BBQ/Barbecue/Barbeque


Since Anak Baka Steakhouse went out of business in Bacolod, not a single restaurant measures up concerning their BBQ. At least none that I have tried and I have tried many. Anak Baka had New Orleans Style BBQ Ribs and they were normally excellent, if the Grill Master was working that day.

Best BBQ

BBQ is very popular in Bacolod and all around Negros Occidental. You will find BBQ most everywhere, even on streets. However, it is Filipino style BBQ, for the most part. Local BBQ is often referred to as Sugba, which is used in both Ilonggo and in Cebuano Languages. Some Filipinos try to copy American BBQ but wherever I tried it, it was a complete failure. The Sauce does not make BBQ good! For me, I do not need BBQ Sauce on Ribs if they have been smoked and grilled properly.


Like in America, there are different styles of BBQ all around the Philippines. I sometimes buy frozen Pampanga’s Best Baby Back Ribs at SM Supermarket and they are better than most of the other ribs sold there. This is for a quicker meal. When I want to get serious with BBQ Ribs on our Grill, I buy fresh Pork Ribs at Bahamas Meat Shop.

I do not like Beef Ribs and I never buy them. Tried them a time or two and those were enough for me. Pork Ribs or Goat Ribs for me, please. Keep the Beef.

Someone once asked me in Florida, which Regional BBQ do I like best? Carolina BBQ, Texas BBQ, Memphis BBQ, Kansas City BBQ, New Orleans BBQ, St Louis BBQ? I like all of them!


North Alabama is famous for BBQ Chicken and White BBQ Sauce is homemade and used on the Chicken. I prepare Alabama BBQ Chicken Leg Quarters regularly in Bacolod. I certainly know how to make White BBQ Sauce. I have the Original Big Bob Gibson Recipe for White BBQ Sauce. It is in my head.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

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Cinco de Mayo

 


I do not know about in other areas but In Manila, Bacolod and in Cebu, you will find a number of restaurants and bars with Cinco de Mayo, May 5, Drink and Food Specials.

Some places worth checking out, if you are into Cinco de Mayo & Mexican Food and Drinks, include The Ruins, Manila Hotel, Taco Vengo, Alegria Cozinha and Agave Mexican Cantina, all located in Metro Manila.

In Bacolod, the best place for Cinco de Mayo, in a resto bar, will be at Mexicali in SM Mall. However, the best place for Cinco de Mayo in Bacolod will be at Gary’s El Rayo X Cantina; in my home with familia, amigos and amigas. Ice Cold Dos Equis Amber Cerveza, Tecate Beer, Sangria Wine, Michelada Mexican Beer and Mexican Food.


Suggested Cinco de Mayo Food. Coconut & Lime Black Beans, Enchiladas, Tacos, Burritos, Refried Beans, Nachos, Tortillas, Mango Salsa, Mexican Red Rice, Beef Tostadas, Chimichangas, Fajitas, Veracruz Fish with Fruit Salsa, Mexican Fish with Green Chili Sauce, Taco Dogs and Paella.


Any other suggestions?

There will not be any Tequila. Cerveza, Sangria Wine and Communion Wine…only.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

You Can Get It If You Really Want


I never really thought about Food Products being produced in Seattle. I buy Eagle Mills Buttermilk Pancake Mix for P60 per box and Albers Yellow Cornmeal and Albers Grits for P250 per box. All have a Seattle, Washington address on the box.

The great frozen Lamb Weston Potatoes I buy, Crinkle Cut Fries and Waffle Fries, are out of Eagle, Idaho.

Metro Supermarket stocks many American Food Items that are Springfield brand, which is affiliated with United Grocers in Commerce, California.

The West and Great Northwest are doing a great job getting their Food Products to us in the Philippines. California is not all bad, you see.

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez

That is Cajun for…Let the Good Times Roll!

There is one Southern State doing a great job in getting their Food Products to us in the Philippines. The great state of Louisiana and those Ragin’ Cajuns got it going on for us! I buy Crystal Louisiana Hot Sauce from Metairie, Louisiana, Trappey’s Louisiana Hot Sauce and jarred Peppers from New Iberia, Louisiana, Andy’s Cajun Fish Batter from down on the Bayou and Zatarain’s Food Products from one of my favorite places on the Planet, New Orleans.


Who dat, who dat Zatarain’s? Down in New Orleans, Zatarain’s has many fine Food Products. Crawfish/Shrimp/Crab Boil Seasoning, Dirty Rice Mix, Red Beans, Creole Seasonings, Boxed Rice Meals and Long Grain Rice. Plus a number of other products.


I make Hoppin’ John by using Springfield brand Black Eye Peas over Rice. I add both chopped White Onion and Green Onion. Kick it a notch by adding Bacon, Hog Jowl or your favorite Smoked Sausage. Do not forget to eat Hoppin’ John with Cornbread.


If I could wish a favorite American restaurant opening in Bacolod, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is at the top of my Wish List. It was founded in 1972 in New Orleans and is now a restaurant chain across America. Love that Chicken from Popeyes!

Happy Shopping!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Shopping For Foreign Food


As I have written before, there are more Foreign Food Products available in Bacolod City all the time.

Food Adventurer

In America, there are several companies that do your grocery shopping for you. You make a list and one of their staff will go buy it for you and deliver it to your door. For me, I would not avail this service, as I am a Food Adventurer and I enjoy shopping for myself. Even my wife cannot shop for me and she does not try.

I am not a shopper who will drive across town to save P20 just to buy an item at a different store. However, I have my shopping down to an excellent technique and I shop for different Food Items at different supermarkets and Delis. I do not spend an entire day going to different supermarkets for shopping but since I enjoy going, anyway, I go to one or two stores in the same day. Next time, on to different stores.


Today, I knew where I wanted to go…Cafe Bob’s Deli and Robinsons Supermarket on Alijis Road. I looked around to see if there were any new arrivals but I knew what I was planning to buy before we got there.

I enjoy going to Bob’s Deli and enjoying one Negros Pale Ale. Those with me usually order Coffee but today, they decided on Dad’s Root Beer. My intention was to buy Cold Cuts at Bob’s Deli. I bought Olive Lyoner, AKA Pickle Loaf in Alabama, and Smoked Ham. P139 spent for both, total price. I enjoy Santis Spanish Style Chorizo and I picked up a package for P263. This is not a local product and the Cold Cuts are also imported.

At the newest Robinsons in the City of Smiles, I wanted to look around to see if any new arrivals, as I had not shopped there this month. The Lamb Weston Crinkle Fries were on my list and I bought them. Hunts Pork & Beans, which I prepare with Virginia Honey Cured Bacon, is a Product of the Philippines. It is P119 per package.

The Promo of the Day at Robinsons was Buy One Take One with Fusilli, AKA Corkscrew Pasta, for P58. Each package is 500 grams, so it was 1 kg of Fusilli for the price of half kilo. I have found Fusilli to be very versatile, as you can prepare a number of dishes with it. Beef A Roni, Macaroni Fruit Salad, Macaroni Chicken Salad, Tuna Salad Fusilli and Crab Salad Fusilli, naming my favorites.


This branch of Robinsons is the only one that stocks Tong Garden BBQ Sunflower Seeds and they are P23 per package.

I buy Sandwich Bread at Robinsons Bakery, P39 per loaf, and I like it better than all the other Sandwich Breads sold in Bacolod.

Where to Buy Fruit

All the supermarkets charge about 3 X the public market price for Fruit. For example, Robinsons price for Cantaloupe is P135 per kilo, while the public market price is P40-P45 per kilo. I did buy one Cantaloupe, paying P85 for it because I want it for brunch tomorrow. We do not pass a public market with Cantaloupe on the route home.

There are several brands, Products of the Philippines, which produce Foreign Style Food items because many Filipinos also buy them. Some of the Philippines brands are good but mostly, I have found that they are not all that. For sure much cheaper, but while the cost is less, in many cases, the quality is also less. I had rather pay more, even double for better taste and quality. None of the local brands of Vienna Sausage measure up to Armour and Libby’s brands.

I am set with my shopping until May rolls around. And then I get to have more fun in being a Food Adventurer.

I can fry it, I can grill it or I can eat it right out of the can!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Corn Dogs


The Texas Rangers baseball team has added the Dilly Dog to their concessions. The Dilly Dog is a Frankfurter inside a large Dill Pickle, battered and deep fried to make a new type of Corn Dog. So far, fans are giving it mixed reviews during Spring Training games. I would greatly enjoy trying a Dilly Dog!

Cali Coast Corn Dogs in Ayala Mall is now out of business. Too bad. It was fun while it lasted, as they were open about 7 months. They had good Corn Dogs but used the smaller Hot Dogs, so you needed 2, which were P30 or P35 each.

Last December, I bought a 16 count box of frozen Foster Farms Honey Crunchy Corn Dogs at S&R in Iloilo. These are excellent Corn Dogs and I have a few left due to my saving them for when I really want a Corn Dog.


Making Corn Dogs at home is not that difficult but I found it takes practice concerning keeping the batter around the Hot Dog. I suggest preparing a dozen Corn Dogs the first batch and if you get 8 out of 12 right, you are a better Corn Dog maker than I am. I read just today that is an easier process is using Jiffy Cornbread Muffin Mix as the batter. I will try it next time but unless I am just looking for an activity, I will buy more Foster Farms double honey batter dipped Corn Dogs at S&R again. They are Corn Dog Experts!


Metro Supermarket in Ayala Mall sells Jiffy Cornbread Muffin Mix for P63 per box and I already have 2 boxes on hand.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

 

 

Bringing To Life American Classic Meals: Philippines


I enjoy variety in my daily meals and I do not normally like eating the same thing twice during the same day.

A Fish Po Boy with Cole Slaw, Italian Spaghetti, Chili Dogs, Sloppy Joe, Buffalo Wings, Southern Fried Chicken are meals I had at home over the past week. Those are dishes I eat on a regular basis but not daily.

Awhile back, an American friend in Baguio, Harold, reminded me about Chicken a la King, so I made that a couple of times. A month or so ago, I made Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Napa Cabbage, Ground Round Beef and Brown Rice.

Today, I was thinking about bringing back a number of American Meals that I enjoyed in years past. All the ingredients are available in the Bacolod Area in local supermarkets. Hey, you can cook your favorites in Bacolod City!

A Few American Classic Meals

Homemade Hamburger Helper and Tuna Helper are EZ to make without spending P200 for a box of imported Hamburger Helper. Macaroni to make the Helper Meals, Hamburger and Tuna, is very inexpensive. Tuna Casserole with Egg Noodles are also easily made.

Locally sourced Bell Peppers are readily available and a great idea for me is to make Stuffed Bell Peppers.

Salisbury Steak and Hamburger Steak are American Classics to eat.


I do not care much for Filipino Chop Suey but I enjoy Chinese-American Chop Suey, served with Chow Mein Noodles.


Chicken & Rice, cooked together in one pot, remains one of my all time favorites. Another good dish is Shredded Chicken with Egg Noodles.

More recently, my wife made Chicken and Dumplings for he first time. She did an excellent job! She used boxed Bisquick to make the Dumplings.

My wife makes great Shepherd’s Pie and I will remember to ask her to prepare it soon.

We have not made Meatloaf in awhile, so I plan to bring that recipe back in the near future, with Mashed Potatoes. In Alabama, making a sandwich with leftover Meatloaf was always a treat.


I think I have just planned some of my meals in the days ahead.

It is time to get busy in the kitchen! Which meal should I prepare first?

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

What’s For Breakfast?


I have read all the medical reports about how important the first meal of the day is…for years. For me, the first meal of the day is not usually Breakfast any longer but it is usually Brunch.

Cooking for one person is not fun for me, although I do at times. Only for me.

If I have leftover Pizza or Chili on hand, I will eat one or the other for Brunch. However, I do not have leftover Pizza or Chili on hand everyday.

Cooking Oatmeal or Poaching an Egg to eat on toast is a snap for me but I often do not want to. So, I constantly look online for the good Brunch Recipes. I also take a stroll down Memory Lane and think about what I ate for the first meal of the day when I was growing up. Usually somewhere in the Southern USA.

Many Brunch and Breakfast Choices

Pascual branded Greek Yogurt is available in our area and I can buy it by the case at the distributor, Asia Brewery. Greek Yogurt, Chickpeas and Feta Cheese is a recommended Mediterranean Breakfast or Brunch.

An Over EZ Egg Sandwich on an English Muffin or on your choice of Bread, with Cheese and Mushrooms is another suggestion.

Scrambled Eggs with Tofu and Curry Sauce does not float my boat! No, I will pass on that suggestion.

Avocado, Tomato and Cheese Platter for Brunch is something I can get into.

Hash Browns with Refried Beans and Egg of choice sounds good to me!

I like Steel Cut Oats and I like Rolled Oats but I do not want to eat those everyday over the long haul. Most of the Quaker Oats I see in our area are overloaded with Sugar. No thanks for me.

A couple of days ago, I had a Cheese Omelet on a split Croissant. It hit the spot!


In South Carolina, I had Deep Fried Catfish with Grits and Cornbread, Toast or a Biscuit more times than once. Always good and I wish I could eat it on Saturday! Also She Crab and Grits.

I like Eggs Benedict and I make it but I leave off the Hollandaise Sauce. Purists may not like it but I am the one eating the Eggs Benedict and they can prepare it the way they like it.

Dried Fish with Rice, Instant Noodles, Rice with Corned Beef/Beef Tapa/Tocino/Longaniza/Hot Dog and Fried Egg remain popular among Filipinos in our area for their first meal of the day. Do not forget the Coffee! I also eat those, often referred to as Tapsilog in the Visayas to cover all, other than just Tapa.


I enjoy Lugaw and my wife makes great Lugaw. Yellow Rice with Boiled Eggs made into a Porridge or she will leave off the Boiled Eggs and add Shredded Chicken Meat. Both are good but my wife knows I never, never, eat Eggs and Chicken together.

Pan de sal with Peanut Butter is a local Breakfast that I enjoy. A Southern version would be Cornbread with Honey or Table Syrup…and Butter. What about Cornbread Apple Fritters?

I like the purple colored Salted Duck Egg with Sliced Tomato but my wife advised me not to eat this as the first meal of the day. I asked her why not and she just told me..It is not good for you!

I never had the Elvis Special, Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich, deep fried after being dipped in butter. Or so the story goes, as I never had breakfast with Elvis!

I think Southern Cuisine has some of the best Breakfast and Brunch dishes, at least that I enjoy. I will eat Sausage Gravy over Biscuits even at supper time. I also enjoy Grits any time of the day or night. There is also Bacon Gravy over Biscuits.


If I have Biscuits, I will have a good Brunch or Breakfast or for any meal. The Dixie Special is a large Cathead Biscuit with Ham, Sausage Patty, Bacon, Scrambled Egg, Sliced Tomato and plain White Gravy. Now, we’re talking!

Whatta bout Ham Steak with Red Eye Gravy, Biscuits and Fried Apples?

Of course, Waffles, Pancakes and Johnny Cakes, aka Hoecakes, are good to me. The Native Americans in Florida had Fry Bread available, Corn as well, often with Gator Tail, Turtle, Raccoon, Bobcat, Deer or Otter.

Have a great Breakfast or Brunch!

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Tenderizing Pork Shoulder Ribs


I am trying a new method of tenderizing Pork Ribs and other cuts of Pork. when suspected of being…tough.

I made a Brine to marinate a rack of Pork Shoulder Ribs in the ref, for 12 hours. Water, Coarse Salt, Black Pepper Corns, Brown Sugar, White Vinegar and Toyomansi Sauce.

I had bought 2 racks of Pork Shoulder Ribs at SM Supermarket. I marinated the first rack in Pineapple Juice and Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauces, however, not long enough. The Pork Ribs were not as tender as we like them.

I really do not like boiling Meat before Grilling. The slow cooker will take the Pork Ribs right off the bone, over- tender, and I like the Rib Bones intact.

The Sauce Makes the Difference!


I often make my own BBQ Sauce, however, I also buy several different flavors of Commercial BBQ Sauce, readily available in Bacolod City Supermarkets. Bulls-Eye Original BBQ Sauce is a personal favorite. I also enjoy Kraft Mesquite Smoke BBQ Sauce and Hunt’s Hickory BBQ Sauce. Basting Pork Ribs on the grill with a thick BBQ Sauce should be near the end of the grilling because it will burn if applied too early. A bit of blackening is alright but I do not like solid blackening. I greatly enjoy BBQ Ribs!


Due to a time constraint, I put the Pork Shoulder Ribs on the Grill last evening after 10 hours of marinating, instead of at least 12 hours. On a scale of 1-10, I rate using the Brine Marinade for tenderizing…7.5.

The Pork Shoulder Ribs were tender enough and I did not want them falling off the bone.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Leftover Rice?


Leftover Rice? My wife cooks extra rice each day because she mixes some of the rice with other food to feed our Belgian Malinois, Tasha. Tasha is our pet dog, of course, and she enjoys eating the Rice dishes much more than eating commercial dog food. No doubt, a full dog is a happy dog!

What About Me?

I use White Rice to make several dishes I enjoy. Red Beans and Rice with Smoked Sausage, Black Beans and Rice with Grilled or Roast Pork, Stir Fried Rice and Spanish Rice.

Early on when I began cooking for myself, years ago, I did not know to use Cold Rice from the ref to make Stir Fried Rice but I quickly learned my mistake by asking what I was doing wrong.

Some people use leftover Rice to make Dirty Rice but I am not one of them. When cooking the Rice with all the ingredients together, wow, the Rice really soaks up all the flavors. Chicken Livers and Ground Beef make a much more flavorful Dirty Rice than using Chicken Livers and Chicken Gizzards. Onion, Celery and Bell Pepper round out the ingredients. Garlic is optional.


Rice Pudding can be made simply with Milk, Sugar and Vanilla Extract. To kick up your Rice Pudding a few notches, add Raisins, a beaten Egg and bake in the oven.

Rice, Ground Beef and whatever you enjoy adding make very good Stuffed Bell Peppers. Mushrooms are a great addition.

Deep Fried Rice Balls require more prep but nothing major. Cold or at least chilled Rice should be used. One-three Eggs, depending on how many Rice Balls you plan deep frying, grated Parmesan, Mozzarella or Cheddar Cheese and Japanese Breadcrumbs are the ingredients. Make the Rice Balls by hand and deep fry.

Milk poured over Leftover Rice, with sugar added, makes a nice Rice Cereal. I ate this often in the South, long before I ever came to the Philippines.

Rice is nice, when I use it to make Rice dishes, however, I am not a fan of plain white Rice as a side dish. If it has, at the very least, Gravy over it, I am happy.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

The Evolution of Sisig and Mayonnaise


For years in the Philippines, Sisig has been associated with drinking sessions, as Pulutan. Also, lesser known, nutrition for pregnant women in the Philippines. However, these days, Sisig is a staple at Filipino Restaurants, most often served on a sizzling plate.

On the home turf, Sisig was made with pig cheeks, pig snouts, smothered with onions and laced with red hot peppers.

Maybe foreigners would not like pig ears and pig tails any better than pig cheeks but it is a step up.

Sisig has now evolved. Ground Pork, Ground Beef, Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Tuna, Squid, Shellfish are all being utilized to create Special Sisig. Other ingredients include Calamansi, Pineapple Juice, Black Peppercorns, Salt, White Onion and Chili Peppers. The new chefs on the block recommend garnishing Sisig with Mayonnaise and an Over EZ Egg.

Mayonnaise

Kewpie is probably not the go to Mayonnaise to put on your Cold Cut Sandwiches but it is good with Asian dishes. Like Sisig! In China, where I was an English teacher for 9 years, that was the only brand of Mayonnaise available where we lived, unless you took the A-Train to Hong Kong for shopping.

For years in Bacolod, I bought Home Brand Mayonnaise, Product of Freedonia, NY, but this year, I am buying Kraft Mayonnaise since it appeared on the scene. Surprisingly, I never see Hellmanns Mayonnaise in Bacolod City.

I have never tried Best Foods Mayonnaise, which I see everywhere. I have tried Lady’s Choice Mayonnaise in a pinch and that was it! It is not bad but it is not my choice.

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

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~