Cookbook Kitchen: A Cookbook Come To Life

Catching up on post backlogs now, yay! This one is a couple of months overdue, as Lianne‘s birthday was way back in April and it was then when we trekked to Mandaluyong to celebrate with nommies and good cheer. I say “trekked” because a Southerner like me hardly ever gets to hang out that far north unless there’s an event or a celebration or any combination of the two.

This trip was about a cookbook come to life in a real live kitchen. I don’t know about you, but my cookbooks end up like magazines, I leaf through the beautiful pages skipping one beautiful recipe after another just because it seems too complex or the ingredients are far too many for a cooking noob like me. Then after a while, the books end up stacked in a shelf, sad and unused.

CBK's famous appetizers

At Cookbook Kitchen, you can stop salivating at pictures and wishing you can whip up an intricate recipe without burning down the kitchen. You simply order a dish you can never hope to make in 15 minutes and voila! Instant tummy gratification!

We started the gluttony meal with the recommended appetizers and they were super good. The CBK Italian toast is a signature appetizer of bread topped with tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese. Theres a reason why it’s a favorite. It’s simple but wonderful, with all the ingredients complementing each other combining for an irresistible opener/. Another recommended appetizer is the Champignons with Caramelized Onions, which we also tried, of course. Now this came as a surprise. I’m not much of a mushroom fan, but these button mushrooms sautéed in butter mixed with sweetened onions hit the right spot with me. It’s actually something I’d want to try making on my own (as soon as I find a simple enough recipe).

Clockwise, from upper left: Temecula Ribs, Parmesan Crusted White Fish, CBK Chicken, Pasta Al Adobo

Their menu had a good selection of entrees per food group, it’s not easy to trim down from all the lovely choices. Because the prices aren’t exorbitant, having a little variety wasn’t too much of a problem. We settled on a spread of beef, chicken, fish, and pasta (practically all the categories on the menu ><). Here’s a rundown of what we ordered- the Temecula Ribs were a little too saucy and fatty for my liking, but the meat was very tender and nearly fell off the bone, the baked Parmesan Crusted White fish was creamy and easy to eat, the CBK Chicken was healthy enough even though it was stuffed with ham, cheese, and basil, and the Pasta Al Adobo gave a very Filipino twist to an Italian dish.

While we were full by the time the main course rolled off, the biggest (literally) highlight of the night weren’t the main dishes, as can be seen from our expressions of wonder in this photo- 20120626-085402.jpg

Yes, we were staring in earnest at our dessert. For an almost unacceptable amount of time too, because the waiters started looking at us like we were nuts (they weren’t wrong). This giant pile of ice cream is called the Avalanche, rightfully so. If you say it isn’t so big, you need to hold your hand in an L-shape, and double that height to understand just how humongous this thing was. If you’re still unconvinced, try and picture about fifteen scoops of ice cream all in one plate. That’s how huge it was.

An Avalanche it is!

Scoops and scoops, and even more scoops of strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate ice cream were piled on top of the other until it resembled a small mountain and topped with frozen strawberries and chocolate syrup. There was so much ice cream that after many spoonfuls, the magic ice cream plate still looked full. It was a whole lot of fun digging through it one spoonful at a time and putting it down before it put us down. We didn’t give up on it and eventually, we conquered the entire avalanche!

Cookbook Kitchen is located at 8 Socorro Fernandez Street, Mandaluyong City. If you want to contact them, you can call them at 724-35-95 or 381-59-35 or maybe send them a message on their Facebook page or website.


Bread & Bean PWNS All Other Coffeeshops
Happy almost-Easter everybody! This is probably my favorite holiday of the year (well, next to Christmas). One of the best things about it is that because everyone’s out of town to enjoy the long weekend, the city streets are clear as day and I can drive from Alabang to Quezon City with no sweat. Which brings me to today’s topic.
Bread & Bean is coffeeshop, bakeshop, and restaurant all in one.
Living in the South, I am usually hesitant to travel further than Makati for recreation (by that I mean eating out). Ortigas, San Juan, and Quezon City are places I usually pass up because of the hellish amount of traffic that can be expected along EDSA. To make things easier, I just stay within fifteen kilometers of my house.
But there are some exceptions. Bread & Bean is one of the few (another one is Everything at Steak). This little coffeeshop along Jose Abad Santos street in San Juan is of those places that I’d gladly and willingly go back to, traffic or no traffic.
L-R: Classic Hot Chocolate (p80), Choco Peppermint Fredoccino (p100),
Capuccino (p80), Dark Choco Fredoccino (p100)
Even though there are so many coffee shop chains close the South, Bread & Bean gives you a different experience. The area is laid back, with warm wood decor and, comfy chairs, and friendly personnel. But those just the extras. Besides the general homey feel, they also serve excellent coffee, breads and cakes.

My all time favorite is the Choco Peppermint Fredoccino, a cool and refreshing frappuccino blended in with minty chocolate bits and topped with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.

The mango cake slice is lovely.
They also have a selection of mouth-watering cakes (pictures as proof!), all reasonably priced at 60-80 per slice. Another Bread & Bean feature is that their breads are baked fresh daily. The very tasty (and my favorite) ham and cheese loaf is a treat. Sorry, I don’t have a photo of the bread section, just head over and try their fresh breads yourself. You won’t be disappointed.
Look at what I saw posted on their wall-
Like and share the Bread & Bean fanpage (link below) and get a cake when you visit, absoulutely free. Just tell them your name when you get there (won’t hurt to tell them you heard about them from BaconTunaMelt).  Pretty sweet deal, imo.
Bread & Bean Cafe
Location: Unit 3, Citiplace Building Jose Abad Santos Street, San Juan

STEAKS! at Everything at Steak
After the victory of the DLSU Lady Spikers against the UST Tigresses last Sunday, securing the UAAP Season 73 Volleyball Championship (woohoo!), we were in such high spirits that we wanted to celebrate. 
Days prior to the game, I read this post over at FlairCandy about a new steakhouse in San Juan. Because we were in the area (the game was held at the FilOil Flying V Arena), it was decided that having steak while basking in the glory of the win discussing the game highlights would be a great way to spend the rest of the night.
Everything At Steak
Although it’s not along a major road, we didn’t have a difficult time locating the place. From the arena, we took a left to P. Guevarra street and cruised down the road until we saw the landmarks (North Park on the left side, Petron/Everything At Steak on the right).
Everything At Steak is a smallish steak place (the place can fit thirty at most) that gives off a warm, homey vibe with its cushy couches at one end, pastel color theme, and friendly crew. Now let’s get down to business, let’s start talking about the meats. 
Pork Spareribs (p195)
Every main course order at Everything At Steak comes with a side dish and a cup of plain rice. Upon ordering, you have to choose the marinade for the meat, the sauce, and the siding (details at the end of the post).
This in picture is an order of grilled Pork Spare Ribs in original flavor with barbecue sauce and a side of mac n’ cheese. The meat was so tender it almost melts in your mouth, it’s juicy, tasty, and as advertised, it was thick and large. (The photo doesn’t do justice to how humongous the meat was.)
T-Bone (p195)
This one in picture, is the T-Bone steak in original marinade, mushroom gravy, and a side of corn on the cob. The meat, also unusually thick and juicy for the price, was a little tougher in consistency than the spareribs and was slightly plain. It wasn’t the best but it still tasted pretty good.
Lamb Shoulder (p195)
This is an order of the Lamb Shoulder in original marinade, mint sauce, and served with a side of mac n’ cheese. The meat is obviously smaller than the first two on this list but it’s lamb. Where else can you get lamb here in the city for only that much? It’s a steal at the price they’re selling it for. The mint sauce is an acquired taste and I wouldn’t recommend it if you have a strong aversion to wasabi (it has a similar kick).
Moo Fries (p120)
Lastly, we had to order the famous Moo Fries because of all the good reviews. And I’d have to agree with each one of them. I loved it. The presentation is fun and quirky, with the fries arranged for easy picking and the to-die-for meat sauce slathered generously in the middle. If you’re curious, there are more fries inside the bowl, but you have to use a fork to pick them because they’re covered in the meat sauce. This was so good.
All in all, Everything At Steak is a fantastic find. Most orders are large enough for people with extra healthy appetites and the prices they’re selling them for are insanely low (it’s unbelievable). They don’t accept credit card payments though, so you better bring some cash when you decide to visit. Parking is also a breeze as there are designated parking slots for diners (in fact, we left our car parked in front of the restaurant and had coffee at the shop on the next street).
Main course choices:

2pcs fried egg, 2pcs garlic bread, garlic rice, grilled corn on the cob, coleslaw, meatball pasta, chorizo carbonara, mac n’ cheese, french fries, twister fries, mashed potato, potato wedges, twiced baked potato, potato salad
Marinade: New Orleans Rub (spicy), Original Marinade
Sauce: Original Mushroom Gravy, Peppercorn Gravy, Barbecue, Mint Sauce, and Country Style Gravy

Everything At Steak
Location: 5 P. Guevarra corner V. Cruz streets, San Juan
Contact details: (02) 726-2386

Other info: Everything At Steak Facebook Page

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