The RoguexPepper List: Reality Bites and Ultimate Eats

Everyone makes a list to recap the year, with best restaurants and best eats. Instead, Pepper has paired up with Rogue Magazine to create a 2014 eats inventory like you’ve never seen before, a funny, ridiculous take on everyone’s best of list that just shows you where it’s straight up good to eat. We’ve got everything from where you should impress your Chinese in-laws, to a full 6 pages in Rogue’s December issue which tells you where to eat 2014’s best meal, which trend must die, and more, available straight for download below. Take this guide with you when you’re picking out where to go for the holidays, and eat well.

Where Everyday is Cinco de Mayo
Where to Completely Disappear
Where to Take Your Chinese In-Laws
Where to Backpack Across Europe in Manila
The RoguexPepper 2014 List: Reality Bites

Where Everyday is Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo

A’Toda Madre by Mikka Wee

In Makati’s swankiest district lies one of the most eccentric watering holes. It is a place that’ll make my parents worry, so I never tell when I’m off to Burgos to grab a bite…and maybe down some tequila while I’m at it. Here in A’Toda Madre, I am in a Mexican parade with a few good friends and great booze to boot. I bob my head up and down to the music, a heightened appreciation for life as I slowly sip the drink in my hand (a bit more and I will be seeing things with a kaleidoscopic lens). So instead, I sink my teeth into a taco—a bit too eager with tomato juice spilling down my chin and onto my next one. To say that I am very am happy here is an understatement.

Where to Completely Disappear


Yeye’s Old Town Cafe by Nico Goco

Real dive bars are getting impossible to find these days. On any given night, I find it hard to find a place where I can grab a beer and enjoy bar chow without having to squeeze past a horde of millennials. Thankfully the food culture over at Aguirre in B.F. Paranaque seems to be rubbing off on its neighbors, minus the crowds. While Better Living won’t come to mind as a food destination in the South, it is here that you’ll find Yeye’s. The glorified diner décor doesn’t give it away, but the place is a Singaporean joint with an extensive menu. It opens at lunch, and serves an assortment of rice meals. But I’m there at night, when the satay sticks are half off, the pale Pilsen is ice cold, and the laksa is piping hot.

Where to Take Your Chinese In-Laws

Chinese In Laws

Lung Hin by Jin Perez of Jinlovestoeat

The first thing that greeted me when I walked into Lung Hin were calla lilies in purple – my favorite color! I knew it would be a good meal, but it was even better than I expected. From the appetizer of plump and juicy hakaw to the crispiest peking duck skin wrapped in pancake, and all its tasty and tender meat sitting on a lettuce leaf – everything was perfect. But the piece de resistance had to be the steamed crab claw on a bed of egg white. So masterfully done it was like Hong Kong finally came to Manila.

Where to Backpack across Europe in Manila


By Pamela Cortez

Switzerland- Chesa Bianca

One of the only few Swiss restaurants in the city, Chesa Bianca hardly has competition, but it is still stellar with or without measure. The place itself is a little dowdy and dated, but if you want to pretend you’re in a log cabin in the Alps, the slightly musty interior might do the job. That doesn’t matter however, once their Swiss classics arrive at your table; they’re a study in French-Germanic cuisine: elegant but hearty and straightforward. Their röschti is crisp, barley soup clear and intense, and their oxtail in a sauce so thick and rich, but still with a hint of cabernet.

Greece- Ble

Yiannis Trifyllis’ little hole-in-the-wall in food neighbourhood BF is uncompromising when it comes to its agenda: they serve ‘real Greek food’ and nothing else. Most of these are recipes handed down from generations, and the tiny place seems like a taverna or estiatorio by the Aegean Sea. The hummus, tzatziki and babaganush are simple but excellent, with the latter creamy and smoky. Souvlaki and kebab are all grilled and prepared in a traditional way, but it is the soutzoukakia or cumin meatballs that will have you travelling all the way down South.

France- Brasserie Cicou

If we tell you that almost everything in Brasserie Cicou is delicious, it’s true, and might even be an understatement. Chef Cyrille Soenen churns out the best of classic French cuisine, but when he colours outside the lines, he still does so with precision. While the regular menu has standards that have become favorites (boudin noir on mash for example, or a hearty bouillabaisse), it’s the special menus that pop out once in a while which keep the chef on his toes, and us begging at his feet. His truffle menu this year imported the prized fungus straight from Perigord, and used it in everything from a Croque Madame to a pork head pate; a Lyonnaise menu drew up bistro classics from the French countryside.

Italian- Caffe Caruso

Amongst all the shiny new Italian places popping up promising real trattoria-style experiences, or homemade pasta as silky as Egyptian sheets, Caffe Caruso has quietly racked up a steady clientele because they are the antithesis of all that. A well-dressed dining room with no tricks up its sleeve aside from authentic Italian fare, Caruso, tucked into a Makati side street, is responsible for some of the best gnocchetti around. There is also Piemonte style lamb shank, homemade tagliolini, and spaghetti al nero de sepia, but the tiny pearls of potato alla bava is enough to woo you into submission.

Spain- Rambla

Rambla is the best outfit from Aliaga, Rostoll and co, no questions asked. Barcino is a bit of a cop-out, more bar than restaurant, and Las Flores is better, but not by much. Rambla, their more casual take on the new molecular trends that have been gripping Spain, is a bright space, with delicious new things coming out of the kitchen ever so often. Staples include octopus sliced until translucent, served with bright red onions and hummus, ricotta gnudis that burst with liquid salty cheese, and Iberian pork secret with sweet caramelised onions, pear chutney and apple jam.

Portugal- Gostoso

Gostoso Piri-Piri started out in food markets and bazaars, peddling authentic piri-piri chicken to passersby who were lucky enough to take notice of the smoky smells coming from their grill. Now with a brick-and-mortar space in Kapitolyo, it has become the default go-to for Portuguese cuisine in the city. Joao Branquinho uses recipes from his family anthology, the blend of spices permeating the skin of chicken distinct and perfunctory. The porco gostoso is just as divine, fatty slabs of pork rib with fat melting into the meat, only done better with an intensely spicy piri-piri sauce made with bird’s eye chili.

Turkey- Argos Minibar

I maintain that some of the best and most authentic food can be found in the seediest of districts, and Argos Minibar is the ideal example. Right smack in the middle of Burgos, the restaurant looks a little questionable, but will transport you to a hidden courtyard in the Grand Bazaar. The smell of tea, strong coffee and fruity tobacco hits you as you make your way amongst foreigners with the evening’s exploit. Their stuff stays on script, traditional and hardly making way for any Filipino crossovers. Iskender kebab, a meaty, herbaceous mix of beef and lamb, slathered with butter made from sheeps milk, pairs well with their kisir, a type of tabbouleh with cracked bulgur wheat. Even their dessert is truly Turkish—reuani, or semolina cake comes doused in a sugary orange syrup.

The RoguexPepper 2014 List: Reality Bites


View Reality Bites and other stories in the December 2014 issue of Rogue magazine available on Zinio and in major bookstores around Manila.

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