What’s For Breakfast?

Biscuits-Gravy
Expats living in our area still enjoy their Fruit Loops, Cherrios and other breakfast cereals with milk. I do not remember eating those past being a teenager. As I got into young adulthood, that type of breakfast no longer appealed to me. Our son eats several brands of the American style breakfast cereals but he prefers the ones made locally, by Milo and Nestles. He is 10 years old.

I like variety at every meal but I know some people, foreigners included, who can eat the same thing day in and day out for breakfast. I am not the traditionalist who must have ham or bacon and eggs for breakfast. Unless we are traveling, breakfast is always at home.

The cover photo of my article is Biscuits and Gravy. My all time favorite breakfast and brunch. I sometimes make Sausage Gravy to eat over biscuits but plain gravy is fine with me! Anytime.

I keep tortillas in the freezer and I enjoy a breakfast burrito but not every morning. I do not always include meat in the burrito. I am fine with scrambled egg, cheddar cheese, onion and tomato, with salsa.

sos-on-toast
SOS is another old time favorite that my dad taught me how to prepare many years ago. My version in the Philippines includes deli corned beef because I have not run across chipped beef. Sometimes, I follow the World’s Greatest Navy Recipe and I use ground beef, tomatoes and onions to make SOS.

Rolled Oats is a simple stand by, with fruit. I pay less than P100 per bag for Australian Harvest Rolled Oats at SM and at Lopues. Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats are now almost P300 per bag. Forget that. When they were first introduced at Metro, they were much cheaper. I recently bought a bag of Golden Oats for P48. I tired it once and did not like it. At least it came with a free plastic drinking glass with a lid.

Avocado with an egg and toast is a good breakfast to me.

We have a 2 sided waffle iron and we can make both pancakes and waffles on it.

I have not completely shut out the Filipino style breakfast. The only fish I like for breakfast is fried catfish with grits.

Arroz Caldo, Lugaw, Pan de sal with Peanut Butter or Pineapple Jelly, Corned Beef with over EZ egg on rice, Tapa or Tocino with egg and rice, all work for me…but not everyday. I do not really care for the local Chorizo or Longaniza that I have tried. Not very much but I will eat it. It seems like the sweet Longaniza I used to buy in Manila was much better. In our area, the Negrense Chorizo is more popular than Longaniza. Often times, it contains too much fat for my liking. The Chinoy Longaniza is too hard and too salty for my taste.

I am no stranger to eating chili or fried chicken or pizza for breakfast. Tuna Salad on Toast was today’s breakfast.

Crispy-Hash-browns
Potatoes for breakfast is a favorite! Hash Browns, Home Fries, Rosti, Potato Rounds with fried Onions. I like them all. Tater Tots have been out of stock at K-Mart for several years now. I like them as well but I doubt I will ever see them again.

While growing up, my Mom would sometimes prepare breakfast food for supper. I thought it was cool. We had to be the only family who ate scrambled eggs, bacon, fried potatoes and biscuits for supper. That was my thinking back then.

Regardless of what we eat for breakfast, it is best not to skip it.

If you have any unusual or unique breakfast dishes that you enjoy eating, I would like to hear about it. I am always looking for new things to eat for breakfast. Or anytime for that matter.

Don’t forget…eat your breakfast.

I hope to see you one day, somewhere….all around Bacolod.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

7 Sandwiches That Bring Me Happiness in the Philippines

Italian_Sausage_Sandwich
Sandwiches are not as popular in our area of the Philippines, among Filipinos, as in large cities and certainly not as popular as in my area of the USA. An excellent made sandwich is a complete meal for me. Kettle style Potato Chips as a side is enough to complete my meal.

The Clubhouse Sandwich wins hands down if ordering sandwiches in Bacolod restaurants, among Filipinos. Not my favorite at all. In many Filipino homes, Lady’s Choice Sandwich Spread is most popular in our area. There is the Original Sandwich Spread, which is pickle relish and mayonnaise. There is also Chicken Spread, Bacon Spread, Ham Spread and Tuna Spread. Personally, I prefer making sandwiches without using commercial spreads in a jar.

There are several Delis in Bacolod, where you can build your sandwich with what you like. I have found going this route, you are paying about P260 for a deli sandwich, which is not the size of a 6 inch sub. Much smaller and made on toasted whole wheat or white sandwich bread. You are even charged for mayo, mustard, for each pickle, etc. Been there, done that and don’t care doing it again!

Delicioso has a nice BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich and a Fish Po Boy Sandwich, both under P200. They are good but not as good as what I make at home. I buy the Italian or French style bread at Delicioso to make sandwiches at home. P40 per long loaf.

Home Style Deli Sandwiches

I use different sausages to make my favorite sausage sandwich. Debreziner, Polish, Italian, Paprika, Louisiana Hot Links and Andouille Sausages. All are made locally by German nationals, other than the Hot Links and Andouille, which are imported from Louisiana. I already had a Paprika Sausage Sandwich this evening and I am still stuffed!

The Cuban Midnight Sandwich is another all time favorite that I make in the Philippines. Ham, pork loin or thin cut pork chops, mustard, Swiss Cheese if you can find it but for sure, good quality cheese, and dill pickles.

A Crab Salad Sandwich is easily prepared in the Philippines. I have never seen Conch here to make Conch Salad Sandwiches and I really prefer Lobster Salad Sandwiches but lobster is not common in our area. We had a whole lobster 8 days ago for the first time in 7 years! Crab meat, chopped celery, chopped green onion, coarse salt, cracked black pepper, a bit of lemon or calamansi juice and mayonnaise. A great Crab Salad sandwich.

Po Boy 2
A Po Boy. I use deep fried breaded butterfly shrimp or deep fried breaded Cream Dory fish fillets to make my Po Boy Sandwich. I use my own homemade tarter sauce and Trappey’s Bull Original Louisiana Hot Sauce on my Po Boy. I usually put Cole slaw on my Po Boys but lettuce and tomato will work for me as well.

Be Creative with Sandwich Making

A Reuben Sandwich. The best corned beef I can find is LIbby’s Corned Beef, product of Brazil. If I go the route of the near to classic Reuben, I use Libby’s corned beef, quality cheese, mustard, sauerkraut, and horseradish. Sometimes, I use homemade Thousand Island Dressing but not normally. Sauerkraut is available in Bacolod. German sauerkraut in jars or Bush’s canned sauerkraut.

A Rachel Sandwich. This is a variation of the Classic or near to Classic Reuben. I buy Pastrami at Cafe Bob’s Deli. I use the same ingredients as the Reuben, only I use Cole slaw instead of sauerkraut.

For my 7th sandwich, should I go with the Japanese Tuna Salad Sandwich with Wasabi or should I go with the BLTA, Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and Avocado? Both are great, as is a BBQ Pork or Beef Sandwich. I won’t go wrong with any of them.

Everyday is National Sandwich Day at our house but I am the only one usually eating a sandwich.

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod. In the meantime, make yourself a sandwich and have a cold one for me. Will ya?

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Fogo Grill Is Latino Inspired

mexico2
Taco Bell? No, can you say Fogo? Fast food has its place and time, however, I prefer full service dining and I enjoy the wait. I know when the food order arrives at our table, it has a special touch and it is not cookie cutter food, where one size fits all.

Last evening, I took my wife, our son and 2 of our friends to Fogo for our evening meal. Fogo is located at O Residences, right before you get to Robinsons Place Mall on Lacson Street. I had been to Fogo before at their old location. It was my wife and our son’s first visit to Fogo. They certainly enjoyed their dining experience.

Creative Latino Food

That is what you get at Fogo. It is Latino inspired and it is not the run of the mill pseudo Mexican food that you get in chain restaurants. It is not the poor attempt in creating a cuisine that is enjoyed worldwide.

When was the last time you had a burrito that included Mexican rice in the burrito? You can have one at Fogo. Their beef burrito does not include ground beef but it is indeed beef that you can sink your teeth into. Your beef burrito will also have refried beans, cheese and a generous serving of House Salsa.

Tacos, nachos and burritos will put some color back into your face! Don’t forget the fajitas and chili con carne as well. Those are all on the Fogo Menu.

Have you ever had Guacamole Mousse? I didn’t think so. It is the one of the most fabulous desserts I ever had and I am looking forward to our next visit to Fogo.

Portuguese Inspired

Fogo is not one dimensional. There are also several Portuguese inspired dishes on their menu. Peri Peri Chicken and Seafood Cataplana are 2 examples.

I am very familiar with Portuguese Cuisine. My parents, brother and I lived in the state of Rhode Island for 4 years. There is a large Portuguese Community in Rhode Island and in the New England Area of the USA. To this very day, Chourico and Linguica remain at the top of the list of my favorite sausages. They are indeed Portuguese Sausage at its finest.

At home, I make a Portuguese style one pot dish. Clams, crabs, mussels, smoked sausages, corn on the cob, potatoes and whole white onions, all cooked together in one large stock pot. Now, we’re talking! It’s about time to make this again!

Support Your Locally Owned Restaurants

I am a firm believer in supporting the fine locally owned restaurants where you live. The large chain restaurants have business based on their internationally recognized names but the locally owned restaurants will earn your respect, if given the opportunity, by serving you high quality fresh food at reasonable prices.

The locally owned restaurants are down home style. Fresh, locally sourced food is used in preparation and not frozen food that has been shipped halfway around the world! Now, which do you think is better in taste and better for your health?

I enjoy writing about locally owned restaurants, as I have done so during the past 4 years. However, I have never received one centavo for writing about any restaurant. I only write about restaurants that I like and about restaurants that other foreigners will most likely enjoy. If we dine in a restaurant and there is nothing good about it, I don’t write about them. I am not going to write negative words about anyone’s business. Maybe the chef was sick that day? Perhaps the food supplier did not deliver and alternatives had to be used? Maybe all the waitstaff are new and are still learning? We have to think about such things before we blast a restaurant in public. I write about what I enjoy, not about what I don’t enjoy. You can be the judge about what you personally like. We are all different!

A little bit is better than nada but if you want the whole enchilada, you gotta check out Fogo.

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod. Maybe I will see you at Fogo, di ba?

~ Gary ~

Best Recipes from GGG Hacienda

kitchen6
As I have written many times, if you live in a mid-size city or a large city, you can prepare most all of your favorite dishes in the Philippines. In Bacolod, SM, Metro, Lopues Mandalagan and Robinsons are well stocked with ingredients you will need for cooking at home.

Today for an early lunch, it was fried Lison, one of my favorite deep sea fish. It is common around Negros Occidental and Panay Island. Elsewhere in English, it is known as Whitefin Trevally. It is very popular in Japan and it is a wonderful table fish. In Japan, Lison is known as Kaiwari and trawlers go out to catch it.

The way I enjoy Lison is very simple. Lightly dust the whole fish, head, body and tail, in flour but do not dredge and cover so much. Deep fry golden brown. It is not a bony fish and is easy for foreigners to eat. Great taste as well. I don’t even dip it in tartar sauce. If I want a dipping sauce, I use Sinamak, the local version of spiced vinegar.

Mexican Inspired

Burritos with a twist. Spanish Rice and Shredded Chicken Burritos. You can stuff your tortillas with Spanish rice and shredded chicken, then roll em’ up.

You will need flour or corn tortillas. I buy those at SM, Mega Mexicana brand and made in the Philippines.

If you can only find taco shells, the recipe will work. Sometimes, I eat a chili with beans taco.

La Victoria Taco Sauce is what I keep on hand and I buy it at Metro. It works on burritos and enchiladas as well. I actually prefer enchiladas.

Refried beans are available in Bacolod and I can do a lot with those!

Asian Fusion

Pad Thai Noodles is one of my all time favorite dishes. Real Thai brand Rice Stick Noodles are sold at SM. Instead of grinding peanuts, I use Jif Peanut Butter. Hey, I want to eat soon! I also use Marca Pina Patis, aka fish sauce, as one of the ingredients when I make Pad Thai. I also add both shrimp and shredded chicken when I make Pad Thai. You will also need fresh chili peppers, green onions, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, lime juice and lime wedges. Wow! I can already taste it.

Pork Kilawin is a local Filipino dish which I really enjoy.

You can choose the pork you like. Pork belly is a popular choice in our area. Pork with some fat on it is preferred but it is up to you. You boil the pork in water and salt according to taste, for 15-20 minutes; or until the pork is soft and tender. Slice the pork into bite size pieces while still hot.

Next, you place the pork in a bowl. Add vinegar, a little soy sauce is optional and not required. Add chopped onion and the chopped chili peppers. Serve.

I don’t plan on writing a cookbook but I wanted to share a couple of my favorites.

Country Cooking at its Best

I love the smell of hash browns cooking in the morning. Smothered with onions, covered with melted cheese, chunked with ham, diced with tomatoes, peppered with chili peppers or jalapenos, capped with mushrooms and topped with chili con carne. The perfect breakfast!

Biscuits and gravy. Biscuits made from scratch with Bisquick. White gravy with or without ground pork sausage. I like them both but not at the same time.

Tennessee Pride and Jimmy Dean style pork sausage breakfast patties. I can make those! All I need is ground pork, sage, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic, parsley, thyme and red pepper flakes. This breakfast is the pride of Tennessee!

My wife makes cracklin’ cornbread. I always have grits on hand, good for breakfast or with fried fish day or night!

I think I’ve made your belly growl enough for one day. I wasn’t hungry before this article but I am now!

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Kuya J

Kuya J2

Kuya J is one of the coolest restaurants in Bacolod City, The City of Smiles. Kuya J is located at SM Mall on their North Wing, just down the way from Krispy Kreme.

It is mostly serving Filipino Food but there is something for everyone. Most of us like seafood, di ba? I know I do.

Their service is great at Kuya J. Kuya means older brother for the most part in the Philippines and they are serving up some great food everyday. It is Filipino Comfort Food at its best! Their House Iced Tea is served in a type of Mason Jar and it is the best iced tea I have tried anywhere in the city. You can buy it by the pitcher.

callops
One of my all time favorite dishes is scallops. For P160 at Kuya J, you will get 10-12 scallops on the half shell. They are garnished with fried garlic chips and served in a savory melted butter sauce. Wow! They’re awesome.

If you are looking for excellent Filipino Cuisine, please check out Kuya J. I don’t think you will be disappointed. I give them 5 Stars!

I hope to see you someday, somewhere…all around Bacolod!

~ Gary McMurrain ~

Bacolod Grocery Prices

supermarket
I went to SM Supermarket yesterday afternoon. Here are current prices for you.

Ground Round is still about the same, P210 per kilo. Lean Ground Pork is P182 per kilo. Regular Ground Pork is P168 per kilo but too much fat for my taste.

Extra Thick Pork Chops are P188 per kilo. You will only get 4, on average, of these large pork chops in a kilo but you can cut them in half and easily have 8. Not much fat on them but enough for my taste.

A package of Monde Belgian Waffles is still P66.

The regular price of Listerine has dropped from P117 per bottle to P99. It was not a special sale to move old merchandise.

A can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup is P48.50.

Century Tuna in oil is P32.50 for a medium size can.

I don’t think anyone will be interested in the other things I bought. All together, my total bill was P1,228, which is about the usual. I was not walking around with a calculator to keep track and keep it under P1,300 but i bought what I wanted and needed for the week. Some weeks, I only spend P1,000 or P1,100 at SM.

Never tried Hoegaarden Beer before, so I threw one bottle in my cart. It was P107. If I had skipped it, my bill would have less than P1,200 this week but I wanted to try it. It’s in my freezer now and I am looking forward to trying it.

K-Mart

My wife found a better source for specialty fruit and vegetables, K-Mart. A bunch of asparagus is P35. Broccoli is P54 per head. Snow peas are P24.75 per package and bean sprouts are P12 per small bag.

I won’t be buying yellow onions, baking potatoes or other veggies at SM any longer, as long as K-Mart is here.

K-Mart is not connected to the USA K-Mart. In the Philippines, the letter K is blue and not red like in the States.

You never know what you will find at K-Mart. I’ve seen Butterball Turkeys and Maple Leaf Ducks!

Ever tried Corned Tuna? That was the rage of the age a few years back and San Marino had many ads on ABS-CBN TV about it. It is good but I use it to make Tuna Tacos and Tuna Burritos. I don’t put Guacamole on those Tuna Tacos or Burritos! Yuk!

There you have it, shoppers! The cost of living for food in Bacolod City is very reasonable.

Take care and I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary McMurrain ~

AmeriSub Food Corner

AMeriSub
Are you looking for an American-style sandwich in Bacolod City for P60 or less? AmeriSub is the place to go. Where is it? I thought you would want to know. It is located inside Terra Plaza, on the corner of Rizal and Gatuslao Streets.

AmeriSub
You will find AmeriSub at this food cart inside Terra Plaza.

AmeriSub
I started out with a ham sandwich, which had lettuce, tomato, onion and mayonnaise. These were the condiments I chose but you can order your sandwich the way you like it.

AmeriSub
This doesn’t look like your common hot dog does it? It is actually New Yorker brand hot dog, sliced and served on a sandwich roll.

AmeriSub
Due to the lighting in Terra Plaza, this is the best shot I could get with my camera. For sure, you can see the prices. Whichever sandwich you order, the price is P35 for the small and P60 for the large. Sound great to you?

Do you like ice cold beer? I’ve got some good news for you! In Terra Plaza, there are several vendors on site who you can buy a bucket of beer from. Six bottles in the bucket for only P180. Now, is that a deal or what? Red Horse, San Miguel Pilsen or San Mig Light. Or mix and match your 6 bottles.

The next time you want an American style sandwich, drop by AmeriSub Food Corner and Ron will fix you up.

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod.

Paco Beach: Pulupandan

Paco Beach
It is not famous and while most expats and many Filipinos alike may have never heard of Paco Beach in Pulupandan, it is there! Pulupandan is south of Bacolod City and past Bago City. Pulupandan is more known for the boats going to Guimaras Island and you can now actually catch a RoRo with your vehicle from Pulupandan to Guimaras on the Montenegro Ship Lines.

Paco Beach
Of course, you will not be putting your vehicle on this size boat, however, this is the common passenger boat going to Guimaras Island.

PACO BEACH

Paco Beach
The front of the Paco Beach Restaurant

Paco Beach
A San Miguel Beer and pork leg, ordered at the Paco Beach Restaurant. Yummy! If you are looking for imported food at the restaurant, you will not find it, however, if you ask, you may be surprised what the cook can whip up for you, which is not on the regular menu.

Paco Beach
Some call this turo turo style food. Just lift the lid and take a peek. If it looks good, order it! There is a good selection of ice cold beverages to choose from.

paco beach
You can take a seat under the shade tree for a good view of the sea.

One of the great things about this area of the Philippines is that you can find interesting places off the beaten path and you will meet some wonderful people along the way. We did! We made several new Filipino friends last weekend while stopping by Paco Beach in Pulupandan.

Take care and I hope to see you one day, somewhere, all around Bacolod!

Mooon Cafe-Mexican Inspired

Mooon Cafe
When you talk to expats in the Bacolod Area, you will get mixed reviews about how they deem Mooon Cafe. I think some are disappointed because they are expecting authentic Mexican food, however, Mooon even says they are only Mexican inspired! Personally, I have enjoyed every time we have eaten at Mooon Cafe and we have taken a number of our American friends and family members there during their visits to Bacolod. All enjoyed their dining experience. Mooon Cafe is located in Robinsons City Walk, in the back of Robinsons Mall.

The atmosphere and decor at Mooon Cafe remind me of Chili’s Bar and Grill in south Florida. It’s nice! The wait staff have always been very good, so no complaints at all. There have always been many other customers at Mooon Cafe during our many dining experiences there and that is always a good sign! Few or no customers are not a good sign!

The one Mexican inspired dish that I really enjoy at Mooon Cafe is Tostaditas. This dish consists of 3 crispy corn tortillas that are topped with lettuce, ground beef, a small amount of refried beans, salsa, a little sour cream and shredded cheese.

Mooon Cafe also has the standard Mexican style dishes, aka Tex-Mex, in some parts of the USA. Tacos, burritos, chimichanga and quesadillas, together with a few other Mexican inspired dishes that are not so well known.

Mooon Cafe
Last weekend, I ordered the Mexican baby back ribs at Mooon Cafe and they were awesome! The ribs were a small rack with five bones intact! The ribs were very tender and had been marinated very well. The BBQ sauce was a little sweet but not overly powering. Without mentioning names, Mooon Cafe ribs were better than a few other restaurants in Bacolod which specialize in ribs! Seriously!

Mooon Cafe
Blue Lemonade! Wow! It not only looks fabulous but the taste is also fabulous!

Mooon Cafe has a large and elaborate menu. There is also pizza, pasta, seafood and Filipino dishes available. Their crispy pata is highly regarded by locals. Cold beer is served! The Mooon Cafe bar staff can also whip up a few cocktails for you.

Just remember when you go to Mooon Cafe, you are not going to Senorita Conchita’s Cantina, as found in the Mexican-American communities in the USA! Authentic Mexican food, no, inspired Mexican food, yes, at Mooon Cafe in Bacolod City. They also have branches in other cities in the Philippines. The food and drink prices are affordable. Between the hours of 2pm-5pm, you may choose 2 items off a 5 item Mexican inspired menu for only P125. Non-alcoholic drink included.

Pizzaro Pizza in Victorias City

Pizzaro
We were in Victorias City yesterday and we noticed Pizzaro Pizzaria located next to Lopues as you first enter the city. We have eaten at Pizzaro in Goldenfield, Bacolod, so we know they have good pizza. We would soon learn that this branch in Victorias City has fabulous pizza. Our son is a pizza expert and he knows good pizza! He and the rest of us give two thumbs up to Pizzao in Victorias City.

Pizzaro
We really enjoyed the atmosphere at Pizzaro, as it has the feel of an outdoor pizzaria!

Pizzaro
Pepperoni Pizza

Pizzaro
The perfect combination! Pizza and San Miguel Pale Pilsen!

Pizzaro
If you are interested in dessert, one option is Melona Refreshing Ice Cream Bars in 5 different flavors.

In the first two photos of my article, you can see that Pizzaro is much more than pizza with their large menu posted on the front counter in banner style. I do not personally know too many people who do not enjoy excellent pizza but if they go to Pizzaro, there are a number of other dishes to choose from, including pasta. There are also a few Korean dishes on Pizzaro’s menu.

The next time you are in Victorias City, you can check out Pizzaro and I do not think you will be disappointed. Their pizza is thick, meaty and cheesy. The large pepperoni pizza we ordered was P325 and it was awesome!

~ Gary ~

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