Cockhouse (evenings only)

“”Cockhouse” …more wholesome than it sounds, although not the kind of place where you’d bring your Bible study group,” says Rafe Bartholomew (author of  “Pacific Rims: Beermen Ballin’ in Flip-Flops and the Philippines”) in his blog after he visited Ilocos in December 2006.

Cockhouse is actually a resto bar, with live band entertainment, which attracts foreign and domestic tourists as well as locals who love the nightlife. The owners used to be fighting cock breeders, which explains the rather intriguing name.

Beer is the bestseller as expected. I’m not a beer drinker, though we go to Cockhouse every once in a while to eat kimlo (misua or vermicelli with fresh egg soup) or sizzling mushrooms or cheese sticks. The menu is pretty varied. Besides pulutan (hors d oeuvre) like crispy bagbagis (intestines), they also have tapsilog (rice with beef tapa and egg), lomi (thick noodle soup with fresh egg), pancit guisado (fried noodles), etc.. We sometimes bump into prominent people enjoying a beer or two. Some politicos too. Laoag is so laid-back, and we know how to enjoy what is there. We don’t crave for posh establishments. If a bar imposes entrance fee, I tell you, it’s dead sooner than you think. Ilocanos are known to be kuripot (tightwad) that is why establishments, like the no cover-no dress code Cockhouse have longevity. Not to mention, Cockhouse is the only place with good  girl band entertainment. I think even Aegis has performed there before.

LOL it’s the house that cocks built.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012

Make room for BISTRO 51′s great eats

… and Beer Below Zero at only P35–/bottle.

At a Christening party last night, my girlfriend, Ann, invited me to hang-out  with her best mates at the newly-opened chill-out place in Laoag. Of course, I didn’t think twice. Food adventure is a passion… and I still had room for more food and drinks… even if I had an enormous serving of seafood pesto at the party. I thought — gosh, yes, before getting into this long overdue weight loss program that I had planned for myself after being a slacker for several years now. So off  we went, but then again, after checking out Bistro 51’s menu, methinks the battle of the flab will have to take a backseat LOL and the muffin top stays. There is so much on their ecclectic and affordable menu that I wish to try — T-bone Steak, Chicharon Bulaklak, Baked Mussels, Pasta Carbonara, Beef Salpicao, Grilled Prawns with Hollandaise Sauce, Spicy Binagoongang Baboy, Bistek Tagalog, Grilled Tuna Belly Steak, Sinigang na Salmon Belly sa Miso, Sizzling Squid… and, ahh, Mango Mousse!

The 90-peso meals — a choice  of sizzling porkchop, sisig, liempo, squid or chicken breast with rice and soda — will excite the budget-conscious. Definitely, there is something for everyone.

Spacious and ideal for events and parties. I checked out the packages and found them very reasonably priced.

The well spaced-out tables, ambient amber lighting, and cool easy music, ranging from the 80’s to the present hits, make the place so relaxing and comfortable.

One of the owners, Kristine Fariñas-Tecson, gets busy overseeing the operations.

When asked what makes  Bistro 51 special, Teennie Umali-Fariñas says, “It is a happy place where people can be themselves.” No dress code, I noticed, and that’s major to some who favor laid-backness. Teennie adds, “The usual crowd is a mix of students and yuppies, but even families frequent the place.” The resto-bar is open for lunch and dinner… until the wee hours of the morning.

Tricia's Knockout Punch, zest in a glass! Rhum and milk power!

For the non-beer drinker, there is also Kristine’s Illusion, which is a mix of Curacao liqueur and pineapple juice. “Tropical and refreshing”, says one of the girls.  I’m trying it next time.

Pepper Cheese Sticks and Salmon Sashimi

A fresh way to enjoy siling haba (finger chili, an Ilocano favorite) is the deep-fried fusion dish above. The sili was crisp and wonderful with cheese. I’m not too sure if the dip was ranch, but it blended well with the excellent crunchy sticks. They also have Crispy Bagbagis and Pinakbet for the Ilocano palate.

Fried to perfection chicken!

Nachos... muy delicioso!

The food portions are good and the ingredients obviously fresh.

Al fresco dining. Friday and Saturday are acoustic nights.

Restroom revealed... I think I want to linger awhile...

Zen-like. Ain’t it sweet?

Another great thing about Bistro 51 is the ample parking space.

Without a doubt, I’m going back and I’m having their Beef Tapa (It was nirvana that I forgot to take a photo.), but with rice… and more!

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P.S. Thanks to Vanni and Josie for picking up the tab, and Kristine for the complimentary drink 🙂

BISTRO 51 Bar and Restaurant, Tawnee’s Petron Station, 51-A Nangalisan, Laoag City. Tel. No. (o77) 6706607
Photographed by Blauearth

Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED