Tag Archives: American food

Beets Please: California Pizza Kitchen

Food pizza restaurant manila review

I have abstained from eating at California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) for the longest time, albeit not related to utensil hygiene or rude service, but from a domestic altercation memory best left be buried in my metal abyss.

It would seem that I have gotten over that trauma—though unfortunately for CPK, it has become associated with adverse heart palpitations and childhood doom. Which partially explains why whenever someone asks about CPK, I always forget that a branch exists in Trinoma. For this idiotic lapse, I apologize.

To make up for my unforgivable food-related blunder, I have thus decided to write about CPK, but of course, expect the usual candor.

 Quezon City Pizza Restaurant

What is fabulous about the CPK Trinoma branch is that it’s located in a remote and private section beside Mango Tree Bistro, at the al fresco wing, but way quieter. Of course that peace was shattered when one of the patrons gave the shrillest squeal I have even heard—too alarming for a mouse but too short for a siren—so yes, it was certainly produced by a real girl.

Why she did that, it will forever be buried in the CPK CCTV archives, but no, it wasn’t me. She beat me to it. Boo.

Before you continue reading, let me just warn you that I went to CPK for the SALAD and not the pizza. Yes, I had on that pseudo diet mindset that evening and wanted to have my share of dessert, and so to please both my body weight and palate, I opted for salad. Blame the math.

While it’s just silly to go to California Pizza Kitchen and not eat pizza, it’s just like going to a bar and drinking water. Yes, I do that. I admit, I am not fun company.

 

And so, for the salad I will give you 2 kinds: Like and I-tried-to-like-but-just-can’t.

 

Let’s start with the bad news: Chicken Moroccan Salad.

 j.anne gonzales blog

In an effort to have “everything on it” this salad does the job. It literally has a smorgasbord of toppings, some of which you have never tasted in your life. Imagine beets. I thought beets were for old or sick people, and here they were, topping the salad like purple rhinestones on a crown of green. There were dried cranberries, avocado, almond slivers, dates (eww to the highest level) –the chicken was drowned by these festive tops.

Funny thing is, I forgot the dressing, whatever it was and the chicken, so it became a fruit-and-nut salad explosion. It also caused quite an explosion in my belly. Vroom-vroom. Biofitea, begone.

Then comes the promise of a return to CPK: The Original BBQ Chicken Chopped.

 jenina gonzales vegetarian salad

Now this one’s a winner, just by going through its name and composition (chopped lettuce, black beans, sweet corn, jicama, cilantro, basil, crispy corn tortilla strips and Monterey Jack cheese). Right? It isn’t just that it’s made up of the greatest toppings on Earth, it’s the way they’re tossed and come together in this Mexican fiesta of a salad. If all salads were like this, who needs pizza, huh?

Trinoma California Pizza Kitachen

All right, I lied a bit. I did have pizza, but the simplest kind, not the fancy, gourmet, artsy type that hipsters would order. Just the simplest version to appease my simpleton craving for mozzarella cheese. And yes, they do have that kind as well that goes by the conservative name: Traditional Pizza.

I did not make that name up.

Traditional Pizza is just mozzarella cheese on top. Rather than torture my arteries with mozzarella sticks, I went for the pizza instead. Good choice (pat on the head, lazy black me). It was chewy and comfort food tears-in-my-eyes satisfying.

The Chicken Moroccan Salad went on top of this pizza to balance its horrific and unknown ingredients. It was my hope to blanket these aliens with mozzarella presence. Kinda worked too.

sandwich quezon city trinoma

There also was another strange presence on the table, which was another traditional looking piece of homemade bread (I forgot the name of this Chicken Sandwich), but sadly was not mine. I could only click and salivate from my end. The happy diner was happy until the last bite, so I take it was a poultry success of a sandwich. It was the most Instragram-genic of the dishes as well.

Maybe next time.

But before anything else—note to self—there is CPK in Trinoma. Now don’t go driving off to U.P. Town Center for pizza. The parking there is just horrible.

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The Village Tavern: That Scrummy Supper

jenina gonzales food

The Village Tavern is perhaps the closest thing to an Irish pub that I would find in this life—unless I manage to sneak into someone’s luggage to the United Kingdom, an idea I find rather feasible given my size. I have always envisioned the authentic pub as brick-layered, partly rustic, showing the occasional football game with screaming-jostling abound. A leprechaun or Ron Weasley might make a surprise visit but other than that, mugs clicking are the staple.

bonifacio restaurant bar

The Village Tavern in BGC offers a different perspective to the classic pub theme, elevating the experience to high end, grandiose American, gastronomic experience. Perhaps relying entirely on the word Tavern is a misnomer worth welcoming, since focus on meticulously prepared food will find greater appreciation in a hunger stricken place like Manila. The meticulously prepared food also has a price, a bit too much of it. Let’s just say Ron Weasley would go all “Blimey!” once he reads the menu and might have to skimp on Butterbeer for a week.

restaurant taguig

The serving size ought to make up for the costly meals, but for those served for the solitary diner, best to credit presentation and restaurant lighting as contributing factors to the food cost.

bonifacio high street restaurant

The Tavern Nachos are the usual kind, glammed up a bit with monterey jack, cheddar, salsa, sour cream. Being the resident vegetarian, the beef was requested to be placed on the side—to which they obliged. There is nothing absolutely special to say about the nachos, since nachos are always exemplary unless topped with Kraft cheese, so as a default appetizer, nothing beats nachos. Except anything with mozzarella.

jenina gonzales restaurant article

The Onion Rings are probably the cheapest item in the menu, probably because they were more batter than onion. As an inexpensive siding, they were hmmm-kay. As a person allergic to oil, grease or trans fat, stay away.

j.anne gonzales fort bonifacio

The Jalapeno Poppers are said to be the bestselling items in the menu, frequently favored by food bloggers or anyone who loves to get creamed and spiced up at the same time. Unfortunately, the bacon prevented me from digging in, but with the sour cream cheese and fried presence, these poppers find it impossible to be everyone’s favorite. Again I’d be bound to ditch this over something with mozzarella, or the nachos for that matter—and the meat eaters will agree.

j.anne gonzales food review

Another strange and fatty concoction of Chorizo and Cheese – not mine.

food trip bonifacio highstreet

The Flash Fried Calamari was a dash of seafood splendor. Albeit a small serving, the bite size pieces found themselves all over my salad and plate. They were cute to look at and left a lasting memory in my palate. They also disappeared in a jiffy – like a flash someone ate ’em all!

Taguig american comfort food

What I am grateful for is salad. Anywhere I go, salad is normally the safest choice. Having seen the Chicken Thai Salad served about 4 times since I got to The Village Tavern, it warranted an order – just for me! Maybe it was the towering greens or the wonton strips or the Asian allure. For me, it was the curiosity. A bit on the sweet side, but with cabbage, edamame and delectable chicken strips, this was worth the rare caloric fest.

bonifacio central restaurant

The Black Pizza is sadly not mine. Topped with meat and pepperoni, I can only stare and sniff. My, my, the black crust alone was drool-worthy so I needed a bite, at the very least! Look at those herbs; they were calling out to me!

Black Pizza Bonifacio global city

Good thing there was a meatless niche and graciously sliced for me. Ah yes, this cheesy chunk of black pizza was fantastic, chewy and teary-eyed yummy all throughout. Being a crust hater, this is one of those rare occasions I happily finished the crust. It was a mind boggling crus-terrific slice. I wish there will be vegetarian or seafood options for this one!

mussels cappellini seafood

The angel hair Mussels Cappellini is exotically named and brandished on a soup bowl. The pesto-white wine sauce complements the mussels but others, like myself, may find it on the sea-salty side. Perhaps my parmesan was uncalled for, or my palate is just unfamiliar with Chilean mussels, which is strongly the case. Pardon the seafood deficiency since my most extensive background hails from the overly bland cream dory. Overall though, the angel hair and soupy texture lighten the saline rush and we get a pure mussels madness—with all that iodine and zinc, we should be getting smarter, awright?

dessert lazy black cat

I Instagrammed my Double Decker Cheesecake, labeling it as death, or a welcome to it as such. Though double in layers, it could perhaps feed a family, a large one for that matter. The layers of Chocolate and Cheesecake make you forget that you are in a watering hole where drinks and friends are the reason for convening; with this giant slice in front of you, only the cheesecake matters. It’s brick of a cheesecake will make you forget even your BFFs, guaranteed a near sleepless night and will make you wish you didn’t order those jalapeno poppers instead.

vegetarian bonifacio restaurant

Trying to personify vegetarian in the dessert arena, ordering the Very Best Carrot Cake was imperative! The cream cheese icing was a tad too much after having a creamy salad, but a dollop here and there could be spared.

Chocolate torte lazy black cat

That St. Barths Chocolate Torte at the background was not to be messed with. Sweet through and through and only with the vanilla ice cream to counter the sugar kick, this was the devil in disguise. Good and evil on a plate. You ought to consider confessing after this uber-sweet-treat.

If there’s a reason to go back to the Village Tavern, it’s to eat all those blasted desserts. Big enough to feed a village—so that’s where the reference comes from, mate!

restaurant bar fort bonifacio

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Texas Roadhouse Massacre (BGC)

texas roadhouse fort

There is really a homicidal ring to anything monosyllabic attached to the word Texas. I apologize to the Texans; blame the stigma of cinema. On the other hand, I adore tex-mex cuisine, though can never for the life of me raise a cactus.

menu texah roadhouse grill

Speaking of massacre and bloodshed, Texas Roadhouse Grill along BGC can definitely play host to gastronomic carnage of the gluttonous. Imagine hoards of fajitas, salads and the free-for-all peanuts gracing the table with a small plate to drive you mad. Yes, food slaughter is the best way to address this helpless situation.

salad fort bonifacio

Trying to personify my new self-imposed designation as salad blogger, mine was the Cobb Salad (the big one) to cherish, behold and finish. Topped with breaded chicken, tomatoes, cheese, egg and everything else for the cobb, it was a relishing experience of flavors. Apart from the already drizzled dressing, ranch was served on the side, while I requested the bacon to be placed on a separate saucer. Calorific, I know, but satisfying, terribly!

calamares bgc

A serving of calamari was ordered and this actually went well with the Cobb Salad. Much better than pairing it with its own marinara sauce.

The Chicken Fajitas came with the aroma that could be detected a mile away. Compared to Chili’s, this serving still catered to more room for dessert (Jamba Juice!) and quite an aversion to red bell pepper once the meal is over. Still, for a one-man meal (translation: refusal to share) this ought to be enough with its tortilla wraps, salsa and cheese toppings. It just so happens that my source was the chicken monster who could devour 10 chicken breasts after medication, which I don’t suppose is the average diner’s capacity.

swiss cheese fort bonifacio

Lastly came the pork chops topped with Swiss cheese, complete with rice and a siding of veggies. Go, grow and glow, what more can a Science teacher ask for? The miserable diner was no science teacher and seemed to be asking for a whole lot more and it wasn’t because the serving was small. He wanted the Fajitas too.

Should there be a real Texas Roadhouse Massacre, now you know where the chainsaw will land first.

Bloodshed or not, Texas Roadhouse Grill has been a bloody feast and save for the sad, sad chops, we’re coming back for the others. Piece by piece.

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