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Food tripping in BF Homes

There’s slow-cooked ‘kaldereta,’ parmesan-crusted baked fish, Beef Nihari, among others

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MY FRIENDS and I have this running joke about BF Homes in Parañaque. In the event of a zombie invasion, the residents of the biggest subdivision in Asia could just wall themselves in. So, while zombies are feeding off the rest of the panicking population, people living in this self-contained community can survive off the countless restaurants and bars that line its main avenue, Aguirre Street, for a good few months. And they’ll probably have a grand time doing it.

Thanks to spontaneous commercialization, the 5-kilometer stretch of Aguirre Street in BF offers variety rivaling the Timog-Morato quadrant in Quezon City, or any food stretch in Ortigas or Makati. With so many eating places, and many more opening up all the time, it’s a veritable melting pot.

Get a few friends together this weekend and try these places for starters. You’ll almost certainly come back the next weekend to make your own best food – that’s what BF should stand for now – discoveries.

Twenty One Plates

I’ve been to this restaurant a few times, bringing different groups of friends or family members each time and its killer kaldereta, slow-cooked in coconut milk and other secret ingredients, has consistently earned everyone’s thumbs-up.

The kimchi is also a filling, flavorful surprise. While other places serve it as appetizer, eight heavy pieces of beef bulgogi and rice sushi rolls wrapped in kimchi make a satisfying meal in itself. You won’t want to keep the Crispy Tadyang waiting. Pounce on it as soon as it comes off the frying pan all tender and tasty.

The meals sometimes take a bit of time to cook. No worries, they are well worth the wait. While you do that, ask for the innovative twist on a classic pulutan, Crispy Chicken Skin and Bleu Cheese.

Or you can strike up a conversation with very hands-on owners Tinette and Mico Miciano, who are always ready to hear what you think about the food.

The Spicy Noodles, Korean Beef Stew are deserving of honorable mention. New on the menu are Bagoong Rice with Crispy Crazy Pork and Kani Stuffed Prawns with Light Prawn Head Bisque.

Expect sweet surprises soon as the place introduces desserts by pastry chef Marion Bernardo, who was inspired by respected blogger Lori Baltazar of dessert comesfirst.com.

Hours: Open 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 6 p.m.-10 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday
Expect to spend: P400-P500/person
For inquiries and reservations, call: 8257348, 2150005

Pito & Mita

The warmth and accessibility of BF Homes are most evident in this restaurant built for family weekend get-togethers. Named after the owners’ parents, Pito & Mita serves heirloom recipes enjoyed by the De La Fuente family for five generations now – but given a modern spin by chef and owner Pia de la Fuente-Kasilag.

While Pito & Mita has endeared itself mainly to BF Homes residents grateful for quality home-cooked meals they don’t have to make themselves, more and more people from other parts of the city are beginning to pay attention to its hospitable service and home-style cooking.

Start your meal with Melba Toast with Spinach Artichoke and Garlic Dip, then plow right into the creamy and crunchy bestseller, crunchy Parmesan-Crusted Baked Fish, with your choice of potato gratin or mashed potatoes and vegetables on the side.

Other crowd pleasers are Eggplant Lasagna, Portuguese Tapa, Fetuccini Prawn Pasta and Salpicao.

The sweet lemon-flavored Moringa juice has also become a favorite. The only complaint – it was bottomless when the resto opened in August 2010!

Hours: Open 12 noon-2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.-10 p.m Tuesday-Sunday. Also open for functions.
Expect to spend: P300-P400/person
For inquiries and reservations, call: 8263634

Raaz Mahal

A recent addition to the united flavors of BF Homes, Raaz Mahal is a cozy Indian restaurant that serves authentic Punjabi cuisine. If its design is any indication of the food, Raaz Mahal’s multicolor interiors give a great foretaste of the variety of flavors available. The place is a true feast for the senses. To wit:

Slow-cooked for 24 hours, Beef Nihari is a tender treat with spicy sauce exploding in each mouthful. This is best eaten with Special Fried Rice, which comes with its own piece of crunchy fried chicken. Also, if you plan to dine here with kids who don’t share your penchant for fiery flavors, this special fried rice should suffice.

Raaz Mahal’s Chicken, Beef Prawn or Squid Curries, all cooked with a mix of traditional Punjabi spices and secret herbs, pastes and sauces, will possibly make for the spiciest curries you’ve ever tried. But do feel free to tell your server just how spicy you want it and you’ll find they’ll be very accommodating.

If you’re hankering to wash down the tangy tastes with dessert, Strawberry Lassi, a traditional Punjabi yogurt-based drink, and Caramel Cake are highly recommended treats.

Hours: Open 6 p.m.-12 midnight weekdays; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 6 p.m.-12 midnight weekends.
Expect to spend: Up to P200 for solo dishes and up to P400 for dishes for sharing
For inquiries and reservations, call: 8465783

Serenitea

Healthy and highly habit-forming, Serenitea is a refreshing boon for many of those tired of the coffee trend. Imagine choosing from many different variations of tea, served hot or cold and as sweet as you like, with your pick of sinkers to add texture to your drink.

All-time favorites are Hokkaido Iced Tea, made of with assam black tea; butter toffee caramel; Okinawa with assam black tea and brown sugar flavor; Wintermelon Milk Tea’s assam black tea with caramelized sugar flavor. There’s also Lohas Green Tea served with green and red apple and calamansi, or Honey Aloe, freshly squeezed lemon juice with aloe vera bits for the more health-conscious.

The food’s not too shabby, either. Pepper Tofu, Hash Browns and Chicken Chops all have a delightfully distinct zing and make for the perfect accompaniment to the drinks.

Apart from the branch in BF Homes, Serenitea can also be found in Alabang Town Center; North Greenhills and Little Baguio in San Juan; Burgos Circle in Fort Bonifacio; Robinson’s Manila; Eastwood and Banaue in Quezon City; and, soon to open to delight yuppies in Makati, a branch on Gamboa Street, Legaspi Village.

Hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday
Expect to spend: P200 or less for tea and snacks
For inquiries or delivery in and around BF Homes area, call: 7943288


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