Jillian Is Your Friend

{ramblings & chronicles on food x music}

The Iloilo Diaries: What I Missed

Finally had the chance to take a quick break from the toxic, concrete, pollution-filled city & the demands of my job! Last month, I felt like I needed fresh air, some greens & my pillow, so I booked a ticket & could not wait to go home to my little peaceful city. I spent five days enjoying the familiar faces & places of home.

I always chanced upon messages from readers wishing they could get updates from what’s new in Iloilo’s food scene & I wish to sate their appetite for this, but being a Manila-based blogger on Iloilo restaurants would be quite challenging. It saddened me. I did, after all, use to be the first to try or at least publicise new establishments! Since I was home anyway, I decided to make up for it by creating this What I Missed series — a lengthy entry on new places I have not yet eaten in & currently tried. Here’s series 1!

  • BBQ Shack

One of my first welcome home gifts was a long overdue lunch & catch up with my friend Ben at this little restaurant in Jaro. I have been tortured by Instagram posts of my friends back home & I vowed to try it as soon as I stepped on Iloilo soil. BBQ Shack is touted to be “real American barbecue” thanks to its patented smoker and secret wood (oooh) to smoke the meat. They also claim to have a 12-hour cooking technique which renders all their meats tender, juicy, and succulent. Mmm I like it slow…cooked. Yes, please!

BBQ Shack specials

BBQ Shack specials: At top in black plates L-R is their mac & cheese, mashed potatoes & nacho cheese shack fries. Below from left clockwise are St. Louis ribs, USDA Beef Brisket & Texas style cheddar sausage

I was served the bestsellers & specials of the house (thank you bruv!) along with sides. I tried:

  • USDA Beef Brisket (Php109) – Beef strips rubbed & smoked to deliciousness. This was my particuar favourite meal along with its sauce. The carnivore inside was quite happy!
  • Texas-Style Cheddar Sausage (Php99) – The sausage was stuffed with meat, cheddar & smoked to produce a piquant, zesty flavour. Paired with spicy rice (fiery’s more like it), this meal ends up to be my chili-swallowing little brother’s favourite. Comes with spicy BBQ sauce as well.
  • St. Louis Ribs (Php129) – Thick cuts of meat also seasoned with BBQ rub & smoked. This one was a little dry & tough but just as flavourful.
  • Mac & Cheese (Php20 for small size) – Durum pasta in cheddar cheese sauce for your cheese & carb fixes.
  • Mashed Potatoes (Php20 for small size) – Highly recommended! A velvety smooth slathering of potatoes, butter, milk & cream that melts in your mouth. Homemade goodness that makes me want to eat only this with the meat!
  • Nacho Cheese Shack Fries (Php45 for small size) – Hand-cut, double cooked fries in cheese sauce which may satisfy the munchies.

BBQ Shack offers fulfilling meals that come at competitive prices. They also sell BBQ sauce & specialty meats. Check out their menu here. You can find BBQ Shack at 92 Plaza Rizal,  Jaro & is open daily at 11 AM-10 PM.

  • Stuckers Resto

For catching up with the girls, we decided to go to a quaint, girly place but on one condition: they serve meals big enough for men. Because we eat like savages even if we hate to admit it. Tucked away in Mandurriao is a pretty nook named Stuckers. Bird & pastel interiors dictate “giiirl tiiime!”

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The staff was very accommodating & friendly to first time customers like us. We found out most of their menu items were burgers, pasta, sandwiches & more. Us hungry birds were quite happy to order a variety of items:

  • Ultimate Burger (Php150) – A huge burger that came with candy-colored kropek & fries on the side and a gigantic mug of bottomless iced tea. When I say giganctic, I mean it. We could NOT finish the entire thing!
  • Carbonara (Php100+) – A cream based-sauce that wasn’t too soggy & was good for around 4 persons
  • Nachos (Php115) – Commendable nachos excellent for sharing as well as consuming
  • Cooler (Pph69) – A cucumber cooler in a pitcher which was very refreshing & and matched the cups & interiors

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Their portions are humungous! Great place for girls who appreciate the quaint things in life paired with caveman appetites. Find Stucker’s at Young Building, in front of Mandurriao Plaza & a gasoline station. Open daily from 9:30 AM – 9:30 PM.

  • Comma Café

As if I have not had enough of adorable-ness from the previous place I visited, I drop by another themed café. Alongside M.H. del Pilar is a little Korean place which not only serves the cutest drinks, waffles & food, but it is in itself a ray of sunshine! Doodled windows, a post-it infested corner & a powder blue mural wall greet me as I pay a visit with my brother. It made me miss the now gone Garden Café in Jaro.

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You know how some food are so poorly made they make you downcast for the rest of the day? Like mediocre pancakes that crumble because they’re too dry? Or shakes that are 80% ice? This is not the case here! Was very happy with the food & drink quality for their affordable prices. We got a chocolate-nutella waffle (Php60 with an additonal Php10 for ice cream) to share. We then got a drink each: Purple Sweet Potato latte (Php85) for me — taking cue from Korean cafés here I see — & a CokeSprite drink (Php60) which is a combination of the two soft drinks (with some syrup most likely) which was surprisingly refreshing. They even come in mason jars.

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Comma also sell Korean or art items if you’re into those sort of things. Although I wish they’d turn down the music — it makes the people sing along to painfully mainstream songs quite loudly & not in a good way. But the food & atmosphere, no problem with me. Comma Café can be found in front of John B. Lacson College, beside Hotel del Rio & is open from 11 AM to 10 PM.

  • Healthy Kitchen Iloilo

This one is not exactly a restaurant, but a made-to-order business by a former schoolmate, Myka Perlas. Obviously into healthy eating, she decides to cater to people who want to get into the wellness bandwagon but without forcing them to eat bland, boring food. I order for myself a pack of her Fresh Vietnamese Chicken Rolls (Php125/5 rolls) & a Grilled Chicken Vermicelli bowl (Php130). Both came with their respective sauces: peanut sauce for the rolls & (what I think to be) nuoc mam which is a vinegar-ish staple. To say that I downed them in a jiffy would be a reserved way of saying that gin hamal ko tanan sa chura ko. Finished in a matter of minutes, beybeh! I shared the vermicelli bowl — a really fresh, flavourful herb garden you can eat — & I regret doing so because upon trying, I wanted it all to myself.

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I should try their healthy pasta the next time I go home! For those lucky enough to be in Iloilo, check out their delivery schedules & pick up points here. Healthy Kitchen gets a thumbs up from me & most of all, my mom!

  • Madge’s Nai Cha

I’ve done some write ups on Madge coffee & I am an advocate of this little oasis in the middle of LaPaz market. Their coffee is just so darn good! A mix of a strong caffeinated kick but a smooth latté blend which I absolutely love.  Madge now has a more accessible branch at Benigno Aquino Avenue – Diversion Road, just beside Moonleaf & Baliwag. As the outdoor café for Butlak Salon & Spa, it serves the signature coffee (for a slightly raised price) & a variety of other beverages. They have a vanilla latté version (sosyal!) of the coffee we all love but I had my eyes on their Nai Cha (Php30) — their own version of Hong Kong milk tea. My only wish? A BIGGER CONTAINER PLEASE! I love it. Sipped on it while I chomped down my spring rolls.

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I love Thai milk tea or Nai Cha better than all these neo-age oversweetend stuff (weeeeell except for Gong Cha) so this is something to come home to.

Ah, home I have missed you. The good, cheap food most of all! Am back here now in the big city in the middle of a monsoon & how I wish I had a steaming bowl of original batchoy & my bed. Until the next time I go home, banwa ko. Give me more reasons to come back!

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One comment on “The Iloilo Diaries: What I Missed

  1. Maxinne Marie
    September 2, 2013

    I can’t believe I’ve never been to these places you mentioned. T_T And I didn’t know that Garden Cafe is gone. 😦 It’s really been a long time since I’ve roamed around Iloilo.

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This entry was posted on August 21, 2013 by in Food.
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