Monday, February 24, 2014

Chili's Philippines : My All-Time Favorite

One of the most common question that I would get from people who knows that I'm a food blogger is: "What's your favorite restaurant?"

I tell you, this always leaves me quiet for a while as I ponder hard on how to best answer this simple yet also difficult question. Let me explain why, it's no secret that I love to eat out most especially whenever I'm back home in Manila or when I'm traveling. It just so happen that Paul and I are trying to live a more domesticated life here in the Lion City that our eating out frequency has been lessened drastically from what used to be an every other day routine in Manila down to a weekend habit. So, if you do the math, we eat out 2-4 times a week assuming we have both lunch and dinner outside. That would be at a minimum 8 restaurants a month and 416 in a year! This doesn't include the occasional lunch out that I have with friends and colleagues. Normally, we don't repeat restaurants except if these are really really good that it got us craving for it. So, when faced with this tough question, I really have to think hard.

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Being able to have the time now to think about it, I do have my favorites -- places that have been consistently giving good food and excellent service through the years. Take for example Chili's. An all-American casual resto-bar that I've been frequenting since I was still in high school. I can't even count how many times I've dined here but all I know is that I can quickly give my order even without opening the menu.

My staples? Chicken Crispers with mashed potato (for me) and shredded corn (for Paul), Strawberry Smoothie with no Whipped Cream and Skillet Quezo. It really has to be all these three or my meal at Chili's won't be complete.

During my recent trip home, Paul and I were invited to sample a number of Chili's new menu offerings and of course I quickly said YES! I tell you, it was one of the highlights of our trip that we were both so excited for that day to come. Here are some of the dishes that we were able to enjoy that day:

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Bold Nachos Combo (Php. 550)  is a new variety similar to the Classic Nachos. It has a stronger Mexican flavor with the addition of the roasted spicy jalapenos, black beans and cilantro drizzle. You have the option to choose if you want it with chicken, beef or a combination of both. I really enjoyed this very much!

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We also had the popular Triple Dipper (Php. 495). This has been a must-order every time we would treat our friends at Chili's for our birthdays. After all, it is loaded with Buffalo Wings, Chicken Crispers and Southwestern Eggrolls. It suits everyone's taste depending on what they want to have as starters.

I've mentioned that I'm such a big fan of Chili's Chicken Crispers. I'll tell you why, I am extremely addicted to the honey mustard sauce. Friends and family who've dined with me can attest how many saucers I can consume. Furthermore, they really have the best Chicken Crispers in the land!



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Then, I met the Honey Chipotle Chicken Crispers (Php. 320). Crunchy, deep-fried chicken strips perfectly coated with honey chipotle sauce. For a while there, I suddenly doubted my loyalty towards the Chicken Crispers. After all, this new addition to the menu was really good. It comes with ranch dressing as the sauce was a bit spicy so the creamy ranch can help counter that. Oh dear... am I torn between two lovers?!  


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For pasta lovers, there's the Chicken Enchilada Pasta (Php. 430). Penne pasta topped with tender strips of grilled chicken and mixed with corn kernels and onions. I only had a small spoonful of this as I was extra careful about the corn. My table buddies all raved about it though.

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Now, here's what won my heart that day -- the Orange Habanero Salmon (Php. 685) which is served with Cilantro Rice. Given that I'm a big seafood fan, I love how fresh the salmon was. Coated in spicy, sweet sauce, I could finish at least half of the fish with less the guilt! The cilantro rice gave a nice touch to this too.

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For the manly man who needs his meat though, there's the Steak with Chile Lime Shrimps (Php. 895). This was such a hit in our table as everyone enjoyed the fork tender sirloin steak topped with juicy grilled shrimp and drizzled with chile lime glaze. As if that won't tingle your taste buds already, it's served with jalapeno mashed potato for that extra zing! It was good but my heart now belongs to the Orange Habanero Salmon above.

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If you're just planning to have your afternoon snack at Chili's then try the Cajun Club Sandwich (Php. 410) which is definitely not your ordinary club sandwich as it's loaded with grilled chicken, crispy bacon, cheddar and Swiss cheeses, jalapeno, lettuce and tomato! Of course it comes with a generous serving of Chili's signature fries too. I skipped this one as I was starting to feel very full already. :o

There's also the Fajita Trio (Php. 675) which my parent's love very much! I just happily plucked out the yummy shrimps and a few strips of beef too. Yum!

Margarita Party at Chili's

For those who are not aware of this fact yet, let me tell you that Chili's also serves the yummiest Margaritas in town! While I'm not a drinker myself, I loved how Chili's Margaritas are not too bitter and definitely not overloaded with alcohol allowing me to still enjoy the fruity notes. Coincidentally, February 22 was the National Margarita Day in some part of the world and what better way to celebrate this than to check out Chili's Rita Trio! Choose three premium margarita flavors for just Php. 350 all day! So long happy hour and hello happy day!

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We were able to sample the Pomegranate Margarita (1800 Tequila, Absolut Citron, Pomegranate Syrup), Tropical Sunrise (1800 Tequila, Melon Liqueur, Pineapple Juice, Grenadine) and the Blue Pacific Margarita (1800 Tequila, Cointreau and Blue Curacao). I personally love the Pomegranate Margarita the most. Having these 'Ritas made our lunch hour so much fun!

Can't end your meal without dessert? I can say that Chili's is one restaurant that gives attention to practically every single dish that they serve. While some restaurants may have the yummiest entrees, sadly their dessert would fail our expectations. Well, for Chili's the challenge lies in choosing what dessert to go for. My all-time favorite is the Skillet Cookie (Php. 380) -- Over-Baked Chocolate Chip Cookie topped with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream and Hot Fudge Drizzle.

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That day though, we tried the High and Mightly Pie (Php. 380) which is a yummy dessert good for sharing with the group. We all loved the tall Vanilla Ice Cream cake with Oreo cookie crust and drizzled with lots of caramel and hot fudge.

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We also had the Fried Cheesecake (Php. 350) which are deep-fried cheesecake balls served with caramel sauce, hot fudge and ice cream. Not a big fan of deep-fried dessert though so I wasn't able to enjoy this very much.

Oh what a fun fun lunch at Chili's! Now you know why it has remained to be one of my favorites restaurants in Manila for more than a decade already.

*photo credits: Paul Ang

Check out Chili's new branch at the 2nd level of Mega Atrium, SM Megamall, Edsa cor Julia Vargas avenue, Mandaluyong City. Call them at 631-380. They also have branches in Greenbelt 5, Northeast Greenhills, Tomas Morato, Alabang Town Center and Power Plant Mall.

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