Thursday, June 26, 2008

Blue Carabao Eatery

Category: Filipino Foods.
The Blue Carabao is located on P. Sobrecarey Street. One block from Victoria Plaza Mall and behind McDonald's. This eatery is owned and operated by a Canadian and his Filipino wife. They have been in business for about two years.
I have drove by the Blue Carabao many times and finally decided to give it a try. The wife and I went there on June 24, 2008 and back again on the 26th, two days later. I find the Blue Carabao very impressive on the outside and also on the inside. It is very clean and has a good staff. It is a Self-Service open-air restaurant. You walk down a serving line and tell them what you want and the bill is brought to your table later. They have a good system and it works great.
Let's talk about the food. I can not say enough how much I like their Carabao Soup (Hinalang). I have 3 places I go for soup in Davao and the Blue Carabao is now at the top of my list. I like my soup hot and spicy and the Blue Carabao puts me over the top. The meat is very lean and melts in your mouth. From the very first bite I have steam coming from my ears and it gets better with every mouth full. What can I say, I love their soup.
The wife likes their Carabao Soup (Pochero) that is not so hot and spicy. I have tried it and it is good. They also have other great looking food. One day I will try their fried chicken. For now it is soup and more soup.
Rating (Scale 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest):
Food: 8 (soup: 10)
Service: 7 (Self-service, but staff very helpful)
Ambiance: 7
Recommendation: Very Good. I got to meet the owners on my last visit and very nice people. They care about serving good food and giving great services. The price of their food is very reasonable. The first time we ate there P118 and the second time P121. They also have a good location. I can have a great meal and then walk to McDonald's for coffee or go to Victoria Plaza. We are going back tomorrow (June 28, 2008) and take the sister-in-law. I am starting to get hot just thinking about their soup. You have to give them a try, you will not be sorry.
Open 7 days a week:
7AM - 10PM
Blue Carabao Eatery
P. Sobrecarey Street,
Davao City
Tel: 305-6696

Al Fresco Cafe & Lounge

Category: International Foods.

The wife and I decided to go and have breakfast at Al Fresco Cafe on June 21, 2008 after having a great lunch there a week before.

How things have changed. We walked in the front door and the first thing I noticed was there was now a glass wall separating the dinning area into two areas. I was told that it was so groups could have a private area. Their was also about 6 to 8 young people laying around on the large table. There was no where to sit in the dinning area and we were seated in a hallway that went to the kitchen and to a fitness center in back.

The hallway had three tables. The waitress had a bad attitude problem and every time I ask her a question she would look the other way. She did not even talk to the wife. She took our order and ran off before we could tell her about the choices we wanted. I went back to the kitchen and had a few words with her trying to get our order right.

Things were going down hill fast and this was not starting off to be a good day. A lady came to our table with two oatmeal cookies and said she was sorry for the problems. I guess she was the owner. She was nice and tried to make things right, but it was a little late.

Rating (Scale 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest):
Food: 4
Service: 3
Ambiance: 4

Recommendation: Poor.
It will be a long time before I go back and have breakfast here. Problems I had here: poor service by staff, paper place mats were used and had food and grease on them, every few minutes people walking by going to the fitness center, cold coffee, raw eggs and over cooked fish.

We were very disappointed with our second visit to Al Fresco Cafe. The best thing about this breakfast was the two free oatmeal cookies, very good.

Monday - Saturday: 7AM - 12MN
Sunday: 1PM - 12MN

Al Fresco Cafe & Lounge
J.P. Laurel Avenue, Km7,
Lanang, Davao City
Tel: 234-3784

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Al Fresco Cafe & Lounge

Category: International Foods.

Al Fresco Cafe is located in Lanang across from the Central Warehouse Club and next to Express Hardware. Al Fresco Cafe has been open for about one year. A neighbor told us that the food was good so we gave it a try on June 14th, 2008.

From the outside it does not look like much. They do have a nice sitting area out front. Once inside I was impressed with a nice dinning area. They had one large type picnic table and four or five tables that sat two or three. The place was very clean and the staff was very helpful with the menu.

The wife ordered Pasta Puttanesco and I ordered Osco Buco. We were both very happy with our order. The food was well prepared and delicious. After the meal I ordered coffee and sat outside.

Rating (Scale 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest):
Food: 7
Service: 7
Ambiance: 7

Recommendation: Very Good.
Glad to find a place near the house with good food and service. The wife and I are looking forward in going back.

Monday - Saturday: 7AM - 12MN
Sunday: 1PM - 12MN

Al Fresco Cafe & Lounge
J.P. Laurel Avenue, Km7,
Lanang, Davao City
Tel: 234-3784

The Lighthouse

Category: Coffee Shop.

The Lighthouse is located on the corner of Ilustre and Camus Street across from People's Park. I have been here many times for a cold ice tea or a soda after visiting People's Park. People's Park does not allow vendors in the park or outside and this is the nearest place to get something cold to drink.

The Lighthouse is a Coffee Shop, restaurant and a convenience store all in one. They have a outside grill and an area to sit. The Coffee Shop is small with only about four tables and they are small. The convenience store has a few tables to sit at. On the weekends you will find 8 to 10 PNP, Davao Police and the bike cops sitting in the outside area. At night this area is a hangout for the younger crowd.

This was our first time to actually eat here (6-12-2008) and ordered their special. It was a whole roasted chicken, noodles, vegetables and a 1.5 liter of soda for less then P300. Their was enough food for 4 or 5 people and the chicken was very good. We sat in the Coffee Shop and ate and their was not enough room on the table for all the food and drinks.

Rating (Scale 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest):
Food: 6
Service: 6
Ambiance: 5

Recommendation: Good.
The food was good and you get a lot of it. We were the only ones there and the service was good. It seemed very strange that we had to pay before they would prepare our food. We were the only ones there except for the 10 police outside, security guard at the door and four staff. The food we did not eat we ask to take it home and that was no problem except they wanted us to put the soda in a plastic bag. For some reason they wanted the plastic bottle the soda was in.

Banoks on Camus Street

Category: Grilled / BBQ chicken & seafood.
I do not know what is going on but June has not been a good month for eating out. First let me say that I do not make appointments, call ahead or tell the eatery that I will be doing a review of their Establishment. I do not receive free food or anything extra to write a good review. I tell it like I see it and if the owner or management does not like that then maybe they should look at correcting the problem. I really do not like writing negative reviews and that is maybe why I am late in writing for June. I will not hide the truth and will always tell it from my experience at these establishments.

Lets talk about Banoks. Their are nine Banoks in Davao. Six are company-owned and three are franchisees. The two on Camus Street are franchisees and one in Toril. I have eaten at most of the Banoks and you can tell that the two on Camus Street are not up to the standards of the company-owned restaurants.

I normally go to Banoks next to People's Park because it is open all day. The Banoks on the corner of Ilustre Street and Camus street does not open until 5:30PM. I have had some good food at Banoks next to People's Park. The wife and I went there on June 12, 2008 looking to have a good meal. To our surprise that did not happen. When we walked in the staff was playing grab-ass and the music was as loud as the stereo would go. Their was no customers in the restaurant and the waiter tried to sit us in the corner next to the CR. I told him I wanted to sit up front by the door to get some air. The tables were all dirty with left-over food and dirty dishes. I ask if he could turn down the music a little. My chest was pounding from the music. He said we should try upstairs that no customers were there. We went upstairs and the music was even louder which I find hard to believe. Back down stairs and again ask if they could turn the music down. I got the deer looking in the headlights from the staff. I ask to talk to the manager and was told he was not there and in school. When the cat is away the mice will play. I could tell the staff did not care if they had any customers, so we left and went to try The Lighthouse across the street.

Camus Street, Davao City

Coffee Bar at Gaisano Mall of Davao - Cheaters

Category: Coffee Shop of CHEATERS...
The Coffee Bar is located on the second floor of Gaisano Mall of Davao and was one of my favorite places to have coffee at the mall. Times have changed because of the cheating by the staff of customers at this coffee shop. I normally go there two or three times a week and the staff says I am a regular customer. I have been over charged many times by the staff. They always have some lame excuse. Two days ago (June 22, 2008) I did not receive my change (P35) and two of the staff said I did. I know I did not receive it. I did not get a receipt which I always keep for the wife to keep track of my spending and had no change in my pocket. I was in a lot of back pain from an accident and wanted to sit down and forgot to get my change. All I can say they were very lucky. I will be back to take care of this matter.
It seems that the Department store runs or has something to do with this coffee shop. I will find out and if I have to I will go all the way to the top.
All I can says is that this is far from over. It is not about the few pesos, but the principal. I worked hard for my money and why should I let someone steal it from me.
BEWARE: Do not trust the staff. Count your money and make sure you are not over charged. The best advice would be to go some where else for your coffee.

Rai Rai Ken Ramen House & Sushi Bar

Category: Japanese food.
A new restaurant opened up at Gaisano Mall of Davao the last of May or the first of June 2008. It is located just to the left of the Food Court. The wife and I went there June 5th to give it a try and was very pleased.
The first time I went to Rai Rai Ken's was about ten years ago at the old airport in Davao. Then it moved a few blocks from Victoria Plaza Mall and then to F. Torres Street and now we have a branch at Gaisano Mall.
The food and service is very good, but a little pricey. We had Gomoku a mixed seafood soup and Yasal Itame a sauteed mixed vegetables w/ pork that was delicious.
Rating (Scale 1-10 with 10 being the highest):
Food: 8
Service: 8
Ambiance: 8
Recommendation: Very Good.
If you like Japanese food you will have to give Rai Rai Ken a try. The food and service is very good.
Rai Rai Ken Ramen House & Sushi Bar
Gaisano Mall of Davao
J.P. Laurel Avenue, Bajada, Davao City

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Vendor's in my Subdivision

Category: Vendor's in my Subdivision.
I live in Dona Paz Subdivision, Old Airport Road, km-9, Sasa, Davao City. It is not a gated and guarded subdivision. It is a Middle-Class Filipino Subdivision. It is a small subdivision with about two hundred lots. I am the only full time foreigner living here.
Most of the vendor's in my area come from Samal Island or from Panacan. They all seem to start each day at the Public Market at km-11 and that is also where the ferry from Samal Island is.
I do not know if I would consider myself lucky or unlucky. If I wanted to ever sleep in past 6am I would have to say that I am unlucky. It is probably a good thing that I do not sleep much and up most mornings at 3am. Most vendor's shout at the top of their lungs or have some type of horn or loud speaker that would wake the dead. The parade of vendor's start in my subdivision at 5:45am.
The first would be the Pandesal kids. We did have six kids selling Pandesal until Lemon Drop Bakery open. Most mornings there are two walking and one on a bike. They make the rounds until about 6:30am. At 6am is the start of the Fish Vendor's. On a normal morning there are six guys and two ladies. These people are very loud and I can hear them coming about three blocks away. A neighbor has brought from them before so they all stop and shout for about five minutes until some one tells them not today.
At 6:30am is the two kids selling eggs. Hard to believe how many flats of eggs these kids can carry. Most of the time they carry 8 to 12 flats of eggs. Next would be the Snack Guy who shouts and also has a very loud horn. Then we have the guy on the motorcycle with four large baskets that sells Bake Goods to all the Sara-Sara stores. Next would be the guy selling Calamansi and the two ladies selling Fruit and Veggies. The ladies are a pain in the butt. They do not take no for an answer. They sell their products for twice the price that I can buy them at the market.
It is now about 8am and have had about a 30 minute break. Here comes the junk vendor's. Their are on most days four different guys that buy glass bottles, plastic, cans and metal. Another break in the action until about 9:30am. Now we have the Shoe Repairman and the Electric Repairman. The shoe guy is good and cheap. The electric guy seems to only want to repair electric fans. He also has a loud speaker that has a pre-recorder message on it. One day in the future I can see a very big rock landing on his head. At 10am here comes the Knife Sharper guy with the modified bicycle frame with a grinding wheel mounted to it. If you want a good knife made bad give it to him.
At 10 am is the parade of Selecta and Nestle Ice Cream guys on their three wheel carts. They play some very loud music. Their prices are also out of this world.
Between 10:30am and 1pm is a good time for a nap. At 1pm another Vegetable Lady and the Broom Vendor. At 3pm the Corn Lady and the Drink (Taho) Guy. The Corn Lady never misses a day and you can set your watch that it is 3pm. Now the Fish Guy on the motorcycle with the loud speaker and the Fish Guy in the multicab with the loud speaker. Then at around 8:30pm the Balut Vendor's start their rounds until about 10pm.
Once or twice a week we have two guys selling CD's and DVD's. Every other day we have a guy selling knives. Two or three times a month one guy selling bamboo shades and one guy selling furniture. I probably missed a few, but that is most of them.
We have a store so we get the coke, beer, junk food, soap people and many others each week trying to sell us something. Then we have the normal run of beggars each day. I think I need a vacation or a trip to the mountains for a week or two, make that three or four.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Street Food

Category: Street Foods.
If you like Street Food as much as I do you are missing out if you have not been to Rizal Park on a Sunday afternoon. Rizal Park is located next to City Hall on San Pedro Street. I am what you would call a lover of street food and Rizal Park puts me in heaven.
I have got sick a few times over the years, but watch what I eat now. I find a place that has lots of customers and the turn over of food is good. I try and find food that was just cooked. If you want to get sick eat food that has been sitting out all day, no thanks. I like to order and have them cook the food while I watch. I like a stand that is clean and also the vendor.
Rizal Park turns into a Flea Market or Street Market on Sunday. It is one big party. It is a fun place to spend a few hours and enjoy the food and the people. Their are probably over one hundred food stands, Fried Bananas, Fried Chicken, Fried Chicken Heads/Feet/Wings/Guts, Kiwi-Kiwi, Fruit, Corn, Popcorn, Peanuts, Home-Made Ice Cream, Coconut Juice and much much more. One thing I have never seen there is BBQ / Grilled food. Maybe the city does not allow this type of cooking there.
You will find the wife and I there on most Sunday's after about 3pm. After that we normally go to Al's Diner for coffee. I hope to see you all there.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Category: Chicken.

I have always liked and eaten a lot of chicken. My favorite would have to be BBQ / Grilled and then Fried. I normally only eat the white meat, breast and wings. That has changed a lot since moving to Davao. Here in Davao there are hundreds and hundreds of chicken places. Most you will see are Roasted Chicken that is turned on a spit over hot charcoals. Many of the Native Restaurants have BBQ / Grilled chicken which always comes on a stick. Many sell Native Chicken which I find to be tough and small. The locals say they are the best.

Then we have the Street Vendor's or Sidewalk Vendor's that mostly sell BBQ / Grilled Chicken. In my hunt for good chicken I have found a few Sidewalk Vendor's that Deep Fried their chicken. If you have a weak stomach this is probably not for you. One of my all time favorites has been Chicken Guts on a stick. I like mine over cooked to the point of almost burnt. In my area starting at about 3:30 pm many vendor's from Samal Island come over and set up Sidewalk stands and sell Fried Chicken Guts, Heads, Feet and Skins. Most of their food is good and very cheap. Chicken Guts, Heads and Feet sell for P2 to P3 each. I know were I will be eating tonight.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Space Burger at Damosa Gateway

Category: Burgers.

Was at Damosa Gateway on May 16, 2008 to check things out and decided to eat at Space Burger. I ordered a Double Cheeseburger with Ice Tea. The burger was big with lots of lettuce, tomatoes and a small piece of onion. The burger was a little raw or should I say under cooked. It also did not have that Frame-Grilled taste the other Space Burger has.

Rating (Scale 1-10 with 10 being the highest):

Food: 5

Service: 5

Ambiance: 5

Recommendation: Average. Space Burger at Damosa Gateway is very small and located next to Avenue S. When I went into Space Burger I felt I was in a walk-in closet. Only room for one table and three chairs. They do have tables and chairs located outside as do other restaurants there. I do like to sit outside and eat so that was not the problem. The problem was the burger was under cooked and did not have much of a taste. I think I will stay with Space Burger across from SSS on J.P. Laurel Avenue, Bajada.

Space Burger

Damosa Gateway

Corner of J.P. Laurel Avenue and Mamay Road,

Lanang, Davao City

Charlie's Bakeshop & Diner

Category: Fast Food, Diner, Bakery.

One of my favorite Bakeries in my area. Yesterday (May 16, 2008) went to Damosa Gateway to see what was new. A few places went out of business and a few new places. Charlie's Bakeshop & Diner still going strong. Also across the street is Charlie's Fast Food, Snacks & Desserts at Damosa Market Basket. Charlie's Bakeshop has some very good bake goods.

Rating (Scale 1-10 with 10 being the highest):

Food: 7

Service: 6

Ambiance: N/A

Recommendation: Very good. I was going there every morning at 5:30am for their Hot Pandesal which I think was the best out my way. Some mornings I would have to wait in line for 10 to 15 minutes until they got to know me and what I wanted. Nothing better then Hot Pandesal in the morning with a good cup of coffee.

Charlie's Bakeshop & Diner

Damosa Gateway, Corner of J.P. Laurel Avenue & Mamay Road,

Lanang, Davao City