25 September 2011

A Place for Happy Tummies Part III: Return to Midnight Mercato

Last Friday Maits and I went back to Midnight Mercato for a friday food-date. It was a fail on so many levels: rain, people we didn't want to see, people we didn't see hahahabut you can't feel bad for too long when surrounded by so much food!

The plan was to finally get that spam musubi and try out other stuff we hadn't before, which left out a lot of choices (you can read about my other Mercato picks here). As I was looking longingly at the Guactruck truck (hey that's really fun to say), the words "steamed burgers" caught the periphery of my eye. Say what?

I love burgers. Even as a kid, I never got Chicken Joy or Jolly Spaghetti for pasalubong because my mom knew the Yum with Cheese was the cure to my sumpong! When I was in high school, I'd scrimp on lunch to have money for Burger King. In med school, I'd drag my blockmates and friends to Army Navy to have a Cheeseburger + jalapeno, Freedom Fries and Libertea -- whether we were in Manila or in Tagaytay. We once drove from Ermita to Makati Ave looking for Burger Avenue and when we couldn't find it, drove to the other Burger Avenue at The Fort Strip! I've tried so many burgers, from Burger Machine's buy-one-take-one-cardboard-flavored-burgers to The Real Thing's Coca Cola BBQ burger, but I've never had a steamed burger, never heard of it, as a matter of fact!

So I headed straight to Johnny Steams and when I saw they had a Ninja Burger (which had japanese wasabi mayo), I immediately ordered it because "wasabi" is one of my trigger words. I just as quickly retracted that in favor of a Chili Cheese burger, which had chili sauce and jalapeno which made two trigger words. Yes that's how I operate. :D

Johnny Steams Chili Cheese Burger  - 125php
Oozing cheese and chili. Very messy, and very good!
Bottomline, I liked it. Initially I was looking for the slightly burnt taste I like in my char grilled patties but eventually I enjoyed not having that nor a greasy feel to my burger. It was a little messy to eat (the chili kept dripping down my chin!) but I'm a wa-poise eater anyway so that was fine. Plus points for many jalapeno slices and lots of melted cheese. Basta, ang sarap. It was very filling too, I stopped halfway through the burger and kept the other half for breakfast because I still had two things on my agenda.

Next stop: Happy Tummy for that spam musubi.  I passed by their stall last week and was amused at the name because "happy tummy" is the phrase I use for food satisfaction! I already had food though, so I skipped it. I also had no idea what a musubi was so I had to google it when I got home:
Spam musubi is a very popular snack and lunch food in Hawaii made in the tradition of Japanese onigiri, also known as omusubi. Spam musubi is composed of a block of rice with a slice of grilled Spam on top and nori (seaweed) wrapping to hold it together.- Wikipedia
Hm, can't go wrong with spam, and they were offering it with wasabi mayo too. Hm, curious. When I read in their Twitter that they get sold out within two hours all the time, I told myself I had to try it when I went back to Mercato. Therefore.

Only 50php + 10 with mayo. Do I really have to
say which one I got? :)

Their display. And no they don't sell those. :))
They prepare your musubi when you order it.

Mark preparing the first musubi of my life!

Before I ate it, and it got messy hahaha.

Yummy! :D The spam was lightly marinated, the wasabi mayo was not too spicy and the sesame seeds gave it a mildly nutty flavor. I had trouble eating it though, on my first bite rice fell all over my plate, which I think wasn't supposed to happen. :)) CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. Spam musubi, I will learn how to eat you with practice

Yesterday I found out they were also offering chocolate sauce with the musubi! Boo, I want that! Because chocolate rocks, and it's good for your heart, too! Literally, and figuratively.

Maits decided to buy food from Hapadog, which sold Japanese style hotdogs. (You can visit their website and watch their very hunger-inducing video.) She had the Californippon which was inspired by the California Maki, so it had mango cubes, kani, nori flakes, cucumber and japanese mayo.

Maits and her dog. :)

I only had a bite, but it was good! The different textures somehow blended well, and it definitely wasn't your run-of-the-mill hotdog sandwich. I found it a little expensive at 150php (I know, I'm biased because I can spend 200php on a burger and still think it's reasonable haha) but if you like hotdogs or if you're looking for something unusual but delicious, this one won't disappoint. :)

For dessert, we went back to our favorite cake place, Med Chef, to see if they finally had the elusive Pandan-White Chocolate-Mango cake. And they did! 

I only had a bit of the cake because I was already super busog. It was yummy, but I found the cake rather dry. Maybe because my benchmark is their moist chocolate cake which is really really moist hehehe. (I stashed it in the fridge and ate it the following morning, and I found it okay, maybe I was just parched during the night?) They had free samples of the creme brulee and the flourless mango cake, which I contemplated on buying for take-home but in the end I realized I am really a chocolate person and very few non-chocolate cakes satisfy me! So it was back to my staples: Moist Chocolate Cake and Best Ever Banana Cake. Same as last week's pasalubongs, but nobody at home complained. Gone in 5 minutes! :)

I realized that for best food-tripping results, it's really best to go out in large groups so you can try many different things. The problem we had is that we got full much too quickly we couldn't eat any more even if we wanted to! Oh well, we can always go back. :)

Johnny Steams: Manila's First Steamed Cheeseburgers

Happy Tummy Hawaiian BBQ

Hapadog Japanese Style hotdogs

MedChef Cakes

Winner food finds: Granada for 10 bucks a pop, and our four favorite Med Chef cakes
Last week's favorites were Guactruck burrito bowls and Offbeat Krispy Kreme burgers :)

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