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

MONALISA RISTORANTE..

Monalisa Ristorante

“You can’t buy happiness but you can buy pizza, and that’s the same thing.” ~unknown~

Holding such admiration to the diversity of cuisines from different countries. There is one particular country that I truly admire. Italy. Not to miss mentioning the beauty of their country gifted by God with such a vast pulchritude, breathtaking landscapes and naturally loving people. A country which I long to see with my own pair of hungry eyes. It has been a dream for years yet unfulfilled.

I also have a special liking and amazement for their food. Though they aren’t a big fan of risotto. And ironically, even if I am a typical Filipina who can not skip rice in my meals, but I can do if it’s pasta and/or pizza.

m2

I must admit, I am a pizza junkie. While I was pregnant, I craved for pizzas the whole time. I go for any brand. Even those stalls that sell cheaper pizzas topping it with just ham and cheese. We even bought ingredients once and did our own. We called it pizzacho. Because we already have a name for the baby in my womb. We named him Echo.

Having Alabang as my rendezvous, I keep on searching for a new and cool Italian restaurant until I came across Monalisa Ristorante. It is tucked in a corner at the second floor of Commerce center. And not the typical artisanal pizzeria, theirs is authentic Italian.

Commerce center is a mall sandwiched by two other malls: Festival mall and Alabang Town Center. There is something very special with Commerce Center. When you can’t breath due to the stream of townies either at Festival mall and Alabang Town center. Check it out and you’ll appreciate the ambiance of the whole place. There is privacy as well though it isn’t as big like the two malls that I’ve mentioned.

I kept falling in love with Alabang every now and then. As a teenager, I grew up there until Festival mall spawned. Alabang Town center did several expansions too, still, there are other options to choose from when you’re in Alabang. There is Civic drive where popular restaurants like Neil’s kitchen, Kanin club, Contis among others are situated. And several hotels for a cozy shop to sip coffee or teas plus your favorite cake or pastry or a spread from their “Eat all you can” menu.

m1

My knowledge of Commerce Center is accidental. Due to traffic, I opted to walk from Festival mall to ATC and in passing, there it is quietly sitted across Acacia hotel. The name: Monalisa Ristorante sounded very interesting. And from afar, you can see that the interior of the place is impressive. The murals in the ceiling is visible and enticing too.

As we’re about to enter this place, a huge reproduction of Monalisa will greet you with her famous mysterious smile. There are more murals inside. Some of which are paintings from the Renaissance era.

m14

Like a habit that’s hard to break. I took photos while we’re waiting for our food. Jen is already used to it. I take photos of my own too which is called “selfies” or photos of what we’re getting are “food porns”by the millennials. Sometimes, Jen take my pictures too.

 

 

And when there is an available attendant to take our pictures, we normally asked them to capture us together.

m12

m11

m6

We asked the RM to tell us about the “Create your own pizza”.

m15

Their best sellers and if they have Stellas per Jen’s request. Well, they don’t have that beer from Belgium. Jen was offered to try the wines. They have a nice cellar just across their kitchen counter.

m7

We opted for that “Create your own pizza” thing. You will choose 4 toppings and these are our choices:

– mushrooms

– pepperonis

– bell peppers

– cheese (a special kind)

m5

For pasta we had Pollo pizimente as recommended.

m3

It’s just good to know that each place we visit has something special to offer. At Monalisa, I like their dough, it is a bit gummy and tasty. And it’s made from wheat bread which made it a healthier treat. Their cheese (s) are awesome as well.

From the ambiance, excellent service of their people, taste and presentation, Monalisa Ristorante is my kind of Italian restaurant. I will visit again one of these days. 😊 They have zuppa, seafood pasta, house specialty and calzone!

PS

And they bake their own breads too. Their complimentary bread came with three different dips: butter, pesto and tomato sauce..=)

m13

Monalisa Ristorante is located at: Building 1 Commerce Center, Commerce Avenue Corner Filinvest Avenue, Alabang, Muntinlupa, 1781 Metro Manila .You can contact them at: 556 – 0708.

DOMINO’S Pizza – Meant for Pizza lovers!

Domino’s Pizza – Meant for pizza lovers..

“Pizza is the only love triangle that I want.” ~ Anonymous

There’s nothing like pizza. I often go for one after another. When I was still working in this themed park in Sta. Rosa, one of their tenants happen to be Domino’s Pizza and I would remember stopping by it to get a slice or two. Sometimes, we enjoy it better with their apple crumble. It reminds of an all-American apple pie at “Troubles” during college days. But that was so many years ago.

The last time I’ve been to Domino’s Pizza was when my sister-in-law treat us on her birthday. Hmmn, mother and son were very happy of the choice.

that hand
Oh, that’s my hand grabbing that Coke bottle! =p
my in laws
My second family! ❤

And then just recently, after having nachos and specialty coffee at Taza Mia, we opted for a walk, the mall rats in us, we found out that the place has a Domino’s pizza already. While still full, we were like on “stress-eating” and instantly our feet led us to their counter. And got ourselves one solo (7 inches/ 4 slices) in 2 different variants in thin and crisp dough.

that famous logo
The famous logo..
meatza
Mine..
extravaganzza
Jen’s..

I kinda missing the apple crumble, but it no longer comes in small orders. What they offer now is a whole pie which I guess we won’t be able to consume. Besides, we still have our cupcakes from another store.

I also noticed that they are no longer partnered with Pepsi. Looks like Coca-Cola beat them this time. Though, it didn’t matter to me. I still have my iced coffee when we visited their place.

It is cute or amazing to find out that they are now more systematized. The service is faster and you can monitor your order with your name flashing on their screen. However, they misspelled my friend’s name. Ehehe!

tv
Wrong spelling, wrong! =)

I truly admire businesses that went global, Domino’s Pizza have been around for the last 50 years.

kinds
Whoaa, 50 years! Photo courtesy of: http://www.dominospizza.ph

And I think with all the new pizzerias which came and are coming, they’re here to tough the competition out. They didn’t stop innovating anyway. =)

MIDAS Cafe at Midas Hotel in Pasay City…

Midas Cafe at Midas Hotel in Pasay City…

Happy Friday everyone! I can’t seem to stop writing. I will write about this hotel in Pasay City which we’ve been meaning to try for a “Staycation”.

Midas Hotel is one of those 5-star hotels lined-up along Roxas boulevard. It used to be the historic Hyatt Hotel, it was then renovated and renamed as Midas Hotel by Genesis Hotels and Resorts, the same company that owns Misibis Bay and Bellaroca Island Resort, still, I must conclude it’d still remain to be a peaceful and luxurious abode in a fast-paced urban place for travelers. It is also a few minutes away from Mall of Asia, the airports, Solaire and Resorts world.

midas logo
Courtesy of: https://www.facebook.com/MidasHotelAndCasino/timeline

I went over this particular blog a few days ago, but due to tons of “things to do” at work and at home. My “Me time” spent on blogging, traveling, quilting were put aside for a while.

Our original plan is to try Yanagi. A Japanese restaurant located at the mezzanine. However, when we arrive, all seats are taken on a weekday, and we forget to call for a reservation.

They were kind enough to direct us to the Cafe – Midas Cafe, hoping for available seats. When we arrive, we were informed that there are several events and it might not be possible for us to choose our seats. We said it’s okay. We were provided a two seater coffee table which is I guess enough for snacking and not big enough for a real meal.

It wasn’t a problem at all, we only wanted to check their place and ordered for a few to satiate our cravings not necessarily our hunger. When at some point, you’d hear giggles of this group, and another singing “Happy Birthday” from a different group, etc. True enough, it is definitely peak at the cafe.

midas menu
I like the concept..

So Jen had the “Midas burger” and I just had Pepperoni pizza. But we were so tempted with the attractive display of their desserts, we ended up availing their “Desserts buffet”.

She had a hard time consuming her burger and I had a hard time with my pizza too.

midas cubiertos
=)
midas burger
I helped her with the coleslaw! ehehe!
midas pizza
And I asked her to help me with my pizza too!

The variant I’ve chosen is of course my favorite pepperoni and was surprise to discover theirs is bigger than the usual. Because we had too much of their desserts. We had halo-halo and ice cream and pieces of bite-size blueberry cheesecake. I also spotted mini cream puffs and tiramisus. And took a bite of each.

midas ice cream toppings
You can top these on your ice cream!
midas desserts
I loved the almonds.. =) and mini cream puffs and mini blueberry cheesecakes!
midas desserts buffet
We weren’t able to try everything.. Just by looking at them made me already full!
midas halo
Besides, I had Halo-halo! =)
midas halo toppings
I got plenty of red monggos and ube..=)

The Head waiter didn’t fail to check us out on top of taking care of the on-going event(s). It was amazing. From the time we placed our order, til they arrived and until we asked them if we can take the pizza home.

We were also informed with pride that the Executive Chef of Midas hotel is the award-winning Chef Arnold Guevarra. Upon research, he was also the Executive Sous Chef of Sofitel Philippines. We all know that Sofitel is very popular for their buffet spread at Spiral Manila. I was able to check it out with some colleagues years ago. And maybe it’s time to ask Jen to go with me and try it again soon.

midas red
Let’s go to Spiral! =)

I also thought of the lobby of Midas hotel to be so grand but it was not that grand. Except for that grand piano! (Am I too literal here?) Lol! And only when I checked the details of those orange boxes out of curiosity, it made me think again. They resemble Hermes boxes! =) Because I was estimating the cost of those bags all in all. Ahahaha! If there’s one original bag inside.

Not until I figured-out that the opulence is coming from the furniture itself. As you will find pieces by Philip Starck here and there.

midas orange boxes
Are those boxes Hermes?

What struck me the most is the scent that was lingering when we entered the lobby. I thought it was coming from the many flowers scattered in every corner. Though the scent isn’t floral, it is more of a sweet milder lemony scent.

midas flowers
So lovely…

This and the “Midas touch” great service will make me remember Midas Hotel and left with a resolve to come back and enjoy quality “Me” time. This or Henry hotel Manila. They are just a few blocks away from each other. Till then! =)

midas tatler
We ought to validate this soon! =)
midas me
Yey! Happy tummies!
good vibes
Good Vibes! Courtesy of: https://www.facebook.com/MidasHotelAndCasino/timeline

Midas Hotel is located at 1501 Roxas Boulevard, 2702 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay, 1300 Metro Manila. You can contact them at:  902 0100