Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bacolod Belly Fest

The best way to a man's heart is through his stomach - - and that is how Bacolod wooed, pursued and swept me off my feet. After a magical, quiet, just-chillin'-in-the-beach, feeling-mayaman mode Sipaway Island weekend (every waking day on that island, I say to myself, this is the life, THE life! Emphasis on the the because the the elevates everything else in the grandest scale - now, where is my butler to bring me my breakfast in bed? Sarap talaga!), we traveled to Bacolod City to experience the vibe of the city of smiles and to pack in some pounds because the city is a foodie heaven.

We arrived in Bacolod City from San Carlos late in the afternoon, rested for a while in our hotel of choice, Circle Inn, and started our gastronomical adventure dressed and dolled up for our first and sosyal night in the City of Smiles. The restaurants are featured in chronological order and, boy, do I wish I can really write well to give justice to capture into words the happiness of our sexy bellies.

Snapshots of our Bacolod Food Trip aka Bacolod Belly Fest:

21 Restaurant
21st Lacson Street, Bacolod City

Days before the trip, I asked Alan to bring with him nice and non-beach mode "costume" (haha, costume, because, we rarely dress up being lousy and lazy dressers that we are) to complement the pink dress I bought the night before our trip. Aica, one of our dearest friends from Travel Factor, suggested this restaurant and I followed through with a diligent research and decided that at last, I found a reason to dress up nicely. The restaurant is classy and romantic and the food - glorious, delicious, melts in your mouth goodness is extremely affordable.

Among the courses we have ordered, I particularly favored Inasal lollipop - which is not really surprising given that Bacolod is the home of the famous Chicken Inasal.

21 restaurant at night and feeling the holiday vibe

Clockwise: (1) Beer battered fish and fries ; (2) Peppered Steak with Mashed Potato ; (3) Inasal lollipop ; (4) Apan-apan; (5) Fish Parmesan with eggplant

Bacolod DownTown
Luzuriaga St. Cor. Gatuslao St.

The next day, after a visit to San Sebastian Church, we headed to Bacolod Public Market for some La Paz Batchoy Breakfast in Deco's. We partnered the hot, nourishing soup with putong puti and mangosteen or pako.

It was a simple and belly-friendly meal. 
By the way, Deco's can already be found in Metro Manila in their Alpha Land branch.

Manokan Country
Rizal Street (across SM City Bacolod and around two blocks from the San Sebastian Church)

After breakfast in Deco's, we strolled around the public market area and plaza to shake a little belly space for an early lunch in Manokan country. We had our entire afternoon planned for sight seeing in Silay City thus the early lunch. Funny, most locals were directing us to Jollibee's Mang Inasal whenever we ask where we can find the best inasal in town. Tsk. Among the many inasal stalls in Manokan country, we chose the famous Aida's where we had our fill of Chicken Inasal and isaw, locally known as tina-e. Personally, there is not much difference in taste of inasal elsewhere and inasal in Bacolod, but nothing compares to experiencing THE real thing.

Calea Pastries and Coffee
Ground Floor, Balay Quince (across L'Fisher Hotel)
Lacson Street, Bacolod City

After lunch in Manokan Country, we headed to Calea for dessert. After my first bite of the white chocolate cheesecake, I just know I will keep on coming back and that I have more or less accomplished 90% of my Bacolod food trip agenda. In our 2-day stay in Bacolod, we dined in Calea three times and every visit is a delightful and heavenly experience. Calea's secret is that the cakes are satisfyingly sweet minus the umay factor - I think they have sprinkled gayuma pixie dusts to their cakes, people just keep on coming back even with threats of diabetes and dizzying spike of sugar levels. One more thing to love about Calea is the store design, let me use my favorite words again - so whimsical, so dreamy!!

Calea Door: I have this thing for doors, right? Sa Calea, door palang, ulam na!!:)

Calea by day
Calea by Night

This is heaven!! Slices of heaven we tried!!Clockwise: (1) Imported Chocolate Cake; (2)  Fruity Cheesecake; (3) Chocolate Crumble; (4) Floating Island - brazo mercedes with caramel and leche flan; (5) White Chocolate Cheesecake; (6) Smorse Cheesecake; (7) Mudpie Cheesecake; (8) Mocha Frappe; (9) More Cakes!!

The Ruins Pizzeria and Cafe
Talisay City
After an entire morning of happy bellies, we headed to the beautiful Silay and Talisay cities to soak in history and culture - the beautiful houses of Silay brought me back to the glory days of our grandmothers - intricate interior details, wooden floors and walls, floor to ceiling windows, gardens, all evidences of a rich and colorful history preserved in ancestral houses (we visited only two, Balay Negrense and Hofilenia Heritage House) - this deserves a different post. It was part of the belly fest plan to visit Cafe 1925 in Silay but the sun is getting all orange, ready to set and we have yet to visit The Ruins in Talisay. So we dropped our Cafe 1925 plans and made our way to the beautiful and the classic, The Ruins (puro 'THE!').  And because this is a foodie post, I will mention that the pesto and anchovies pizza  we ordered is saltier than necessary and the Chinese Lumpia Roll is just okay, nothing extraordinary. I want to get a little bit disappointed BUT a quick reminder that I came to THE Ruins for the site and experience and not the food brought me back to my senses.

The place is simply... beautiful. Too beautiful it is a perfect venue for proposals and pre-nuptial shoots - there were a lot of soon-to-be-married couples all giggly and in love with their save-the-dates photo shoots.

The Ruins Cafe

A lot of seafoam green in 'shabby chic' feel

Clockwise: (1) Pesto and anchovies pizza; (2) french wndows; (3) The Ruins interior; (4) Chinese lumpia Roll

(Old) Pala-Pala
San Juan Street corner North Capitol Road
Dinner involved shopping for squid and shrimps at the wet market and choosing one among the many stalls to have it cooked dampa style . Our choice was Hyksos to prepare sinigang shrimps and stuffed squids - the perfect way to end the long and tiring but super BEAUTIFUL day!!

Sharyn's Cansi House
Narra Street, Shopping Area

On our last day in Bacolod, I was a little disappointed that my resto choices were closed - it was a Monday and the Negros Museum Cafe (who can go wrong with food and art??) and Jacopo Kebab and Steak do not open on Mondays!! I conceded to a sloppy egg sandwich and fries breakfast served in the hotel cafe - maybe I was dreading it so, I kept on researching about breakfast alternatives even while eating that I came across a feature on Sharyn's Cansi House, made a call and guess what, the restaurant is opened at 7:00 in the morning AND get this, it is just two blocks away from the hotel. I finished off the egg sandwich and fries and headed off to an early morning treat of the best bulalo I have ever tasted in my entire 26 years of sexy and godly existence!! Walang halong biro at OA-ness.
I met the owner, Sharyn's mom - and thanked her so after the meal. Super sarap.

Liroville Subd., Singcang, Bacolod City
I make an awful food writer so please excuse me for using grade school descriptive words - like good, better, best and nice. This is so frustrating especially when the write up deserves an overflowing supply of beautiful adjectives. Given that "best" is the "most" superlative of all - please, please allow me to use it - I promise to brush up on my vocab really soon.
So I had a really wonderful bulalo breakfast experience and I was satisfied with the trip already. Fifty years down the road, I can sit on my rocking chair with my grandkids, still sexy and all, and recount my Bacolod food trip ending with Sharyn's Cansi breakfast experience with matching visual presentation courtesy of this blog, hahaha, but Aboy's, oh boy, Aboy's - this restaurant gave me the BEST Bacolod lunch experience. Grilled Scallops. Kilawin na Tanigue. Rellenong Alimango. Squid Fat Adobo. Buko juice. Tarragon tea. Rich and healthy man's food served in a snap. Good service = good food makes a happy tourist!!
Clockwise: (1) Kilawin na Tanigue; (2) Squid Fat Adobo; (3) Grilled Scallops; (4) Rellenong Alimango
Kuppa Cafe and Tea
Silay City, Airport 
Our happy bellies peacefully accepted the end of our Bacolod trip and headed off to Silay Airport for our flight back to Manila after our lunch and a little pasalubong shopping. But Bacolod keeps one of its homegrown cafe in the departure area and as gratitude to our heroic bellies who did nothing but accept, cooperate and expand when necessary - we treated them with nutcracker latte and Jasmine tea.
Special thanks to Bacolod Food Hunters for curating the restaurants and reviews - the site was mostly my reference - and there is nothing more credible than getting information straight from the locals.
Thank you Universe!
Life is good.

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