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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

entry arrow12:39 AM | Food Roundup Dumaguete 2016: Allegre

I am an accidental foodie: I used to write a food column for a local paper and have written extensively about the Dumaguete food scene for national magazines and newspapers -- until I decided to discontinue the enterprise about four years ago. Still, people I know who visit Dumaguete keep asking me about the best places to go to eat, and I've found I no longer quite know the scene. A lot can change in half a decade. So I've decided to try a new approach this year and go about sampling the local food culture once more and document everything online in the course of twelve months. The city has grown and expanded enough in the years since 2011, and a significant part of what's happening food-wise has become unfamiliar to me. Consider this a personal adventure.

Some places just become hangouts-to-go-to organically, word-of-mouth-wonders whose popularity cannot be achieved by any sort of marketing, especially in Dumaguete. Such is the case with Allegre, literally a hole-in-the-wall along the Boulevard, part of the frontage that occupies the old Wuttrich sugar house near Bethel that houses also an Italian resto, a Greek donut shop, and -- like a sore thumb that tells you this is where the money is made -- a pawnshop. Allegre is small, but it makes up for its smallness a convivial air that has attracted a diverse clientele, mostly a Spanish mestizo bunch. It has bric-a-brac decor that aims for cluttered charm, and it works, but it is the margarita that everybody comes for -- probably the best in the city. And in this heat, it is a perfect concoction to cool down a caloric night and get slightly buzzed at the same time. Allegre above all is a tapas bar, and it excels in its variety of these small pieces of gustatory teases, from the patata mayo tomato, the boquerones with caramelized onion, and the bonuelos de bacalao to the spicy pork bruschetta, the lengua, and the chili bombs. There's so much more, but my favorite has to be the chorizo with quail egg (P180), a concoction that delights with its inviting texture -- the spicy earthiness of the ground pork combined with the soft creaminess of the quail yolk. The place easily gets full, so it may be wise to call ahead and reserve a table. But Xenia, Allegre’s manager, can do magic by setting up a roadside table for you when the place itself gets too full. We ordered at 7:00 PM. Order received at 7:25 PM -- but with reason: it takes some time to assemble the squishy goodness of that tapas.


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