A hearty lunch at The Other Office

A hearty lunch at The Other Office

The Other Office at Villa Cordillera is known mostly as laid back waterhole for most of us, but it is also a place to actually enjoy food, not only liquor. The other office boasts cuisine adapted from the original Baguio Country Club menu, and boy were we in for a treat when we had a chance to taste not only their liquor, but also their delectable cuisine.

Out of the 10 dishes served for lunch at The Other Office *(which were all delicious by the way), we can’t help but rave about our own particular favorites, we have a total of three, although every dish is highly recommended, I guess, if you want to try their best, may we be of service!

On the top of our list is their Paella, punctuated with four seafood toppings; crab, prawns, mussels and squid, all cooked to perfection, it is apparently a tad more delicious if drizzled with olive oil apart from the usual lemon wedges, this gave the Paella an added fruity zest, and the serving size is good for a group, around four to five people, and compared to other Paella s we have tasted, this stays on top of our list.

paella

Paella at The Other Office

Next on the list is the classic Nilagang Baka with a twist…. bihon noodles, this has been one of the main dishes that we ordered previously some months ago, and it never gets old, the beef was cooked long for 3 hours, and when you boil beef that long, you’re bound to have that real beefy flavor, and of course, tender beef with bone marrow floating in beefy broth with bihon noodles is filling enough by itself, not need for rice! This dish is meant to be shared by 2-4 people, be sure to catch the marrow part if you’re not worried about a stroke. (ha-ha)

Third favorite dish is their Kilawing Tanuige, and yes it was a hit, wiped clean in matter of minutes. Their version had just the right amount of sour, but if you prefer your Kilawin a little bit spicier and salty, this is not the Kilawin your looking for, this has a subtler “hot” kick, an unusual ingredient added was green pepper which gave a fresh crisp taste to this classic.

kilawin

Kilawing Tanigue

And then, there are the costars of our top three! The Pinakbet leads the list, and who could have ever thought that Pakbet could be plated like this? It was also a favorite, fragrant and seasoned just right, we thought it could have more sauce (sarsa), but then again, it was indeed delicious.

pinakbet

Pinakbet topped with lechon kawali at The Other Office

The Fish and Chips are your perfect beer mates, the chips were really delicious as they are a bit thicker than the usual thinner potato chips you might be used too, fish used is cream dory, but both were crunchy perfection, not at all oily, and again seasoned just right, another favorite beer mate is their Nacho’s topped with melted cheese and tomato sauce, this is something you must order, because it is delicious and the serving is good for 3-5 people.

fish-and-chips

Fish and Chips

The ever present pancit canton is another favorite, the best thing about it is the serving, good for 2-3 people if you have a moderate appetite, otherwise this is a filling and satisfying dish for one with a guaranteed doggie bag for the folks at home, their pancit doesn’t taste like your typical pancit, it has a greener feel to it with the added veggies aside from the seafood toppings of squid pieces and shrimp, no red meat on this dish at all.

pancit

Pancit Canton

Fresh Corned Beef, we would say this dish is quite odd, mainly because it is not your typical canned good dish, but this surprisingly came out as another favorite, the beef was cooked in pink salt, and is best eaten with mustard and radish sauce, which comes with the dish, dipping it in the sauces actually makes a difference. I’m sure your wondering what fresh corned beef is? Well it’s for you to find out and maybe have your own gastronomic adventure with it.

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Fresh Corned Beef with Pink Salt

Pizza lovers will definitely find villa cordillera’s version on the fruity side, it isn’t as savory as you think, but it does border on the sweet savory side, the tomato sauce is the sweet number in this dish, and of course veggie toppings (no meat) adds to the tartness. The pizza is definitely a filler, crust is tasty and slightly crunchy, this pizza is moderately seasoned, we thought it is up to you to add salt and pepper to taste.

square-pizza

The breaded pork comes with rice, the serving on this is quite big, you might want to order another cup of rice for this, it is another filling dish, very meaty, again moderately seasoned, the outer crust is crunchy and the meat on this is thick and a little bit heavy, you might want to exert more effort in slicing it up, yes it is that MEATY, a good meal to order if you are really hungry and craving for something heavy.

The Other Office at Villa Cordillera is located at Outlook Drive, Baguio City, Philippines, 2600. (074) 442 6036. They’re open from 6AM – 12 AM.

Photos courtesy of Shem Padua

 

 

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Fine Dining at Le Monet

Le Monet Hotel at Camp John Hay is popular not only for its fabulous accommodation but also for its unique fine dining experience. In the blog entry, we give you a rundown of our favorite dishes from start to finish.

Le Monet has a wide selection of appetizers to begin your meal with. The choice is especially difficult if you’re a seafood lover. But if you’re sharing — and especially if you’re hungry! — there’s no reason to stop at just one. We couldn’t pick a favorite, so here are our top two:

The Le Monet shrimp cocktail is a serving of butterfly-cut shrimp with three different sauces on the side. For the full experience, take a piece and dip it in all three sauces. Living in Baguio, we tend to be very critical of seafood, particularly its freshness. With the shrimp cocktail as well as the other seafood dishes we enjoyed, we did not feel the need to worry about it.

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We also loved their selection of tarts. Le Monet offers a shitake, chanterelle and asparagus tart, a four cheese tart, and a cherry tomatoes, ricotta, and herbs tart. The most savory and filling of the three is the shitake, chanterelle, and asparagus tart, because of the mushrooms; for a milder appetizer we recommend going for the four cheese or the tomatoes and herbs. All of the tarts, however, have good flavor and texture and are safe options for vegetarians.

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The sandwiches at Le Monet are enormous. Our favorite is the super indulgent grilled cheese sandwich served with a side of tomato soup. Despite being a fairly straightforward grilled cheese — some vegetable on the side but nothing extra in the sandwich itself — it’s filling and flavorful. We would definitely put it in the category of “comfort food”. If you’re dieting, keep it in mind when you’re planning your cheat day.

Our favorite pasta is the spinach and ricotta ravioli. The raviolis are quite large and packed with spinach and cheese, served in tomato sauce with more cheese on top. Fans of Italian cuisine will enjoy this one in particular. For those who can’t get enough of every manner of serving shrimp, Le Monet also offers shrimp scampi linguine.

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As we mentioned above, the Le Monet menu includes a good variety of seafood. One specific dish that caught our attention is the almond-crusted salmon. Upon ordering, you can ask that it be served according to your preference of temperature or rawness. The almond flavor is not terribly prominent, but the flaked nuts do make for an interesting texture. They also contribute to the gorgeous presentation of the dish.

When it comes to salads, Le Monet bypasses the common, run-of-the-mill styles of preparation. The shrimp and watermelon salad offers an interesting combination of flavors. If you opted for a shrimp appetizer and would like to try for some variety, we recommend the Oriental chicken almond salad. It’s heavy enough to stand alone as a meal, but works well for sharing in small groups as well. In any case, be sure to get a forkful that includes a Mandarin orange slice, as the sweetness complements the chicken nicely.

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In true Filipino fashion, we know that a meal would not be complete without some form of succulent pork. The twice-cooked pork knuckles cover this nicely. Though it may sound like an odd combination, one of the sauces provided with this is chocolate sauce. Forgo the predictable gravy and vinegar and try the chocolate sauce at least once. We did, and we were pleasantly surprised.

Overall, we had no major complaints about the Le Monet menu. Each dish is carefully, thoughtfully prepared. There is also a lot to be said about the service and the atmosphere.

Seeing as Le Monet offers fine dining, their prices are not necessarily budget-friendly or student-friendly. That said, you certainly get what you pay for, and we highly recommend it for a romantic date night or for special celebrations with the family.