Tag Archives: Italian Food

Heisenberg visits Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza

ginos brick oven pizza

When you try a Breaking Bad stunt without a proper Heisenberg approach, you end up fleeing Market! Market! like sad Jesse Pinkman.

But enough of crystal talk, getting choked out of the scary place led us to the only comfort of life in nearby Serendra. Thank God for Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza!

gino brick oven serendra

Nothing could better than Sunday Funday Pizza, and to add that this was our first visit to Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza.

First rule was no pasta! So we ended up with:

Buffalo chicken pizza

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Let’s just say that it was sweeter/tastier than our expected flavor. Also the chicken strips were marinated and shredded so they looked like corned beef! I was expecting slightly larger chicken breast strips but the little strips gave more impact on the flavor.

Maybe next time they should bring the pizza to our table right ASAP. A little delay deprived us of the smoke and cheese porn! The mozzarella cooled quite fast.

stracciatella pizza

Stracciatella Pizza

This was a salad on pizza and just lovely to look at! Topped with cloud-like stracciatella, first instinct was to spread it all over the pizza. Next was to mix it with the buffalo chicken pizza to temper its flavor.

This pizza was as delectable as it was pretty and the arugula lent to just the right tang.

ginos brick oven pizza serenda

All in all, I would like to go back and try the other pizza flavors at Gino’s. Again, I’m still dubious if I wish to try the pasta because I still have loads of other pizza variants to try.

Till our next Breaking Bad mission!




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Feelinguini Hungry: Linguini Fini

linguini fini revie


For the longest time, we have lusted over Linguini Fini at the Mega Fashion Hall. Must be the catchy rhyme or the homemade pasta promise.

Nope, it was the rhyme. Linguini Finiiiii. How can you not resist those i’s?

linguini fini compli bread

While I couldn’t drool over the porchetta, pancetta and all other meaty P’s, anything with cheese could suit my fancy. And of course there’s squid!

linguini fini calamari

The Calamari was ostentatiously soft, there was no way you could settle for one, two. Just keep on shoving, but do beware of shoving some chili as well. They do well to garnish but not so much to remedy a sore throat. The dip was just as divine, so scooping is the only acceptable method.

megamall italian

The Bronx Pizza was meat studded, save for 2 plain cheese slices for me (via special request)! For a meat lover, this will do. However for a pizza lover, this was just awright. The dough was not to-die-for, and when I ate my 2nd cheese slice after some time, it was hard and greasy.

While a non pork eater, I could spy chunks of pork fat on the porchetta (5% meat only?) which, I tell you, is no pretty sight (and the pork eater did agree, yes). Maybe next time, stick with the friendly p, Pepperoni!

linguini fini pasta

I went for the basic Pomodori pasta, and learned rather idiotically that linguini fini actually referred to their homemade noodles,as in fine linguini.

After that Aha! moment, we ceased all jokes relating to linguini fini, and if the server was Fini in the flesh, and well, you probably get what I mean, All good. On to the next vocabulary word. (It was digestivo, by the way.)
linguini fini20150226_125514

The Pomodori was a hearty serving of tomato, all twisted in pasta propriety.

The noodles were firm and chewy, and there was a lot going on under that linguini twist. Whilst I relished each bite and delighted in my tomato feast, it was the last few bites that had the clincher.

linguini fini noodle
I guess some strands were just too attached to one another, huh? Sending me their love, in a hard-to-break clump!

Good thing the pizza made me full, so I let this one pass… though with a snapshot to remember them by! Sneaky linguini!

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To Tuscano Pizza and Beyond

BGC Pizza

If there is something in life we can never say “no” to, it’s #PizzaNight! Never screw with our pizza nights or you’re sure to get a fistful of dough in your pants or pepperoni in your socks.

There is no better feeling than accidentally discovering pizza joints in Manila that serve reasonably awesome and legit pizzas. Take this Tuscano Italian Wood Oven Pizza over at Burgos Circle, BGC as a classic example. The entire name is a quite a mouthful, it makes me full already!

burgos circle taguig restaurant

Having given up on BHS restaurants where nothing could fulfill our pizza cravings – except for Nolita, but I found its pizza on the salty side the other night, so sorry not for now – we ended up strolling until we ended up at Tuscano’s doorstep.

The place serves the usual Italian fares, but greedy pizza kids only order pizza on #pizzanight – that’s the rule! 

vegetarian pizza seafood

We ordered Tuscan Garden (aka the vegetarian pizza) and Seafood Feast (Frutti di Mare), both pies for sharing. I did have a taste of the compli bread because I was already dying of hunger from that trek.

I know there were only two of us, so doing the math, we should have borne a superfluous bounty, but restaurants always underestimate my appetite based on my foot size and my brother, based on his tattoos. Okay, no sense at all.

To summarize, we finished everything to the last crumb and morsel and yes, I ate the crust which I never do with cheap pizzas.

pizza night manila philippines

All in all, considering two skinny kids finished a “for sharing” portion each, I’d say that the quality makes up for the size.

Imagine the Tuscan Garden brimming with fresh vegetables and what seemed to be asparagus! It was an almighty greenery that vegans will pay homage to!

frutti di mare tuscano pizza


It wasn’t about thick gooey dough or cheap cheese; it was about fresh and quality ingredients, meticulously put together for that freshly baked Italian gourmet ride. 

The pizza is crisp and crackling with greens, and nothing is scrimped in terms of freshness. Ah yes, to Tuscano and beyond – and can I not eat mainstream pizza ever again?

Or maybe. it’s time to plan #PastaNight!

Decisions, decisions…

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Aria Hungry? (Aria Cucina Italiana)

pasta pizza aria manila

Whenever I dine in a restaurant-pitcher-list (like Aria Cucina Italiana BGC), I lean towards ordering the utterly unusual just for the sake of experimentation. While I am not the most adventurous diner, I still tend to be curious of dishes that cannot be concocted in our kitchen, not because of absent skills, but more of the deficiency in tools and ingredients. Cough, truffle, cough.

aria jenina gonzales j.anne

This is perhaps to explain how I ended up with oven baked potato gnocchi topped with simple marinara sauce and without a hint of bread on the side. I’m guessing if they wanted to torture me with spuds, no other carbs should steal that starchy limelight.

potato gnocchi aria

With the ever safe pesto, pansoti and even arrabiata in the menu were all prized prospects, I stubbornly went for the Gnocchi alla Sorrentina. Not a fan of spuds to begin with, not to mention the squashy and boring kind, this was not the best choice for someone who wanted something red, hot and al dente! The marinara sauce was average and nothing fancy loomed in the sauce, making this easy-to-digest dish something for the generous conservative.

Aria Pizzas

The Rucola e Pinoli  pizza (arugula, pine nuts, truffle cream) was the prize order of the day, single-handedly finished by the lucky guy who ordered it. Light, crisp and with that oomph factor, any person could live off on that pizza and consider himself solved for the rest of his eating career.

aria pizza fort

The Quattro Stagioni (4 flavors) pizza has a thicker dough, perhaps the less gourmet version to cater to the plebeian taste. While the pizza’s composition was still grand, cheesy and delectable, having tasted that truffle makes everything else pale in comparison.

The desserts were imperative, despite the starchy redundancy. It did not matter if I was about to start the new year with a an expanded waistline, I hate to leave Aria with a satisfied look; smug is out of the question.

Aria dessert

The Mousse ai Due Cioccolat was a splendid cup of dark and white chocolate mousse and hazelnut to ward off the meal’s not-too-pleasant aftertaste. While looking quite miniscule, it’s all in the presentation. This little cup can certainly fill you up, and no matter how full you feel, you will finish it. Blame the sweet tooth. And the potato.

Aria has been a pleasant ride and more so for those who are hungry for gourmet Italian fares right smack in BGC. Inventive and the usual (by usual we mean pesto, carbonara, etc.) pasta and pizza selections are on the menu and if you decide to deviate as I did, make sure it’s something that you have been dying to taste all your life and want it now.

And so potato gnocchi, you are absolved.

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Pizza High from Cantinetta

Burgos Circle-Rizal Drive can be an unnerving sphere of lights for the high and hungry. Filtering down the choices to comfort food does not even help a bit. There’s Jozu Kin, Rue Bourbon, Tuscano Italian Wood Oven Pizza and the lure of Sweet Bella.

But when hunger calls, there’s only one dish for the lost, and that’s pizza. Hence, Cantinetta wins.

Cantinetta Four Cheese Pizza Burgos Lazy Black Cat

A rare feat for me would be to ditch salad and pasta altogether, albeit their sinister appeal. Foregoing the likes of Caprese and Canneloni Ricotta e Spinaci was rather uncharacteristic, but no regrets as to their replacements.

Being our self-imposed Pizza Night at Cantinetta, it was mandatory to order only the pizza that would give that absolute high.

The Quattro Formaggi and Fontina Porcini e Tartufo were selected based on cheese content, vegan friendliness and yes, more cheese – and there’s also the case of the truffle oil as for the latter.

Cantinetta Pizza Burgos J.Anne Gonzales

So as not to spoil every bit of detail to those who have yet to dine at Cantinetta, let me skip the small talk on the dough (light and chewy, I could finish the entire serving), ambience and service (bene).

The pizza, though, is graced with a generous spread of cheese, I would imagine dreaming of this dairy vision for weeks. The Four Cheese seems to be a subset of the Porcini-Truffle pizza (yes let me call them by their English names, please) but are equally delightful. The mushrooms and truffle oil lend a gourmet flavor to the pizza, making this pizza preference surpass every bit of potential pasta choices I earlier had. The crust by no means hinders the overall flavor, as it is light and crunchy, yet chewy towards the center.

Next time, should we be less vicious in our appetite, that caprese and canneloni deserve a chance on our plates.

A dopo, Cantinetta! Yes we got stoned from all that pizza but no references to the other green stuff.

(A dopo = See you later!) Shame on you.

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