that hole in the wall

A food blog by six hungry medical students in search of the best hole-in-the-wall finds.

Wok With Me

I was never a sisig fan until I entered medical school. I used to wrinkle my nose with disdain at the sight of miscellaneous pork parts on a hot plate and wonder why anyone would eat something that was clearly going to do damage to your arteries.

THEN I tasted Wok’s sisig.

How I actually got around to scooping a spoonful into my mouth escapes me, but I will always be thankful to whoever it was that convinced me to get past my initial food snobbery and discover the world of sizzling porcine wonder.

The interiors are confusing, to say the least. African tribal masks next to Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, chandeliers that belong to a Chinese restaurant, busts of nymphs frolicking by a pond, miniature statues of the reclining Buddha… It feels like you’re walking into a cultural identity crisis. 

Even more overwhelming is the massive number of selections on their menu. Unless you’re a regular, the formidable amount of possibilities you’re presented with is a bit of a strain on the neurons. We’re here to shed some light on what you should definitely order. If you haven’t guessed by now from my lengthy spiel, you must be as confused as the person in charge of the decor.

Pork Sisig, P100. 5/5.

THIS IS THE REAL DEAL, PEOPLE. AND YES, THAT IS MOTHAFRICKIN’ CHEESE ON TOP. AND I APOLOGIZE FOR THE ALL-CAPS USAGE WAHAHA. This is possibly one of the best sisigs you will ever taste in your life. It is perfect. Every mouthful is PERFECT. Words fall short. I revert to a more primitive state whenever this dish is placed in front of me. I’m sorry for not knowing the exact words to describe the pure perfection of their sisig. All I can offer are caveman-like grunts of approval. Trust me, you will not regret the years shaved off your life by eating this.

Thai Bagoong Rice, P105. 4/5.

Chunks of green mango, slivers of fried egg, and a hefty serving of (usually cold) tocino atop a mountain of rice, fried with bagoong. Tocino?! What?! Yeah, we thought so too. Pretty strange combination, especially since this is being touted as “THAI” bagoong rice. However, it works. Even if the tocino is usually served strangely cold. Sweet, salty, sour, and carby. Pretty darn good.

Boneless Chicken B-B-Q, P100. 2/5.

Meh. Well, okay, to be fair, it wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t that great either. I say this with certainty because this review should have been written months ago, and this particular item does not get any synapses firing. I am currently staring at the pictures of the said dish with the same blank expression of someone who sees a one-time acquaintance from across the room and would rather not get into the dirty business of walking across to say hello again.

Diced Chicken in Chili Garlic, P100. 5/5.

Another okay dish. Nothing great. More sweet than spicy, and not really that memorable.

Chicken Sisig, P105. 3/5.

Not bad. Not quite a substitute for the awesomeness that is the pork sisig, but it will do. The chicken is usually pretty juicy despite the fact that the chunks are white meat, and grated cheese is never a bad idea. Friends who are stricken with last-minute remorse regarding the general well-being of their arteries usually order this and end up just staring enviously at whoever orders the pork sisig.

We failed to order the Bulalo Steak (P110), which is another dish that Wok is famous for, but we’ve ordered it (way too) many times in the past to know that it’s something you end up thinking about during those days when you just need something that is so delicious but pretty much horrible for your body.

In summary, one heads over to Wok for two dishes alone. The rest are so-so meals that will do the job when it comes to filling empty stomachs, but to fulfill primal carnivorous urges, only the pork sisig and the bulalo steak will do the trick. Especially the pork sisig. Trust us on this.

- Bets

Wok with Me
P80-P110 per meal
Unit 102 Dioreza Plaza Building, Dapitan Street, Sampaloc
781-5908/781-5759 (They deliver! Minimum is P250.)

skywillflyby asked: Make me miss the Philippines. I'll make sure to look around here when I visit back. Keep up the good work.

Thank you! :) We really appreciate it.

Updates

Hey guys, it’s been way too long since our last post! Unfortunately, our last year of medicine has been keeping us extremely busy. However, keep posted. This isn’t the last you’ve seen of That Hole in the Wall. ;) Thanks for following us! Happy eating!

      

Anonymous asked: hi there, i love your blog, coz i love hole in the wall places as welll, and being medical students, remind me of how i was few years back.
i am a vascular surgeon
i just want to make a correction. Atsu ramen is not in banawe,( i found thatg out when i was looking for it the whole stretch of banawe.
It is located in Araneta Ave..
keep on posting
jeffchua
docjeffchua@yahoo.com

Thanks so much for the feedback Doc! :) Sorry for the erratum. Noted, thank you. :) And thanks for following our blog, it means a lot to us. :D Expect more entries to come soon after our exams hehe. :p

- The THITW Team

Steak 101

After being away from expressing my passion and love for food for 3 long years because of med school’s hectic schedule, I am finally back to doing what I love most: sharing my mind-blowing, mouth-exploding food finds to all the gastronomically insane like me who want MORE. I want to take this opportunity to thank Svet for bringing me back and for inviting me into her team of food addicts.

Okay, it’s clobbering time!

I am all about LOW PRICED and DELICIOUS meals, and when I say delicious I mean high calorie and high fat food. I don’t eat… I FEAST. So for my maiden voyage here at THITW, I would like to share with you Dapitan Square’s one and only STEAK 101.

Steak 101 is located at the heart of Dapitan Square, the well known food strip just across McDo Lacson. It boasts of student friendly meals that are not heavy on the budget. Whenever I want to escape from the f*%&@#+ high priced med caf and get a quick snack that’s both cheap and satisfying, Steak 101 is the place that will definitely satisfy my urge for “not bad” sulit meals.

Crackling Liempo, P50 w/o drink, P55 with drink. THUMBS UP!

There are a lot of places around UST that sell the carinderia staple that is liempo with rice. Most fried liempos I’ve tried almost always turn out bad mainly because they serve it pan fried, not deep fried. The secret to a perfect dish of fried liempo is by deep frying the pork and transforming the greasy fat laden piece of flesh into a golden, crisp block of fatty explosion! It is because of this reason that I love the fried liempo of Steak 101. Just by eyeballing the menu and seeing the word CRACKLING, you’ll surely be curious as to the truthfulness of the dish’s name. So to test, I close my eyes and take in the first bite… The pork is crispy and the skin on top of the fat really is crackling! Every piece of liempo exudes the fat exploding flavor in my mouth (I deeply apologize to those who don’t like fat, I am a big fan of adipose). MOUTH EXPLOSION at its finest.

One order includes the crackling liempo, a cup of java rice, a side of mashed potato, a side of Mang Tomas sarsa and a cup of lemonade or red iced tea. For me, this dish is perfect save for just one problem: the side of Mang Tomas isn’t always refillable. I particularly like Mang Tomas with fried liempo so when I eat here I always ask for refills. I had an experience where the ate wasn’t in a generous mood. To solve this, all you have to do is just make tiempo and ask the ate in a nice way. OR you can ask the lady who I think owns the place, she gave our table a full bottle. So that’s it, this dish really is CRACKLING!


Crackling Sisig, P60. THUMBS DOWN!

I just LOOOVE sisig! So when I saw that they also offer sisig CRACKLING, I thought I was going to die just like I did with the crackling liempo. When the sizzling plate arrived on the table, I took a bite… To my dismay, IT DID NOT taste anything like sisig. Just like Ron’s post about the churros, the sisig tasted like NOTHING. Yes, nothing. How the hell could that have happened?!? The presentation was perfect! On the hot plate were crispy looking pieces of pork sizzling their way to perfection with a slowly cooking egg on top. This couldn’t be bad. I took a whole spoonful. DISASTER. It was FAKE. Fake sisig is the worst thing that can go into your mouth. It was that bad. And to top it all off, they tried to make it crackling by adding CUCUMBER (see picture above for those little green pieces of sadness). It was just WRONG! Compensating for the lack of sisig by adding CUCUMBER? SERIOUSLY?! May crunch nga pero gulay naman! This dish was just so wrong! SAD TO SAY, sisiraan ko lang tong sisig na to.

Tonkatsu, P50. THUMBS UP!

If you want to get your money’s worth, then you should get tonkatsu and add an order of extra rice for that GRABE, SULIT NA SULIT EXPERIENCE! One order literally fills the whole length of the sizzling plate. Nothing special about this dish, it just tastes like good old tonkatsu, but it comes with a unique sweet sauce that gets you going and going until you’ll have to order an extra cup of rice. The best part is that the sauce is unlimited unlike the Mang Tomas. The Japanese fried pork lies on top of a bed of cabbage that’s just nothing but decoration, but I’m still giving them one up for presentation.

Mashed Potato, P25. THUMBS UP!

Mashed potato at Steak 101 is just magnificent. I don’t get a single order because it comes with the crackling but my friend Jhun NEVER eats a meal without an extra order of these yellowish potato clouds. It’s mashed potato with big chunks of potato inside and that’s what makes it delicious. Every spoonful contains a combination of mashed and chunky potato that does wonders in your mouth. This is a must try!


Red Iced Tea and Lemonade, P7. THUMBS UP!

Yes, you read it right. A cup of red iced tea or lemonade for just P7! Quite cheap eh? SUPER CHEAP! It costs P7 if you order it by cup but if you add it on to a meal, it’ll just cost you P5. I preferably order the red iced just so that I can shift away from the usual lemonade, which is also good. By looking at the price you might conclude that the drink might be diluted, but rest assured that its flavor is up to par with all the other packaged drinks out there. This really is value for your money.

Steak 101 is that kind of place you eat at when you’re trying to save up for something special (like those new Jordans or Kobes that’ll be coming out this April). It’s that kind of place where you can enjoy a good meal without having to pay too much. So if you’re quite strapped for cash and can’t find anything decent to munch on at the med caf, then head on to Steak 101 at Dapitan Square and I can guarantee you that you’ll leave with a full stomach and a happy wallet.

- Martin

Steak 101
P25-P60 per meal
Dapitan Square, Dapitan Street corner Lacson Avenue

Atsu Atsu Ramen

Hey everyone! Not only have we made it through the hellish days and nights spent toiling over the scourge that is Clinical Epidemiology, we’ve prevailed with flying colors! Thank you for the prayers and the support. We’re finally back to regular programming hehehe.

So, what have we been up to recently besides slaving over Medicine? Actually, pretty much nothing else. :| Now that we finally have our lives back, we’re incredibly excited to finally return to eating more than caf food and hastily packed lunches from home. So without further ado, on to the food!

Almost a full month ago, UST celebrated its quadricentennial year. Of course, what would a quadricentennial anniversary be without the festivities? An almost week-long celebration ensued, which culminated on a Friday in a huge all-out campus-wide event that sadly, I didn’t attend. Instead, the THITW crew and I headed over to Atsu Atsu Ramen, a Japanese restaurant owned by business partners Paul Cuenca and Bong Martin (who also happens to be BJ’s uncle), to do some serious reviewing.

               

Bong Martin and Paul Cuenca

Right smack along Araneta Avenue, Atsu Atsu Ramen seems to have been placed in a pretty strange location, seeing as there more factories than restaurants littered around the area. Paul has a pretty good comeback. “If the food is good, the people will come.”

Unlike the abundance of flashy mass-marketed “fusion” Japanese restaurants that have been mushrooming around the metro, Atsu Atsu offers a more dignified, unpretentious, quieter breath of fresh air. Most Japanese restaurants in Manila serve Filipinized versions of Japanese food. You know what I’m talking about. Heavy on the salt, the sugar, the sauce, the breading, and the grease. Though I do admit, I get a hankering for Philadelphia rolls and deep fried sushi every so often, traditional Japanese cuisine still takes precedence for me. If you’re looking for authenticity, Atsu Atsu is all that. “I wanted to serve authentic, non-bastardized Japanese food,” Paul explains. 

Simple but with meticulous attention to detail, Atsu Atsu’s interiors make you feel like you’re in an authentic ramen house. Two of its main chefs have been trained by traditional Japanese chefs and have been with Paul’s team for 15 years. They’re no stranger to the business as they set up Furusato, one of the first Japanese restaurants in the Philippines.

Atsu Bun, P85. 3.5/5. White bun filled with simmered pork, vegetables, mayonnaise and sauce.

We started off with the Atsu Bun, which, as the server described, was “Japanese cuapao”. This is amazing eaten hot and fresh. The pork strips were INCREDIBLE and cooked PERFECTLY. I loved this.

                

Atsu Kakuni, P140. 3/5. Simmered pork in special Japanese sauce.

The pork was melt-in-your-mouth tender and lovingly simmered in a delicious sauce. The boys fell in love with this because of the high fat-to-meat ratio. I personally shied away from this because I feel iffy eating something that visibly has almost as much fat as meat, but everyone else insisted that they loved this and that it adds to the flavor. Don’t get me wrong though, this wasn’t greasy at all, despite the glistening fat. It tasted clean, simple and delicious.

              

Chicken Teriyaki, P145. 2.5/5. Grilled chicken with teriyaki sauce.

This didn’t particularly stand out for us. The chicken was tender and well-cooked, but the taste just wasn’t that memorable.

Steamed Gyoza, P85. 3.5/5. 5 pcs. Japanese dumpling.

The gyoza was delicious, albeit a little greasy despite it being steamed. The dipping sauce complemented it well. I loved the fact that the wrapper was slightly toasted, as you can see from the pictures. The texture was amazing. Soft, slippery and doughy but slightly crispy. YUM. The pork was a little undercooked but it was still pretty good.

               

Ebi Tempura, P150. 4/5. Shrimp tempura.

The batter was light and NOT AT ALL OILY, which elevates this dish above most of the Japanese restaurants around here. Atsu Atsu does not cheat you by upping the ratio of batter to shrimp. It did not overwhelm the taste of the shrimp, which was fresh and sizeable, unlike the scrawny excuses for tempura that most of us have come to know.  This was really good tempura.

Tori Karaage, P150. 3.5/5. Boneless fried chicken.

Oh man was this good. The flavor was CRAZY DELICIOUS. This is the kind of fried chicken that you dream about. Thinking about this makes my mouth water. How can I describe this accurately? The taste was out of this world. Our only issue with it was the copious amount of oil that gushed into our mouths with each bite. Perhaps if this were improved, this would be one stellar fried chicken dish.

               

Chicken Yakitori, P140. 4/5. Skewered chicken with special sauce.

The chicken was so soft, it practically melted as soon as we bit into it. Flavorful, juicy, and mind-blowingly tender, this was a pretty great dish.

              

Miso Ramen, P160. 4.5/5. Miso base ramen that has strong rustic flavor with simmered pork and vegetables.

                

Tokyo Ramen, P160. 5/5. Shoyu base ramen soup topped with simmered pork, green onion, half an egg, bamboo shoots, and fish cake.

Now for the stars of the show. THE RAMEN. To be completely honest, you should head over to Atsu Atsu solely for the ramen because they have PERFECTED THE ART OF MAKING IT. Though the other dishes are worth mentioning, they pale in comparison to Atsu Atsu’s ramen.

The Miso Ramen is supposed to have the strongest flavor among the other variants, but it actually tasted subdued compared to the Tokyo Ramen. The Miso Ramen has a clean, uncomplicated taste. It’s the kind of ramen you’d want to eat on a rainy day, when you want to feel toasty and warm. The Tokyo Ramen, however, is complex, rich, and contrary to the descriptions on the menu, much stronger in taste as opposed to the Miso Ramen. The Tokyo Ramen was hands-down my favorite and is now my holy grail of ramen here in the Philippines. It’s that good. The noodles are toothsome and thick and each of the components complemented one another perfectly. Trust me. THAT GOOD.

Umani Ramen Set, P285. 4/5. Shoyu base ramen with vegetables, seafoods, sesame oil, hard boiled egg. The soup is rich and satisfying, almost more a thick ramen gravy than soup.

You can also order ramen sets which are served with 1 piece Okaka Onigiri or 1 piece Atsu bun (WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND THE ATSU BUN!!!) as well as 3 pieces of steamed gyoza and a mini salad. You get lots of bang for your buck for only P285. It’s supposed to be good for one but it was pretty formidable even for a big guy like Francis.

               

I’m going to review the Umani Ramen separately from the Miso and the Tokyo ramen because it didn’t really taste like the ramen that I’m accustomed to. It tasted more like its description: gravy. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because it was hearty, rich and packed with flavor. COMFORT FOOD. I’m still biased towards the Tokyo and the Miso ramen though, but give the Umani a shot.

Overall, the prices are incredibly reasonable for the authenticity and the quality of the food you get. The team differed in terms of favorites, but we all agreed that the ramen was OUTSTANDING. If ever you drop by Atsu Atsu, we beg you to order their ramen. It will change your life.

'Til the next review!
- Bets


Atsu Atsu Ramen by Zen
P80-P300 per meal
Barangay Sto. Domingo, Araneta Ave., Quezon City

Erratum: We originally posted “Banawe Street” as the location of the restaurant. Thanks to Dr. Jeff Chua for pointing out the error. :)

Apologies!

Hey guys, we owe you a really big apology for running incredibly late on our reviews! We are seriously swamped with school right now but we promise that our long overdue review on a really amazing Japanese restaurant will be up by next weekend.

In the meantime, we’d like to introduce a new face in our group. He’s one avid food fan with a seriously insatiable appetite. Welcome, Martin! Watch for his reviews soon! ;)

Wish us luck, everyone! We promise to get back to the good stuff. If we make out of these weeks alive. HAHAHAHA. Kidding. OPTIMISM IS KEY!

Happy eating, guys! Be back soon. :)

Pasta Plate: Confections

Hello! Sorry for the weeklong delay. This last shift has just begun and is proving to be the toughest one yet. Snaps for weekends! And so I am going to take this time to take a break from the chaka-fest that is med school (I actually should be doing something important. “C.E.” you’re killing me!), and give you more of the food reviews you love. I hope you’re ready (or kahit hindi) for another serving of Pasta Plate cause there’s more, but this time we’ll take a peek into their selection of sweets, which they aptly dub as CONFECTIONS (Thank you for stating the obvious. Ganun talaga. Wag na umarte. Hehe!)

                

Pasta Plate’s collection of Confections.


Didn’t get to try these. I think these are “Crinkles” in cupcake form. So much for pastry tradition.

               

Churros con Chocolat, P25 - Hmmm… Where do I begin? I’m not some kind of an expert or something, but aren’t churros supposed to be doughy, bread-like pastry things? This version doesn’t even come close to being doughy, it’s… ‘Something’. I’m not sure what it was (Batter? Breading?? Cornstarch???), but it’s fried ‘something’ and not in an exciting kind of way. We got pumped when I ordered it. Churros? For P25? Not bad! But it was. An order has 6 churro pieces, and a chocolate dip. Svet grabbed a piece ecstatically, but her face immediately turned into this “throw up at ‘ya” face and exclaimed, “NAMAN…” And when she says that, you know something’s bad. She tried dipping it in chocolate, but still this did not quell her dismay. I tried it, and experienced the exact same thing. It was like biting into tempura batter (A tasteless batter) with a hollow center. The chocolate dip won’t help either. And it was kind of pale in appearance, as if it wasn’t fried well (Maybe that’s why!). Parting words: Stop pretending that you’re a churro, when you’re not. Mapagpanggap ka.

                

Banana and Nutella Panini, P45 - A lttle meh. Nothing spectacular. I had high hopes for this one. I love Nutella (I love the fact that it has the word ‘Nut’ in its name but doesn’t make me all itchy in the throat. Haha!) and I thought that it would go great with the banana, but it’s nothing special. It’s even bitter at times. Maybe the all pressing didn’t do the banana + nutella combination any good. The crew barely touched it, and left everything to me. I used the chocolate dip from the churros to shake it up a little. Overall, for the price and all, it’s a little ho-hum.

                 
Fudge ala Mode, P40 - It was only after I ordered the two above when I found out that they had this. Being the great pals that they are (and for the sake of me reviewing something), Dave and Svet offered to get us this. Everyone in the place seemed to be ordering this after their meals, so that got me all excited. Who wouldn’t get excited with things “ala mode”? At first bite I loved how the moist, warm fudge cupcake contrast the cool, sweet vanilla ice cream. Combining these polar opposites (as in anything ala mode) will give you a different kind of dessert experience. This made me a bit greedy and wanted to get as much as I can. But as I went on, I and some of the others, noticed a burnt, bitter taste, which I didn’t mind at the time. After everyone got their fair share, and me still the greedy sow that I am, shamelessly declared, “The dessert queen will get the last bite!” and the helpless subjects complied. But my hoggishness had instant karma. The last, central portion turned out to be the core of all burned pieces. Hooray! That last bite was awful! Burnt. Charcoal-y. Burnt. Talk about leaving a bad taste in the mouth. The subjects laughed at their queen, and the queen washed it off with water. Sayang! It could’ve been great if only they prepared it right. Let’s start by not burning the cupcake, shall we? 

So the desserts in Pasta Plate are a little so-so (some even awful). If hindi overcooked, undercooked naman (say hello churro!). Maybe pasta is their strong suit (hence the name). I hope they improve the preparation (esp. the Fudge ala Mode) because they can be “pwede na” after meal treats (para hindi na lumabas and take their dessert money somewhere else). There are still other Confections I haven’t tried yet, and who knows maybe they’re not half as bad as the ones above. If you’re still up for it, try the rest and tell me what you think.

- Ron

Pasta Plate

Haaaallooooo everyone! We’re sorry for the delay, we’ve all been pretty busy adjusting to the rigors of regular school hours post-exam week. To add to the craziness, UST recently held a semi week-long celebration of its quadricentennial anniversary. 400 years of Thomasian education! Woo hoo!

Anyway, enough jabber. ON TO THE FOOD!

We wanted to start things right after the horror of shifting exams, so we headed off to Dapitan to explore and hopefully discover a hidden treasure trove of gastronomic delights. (We also needed to find a place that wouldn’t make our wallets cry tears of despair.)

We found ourselves in V. Concepcion and serendipitously stumbled upon a tiny restaurant tucked into one of the buildings along the street. We had probably passed by the place many times in the past and failed to notice that it actually existed.

                

The interior of Pasta Plate is warm, homey and inviting. Although it tends to get a bit cramped whenever it’s a full house, the general atmosphere is cozy enough for you to genuinely enjoy your dining experience.

      

Yihee.

                 

      

Some busty Italian woman urging you to eat her pasta.

      

Self-explanatory. :p

               

               

               

      

     

Tuna Carbonara, P70. 3.5/5

One great thing about Pasta Plate is that the noodles are cooked al dente. This was a pretty good dish. It was creamy, peppery, and didn’t scrimp on the tuna. We really liked the fact that most of the meals were priced reasonably.

    

Chicken Ala Kiev, P85. 3.5/5

"What makes chicken ala Kiev ‘ala Kiev’?" Dave pondered. After a moment of thoughtful silence, we realized that we had absolutely no idea. "Parang place ata yung Kiev?" Ron offered helpfully. Right you are! Besides being the capital of Ukraine, "Kiev" is a way of preparing chicken. "Boneless chicken breast pounded and rolled around cold garlic butter with herbs, then breaded and either fried or baked." Wikipedia is my best friend. This was a filling dish with a crapload of rice, as you can probably see in the picture. The chicken "ala Kiev" was pretty tasty, but it was also pretty tough. 

    

     

Cheesy Chicken Pesto, P100. 3/5

The pasta was amazing. I am a sucker for simple food done right. I believe they used garlic, onions and olive oil for the pasta. It tasted clean and fresh. Ron and Mean loved this too. However, my beef lies with the chicken. IT WAS COLD. I’m not talking room temperature. I mean COLD. When I cut into it, the meat was a little tough. No matter, I went on and put a forkful into my mouth. I grimaced immediately. The outer part was warm, but the inner contents were almost glacial. Mean and I surmised that they probably just microwave their food. It was a shame since the filling, a glorious mix of really buttery, creamy cheese, herbs, and pesto, was actually pretty good. I should have asked one of the servers to reheat it.

               

     

Chicken Fillet Pesto, P80. 2.5/5

The pesto was average. Nothing spectacular, to be honest. The chicken strips looked and tasted like the chicken fillets that you get from the frozen section of your grocery.

      

Hungarian Pesto, P85. 3/5

Ron ordered this and immediately regretted it when he took one forkful and turned to me with a panicked look on his face. “MAY NUTS BA ‘TO?!?” Unfortunately, our Dessert Diva is tragically ALLERGIC TO NUTS. They make his airways constrict like a vise. Even the mere smell of nuts makes him nervous. There WERE pine nuts in the pesto and Ron grudgingly exchanged his meal with Dave’s and cast longing looks at the glistening slices of Hungarian sausage. The pesto pasta, again, didn’t set off taste explosions in our mouths. It was just okay. The Hungarian sausage, however, worked incredibly well with it. We really love Hungarian sausage. Salty, spicy, porky, and with slightly toasted edges. How can you go wrong? Have I mentioned how much we love Hungarian sausage?

                

Chicken and Pesto Panini, P70. 3/5

This was undoubtedly the winner among what we had ordered. Somehow, their pesto worked better when pressed lovingly between two slices of bread that resembled ciabatta but wasn’t quite it. Warm, delicious and filling. We weren’t quite sold with the price though, but the panini is satisfying and makes for good comfort food. 

Overall, we think that Pasta Plate has a lot of potential for growth. If they manage to iron out the kinks and perfect their meals, we think that you’ll be getting a lot of value for your money. 

Shoutout and a big thanks to Ralph for the unexpected birthday treat. ;)

- Bets

Pasta Plate
P50-P100 per meal
1228-A V. Concepcion Street, Sampaloc, Manila 

By the way, check out our friend Mark’s awesome new food blog! He says we inspired him to start his own. Thanks Chatty! :)

Simple Line

After our atherosclerotic, kidney failure-inducing, just utterly disappointing lunch at this certain place that Bets used to love, we felt like we just had to wash off all that salt, grease and basically all the negativities inside us. Most of us were craving for something sweet, something cold.  A dessert, perhaps?

Or… A cold, refreshing drink might do the trick. Since we were about to pass by Dapitan St., we opted for some milk tea in an attempt to soothe our souls with something healthy and relaxing. And where else to buy, but from the pioneer and probably the most controversial tea place in or around UST, Simple Line. (Or Life… Whatever floats your boat… But I guess Simple Life sounds better and “not edited for the sake of legal issues.”)

 

The erstwhile Simple Life started the “who knew tea could be this good and not taste like our lola’s drink” fad around 2008 and has been going around amidst all the popping new tea stalls trying to jump on the “milk tea” bandwagon.  But despite the months of mysterious hiatus, it’s back. And with a vengeance, I suppose. With its new and improved menu, Simple line offers more interesting variants like Oolong tea, herbal jelly “sinkers” and rose flavored tea which will be featured here. Although it’s no longer located at the UST carpark, it is still the go-to place for tea-lovers and just plain thirsty students alike.

 

Here’s the new branch in Dapitan, complete with the original “tsinay”-looking cashier who gets the orders and gives out the “call” numbers written on a plastic thingy and perhaps one of the owners of Simple Line, a couple of “tea bartenders” behind her, all the tea stuff which they claim are imported from Taiwan and the other paraphernalia they need to whip up those herbal-infused beverages that we like so much.

 

 

4/5

This is basically what I order most of the time, aside from Yogurt Green tea. And I have to admit that I’m a bit biased when it comes to this ‘cause I almost exclusively drink green tea. But that’s where the THITW crew comes in to give me their two cents worth of whatever we sample. (Thanks guys!)

Unlike other tea places, the green milk tea in Simple Line has an inherent, delicate jasmine taste (which I and Bets like, but others may find weird, “like drinking sampaguita extract or something”). Although they use powdered milk, there are no floating clumps and the milk blends perfectly with the tea. And the firm and chewy bricks of coffee konjac complements every sip very well, however, it seems quite scanty. (In contrast with Serenitea’s sinkers which makes almost a third of the drink. =)) 

 

4/5

Betoy got the Rose Green tea which made me fairly curious, thinking if it will turn out like the ones that the arch-competition of SL serve (which for me tasted like the essential oils that are heated on those fancy clay diffusers). Surprisingly, this one doesn’t! Instead, it tasted more like a fruit juice with a hint of strawberry that has a rosy “middle-note” to it. And to top it all off, Bets seemed to really enjoy it.

 

4/5

Lastly, we have Simple Line’s best seller, the Tapioca Black milk tea. With their signature syrupy, sweet and chewy tapioca pearls mixed with their classic, slightly bitter black milk tea, Ella (AKA Maple Syrup) was at a loss for words and simply said, “Ok lang siya, same old. =)” (then back to her cam).

I think the name says it all. It’s simple. It’s life. Simple Line offers simple, healthy, and flavorful choices and somehow, it has been part of our lives as Thomasians. (Hehe.)

-mngrl

Simple Line
1212 V. Concepcion St., Manila (near Dapitan St.)
For delivery:  09228839567