Friday, June 25, 2010

The Adobo With A Twist

For most of us, Adobo is probably one of those overrated dishes, simply because every nook and cranny of the country, Adobo is always there to be served. True, it's very delicious (we wouldn't have doubts about that hahaha), and it's a dish that we can be proud of because it's proudly Pinoy made. Nevertheless, like we've said, it is one dish that we can find anywhere, any day. You would be lying if you say you haven't tasted Adobo in your whole life. Which now brings us to the question: Can Adobo still offer something new? Well, the question wasn't unanswered for long, because we found a place that doesn't have to tell us the answer - we just had to taste it.

Hungry for lunch we stumbled upon a food place at a village in Pasig. If not for the tarpaulin with the name posted at the gate, you wouldn't even notice that it's a food place. The name of the place is Adobo To'. The food place isn't structured as a restaurant at all. It's just a house, and the owners of the place set up tables and chairs in their garage. They cook their food at the kitchen and the people there (i.e., the cashier, the people who serve the food, the cooks) are probably family members and helpers. Imagining the setup, you would think that you were invited by a friend at a birthday party at their house, minus the balloons and the gifts.

There were lots of customers when we were there, mostly office workers. We figured these people might be loyal customers of the place. With its affordable and delicious dishes, who wouldn't be one in the first place? Of course, the place doesn't just offer Adobo. They have other Pinoy dishes like Sisig, Pork Chop, Bangus Belly, and Silog dishes. If you're not satisfied enough, every dish (well, at least for the Adobo dishes) already comes with two servings of rice. How 'bout that? This is probably one of the reasons why office workers nearby flock the place.

Here's what we got:

(We'd just like to mention that their drinks are also the drinks that you would find at other food places such as bottled soft drinks, bottled water, etc. We had Pepsi and Mountain Dew which was priced at 10 php and 12 php respectively.) 

Sisig with Egg, 95 php

Glutton Guy: The sisig was good. There wasn't anything special about it, though. But, it was really delicious. The sisig was crunchy and the egg added extra flavor. Add some calamansi and a splash of soy sauce and it's gonna be a one hell of a sisig. It's also served with rice, so it's very very affordable. I'd still say that you've gotta try their version of sisig. : )

Glutton Girl: The sisig was delicious. I also didn't find anything special about it. However, it was crunchy and the flavor was just right. It was also a bit spicy, probably because of the tidbits of green peppers mixed in the dish. Also, the sisig at Adobo To' had finer pork cuts, unlike the normal sisig which has larger cuts of pork. You can't even feel the pork fats because the pork is smooth and fine. As for the egg, I think it didn't help much. Regardless if the dish had an egg or not, it's still delicious for me. 

Spicy Pork Adobo, 75 php

Glutton Guy: This was my order. You can actually choose between spicy pork or chicken and you can also customize on how spicy you want it to be. I asked mine to be mild, since I didn't want to be drinking a lot of water afterward. It was actually a really good Adobo. It's a unique way of presenting the usual dish. It's served with a hard boiled egg and sliced tomatoes, which I liked very much. The Adobo wasn't too salty and was packed with flavors. The spiciness added some kick to the dish and it really was a good thing for me and made me want more. I think it's another must-try dish (in fact, I think every Adobo dish here is worth trying). : )

Cheesy Pork Adobo, 75 php

Glutton Girl: I liked this dish mainly because it's something new to my taste buds. The cheese helped a lot because it added a hint of sweetness. They asked me if I wanted it to be spicy. I said yes, but not too much. The spiciness helped because it complimented the sweet taste from the cheese. The pork was tender and the texture was alright. Another added plus for me was that the Adobo itself didn't have too much pork fat and it wasn't greasy as well. The egg and the sliced tomatoes were added factors because it balances the dish. For me, it's also a must-try.

Our Adobo To' experience is a unique one, not only because we had Pinoy foods with a twist, but also because we had the luxury of appreciating usual dishes that even we wouldn't think of preparing. This fact would be enough to probably make us come back to this food place. Adobo To's dishes are unique, affordable, and delicious. Simply put, it's a must-try food place that you won't regret visiting. We really had a great time here. Because as food bloggers, it's nice to appreciate and savor dishes that are "sariling atin".

Rating: Buddhalicious!
(Adobo To' is located at 31 General Delgado street, San Antonio Village, Pasig City. From Shaw Boulevard, you'll find the entrance to San Antonio Village. You can ask instructions from the guard on how to get to the place, since there are a lot of one way streets in the village.)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"Personal Pastalicious Perfect Pasta"

It's true that when it comes to pastas, nothing beats Italian made. You'll really love how they make the creamy sauce, how they add the correct and proper herbs and spices, and how they make the pasta itself  'al dente' (in Italian, meaning "firm to the bite" or "not too soft"). This is how the Italians make it. Of course, not all of us can be lucky enough to take a trip to Italy and have a taste of their wonderfully made pasta. But, that doesn't also mean that we are deprived of what delicious Italian cuisine can offer, which is why Italian restaurants have and continue to sprout around the Metro. Speaking of Italian restaurants, we found one that'll surely satisfy your Italian cravings.

The Ayala area is home to a lot of unique and delicious food shops. So, it's not surprising when we say that our next Glutton adventure takes us to this busy district. We found a food place called The Spaghetti Factory, a restaurant that specializes in Italian cuisine. They have only two branches (according to their menu), one in Glorietta 5 and one in Ayala Center Cebu. They were previously located at Glorietta 1 (which is also according to the menu hahahaha). Nevertheless, their new location doesn't affect the taste of their food. It's one of those food places at Glorietta that you would want to check out.

The place isn't that lovely, physically speaking. It just looks normal, like a fast food chain. If they want to make you feel that you're in Italy, they probably failed in that aspect. The only nice thing about the place, though, is the view from the place. It shows Glorietta 4 (the main mall, in general), the streets, the vehicles, the people walking around, and the surrounding edifices. The view would probably be better during nighttime. The food, however, is great any time of the day. Another thing that I didn't find OK was their menu. Some of their dishes have no prices on the menu. For a customer with a tight budget, he/she would really have a hard time choosing what he/she would order because the price of the food is not there. The service crew, however, made up for it. They were very kind and took and served our orders with a smile. They were even asking us for comments about the food and introducing us to some of their promos. This, we believe, makes the place better.

This is what we ordered at Spaghetti Factory:

Iced Tea, 45 php

Glutton Guy: This was my drink (as always hahaha). It's just normal iced tea in a normal glass, so there's nothing special about it. It tasted normal as well. There are no unique tastes, no added flavors, nothing. It's just plain old simple iced tea in a glass. : )

Cafe Latte, 45 php

Glutton Girl: This was my drink (not unlike Glutton Guy, I experiment on drinks hahaha). Anyways, considering that it’s just for 45 php and I get an instant Cafe Latte, it’s worth trying. If you’re the type of person who is into sweet and creamy hot coffee, you’ll love this. It’s got the right sweetness of mocha and the aftertaste of caffeine.

Mussels, Rockefellers Style, 109 php

Glutton Guy: When I saw the name of the dish I though to myself, "Isn't Rockefeller an English surname? Then why is it used when it's an Italian restaurant?" Nevertheless, the mussels tasted really great. The melted cheese was really good and it compliments the mussels. It was also presented well. I just didn't like the veggies on the center. It just looked like a plain, simple salad. The mussels were also too small for me, though. It would have been better if the mussels were like medium to big size. The dish, overall, is still good and it's still a must try for me. : )

Glutton Girl: An appetizing appetizer for me. The flavors worked perfectly well. I agree with Glutton Guy, though, with regards to the size of the mussels. They could have used bigger mussels for the dish. Probably, the plate made the dish look small in servings, since the plate was really big and there weren't too much elements in the dish. They probably wanted it to look simple yet elegant. Another thing that I didn't like was the sauce on top. The ketchup-y sauce on top didn't really elevate the flavors of the mussels. If I were to suggest, I would just put melted cheese and place the red sauce in a side bowl.

Fish Fillet, 199 php

Glutton Guy: I love this dish! It was everything I wanted on a plate. Delicious and soft fish fillet + lovely and mouthwatering mashed potatoes + delicious and creamy sauce = a perfect meal. I also loved the crunchy thing on top of the dish. It makes the dish a better one. Presentation wise, it's OK for me. The presentation wasn't quite flattering. I'll give them an 'A' for effort though. Flavor wise, it's one of the best fish fillet dishes I've ever tasted. : )

Vongole Farfalle, 169 php

Glutton Girl: What I really liked about Spaghetti Factory is that you get to choose the type of pasta you want. Among the choices are rigatoni, linguine, spaghetti pasta and a lot more. I chose farfalle (butterflies) pasta since it looked really nice. I have always been a fan of seafood pasta in white sauce so this dish appealed to me the most. The taste was really good minus the sauce that seemed like soup to me. Nevertheless, the dish was a really good pick.

Panna Cotta, 99 php

Glutton Guy: It's a lovely dessert for me. It was like an Italian version of our Leche Flan. I think they didn't use eggs for this, because the color is different (if you'll notice it's colored white as compared to the normal Leche Flan which is yellowish in color). Nevertheless, it's taste is as good as Leche Flan. It was also beautifully presented. It's a must-try dessert for me. : )

Glutton Girl: It’s definitely a good tasting Italian Leche Flan. Though I didn’t really like the toppings because I don’t like blueberries, the custard made up for it. It wasn’t too sweet and too milky. It was just right! It’s one of the best custards I’ve tasted. And for those who love blueberries, this dessert is perfect for you.

When it comes to delicious pastas and desserts, you would probably place Italian on top of the list. And when it comes to delicious, unique, affordable, and authentic Italian dishes in the Metro, Spaghetti Factory is one of those places that you would want to check out. Everything on the menu is a testament to the words "Value for Money". Regardless of their flaws, the dishes served to us were really good and far from mediocre. That, we believe, made up for their flaws. That said, Spaghetti Factory is a food place worth trying. It's a tasteful treat we didn't dare want to miss, and hopefully, neither will you.

Rating: Buddhalicious!
(Spaghetti Factory has 2 branches: 1) Second Floor, Glorietta 5, Ayala Center, Makati City (There are advetrisements so you wouldn't get lost), 2) Third Floor, New Wing, Ayala Center, Cebu City)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Pino Bar Experience

Teacher's Village (or to some people, UP Village) at Quezon City can be one big village. So big, it's not spared from the countless hungry people that pass here everyday looking for good food. Why not? Almost every type of food can be found here - Mexican, Filipino, Italian, Pares or tapa for breakfast, resto bars, steaks, sizzlers, fine dining, even carinderia food - you name it. The only difficult part, however, is finding the location of the right food place. Teacher's Village can be so big that memorizing every street there is close to impossible. So, unless it's not your first time or unless you do not know where the exact location of the place is, you'll really have a hard time. We found a place, though, that's very easy to locate, not just because of its physical location, but also because of its popularity.


To food fans and other food addicts, Pino Resto Bar at Teacher's Village is a very difficult food place to miss. Because of its wonderful ambiance and its delicious food, Pino Bar has and continues to attract a lot of hungry customers who keep coming back to try their specialties. Why? Because one visit would not be enough. You'll keep coming back and crave for those delicious dishes. Whatever they serve you, you'll surely give a thumbs up.

The place is along Malingap street. They moved from their previous location which is just along Maginhawa street. The new place, however, is not too far from the previous one. So, you won't have a hard time finding it. Besides, the new place can accommodate more customers, which is better. The design of the place is similar from the previous' design. But, there are added touches on the new one, which makes the place spacious. It's simple, yet it's sophisticated. Moreover, it'll also give you that comforting feeling while you wait for your food and while you eat your food. So, it's a good place to chat and relax with people close to you. They also have this doodled wall which is quite interesting to look at. For about one-third of our stay at the place we were actually discussing about the objects in the drawing.

Their food is affordable, especially for those in groups, because they have group platters for sharing. When we tried the place, we spent about 450 php per person, very affordable considering the amount of dishes we ordered. As much as we wanted to try their other dishes, we were really full from all the dishes we tried.

Here's what we tried:

Pino Iced Tea, 35 php (in glass), 80 php (in pitcher)

Glutton Guy: For 80 php, this certainly is an affordable iced tea. I think in one pitcher we had 4 or 5 glasses. So, that would amount to about 20 php per glass. Not bad, considering that one glass is 35 php. Plus, it's a delicious iced tea. It's really concocted, not like the powdered iced tea which is served in other restaurants. It's also cold, which makes it a great thirst quencher. I'd say Pino's iced tea is a must-try drink. : )

Glutton Girl: With regards to its taste, it's really really good. It doesn't taste like the usual iced tea. It's cool and it's refreshing (wait, that sounded like a commercial hahahaha). It's not too sweet because there's an added citrus flavor (probably lemons). If you're with someone, ordering the pitcher is much more practical. You'll get more of the iced tea and less of the price.

Pino's Flavored Beer, 75 php

Glutton Guy: If you'd like to have a different "inuman session", try Pino's flavored beer. It's more expensive than the usual bottled beer. But, it's definitely worth the price. I love the taste of the beer. It really helped the beer a lot, making the drink itself very enjoyable. A glass of this flavored beer really packs a punch - in taste, I mean. : )

Glutton Girl: I actually persuaded Glutton Guy to try this. There were three flavors - Green Apple, Strawberry, and Calamansi, but we chose to try Calamasni because the waiter told us it was their bestseller. The flavor is really distinct. You wouldn't quite taste the beer flavor. You'd actually enjoy tasting it, as a matter of fact. It's a new and nice way to drinking better beer.

Tempura Oysters and Pearls, 185 php

Glutton Guy: I love seafood! So, I would lie if I say that I didn't like this at all. I was also craving for tempura at the same time, which is why it made me like the dish more. It's really good. The oysters were soft and the tempura coating was crunchy. The mayo sauce on top of the oysters and the tempura sauce in the bottom were delicious. Although there were two types of sauces, it really didn't matter. It's a perfect choice for an appetizer. : )

Glutton Girl: I so loved this dish. It was perfectly cooked. I especially liked the crunchiness of the tempura coating. There was also a hint of spiciness in the dish, probably because of the wasabi. I also love the presentation of the dish. Making use of the oyster shells is creative for me. Also, placing some caviar on top makes it nicer and more 'sosyal'.

The Pino-ka Platter! (Platter 1), 365 php

Glutton Guy: Another great appetizer from Pino Bar. This platter has it all, a handful of every appetizer you could try at Pino. What I liked the most were the fries and the calamares. The sauce on the chicken lollipop I didn't actually like. The lemongrass skewers and the nori sticks weren't quite very memorable. Well, I didn't really jump up and down for those two. This platter is actually a good idea because it gives you a sample of all the appetizers, so probably next time you would know which one to order. : )

Glutton Girl: I loved everything on the dish. The chicken lollipop was very good. It's flavor was distinct and different from the chicken lollipops I've tasted before. The nori sticks weren't actually my favorite nor were the fries. At first I though the fries were sweet potato fries, since they were cut in huge slices rather than the usual McDo-like fries. The calamares were also good. It's actually better when you dip it in the sauce that comes with the platter. The skewers were also good.

Sisig Carbonara, 165 php

Glutton Guy: This is actually one of their bestsellers. I wouldn't doubt it, because it's really really good. If you love pasta dishes, it's definitely a must-try for you. The pasta's soft, and you can definitely taste the sisig in the dish. The only problem with me though is the serving size. For me it's not enough. Nevertheless, the taste of the dish makes up for its serving size. So, I would say that it's not that bad having this for your order. : )

Glutton Girl: I love how the carbonara sauce is mixed with the sisig flavor. The flavors compliment each other. The pasta also worked for me together with the sauce. The slice of bread that goes with the dish is also good. Overall, it's a perfectly executed dish for me.

Rice, available in plain, bagoong, and longganisa

Glutton Guy: Among the three, I liked the bagoong rice the most. It's a perfect tandem to most of the dishes we ordered. I liked the taste, not too salty, but you taste the real bagoong in the rice. The longganisa rice was also good, so, I guess it wouldn't hurt to try it out. : )

Glutton Girl: We were curious about the taste of their rice, so we ordered all three to taste which is the best. Of course, although we knew how the plain rice would taste, we still ordered one. I have to agree with Glutton Guy with this. For me the bagoong rice was also the best. If I were to order again, I would actually just order bagoong rice. We forgot the price of the rice, though. Nevertheless, it's the taste that matters, right? So, I guess it's safe to say that every rice is still a must-try.

Kare-Kareng Bagnet, 245 php (single serving), 550 php (for sharing)

Glutton Guy: One of the best dishes I've tasted at Pino. It's probably one of the reasons why I'll come back. It's a different kind of Kare-Kare. The bagnet was very crispy. The sauce was very delicious, better than the best Kare-Kare sauce I've tasted. It's best partnered with the bagoong rice. You just have to try this one. Missing it would make the whole Pino Bar experience incomplete. : )

Glutton Girl: For 550 php, this dish is absolutely worth it. It was a whole plate of bagnet with Kare-Kare sauce. We couldn't even finish it all up. The bagnet was crispy and wasn't difficult to eat. The sauce was also good. I don't know if peanut butter was used or real peanuts. Who can tell, anyway? Regardless, it was really delicious. It was also presented well, so that's an added plus for me. Well, I do think that no dish was presented badly, anyway.

Red Wine Adobong Tadyang, 210 php (single serving), 395 php (for sharing)

Glutton Guy: For me, there wasn't anything special about this dish. It just tasted like simple, ordinary adobo. In fact, my taste buds couldn't even recognize the red wine in the dish. The pork was tender, though. And the sauce was good, despite it being common. The waiter did say that it was also a bestseller of the place. If you're curious enough, go ahead and try it out. : )

Glutton Girl: It's not my favorite dish. I didn't get the distinction from the usual Pinoy adobo. Like what Glutton Guy said, there wasn't anything special about it. I do give Pino an 'A' for effort, and another 'A' for the name, since they made it quite sophisticated (imagine having RED WINE adobo at your house hahahaha). However, among the adobo's I've tasted, it's probably at the top.

Kalderetang Lengua, 195 php (single serving), 395 php (for sharing)

Glutton Guy: I didn't quite like it, since just like the adobong tadyang, it was also common. There wasn't anything special in the dish. The lengua, though, was soft, and the cheese on top made it better. However, since it was kaldereta, I was kind of looking for that spiciness. However, it wasn't spicy at all. So it was more of like asado than kaldereta. : )

Glutton Girl: I liked how Pino experimented on this one. Placing cheese and some olives on top made it different. Aside from making it more delicious, it also made it kind of unique. It kind of distinguishes Pino's kaldereta from the rest. I was also expecting it to be spicy, though. Nevertheless, it still worked for me.

Crispy Hito With Ensaladang Talong, 175 php (single serving), 365 php (for sharing)

Glutton Guy: It's hito with a twist! Despite it being normal fried hito, I actually liked this dish. The hito was very crispy (just like the name implies). The sauce on top of the hito was very good. I think it was the sauce that made the trick. The eggplant salsa was also delicious. It really was a satisfying dish for me. : )

Glutton Girl: This also worked for me. I'm actually a fan of hito, but I never knew that experimenting on it would result in a very delicious dish such as this one. Everything was delicious - the fish, the sauce, the salsa - everything. Every component of the dish complimented each other. It's another must-try for you Glutton Guide fans out there.

So, if you happen to be near the area, giving this place a shot might not be such a bad idea. Pino Bar can actually offer you a lot of good and delicious dishes that you'll surely like. It transforms Filipino dishes that you commonly eat at home and make it unique and more satisfying. It may, at some point, be the typical hito, or the typical kaldereta, or the typical adobo. But, counting the dining experience, delicious Filipino food that comes with a twist can only be given by one food place - Pino Bar. This is the Pino experience.

Rating: Buddhalicious!
(Pino Resto Bar is located at 39 Malingap Street, Teachers Village, Quezon City. It's just near the Bayantel building and the SWS office.)

The Glutton Guide's Fan Box

The Glutton Guide on Facebook