Jamie’s Italian Bangkok

One epicurean highlight of me, my sisters’ and my mother’s adventure in Bangkok was the opportunity to dine at Jamie’s Italian.  It is a popular worldwide chain of Italian restaurants conceived and run by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.  Thanks to cable TV my family knows who Jamie Oliver is.

This chain of restaurants has recently been in the news in which about a dozen of its branches scattered around the world are reportedly beleaguered and will soon be closing.  It is so ironic that it has yet to open a branch in Manila, yet branches in other spots on the planet are already closing.

So before Jamie’s Italian would completely dissolve and utterly disappear from the face of earth, me, Nengkoy and my sisters took the chance to savor some of its dishes.  My family love watching cable TV cooking shows (including that of Jamie Oliver’s) and now that there is an opportunity, we will no longer forever wonder how a popular celebrity chef’s creation actually taste like.

These are what we ordered…

Soup of the Day… pumpkin soup! This surprisingly passed the palate of Nengkoy whom I consider to be an authority when it comes to pumpkin soups.

Meatball Pappadelle (free-range pork & fennel meatballs in ‘nduja tomato sauce with olives, herby breadcrumbs, rocket and parmesan) this is sooo good…

Spaghetti Alla Norma (a classic sicilian pasta dish or aubergine, chilli & basil in rich tomato sauce) it’s vegetarian yet my personal favorite! 

Truffle Shuffle (white sauce, truffled salami, fontal, balsamic onions, free-range egg & black truffle) super savory!

Epic Chocolate Brownie (with proper chocolate sauce, salted caramel ice cream and caramelised popcorn) super yummy!

And after enjoying all these savory dishes, I wonder why a significant number of Jamie’s Italian branches around the planet are in the brink of closure.  Maybe it’s because taste buds of people around the world has mutated, regressed and had a relapse that it can no longer fathom, appreciate and recognize what good food is.

Good to know that the Bangkok branch stays strong and dynamic.  This is considering the fact that Thai people seem to be one of the most discriminating in terms of flavor, taste and palatal experience.  With the luscious taste and flavors we experienced at Jamie’s Italian Bangkok located at Siam Discovery, I hope that this chain remain for a long period of time for others with discerning taste to enjoy. 

me and nengkoy… enjoyed the food so much!

Parang ako ang kasarapan!

Italy is Two Hours Away from Manila

Being an urban dweller who presently works for a group of restaurants in Metro Manila, I never intended to look for it.  But I think I found the best Italian restaurant in the Philippines.  It is not located in Manila but can be found in Angeles, Pampanga.  Yes, the Pinoy palate capital of the Philippines is where the best Italian restaurant is located.

It’s simply called C’ Italian Dining.  They have the best and most unique pizza ever which they call Panizza.  A thin-crusted square hybrid pizza sliced in long rectangular cuts that would be best enjoyed if topped and rolled with fresh arugula and alfalfa sprouts.  The perfect harmony of flavors and textures of the dish was just like experiencing a great opera.  While eating my share of Panizza my bones were shouting “Bravo! Benissimo!!!” It’s no wonder we finished three whole pizzas in a matter of minutes!

panizza "milyonario"

panizza "kristina"

rolled panizza with arugula & alfalfa

It seems that the servers actually saved the best for last for they served us the best spinach ravioli and the unforgettable penne in chicken and parmesan cream sauce.  Both dishes were simply phenomenal.  The tastes were no longer mere flavors, but more of a lingering voice forever engraved in my mind.

spinach ravioli

penne in chicken & parmesan cream sauce

plates lining the wall are signed and written with rave reviews of popular celebrity patrons

Fattening, yes! But a small price to pay for such a delightful pleasure.  A bit of caution to all those who plan to drive all the way up to Pampanga and dine in this restaurant.  Be careful for you might get hooked, all your senses and even your soul will never forget the rich taste of C’ Italian Dining perfection.

Grabe! Kasing sarap ko ang pagkain doon!

Liliw: Immortal Tsinelas & Sinantol Pasta

Second time is as fascinating as the first.  This is what I felt when I got the opportunity to walk the narrow streets of Liliw Laguna for the second time.  The place is a paradise for shoes and tsinelas (slippers) lovers.  Too bad my subsequent visit to Liliw was just a stopover and there was only limited time to go gaga over footwear.  The diversity and assortment of footgear available in Liliw can rival the traditional shoe-making capital Marikina.

With only short time allotted, I was able to cover a number of stores with a thought framework “if the shoe fits, buy it!”  I bought myself two pairs of leather-made immortal tsinelas at only 190 pesos each.  I consider it immortal because it takes like a lifetime before these Liliw-made footgear-s would tear off.

An ideal Filipino province, Liliw is clean, organized, peaceful and tourist-friendly.  Aside from the amazing footwear, there is another bonanza I struck in this place.  It is a Tagalog delicacy that I believe can only be found in the Philippines.  It’s called Sinantol.  It is a dish out from the velvety skinned tropical fruit santol in which the pulp is grated and squeezed off its juice cooked with coconut milk, red chili pepper and bagoong alamang (salty shrimp paste).

Sinantol is commonly eaten with other Pinoy viands and hot steamed rice.  However, since I hardly store rice grains in my house, I instead mixed the Sinantol with cooked spaghetti pasta.  It was awesome!  My taste buds wanted to grow its own taste buds so as to relish the heavenly flavor in my palate.  Thanks to the absence of any rice grain in my house because I was able to put together one amazing gourmet sensation! Yum yum!!

Sarap tikman at tapakan…