BY RICKY MONTECILLO
August 7, 2016
It’s raining now in Baguio and the weather is chilly. My wife Tina, daughter Samantha and I are here now in Forest Lodge hotel in Camp John Hay where we spent the night. This hotel is quaint and the ambiance gives you a very “Baguio” feel.
The theme of the hotel is a kind of log cabin with lots of pine wood accents. No air-conditioning needed because of the cool weather. In this part of Baguio, away from the crowds and traffic of Session Road, you can still enjoy the fresh breeze of the mountains with lots of pine trees. We availed of Forest Lodge’s Raining Day Special, paying only Php 3,450 for a Deluxe room.
Now dinner last night was out of the box. On the way here yesterday, Tina Googled for “where to eat in Baguio?” and she took note of a new restaurant named FOGGY MOUNTAIN COOKHOUSE. It was described as “the Secret We Should’ve Kept to Ourselves”. It was enough to arouse our curiosity.
While driving up through Kennon Road, we made reservations to FOGGY MOUNTAIN COOKHOUSE. The owner, Mr. Babes Reyes, texted that he ordinarily needs a day prior notice for reservations but he was making an exemption and gladly booked us for the night and got our orders.
We took a taxi from the hotel to spare us from getting lost. The drive from Camp John Hay to San Carlos Heights in Naguilian Road where the restaurant is located took only about 25 minutes. We passed through Loakan Road to Kisad thru Legarda then Naguilian and turned right to St. Joseph Street in San Carlos Heights. The decision to take the cab was so worth it!
It was night time and raining so it was easy to miss the sign of Foggy Mountain Cookhouse. It is located in a residential area and actually it is an old but very well preserved house of Babes’ parents. A 60s inspired Baguio House, with a driveway leading up to the entrance. It has wooden tables and chairs set in the veranda area, giving the customers a nice view of the mountains and night lights below.
Babes Reyes is hands-on in running this off-the-beaten-path restaurant. Already retired from a life-long career as a trader, he said he always had a passion for cooking and whipping up stuff at home. He intimated that when the kids were growing up, rather than being all stressed out and cranky after coming home from work, he took to cooking for the family as his therapeutic outlet. Until finally about two years ago, he decided to put up his own restaurant here in Baguio City.
Babes himself greeted us and told us that our food was going to be served in a bit. He gave us small glasses of red wine and some appetisers while we waited. The placeis private and charming. It felt homey and personalised, just like being entertained as house guests. There was even a portable fire place which made the feel of the place more romantic.
The food was very tasteful and exotic. We started with some smoked flat bread with bean paste and fresh green salad with olives and some sweet mustard dressing. We ordered only two main courses which are the Greek Peasant Lamb slow simmered in rosemary and red wine on a bed of mashed potatoes and the Grilled Pork Chops marinated in chipotle spices and honey served with Moroccan Rice.
The Lamb was very tender and had a middle eastern flavor. Babes said he tended to serve Mediterranean dishes. And oh the Pork Chops were something else! The spices of the chipotle sauce simply delights your taste buds!
For desert we had the Pumpkin puree topped with roasted mallows with whipped cream. Perfect desert after such a meal.
What a feast for the three of us! The servings are generous and we could barely finish them. The flavuors and spices stayed with you long after the meal and it was only drowned out after the desert and freshly brewed mountain coffee.
Having dinner in such an enchanting setting, so private and quiet in an outdoor setting is an experience which certainly compliments the Baguio experience. With a slight drizzle and cool weather, having a sumptuous meal with the view of the night lights below, makes for a perfect dinner out.
FOGGY MOUNTAIN COOKHOUSE is now our secret that we would like more people to discover!