And miles to go before I eat. That’s how it feels to travel from home in Quezon City to dine in Makati. But my friend assured me that I won’t be sorry even if it took three rides—house to TriNoma, MRT to Makati, cab to Poblacion.

Elm’s Grill and Bar, which has branches in Novaliches, Kapitolyo and Commonwealth, has opened on 5072 P. Burgos, Makati. At night it looks more like a bar.

The food is from Pampanga, prepared by Elm’s Kabalen chef and one of the business partners, Tanya Cruz. Think Crispy Hito, Sisig, Fried Itik—very Pampango. And very easy to imagine as bar chow at night. With every bite, one gets oblivious to the traffic mess outside.

Elm’s also has great kakanin like suman and tamales.

I ask myself if going here will appeal to my quite senior barkada. The food and drinks are enough motivation. But I can imagine my friends’ stressed-out looks if we take this route. Heavy traffic may be normal with millennials who will go anywhere for good food and drinks at modest prices and the cool vibe of most bars.

QC hangout

Another friend invited me to eat in Quezon City. He said I should try Delgado 112 on Scout Delgado, where he likes to hang out.

The owner retained the 1950s look of houses in the Scout area, preserving the rich wood exterior and interior, the cement staircase, and the grills on the windows.

My family lived around the Scout area back when Morato Avenue was still called Sampaloc Avenue due to the tamarind trees that lined the street.

At Delgado 112, it’s fine to stick to appetizers if you’re a light eater who wants to taste different dishes. The gambas, mussels in garlic aioli, and the baked brie with poached pears and walnuts are good choices. But share the arroz à la Cubana and paella Valenciana.

Owner Milo Sogueco— who’s related to the Albergus catering family—shot the food photos. He’s a filmmaker and Delgado 112 must be a go-to place for show-biz folks.

The chef is Golda Ranada who used to be chef at Lemuria, a gourmet restaurant in Quezon City’s hilly and winding Horseshoe Village.

My friend wanted me to see Delgado 112’s basement, where food is second to the alcohol served, especially the single-malt whisky that he loves. The attraction is still alien to me, but I can understand his passion.

Steaks and more

Nanka Japanese Steakhouse is another new place to try in Quezon City, across the new roundabout at the corner of Mother Ignacia Avenue and Roces Avenue. It is said that the government cut down trees to make way for that cement island monstrosity.

At Nanka, the food is not only good to look at—the orders tasted the way they’re supposed to, as its chef, Mike Santos, pointed out.

The oysters burst with the salty taste of the sea even when covered with Hollandaise sauce or deep fried. The freshness of the tuna was apparent, whether grilled on the outside or served on a bowl of rice with salmon in the Chirashi order. Shrimps were firm even when served with garlic noodles or plain grilled.

For a steak lover, this is the place to go for excellent rib eye, strip and the huge tomahawk.

Desserts include Japanese green tea mousse and Chocolate Ganache Mountee. But my choice is the wonderful ube pan de sal with dulce de leche—it was lip-smacking good!

Order it right upon arrival, because they might run out before you finish lunch or dinner.

Email pinoyfood04@yahoo.com

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