The diner next door-A A +A
Friday, June 22, 2012
THINK of it as the neighborhood buddy you can run to for good food. It is where you can have your fix of well-prepared delicious meals and at the same time, enjoy the comfort of being in a very laidback atmosphere.
Befittingly enough, this next door diner is located in a commercial complex nestled between Barangay Talamban suburbs and the busy Banilad district. It doesn’t mean, however, that only folks living up north will be its patrons. With its varied selection of yummy food, even those who are from the other end of the city will make a beeline for Buddies.
The new diner is owned and managed by three “buddies” Nino Bascon, John Paul Chiongbian and Blake Go.
Nino shared that they are foodies, always eating out, trying out new places, and sometimes Nino himself cooks for them—and that was essentially how Buddies started.
“I started experimenting with burgers, and he would taste it,” Nino said, referring to John Paul. From burgers, he moved on to creating tacos, burritos, gambas (spicy shrimp) and many more, until eventually they decided on putting up their own diner.
Nino did not have formal training in the culinary arts, yet the self-confessed “frustrated chef” is certainly no neophyte in the kitchen. His family’s business is also in the food industry, and he has been cooking since he was young.
Buddies is described by John Paul as a “diner with a Filipino twist.” It offers a mixed selection of favorite comfort foods such as burgers, tacos, burritos, sizzling rice meals and silogs (dishes with fried rice and egg).
A must-try when visiting the place is its burgers. Nino has created his own signature patty, which is of a very juicy and meaty quality. Diners can choose from getting a single-patty burger or a double, or even go for the ultimate burger that has four!
Buddies has an ongoing challenge. Those who can finish the ultimate burger under five minutes will get it for free. Winners will also get a prize, and their name will be included in Buddies’ wall of fame. Bragging rights, anyone?
As for its line of Tex-Mex food, Nino gave it a distinctive twist to appeal to the local taste buds. The bestsellers are the steak taco and steak burrito. They then serve sriracha hot sauce that one can use if he or she wants a fiery flavor.
From the south to the upper region of the U.S.A., Buddies also offers a taste of Philadelphia in its philly cheese steak. It is a submarine-style sandwich filled with thin strips of steak rolled in creamy, melted cheese. Nino disclosed that he personally visited the original cheese steak house in Philadelphia to grasp the flavor of this iconic sandwich.
Then if one is craving for a more Filipino meal (i.e. with rice), Buddies’ sizzling plates are worth trying out. The sizzling burger steak, for instance, uses the same patty that they use in their burgers, but this time the highlight is the savory gravy that Nino has prepared.
With all the new dining destinations opening in Cebu, the bottom line is: only those that delight the Cebuanos’ appetite will stand out. Just like Buddies—no frills, no fuss—it’s simply a good place with great food!
Buddies is at Piazza Elesia in Talamban, Cebu City. It is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 23, 2012.