My younger brother is currently in his last year of undergraduate studies. Part of his arrangement for senior year is that he will stay in a dormitory near his school, so he wouldn’t have to brave the long commute home. You see, our actual house is located at the northernmost part of Manila, the Philippine capital. It usually takes around two hours from our place to reach the central districts. Given that he stays in a dormitory for five days and goes home only on the weekends, I usually ask him to meet up with me in case my family wants to give him additional clothes or whatnot.
It’s usually dinner time when we meet up, so this becomes another chance for me to try out new dining spots. Apparently, he has the same nonchalant (read: non-picky) attitude when it comes to eating out. Basically anywhere for him is a go. Let me share some dining spots we visited, by means of this triptych.
To both the Katipunan folk and Ateneo alumni, Banapple is an ubiquitous name. Its recent expansion is remarkable – literally like a phoenix rising from the ashes – right after one of its original branches was razed by a fire. From two original spots along the Blue Ridge area, other Banapple branches have mushroomed across the metro: from up north at Fairview Terraces, to down south at Solenad in Laguna. The restaurant’s claim to fame is its wide selection of cakes, loaves, and other baked goods. Its sit-down restaurants also feature heavier fare such as rice meals, pastas, and sandwiches.
During one such dinner at Banapple’s Gateway Mall branch, we ordered the Bacon Fried Chicken Steaks with Milk’Shroom Gravy and Chicken Parmigiano. This wasn’t our first time at the place, and our orders were safe picks. What I love about Banapple is how the quality of its food has remained consistent throughout the years. Both dishes basically used breaded and fried chicken breast fillet. The only difference is the topping: his order had mushroom and milk-based gravy, while mine had meaty tomato sauce and melted cheese. Tender and tasty – these are the two words I can use to describe our dinner.
The last time I ate at Flaming Wings along Katipunan Avenue was around nine years ago, back when I was still a college sophomore. Almost a decade later, I never expected to return there. This joint specializing in buffalo wings has become a Katipunan mainstay, due to its budget-friendly meals that appeal to students and working class denizens alike. Expect Ateneo and Miriam high school students, the occasional iskolar (scholar) from the University of the Philippines, and a few Ateneo college students or two enter the joint on a regular day.
For this instance, I ordered Flaming Wings’ version of the Chicken Parmigiana. My younger brother, on the other hand, ordered the Hunger Buster B – consisting of chicken tenders with rice, served with a signature dip on the side. I originally expected rice to go with my dish, but I overlooked the part where it mentioned that pasta would accompany it. Regardless, it was a good decision; the pasta already served as the carbohydrates for the chicken’s role as protein. Besides, the chicken’s size was more than enough for the penne in marinara sauce! The Hunger Buster meal was more than sufficient for my younger brother; I even ordered extra rice for him!
Most people older than me can truly say that Pancake House is the progenitor of the all-day breakfast concept. All throughout its history – starting in 1974, up to its acquisition by the Max’s Group – the brand is known for delicious pancakes and service that makes you feel at home. We had the opportunity to dine at its branch at UP Town Center during the long Halloween holiday, and just like the multitude of people who have eaten at Pancake House – we left the place satisfied.
Nothing beats breakfast classics to start the day. In this case, my basic order of Classic Pancakes and my younger brother’s Pork Tocino platter was more than enough to fill us up. Pancake House does its namesake right, serving the classic fare with a side of syrup and whipped butter. The tocino (cured pork cutlets) had the right amount of sweet and savory, devoid of any fatty parts. I surmise that maybe, Pancake House makes its own version of tocino. Other variants would either be tough to chew or have more fat percentage than lean meat. Now I know why this restaurant is a consistent favorite for breakfast fare.
Good food is even better with good company, as they say. Until the next post, bon appetit!