Food and dining

evilcon 2011

(Lotsa pictures lifted from the Monkey Keeper’s album and Jae’s album)

“Madam, I have been looking for a person who disliked gravy all my life: let us swear eternal friendship.”
~Sydney Smith, English writer  (1771-1845)

Ole!

EvilCon 2011 ended with resounding success, expanding waistlines, and the fuzzy warmth of friendship rekindled.

If you wish to know (I’m telling anyway), the proprietress of the Broken Coffee Cafe is one-third of a group that also consists of the Monkey Keeper and Super JJ. It is a long-standing tradition in our group each year to meet for EvilCon. The annual EvilCon is a harmless gathering that aims to resurrect the Age of Tyranny and to aid our trio’s rise to power as Overlords of the Universe.

In relation to the quote above (the gravy has nothing to do with it, though), the EvilDoers finally met this year after numerous cancellations of our plans to reconvene and plot world domination.

But nobody has to get nervous yet that the world will soon be ruled over by three beings with varying degrees of insanity because we never got our plans off the drawing board. The food, drink, and company effectively sidetracked us from our original goal previously mentioned.

The Venue

There is an eating establishment in Dumaguete called Moooooon Cafe. It actually has three O’s only, but since the management has taken liberty in doing the misspelling, I’m amping it up just a notch. By the way,  it’s pronounced as “moon,” as in the silvery orb that hangs over earth’s night sky in a 28-day cycle.

We chose the location for its ambiance and the fact that it was closer to civilization compared with our initial choice for the meeting place. It is one place in the city where I got a “New Orleans” vibe, despite the fact that Moooooon Cafe has a Mexican theme. This branch of the lunatics’ cafe (I mean that in a good way) was at Silliman Avenue and was the perfect venue for hatching evil plans and the ordinary occasion of meeting up with special friends.

Beber a Su Propio Riesgo

Or, roughly put, “Drink at your own risk.” Mooon Cafe has an extensive selection of beverages.

Here’s Jae doing a photo op with the drinks menu:

Here’s the Monkey Keeper posing for Victoria Secret with the drinks menu:

Here’s yours truly… Unlike my friends, I am seriously studying what to order for drinks. After all, I am such a drunkard didn’t want to end up with a pitcher of sewage silt to go with our Mexican dishes.

In the end, we decided on a Sun Cooler. The menu’s description said it has mango, watermelon, oranges, calamansi, grenadine, and a splash of vodka. I think the splash had to be equal to the volume of water you get after a ten-wheeler drives through a mud puddle at the side of the road. It completely drenches you. And I suspect that the Sun Cooler was also laced with anesthetic (just some thought). Anyways, after the first glass, we seriously needed more ice to dilute the substance. And the succeeding glasses made my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth. But can you believe it? I was sooo happy and had a smile plastered on my face the whole night.

Los Alimentos (The Food)

What to order? Mexican, of course! But at this point, I still debated the merits between having a burrito and a taco.

In the end, we had lots of cheese-laden food! All the cheesy goodness was slathered in our quesadillas and on the pizza and burrito and taco; it was more than enough to make my lactose intolerance enzyme weep, pack its bags, and move in with my serotonin.

Here’s Jae wrestling with her second taco:

Burp

The meal ended.

As ever, the Monkey Keeper is not without her gadgetry. I think in this picture she’s Tweeting or sending an SMS to someone saying that she’s at a Prayer Meeting. Notice, though, that a slice of pizza lay uneaten. The pizza had the odd consistency of teething rubber so I will not recommend it if you happen to drop by the Lunatics’ Cafe, Dear Reader (not unless you really fancy having a teething-rubber pizza – or a pizza-flavored teething rubber, as might be the case – every once in a while).

I rue the time when the Sun Cooler became extinct. Besides, I was seeing double by then.

More Photos from My Friends’ Cameras

Just to show you, Dear Reader, that we all had a great time last night, here is a couple more pictures of our trio during EvilCon. 1 disembodied head = 1 EvilConner:

Funny how little was said during the entire meal but we still went home feeling better than we had in months. The warm, fuzzy feeling still lingered when I woke up this morning, and I found myself smiling all the way to work today. Till next year, guys! I miss you already.

(L-R) the Monkey Keeper, Yours Truly, and Super Joe Bokie

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Breakfast At World Class Persian Kebab

So, yesterday morning I woke up craving intensely for chicken shawarma and fresh fruit shake. I tried to beat down the thought by rationalizing that I am not exactly rolling in dough as of the moment and by willing my mind to think more austere thoughts, i.e., something that involved blank walls and a three-legged bar stool.

Of course, I am not a disciplined thinker, and the more I tried to replace the image of succulent slices of sauteed chicken drizzled in garlicky mayonnaise with that macabre austere picture of a bar stool against a white wall, the more the gluttonous thought rose like a tide in the half-awake part of my mind. In less than three minutes, the dam broke and my brain neurons short circuited, flooding my whole consciousness with the insane chanting of “Shawarma! Shawarma! Shawarma!

Rather than risk a nervous breakdown, I gave in to the inevitable. As I got dressed, the thought of Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde tramped in my head, along with the images of that Eastern world delicacy. Ah. Whoever coined the term split personality really made big bucks by setting the standards for what is sane and what isn’t. But this is supposed to be a post about food and not a psychotherapeutic exercise so let’s move on.

I know the one exact place in Metro Manila that serves chicken shawarma at seven thirty-eight in the morning. I headed out, crossed the main highway, and caught a westward jeepney to the World Class Persian Kebab.

I got off at the corner of E. Rodriguez and Tomas Morato Avenues. To my right is the eating place that haunted me in my waking hour. It’s located on the ground floor of a commercial building that also houses Sabroso’s Lechon, Pandelites, Ricky Reyes’ Hair Institute, and SkateOfTheNation.

World Class Persian Kebab (Persian & Mediterranean Cuisine) is the only eating place, by far, that always delivers what I expect when it comes to chicken shawarma.

I let myself in, and the waitstaff smiled in greeting. Already, there were other diners who were enjoying their orders.

The chanting in my head was now replaced by a humming of “shawarmashawarmashawarma…” All right, I’ll feast on Persian cuisine for breakfast. Whatever those chanters in my head were, they erupted into applause and finally fell silent as the waiter took my order.

(I would apologize to the dear readers because I did not have a camera with me to take images of my impulsive breakfast. I’m truly sorry to put a damper on your voyeuristic tendencies. All is not lost, however. For visuals, I borrowed some shots from wheninmanila.com in order to further illustrate the next points in this long-winded soliloquy. These are all nighttime pics.)

I ordered fresh watermelon shake, chicken shawarma on a plate, beef kebab, and extra pita bread. And you’d think that in my cash-strapped state, I could afford to pay for all these? Oh, yes, indeedy! Look at their price list:

The price is another allure that World Class Persian Kebab holds over me. I can have freshly cooked good food for less than Php150, or about US$3.30.

(Visual aids end here, dear readers.)

My order arrived and I can’t help but smile at the presentation. On a square plate, my pita bread was folded demurely to one side. Beside it lay the chicken slices (spottled with cracked peppercorns), and the rest of the plate was piled with slices of assorted vegetables, which consisted of cucumbers, white onions, lettuce, and tomatoes. My extra pita was served separately, warm and nestled in a wicker basket. My beef kebab was set in another plate. The watermelon shake came in a sundae glass, so it’s quite a tall early-morning drink. There’s unlimited garlic mayo sauce so that the diner – such as moi – can drizzle liberal amounts over each scoop of pita, meat, and veggies.

So, after a sigh and a word of thanks to the Universe for the goodness of life, I dug in.

And the food was what I expected. The beef has just the right blend of saltiness and spiciness, with that juiciness that is often missing in some other eating places’ beef dishes.

The pita gave the shawarma a hint of sweetness. The vegetables were crisp and succulent and juicy. The slices of chicken were bursting with flavor. And the garlicky sauce complemented it all.

They use real fruit for the shake, which is something else I appreciate about the place. No synthetic flavors here.

And I ate and drank all of it. By the time I finished my breakfast, the glutton in me was appeased. It was purring like a cat that has found a comfortable sleeping place.

Hmm. Maybe I’d do this often.

***

For those who wish to experience the wonders of World Class Persian Kebab when you happen to be in or around Metro Manila, the place is open 24 hours. If you need the specific address, I would certainly not withhold it from you.

It’s #1 E. Rodriguez St. Avenue (corner Tomas Morato Avenue), Quezon City.

Many thanks to When In Manila for the photos.