If ever you’re on SLEX and you find yourself suddenly craving for good hearty bulalo, head for Calamba exit and just right off the main highway is Aviles Restaurant. For six hundred pesos, you can feed 4-5 hungry souls with a massive chunk of fork tender meat, and unlimited soup. The soup is savory — none of those flavoring hacks — like the meat was boiled in it with hours of gingerly love.
Sometimes, when you look around our overcrowded, massive malls, you wonder whether the Philippines is still in Third World Status. And with business recognizing the Filipino purchasing power, it’s not that difficult to give what the market wants. Recently, overseas brands have been arriving in our shores and are very welcomed by PX-loving (Batang PX! Ang luma!) Pinoys. When my balikbayan friends come home for the holidays, they were always quick to quip, “Eh hindi nyo na kailangan umalis dito. Nandito na pala lahat. Mas kumpleto pa nga dito.” Which is why it’s hard to take pictures like this anymore.
Me to JR: “Tumayo ka dyan. Picturan kita. Yan ang pinaka mukhang Amerika!”
There was Panda Express, Walmart and Denny’s all in one frame — three brands who have not reached this side of the Pacific. Well, that was November 2015.
Now, Denny’s is here.
I ate at Denny’s once in the States. My aunt who picked us up from the airport after arriving in LA from Texas. We’re not really hungry but you know how aunts like to feed us til we surrender. She’s also in a mission to take us to places we do not yet have in Pinas. So she introduced us to the Lumberjack meal at Denny’s
It was a lot of food — a heap of bacon, ham, hashbrowns, eggs and two pancakes the size of my face. I would to tell you that I was a lady-like eater and it was so massive that I wasn’t able to finish it. Uhm no. My appetite and tummy by that time adjusted when it was in Texas and I can take on any challenge. Bring it.
So, when I ordered the Original Grand Slam the first time my friend and I tried Denny’s here, I was a little underwhelmed.
As with any other imports that have entered the Philippine market, the experience of dining here compared to when you had it where it originates isn’t quite the same. Maybe because the dining ambiance is different. Denny and Ihop for example are busy breakfast places in the States. In a more relatable context, the experience is like what you’d feel eating at The Original Pares in Retiro. Buzzing and a lot of working class people waiting for their turn to eat. Here, Denny’s and for instance, Ihop, are upscale — less Pares, more Friday’s. Also, the price against our measly Philippine peso doesn’t quite convert. I can only see myself spending 375 pesos for pancakes just once. This once.
So when JR wanted to try Denny’s on our way back from Tagaytay. I obliged, only to tell him, “As long as we’re not ordering the pancake meals. Mahalia Jackson.”
We got what we thought was relatively worth the price… and things we can probably get in any other restaurant, why-did-we-even-go-to-Denny’s?!?
I ordered the Fried Chicken Platter because Pancake house has the best fried chicken and I wanted to compare. We also got the fish and chips. And we ordered the salad for color and for pagpapanggap. The chicken was crispy and juicy. Against the last Pancake House Pan fried chicken I ordered which was disappointedly small, their cuts were a tad bigger. The batter on the fish was crispy too. It served with tartar sauce but it’s better with vinegar so ask for it. We both had rice with it and we still had a doggy bag by the end of the meal.
I don’t know how Denny’s would fare in a very competetive Manila dining scene. But let’s just say I haven’t been to Ihop after my first try.
1F Uptown Parade
9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City
Taguig City, Metro Manila