Cult Burgers and Bacon-Rimmed Drinks

Some new restaurant discoveries in Manila:

There’s nothing like the smell of sizzling beef patties mingling with the scent of detergent from the car wash right next to it. Like Harold and Kumar, who finally gorged at White Castle, my brother and cousins profess to have had epiphanies while eating here, their mouths “raped” by the sandwiches (spoken of with reverence) and hallucinations of burger angels sliding down their throats in some ketchup-fueled trip.

Maybe it’s the stand’s reputed links to an illicit drug trade or the excellent Aioli sauce. I’m not down on my knees praying to the beef gods, but it was definitely high-quality stuff. I wouldn’t mind taking lines of it for lunch.

Charlie’s Angus Beef Burger With Grease-less Fries

Mikey claims N.Y. Buffalo Wings (a really tiny diner on the strip of bars and restaurants at the former Home Depot) is the best place for wings in the city. My brother, meanwhile, claims it’s Bon Chon, which has more Asian barbecue-batter flavors like garlic soy sauce and spicy sesame. Not a fan of either, except Bon Chon has Hoegaardens for cheap ($3). Mikey also says he took home one of the diner waitresses, but didn’t quite like the taste of her.

Soy garlic
Bon Chon Fish Tacos

Newly-opened 2NDS (Seconds) Restaurant at High Street, Fort Bonifacio, has a pretty ambitious menu (think tenderloin foie gras) and is the only swish place I can recall where I actually enjoyed dining for more than three hours (conversation gets in the way of chewing). I went with my cousin Basti and his wife, Nikki, who if you recall had a renegade wedding in San Diego. Not that this information will help you in life.

The restaurant itself is like walking into a rich dude’s study where you can coincidentally feast on Filipino standards with a gourmet twist. The highlights were the Beef Rib Adobo, which made both Nikki and my brother swoon in porcine orgasms, the bourbon, served in a glass rimmed with crushed bacon, and Basti’s cathartic realization that if he hadn’t been a milkman/registered nurse (mutually exclusive), he would’ve wanted to be a lawyer.

Sweet-potato chips
The bacon-rimmed drink – P135 during happy hour (through 6:30 p.m.)
French onion soup – P255
Caramelized onion soup with port wine and crouton with melted Emmenthal cheese
Cornflake buffalo pops with blue-cheese dip – P 295
Triple Mushroom Risotto – P445
Enoki, shitake and button mushrooms drizzled with balsamic glaze and white truffle oil
Red Horse Fish and Chips – P395
Served with aioli and malt vinegar
Beef rib adobo – P495
Slow-braised beef with garlic

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