Saturday, August 23, 2014

Eat Baguio

Eat Baguio

This blog post is composed mostly of food and travel pictures from recent trips up to Baguio to visit a certain feline. Some mini reviews on the certain restaurants we visited there are also in the post.  This blog post is constantly being updated. 

Going up to Baguio is always a special journey for me and my girlfriend. Let me add a little more to that sentence. Eating in Baguio is always a special journey for me and my girlfriend.

There is just something about Baguio makes eating better. Don't you agree? I don't know if it's the cold that puts your brain onto a hibernation-like alert where your senses tell you to fill your stomach to the brim to get ready for impending slumber, but I just know that the more lard you have on your person, the warmer you'll be in the chilly weather.

The variety of food and palates that dot this mountain is immense. Just like yellow sun flowers seeking the rays radiated from their name sake, so do the amount of good restaurants in Baguio draw in hungry foodies through their welcome doors. 

Here are a collection of some of my favorite food photos and a little info about the restaurants that are responsible for them.

Let us begin to... Eat Baguio.

Cafe By The Ruins

Cafe by the Ruins is one of our favorite places to have breakfast or lunch. This charming restaurant with a predominant wooden motif is located near the noisy downtown area of Baguio but can be considered a nice little patch of peace and tranquility amid the hustle and bustle of the city. Also interesting to not, aside from the scrumptious breakfast and brunch food with which they specialize in, Cafe by the Ruins also sponsors and showcases art from local Baguio artists.

During one trip there we had a really filling lunch composed of Kesong Puti Salad, Pinoy Beef Steak and Baguio Bagnet. It was heavenly.

Cafe by the Ruins Details:

Address: 25 Shuntug Street, 2600 Baguio City 
Address Notes: It's near the Baguio City Hall. 
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Contact Details: (074) 442 4010
Parking: Parking can be a bit hard since the restaurant only has about four or five parking slots.

Cost: This is probably one of the most expensive restaurants in Baguio but you really pay top peso for top quality. In my humble opinion, you should prepare at least Php 450 per person for a good and satisfying meal at this restaurant. 

Their Kesong Puti Salad was very intriguing because the deep fried kesong puti (those brownish bars you see) were a perfect combination to the fresh Baguio vegetables. We paired this dish with some fresh Salabat (Ginger Tea.) In my opinion, Cafe By The Ruins has the best salabat in town. It has just the right amount of spicy kick and is served with honey that isn't that sweet. 

Someone's having a hearthy brunch :) 

This is the Baguio Bagnet. Double deep fried pork that is extra crispy on the outside but seductively soft on the inside. Served with condiments, relish and on a bed of red rice. The best dish that we had at the Cafe By The Ruins and a signature Ilocano dish if I'm not mistaken. 

This is their house Pinoy Beef Steak served with mashed potatoes and herbed butter. The meat was pretty flavorful and the herbed butter added a nice zing to the dish but I'm not sure if this dish left an impression on me (Hey I'm not a food blogger, it's just what I honestly feel). It was cooked and served perfectly, I don't just know if it was that interesting enough. 

The interior of Cafe By The Ruins from above. 

Baguio Country Club: Verandah

The Baguio Country Club Crispy Pata and the BCC Chopsuey. 

Baguio Country Club's alfresco dining area aptly called the Verandah is another trademark of Baguio. For me, this restaurant stands out for it's professionalism and quality of food. It can be a bit exclusive though since they will only let you in if you're accompanied by a club member or if a club member endorses your dining there. (I'm not sure about this.)

The food we had at the Verandah for one lunch was great! We opted to go a little Pinoy and ordered the BCC Crispy Pata and the BCC Chopsuey. We overdid ourselves a little since these dishes were good enough for 3 to 4 people. But it tasted great nonetheless.

On a side note, I'm not sure if there is a distinct difference between their American and Filipino style dishes. In my humble opinion, Pinoy dishes were much more flavorful and tasty but the American dishes were a wee bit bland. BCC probably catered the food's taste to favor the palate of the cuisine that the food was cooked in. Kudos to BCC for that (if that's what they truly intended anyway.)

I had a Baguio Country Club Burger one time and it was cooked perfectly although it was a bit bland.

Baguio Country Club: Verandah Details:

Address: Country Club Road, Baguio Country Club, Baguio City 
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday from 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM
Phone: (074) 619- 2050-64

Cost: Even with membership, food at the Baguio Country Club can be a bit expensive but you will definitely get your money's worth especially with the ambiance of the BCC golf course in front of you as you munch away.

Close up of the Crispy Pata. I liked their Crispy Pata since it didn't have that weird dirty-slash-tangy taste that some Crispy Patas from different restaurants have on them. If I could describe it in one word on how it differed, I would have to say that their Crispy Pata tasted fresh.

The Baguio Country Club Burger. This burger was very juicy and succulent. The fries were fried marvelously and the salad on the side was a nice touch. One minor setback was that this burger was a bit bland. More suited for the American palette maybe?

Baguio Country Club: Raisin Bread Cafe

We had what they call the Golfer's Breakfast which was composed of some home made corned beef hash, eggs over easy and muffins that they baked themselves. Just a little bit bland. Must add ketchup. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about the famous Baguio Country Club raisin bread that every one makes pasalubong out of, I'm talking about the awesome cafe that actually bakes it and serves as one of the best places to grab some breakfast in BCC.

Raisin Bread is the name given to the small cafe just to the front of the lobby at the country club. As you may have guessed, this cafe was named after their famous raisin bread itself since this is where they bake it along with many other delicious treats. I think this cafe was renovated from an even smaller bakery that was partially destroyed during the huge earthquake that hit Baguio in 1991. From that small bakery sprung a cozy 20 seating capacity cafe that also doubles as the place where every guest loads up on pasalubong before heading home.

We like having breakfast here because the vibe is much more relaxed, it is sunnier, the view over looking the cliff side is great and you can also smell the bread as they bake it. The breakfast food is what you would expect of a American founded hotel. Top quality and well cooked but a bit bland.

One happy brekfaster :) Check out the view behind our table!

Freshly baked scones and muffins!

Baguio Craft Brewery: The First Craft Beers on the Mountain

Baguio Craft Brewery's Tasting Trays. 6 Different Beers in one sampling tray. 

Having just opened this 2014, Baguio Craft Brewery stands as probably the first bar in Baguio to offer their own craft beers. (Looks like the current trend in Manila is branching out.) What I like about them is that they have their brewery in roughly the same room where they serve their drinks and they strive to also include beers that have a distinct Filipino theme like for example a coconut flavored beer or a Benguet Coffee blend flavored beer.

They have a board up by the bar that tells you what their best sellers are and what they're made of as well as their alcoholic content. They have around maybe 20 to 30 flavors to choose from and they allow you to sample the beers before you try it.

The beers are a bit expensive per bottle at Php 190 and per glass at Php 150. (But they do have pretty big bottles and glasses.) If you don't know what to try yet, you can grab their Tasting Trays (pictured above) which are composed of 6 small servings of different kinds of beer worth Php 300. I highly recommend this. We had fun trying the different beers and the kick was good.

Their finger food is a bit pricey at Php 200 - Php 250 and not that great. (We had the burger sliders and the wings). Nothing to write home about. But their beers made up for it.

Baguio Craft Brewery Details:

Address: RKC Building, 120 Marcos Highway, Km 4, Baguio City
Address Notes: (Located before the Pure Gold building, Bakakeng Jr if you are coming from Baguio City proper.)
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday from 5:00 PM to 1:00 AM
Phone: (074) 422 5043

The Baguio Craft Brewery Bar

Wood Nymph: One of Baguio's Best Korean Restaurants

Wood Nymp's Bibimbap was a pretty good rice dish. Nothing too special though. 

So you're probably thinking... why name your restaurant after a wood fairy (nymph)? I really don't know why either but maybe it's because the food is magical! (cheesy line!) (lame! lol).

But all joking aside, this restaurant tucked in a foggy corner of SM Baguio serves some amazing Korean fare. This place is my girlfriend's go-to joint whenever she's craving for some spicy and fresh Korean eats. If I'm not mistaken, this branch at SM Baguio is already their second store since the original Wood Nymph started out in some hole-in-the-wall place along the Military Cut-off Road in Baguio (I've never been there.).

Apparently the food was so good that they had to branch out to net a broader market and share their wonderful Korean food that is made even better with the use of ingredients from Baguio. Every time that my girlfriend and I are in Baguio, we make it a ritual to stuff ourselves full of kimchi, seafood pancakes, grilled meat goodness and whatever else that the Wood Nymph has to offer us.

One of our favorite parts is seeing which Korean appetizers our waiter will serve us for the day. We usually target their kangkong mixed with some sort of seasame oil, their kimchi, their beansprouts and their sweet baby potatoes first. If we're lucky, we get 5 out of 6 appetizers that we like. Some, we don't really like. But those are composed of the minority. 

A hungry girl waiting for her Korean delicacies to be served. 

One of our favorite dishes. The Seafood Pancake! These little bite sized squares are made of egg and batter mixed with different kinds of seafood and vegetables. The dipping sauce is delicious too!

The servings at Wood Nymph are usually geared towards groups and you won't find it rare to see groups of people coming in and ordering large dishes or hot pots where they cook the food in front of you. Since it was just me and my girlfriend, what we ordered was quite a bit much for us since as I said their servings are geared more towards 3-4 people each but we still put it all away in our stomachs and were happy that we were able to do it.

As for pricing, you get authentic Korean food in large servings for a reasonable price. In my opinion though, the more people you have in your group, the more you can bring the price per person down. For example, my girlfriend and I spent around Php 400 pesos each for a belly-busting meal. But on one occasion where we dined with a group of 5 people, we spent around Php 300 per head and were also equally stuffed. 

Wood Nymph SM Baguio Details:

Address: 2nd Floor, SM City Baguio, Luneta Hill Drive, Baguio City
Address Notes: (Wood Nymph is located on the 2nd Floor balcony. If you pass Bonchon and David's Tea House, keep on going and in a few more restaurants, you'll see it.)
Operating Hours: Mall Hours
Facebook: None
Phone: (074) 442-8648
Website: None

The Korean Fried Chicken - this was cooked 'BonChon' style and was nice, tangy and not that spicy. But it didn't compare to the grilled chicken we had here last time. Too bad I wasn't able to take a picture of their grilled barbequed chicken we usually order. 

Stay tuned for more mouth watering food photos. I'll be updating this album after every trip I take to Baguio. -Dre

Know any other Baguio restaurants that I should try out? Let me know in the comments below!