For this review, we’re covering a controversial burger joint and a popular ramen house.
1. Cali Burger
In certain foodie circles, it’s become de rigeur to bash Cali Burger, which is mostly because of a really bad marketing misstep. It’s not a secret, and in fact Cali Burger proudly admits, that it is “heavily-inspired” by the popular In-N-Out burger chain in the United States. In fact, if you look at the old food containers of Cali Burger, you’d notice that they even used to use In-N-Out‘s tagline “Quality You Can Taste”.
This was a mistake, because local foodies, especially those who have tasted In-N-Out‘s burgers, couldn’t help but compare, and promptly came to the conclusion that Cali Burger just isn’t that good. I think this is partially a backlash from Cali Burger‘s initial marketing strategy (i.e. comparing itself to In-N-Out) which they have since abandoned. This is a shame, because I personally believe that Cali Burger does make some of the best burgers in town, unfavorable comments from foodies notwithstanding.
I usually order the Cheeseburger Meal (pictured above). The patty itself is beefy, solid and flavorful, and it’s nestled between two buns that are soft and suitably fluffy, but which does not disintegrate while you eat the burger. The thick cut fries that accompany the meal is pretty good too: crisp and thick, perfectly salted, and not too oily.
Try the Chicken Wings too, which are sweet and savory, if a tad small. Reminds me a lot of the chicken served at Manang’s Chicken.
We haven’t been to its Quezon City branch, but the one in Century Mall has a sprawling view of the Makati Central Business District, which is especially outstanding during daytime.
Cali Burger is located in Century City Mall, Makati and in Timog, Quezon City (across GMA). It’s open everyday from 11am to 10pm.
I’ve been hearing rave reviews of Nomama‘s ramen dishes, and I must say they are well-deserved. We’ve tried their branch in Capitol Commons, which has a modern American diner-ish feel.
First up was the Mushroom Gyoza. Guys, you have to order this if you love mushrooms. It’s earthy, with a deep and strong flavor. The wrapping is firm and chewy, with a nice crunchy texture underneath. It goes well with a bit of soy sauce and calamansi.
Then we had two kinds of ramen. The Wagyu Beef Ramen (left, in the picture above) is sweet and creamy, with a very mild spicy kick. It reminds me of a soupy curry. It has a poached egg, which adds to the creaminess, and a solid chunk of flavorful wagyu beef that melts like butter in your mouth. Texture is a bit one-note though, but the flavors of this dish more than make up for it.
The Nomama Ramen, their signature dish, is a good counterpoint to the Wagyu Beef Ramen. The broth is salty and earthy, like a thin mushroom soup, which taste is perfectly rounded and softened by a soft boiled egg. It comes with thin slices of pork, which are satisfactorily flavorful.
For both ramen dishes, the noodles are perfectly cooked. There’s a bit of resistance with every bite.
I also ordered a bottle of Bayani Brew, a local bottled iced tea flavored by lemongrass, pandan and honey. Very refreshing, and only 80 calories per bottle (as opposed to the 200+ calories per bottle of other more popular brands).
Nomama Artisanal Ramen is located at G/F FSS Bldg 2, Scout Tuason cor Scout Castor, Quezon City, or at Capitol Commons, Shaw Boulevard, Pasig City. Call 9214913 / 09178218698 / 09177143775 (Quezon City) or 542-2558 (Capitol Commons) for reservations and inquiries.
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