CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN – Taking Italian food seriously like Italians do

California Pizza Kitchen – Taking Italian food seriously like Italians do

“Italian food is all about ingredients, and it’s not fussy and it’s not fancy.”~Woflgang Puck~

At Alabang Town Center, there is a wide array of Italian restaurants which you can choose from, such as Italiannis, Brooklyn Pizza, Amici, Cibo to name a few. When one I frequented. California Pizza Kitchen. It has been there as long as I can remember. I even have a photo with a friend at CPK more than 10 years ago.

So what’s the secret of a place to keep on thriving and remain strong despite of the numerous newly-constructed restaurants which offers the same products like they do.

Yes, CPK originated in the USA, created and owned by Americans, who put some tweaks on this traditional Italian dish and really took it seriously.

I think they do not stop researching for trends, they update their menu and they give out promotions during occasion constantly.

Their nachos now are colored when more than 10 years ago it’s just the usual yellow orange-colored chips. The ingredients they used are fresh and even the condiments are always updated, when it’s just Tabasco in the past years, they sense the demands of picky eaters and Sriracha or Cholulas are always ready on their tables.

Even the logo speaks for a thousand descriptions bringing you to this state where the legendary palm trees abound among other famous trees in California, from there to almost every part of the globe including the Philippines. =)

cpk logo
From 1985 to 2012 to present. =)

And of course not to forget mentioning the training they provide to their people extensive enough to keep customers coming. They keep this ROCK principle (rock philosophy: respect, opportunity, communication, kindness). Allowing their people to be inspired while at work.

So these are some of what they have in their menus:

I am not so much a fan of barbecue flavored stuff, but this hand-tossed pizza had me craving for more. I am used to pepperonis, so this one is new to me, and I really liked it. It is flavorful but not tiring and its’ spiciness is something I can tolerate. I’ve shared before I am not into spicy food, but this one is okay with me. =)

bbq pizza

The usual item that we asked to “advance call” is the nachos, we had this dip I so love, I wanted to do it at home. It’s their spinach artichoke dip, healthy and fun to eat too.

 

We tried one of the pastas too, vegetable primavera, which is also a healthy option.

veggie pasta

The flat bread with four cheese dip: hearth-baked mozzarella, queso quesadilla, smoked Gouda and Velveeta is so addicting.

4 cheese

I learned from the Restaurant Manager that Velveeta is a brand name compared to an American cheese, which texture is softer and smoother than a processed cheese. It is supposed to be consumed in moderation due to its’ high sodium content and preservatives.

While Gouda cheese is all natural from cow’s milk. Aside from the calories it’ll add to your diet, and fats, it’ll give you a little amount of calcium too. So, not bad.

The menu says “green mango salad” though I had yellow mangoes in it and I didn’t bother to contest it, it tasted really good, crunchy, fresh, a little bit funky like I’m a veggie lover all my life remember?

mango salad
Anti-oxidants. =)

So if you happen to visit Alabang Town Center and loves Italian food, you will have a lot of choices, and I’d like to personally recommend that CPK would be one of them. Happy eating!

You can find them in the following addresses:

  1. Alabang Town Center
  2. Greenbelt 5
  3. Bonifacio High Street
  4. Shangri-la Plaza Mall
  5. Century City Mall
  6. Promenade Mall
  7. SM Mall of Asia

You can also find them from time to time, offering promotions at Metrodeal (http://www.metrodeal.com/) if you want to enjoy great deals.

 

Advertisements

Niña’s Kitchen in Biñan, Laguna

Niña’s Kitchen in Biñan, Laguna

“Everyday may not be good, but there is always something good in everyday.”

Niña’s Kitchen is probably one the most talked-about restaurant in Laguna. Or becoming if I may say. It is a residential house which ground floor they turned into a commercial one, serving Filipino dishes (with a tweak) from breakfast to dinner.

I have been seeing it every so often from social media threads lately and out of curiosity, I dragged Jen one Sunday afternoon.

What made it more famous than its’ competitors is because it was endorsed by our former Ms. Universe since the owner is a friend (and a classmate) of hers.

16
Photos and memories..

The most photographed item that they offer per my research is the “suman sa lihiya (lye)”. So it was my first reason why I wanted to visit their place. My mom used to prepare this before, and I really miss it. She is old already and can’t perform usual tasks anymore.

suman

The place is snug, there are decorative objects equally distributed in the garden,

1st page

page 4

6

there’s even a bike with a basket holding a bouquet of flowers, which created a country-feel and very laid-back scenery. Relaxing and thought-provoking as well.

7

The dining area is quite huge, which can hold more or less 50 guests. There are actually three separate rooms to dine and we chose the one in a corner. The space outside is huge too.

11

9

10

It leads to the front yard too though it stays unopened and the entrance for guests is the one in the main dining hall where the counter and kitchen is situated.

page 5

Jen and I both sitted in the tufted bench beside that gorgeous red door.

12

On your left upon entrance is the stairs with quotes that I spotted in several blogs. So I made sure we have a picture on it. #thisthingwithstairs

8

The decors that are equally distributed in every corner were hints that most of which were from the owner’s many travels.

14

15

We’re supposed to order pasta and burger, but they’re no longer available. According to the attendant, there was a surge earlier. When we came before dinner time, only three tables were occupied giving me the liberty to take photos of items that are interesting to me.

We then chose pizza with pepperonis and still they’re no longer available. We ended up ordering the one with mushrooms. Jen ordered for the churros and I got my suman sa lihiya.

17

As a disclaimer, the attendant warned us that the pizza must be consumed immediately. The pizza is good, a healthy option since it is meatless. But true enough, in all fairness, we were warned, the pizza dough got firmer, and it’s no longer chewy to the bite.

13

The churros for me is over-rated, there is nothing special to it except for that mint leaf, just as how you expect churros to be, while the chocolate dip is good, it didn’t remind me of a brand, and only a good chef can do it or it is home-made. =)

18

The Filipino way of gathering is skillfully interpreted in this place. Local favorites infused with some internationally known dishes and a homey ambience. Huge tables, family pictures, souvenirs, hanging plants, a Sto. Nino to guard the place, the greenery, makes-up for the over-all cozy feel.

19

page 3

20

Surely, we can celebrate some occasion here with friends and family. Or maybe even if without something to celebrate. =)

It is located at:

Lot 32 Blk. 8, Silmer Village, Biñan, Laguna. You can call them at: 0915-649-3952

 

RUSTIC MORNINGS by Isabelo…

Rustic Mornings by Isabelo…

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” ~La Rochefoucauld~

I’m off to my tour of duty eastbound. My foodie buddy accompanied me to accomplish a task somewhere in Rizal. It was almost 1:00pm when we we’re halfway through and felt the need to refuel. I’m referring to our stomachs. Ehehe! And we’re still in Marikina when we felt like we haven’t eaten for days to think we just had coffee and some pastries from a favorite coffee shop in Gateway Mall a few hours ago..

So, we asked the driver if he can refer to us a good place to eat. And he instantly replied “Sa Isabelos!” So we asked him where is it located and he directed us to a tricycle to bring us there. The funny thing is it was a blessing in disguise since we are eyeing this place only that we knew it as “Rustic Mornings by Isabelo”… That chic resto in Marikina. And so it is. “Isabelo’s” and “Rustic Mornings” is but one and the same… 

st name
The name where they got it…
signage
Isabelo’s..
bountiful
Bountiful!

Upon reaching the place, we immediately headed to the counter and requested for the menu. The smiling attendant handed it to us, however, while browsing, she informed us and apologized at the same time that we can not order “Ala Carte” from the menu since Fridays are meant for their “Buffet promo”. And it was a Friday! Of all days!!!

the bar
Nice bar..
bacon bar
This signage is everywhere..=)
welcome door
Welcome!
no left over signage
Okaaay!=)
yare ka
Lol!

Jen is okay with it while I was half-hearted because I could not maximize buffets. Though since we’re famished and tired, we agreed to have our lunch there. Buffet! Oh well.

I enjoyed the ambiance more than the food. I was wary of the combinations. It looked confusing to me. But then, it might be absurd to get the buffet and not enjoy it. So I got my plate and choose what fits my palate.

I am actually trying to decide if I’ll have brunch or full lunch and thinking of the distance of our destination. I ended up choosing rice over bread. Besides, I prefer rice over bread ever since. =)

omelet
Omelet station…
jams
Jams!
bfast buffet
The spread for breakfast…
bfast buffe
Enticing…
bacons
Yey! Bacon!!!

It’s just confusing where will I combine the bacon, rice or bread, bread or rice.  Rice! =)

So, here’s what I’ve got:

my food
I consumed all of it, promise! Except for the Kafta balls due to its’ spiciness. We informed the attendant ahead of time to avoid being charged for not consuming everything on my plate. They are very considerate. =)

Jen, tried all these except for the pasta:

soup
I had this too..
rice
And a cup of this..
pasta
We missed this one..
kafta balls
Too spicy so I asked the attendant if I can leave this on my plate… I am not the “spicy girl” right!?
chicken
Kinda like this even if if chicken is an enemy…
bbq
I loved this!
bangus
We skipped this too!
buffet lunch
The whole spread for lunch..

And here’s what I enjoyed more:

tiled floor 2
The art all around..

Of reds!

twin bells
Twin bells..
rose tiles
Roses in their tiles..
red rose frames
I must conclude the owner(s) love roses!
pots collection
And another one in the dining hall..
pantone
This Pantone mug made me think why I didn’t have the Pantone 265 C! (–,)
three roses
She loves roses!

Of blues!

welcome door
Main entrance..
tiled floor
Dining area..
spoons
Dessert spoons..
peacocks
I love peacock feathers. We have this displayed in our sala when I was a child in our ancestral home in Binan..
mosaic tiles
You can choose to dine here or in the cabanas outside..
fvrt jar
My favorite of all the blues..
foto bomber
This niche gave me an idea for my violet stuff at home..
blues on niches
Isn’t it so lovely?
foyer
foyer…

The “Al Fresco vibes”

varying tiles
Rustic and shabby..
the one i always see in d pic
And homey..
cats
Blue cats!
bible verse
A lot like this were framed everywhere..
antique pics
Vintage photos..
al fresco
And the vintage bottles too..

The charms!

charms 2
Loved the tiles in yellow roses..
charms 1
And these charms..
charms
One of the cabanas..

Jen, tried everything and got bloated after. ehehe… Anyway, as it turns out, this accidental very heavy lunch, I won’t go that far to claim it’s one of the best buffets, since I am not much into buffets, still we enjoyed it. I didn’t feel bad not trying everything. Honest. Even if I am bacon junkie, though the “not that crispy” version, the sight of it filled me up right away. Everything felt good with bacon! =)

bacons
Yey!

I am now enjoying a lot of country – side food spots in my homeland. And will continue to hunt! =) There are actually a lot out there. Till then!

If you happen to be in Marikina? Drop by here, it would be a one of a kind experience. =)

Blue plus red equals = violet!

purple tile
(–,)
me n jen
Happy tummies! =)

Rustic Mornings is located at:

11 Isabelo Mendoza Street, San Roque, Marikina City. You can contact them thru the following numbers: 02-425-8610, 02-681-2461

BALAY INDANG, Finally..=)

Finally, Balay Indang…

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, however, only those who are true friends will stay…”

It has been months that we have been eyeing to spend one of our birthdays at this cozy locale in Cavite – Balay Indang. And due again to schedules that won’t meet, we had to postponed it, until finally, It is Theresa’s birthday this month of October, so we all agreed to do it at Balay Indang.

here we come
Chel to drive with 5 back-seat drivers!Lol!

It is a less than 2 hour drive taking the new MCX, we went straight to Trese Martirez and after reaching the junction at Tagaytay, we turned right several times (Savemore and Mendez) and 30 minutes after, we’ve reached our destination.

indang arc
Welcome arch is a tradition for me..
balay
The signage…

Balay Indang is a 5-hectare lot of massive flora. I’ve mused on numerous rare species of very pretty flowers in all colors.

sweet violet

violets

pink

violets 2

violets 3

reds
The orange petals blended with Theresa’s blouse..Beautiful!

Big and small trees with leaves in different shapes and varying shades of green. Being around it, nature per se, is truly beguiling. Like it was rendered by an artist in an all natural crisp palette that went well with the country-side like setting on this secluded part of Indang, Cavite.

sukal

pool

fountain

It is a Bed and Breakfast destination meant for those who really needs peace and quiet or that so called R&R (rest and relaxation). Once you are there, as we were, it is just between the sound of silence or the sound of frolicking leaves.

bahay matalino
Aaaw! They dedicated a room for us! Lol!
lanai
Lanai ng Balay…
were here
Spanish era..Vigan tiles..
chands 1
Can’t help but look up!
cuti pie
Cutie pie!

They also accommodate Retreat activities and the place is just so right. I just learned it later prompted by my wondering of seeing several Holy bibles in the area. There are 17 rooms, a pool, some gazebos, some cabanas, even a vast hall probably to hold events like birthdays and weddings for big groups.

stairs

feel at home

chel funny sit

bomber

balcony

The staff are friendly as expected, they will instantly greet you with an anticipated smile on their faces, and even if you are enjoying your own moment, you can’t help but greet them back. As I have been observing them, they all too must love their surroundings. I am amazed how positively genuine ardor can nature provide to anyone who see through its’ beauty. It reminds me of this famous saying: “May the force be with you.”

And so some force led us to the dining area. Lol! It’s time to make our tummies happy. It was a long trip anyway.

dining area
Signages…
sun flower
Happiness!
next month
It’s hers next month..=)
nkarating
Yey!
us before eating
Lunch time..=)

So this is what we feasted on:

spread
In less than 10 minutes… our food were served…

Fried rice with teeny weeny bits of
carrots.

rice
With teeny weeny carrot bits…

Chicken – Inasal style.

inasal
Chicken – Inasal style..

Oatmeal coated shrimp balls was the winner on the table.

winner
Winner! (–,)

Among those on the spread, the green salad is my personal favorite. I especially love their vinaigrette, the mixture worked for me and I guess with everyone else too.

greens
Greens! =)

Beef Caldereta. Flavorful and very tender.

caldereta
Loved the chorizos here..

Gising-gising is another chance for us to have veggies. =) (Oh my, I don’t have a picture of it!)

Baked Cream dory in cheese.

cream dory
Baked in Parmesan cheese..

And pancit (for the celebrant’s long prosperous life) utilizing sotanghon instead of the typical bijon.

pancit
Pancit sotanghon for Tere’s long & prosperous life! (–,)

We had fresh Dalandan juice, we consumed a number of pitchers.

dalnadan
Thirst quenching, not too sweet for me..

And a very soft maja for dessert.

hbd
Happy birthday Tere! =)

at rest

at res wdo tere

six sissies
Total of six sissies!
us 6
Bday girl’s is the biggest one! ehehe

The talks were non-stop, from while traveling, eating, taking photos at every chance, laughter in between. Even inside the loo. Even jump shots!

salamin
Mirrors became our favorite too..
look up
One of my favorites! This certainly “Look up” mode!
vintage mirror
Vintage mirror..
the story of the doll
And this doll! Ahaha!
chel n essie
Fun side of these two..=)

jump

watch tower 2
May relo ba jan? lol!

watch tower

And we were like kids during the 30 minute trek, wandering and wondering. It is doubtlessly moments created out of sterling friendship.

bday girl
Bday girl! ❤

Our photos might have give justice to it.

Happy birthday Theresa!!! Now we’re all looking forward to (Jhona) our youngest’s bash, where and when we will do it, is yet to be known. #excited

god bless
Our friendship has always been one of our life’s greatest blessings!

ps

We wouldn’t want another group chats reaching 400 plus messages. Lol!