Sunrise Buckets

San Juan is teeming with eating places – if we were any closer to that city, we would’ve been several more pounds heavier by now. Anyway, Lynn dragged me to Sunrise Buckets in Madison Square, Greenhills a few days back for lunch by the beach…

Well, not really. But Sunrise Buckets does a pretty good job in creating a pretty surf-y atmosphere for their shop. From the posters to the surfboard decors, they got the feel right even without the surf and sand. The reggae music completes the island vibe.

It’s a decent-sized eating place but it can get a little cramped as other people come in. Still there’s enough room to move around even with a lot of people as the tables are nicely spaced. There was a birthday party being held when we visited so we think it’s safe to say that the place can accommodate quite a number of people comfortably even on a really busy day.

Moving on, the first thing we noticed about Sunrise Buckets’ menu is that they serve chicken – lots and lots of chicken. They offer a variety of flavors for their chicken and the sheer number of choices can get overwhelming – but we’re not complaining!

They also offer quite a number of appetizers, rice meals, burgers, sandwiches, and desserts. Their drinks selection is not too shabby either. So, yeah, there’s food for everyone.

Lynn ordered a half-pound of Real American Buffalo Wings (which comes in mild, hot, and extra hot; Lynn chose the hot variety), which consisted of five wings served in a tiny bucket.

Sunrise Buckets, Real American Buffalo Wings

Her order was good – a little on the sweet rather than the spicy side, but they’re still legitimate buffalo wings. If you can’t handle spicy food, but you’re craving buffalo wings, then this is perfect for you. If you’re looking for something spicier, then the extra hot version might be just right. Lynn also noticed that the flavor was concentrated mainly on the skin and didn’t really seep through to the actual meat, making the chicken fairly run-of-the-mill and not as juicy as we’d like it to be. Overall, however, these wings were pretty decent. We’d still go back to try out the other flavors, of course.

Sunrise Buckets, Real American Buffalo Wings

I ordered something I’m quite familiar with, Jack Daniel’s Pork Chops, just to sample some of the other things they have to offer.

Sunrise Buckets, Jack Daniel's Pork Chops

My meal was pretty good and, as a matter of fact, I really liked it. It was adequately sized, it was nicely cooked (the pork chop was pretty juicy and quite tender), and, like Lynn’s order, it was served quickly. The only thing that surprised me was that my pork chops packed quite a punch – you can really taste the whiskey on the meat. A little too alcoholic for my taste but not enough to prevent me from enjoying my meal.

Sunrise Buckets, Jack Daniel's Pork Chops

Last, but not the least, is the Jalapeño Nachos Overload…

Sunrise Buckets, Jalapeño Nachos Overload

Man, when I saw them on another customer’s table, I just had to order them too. They looked so invitingly delicious. Were they any good? Yeah, they’re pretty good – just look at the size of those jalapeño slices! I’ve yet to find an eating place with the proper ratio of nachos to cheese/salsa/ground beef, but our order was satisfying.

Overall, we enjoyed our visit to Sunrise Buckets. The food they serve, based on our orders, are good and competitively priced. The sheer number of items on their menu ensures that customers who enjoyed their first visit will have something to look forward for their next trip. If you’re looking for a restaurant with a laidback atmosphere and a beach-like feel, complete with good food, then Sunrise Buckets is the perfect place.

Sunrise Buckets
Address: Ground Level, Madison Square
Madison St. cor. Ortigas Ave., Greenhills, San Juan
Phone: 477-7636
Web: sunrisebuckets.multiply.com

Charlie’s Bowl

Chicken Charlie is currently one of our most visited eating places – they’re a long ways away from where we live but the food they serve makes the trip worthwhile.

For first-time visitors, we suggest Charlie’s Bowl for your first order. As the dish that bears their company’s name, it’s a great way to sample what they have to offer. At P59, you get an adequately sized bowl of rice generously topped with slices of their famed non-greasy, crispy fried chicken served with your choice of either their soy garlic or spicy sauce.

While the meal is pretty simple – it’s your typical kanin + ulam combo – it sets itself apart with its unique take on the humble fried chicken. Chicken Charlie claims to serve fried chicken that is perfectly non-greasy with a soul-satisfying crunch, and, in our opinion, they absolutely deliver. Their chicken is nicely fried, they are crunchy without excessive layers of flour, and they are surprisingly tasty even without condiments.

While fried chicken seems pretty trite an order especially when eating out, Chicken Charlie’s take on it ensures that though you are still just eating fried chicken, you are eating fried chicken with a delectable twist.

Carol’s Texan5

Ensogo Philippines is a godsend, as well as several other websites similar to it. I mean, who wouldn’t love getting a good deal (half-price off most things!) on food, beauty services, and other products? I got so thrilled at the prospect that I signed up for Ensogo a couple of months ago and gleefully browsed through their offerings. One of the deals I first spotted there offered a voucher for a place called Carol’s Texan5, located in Little Baguio, San Juan. The site promised “mouthwatering food and drinks,” so I promptly grabbed two vouchers and told Tj where we’re going for our next meal out.

Since I don’t really hang out in San Juan, I thought it would be hard to find the place coming from Quezon City, but we only really had to turn to Wilson Street, go straight, and be in Little Baguio within minutes. J. Abad Santos Street was even quicker to find, and immediately after turning right is the building that houses Carol’s Texan5. We got lucky on our first visit, since parking space was available. If you’re taking a car, you should know that there’s only about three slots available in front of the building, and the street’s pretty narrow. The restaurant is located on the second floor.

Inside, you place your order at the counter, and our chosen victims were the Texan Juicy Burger (P155) and the six-piece Dynamite Wings (P175).

The verdict: It’s simple, tasty food at a really good price. The burger was juicy, beefy, and no-frills. We liked that it wasn’t soggy, too, and the bun was nice as well; we think it’s a little like wheat bread. The wings were moderately spicy and there was plenty of sauce to go around, and the fries were thick and not too greasy.

Our second visit to Carol’s Texan5 had us order another round of the wings and the Texan Chicken Cheese Steak (P155), which had a pretty nice amount of onions and bell peppers. During our third and latest visit (but certainly not the last), we ordered the Texan Style Nachos (P145) and the Fish and Fries (P255).

There were a lot more nachos than we could handle, as it turned out, and we had to leave several pieces in the basket so we can properly tackle our meal. Two dips were available: a cheese dip and the salsa, which had some curiously spicy contents. A bit more beef would have been nice, but we had to make do with the ones in the cheese dip.

The fish and fries was a success in our book. The breading of the fish (two cream dory fillets, unless we’re mistaken) was nicely done, nothing like the crumbly breading you usually get in restaurants, and the fish was properly cooked and stayed juicy underneath the breading. The accompanying dip (tartar sauce?) complemented it nicely.

All in all, Carol’s Texan5 definitely knows how to serve up its offerings the right way, and for the quality of food, the price is unbeatable.

Carol’s Texan5
Address: 2F 713 J. Abad Santos St.
Barangay Little Baguio
San Juan, Metro Manila
Philippines 1500
Phone: +63 (2) 727-3843
Mobile: +63 (922) 485-0154
E-mail: orders[at]texan5.com
Web: www.texan5.com

Salmon for lunch

Generally, I find buying salmon frustrating, since I usually stumble upon salmon that still has some bones in. Fortunately, Cherry Foodarama sells boneless salmon fillets (two per bag, P197), and voila, lunch: pan-seared salmon in lemon and butter, crinkle carrots (they came frozen in a bag), corn, and barley. Most people use barley in soups and salads, but I think it makes a nice, fiber-rich alternative to rice.

Easy tuna sandwich spread recipe

I absolutely love tuna sandwiches. I’ve tasted some really good pork, beef, and chicken sandwiches but I always keep coming back to tuna when it’s on the menu. So, one day, tired of going out to get my tuna fix, I decided to make my own sandwich spread.

I basically just opened a can of tuna, drained it, chopped up a small onion and some celery, then mixed them all in about half a cup of mayonnaise. Chill before serving. Voila! Instant tuna spread!

The finished product was pretty good. Well, I think it is. It’s not the best tuna spread recipe out there, but I think it will do if you just need a quick tuna fix. Enjoy!