Category Archives: Travel

New Bombay specials

So, let’s talk some more about New Bombay restaurant, of the previous post’s garlic and cheese naan. (I’m still drooling. Mentally.) While I would have been perfectly happy with just the naan, my cousins were intent on showing me just what this little place had to offer.

Actually, I flatter myself. My presence was incidental. The rambo-like ordering of just about every item on their specials list is pretty much par for the course when it comes to my family. And when I say ‘rambo-like,’ I truly mean it in the take no prisoners context. We leave behind a table that could be classified as a disaster area. Seriously. If you don’t believe me, I have photographic evidence to offer up in a future post.

But back to the naan. Because, well, most things good in the gustatory sense always go back to the garlic and cheese naan.

For starters, we had samosas. I’d report on them if I could, but I’m allergic to potatoes, so this is as close as I got to them.

Then, the specials came, beginning with palak peneer. It’s spinach and cottage cheese, and a host of aromatic spices (I tasted cumin, garam masala, coriander, some tumeric, and ginger). Full-bodied and creamy, it made me think I’d have no problems going vegetarian if I had choices like this.

Then followed the chicken makhanwala. Chicken with yogurt and butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cilantro, and more of those spices in the palak paneer. Every single taste bud in my mouth was doing the happy dance.

I’m going to stop right here because if I see any more photos from that lunch, I might start trying to thumb my way back to Manila. Which would be fine, except for that bit of underwater part called the Pacific Ocean. Or Atlantic Ocean, depending in which route you take.

Plus, I have to go make some cookies. Because, well, most things good in the gustatory sense always go back to cookies. Especially when you’re nowhere near any garlic and cheese naan.

Excuse my while I lament my deplorable state of naan-lessness.

Food dreams from my trip

Been dreaming of this the past few days.

Garlic and cheese naan from New Bombay in Galleria, Makati. Light, flaky, and the combination of sweetness in the dough plus the salty creaminess of the cheese and the bite of the garlic? Simply mouth-watering. Literally. Don’t you see the drool stain on your monitor?

Hmm. Would it be too much to ask them to please deliver to New Jersey?

Dinner party, part 4: Dessert! (And how to get Boy to cook for you too)

There are two reasons behind the slight delay of this last post of the dinner party series. One, I realized that I didn’t really take a lot of photos of dessert. Could be because of that last photo in the previous post. Two, I wanted to wait until I got clearance from Boy to post his photo, as well as his contact information. Three, I’m a procrastinator. Four, I’m wrapping up my vacation here, which means I’veĀ  been spending more time trying to cram everything in and less time at the laptop.

Okay, so there were more than two reasons.

In any case, here is my one and only decent photo of dessert.

Notice how I’ve already taken two (or maybe four) bites of it. (This whole two = four thing is starting to become a habit here.) It was orange cake, with chunks of candied orange peel as a garnish. It was moist, with a wonderful texture and a light, delicate crust all around.

To accompany the cake, we all voted to forego the usual coffee drink in favor of tea. Of course, in Boy’s house, it’s not just plain old tea. He served us teh tarik.

Teh tarik is pulled tea that tastes so wonderfully smooth and creamy that I can still taste it in my mouth as I type this. It’s popular in Malaysia and Singapore. Had I known that its preparation was entertainment in itself, I would have taken a break from my intent preoccupation with the orange cake long enough to witness the making of teh tarik.

Alas, gluttony has its price, and so all I have to show you is what was put in front of me.

Trust me. You absolutely must try this. The creaminess. The light froth on top. The perfect drinking temperature. I almost cried.

Well, not exactly. Alright, just a little. But I think that was mostly because my stomach started complaining about the sheer volume of food I ingested, and was beginning to threaten mutiny.

And for that, I have this guy to thank.

Meet Boy. Chef, candlemaker, landscape artist, dive stuntman, and horticulturist. Did I mention he also caters? Yes, folks (well, folks in Manila, that is). You, too, can get Boy to cook for you. I’ll post his contact information in the comments section if you’re interested.

And you remember his house? His beautifully decorated, charmingly appointed house? (What did I just say? Charmingly appointed? What in the world does that mean? Who says things like that?)

You also remember these quaint little homemade touches, don’t you?

Well, he just told me his house is for sale. Yes, I asked him if he was serious. He seemed to be. Then again, at that exact moment, he was hanging out with my cousin and their third stooge Marx brother wheel friend. That would be this guy here, captured in his favorite activity. (And if your eyes are sharp, you’ll spot the whole, as-yet-unmolested orange cake there in the corner.)

I call him Loves To Refill Glasses. Needless to say, I can’t really vouch for any statements made with this guy around.

Dinner party, part 3: The main attraction

As we polished off our appetizers (and I say ‘we’ because I refuse to stand alone in the glutton’s corner), the unmistakable scent of something on the grill was hard to ignore.

Shortly thereafter, another feast-on-a-plate was brought to the table.

Sorry again about the out-of-focus mashed potatoes there in front. (Oh, and by the way, that foil-wrapped ball behind it was an entire roasted garlic that was begging to be spread on just about everything on the plate.)

What? You wanted a closer look at all those delicious friends of the perfectly-seasoned-with-the-slightest-hint-of-smokiness steak?

Ah. That pasta. The delicate taste of butter and herbs and cheese and … and … hmmm. What are those black things sitting on top of it?

Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

Friends, I’d just like to take this opportunity to say that, before that night, the only place I remember ever having shaved black truffles was Danube in New York City. And they were a lot stingier than Boy was.

I think it was after my first bite of the steak, followed by some pasta, that I decided that, when I grow up, I want to be a Boy.

I kid, I kid. I know I can’t get away with that ‘when I grow up’ line anymore. Especially since I’m obviously old enough to have these.

Next up, dessert! And the mandatory photo of the chef. So you can pester him for a home-cooked meal if you see him on the street. Or underwater.

Did I mention that I once saw him take a nap while diving? It’s true. There he was, floating close to the bottom, standing very still with his arms crossed and his head bowed. At first I thought he was watching something, until my cousin motioned that he was asleep.

I wonder if that means I can add ‘stuntman’ to Boy’s list of qualifications.

Dinner party, part 2: The appeteasers

Where were we? Oh yes. The actual dinner.

Dinner started with a scrumptious bowl of French onion soup. Now, normally I’m not a big fan of French onion soup. It’s a long story that has to do with an unfortunate hospital confinement, three days of no food or drink except intravenous fluids, and then a first meal of heavily-spiced French onion soup that overloaded my taste buds. My tongue still has nightmares of that fateful night.

And yet, for some reason, I didn’t feel like gagging when the first course was placed in front of me.

That bowl was empty pretty fast. I won’t tell you just how fast. I have my pride. Well, at least some of it.

Next up was this beautifully presented gigantic rectangular plate of various appetizers. It was huge. And pretty. You really had to be there, because my pictures don’t do it justice.

See? It was so big that I couldn’t fit the entire plate in my frame. Spot that little bivalve mollusk up there, in the upper righthand corner? That’s a delicious scallop in its shell, with some kind of garlic-herb-cheese crust on it.

Excuse me while I drool all over again.

If I wasn’t battling the urge to attack this plate immediately, I probably would have thought of adjusting my aperture so that the smoked salmon rose there in front would be in focus more.

And you see that salad there? That perfectly dressed salad?

He decorated the lettuce with marigold petals. Both lettuce and marigolds were from his garden. Where he also grows his own herbs.

I found that out not long after learning that he made his own candles. I think it was right around that time that I pretty much bid goodbye to my pride.

Which subsequently was pretty much obliterated once the main course rolled out. Stay tuned if you could use some pride reduction as well. We happen to be running a special this week.

Dinner party, part 1

My cousin has the coolest friends. They’re funny, they’re divers, and they’re foodies. Need I say more?

One of them is an amazing chef, among other things. Some time ago, this chef named Boy hosted a dinner party at his house. And I got invited.

(Yes, I realize I said the chef was named Boy. That’s not my lame attempt at anonymity. That’s actually his nickname. Now, if you’re not from the Philippines, that may seem strange. But trust me. You’ll get over it soon enough.)

The first thing that struck me when we reached there was how beautifully designed his house was.

See that tall candle sitting under the frame? He made that.

See those horns? He didn’t make those. But I’m pretty sure he could if he wanted to.

I wish I took more photos of his place, because it was really beautifully done. Except, I didn’t want to embarrass my cousin by bringing my camera inside, say, the powder room. After all, the smells coming from the kitchen told me that I’d be hoping for a repeat invite.

So for now, these photos of the lovely decorative touches around his house will have to suffice.

Next up, the absolutely fabulous dinner. Brace yourselves for the gastronomic onslaught.

(I have no idea what that meant. Just ignore me. I’ve been looking at the food photos and the hunger pangs are making me light-headed.)

Symmetry in diving

One of my quirks is that I always lean towards symmetry. I like to straighten things and make them equidistant to each other. I like things perfectly parallel, or perpendicular to each other. If I have to, I’ll settle for 45 degree angles. Maybe 30 or 60 in a pinch.

I’m also most likely to be that annoying person who, in the middle of your sentence, gets up to make sure the frames hanging on the wall are all properly aligned.

It’s a sickness, I’m telling you.

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