And what beginning it was on that fateful Monday! Five restaurants and around 8 hours of binge eating started our gastronomic adventure at the Iloilo Business Park. Megaworld Corporation's PhP35-billion township, built on the former Iloilo airport, is not only home to hotels, condominiums BPO offices and convention facilities, but it is also a food haven for the Ilonggos!
The 1.1 kilometer Festive Walk Parade is set to be come the longest dining and shopping strip in this part of the country. Adjacent to BPO offices and the soon to open Festive Walk Mall, it is a gastronomic showcase of local and homegrown food joints as well as big players in the food service industry.
Reminiscent of the Santana Row in California, it also has touches of art noveau and art deco that also pays homage to Iloilo City's very own Calle Real. The row of restaurants and retail shops is complemented with wide arcades and landscaped walkways making the stroll of the entire Festive Walk Parade one captivating and lively experience.
Our foodgasm started at Richmonde Hotel Iloilo with The Granary preparing a special 4-course menu for the start of this bloggers and media food tour. The seven-dish menu (consisting of appetizer, soup, entree and desserts) was made up local dishes, fusion cuisine and continental fare delighted us with what the hotel has to offer.
The Fried Sisig Wraps serving as appetizer literally started it all. Basically, it is a fried spring roll (lumpia) filled with a sisig filling and a spiced vinegar dip. A typical beer-match but I'd match this one with rice anytime.
Wrapped in parchment paper then baked is the Salmon En Papillote. Meaning "in parchment" in French, the paper holds-in the moisture that cooks the salmon and the vegetables. The dish was opened right on the table allowing us to smell its delicious aroma.
One of our desserts is the current craze in most Iloilo restaurants - Deep-fried ice cream. The thought of frying something frozen raises the curiosity bar making it almost impossible to resist.
After a quick tour of the rooms and facilities of the hotel, we lounged at the pool area and sampled some of their best-selling smoothies at the Pool Bar. It was a (literal) cool ending to our food trip at Richmonde Hotel Iloilo. (A separate and more detailed blogpost on this foodtrip at Richmonde Hotel Iloilo will be posted soon.)
Right across Richmonde Hotel Iloilo is Barista Ground Fit Cafe. Promoting healthy lifestyle to the Ilonggos, this hip gym-themed cafe reminds you to be active and dynamic - in every sip and every spoonful.
A mix of specialty salads, protein-combos and quick snacks plus drinks were served to us as we continued our food trip. Each plate and serving comes with an invisible reminder that "self-deprivation is at zero-tolerance" at BGFC and being healthy isn't a goal - it's a way of living!
Like this Pull-Ups which is pulled chicken teriyaki in soft pita bread wrap. Every bite would remind you to have some pull-ups in your life whether it's the exercise thing that you literally pull yourself up some bar which is good for your back, shoulders and arms OR pull yourself up if you've been down lately. Either way it's really good for you - and the wrap's delicious and healthy too!
Oatmeal is always part of a healthy lifestyle but it takes on a a naturally sweet note at Barista Grounds with its Banana Oatmeal Cake. I still could smell the delicious aroma coming from this delicious cake with the bananas giving its signature cake and the oatmeal giving us more fiber for digestion. I say.... let them eat cake! (A separate and more detailed blogpost on this foodtrip at Barista Grounds Fit Cafe will be posted soon.)
And speaking of cakes, our next foodies destination is (mostly) all about cakes! If I remember right, Dulgies started this cakes/desserts cafe craze in Iloilo City 10 years ago. It was the place to go to when you want a sugar rush or just having to satisfy your tummy.
Cakes, pasta, sandwiches and cookies, among others made their way to our sampling table and we had a hard time choosing which one to try first. I have been always partial to the D' Club Sandwich and Limoncello cake as both of these almost always form part of my order. But I think I might change my default orders after some discoveries ...
I love the explosion of flavors from this Spicy Italian Sub sandwich - savory and spicy cold cuts, sweet-tangy dressing, salty-umami cheese and crisp veggies on a toasted yet soft bread. How I wish I could eat this photo to have that delicious feeling once again!
Don't run away from this "dinosaur", it won't eat you! In fact, it'll be you who will devour this delicious chocolate cake that is all MILO all-over. The MILO Dinosaur Cake takes "eating" Milo to the next level than just spooning the chocolate drink powder and eating it. Inspired the Singaporean/Malaysian drink, this cake surely beats any energy gap you may have to start your day the champion way - did you sing it? (A separate and more detailed blogpost on this foodtrip at Dulgies will be posted soon.)
With the flavor of Spicy Italian Sub still lingering in my tasebuds, we had another taste of Italy! Pizzaro is among most popular pizza parlors that have sprouted across the city in the last decade. The makers of the famous hand-tossed pizza in town certainly have more "under their crust" than just pizza
But we really have to start with pizza! And what is more perfect to sample than the pizza that has almost everything on it. The Works is a tomato based specialty that has cooked and seasoned meat toppings, Bell Pepper, Onions, Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Lettuce, Pepperoni Strips, Bacon Crumble, Ham, Pineapple, Roast Pork, and Roast Beef with lots of mozzarella cheese! Now that's eccezionale - awesome!
But my real discovery was the Fried Chicken. Yes, that plain old and almost taken for granted fried chicken which is found almost everywhere. Even though we were already so full (this is our 4th for the day, if you missed counting), I was surprised how my taste buds were still able to appreciate how tasty the fried chicken was. Even without the gravy, it was already full of flavor that dipping it emboldens the flavor that you'd actually ask for more. (A separate and more detailed blogpost on this foodtrip at Pizzaro will be posted soon.)
Tired and almost full to our stomach's brims, we capped our food trip at Cable Car Iloilo. One of the first import restaurants at the Iloilo Business Park, this Manila-based restaurant is a popular after party food destination and late night foodstop since the 90s in the capital. It catered to the GenXers around 20 years ago with its hip restobar ambiance and now trying to entice the millennials with its dynamic nightlife spot theme.
It was almost repeat of what we had a few minutes before then but it had certainly a different flair. The Cable Car Pizza is one of the signature specialties and is perfect beer match or just a plain snack. It had a mixed barbecue and tomato? sauce mix giving it a delicious smoky taste that complements the toppings - bacon, ground beef, peppers, etc.
Seasoned with their own secret blend, fried in batter that gives it that extra crunch, and then drizzled in a tasty sauce, Cable Car's version of the classic Buffalo Wings is a must-try. The flavor almost seeps into the bones that you'll give it an extra lick after finishing the meaty portions. With fries on the side, what more can you ask for? (A separate and more detailed blogpost on this foodtrip at Cable Car Iloilo will be posted soon.)
It was around 8pm when we finally called it a night and it was already dark outside when we went out. But it was great way to enjoy the Festive Walk Parade and the Iloilo Business Park with all its festive colors ambiance - a reflection of how bright the future of this dining and shopping strip Megaworld has in store for the Ilonggos in the next few years.
And more gastronomic fun stories awaits on our second foodie love trip.... until we Eat again!