew me to that of Butterbean’s had to do with its seemingly coarse texture and utter simplicity. Theirs was served in a big bowl topped with a scoopful of home-made vanilla ice cream and freshly chopped grapes, strawberries, mango, and banana. Not a lot of toppings, but boy was it a wonderful explosion of flavours in my mouth! With ice so finely shaven and the smooth blend of ingredients, it was literally a melt-in-my-mouth experience to the palate. Plus, the creaminess of the milk it was bathed in made me thank God I was no lactose-intolerant.

Presentation-wise it was inviting and really not bad at P189.00/serving. I even got to indulge in a huge bowl of it and shared it with my lunch pal. I could not pinpoint what made it exceptionally pleasurable – it might have been the milk or the sweetener or its fresh components but I must say this was quite a different halo-halo experience. Hence, Butterbean’s Four Seasons Halo-Halo for me was a perfect summer treat. The right amount of sweetness and refreshing ice shavings were definitely something one could come back to – I know I definitely would.

So if your taste buds are itching for some frosty demands, this sinfully delicious one is absolutely it!

Four Seasons Halo-Halo
Butterbean Dessert and Cafe
Location: Escario Tojong St. Cebu City (Beside Kuya J’s).

PATIS (FISH SAUCE) CHICKEN WINGS

Forget Buffalo Wings when you can have Patis Chicken Wings!

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What you see above is probably one of my favorite and the easiest chicken recipes I have successfully made. I originally thought of whipping up something red-ish today to somehow immense myself with Valentine’s fever but I’ll just leave it to all couples of the world who probably enjoying in each other’s arms in the tune of “On the Chicken Wings of Love”. Admittedly, I’m a member of the NBSB squad but hey it’s never an excuse to celebrate this Heart’s Day with a decadent poultry dish.

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FINALLY 3O!

HBD Cake

Knowing that I’m turning on my 3rd decade of existence this year, I wanted history in the making by preparing the dinner all by myself. Yes! Here goes my amateur culinary skills once again. So I was thinking for an inspiration, some kind of a theme. Pinoy choices will definitely be off the chart since I’ve been eating local food a lot. Chinese? Not trained to make noodles and dimsum yet. So that’s out. Then I suddenly craved for pasta and made a declaration that tonight is going to be Italian night minus pizza and wine!

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GRILLED HUNGARIAN SAUSAGE ALA BIGBY’S

By Bart Tancogo, Food Enthusiast

Good food sets you in a good mood. It is an open secret that trying out different cuisines brings out delight to everyone’s taste buds. This is the reason why resto hopping has become my pastime of late. But mind you, I was the pickiest of eater when I was a kid. My mom would always call me out because if the dish has veggies on it, no way was I eating it.

The good news is that I pretty much eat everything now and I’d love to label myself as adventurous when it comes to food – after all, it’s no FoodieVenture if I was otherwise anything but. Just recently, I had lunch at Bigby’s cafe as I was looking for something to binge on. The moment I flipped through the pages of their menu, my eyes zeroed in on this delish-looking Grilled Hungarian Sausage. Really? …. For most people, it’s without a doubt a Love it or Hate it thing. Thinking about its quite unhealthy calorie count, it’s no wonder why most of my friends won’t touch this stuff. I get where they’re coming from but hmmm, I told myself why wouldn’t I give it a try? So, I did…. and boy did Bigby’s deliver! I must say, that sausage – when cooked right – could be so decadent and fantastic.

Hungarian Sausage

My personal experience with this Grilled Hungarian Sausage was truly pleasurable. It was meaty, tender and sinfully cooked-to-perfection good. Filled with onions to give it extra sweetness and its own secret spices gave just the right amount of punch. Cuban rice on the side, tossed with red and green bell peppers made it even more delectable by adding up a fiery kick to its flavour. Not to mention that it was served with mustard-based vinaigrette, this was sure to satisfy your palate. For everyone who loves a festive and satisfying meal, this one was definitely a must try.

Grille Hungarian Sausage
Location: Bigby’s Cafe, Ayala Terraces Cebu City

SOUTHERN FRIED RICE

Talking about the best way to cook leftover rice from last night’s dinner is like talking about if Mariah Carey can still hit her high notes live. I’m a Mimi fan. In fact, I had my fair quality time with her during her Charmbracelet concert in Manila back in November 2003. God knows and my bestfriend knows how embarrassing my tearjerking skill was during her “Hero” performance. It turned out to be the best concert I ever attended to!

Now, just like with the leftover rice, you have doubts what to do with it at first. Either you eat it as it is (bland and cold) or chi-ching into a fried rice for breakfast which is comfortingly familiar. Today, I wanted to do the latter in the best Southern style that I can.

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