Editors Note: We'd like to thank Ria Quintos-Ortega for reviewing Chic-Boy for Good Living BF.
SAVED BY THE FOOD
By Ria Quintos-Ortgega
I have heard many good things about Chic-boy from my friends and my party-legal children. I have been told me about their delicious Chicken Inasal and garlic rice with chicken oil poured over it with extra toasted garlic sprinkled on top. Doesn’t that just make your mouth water?!?! So I decided to bring my brood to the Chic-boy branch along President’s Avenue, BF Paranaque for dinner so I could see for myself what the fuss was about.
Let’s talk about what’s good about Chic-boy. First, parking was not a problem, considering it was a Sunday night, and the place was packed. There was more parking on the left side of the building too.
Second, the food was fantastic! Chic-boy is a play on the words Chicken and Baboy. We felt like the “boy” part of Chic-boy so we ordered the following items: My husband had the salmon sinigang, a double order of garlic rice, a double order of ginisang kangkong to share, and the Whole Cebu Lechon Liempo. My daughter ordered the SS-1 (Sizzling Special Meal Lechon Sisig served with rice and soup). My son and I both ordered a CB-6 (Chibog Busog Meal Cebu Lechon Liempo served with rice and soup).
The salmon sinigang was what I would like this dish to be. No scrimping on the salmon belly and soup sour enough to make your cheeks pucker. The garlic for the rice was toasted to perfection. The kangkong was very flavorful, well-seasoned and had the right crunch and color to it. The liempo is to die for with its delicious, well-marinated, juicy, succulent meat and crispy skin. It was lovely. The sisig was perfect - comparable to those served near the “riles” in Pampanga. There all sorts of textures at play with the softness and stickiness of the fat and crunch of the skin and the tenderness of whatever lean meat there is. Not to mention the added kick of the spicy sili! It was a rock concert in my mouth.
Third, Chic-boy is rice-all-you-can country! Yes, you read it right. This place serves unlimited rice. For those of you who are big fans of the stuff, the waiters go around carrying rice buckets, ready to plop a hot steaming heap of unadulterated carbohydrates onto your plate.
Lastly, you get great value for your money here. A very filling CB-6 meal costs P99. If you add a bottomless iced tea, it will come to about P124. Not bad at all!
Unfortunately, I do have some issues with Chic-boy, starting with the poor ventilation. The minute we walked through the door, the air was thick with the scent of barbecue smoke. It clung to my hair and my clothing. You must not shower before going here. Wait until after you get home or you’ll have to take another one if you do.
When we entered Chic-boy, we waited to be seated. The waiter approached us after a few seconds to tell us that we needed to place our order first, but we had to wait for a free table. He quickly added that there were people who were almost done anyway, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
Well, it was. After we had our orders efficiently taken by the person at the counter and was handed our order number, we had to look for a table. I approached one of the waiters and asked if there was a queue for seating. The reply was, “Wala po. First come, first serve.” I replied with, “That’s not a good idea.” People were circling the area for tables like vultures prowling for a meal. Some who came in after us got a table sooner just because they happened to stand next to some diners who finished earlier than expected. Not exactly first come, first served, is it? To be fair to the service staff, they rustled up a table once I grimaced at their response.
Once we were seated, we were served in trickles. The first to arrive were the drinks, the salmon sinigang, my husband’s double orders of rice and ginisang kangkong, and my daughter’s SS-1. My son had to follow up the rest of our orders 7 minutes into the meal. By the time the Whole Cebu Lechon Liempo and one of the CB-6 orders got to us, my husband was halfway through. They seemed to have forgotten my order, so I had to follow up on it. My CB-6 didn’t arrive until everyone was almost done. I was, then, pressured to wolf the delicious food down. I was so rushed that I wasn’t able to ask for the soup which is supposed to be available upon request.
The restroom? It was nicely appointed, but by the time I got to it, the liquid hand soap was so diluted, it may as well have been water. There were no paper towels to dry your hands with, and worse, there was no toilet paper. The toilet and urinal were not as clean as I would like them.
My verdict is this: If you’re in the mood for a no-frills, insanely affordable pig-out meal, with extra helpings of rice and well-prepared meat, Chic-boy is the place for you. I’d definitely go back to eat there again! Come on, guys! I’m rooting for you!
Cat often teases me that my palate seems to have converted to Islam. Certainly, my favorite cuisines geographically coincide with what is considered the Dar al-Islam -- from Moroccan in the west to Indonesian in the east, and just about everything in between. At the golden center of this region, and one of its most influential cultures, is Persia. I am of course bananas about Persian food, so I'm really glad Miraj is here.
Cat and I have eaten several times already at Miraj, and our barkadas have also come to like it. Aside from the ubiquitous shawarma (which by the way is good here), there's kebabs, ox brain, curries, and staple side dishes like hummus and moutabal. Last Wednesday we visited Miraj again to shoot (and of course eat!) some of their signature dishes. Another marathon session at the trenchers -- and as the following day was Maundy Thursday, a good prep for abstinence and fasting during the Holy Week! We had Hummus, Kheema, Ox Brains, the Double Beef Kebab with rice, and the newly introduced Masala Burrito.
I requested to have the Ox Brains served first, as I was thinking it would be the most challenging dish to shoot. How do you make a dish of chopped braaaains look as good as it tastes? With hardly any effort at all, it turned out. Fried in turmeric and cumin, and served with a calamansi to bring out their buttery flavor, the brains had a beautiful golden color that stood out beautifully with the green accent of the calamansi. It was Cat's first time to try brains, so I let her have the first forkful. I already had a very good idea what to expect, having ordered this before, so I wasn't surprised at all when her eyes lit up and she grabbed her own fork to get some more.
Next came the Hummus, a paste of ground chickpeas (garbanzos) sprinkled with spices and drizzled with olive oil, made to be scooped up with pieces of flat pita bread. Now Cat usually doesn't like chickpeas, but hummus is the one exception on her list. As soon as I finished shooting it, the hummus plate magically migrated to her side of the table and stayed there! We rounded off our appetizers with the Kheema, a ground beef sauce with mild spices, also made to be scooped up with pita. It's quite a hearty dish, for an appetizer, and Cat really liked the fact that its spicing doesn't overwhelm the beefy taste but just complements it. Me, I usually mix a good dose of the chili sauce into my portion; goes better with San Mig Lite.
Double Beef Kabab
Speaking of sauces, Miraj serves its own fresh sauces -- a yogurt-and-garlic white sauce, and a fiery chili-yogurt sauce. As I usually go straight for the hot one, I actually got to taste the garlic-yogurt sauce for the first time that night with the Double Beef Kabab. Miraj's ground beef kebabs are made the traditional Persian way, very simple and formed onto a spatula-like metal skewer (it's said they cook more evenly that way), and served with buttered rice and a grilled tomato. You moosh up the butter and tomato into the rice, bathe the meat in the yogurt sauce to add flavor and juiciness, and -- fight with the wifey for portions!
Our last dish was the Masala Burrito, a reinvention of the Tex-Mex burrito with Persian fillings. This one came with Persian saffron rice, fresh tomatoes and onion, and their Masala Beef. This is one nice hearty dish, something I'd consider ordering if I only had time to eat one item and needed to fill up fast. With a good-sized group, though, I think the best way to enjoy Miraj is to order up a lot of different appetizers and kebabs, and if no one else in my barkada will eat the brains, that's just more for me and Cat! Our gang is going to invade Miraj again -- soon.
Thick and juicy peppered porkchop served with cranberry sauce
Iago's Grill is a restaurant only two months old, but is already gaining a following. This is one establishment that seems to have all the right factors going for it: great food, a summery outdoor ambiance, and parking space.
Cat and I got to sample three of Iago's bestsellers: the Grilled Porkchop, Inihaw na Pusit Lumot, and Crispy Chicken Salad. Four thumbs up! Many dishes here have a little twist that makes eating here filled with delightful surprises. The porkchop was tender and juicy, peppery on the outside and with a Pinoy-style vinegar marinade; but instead of serving it with a traditional vinegar and garlic dip, it's served with cranberry sauce. Yum!
Inihaw na Pusit Lumot
The crispy chicken salad consists of crunchy breaded chicken breast strips on a bed of lettuce, carrots, and bell peppers, with extra flavor and crunch added by wedges of mandarin orange and slivers of almonds. It's served with Iago's own secret dressing, sweet and nutty with sesame seeds. Again, yum! The grilled squid was equally delectable; tender, smoky, and sweet-salty with the soy marinade brushed on. Very Pinoy, simple but good, and best washed down with San Mig.
As Cat and I sat back, replete and convinced we could never move again, I found one last surprise: Iago's water isn't just water, it's pandan water. The fragrance and light flavor of the pandan really cleansed my palate, leaving me ready for more. But just as I was reaching for the menu again, Cat grabbed my ear and dragged me away. I'll definitely come back to Iago's Grill one of these days.
Crispy Chicken Salad