Best Bites: The 10 Best Things I Ate in July

I'm taking a break temporarily from my Ilocos travel series because I want you share with you the fabulous food finds I had last July! Five of them are actually from Ilocos (hehehe) but the rest are from Manila, so keep scrolling and plan that lunch out with friends real soon!

Stuffed Pljeskavica from Balkan Yugoslavian Home Cooking (PhP330)

This slab of meat may look bland at first glance, but once you slice into the ground beef patty and the mozzarella oozes out, you’ll definitely change your mind. The meat is delightfully spicy, and is best eaten with the milk cream sauce and plenty of rice. It’s so hot you’ll be reaching for a glass of water faster than you can pronounce the dish’s name! Nah, I’m kidding.

More of Balkan here.

Balkan Yugoslavian Home Cooking
2/F Crossroad Bldg, 32nd Ave
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
Facebook: BalkanResto
Menu: click here

Queso de Bola Cheesecake from Chef Lau’s Pugon Roasters (PhP145)

Who would have thought that deep within the mounds of barbecued chicken breasts and tangles of pancit Lucban lies a sweet secret: Chef Lau’s Queso de Bola Cheesecake. The cake is not too sweet, not too sour, not too creamy, not cloying at all. Perfect for sharing as well, but better kept all to yourself.

Chef Lau’s Pugon Roasters
2/F The Venice Piazza, McKinley Hill, Taguig

French Salted Caramel Cupcake from The Silly Goose Gourmet (PhP350/box of 6)

This cupcake made by home-based seller Steph Puno boasts of a fluffy chiffon-like base, a sweet caramel frosting drizzled with fleur de sel, and an overall perfectly balanced flavor. In lieu of refined white sugar, the brown variety is used—aiming to be “a bit healthier”. All salted caramel lovers must put this in their must-try list.

Click here for more of The Silly Goose Gourmet.

The Silly Goose Gourmet
Instagram: @thesillygoosegourmet

Macho Nacho Burger from Off the Grid (PhP200 with fries and a drink)

Nachos on a burger? You bet. With all the crazy burger constructions restaurants are coming up with, undeniably not all are greeted with enthusiasm by diners. Off the Grid’s Macho Nacho is different: here, crunchy chips sit atop a juicy patty, then made more exciting my cheddar, mayonnaise, jalapeno, and a tangy salsa to cut through all the creaminess. Extra fries, please.

More of Off the Grid here.

Off the Grid
G/F The Venice Piazza, McKinley Hill, Taguig
Instagram: @otgmanila

Pistachio Latte from Lucca Bakery (PhP125)

On rainy days, nothing can be quite as comforting as a nice cup of hot coffee. If you’re looking for something beyond your ordinary latte or cappuccino, try Lucca Bakery’s Pistachio Latte: Lucca’s custom coffee blend, jazzed up by crushed pistachio. The pistachio adds a nutty sweetness to this drink, and the extra texture lends each sip an exciting surprise.

This product also appears in Fab Finds Friday: Rainy Day Eats.

Lucca Bakery
5/F SM Mega Fashion Hall, SM Mega Mall, Mandaluyong City
Operating Hours: 10:00AM - 9:00PM (Mon-Thu, Sun), 10:00AM - 10:00PM (Fri-Sat)
Facebook: Lucca Bakery

Poqui Poqui from Johnny Moon Café (PhP145)

You’d think Poqui Poqui is an oyster dish or a shellfish of some sort (LOL) but this Ilocano native food is actually made of eggplants. Like most Filipino food, Poqui Poqui is proof that a simple sauté can do wonders: grilled eggplants, eggs, tomatoes, and onions come together as a simple but extremely delectable dish! It’s similar to what we call ensaladang talong in Manila, but better.

Johnny Moon Cafe
Laoag City, Ilocos Norte
Facebook: JohnnyMoonCafe

Eggless Leche Flan from Kapuluan Vista Resort (PhP150)

My curiosity led me into ordering this dessert off Kapuluan’s menu, and thanks to my “eats-now-or-never” attitude, I made this yummy discovery! The eggless version is more subtle and less rich compared to the ones I’m accustomed to, but delicious nonetheless. Who can say no to a light, exquisite dessert? “Light” means being able to eat more!

Watermelon Daiquiri from Kapuluan Vista Resort (Buy-One-Take-One at PhP80 during Happy Hour)

As if watermelon—or alcohol—isn’t delicious enough, the two are combined into an incredibly refreshing drink. This classic rum cocktail may look girly and innocent, but remember that sweetened alcoholic drinks are traitors and backstabbers. Sip with a straw, spoon into your mouth, or eat it as if it were ice cream – do what you want!

More of Kapuluan Vista Resort here.

Kapuluan Vista Resort
Blue Lagoon, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

Ilocos Empanada from JVM Sweet Empanada (PhP35, special)

Don’t go home without trying the authentic street-style empanadas from Laoag when you visit Ilocos—specifically, the sweetish ones from JVM Empanada. This local specialty is made of mung beans and grated papaya—not cabbage like you would see in Manila, yuck—plus egg and longganisa. Douse liberally with sukang Iloko, blow on it a little, and take a humongous bite. Perfect? Thank me!

More about Ilocos empanada here.

JVM Sweet Empanada
Brgy. 11, Paco Roman Street, Laoag City

Bagnet with KBL from La Preciosa (around PhP210-PhP250, I forgot the exact price)

If your porcine dreams keep haunting you all day at night, then it’s probably time to pack your bags and take a trip to Ilocos. Bagnet is no ordinary pork belly—it’s the king of all pork bellies. La Preciosa’s rendition was my personal favorite: quite light, unbelievably crispy, and incredibly tender. Oh, and that vinegar and KBL on the side? Fuck.

More of La Preciosa here.

La Preciosa
Fine Dining and Catering Services
Rizal St., Laoag City, Ilocos Norte
+63.77.773.1162/ +63.77.773.2159
Official website: La Preciosa
Facebook: La Preciosa

What are your awesome food finds for July?

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