Lobo: A culinary delight for one’s inner wolf

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After a long and enlightening journey in Correigdor, we ended our day with a meal that reminds us of home: a Filipino Tavern named Lobo, meaning ‘wolf’ in the Filipino language. Stepping inside the place reminds one of a Filipino living room or a nipa hut, along with some paintings that invoke a native charm. The wooden tables and re-used wood stumps invoke a sense of old world charm in itself.

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Their culinary selection draws inspiration from a fusion of Filipino and Western influences in terms of ingredients and recipes. For this dinner date, Kat ordered a mushroom pasta with truffle oil and kesong puti (roughly translates to white cheese but made from carabao’s milk, salt, and rennet), and I had the lamb adobo with atchara (pickled papaya and carrot) and green mangoes.

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Mushroom and Kesong Puti Pasta

The mushroom pasta had a balanced control of flavors, from the starch of the pasta complementing the slightly salty cheese, to the truffle oil enhancing its companions in a symphony of an unusual combination.

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Lamb Adobo with garlic rice, green mangoes and atchara

Lamb adobo on the other hand still retained its delicate flavor and tenderness after marinating, lending itself to a brilliant meal with an order of garlic rice. Also, the atchara and green mangoes soften the punch of the meat’s saltiness with its sweet-sour flavors.

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Cold beverages after a long day

We also had mango shake for Kat and yogurt with cucumber for me as our drinks for the night. Hers was sweet to serve as a dessert, and mine was just what I needed, something to cool down my palate.

I think it’s worth noting that it’s actually connected and sharing a pathway with Wok By 4900 as neighbors, which is a welcome venue with more options for the discerning palate. I dare say, we enjoyed our time here in Lobo.

Food Score: 4/5. Our food experience here definitely merits some praise for the well-crafted meal we had. While not large, it was still filling and pleasing to the palate.

Ambiance / Service Score: 4/5. The place had a relaxed vibe to it and at the same time, the servers were attentive to our needs. The decor both in the inner seating area as well as the second floor deck have a neo-ethnic yet homey touch, a balance not so easily achieved in a tavern like this

GERD Score: 4/5. Their menu definitely still has a lot to offer someone with heartburn with their selection of heartburn-safe dishes, along with some fruit and yogurt beverages

Epilepsy Score: 4.5/5. The dishes here do not make extensive use of preservatives or artificial seasonings. Though this is a bar, the selection of non alcoholic drinks is rather impressive. The only drawback perhaps may be the location; if one is sitting on the roof deck there is still a view of the overly flashy lights of neighboring establishments.

Team Glasses Food Score: 4/5. Whether one is looking for a casual dining experience as a solo foodie, a date, or as a group, Lobo is a great place to go for great food that caters well even to people with our conditions.

Lobo Filipino Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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A step back in time at Kusina Felicitas

For part one of the short solo Vigan trip, I decided to take on a suggestion from our good friend Carmel and try out a place she ate in before. A place called, Kusina Felicitas located in Grandpa’s Inn just a pebble’s throw away from the main line of Spanish houses in Calye Crisologo.

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Tapang Ilokano

Native Tsokolate

Tsokolate

An hour or so after landing in Vigan via bus, I went there to try out their breakfast menu, specifically the Tapang Ilokano, Itlog ken Kinirog, a lightly-flavored and soy sauce-marinated strip of beef with a sunny-side up, garlic and spring onion fried rice, atchara (pickled papaya), and a sweetened banana. The meal itself was plain for me, not as flavorful as I expected it to be. Could have skipped the banana though. However, that cup of native tsokolate is pure goodness in a cup.

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Vigan Longanisa

While I was a bit disappointed with my breakfast, I gave it another shot for a spot of late lunch, ordering some Vigan longanisa (sausages stuffed with pork and garlic) and Gamet soup (seaweed soup with clams and vegetables). I think I ate my own words before eating when I said, “I won’t order rice for this one.”

The longanisa is, lightly fried but not oily and the small portion of fresh vegetables balancing the palate. In summary, just the way I like it.

Gamet Soup

Gamet Soup

The star of the lunch on the other hand is the soup. The tomatoes and spring onions liven up the umami taste of seaweed and the small clams. These complex flavors reminded me of a fresh sea breeze in a mid-afternoon stroll by the beach. And the rice is fluffy, and perfect for the two dishes above

My entire stay at the restaurant can be summed up in two words. Cozy and Rustic. The wooden furniture and enclosed living space exuded the visage of an old spanish dining area during a feast, and the meals fitting a prayle.

Food Score: 4.5/5. Besides the slight hiccup of the morning menu, the food is worth coming back to if one wants a taste of what Ilocos cuisine is all about. Illocos cuisine has its fatty side, but there is a strong emphasis on use of local vegetables, which gives it a healthy spin.

Ambiance / Service Score: 3.5/5. The place is a quaint experience and in some ways, a nice step back in time. The attending servers were mostly trainees for that day and not as attentive as I would personally like but get the job done nonetheless. Definitely some room for improvement there in my opinion.

GERD Score: 4/5. While one should stay away from the bagnet for obviously oily reasons, most of the fare here is heartburn friendly, with their wide range of vegetable and seafood options such as the gamet soup I had.

Epilepsy Score: 4/5. Unfortunately most longanizas, even the famed Illocos longaniza, are made with preservatives such as salitre, thus one should limit intake of these meats. However other fresh foods in this restaurant and the region are rather safe, and very healthy for those with health conditions.

Team Glasses Food Score: 4/5. In its entirety, Kusina Felicitas here in Vigan is one of the best places one can go to for a culinary adventure into Ilokano food. A place on top of our list when Kat and I decide to go to Vigan together for a vacation.

A taste of home: Dekada

It’s been a long hiatus of sorts from our last write up, but thankfully, TeamGlasses is back for more.

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After buying our tickets for Beauty and the Beast’s  8pm showing, we realized that we had enough time for a nice and relaxed dinner, and we’re long overdue for another review from our own country’s cuisine. Our feet led us to a place called Dekada, that prides itself in Filipino cuisine with their own brand of humor, naming each dish after personalities and groups in certain time periods such as “Murphy” for the crispy Pla Pla fish we had here, “Kempetai” for the gising-gising, or “Quirino” for a daily dose of adobo flakes.

In any case, Kat and I decided to go for a light dinner this time around and split the pla pla fish since the entrée serving sizes here at Dekada are good for two people. While my order of plain rice was a bit drier than my preference, the fish was delectable. The crunch and balanced seasoning play a cheerful ditty in the taste buds, which great enough that I hazard to say that it will definitely go well with any pulutan or perhaps in our case, a movie to catch later. The meat and skin weren’t oily which is the surprising part, compared to the usual story when people fry fish in most of my memories in Philippine cuisine. The pieces of fried talong did go well with the fish but I think it could do without the atchara.

Food Score: 4/5. For a place that serves Filipino food, one can rest easy in the fact that they are able to make their dishes come close to home cooking. Our experience with the Murphy was excellent. Dekada also has a delectable selection of merienda fare and cold drinks (which Kat has sampled on a previous visit), that make this place also ideal for lazy afternoons with family and friends

Ambiance / Service Score: 4/5. Dekada gives the feel of a cozy 1950s home that thankfully is well lit and the servers are readily available to cater to our concerns.

GERD Score: 4/5. Normally, anything fried gives me burping fits and the occasional acid climbing up my throat, but their crispy fish is one of the few examples that it can be done and sufferers from heartburn can still eat these types of food. While their menu has some of the usual culprits of heartburn triggers, there’s plenty of other options to choose from thankfully.

Epilepsy Score: 4/5. The problem though with Filipino cooking as a whole, and thus many of the dishes in this restaurant, is it does tend to lean on the salty and sometimes spicy side, which may be problematic for people who are sensitive to these seasonings. That aside, the diverse menu is friendly for most taste buds and medical contraindications; there’s something for most people.

Team Glasses Score: 4/5. Overall, we enjoyed our experience here and found another great place where we can enjoy Filipino meals without having to worry about our respective health conditions. We’ll come back again for the merienda.