Saturday, February 28, 2015

Âyo Cafe: Something Pleasant Away from the City

Away from the bustle of Tacloban City proper and along Apitong Road sits this attractive café named “Âyo.” Nestled in a strip mall structure area, it’s a good place of reprieve when one is traversing the diversion road on the Maharlika Hwy. The resto has a mixed fare of Filipino and international cuisine, pasta and sandwiches, drinks are served primarily in pitchers and the clientele consists of people who only know where it is. To be candid, it’s making me wonder whether the proprietors (which are also the owners of Sunzibar and Canto Fresco) consciously opened this eatery here especially for customers who do not want to be bothered by the agitation in the city. Be that as it may, it is enjoyable as a place to eat.

Âyo does have tasty preparations but the Chef’s specials on the board is pricey as they come understandably because the ingredients are a rarity in Tacloban and Leyte. Example: Lamb Chops w/ Couscous Salad for P800, special cuts of beef and other entrées prepared with international flair for just as much.  Happily, these are not all that they serve. On the menu are more reasonably priced items which share an affinity for the items served in Sunzibar. Parking is not hard to come by because as I mentioned, Âyo is not at the hubbub of TC.

Location: Apitong Road, towards the right if you are heading north of Maharlika Mwy
Prices: from the P150’s to the higher triple digits

PS: Âyo was named after the Cebuano/Visayan word for “good.” if you don’t believe me, check out the decal of the word's definition on the upper right of the wall of the place (pictured on the collage). A clever touch yes?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Libro Atbp. Bookstore and Coffee: Original in So Many Ways

Finally, I finally got to feature "Libro" in Living Leyte! I am particularly exited to do this because one of Libro's original owners is a good friend of mine. However, it's not just for that reason I wanted to write and expand about this place, I did so also because for all intents and purposes, Libro was the first of it's kind in Tacloban City. It is a bookstore cum coffee shop and it exists to enrich one's mind... and belly. Ah, the levels of nourishment in one place. Because of this, I would venture to say that Libro is the original joint that spearheaded such quaintness to our little island city.

Today, Libro has added an array of delectable desserts, gourmet coffee, sandwiches and iced coffee and tea to it's showcase via Angie, Libro's very capable dessert chef and current owner. Browse and read through the eclectic selection of books available here from the classics to current fiction while enjoying all the delicious fare and you will understand what I am trying to convey.

A survivor of Typhoon Yolanda, one will find that Libro has become a staple in Tacloban City, it has proved the test of time and through all this, it has retained it's classic and charming milieu.

Location: Cor. Gomez St. and Sto. Niño St.
Prices: from P60's - P100's

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Juiceat: Truly Healthy

Juiceeat is the only one true healthy joint in Tacloban. With all the places we have to eat at that's savory, sweet and tasty, we do need a neutralizer for all the calories and fat we ingest. This is where Juiceat comes to play. 

Juiceat has multiple combinations of fresh fruit and vegetable juices geared towards cleansing, detoxifying and energy and immune system boosting that can only be good for our physical well being. Personally, I choose the concoctions myself for my blends and Juiceat is happy to oblige.  For a stamina upgrade, it's carrots, oranges and apples; for cleansing, it's cucumber, citrus and apple for me. It is quite healthy and is just what we need and you know what they say about health - it is wealth!

Location: MH del Pilar St. Tacloban City, close to Alberto's
Prices: P90 for medium sized juices and P120 for the larger ones.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Garlic-Parmesan Pasta at Home:

The challenge here in Tacloban City, to be candid, is trying to find the authentic ingredients for a particular dish you want to make at home. For example, quarter blocks of your favorite and what would be considered as exotic cheeses here will not necessarily be available willy-nilly. The moment it comes in hand though (usually at Robinson's Supermarket), one must seize the op or else lose out on it. While dried Italian seasonings and other herbs can be accessed, the fresh ones are still elusive, unless you are allied with the dealers of the restaurants.

So, about last week, considerable amounts of Parmesan cheese from a block somewhere came to our possession and the husband obliged me with his Garlic Parmesan Fettuccine which he makes so exquisitely and I have terribly missed. I made grilled chicken with my secret dry rub concoction to complement it. It was special, but we shouldn't get spoilt because as I inferred, finding authentic ingredients here can be likened to Indiana Jones looking for archeological artifacts. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Ocho Grill: Sutokil Extraordinaire

no photo of the Tipay, it was consumed before the cam could click!

Ocho Grill is a culinary mecca for the whole island of Leyte. When this resto emerged years ago, it was an instant hit and if you've ever been, you would know why. The concept of "Sutokil" which is short for sugba-tola-kinilaw, translated in English: grill, soup and raw, marinated in vinegar (alá ceviche) was solidified in our city by this restaurant. All manner of seafood, meats and vegetables are arrayed in their raw form while the patrons would hand over the items to be prepared to their liking either grilled, as a soup/broth, ceviche-style or even deep fried, et violá, your food will be served to be enjoyed at your table. 

I visited this eatery a few times before and I will say, it has only gotten better. It seems that they have perfected how to grill the scallops (Tipay) which is garnished with garlic and butter and wherein all these elements are cooked while in the scallop shell making the shell it's own cooking ware. Mind you though, Ocho didn't pioneer this technique of grilling scallops but they have elevated it into a work of culinary art. Try all the items if you are able, one visit at a time because of a truth, I haven't found anything that I didn't approve of yet, that includes the Grilled Panga (Grilled Tuna cheek) and the calamari. From the prawns, large sea bass, pompanos, mullets, tuna, to the pork belly, beef shanks, chicken cuts and so on and so on, all combinations and possibilities are delectable.

And here lately, they have added gratifying assorted cakes and what a plus it is. Ocho is quite a good food staple in Tacloban and the clientele ranges from Juan dela Cruz the average to the Juan dela Cruz at the other side of the spectrum. People from all walks of life and even clientele from all over world have graced Ocho, as it's a default place for Leyteños or Samareños to take foreigners to if they want to eat worthy Filipino food.

Location: Sen. Enage St. 
Prices: from 120's - 300's and even higher. 

It maybe pricey for lowly folks like me but it's good if one wants to splurge on a birthday or anniversary and such.

A post script:
 the succeeding venture of Ocho brought about the Tipay visual I originally wanted to share!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Seafood and Ribs Warehouse

Got to check out a new Warehouse-themed Seafood and Ribs place that just opened in the Candahug area. Basically one will be drawn here for the sake of it's ambiance. The design and interior here reminds me of the Steak and BBQ franchises in the US like Texas Roadhouse or Cody’s and it’s very well done, very satisfactory.  Food preparation is “Sutokil" (grill, broth and ceviche style). The seafood and meat items are all raw, situated by the front door, one chooses the items, you hand and dictate how you want the food prepared to the staff and it is served to your table. Based on stature and food fare, Seafood and Ribs Warehouse may propose as a competition to Ocho Grill, the good news for Warehouse is that they are polar opposites in location so patrons from the Marasbaras, Palo area and further south can easily access a Sutokil at this resto.

My gauge for the viability of the “sutokil” is how the grilled scallops (Tipay) are done, I found that the Tipay in Warehouse could use a bit more grilling and seasoning. The tiger prawns were excellent though, so much that I couldn’t take a photo of it as it got consumed in no time. The clientele are somewhat upper scale and I believe everyone that can are coming over as it’s the honeymoon stage.

Location: Candahug, Palo
Prices: ranging from P200 - 500 (special items are at market price, prawns for example is P200/gram.)

It’s worth checking out for the curious, try it and see for yourself.