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Adobo Connection


First thing to expect? Lines.

Today we check out a new restaurant that’s been making a big buzz recently, and has gathered quite a following on Facebook. The Adobo Connection recently had its soft opening in One Archer’s Place, and we’re here to see if it really lives up to the hype.

Dishes Ordered

  • Classic Pork Adobo – P99
  • Macaroni Soup – P19
  • Adobo Flakes – P49
  • Adobo Fried Siopao – P49

The Restaurant

Two mounds of tasty

Like all eating establishments in One Archer’s, Adobo Connection boasts a spotless and well-designed interior. With seating for a maximum of about 80, they are able to fully maximize their real estate. The furniture consists of mostly wooden chairs and tables, and brick and marble walls, giving the whole restaurant a cozy, suburban feel. It adds a little urban to its design with nice lighting fixtures and a TV running music videos for ambience. All in all, it’s a very nice place to sit and eat for awhile, even with the serpentine lines and massive crowds.

The Food

Two mounds of mainstream

After being impressed by the stunning restaurant design, the next thing I encountered was the food. Being of limited funds, I had to resort to only one full meal, the classic pork adobo, and three small sides.

Classic Pork Adobo is the cornerstone and flagship dish of Adobo Connection, which features two pieces of pork adobo with a cup of white rice. My verdict? Meh. It was a mainstream dish, one that I could find at any other side canteen in the country. Heck, my mom makes a better adobo. It’s not that it was bad, but that it was overly praised by all recounts I had heard.

Bargain dining at its finest

Next in the lineup was the macaroni soup, which consists of a bowl of chicken broth mixed in with macaroni noodles and chopped vegetables. At P19, I wasn’t expecting much. But for an add-on, it’s not bad. Value-wise, it ranks off the charts, and taste-wise, it was exactly what you would expect from a macaroni soup. It tasted a bit like it came from a can, but at least it came from a brand that I probably like, so I was pleasantly surprised.

Golden-Brown Not-so-delicious

Third came the adobo fried siopao. In a phrase, “I wouldn’t recommend it”. The serving size isn’t the problem; each of the three golden orbs of fried dough and adobo are just the right size, which is about three-quarters of the palm of my hand. My issue was with the taste. When I get adobo, I expect something that screams soy and vinegar, which is a nice meaty flavor. Instead, the shell of the siopao is sweet, and the insides taste more like asado, with a sauce reminiscent of the sweet barbecue types. If you’re looking for a fried treat, this fits the bill appearance-wise, but don’t expect to have those expectations met once you bite into it.

Best thing on the menu

The last dish (which arrived after about eight minutes, well above average) that arrived were the adobo flakes. Now if you do ever go to the Adobo Connection for lunch, this is what you should be ordering. Adobo flakes is two cups of adobo fried rice topped with scrambled egg bits and crispy adobo tidbits. It was hands down the best item on my order list, mixing the strong savory taste of the flakes with the subtle sweet-and-sour of the rice. At P49, this is a steal, and should be on your receipts.

The interior is terrific. The food…

If there is something that really stood out in Adobo Connection, it’s the speed of service and price of the food. None of my meals went over P100, but I didn’t feel like there was something missing afterwards. And given how quickly the food gets to you (two to three minutes a dish), you’d still have time to find another place to eat before your break ends!

Adobo Connection has the game down in terms of speed and price. If they can find a way to perfect the taste of everything, then they’d be set for a long run of success.

The Verdict

Restaurant: Even with the crowds, Adobo Connection’s restaurant design allows you to have a comfortable and fun eating experience.  Rating for the restaurant: 9/10.

Food: The food at Adobo Connection is good, but it also tastes like something I could make just as easily at home. However, it is served lightning-quick at an affordable price, which at least gives the pedestrian food a speed boost.  Rating for the food: 7/10.

Staff: Maybe this is a bit unfair, since this is a soft opening, but the staff at Adobo Connection really made it feel like a soft opening. They seemed rushed, confused, and didn’t really give you that “service-with-a-smile”. “Service-with-a-smile” is really important to me. Rating for the staff: 6/10.

Overall: 7/10.

For a restaurant with such a huge fanbase, I think I may have failed to see what all the hype was. I had plenty of ups about this trip, but also plenty of downs to accompany them. Although the restaurant was a very new and welcome experience, the food didn’t match up as much as I would’ve hoped. It was inexpensive and fast, but nothing out of the ordinary, which didn’t do justice to the great interior. Add in a sub-par waitstaff and you get an average score. It’ll be interesting to see how they do when they have their full opening, though, and I’ll make sure I go and see if they can remedy these faults.

 

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Meets expectations. That is all.

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Raps: Steaks, Cakes, and Gravy Shakes


Why is it always the animal promoting himself?

If you want Sex, it's right outside. If you know what I mean.

Thanks to several recommendations through our suggestion page and a direct request Tweet from @witchcody, a loyal follower of the blog, I found my way to Rap’s Steaks and Cakes, a popular steakhouse in Taft that can be found along the street that connects Leon Guinto and Taft Ave. I don’t know the exact name of the street, but it’s across from the Velasco Gate. If that’s not enough, check out the map 🙂 I’ll be using this feature more from now on.

Anyways, onward, to Rap’s!

Dishes Ordered

  • T-Bone Regular – P149
  • Korean Beef – P138
  • Garlic Chicken – P125
  • Oreo Cheesecake – P58

The Restaurant

I got too nervous to snap a shot inside. But look, a grill.

Before even entering the restaurant, the smell of steaks is inescapable, as their grill is strategically placed at the outside of the restaurant. Next to the grill are a few tables and chairs, most likely for those who either like being covered with grill smoke, or have no available seats inside. We soon found out that we would almost be the latter.

Pork Propoganda. In a steakhouse?

Rap’s has about 20 tables that can seat up to 60 at a time, but even then, Rap’s was at risk of full capacity, almost leaving us with the last resort of *gasp* sitting outside. Fortunately, we were able to squeeze in and find seats for the group, which, unfortunately, resulted in us sharing a table with other diners. No bueno, at least from a critic’s standpoint. Small moves like asking us to share tables makes a restaurant look more like a mess hall.

This is my high-quality capture now.

Aside from that slight service mishap, the restaurant is a very busy atmosphere. It is crowded and not the cleanest environment, and the menus are in a small state of disrepair. However, the smell of steaks wafts inside the area without the smoke, so it’s a pleasant olfactory experience.

All in all, the restaurant could use plenty of sprucing up and better space management. However, if they have been able to keep the real estate so crowded and the restaurant so dull, the food must be worth it. Let’s find out.

The Food

Works just as well on ice cream.

For such a big group, I’m ashamed to say that many of us went for their famous steak. Next time, we’ll branch out a little bit more 🙂 Still, I think that everybody who ordered the steak made a good choice. The steak is about 1.5cm thick, and comes with a thick bone through it (the porterhouse was out of stock, so we all had T-bones). While the staff does ask how you would like it done (well, medium, rare, etc), it all turns out the same, which is about medium well. In a thick-cut steakhouse, this would be crucial, but given the thickness of the steaks, it’s difficult to tell the difference. The steak is well-flavored from the grill, and juicy down to the bone. There are not many steak joints in the Taft area, but I think that Rap’s is definitely high on that list.

They should rename it to Corned Beef Tapa. Delicious.

To help wash down that steak, Rap’s provides us with two condiments: Worcestershire Sauce, and one of the most notorious gravies in the whole of Taft. Each table is provided with an entire pitcher of gravy, which was empty by the time we had completed the meal. It is not a very flavorful gravy; in fact, it tastes like too much butter and flour were used over the meat flavoring, and tastes slightly like an undercooked white sauce. Still, with such a quantitative amount of condiment available at our whim free of charge, our group maximized the gravy to the point where others might have thought we were drinking it (hence the “gravy shakes” in the title).

Not garlicky, but a bargain at Rap's.

Aside from the steaks, we ordered two popular rice bowls in Rap’s: the garlic chicken  and the korean beef. The garlic chicken serves creamy rice and small tender cuts of chicken that lack a garlic taste, but are still flavorful and satisfying. The korean beef, on the other hand, is a general winner for me, as it tastes like corned beef, tapa, and teriyaki all in one dish. Tender strips of fall-apart beef with sesame seeds are served on a sea of white rice. You hungry yet :)?

Macro Steak. That is all.

Once we had gotten through the main courses, we proceeded to Rap’s popular desserts, and ordered their franchise favorite: the Oreo Cheesecake. This is the most popular cake that Rap’s serves, and I was excited to see if it could live up to its expectations.

Looks can be deceiving.

The first thing I’ll say is that you shouldn’t serve a dish with utensils that are bigger than it. The cake is a pitiful portion, especially for P57 a slice, and was not a good start from a critic’s perspective. I guess it was for the best that the cake was small, though, because it tasted pretty awful. It was like I was eating a block of cheese, with an imperceptible amount of cookie crumbs that didn’t even taste like Oreos. Very disappointing.

Since 2006. That's how old the cakes taste.

When you go to Rap’s, expect to wait. On average, the meals that we ordered took between 15-20 minutes to arrive, with a final time of 25 minutes for our last order. Fortunately, your wait will be rewarded, as the food, overall, is delicious. I suggest you hold off dessert, though, and stick with the steaks, not the cakes.

The Verdict

The Dynamic Duo.

Restaurant: If I could recomment something to Rap’s, it would be to use some of their profits and give the interior (and exterior) a visual overhaul. The place is too crowded, and the furniture is outdated. Plus, the posters on the wall give me more of a butcher shop vibe than a steakhouse. Rating for the restaurant: 6.5/10.

 

It's thin, but covers a lot of area.

Food: There are three ingredients to make a good Rap’s meal. Steak, rice, gravy. That’s a trifecta of tastes I could go for everyday I’m hungry in DLSU. Aside from these, Rap’s also possesses a well-versed set of rice bowls and set meals, so I don’t think it’s hard to go wrong choosing a main course. However, I was really disappointed with their cheesecake, so I’m not too keen on the desserts. Rating for the food: 7.5/10.

Staff: The staff don’t like to talk or interact much, which is understandable, seeing how busy the establishment is. Still, I would like at least a modicum of conversationality once in a while, and not a feeling like I’m being rushed into my order. While the cashier may seem pleasant enough, the staff seemed very standoffish and not accommodating in general. Rating for the staff: 6/10.

Overall: 7/10.

Size does matter.

Again, I’d like to apologize for my limited menu during my visit to Rap’s as a self-proclaimed critic. Speaking from experience, though, I can say that they have an extensive menu of delicious entrées that aren’t easy on the wallet, but are worth it beyond a doubt. I should definitely drop by again and fulfill the suggestions of my readers 🙂

If you’re thinking of going to Rap’s, it’s probably for one of these two reasons: 1) You’re in the mood for a fatty, meaty steak, or 2) You want to overdose on rice and gravy. They may not win you over for their location or service, but Rap’s is a staple in Taft for a reason, and that’s the food.

Next time you have the meat/gravy cravings and a little cash to spare, Rap’s is your choice, make sure you’re there! I’ll make more of these poems from now on 🙂

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Artistic Steak. Arti-steak. Hahaha I used this joke before.

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Dats Mix: Rice 3X


Before we get started, we here at Extra Rice would like to let you know that this blog post will introduce the a few new features that we’ll be experimenting with to make the blog more user friendly.

First, we will be trying to cut my word count by about ¼. We know this may come as a disappointment to some of you, who can’t get enough of our poetic  foodery, but this is just to make the site more regularly updated, and quicker to read on a regular basis.

Next is the introduction of the slideshow. This is an easy way for us to add all the pictures we couldn’t show you. You can find it at the end of the post.

Lastly, we will no longer be including the staff portion of the review, and just summarizing it in the scores. As we have come to find, most staff experiences in Taft are the same, and any special observations will just be included in the verdict.

Leave a rating, a comment, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook! Enjoy!!

Are you allowed to show food porn in public?

Dats Mix

When you see it...

Keeping with the Burgundy area trend that has been the model in recent weeks, today I pay a visit to Dats Mix Food Shop, a popular establishment in Taft for hungry scholars. Known mostly for its rice toppings and rice meals, it’s time to see if Dats Mix is truly worth and Extra Rice 😉

Dishes Ordered

  • Sisig Rice w/ Egg – P99
  • Bagoong Rice – P99
  • Tuna Rice – P95
  • Chicken Adobo – P95
  • Chicken Teriyaki – P95

The Restaurant

This is a Wednesday. Busy 3X

The restaurant has a plain white interior, with about 14 tables for 40 eaters. What makes Dats Mix unique  is their staircase that leads to a food attic on their second floor, which provides trays, fans, and a radio for a group of about 8-10 good friends. As that was exactly the size of my group, I couldn’t pass this up. We went straight for the top and, I have to say, it’s a very refreshing experience to eating in Taft.

*shiver*

Dats Mix has no Wi-Fi, but has a pleasant atmosphere, both in sounds and relaxation factor. It is not the cleanest restaurant that I have been in, as I encountered a dead roach by the corner of the stairs, but the white motif makes it look like a satisfactory sanitary environment.

Dats Mix will not receive the highest scores for their location, but if you want a calm place to eat with a group of friends, get the Dats Mix attic. I highly recommend it.

The Food

Where's the sizzle to this steak?

Dats Mix serves a multitude of rice toppings and rice meals in the P100 range. Meals come at a pace of about 10-15 minutes, and reside in a paper takeaway bag in lieu of plates for the restaurant. This round, we took part in five different rice dishes, each special in their own way, with their own ups and downs.

 

Who says canned meat can't be delicious?

The Sisig Rice mixes tender cubes of pork with green onions and an egg yolk on top. While I did enjoy the flavor, I had a few issues with the plating. Unfortunately for the dish, it tastes a little too greasy for its packaging, which seems to soften a bit with the oil of the sisig. That also made the egg yolk a little too wet. Flavorwise, it’s a good meal, but not the best I’ve had.

A palette of colors, a palate of flavors. I should trademark that.

Next on my buffet line, the Tuna Rice, is a general winner, and a definite must try at Dats Mix. A healthy helping of tuna is mixed in with creamy rice and topped with strips of scrambled eggs. How does any of that not sound fantastic?

Third on the list is the Bagoong Rice, with is a pleasant mélange of flavors on the palate. Savory bagoong rice is topped with several strips of pork that is sweet, but slightly too fatty, and garnished with a blanket of eggs and thin slices of green mango that help cut through the richness of the pork.

Rice > Meat.

Our penultimate dish for the day is the Chicken Adobo, which is a traditional pork adobo over a bed of adobo rice. It’s also topped with a drizzle of garlic chips that are crispy, golden, and delicious. Overall, I think the rice is more important here than the meat itself. If you have the choice, just get an extra adobo rice with something a little more interesting.

Last in our lineup is the Chicken Teriyaki, which tops a serving of white rice with sweet Japanese-inspired chicken, and sprinkles sesame seeds for good measure. Again, this is a good dish, but I recommend that you try something else for a more interesting first experience.

All in all, none of the dishes failed to satisfy, and all were impressive in their own way. However, If I had to pick two clear winners, it would be the Bagoong Rice and the Tuna Rice, both of which are unique flavors that I have only found in Dats Mix so far. You can’t go wrong with any meal in Dats Mix, but make sure you know which meals are the money meals.

The Verdict

 

It's like taking a vacation in Taft.

Restaurant: I was a little turned off by the little pest I encountered inside, but I was generally happy with the real estate of Dats Mix. They have a nice, spacious environment and do well to keep the ambience well-maintained. Plus points for the attic; honestly, if they could make the whole restaurant a second floor, they should. Rating for the restaurant: 7/10.

Food: To make a sweeping generalization, I’d like to say that you can’t go wrong with any of the dishes you order in Dats mix. There are a few that stand out, but everything is generally above average. If you are looking to satisfy a rice craving, then Dats Mix is the place for you. Rating for the food: 8/10.

Staff: Only one server is visible in the restaurant, but orders come on time and well-packaged. It may not be delivery-to-table service, but it’ll do. Rating for the staff: 7/10.

Overall: 7.5/10.

If you are craving rice, Dats Mix is a must try. That is all I have to say about the matter. Whether beef, chicken, or pork, you’ll want to eat more with a spoon and fork 🙂 aren’t I so clever?

Although they don’t have an official website, you can check out more pictures at Foodspotting, a food review social network.

If you’re enjoyed what you read here, help us out and spread it!  You can also find out more about us on our Facebook and Twitter. Remember, every follow and share helps us bring you a better blog! Stay Hungry!

Honestly, my favorite pic for the day. Look at those Sesame Seeds!

And, as we promised, here’s the slideshow! Enjoy!!

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