The newest concept in food parks: The Yard Street Food Cinema
I started this week by doing something that scares me: meet strangers. I’ve been getting invitations from a guy named Aldous, who turns out to be some ringleader of bloggers that gets people together for events. As a freelancer, my schedules are fluid and I had been unable to join his group until this Monday. It was a chance to check out the latest in the food park industry: dining with an open cinema.
Movies were projected one after the other on the large screen
I immediately liked the place because parking was easy, and the space can accommodate about 12 cars. It has an industrial design that somehow feels homey; it looked and felt like going to a friend’s house party. Upon entering, my eyes were immediately drawn to the big screen in the middle, as it was flashing a chaotic chase scene from an action film. Looking around the three-storey warehouse, I noticed that some of the merchants had movie-related names: Godpasta is a play on the Godfather, and they claim they’ll “make you a pasta you can’t refuse,” while the Lord of the Ribs is pretty self-explanatory. Upon closer inspection, one restaurant used puns of celebrities’ names on their menu, with offerings like an Egg Sheeran pizza.
Buffalo Wings and Mac ‘n Cheese
I met with three bloggers at Mac ‘n Chicks, and started off with small talk as we waited for the food. Despite my awkwardness, I enjoyed talking about our common interests — mostly food — and, with this other girl, Tin — hiking.
Half a dozen wings per variant: clockwise from top are garlic parmesan, honey sriracha, soy garlic
Honey Sriracha Wings: I like my heat, but if you can’t take it, this sweet blend is for you
Garlic Parmesan Wings
I liked the Soy Garlic Wings
Mac ‘n Cheese Balls
Melty cheese in each ball
When the food arrived, the conversations dwindled as we scarfed down three orders of wings with potato wedges, a plate of lasagna, and some bite-sized mac and cheese. The chicken was tender, and the mac and cheese balls were cheesy, easy pickings. With prices ranging from P120-180 per dish, this joint can get you stuffed with a couple hundred bucks.
Game of Thrones-themed House of Griddle
Among the restaurants that were influenced by on-screen titles is House of Griddle, with its playfully accurate Game of Thrones-theme. I didn’t read the books nor do I follow the TV series, but talking to the chef and owner made it clear how big of a fan he is of the franchise. He takes pride in every detail, from the logo to the banners fronting his establishment, and every reference he makes to the epic saga.
Even more impressive was his dedication to the food. Having worked at a top restaurant before starting his own business, he got a taste of other cuisines that broadened his culinary horizon. Aside from giving these dishes his own spin, his interpretations have made them more affordable, and thus accessible, to even the Piso-pinching Filipinos. The price is comparable to other fast food chains, but you get a meal made from scratch. All orders come with their signature fried rice with meat trimmings, string beans, and corn bits. It’s a good way to sneak in those veggies into your diet!
Instead of Spanish, this is a French take on Gambas
Bunless Burger with hickory barbecue sauce and melted cheese
Bulgogi Beef Sirloin
Herbed Pork with mushrooms and gravy on the side
This well-seasoned pork belly was my favorite that night
There were heaps more places to try, and I’m especially curious about the fried pizza place, a stall that offers a sushi donut, and two dessert bars that both have a variant of fried bread. This is telling — yes, I have a thing for fried bread.
Water and Info
The Yard Street Food Cinema is a good place for the barkada who have a hard time agreeing on where to eat, fun for people who love to eat while watching a movie (or love to watch a movie while eating, which I do a lot at home,) or whatever — if you just want to go on a food trip.
After work last Tuesday, I had late lunch at Kko Kko in Kapitolyo, which has only been open for a month. The newest of five other branches (Sapphire Bloc, Market! Market!, Paseo Center, and UP Town Center), I got a table through Booky, which promised P500 off a P1000 bill. I’d been wanting to try the Chicken Cheese Fondue since I saw it on a friend’s feed, and my mind was set for beautiful cheese pulls.
I ordered it as soon as I had settled in my cute booth by the wall, because the menu warns it could take 20 minutes to prepare. The fondue comes in a bread bowl, with chicken, onion rings, and fries as dippers. There were choices to be made as regards the cheese, fries, and chicken because they had several ways of seasoning them. I got my mozzarella in garlic-mustard, my fries with chili powder, and my chicken in Oh My Garlic.
To while me through the wait, I wanted to get some Mandoo, but it wasn’t available. Such is my life eating out, unfortunately. I settled for their complimentary appetizer platter, of which I could only eat the kimchi; their delicious home made raspberry tea helped with the anticipation.
Kko Kko Home, Kapitolyo
Digital menu on an iPad
Home made raspberry tea
Chicken Cheese Fondue, half order (P658)
Oh My Garlic chicken with garlic-mustard mozarella
I got my cheese pulls and so much more. The chicken was perfectly done, juicy on the inside with a crispy exterior, despite being drenched in a flavorful, sticky sauce. Calling this a dipper is an injustice, because it can rightfully stand on its own; and yet somehow it goes remarkably well with the cheese. The fries and onion rings were carb stuffers to enjoy the cheese with, but the bread bowl beat them both, tasting like a sourdough (was it?) I guess it’s clear I loved it, and I’ll be back to try different combinations next time.
Grabbed from FSM Media, the poster I like best from all those released
After Kko Kko, there was its homophone, Coco. For the sake of all those who haven’t seen it and happen to stumble on this entry, I’ll keep it spoiler-free. All I’ll say is WOW: visually arresting, the colors as vibrant as the culture and heritage of its characters. I consider it timely, when it’s becoming easier to get more and more disconnected from the songs in our hearts and those we should hold dear.
We had time for one more movie, so we bought tickets to Murder on the Orient Express on its first day out in the theatres. We had just enough time for a quick coffee break at Toby’s Estate before heading back to the cinema. With an all-star cast, many of whom I am gaga for, I didn’t expect anything less than stellar performances… and I wasn’t disappointed. It was thrilling, thought-provoking, and despite having read the book decades ago (and remembering absolutely nothing), still left me baffled. I can’t put my finger on it though, but I wasn’t blown away. So it was a good mix of new things, but as the title suggests, my Wins of the Week were Kko Kko and Coco. Thoughts? Let’s discuss!