Cookout by Size Matters

(Woohoo-  This is Jhapes’ first entry for Eats in Baguio! Many more to come! – Krish)

I heard of this place about a week ago through social media while my friend and I were looking for someplace new to check out. After attending my schoolmates’ graduation rights, we decided to have dinner there. We hailed a cab and told our manong driver to head to Albergo Hotel. Cookout is hard to miss since it’s along the facade of the building.

We were greeted by the staff who were all smiles as we entered the place. I’m not quite sure what to call the theme of the place but it felt appropriate for the kind of food their name suggested.

Cookout's light-up signage along with framed photos of some of their meals.

Cookout’s light-up signage on exposed brick along with framed photos of some of their meals.

Cookout's wooden logo singage under warm lighting.

Cookout’s wooden logo singage under warm lighting.

I sometimes have this thing of asking the people who eat with me to order different things so I can have a sampling of a restaurant’s meals. Luckily my friend happily obliged to do so. We placed our orders and several minutes later, they served us our food. You know how food advertisements look nothing like the real thing? Well, Cookout isn’t part of that “truth.” :D

For appetizers we got a for sharing-sized chili cheese fries. The fries were crispy, the mayo was creamy and light, the cheese was gooey good, and the salsa (maybe it’s not salsa? I’m not quite sure) had enough savory flavor to it. Oh and the pickled jalapeno slices tied everything together.

The pickled jalapeno peppers perfectly complement Cookouts' Chili Cheese Fries.

The pickled jalapeno peppers perfectly complement Cookouts’ Chili Cheese Fries.

By the time our main orders arrived, this is how our tables looked like:

We already ate half of the fries1

We already ate half of the fries!

I ordered a 1/4 lbs “The Italian Burger Job” and my friend got a 1/4 lbs “The Bacon Cheese Burger”. Both were served on aluminum plates with a piece of “burger paper” (haha) to hold their food with.

Smoky flavors with every bite.

Smoky flavors with every bite.

Crunchy deep friend onions ftw!

Crunchy deep friend onions ftw!

My burger had great smoky and grilled flavor but it remained quite juicy nevertheless. The lettuce and tomatoes were fresh and the caramelized onions on top of the grilled beef patty weren’t too sweet for my taste.

Look at that juicy goodness!

Look at that juicy goodness!

I kinda expected that the beef patty in the Bacon Cheese Burger would also have a recognizable grilled flavor similar to my burger but it was more subtle. It was still good, though! The bacon and deep fried onions were crunchy and the veggies were also fresh.

The buns for both burgers were made of white bread topped with toasted oats. I wish the buns were toasted a bit but it wasn’t a deal breaker.

For our pampatulak, we ordered a glass of iced tea and wintermelon milk tea. It was delicious and not too sweet but there was nothing really special about it. Their tea tasted like it was brewed and not powdered so that’s a plus. Their milk tea pearls were soft and chewy like it was meant to be so that made me happy as well. They had beers on their menu but I’ll try that along with their other meals next time.

Overall, I was very delighted with my first experience at Cookout. Their staff, although always busy, were very attentive and seemed happy to serve their customers. This added to the chill vibe of the whole place. They had clean facilities (yes including the restrooms) and you can also get a peek at how your food is prepared.

Cookout's busy staff plus a view of their kitchen.

Cookout’s busy staff plus a view of their kitchen.

Our total bill was almost Php 600 but it was definitely worth it. As an added bonus, they had a mini stall of Glyco Sweetshop cupcakes near the entrance — perfect when you need a quick dessert fix. I’m sure this is not the last time I’ll be going there. :D

Cookout caters for events as well! Check them out on their facebook page here. They posted their menus and contact details there, too.

Honest Stitches of Patch Cafe

Before heading home, by coincidence, cousins and I ended up at the newly renovated and renamed cafe at Bloomfield Hotel, the Patch Cafe. Forgot what it used to be called but I do remember what it used to look like. In all fairness, the renovations plus new concept and chic decors changed the atmosphere. Along with the change in space is the change in the menu items and service. All better. Much, much better from what I remember dining there some two years ago.

Their sweet Cappuccino

Was handed the menu of 3 print-out pages on a clipboard. Cute. Selection range includes all-day brunch, sandwiches, pasta dishes and hot and cold beverages. A true cafe. Nice. Although, not on the menu are their displayed selections of cakes, cupcakes and pastries, which i didn’t notice ’til later. Note to self: need to check those out another time…

While sipping my cappuccino, I checked out more of the menu and thought, “I’m hungry”. Among the sandwich choices, the “Bleu Burger” stood out. According to the menu, it’s their “signature beef burger…” and what made it “bleu” (french for the “blue”) was the blue cheese infused into it. Interesting, yeah?

Served in a grilled store-bought burger bun (no judgement, just an observation) with fresh vegetables and a simply dressed potato salad on the side, I’d say it’s one of the good and tasty burgers I’ve had. Juicy, seasoned just right, filling and you can say it’s freshly made – no “frozen patty” vibe. I’m sure the blue cheese was in there somewhere, but since it’s mixed in with other ingredients, the blue cheese-ness was toned down, which I think is fine. Blue cheese can be overpowering, sometimes. What i appreciated on that plate, in general, is the simplicity and honesty. It’s a burger and the burger stands out, as it should.

No added grease or condiments, no fluff, no messy sauce...I like!.

No added grease or condiments, no fluff, no messy sauce…I like!.

Went back two days after to meet with friends. It’s a nice and convenient hangout spot and was kind of impressed with the burger, so, I wanted to try more of their picks. This time, had brunch…at 1 in the afternoon. It’s unhealthy, I know.

Eggs Benedict, in the strict sense, is poached egg served with bacon on an english muffin and hollandaise sauce (savory, thick, creamy, butter-based sauce). Haven’t had eggs benedict in a while, so i tried the “Patch Benedict” – their version of it. This time, it came as a poached egg served with bacon and lettuce on a perfectly toasted slice of good bread and delightfully cheesy sauce. Although I found the egg a bit overcooked, I still enjoyed the balance of velvety yolk with crisp bacon, cheese sauce-soaked bread and the lettuce gives a refreshing effect to every fork-full (which I devoured with gusto).

Because benedicts are not common breakfast menu items, this was a treat!

Also, Benedicts are not as common breakfast menu items around town, so, in a way, this was a treat!

I asked my companion to order the “Chili Tuyo Pasta”. It’s the item on the pasta menu that wasn’t common. I thought of ordering for myself but I was already full from my own plate, so, I asked him to get it so I can have a taste off of his. Thank God for enablers! Haha!

Has local zing and zang, this one.

Has local zing and zang, this one. Love it! Although, would have liked it more with garlic bread (hint, hint)

Visually, it’s linguine pasta in olive oil with flaked tuyo, chili flakes, topped with Parmasean cheese and slivered green onions. On the tongue, it’s a delightful bit more. Simple as it is, pasta dressed with oil tend to turn out with a greasy feel. I was happy that this was not. It’s neutral pasta, salty tuyo and parmasean, spice coming from the chili flakes and a dash of chili may have been infused into the olive oil. Could feel the tingle on the lips. But wait, there’s more and it’s a kicker. It’s subtle, but the tangy-ness of lime pops up wonderfully. I loved the blend of honest flavors in this!

A nice and hip hangout for small groups, pairs or for individuals to just sit and chill. It’s right smack in the middle of town so, it’s convenient. I like that each dish I’ve had, so far, had no pretensions and didn’t try too hard. It was refreshing. The build-up of expectations was subtle, it was impressive. Nicely played!

Like stitches, I hope they keep it consistent, to keep the patch in place.

(Krish note: Notice the awesome writing on this one? I could only do a fraction of what’s done here – and that’s me being optimistic :) Thanks to my favorite eating buddy (Chef) Aguinaya for this post. We indeed are happy to have Aguinaya write more delicious posts on Eats in Baguio.)