Baristas spend years perfecting their latte art. Tons of milk and espresso has been spent so as to achieve a beautiful design. But when you visit Celia’s Café in Alaminos City in Pangasinan, they actually have a machine that can actually have your favorite selfie photo be printed on your coffee.
I don’t know of a café in Manila that offered this same cool feature and going to Singapore or Hongkong would be too expensive if I wish to have my photo printed on my coffee. That is why I did not missed my chance of having this coffee experience when I last visited Celia’s Café, my family’s favorite café in the northern part of the country.
Celia’s Café is located at SSS Building Marcos Avenue, Palamis Alaminos City, Pangasinan
This blog post officiates my being an avid fan of Celia’s Café, the number 2 restaurant according to TripAdvisor in Alaminos Pangasinan. Number 1 restaurant of course is the old and tired Maxine By The Sea located at Lucap. Though run-down and the food served were average, Maxine By The Sea is the leading restaurant in Alaminos. Its TripAdvisor’s number 1 because it is located at a wharf near the dock where tourists would have to take a boat ride to reach the majestic Hundred Islands. It’s one of those rare eateries whose reason for being number 1 is not their food nor their service but its location. I still remember way back in the early 90’s was the first time I dined there. It was also my first time in Hundred Islands!
The number 2 restaurant on the other hand seem to possess the thrilling potential of becoming the leader among restaurants in Alaminos. Celia’s Café seem to capture the urbanized and the ruralized feel. Their ambience and facilities are homey yet urbanite. Because of the modern feel of the ambience, you will never miss the feeling of being in an urbanized city when you dine there. But their warm service is naively bucolic. Celia’s Café are manned by gentle and courteous lads, which reminds you that you are indeed in a countryside away from the jungles of Manila.
But what I particularly love about Celia’s Café is the food. It’s surprisingly delicious! During my recent revisit, I again ordered the Pasta Longganisa for lunch, the one I ordered the first time I dined there. All I can say is that it is consistently luscious. The only thing that changed was the bread. It is because it is now tastier and more delicious. The focaccia bread was so good, I ordered extra and even ordered take-out so as to bring it back to Manila!
And since there seem to be no agreeable restaurant establishment in Alaminos except for Celia’s Café, me and my family returned at dinner time. We ordered the platter in which, one order is already good for four (4). I was especially impressed by the flavors of the Chicken Platter. It is because each dish in the platter tasted differently. It was unlike the platter offerings by other restaurants in which each dish seem to taste the same with other dishes in the platter. The Southern Style Fried Chicken was of a totally different flavor from the Chicken Salpicao and the Chicken Salpicao was of a totally different taste from the Pork Tonkatsu. And what is best about the platter was the generous serving of rice! To top it off, we were surprised to find out that our ordered platter comes with a whole serving of soft and chewy pancakes!
The following morning before heading back to the jungles of Manila, me and my family returned to Celia’s Café to have breakfast. I had the big fulfilling English Breakfast, which I guess is the only English breakfast dish served in the whole of Alaminos province.
Enough said and I am impressed if you reached this point of this blog. Hahaha! I think I already said that I am a fan.
After an awesome adventure at the Hundred Islands, I and my friends stayed overnight in one of the forgettable hotels in Alaminos. But the breakfast they served was definitely something to remember and rave about. It was the un-popular yet very tasty Alaminos Longganisa. I am writing about Alaminos Longganisa because this is the culinary highlight of my Hundred Islands adventure.
Vigan, Lucban, Cebuano or the Kapampangan longganisa versions may be the more popular varieties of “longganisa” (native sausage) for they may easily be found in the supermarkets. And Alaminos longganisa may probably be the least adored longganisa variety in the Philippines because a lot of Filipinos doesn’t even know that an Alaminos version exists!
But the Alaminos Longganisa is definitely the most admired type in my mother’s household. That is why before I and my friends drove back to Manila, we stopped by the public market to purchase kilos of this delectable banger variety.
Unlike the Cebuano and Kapampangan type which are rather sweet in taste, Alaminos longganisa is similar to the Vigan and Lucban variety which is garlicky in the palate. But what stands out for the Alaminos variety is the discriminatingly unique and refined saltiness. Maybe this is because it has less of the curing salt (the menacing salitre) and got more of the natural sea salt which is abundantly available in Alaminos, Pangasinan.
I am highlighting the unique sophisticated saltiness of this sausage as its finest ingredient because Nengkoy believes that the best tasting coarse salt is made and can only be found in Alaminos, Pangasinan. Nengkoy so fancy the taste of Alaminos sea salt, she would even request that her pasalubong (home coming present) simply be kilos of this salt if a friend or a relative happen to be coming from Alaminos. Yeah, I know that’s how weird my mom is! Asin ang gusto.
Anyway, going back to the Alaminos Longganisa. Aside from its superb taste, a distinct look about the Alaminos Longganisa is the color. It’s yellow! This is because it has atsuete (annatto) as part of its ingredient. That is why unlike the salitre-filled usually red-colored native sausages, Alaminos Longganisa when cooked turns out to be golden brown in appearance.
Also, a unique form of this sausage is the usage of short and thin palm leaves’ midrib sticks to separate each sausage link from one another. To keep the meat bursting out of its sausage casing, these wood sticks are actually fried along with the meat and is served still on the plate sticking out from the ends of the sausage!
So if you happen to have been served a golden brown sausage with small sticks on it, it is most probably the glorious Alaminos longganisa! Of course, like any other Filipino longganisa, Alaminos longganisa is best devoured with loads of steamed kanin (rice).