You’re what and where you eat

May 15, 2009 at 12:41 am Leave a comment

GOTCHA By Jarius Bondoc , The Philippine Star,  May 15, 2009

The pizza chain promo naturally didn’t let on that its latest product is a copycat. That all the more stirred up habitués of C’ Italian ristorante in Angeles City. They not only delight in Chef Chris Locher’s creation but also know that his place is “Home of the original Panizza.” That’s what it says on the neon sign that has blazed outside for years on 1210 Don Juico Ave., Balibago district. Since, as George Bernard Shaw noted, there is no love sincerer than the love of food, C’ fans find consolation in that imitation is the highest form of complement. Taste its homemade panizza first, they advise, to judge the mass-produced takeoff.

Panizza is crunchy pizza crust that Chef Chris tops off with seafood, cream cheese or sausage. If he’s not too busy, he’ll teach first-timers how to eat it: with the hands. Just sprinkle a slice with alfalfa sprouts and arugula, roll it up, and bite.

C’ also offers exciting pasta and pizza choices. But the trouble with dining Italian is that five or six days later you’re hungry again. If minding your waist, settle for the Caesar’s salad — a taste of your preferred dressing and Parmesan cheese with every bite. Open daily, 11:30 a.m.-midnight; (045) 8924059 or 0918-9440929.

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You are not only what but also where you eat. In two Bicol cities only 90 minutes apart by car are two restaurants that cater to contrasting tastes and moods.

Balay Cena Una in Daraga, Albay, specializes in European cuisine, but using in-season local stuff. Like, ripe macopa for salad, or baby squid for pasta en su tinta. That’s due to the backgrounds of the three chefs who teamed up to re-launch last weekend the three-year-old bistro. Albay native Robert Clemeña trained in Paris; Dick Condeno of Catanduanes oversaw a Mediterranean luxury cruise kitchen; wife Connie of Masbate was champ pastry chef of a Portuguese hotel in Macao. Concocting Eurasian — think pasta with laing (taro leaf cooked in coconut milk) — is a daily conference item for the trio. With the onset of summer rains, expect them to whip up continental a pork loin dish with pako (fern) or (labong) bamboo shoot. Once the chaplain of Camp Crame, Chef Robert offers general absolution and a year’s indulgences to diners who might forget their fasting diets.

Cena Una is on an old-Spanish house with a breathtaking view of Mayon Volcano. Calle F. Lotivio cor. Calle del Rosario, Barangay Bagumbayan; (052) 4354338, 4833505, or (0929) 1679813; balaycena

Tia Tinay’s in Sorsogon started out in 1925 as Tia Awe’s, the present owner’s grandaunt Paula, and in 1957 got its name from the mother, Agustina. When Jing Hayag passes it on to a niece, the diner likely will be renamed after her. She’s not about to retire, though. Dozens of loyal diners await daily her breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Among Jing’s specialties: ginataang baloko (scallops), kinunot (stingray), and tinutungang manok (chicken) — all cooked in coco-milk, but the last with a twist of roasting before squeezing the grated coco-meat.

Tia Tinay’s serves as whole-day kapihan where rival politicos, religionists, and businessmen sit side by side. Recently relocated for the public market’s renovation, it temporarily has one super-long table behind MetroBank nearby. If they’re not in Manila on official business, Cong. Sonny Escudero and ex-Gov. Raul Lee sit with guests on opposite ends, enjoying suman sa lihiya or sa ibos, biko, and special puto with itlog maalat, while sipping brewed barako coffee. Takeout orders accepted: (056) 2114906 or (0908) 7819796.

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In Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Kina-buchs is the place to go for old Filipino favorites: crispy pata (pork leg), kilawing tangigue (local sashimi), and pakbet (mixed veggies). Bravehearts like to try out tamilok, or longish woodworm from decaying mangrove, served kinilaw style with a little gata.

Kinabuchs is named after and managed by motorcycle racing great Butch Chase. Most nights, the Tagalog-speaking Russian-American table-hops around the 1,800-sqm lot consisting of six air-con huts and a main hall. With three billiard tables, a giant videoke, and ample parking space, it is the watering hole of businessmen, tourists and locals who appreciate the fresh foods, big servings, and reasonable prices. Open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily; 348 Rizal Avenue Extension; (048) 4345194.

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“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti,” Sophia Loren said. With that advice, indulge in Chef Cy Catalan’s pasta with truffle oil and porcini mushroom. It’s only one of the specialties at Zeno Lounge Bar Restaurant inside BMW Autohaus on C-5 Road, Libis, Quezon City. Others: USDA steaks, osso buco, tuna tartare, eggplant parmigiana, prawns with caviar in aligue (crab fat), and callos. Top off with dessert of sans rival, not too sweet, best with Lavazza coffee. Open 8 a.m.-10 p.m. daily except Sundays; (02) 6345510.

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Bibiano “Boy” Fajardo launches tomorrow, May 16th, his long awaited book on hilot. His instructional Science of the Ancient Filipino Healing Art dwells on physical and medical bases for indigenous herbal cures and massage techniques. Program starts at 2 p.m., at the 3/F SMX, Mall of Asia, Pasay City, coinciding with the International Food Exhibition of natural and organic preparations.

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