Food blog: Burgoo

It’s my parents’ 31st anniversary today but unfortunately a big typhoon is battering the country today. But I guess even a typhoon couldn’t stop a small celebration of God’s goodness and faithfulness in the lives of my parents and the whole family. Although just the 3 of us celebrated,  it was still fun. The food was great!

My dad has been dying for us to try Burgoo for the past year. In SM Marikina, they’ve been constantly giving freebies bundled with a purchase in Burgoo. My dad has some of them so we opted to try it out.

After watching Johnny English, which was really funny, we had dinner in Burgoo. Since my dad is trying to lose a little weight off, he ordered just enough bites for the three of us.

My dad ordered Shrimp Caesar’s Salad. It had also crab shreds, calamaris, croutons. It was good for a start. The shrimps were really good. I think they were grilled. The dressing was not overpowering the leaves and all the components.

My dad told me that we’re gonna have a lot of shrimps tonight. So we ordered this Shrimp a la pobre. It’s really good and flavorful. It’s so simple. It’s sauteed in flavor infused olive oil. It has a lot of mild peppers going on that gave it a lot of kick. It was good…and expensive. haha! It was actually free, and that was great.

For the main, my dad ordered Trio Pahitas. It’s a trio of chicken shreds, beef shreds and shrimps with mushrooms and peppers. They were all sauteed in olive oil, with some spices that I think was a bit lacking, and they served it in a sizzling plate.

They are wrapped with this along with dressings of cream, salsa and cheese. I added a lot of Tabasco just to get things going. It was really good and heavy to the belly.

I didn’t get to see the bill, but overall it was a happy experience. I was looking around the resto and kept on seeing the shrimp, ribs and shrimp platter. Well, if that is there specialty, we should try that next time.

  • Burgoo (
  • Burgoo (

Food blog: Cake 2 go


Yesterday, Sunday, my eldest brother and his wife gave a cake from this shop to my parents for their 31st anniversary tomorrow. We won’t be able to meet up as a family that’s why celebrations are staggard.

I don’t what this cake is called but it tastes and looks like Chocolate Mousse with a little bit of coffee. It actually tastes good, rich in flavors. But men, you won’t last another slice of it. It’s sooo rich. The middle layer was like bombarded by a ton of butter. Not good for a lactose-intolerant like me. The crust was good. It had nuts together with the crust mixture. The chocolate shavings are enjoyable, I can eat all of it at once.

This type of cake is not for one to two sittings, unlike Red Ribbon cakes (well, at least in my family). But it was really good almost crossing the line of too good, too flavorful to consume by bulks.

Well, nothing beats the cakes from Banapple. haha!





Life thoughts: ‘stage-fright’

I was raised by my parents achieving a lot. I was raised to achieve excellence and everything that I can and sometimes even surpassing what I can do. When I was in pre-school, and grade school, I was always one of the best students, and always the student with the most non-academic awards. This continued on ’til I was in high school, joining national and international competitions that pretty much shaped my future and what and where I am today. I am not bragging about anything, besides, this is all His, and all will be gone when we get to meet Him, but I just want to share to you what I’m feeling right now.

So here I am again, doing what I’ve been doing for a lot of years already. But maybe this time, it’s the most serious, the most dreadful, the most intimidating, the most excruciating competition yet.

I have to admit. I don’t think I’m even ready for this. I don’t even think I have enough ability to pull this thing off. Every time I even thin about it, my heart starts pounding as if I’m facing the ‘enemy’. Not THE enemy, but the judges (hihi). I’ve been telling my mom about this, and all she tells me is, “just leave it all to the Lord. He already knows who the winner is.”

But of course! He knows. I don’t. Now what? I have no choice but to do it how God would do it if He were in my place–He would do His very best. And that’s what I’m gonna do. At least I hope so.

So I’m leaving for Indonesia on Thursday for the Young Composers Competition of Southeast Asia. Truly, it’s an honor to be competing with 9 other composers. But of course, as my parents would say, I should strive for the best. Such pressure. But I actually put it all off my shoulders and onto God’s now. I know He can pull things off.

If you just read this, do me a favor, please pray for me! Thank you!

Alexander John ‘AJ’ Villanueva
posted from my Blackberry

Food blog: Mom’s classic spaghetti recipe

When we were young, my mom will always cook this recipe that all of us kids will really love. I got to learn this recipe when I was in college already. That was the time when my parents were gone for a month in the US, and I was in charge of the house, the food and the kitchen.

You need:

  • tomato sauce (no mixes)
  • garlic
  • onion
  • italian seasoning
  • extenders (very optional but would add a lot of depth to the sauce): MUST add is : ground pork/beef/corned beef/tuna, optional: finely dices carrots, celery, mushrooms, capers, sliced olives
For tonight, I used
  • corned beef
  • mushrooms
  • capers
  • olives
  1. Sautee garlic and onion (you can add chili)
  2. Add the pork/beef/tuna
  3. Sauce
  4. Seasoning (italian, salt, pepper)
  5. add sugar to make things interesting
  6. that’s it
This recipe reminds me a lot about my childhood, growing up in a quiet neighborhood in Las Pinas, enjoying my mom’s cooking, being with friends, having fun! I miss those days. I miss Las Pinas.

I actually made this tonight just to thank my dad for helping me fix up my car which broke down over the weekend. It cost him a lot so I wanted to thank him by feeding him, which my mom doesn’t like. haha!

Food blog: Banapple

At long last! My favorite restaurants! My family and I have been eating here ever since I discovered it exactly a year ago.

There are two braches in Katipunan, Blue Ridge, we Ara and I or my family would usually eat. There is also one in Tomas Morato. Now, we ate in the Greenhills branch. Unlike the other branches, the Greenhills branch is not packed with people, so we got seats right away.

We ordered Cream Dory with honey mustard sauce. It’s a light meal (o well, anything from Banapple is never light), the Cream dory was cooked perfectly that it almost tasted like chicken fillet. The sauce is subtle enough that it did not overpower the fish. And what we always like in Banapple, SERVING SIZES! Everything is big! 180php (or around that price)

This never failed to entice and fill me up! I always suggest this to anyone who has eaten in Banapple for the first time–Hickory-smoked back ribs. The sauce is sooo good. The meat falls off the bone. It is so tender. Period. Truly the best meal, for me, in Banapple. And of course, it’s big! 185php

The star of the show! Never go to Banapple without eating their famous Bannoffee Pie. It’s not that sweet. The crust is so thick and flavorful, that it is a delight on its own. I would always measure that the thickness of the crust at the back part of the cake is the same size as my fork, front side down. Comfort food! 95php per slice. And again, it’s big. Good enough for 2 people.

Banapple never fails me.






















Food blog: Happy Lemon

I’ve been longing to try Happy Lemon, but the nearest in UP is in Eastwood. Since we were in Greenhills, we gave it a shot. Happy Lemon is but one of the prominent milk tea places that is taking Manila’s milk tea madness by storm. We went there around 3:30pm, and the place was packed, with some people buying 6-8, some for take-out.

I ordered the Green Tea Yakult since i love Yakult, and I was just trying things out. Well, I think I ordered the wrong drink. But it was good, I could taste the yakult in it, but how I wish I ordered the Lemon Yakult. Maybe it would’ve tasted better.

Ara ordered the Green Tea with Rocksalt and Cheese, which actually makes Happy Lemon very interesting. Rocksalt and Cheese with tea??? Well it was good! The cheese was lavishly poured last along with the bits of….crushed green tea on top??… I don’t know what that is. But it was really good. It’s those things in food that you would never imagine would go together, but they pulled it off!

I think I have to taste the other drinks on the menu next time.

Food blog: Binondo

For a month now, I’ve been telling Ara to go with me to Binondo just to try out some of the things from a blog I discovered when I suggested restos and food place to a friend touring Chinese-Malaysians in Binondo. And since it is still my birthday, Ara and I went to Binondo today.

First stop, the anonymous fried siopao place which I blogged a month, near the corner of Ongpin and Tomas Mapua, with a Fujifilm sign above the store. For 15php for the siopao and the sugar cane juice, your barya will go far here.

Next stop is a low key restaurant along Benavidez st. called Masuki. It specializes in beef and chicken noodle soups.

We ordered the Beef Wonton Mami & Original Mami which is chicken-based. For the surprise of my life, the beef wonton mami was the best beef based noodles I’ve tasted, hands down. For the first few sips of the soup, it tasted a bit gamey, medyo malansa, but I realized that it wasn’t. It was actually weird that in the next 5-10 sips of the broth, it tasted sweet and very flavorful. It was really good. The Original Mami, which was chicken based, had a really clean broth, it had a clean taste that light-eaters would really love. 145php for the Beef wonton and 100php for the Original Mami.

Last stop was Eng BeeTin bakery along Ongpin, infront of the San Lorenzo Ruiz church (i believe). I bought a mooncake that I have yet to taste.

We were supposed to go to other food spots there, but I think the information I had was a bit obsolete already. But we enjoyed it, nevertheless! I have to go back there to try the other restos that we discovered while walking around which were not part of our itinerary.