Tag Archives: Greenbelt

Hello, Moto! (Motorino)

motorino italian restaurant pizza philippines

Please excuse my gluttony if I tell you that my Motorino experience happened as a 2nd dinner one traffic-laden Friday night in Makati.

To add to the carbo load, I had a full height green tea Family Mart cone in between, that certainly added to the inches to my waist.

But a Friday night is certainly not complete without calling it a Pizza Night.

And so the (unexpected) Motorino (Greenbelt 3) was welcomed with open arms and excited fingers.

salsiccia-motorino

pizza motorino makati

 

Quattro Formaggi and Salsiccia pizzas filled the table with their delectably chewy crust and cheesy splendor. The pizza was baked just right, that you look forward to biting on the center part the most. It’s the type of mindless munching that makes you forget about the week’s woes and focus on the pizza. Just the pizza.

There was something not killer-filling about the pizzas, that you can finish the entire pie, have a hearty burp and move on with life.

pasta motorino makati

The Parmesan and Mascarpone Pasta was a different story but with unparalleled festivity.

The mildness of the flavor was a creamy contrast to the pizza, while the noodles can only make Linguini Fini hide in shame. The genuine chewiness of the noodles made me fork in pasta until the last drop of sauce came into un-being.

It was that homey, confident yet soothing Italian dishes that will make me come back for more.

motorino-greenbelt

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Chihuahua Mexican Bar: Dog eat Dawg

Salad make your own makati

Dawg. Live like a gangsta, might as well speak like one, ayt? But that title hits the restaurant spot on—everyone knows what a Chihuahua is, right? When you’re eating at Chihuahua Mexican Grill and Margarita Bar (Greenbelt 2)—you got it—you’re gonna be eating like a dog, un perro.

Like the doggie bowl, concave metal contraption when Taco Bell’s little best friend eats from, if he has a home, well that’s where they serve your grub at Chihuahua.

Greenbelt 2 bar restaurant

I’m not one to complain though, since we’re gangsta. Heck, if you make me eat with my hands—uh oh, I’ve got my limits—no gracias. I like my utensils clean and spiffy but that gigantic metal bowl –cum-chamber-pot, why not?

It’s Mexican food and lo siento, I forgot my poncho-bib.

Enough gangsta talk, since I’m already getting a headache from the misspelled red-underlined words.

jenina gonzales food blog

Chihuahua Mexican Grill is a Mexican joint where, when you enter, you see the strangest folk, corporate beagles playing Uno Stacko—and having a crap of fun out of it. They must have been there way too early, so they were probably wasted as well. I like to go with the latter theory because getting high on wooden games and posting photos on social media as if this was the most fun thing on Earth, is not really NOT a fun thing to do on Earth.

Now if the guy at the next table were to photobomb their wholesome game with his unwholesome finger, now that deserves a “Like!” from me.

No, it did not happen though. Boo.

Greenbelt bar mexican

Now I have to talk about the food because it was what we went there for, not the games or photos of weird people flooding the walls or those pretentious sluts. Stop talking. Concentrate. Food.

The food is served Chipotle or Ristra’s style, the one where you fall in line and order what you want. The create-your-own Mexican meal so that if your food sucks, you have no one to blame but yourself.

It’s kind of pricey from an average worker point of view, but the restaurant has to pay off a lot of entertainment and leisure costs to get Uno Stacko loving weirdos to keep on coming back. Now if it were poker night. Hmmm..

Mexican hang out makati

Since it was a late dinner, I opted for the Chicken Salad.  As simple as that. That doggie bowl comes with fresh lettuce topped with guacamole, queso, pico de gallo, salsa, beans, corn kernels and lean marinated chicken.

It’s the condiments table that makes up for the flavor and aye carumba! experience – jalapenos, pico de gallo, all sorts of chili and tomatillos! Oh yes. I could live with that.

tacos nachos mexican greenbelt

And then we have Nacho Grande: A colossal mound of nacho chips topped with queso, chili, guacamole, pico de gallo, salsa, sour cream, grated cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, and jalapeños.  Good enough for one and happy enough to forego the burrito.

I’d say, if I had a second time around, I’d choose a lazy lunch hour for that Mexican visit – with daylight to see my food, more time to burn off the carbs and ample idle time to enjoy those tomatillos!

B-ADDENDUM: I did manage to return to Chihuahua for that lazy lunch hour. Unfortunately the chillin’ part backfired as we were met with equally languid service and lack of pico de gallo and other condiments. It was like the place was wiped clean (or kitchen bare) the night before and we were left with chicken scraps (literally) and an absence of fresh produce. With this uncool experience, I have learned to make my own nachos at home. Mexican food craving, solved!

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Red Mango Purr-fait

Normally, when one visits Red Mango, the idea of ordering a parfait is unlikely. We admit that we are partly feigning a healthy façade by opting for frozen yogurt, to be topped with fruit perhaps. But like others, I succumb to words like parfait and overload, especially when photographed with what seems to be loads of granola.

Granola—who says no to that?!

So ta-dah, here goes, the Green Tea Parfait, aka the Red Mango Frozen Yogurt dumped with everything within scooping distance!

greenbelt frozen yogurt

Going for green tea flavored yogurt (of course, green me), the parfait contains—get ready for the line-up—granola (my selling point), banana, red beans, oreo, more granola and a surprise, mochi! Somehow the parfait ends up having a sakura theme with the adzuki-green tea-mochi combination which was greatly pleasurable for me.

A bit of an overload though—yes there is such a thing and it’s this parfait—I ended up no longer scooping much of the frozen yogurt since there were too many bits and morsels to chew and swallow. Still, it was an enjoyable cup with varying degrees of texture and sweetness—kind of like a guessing game! Imagine my amazement when the mocha came popping out of nowhere. Bliss!

So if you end up staring at the photo and deciding between parfait or plain—it’s easy, do you want toppings with yogurt or the other way around?

And if you’re gung ho for granola like me. Well that’s a no-brainer!

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To Bistro or not to Bistro (Ravioli)

lazy black cat food blog

To bistro or not to bistro? (Bistro Ravioli, Glorietta/Greenbelt)

That is the question.

And the answer actually depends on you.

If you ask me though, I give it a maybe.

For starters, finding this little hole in the wall of Glorietta was a pain because it was literally a wee hole in the wall. All right, more like the shelf you DIY on a wall when you make the New Year’s resolution to clean up your room—that’s how accidental and cramped it looked.

The good thing though is that while I was painstakingly typing this, I learned that the Greenbelt 1 branch has opened, giving Bistro Ravioli more breathing space and hopefully, less looking like Harry Potter’s room and more of a restaurant which it really is.

If you’re walking from Glorietta though, the “walk” can be torture especially during rush hour.

As for the food, if you think that ordering Ravioli is your saving grace, the answer may vary depending on your appetite, gourmet expectations, company and budget—the last 2 equally important to taste!

j.anne gonzales pasta italian

The waiter-server-or-perhaps-manager suggested their bestseller Italian Sausage Ravioli in Romesco Sauce which I opted not to follow because I’m part vegetarian, and even if I do eat meat, I don’t want a meaty ravioli. It just doesn’t seem respectful to eat ravioli alongside blatant meat.

Better seafood like that Salmon Ravioli in Saffron Cream Sauce which my companions ordered and enjoyed quite well. The slightly yellowish tinge might have contributed to their amusement since they likened the saffron to what strangely sounded like curry. Hmmm…

glorietta italian restaurant

As for me,  the eternal green beckoned and I ordered the Spinach and Feta Cheese Ravioli in Pasta Sauce, which when unearthed, revealed roasted tomato slices peeking from the bottom—that for me was a delightful present. Topped with pesto and bathed in pomodoro, this beats team saffron anytime.

At first glance this P245 dish seemed too little for hungry me, but after engulfing loads of carbs—three quarters through the meal, a sense of fullness developed. Did I mention that I even donated my garlic bread to the hungry?

Sans the garlic bread and extra order of pizza (boo, I know), Bistro Ravioli’s ravioli was filling enough on its own. The flavor was all right for that hole in the Glorietta wall joint and I did manage to enjoy the burst of spinach-feta goodness. Of course other more expensive restaurants would offer the more gourmet ravioli but at least this offering was not ordinarily mainstream, if you know what I mean.

If I return, it would be in that Greenbelt branch (hello sunshine and air) and I might try that Salmon in Saffron Sauce. There’s also that three cheese ravioli. And there’s pizza too.

Oh dear, someone better get hungry fast.

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Andale, Baja Mexican Cantina

In preparation for my much awaited escapade at Baja Mexican Cantina (Greenbelt 3), not only did I brush up on my rusty Spanish, I also summoned my faux Latin roots (having once believed we were related to Speedy Gonzalez) and managed to perfect pronouncing quesadilla with the ethnic twang, “It’s que-sa-di-ya, entiendes?

Just this night, I was the Perezosa Negra Gata (Lazy Black Cat in Spanish) who was and still, mucha hambre!

The excitement died down, even before I could bring out my bolero, as the place became a Baja Siesta Fest.

Service was rather slow, as if exemplifying the siesta time. This lazy pace at 7 in the evening though made me consider blaming the time zone difference but then realized that perhaps their “Tia Maria” cook was still tossing the dough for the burritos. If I could only scream, “Andale, andale!” like my ancestor Speedy, then maybe things would’ve gone better. But since this is Manila, I wouldn’t want spit on my salsa.

The food came in long and irregular gaps, which in turn gave my companions their gossip break, and as for me, space out time.

Frozen Iced Tea
Cheese Quesadilla

Cheese Quesadilla

Slap in the right amount of cheese in between flour tortillas, grill and voila! Nothing could go wrong with this Mexican appetizer. Baja’s sauce on the side provided the much-needed flavor and spice. However we found the wrapper a tad too thick, thus engulfing most of the cheese. There’s a reason it’s called Cheese Quesadilla and not Quesadilla con Queso.

Nachos Supremo

Nachos Supremo

With gigantic balls of whipped cream, salsa and cheese, this one’s the appetizer champ. The toppings are finely placed and additional orders of salsa, cheese or guacamole are available at less than P50 per topping. The only fare that has been met with appreciative nods and lip-smacking praise, I believe should I return to Baja, it will be solely for this nacho fiesta.

California Burrito

California Burrito

A beef-filled entree, I watched as slivers of French Fries erupted from the sliced Americanized burrito. The ground beef was everywhere, too tedious for me to pick, and so I left this fare to the meat-eaters. They ate in the Mexican fashion, slow-paced but not engaged in the meal. It seems that the Hamburger-cum-Burrito was not welcomed by their discriminating taste, or perhaps the hybrid attempt simply did not satisfy either genre.

Fish Fillet Vera Cruz

Fish Fillet Vera Cruz

This fish went from “fresh catch” to “gone in 60 seconds”. The fish was fresh and if it helps, so white, I just couldn’t stop shoving pieces in my mouth. The batter was also mildly Mexican, not overwhelming or irritatingly greasy. Whoever  Vera Cruz is, well here’s our message to you: Muchas Gracias, Senora! Unless it’s Tio?

Wet Burrito (with Chicken)

Wet Burrito (with Chicken)

The rice was placed on the side (as requested) and inside, it was 90% beans and 10% chicken (and chicken skin). The chicken was literally bathed in purple, and for a minute I thought I was eating dinuguan and ube (both of which I do NOT eat) in one mighty wrap, devoid of vegetables. If I could rename it, it would be the Fat-Wrap Bean Burrito. In grade school science class, we learned about the 3 Gs of Nutrition: Go (carbs), Grow (protein) and Glow (vegetables). Simply put, this burrito’s so wet, it’s lost all its glow.

With other more enticing and conveniently located Mexican joints in Manila, it’s “Adios!” to Baja Mexican Cantina in the meantime. Should you decide to have a fish taco-nacho buffet in the future though, count me in!

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Thai Will Be Done (@Oody’s)

Thai food is best described as vibrant, diversely flavored and patron-choosy—which is why I’ve never been too fond of it, being one of the patrons forced to face its spite. The spicy part, I can endure, but the liberal flavor of fish sauce and peanuts has not been too friendly to my salt-averse sense of taste. The Legaspi Market’s Pad Thai though, drastically improved my assessment on this dish and presented an opportunity of, possibly, craving Thai food in the future.

And crave I did.

 Oody’s Greenbelt was a mindless choice, logistically advantageous and appealing to the Makati walkers. That, and for some odd reason, my peers did not consider Banana Leaf an option. Pity—and so Oody’s it was!

 

My quest for Pad Thai was thwarted though, by the flaunting photo of the Pad Siew. Less pallid, fortified with greens and devoid of peanuts—it seemed to reach out to me, and so I ditched the Pad Thai fancy. It was a choice not to regret. Pad Siew literally means “fried with soy sauce” and its rice noodles were chewy yet tender, just the way I imagined them for weeks. The chunks of chicken and scrambled egg were generously incorporated in the dish and not placed as a measly siding. While a bit on the oily side—what can you expect from stir fried noodles?—I suspect a cup of tea would assuage the risk of a shortened lifespan. Nonetheless, the tea never emerged, but rather, a hefty crepe with ice cream. I suppose there’s always room for dessert.

The Pad Thai and Noodle Soup with Chicken were not mine to begin with, but let me provide snippets of the comments from my equally hungry and opinionated mates:

Soup:

“I suppose it’s okay.”

“I’m only eating soup because I have gastro-something. I sure hope it’s not spicy!”

“I’m paying this much for this soup? Hmmm.”

When asked for comparisons, “Of course Pho Hoa serves much better soup. This doesn’t even come close.”

Pad Thai:

“Wow, that’s a lot! But your Pad Siew looks way better!”

“You can have some of my Pad Thai, you know.” To which I nearly screamed, “No, thank you!”

I rest my case.

 ON THE SIDE

House appetizers – The spicy peanuts and fried wanton made lovely centerpieces and to our delight, were rather tasty. “Refillable” was another key to securing our economical enjoyment. As for hygiene, well that’s another story.

Service – Undertaking the challenge to serve us water in small, decorative glasses, Oody’s waiters nearly regret their insensible decision. While tall glasses graced other tables (I wonder why), they opted to serve us, human camels and giant gulpers, the beakers amongst their dishes. Concession was made by leaving a pitcher instead, but that was after about 3 rounds of Water, please. Your free peanuts are choking us!”

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