Tag Archives: Pizza

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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Don’t Walk.. Skip to Mama Lou’s Kitchen!

UP town center restaurantUs Northern folks have been dying to try Mama Lou’s Kitchen for ages and are glad that a branch has finally travelled all the way to U.P. Town Center!

Literally went UP! We have been waiting for you, Mama Lou’s. Skipping music please.

Situated in the same complex as Merkado (the supermarket), Mama Lou’s is quite easy to spot, since it houses (and invites) the most patrons.

What’s not easy to traverse though is the Katipunan traffic, but that’s an entirely different sob story to be reserved for a churros party!
mama lou's italian restaurant

Mama Lou’s Kitchen has the homey Italian vibe, complete with brick walls and  complimentary bread for the hangry. That’s right, if you’re hangry and on a first date, best to calm down and have a bruschetta.lazy black cat blogThe photo stating “Stay dreamy, stay creamy” is no joke. I got it from Mama Lou’s and succeeding dishes will testify to this undying creaminess of a feast. jenina gonzales blog

Starting off with the Oriental Salad, you will realize that this is the “diet” food in the bunch. I speak of diet but it does have a smorgasbord of Asian fusion toppings: kani, apple slices and soy  sesame dressing reminiscent of Kewpie.
mama lou italian restaurant

Bacon Poutine in an Italian restaurant may be a bit left-out but this was received ample Ahhhs probably because it was topped with mozzarella cheese and bacon .

Something you’d want to take along in a movie and eat alone… with all that cheese!

j.anne gonzales blog When the Escargots came, I nearly fell off my seat in excitement!

How sophisticated and they came in their special scooping container–and every bite was filled with a buttery cheesy concoction!

Food coma in the making, and I didn’t even reach out for the equally buttery bread.

pasta where to eat quezon city The Truffle Mac and Cheese is my favorite from our evening roster, since cheesy truffle cream sauce is just something that makes you forget calories and just chew some more.

Seriously that awesome, I could eat it alone and forego dessert. Or maybe eat both!

italian restaurant manila qc

The Spaghetti Seafood Olio is brimming with shellfish and other seafood, so it is just right to serve it oil-based. Buttery oil-based best topped with parmesan still.
italian food katipunan

The “meaty” dishes were just as resplendent and succulent.

where to eat quezon city italian

The Marbled Rib Eye Steak was gone in a matter of seconds, whilst the Chicken Fra Diavalo‘s herbed chicken concoction gives off that irresistible roasted flavour that goes well with the mashed potato.

mama lou's las pinas bf homes Another heavy and creamy dish was the Risotto Tartufo Funghi. Delectable and cheesy, but make sure you bring a giant appetite if you wish to challenge this rice dish!

Pizza is, of course, an inevitable order and with Mama Lou’s roll-it-up-with-alfalfa-and-arugula, the more fun it is to eat!

pizza pasta quezon city

Bianca Pizza, as the name suggests, is the cream-based white pizza made for bacon and mushroom lovers.

where to eat pizza manila Mama Lou’s Pizza has prosciutto, arugula, mango slices and balsamic cream, so that’s like attacking a myriad of flavours in each satisfying bite. On the side, it looks amazing!

Despite an already heavy dinner, there is always room for more cream… yes, dessert!
dessert cheesecake UP town center

The Blueberry Cheesecake was pitted against the Chocolate Cake but the vote seems divided.

where to eat up town center The Chocolate Cake is not killer sweet, as it is tempered by the layers of cream. However the Blueberry Cheesecake retaliates by offering smooth creamy cheesecake for its gooey blueberry topping.

Best to just eat them in alternate bites. Everybody happy!

restaurant up town center Capping off the meal was the Mango Crepe with hints of hazelnut and topped with ice cream.

Don’t forget to order tea, since Mama Lou’s has an extensive offering–so I had peppermint tea!

Now if this meal still does not make us dream of creamy cheesy splendor, I don’t know what will!

Mama Lou’s Kitchen certainly warrants future visits, whether we’re craving for yummy Italian fares or just in plain need of a happy-creamy-gooey meal.

Stay creamy, stay dreamy!

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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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Clearing Out: The Wholesome Table

The Wholesome Table BGCOur first endeavour to visit The Wholesome Table (7th cor. 30th Ave. Bonifacio Highstreet) was met with was not too wholesome, with that one hour waiting period.

Those who know me would know that waiting is a trait I was never born with, and coupled with the adjective “hungry” can only result to disaster.

I did the world a favor by jumping off to neighboring The Village Tavern for dinner. That was the almost visit.

BGC restaurant

The second visit came with a bit of success, partly due to the first timing trauma. Having arrived for lunch on a Thursday at a remarkably impressive 11:30 am, I demanded not only a table, but one with couch seating as well. Early birds deserve the comfy seating, so as not to look dumb, amidst the long wait.

The Wholesome Table restaurant

Lunch was with long-absent peers, so my surreptitious snapshots could not be practiced shamelessly. I only managed a shot of the Eggplant Parmigiana and the complimentary bread. I heard it was potato (hard to believe), but regardless of its root crop origin, it was soft, steamy and righteous enough for the early bird – or anyone who detests carbs!

The Wholesome Table organic food

We also had Chicken Marsala and that Salmon in Basil Cream Sauce Pasta, both of which are kept in the sanctity of my not-too-wholesome belly.

The Salmon Pasta would make a revival on our next visit, but to be accompanied with whole wheat pasta.What I liked about the Salmon Pasta is its light and fresh flavor amidst its salmon and cream components. There was nothing fishy about it.

What is so exciting about this next visit, that I keep on referencing it?

Well for starters, it was a treat so that the orders came shamelessly and excessively. Another was that it was lunch, so we could eat to our heart’s demise and use the “no-dinner” as a pretext (though in retrospect I do remember having dinner still).

organic food bgc

To start of, we had three appetizers, one of which I could not partake in due to its meat content and lonesome serving (3 balls = 4 adults = uh oh).

Lucky them, I managed to forego the Organic Mushroom Fritters. Bathed in tomato sauce, they were supposed to be wrapped in Italian sausage and fried to perfection, but looking at the size, I’d surmise one should be enough.

The Wholesome Table calamari

The Crispy Calamari has that indispensable sauce, but for a group of hungry folks, the ashtray-sized serving necessitated some form of sacrifice.

The Wholesome Table burata

Topped with sweet balsamic vinegar, the Burrata came with a bang and left the table without a trace. I’d swear it never happened!

lazy black cat blog

The Barcelona Pizza, by its name is Spanish inspired and is highlighted by the turkey chorizo, which I feared to try. Never been a fan of chorizo even during my meat eating days, but the shiitake and garlic portion I managed to try were excellently baked into the pie.

The Wholesome Table chicken parmigiana

The Chicken Parmigiana was on the mediocre side, especially if you compare it to its veggie cousin Eggplant Parmigiana.

The parmesan-topped organic chicken was okay, compared to its eggplant-tofu counterpart which was to-die-for!

vegetarian food bgc

The Eggplant Parmigiana  was a tofu joyride in creamy disguise! I will be back for more.

The Wholesome Table chicken

Of course I just had to order the strangest dish in the menu. Ta-dah!

The Ultimate Veggie Burger which I shall describe to the curious: veggie patty of seared mushrooms, zucchini and quinoa, topped with gluten-free, vegan ricotta, onion jam, and field greens.

The Wholesome Table veggie burger

On the side are thin parmesan fries, so it’s a complete meal on its own. The veggie patty may not appeal to the liking of many, since it does not mimic the flavor of meat. Instead, it’s gritty, shroomy with hints of sweetness, while the vegan ricotta offers faint saltiness. While there was no catsup on the side, I felt like it needed a dollop of mustard or relish to get this patty kicking!

Two items I only could stare at (and apparently have no photo proof!) are the beefy entrees.

Graze Land Pizza:  Tomato sauce, grass fed beef strips, baked onions, roasted garlic, fresh mozzarella and grana padano

Grass Fed Beef Tenderloin: Grass fed beef tenderloin fillet with a light demi glaze sauce and served with roasted potatoes

The Wholesome Table tea

On to dessert, which of course was too much – but the gluttons demanded!

The Wholesome Table tiramisu

This odd sandbox is the Tiramisu. Hmm-kay was the general reaction.

The Wholesome Table carrot cake

The Carrot Cake was more like a carrot muffin. Not too moist (was it aged?), the organic carrots, pineapple and raisin combo turned this into a sweet and sour pastry – but tamed by the buttercream cheese. For its price though, I expected a hefty bunny slice!

The Wholesome Table mango panna cotta

The Panna Cotta was the strange one, which I think incorporates a kind of organic yogurt which resulted to grainy panna cotta. It may seem unusual to have un-smooth panna cotta, but you get used to the gritty texture and begin to associate organic with grainy!

All in all, our first reaction to #TheWholesomeTable experience was #expensive for organic meals. In retrospect, we did eat quite a lot and splurged some more for dessert.

After further rumination, perhaps the next visit could be spent on wiser and more sensible meals, such as Eggplant Parmigiana, pizza and a smoothie (which I have yet to try!).

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A Kuppa Opportuni-tea

BGC Restaurant coffee

Back in the day, I referred to Kuppa as Koopa – an unconscious tribute to the Super Mario Brothers boss. After realizing my linguistic folly, it took me time to adjust my long u to a curt sound and finally get it right. A Kuppa tea, if you please. Of course in Ken’s (Daniels) case, more of, a Cup of Earl Grey Hot Tea.

Now that I got past that video game reference, it was time to pay homage to the actual spot: Kuppa Roastery and Cafe, 31st cor. 4th, BGC. What better time to visit Kuppa than planning it alongside our interview with Fil-Brit Kaya FC/Azkals player Kenshiro Daniels. Ken, for short, is actually a regular at Kuppa, and so the so-called short walk to his usual hang-out would certainly be just “a day in the life of Ken.” Of course the opposite holds true for us northerners – and in hindsight, that was the onset of #MarioPH.

Kuppa is mostly glass and beside another K place. Ah, Kanteen, how can I forget?

Ken Daniels Interview

I had decided beforehand that I would order the Cristina Pizza because it contains a strange but friendly mix of toppings: mozzarella, balsamic, Gorgonzola, figs and grapes. Said to share with a friend, but sorry, I always go solo on pizza – and yes, I did finish it!

The pizza is not that gigantic, so a hungry person can finish a whole pie and still have room for dessert. Since the interview was running long, the Cristina was unaffected by the unyielding chilling temperature because the cheese just remained firm, which is all right for me. Unfortunately for those who hate sweet things on their food, the Cristina is not your kuppa tea. One taste and my brother almost spat a Cristina morsel on my face, screaming, “I hate figs!” I guess he wanted dessert instead.

He did go for the Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza (forgot what it’s called exactly) and loved it till the last oily crumb. Swears my Cristina was the worst choice for a pizza lover and I wasted my evening chewing on figs. At least now I know how figs taste, and indeed, they are better topped on pies or oatmeal.

After Ken devoured his Vongole and Chicken Milanese, we advanced to dessert.

Kuppa desserts

 

j.anne gonzales blog

Chocolate Souffle and Devil’s Chocolate Cake. The Souffle would have gone perfectly with vanilla ice cream, those firm and sticky chocolate forkful of bites to be complemented with cool creamy vanilla. It could’ve done with more height, since one slice is never enough! On the other dish is the Chocolate Cake with layers of devilish fudge. Moist and cool, you will keep on digging it until you end up with an empty saucer.

Ah well, they did say good things don’t last forever – and in this case, 2 minutes.

Kenshiro’s the Man

Ken Daniels Azkal

The Kenshiro Daniels Interview lasted for a couple of hours, interspersed with sneaky pizza bites, text breaks and off-topic stories. Whilst this is for the Kaya FC Website, I reserve the right to post snippets and excerpts, as a form of consolation to me and my new sandals that got drenched on the way to McKinley.

Read about Ken Daniels here.

A little something about Kenny:

When faced with American-born, Filipino–British Kenshiro Daniels for the first time, the choice between bloke or dude, cola or tea, or even bummer or bugger—will clearly stand to boggle. Best to call the lad Kenny, give him a Hi-chew (if none, a high five can do), and ask about his favorite meme. With the wits of Heisenberg, don’t try fooling the 19-year-old Kaya FC player with fake accents and false facts on history—unless you can deflect his mean green fighting kicks.

Ken Daniels was quite the character to interview; he is young and carefree, yet sensible and endearing. The name “Kenshiro” came from the lead character his dad, actor Gary Daniels played, in the movie Fist of the North Star. If you Google “Ken”, it actually means “fist” in Japanese.

With an actor/retired kickboxer for a dad and a Filipina mom + 4 brothers, Ken may have had an interestingly shambolic and colourful childhood . Still, we can thank Manchester United for the “room”, as he ended up loving football and now plays for Kaya FC and the Azkals.

The Manchester United room was Ken’s room back home in Newport Beach. Studded with MUFC fixtures and flags, he literally grew up in Old Trafford with the Red Devils, whilst still enjoying Sinigang, c/o his mom. Now he enjoys walks to Kuppa, which is where the interview took place and boy am I glad that despite the pre-Mario rains and puddles, Kuppa was a comfortable place for the wet and weary. And Ken’s Earl Grey Tea.

The interview was long and best to read it at the Kaya FC Website, with the awesome artwork of @Mijigonzales.

And keep on supporting Kaya FC! That’s Ken and Miji’s team! #UnaKaya

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Z Marks the Spot: The Backyard Reservoir

malingap st. z compound

For the longest time, I miserably could not find the Maginhawa St. joint, only to later discover the Z Compound on Malingap St. Interestingly, these street names have more in common aside from virtues and syllables—do guess—and intersect at the Bayan Tel building, which is a favorite family landmark.

the zone compound teacher's village

It is also a 5-second walk away from Pino, which is another friendly landmark. But of course, you can’t miss that bellowing yellow “Z” sign!

On a rainy Thursday night, the Z Compound was packed mainly with college students and yuppies. It’s a free-for-all place, a bit tough to find seats during peak hours—though you’ll be surprised to see the 2nd floor veranda on some restaurants.

Backyard reservoir menu

The Backyard Reservoir is somewhere in the core of the compound and looks artfully decorated yet still bearing that laid-back and outdoorsy guise.

It manages its slight menu in a chalkboard—but despite the seemingly short list—decisions are still hard to make with the deliriously pleasant sounding pizza and sandwich names! The iced tea looks awesome too–and tastes, fruity!

lazy black cat blog

 

Appetizers are the usual fried fares, but who can say no to mozzarella sticks?

The sticks are firm and packed with cheese, whilst the Curly Fries are reminiscent of the twister fries that everyone just loves. Careful not to eat too much or you’ll miss out on the main meals!

where to eat teacher's village

There are a handful of pizza names though the El Pago (homemade sausage) and Three Cheese Pesto stand out.

The El Pago lends a meaty touch to the thin crust. The Three Cheese Pesto has the right balance of herb and cheese atop the crust—even cold it tastes awesome.

Z compound teacher's village menu

The Sandwiches are crafted generously, the meat almost pouring out of the wheat bread (for the Pastrami and Ham, Egg & Cheese). Of course we could do with sidings, but with curly fries on the menu, this has been addressed.

The Tuna Melt is just freely pouring out with tuna, it is a perfectly balanced (and healthy) meal on its own. The meaty variants are just as chunky and heftily prepared.

Don’t be ashamed to ask for utensils to wolf down these gigantic beasts of bread!

jenina gonzales blog review

Pasta selections come in three: La Onioni, Marinara and Pesto Tuyo.

Whilst the Marinara can do a bit more with the sauce, the Pesto Tuyo is a sure winner. With the usual seafood twist to my favorite pesto, this pasta dish brings out comfort food to the fusion level.

Hungry diners can finish a bowl—but with the price range of the Backyard Reservoir, come on, do share. That’s the Backyard rule—and you still get change, for dessert.

* This fun field trip to the Z Compound was organized by #TeamAldous 🙂

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Have Some NomNomNom

nomnomnom blog review lazy black cat

It took me years before I could finally eat at Nomnomnom Happy Food, never mind if I live in the very same Quezon City. Actually, it was THAT long since they moved to their new posh location along Tomas Morato, which is quaint, dainty but still small.

 comfort food vegetarian manila

Of course during predictable circumstances, I would do the impulsively dumb-founding, and in this instance, NOT order salad. Why I did that, I still cannot fathom. But with Nomnomnom’s exquisite and gluttony-inducing menu, a few might understand the behavior.

Going back to gluttony-inducing, I believe the all-white interiors and book pages-cum-wallpaper décor, have created my inept and deprived state. Hence, fried food!

 mozzarella sticks nomnomnom

We had 2 appetizer choices, both of which are fried! Not a sign of happiness; more of stresssssed!

The Mozzarella Sticks were served with 2 kinds of slurpy sauces that seriously make you scoop, slurp and scoop even more! There was a lot of that sour cream and salsa to get us till the next appetizer.

Oh darn I forgot to describe the mozza sticks! They were chunky cheese rolls, made chunkier by the batter. Hmmm-kay would’ve been OKAY! if they had served this right after cooking. In short, the cheese did NOT ooze at all, which is the benchmark for cheesy perfection, in general.

fried ravioli vegetarian appetizer

It must be the NomnomNORM to serve the appetizers with 2 sauces/sidings – which I cannot complain about. The Fried Ravioli (Cheesy Kangkong and Shrooms inside) was just as deep fried as the mozza sticks, and went well with the chopped tomato salsa and yogurt (?) sauce. You can actually mix and match the 4 sauces and still enjoy your mishmash meal.

The ravioli had that musty taste about it, which I blame the shrooms for! Either that or the Kangkong did it. Still, the cheese saved the day; oozing not needed in this scenario.

restaurant vegetarian quezon city

For a change, I ordered Seafood Cartoccio all because I wanted my pasta to be baked and served in foil! I don’t get that a lot at home, except for leftovers. That Seafood Cartoccio came with tomato sauce, shrimp, clam and squid. If I were a clam lover, this dish will disappoint. About half the shells were closed and experience tells me never to pry open these nasty shells.There are no girl-opens-clam-and-gets-the-pearl stories that happen in real life, just a messy plate and tomato splattered dress!

Good thing I like shrimp more – but the shrimps were hmmm-kay too, not so fresh but at least they were easily de-shelled! The pasta was warm and cuddly, the type you eat after a long day at work and intend to eat un-hurriedly. What wonders foil makes!

seafood pasta nomnomnom tomas morato

The Tomato Aligue Pasta was not mine but gleamed its orange hue for the world to see! The pasta though took long to serve. At first we thought that Aligue has become a complex cooking ingredient, but it would seem otherwise, it came in a breeze! Waiter forgot about the order, I think, or perhaps he just hated saying the word Aligue.

What is it even, crab fat?

Still, despite its jaundice appearance, the pasta was more tomato and less crabby and was topped with what looked like Eden cheese. If you’re gung-ho for aligue, don’t expect that crab fat to jump off the plate. If you want a creamy aligue-tomato pasta though, go for it–and make sure the waiter jots it down.

 A-li-guet it?

dessert nomnomnom

To make my stay worthwhile, I needed a a full course, and so it was imperative to order dessert. Since I have been staring at the chiller the entire time, I had made up my mind to order the Turtle Pie. Of course earlier, I thought it was just some Chocolate Mousse type sans the cream but no, Turtle Pie it was!

Great, more “slow” references.

I opted this over the crepe cakes that the girl claimed were the bestsellers. The cakes looked plain and too pale, and the mango-cream combination did not seem to suit my palate after the tomato-on-my-dress episode! The Chocolate Cake looked like a little devil, but the Turtle Pie looked maleficent–so we know who the winner is!

The Turtle Pie was just a chocolate cream over an Oreo crust. Topped with some walnuts and caramel and chocolate sauce, that was it! I was glad to have brought it home (yes, I still had some EQ left) and stored in the fridge for a mega breakfast dessert. It got better and more firm. Would I try it again? Not sure, not with Banapple and others over at Il Terrazzo and it would seem that sweets are not the core products of Nonnomnom.

drinks food nomnomnom

Anyway, Nomnomnom has so many other dishes and creations that I WANT to try. Forget dessert.

I could actually live off on its appetizer listing alone – with all those ravioli offerings! Plus, with pasta and pizza, this definitely necessitates future visits.

Oh dear, I even forgot to mention. They have salad! Uh-oh, who to invite next? 🙂

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Ilocos Series: 3. Ilocan-Pizza and More

 

laoag restaurants review

Enough with this fasting! I have obligingly posted the sights and structures, I may now proceed with the grand-tastic portion of my ILOCOS SERIES: Food!

laoag restaurant

Sorry epicurean seekers. The highlight of my Ilocos food trip was not the empanada.

Instead—drum roll please—the envelope reads: P-I-Z-Z-A!

As biased as it may sound, being the constant proponent of #pizzanight, it was the pizza that gave me the gastronomic bliss, the shivers and the *sigh* moments. But I am getting ahead of myself.

I would like to tackle 2 places where the celebrated local pizzas have graced our dining table: Saramsam Ylocano Restaurant (Laoag) and Herencia (Paoay).  

Laoag restaurant review

Saramsam Ylocano Restaurant was the first destination because it was in my #1-to-eat list, and because it has pizza and pasta, which I can’t bear to live without.

Let me add the word “fusion” so as not to label me a boring blog which shuns gastro-adventure.  

Saramsam Laoag Interior

The fact that an Ilocano restaurant serves pizza is a telltale sign that it’s got some fusion fares worth tasting. And that maybe brick ovens are the kitchen norm up North. Perhaps—I didn’t ask for a tour.

Saramsam moved to Balay da Blas and has a strict reservation-cum-starts-serving-at-7pm-only scheme, so patrons had to wait outside till the clock struck 7:00. Being deviants—tired and lazy deviants to be exact—we asked to be seated inside, as we waited for the clock to strike 6:59.  

That’s when we ordered the Poque-Poque Pizza (LARGE), Saramsam Pasta and Pork Dinakdakan (not mine).

 talong pizza laoag saramsam

The Poque-Poque Pizza, in its 11-inch glory, was a crazy-messy-lovely sight to behold. It’s got mozzarella cheese, deconstructed tortang talong (eggplant), onions and tomatoes, hence the shambolic appearance.

The waitress instructed us to pour chili oil and their diluted bagoong(fish paste) sauce—and what wonders these did! Imagine that I do not eat bagoong, but that watered down condiment just turned the pizza into an exotic surprise! Seriously, they all went together—fish paste salty, creamy cheese and that smoky eggplant.

I finished 75% of the entire plate.  

j.anne gonzales food blog

The Saramsam Pasta was a combination of basic kitchen ingredients like red and green bell peppers, tomatoes, shrimps (a bit small for me), ripe mangoes, and last but not the least, cilantro. That cilantro added to its oomph factor and turned this pasta into a summer pasta fare.

The components fused into a harmoniously sweet and salty affair—that complemented the awesome pizza.

 Saramsam Ylocan Review Restaurant

Lastly, this Dinakdakan was not mine (it’s pork) but looks just picture friendly and tastes (as I was told) just as remarkable. A perfect pulutan to go with beer!  

Herencia Paoay review restaurant

paoay restaurant

  Herencia Café is hard to miss; it’s in front of Paoay Church and posters are abundantly strewn in the nearby streets.

Its claim to fame is serving the “First” Pinakbet Pizza—and I am not quite sure if being first actually translates to yummy, delicious, to-die-for or just hmmm-kay.  

Herencia Menu ilocos norte

A sucker for pizza though—you guessed it—this was a mandatory destination.

Let me be clear though. Despite my vegetarian tendencies, I’ve never been a fan of the pinakbet-bagoong tandem. But, to yield to foodie adventure, we had the pizza combination: ½ Pinakbet and ½ Mushroom (boooring, I know)—for a hefty premium of P70.  

Ilocos Pizza Pinakbet

I chose the Mushroom Pizza because other options were MORE boring like Tuna and Does Queso (2-cheese) Basil. Imagine, 2-cheese! Sadness.

The Pinakbet-Mushroom half-and-half was a splendid cheesy sight, but my bias told me I would like the mushroom more. Correct.

After Saramsam’s Poque-Poque Pizza episode, my pizza expectations went Paoay sky-high, but the Pinakbet Pizza’s toppings were not as copious (compared to the photo). I could count the sitaw (stringbeans) and ampalaya slices, and they could not possibly be a significant source of the day’s recommended veg serving.

It was a bland offering, despite another watered down bagoong condiment on the side. I highly enjoyed the Mushroom Pizza, though with just button mushrooms (and a wee onion slice), this fared badly as a foodie adventure. Just comfort food variety.  

paoay restaurant where to eat

The Pasta Ilocana looked glorious with its cheese and longanisa toppings.  

Please note the olives. Olives in Paoay–cool!

Paoay Herencia Menu

The Tuna Pomodoro Pasta was a creamy-milky affair, but loaded (or redeemed) with chunks of canned tuna. This gets another comfort food award, and went well with the mushroom pizza. If you hate the cloying feeling of too much creaminess, go for the Pasta Ilocana, if you eat meat anyway!

All in all, attempts at the gastro-adventure fares backfired as I found solace in my comfort food staples of tuna and mushroom.

Ah well. It must be the heat.

Still, pizza is pizza and #pizzaisthebest.    

Stay tuned for the last food post of the Ilocos Series, D-E-S-S-E-R-T-S and MORE!

Ilocos Series: 1. The Sights

Ilocos Series: 2. In the Brick of Time

Ilocos Series: 3. Ilocan-Pizza and More

Ilocos Series: 4. Unclassified Food Trips (Johnny Moon & La Preciosa)

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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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S&R, Sacrifice and Sore Throat

While watching a game at Emperador Stadium, a family walked past us bearing (well, more of flaunting) their S&R paper cups. In a totally unrelated event to follow, a couple shared our bleacher and brought out that yellow box that screamed S&R FRIED CHICKEN.

What a sick joke. That’s it. We just had to take the bait.

After the game, we just had to pay a visit to S&R at BGC. The pizza was calling, and no more Nolita—no more money!

BGC gourmet pizza

Bonifacio highstreet pizza

In the last game, we had dinner at Nolita and for some reason, I found the Cheese Pizza ultra salty, so I had to go for a quick Jamba Juice breather after.

Back to S&R, since it was Lent I fell prey (or pray?) to that Tuna Margherita Pizza heavily advertised in-store, my inner pesky-torian just screaming to be satisfied. While my companion basked in the glory of 2 slices + fries, I had my sacrificial tuna slice.

Unlike the fabulous photo that gleamed of grease and tomato puree, my pizza was on the dried out side. It was just, tinapa dry, sans the gourmet flair.

What the heck is tinapa in English?

 bgc s&r grocery

While the cheese was studded with herbs and basil, the fact that the sauce and cheese were not as resplendent as expected made this pizza a letdown and so if I were given a second chance for my Lenten slice, I’d have gone for that Shrimp Pizza. That one has the juicy shrimps that turns sacrifice into gluttonous sensation.

The cheese pizza, is still, hands down, el cheap-o magnifico! Best cheese pizza for its price!

And so, with this disappointing dinner, I had to atone by giving in to dessert by another heavily advertised treat: Cheesecake Factory Chocolate Fudge Cake.

S&R cake chocolate

I was slightly dyslexic at first glance and read it as chocolate fudge cheesecake—way, way better huh?! But my eyesight returned and reduced this to a mere chocolate cake. With fudge. Given its price (about P130/slice) and brand, I expected way more! Like five thumbs up, I’m getting the whole cake next time around!

Instead, I got a killer sweet cake with no hint of dark fudge; it was more of sugary brown icing on standard chocolate cake. If there were secret fillings of custard or deep dark chocolate or even pockets of cheesecake or choco chips, then I’d have gotten a smile of some sort. But no, it was sweet all throughout, with no layers of varying degrees of sweetness. Since I ate this straight—no water, a little chit-chat—I got a sore throat after!

This must be what you call punishment. Oooh.. I can’t wait for Easter! By then, I can have all the Blue Bunny in S&R! No more cakes!

On the side, I am glad I could spend time burning off my idle time calories from this Sole Skate. Saw this on sale, bought it and now, where else but to try it out in one of those BGC empty streets! Instead of kicking balls, at least I can ride my wheels.

skating manila

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