If you’ve been invited to have dinner for free, there are only two possible reactions to that. YEAH or HELL YEAH! That’s my initial reaction… Til I found out that it’s 2 hours away from the city. That’s what happens when you don’t read the entire invitation. Nonetheless, it went out alright, I’m blogging about it after all.
The only thing I know about this trip is that we’re going to Argao (south part of Cebu) and dine at a restaurant called Carenderia ni Eton. If I were a random person and saw the name, I would think that it’s not a fancy restaurant. Carenderia (local eatery) has the notion that it is not a formal kind of place. But seeing that they’ve invited us in their place means that it’s not just a typical Carenderia by the alleyway.
Long story short, or in our case, 2 hours later, we arrived in Argao.
Frankly, that is not what I expected about the place. What I had in mind before coming to the place was either it is really indeed a cheap local eatery looking place, OR an upgraded version of the term ‘Carenderia’. I was really bothered by the name, I know (ha-ha). My initial thought upon seeing the food place is that it’s a barbecue house. And it definitely it was one by night. During the day, it’s an eatery, very much true to its name.
We met the owner, Robert Yap, a few moments after. I expected that his name was Eton, and again, I was wrong. It’s his older brother’s name who passed away last year. Clearly, he loved his brother so much that he named his business venture after him. After Eton died, he realized that life was indeed short and should seize the opportunity while it’s been fully presented (or so that’s what I understand about his story). What a great way to turn your misery into an inspiration.
Robert served 3 of the dishes from his restaurant. First on the list is a Filipino favorite, the chicken Inasal. The dish was marinated well, a little burnt on some parts, which for me makes it more delicious. F*ck carcinogens and whatnot. I like it that way haha.
Next on the list is another popular food choice of Filipinos, grilled pork tenderloin. Robert boasts that it may be the “best barbecue” we’ll ever taste in Argao. What made it more appealing for me is that they told us how they did the barbecue. There was a mention of reverse-osmosis of some sort. I was too focused eating the darn barbecue that I didn’t really listen to the entire process and thought that I’ll just research about it after. And a day has passed, and I still don’t get it. Luckily one of my fellow food bloggers explained to me that it was just a fancy term for pre-seasoning. Anywho, it would just give me a headache trying to figure it out since I don’t have any skills (emphasis on “any” ha-ha) in the kitchen.
What really sold me is the last dish, the Filipino Pochero. The beef is so tender that it’ll melt right in your mouth. I really like the soup. Reminds me of my mom’s cooking which adds the love factor on this one.
After the dishes were served, Robert introduced two of the dessert. One was my all time favorite dessert, MANGO FLOAT. Leche Flan, another Filipino favorite dessert, was also served. Although I love mango floats, their Leche Flan was what I ate the most. I like it because it wasn’t too sweet compared to other Leche Flans occasionally served in fiestas.
After dinner, Robert wanted us to also check the local Tortas in Argao. As what he said, “Argao is Torta, Torta is Argao”. I don’t know anyone personally who’s from Argao. But according to Robert, that is Argao’s specialty. It would be a shame if we didn’t buy some before we leave Argao.
The first one we went to was sadly close. It was around 8 in the evening anyway so it was understandable. The next one we went to was Chitang’s Torta. As I am writing this blog, I can’t help to crave for more. That’s how delicious those goodies were.
Somebody in our group asked if one of the ingredients in making Tortas are really Tuba (Coconut Wine), and the people behind Chitang’s Torta confirmed. Just like any other wine, the longer it is, the better. That goes the same on their tortas. No wonder their tag line is “Nagkabahaw, Nagkalami” (The more it is being left, the tastier it gets). I’ll surely get some whenever I’m in Argao.