Of running, trade-offs, and indulgences (Johnny Steams’ Steamed Burger, Balamban Liempo and Manila Q’s Bagwang and Vigan Longganisa, Mercato Centrale)
August 27, 2011 16 Comments
Me saying I’m health conscious would be an understatement. I don’t count calories, but I definitely watch what I eat, yes, even at buffets. I go to the gym, I play badminton, I practice yoga and I run as often as my crazy schedule allows me too. I flip out when I see people react to one, the pre-weight loss photo I keep in my wallet, and two, to the fact that I haven’t eaten rice in nine years.
Another side of me allows myself to indulge once in a while though. Keywords: once in a while.
Last week, after a ten kilometer run care of Run United 2, Eia, Ivan, Alen, her parents and I had breakfast at Mercato Centrale. I know. I was there the day before. Haha! At the table, I distinctly remember this exchange with Alen’s dad after he saw the amount of food we ordered for our post-run breakfast:
Tito: (Jokingly) Tumakbo nga kayo, andami niyo naman kinain.Me: Haha! Kaya nga po kami tumatakbo para puwede kami kumain ng marami.
Roughly translated, Tito was kidding about the how eating a lot after kind of defeats the purpose of doing body-friendly activities like running. My response? That’s exactly the point! We do something good so that we don’t feel bad about doing something sinful later. (At least in terms of health and food ah.) Right? Right?
For that day, I finally got to try out the very intriguing Johnny Steams’ steamed burger. I know right? Burger? Steamed? A must try just for the novelty of it, I told myself. The ate attending the stall recommended their Opa! Burger (their bestseller according to her), and I obliged. The tarp menu described it as “100% pure premium beef topped with our secret Greek garlic yoghurt dressing, fresh greens and melted cheese”.
At the table, and after the mandatory autopsy shot, I took a bite. It was texturally… interesting – like a juicy burger that didn’t have a crust. This is how I know this wasn’t my kind of burger because I’m not used to eating crust-less burgers (in fact that’s what I look for when I eat new ones), and I’m not a fan of wet patties (reason why I don’t eat McDo burgers). Fortunately, the medium grind, the flavor of the beef and the dressing made up for it. In summary, it wasn’t bad, but I think it isn’t for everyone, especially for purists like me.
On the other end of the table, Eia and Ivan shared four dishes (I knooooooooow. Gutom much?) – a bready deep dish pizza, paella negra, cheesy baby potatoes and lengua pastel – from one stall I unfortunately wasn’t able to take note of. Eia noted that the paella negra was better that the one they had at Sofitel and we all took turns gobbling the cheesy baby potatoes. I even dipped the fries that came with my burger in the yummy, albeit cold, sauce.
Alen’s parents shared their Ilocano delicacies to the group: spicy Vigan logganisa and Bagwang, Manila Q’s interpretation of bagnet. Oh my heavens. Heart attack-inducing goodness! The Vigan longganisa, my sausage of choice of all sausages in the world, had the anticipated garlicky flavor with an added unexpected heat. The bagwang, on the other hand, was a very well executed bagnet. Poorly cooked ones tend to be tough, but that one was not. One bite of salty, tasty and tender pork after another. Haha!
As if that wasn’t enough, Alen shared her Balamban Liempo as well. It had a very cocky tagline of “tastier than lechon” but I have to say, it was indeed better than most lechons I’ve tasted. Not better than the killer ones in C. Padilla at Cebu, but a real contender. Meaty, juicy and tasted of tanglad and a myriad of spices, I kept on asking Alen if I can have more from her plate. Gaaaah. I want a plate. Now.
Whew. I just realized this is already my fifth consecutive post on food. Eek! I guess the “once in a while” qualifier got a bit stretched. Time to get back to regular programming. Kailangan ko na sumexy for Korea!
Up next, a new post on the WS&J project. I’m excited to write about it. Clue: new toy!