Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen

Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen

“Eat the spaghetti to forgetti your regretti.”

Coming from having a burger style pizza a week ago, Jen and I craved for the usual style of pizza that we know about. Either that New York style or an authentic Italian one. We chose the latter.

And we ended up asking the Grab driver to bring us to Evia where Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen is located. The original one is in Aguirre Street, in BF Paranaque which we saw twice, passed by it after we visited some restaurants from this popular street, it is actually included in our Bucket list and in one of my category “When in Aguirre street”.

Typically, when we are handed the menu, we browsed on it and asked the attendant their best sellers. For the pizza, they suggested the “All meat” and “Mama Lou’s special”. We opted for the former.

We also had the mozzarella sticks called in advance although they served us some complimentary breads with olive oil and balsamic dip while waiting for our orders. We also ordered for their seafood home-made pasta.

Ideally they have it all, when it comes to Italian dishes: Antipasti, Zuppe, Insalate, Pasta (oil or tomato base), Pizza, Risotto, Pollo, Carne, Sea food and Desserts.

I should agree that if you’re craving for Italian food, you won’t regret trying theirs.

I am thinking of coming up with my top 10 mozzarella sticks and I think I’m including Mama Lou’s version.

The pasta tasted delicious, there are shrimps, squid rings that were cooked just right. They surrounded the whole serving with mussels and clams and Jen took charge of them. ehehe!

The pizza includes pepperoni, ham, Italian sausage and bacon, there are no ground beef though. Don’t miss the arugulas. =)

The dining hall is quite large, there are enough tables for big and small groups, they occupy 2 floors in Evia actually and I saw it during peak hours that both floors are jam-packed.

There are touches of vintage stuff probably to coincide with the theme, they used bricks on their wall, some beautiful plates were mounted on one wall, neatly arranged wine bottles in the bar which if emptied they utilized as water bottles too. =)

You might ask that smiling woman is Mama Lou. Yes it is her. =)

There are equally amusing restaurants in the area, though Mama Lou’s stand-out in her own special way.

Jen liked Evia as much as I do so I’m expecting she’s eyeing another visit of these days. I might bring her to Another Story too. =)

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The Black Pig

The Black Pig
“Good food is good mood.”
Coming across an article that featured restaurants with the most beautiful and impressive interiors, being a designer,  it has drawn me to see them up close and personal. Neil’s Kitchen was in that list though I’ve been there several times and I must agree that their interiors is not just beautiful, their food is awesome too. The next that caught my attention from the list is The Black Pig.
It is a few blocks away from Neil’s Kitchen. It’s in Alabang too at the second level of Commerce Center. Without the heat of the sun, it is walking distance for me. The Black Pig’s facade isn’t too attractive as the whole place from the outside isn’t well- lighted. But the welcoming smiles of their attendants will compensate for that which kept my brain engaged.
Since Jen already commented:”The placed looked gloomy.” This is because they opted to use hanging lamps and pin lights on selected areas.
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Rustic..
Upon entrance, it is only the time I began admiring the place from the interiors, their furniture, lighting system, the colors that they’ve chosen, the vigilance of their attendants to the table wares (made by a known potter from Laguna), cutlery and the food itself. 
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Floor decal..

 

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Call cards..

 

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Looked Moroccan to me. =)
There are some touches of green elements which add life to the whole place. What will caught your attention is definitely the bar.
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Awesome..

 

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There’s the famous bar..

 

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I liked that swing door going to the kitchen..
It exudes order and class by the use of black and brown finishes. Usually, most bars looked untidy even if the items are properly arranged due to the fact that you see everything from it: sorts of bottles, glass, machines, some bars are even with baskets of fruits displayed on the counter like so much is happening in it. At The Black Pig, you will see the clutter though it will not sore your depicting eyes.
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Coasters made from Guava tree..

 

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All corners are inviting..

 

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And we choose this.

 

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Not yet peak time when we visited..

 

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That chair…

There’s even a guide for drinking wine.

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Very useful especially with me who doesn’t drink any liquor at all.

A cool utensils rack.

 

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Very orderly..

When it comes to food. We had a three course meal altogether which started with a green salad:

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I enjoyed this fresh treat..

I am training my palette with fresh greens and it’s followed by a slow-cooked chicken dish:

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Chicken please. =)

and home-made ice cream for dessert.

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Ube for me and caramel for Jen..

We had the feel of drinking Al fresco with that refreshing raspberry iced tea.

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Al fresco..
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Raspberry iced tea..

According to the attendants, peak time is usually dinner time onward because they serve alcoholic drinks too.

During the afternoon, if you wish for a less crowded place to have lunch or snack. The Black pig will give you that. It is ideal for business meetings too. For the overall experience, dining there, the ambiance, service and carefully prepared food is recommendable.
I suggest that you try it, when you’re heading to the south. They’re located at: Commerce Center Building, Filinvest Ave. corner, E Asia Drive, Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang, Muntinlupa, 1781 Metro Manila

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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)

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For pasta we had Pollo pizimente as recommended.

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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!

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

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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.

BALAY DAKO – A must-visit…

BALAY DAKO

“Enjoy life, it is delicious.”

Catching up with myself, I decided to self-gratify and do a quick fix by visiting one of my favorite places in the Philippines – Tagaytay.

Among the long list of where to make our tummies happy, we chose “Balay Dako”.

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She’s all smile getting there.
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Waiting area..
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Piaya originated from Bacolod..
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Sorbetes! (Ice cream)

Immediately upon entering their enormous dining hall, we found our spot.

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While waiting for our food..

It is facing a central view of the famous Taal lake. It came to us with the soft cool breeze of Tagaytay. And some fogs too which were too thin to notice.

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The weather was great at that time.

Spending almost 3 hours to get there from my place, we ordered some of their specialties to our heart’s content.

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And relaxing at the same time..

And while waiting for our food, I took photos of what they’re using in their kitchen.

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It was good to know that some of these are in my kitchen too..

I must not forget to mention here that Chef Tony (Escalante) was there and smiles at everyone including me. #startruck

Permit me this awe since he is touted as one of the best chefs in Asia. The brain behind Antonio’s Restaurant. Though the Executive Chef of Balay Dako is Chef Ricky Sison.

So, here’s what we’ve had:

Our table were filled with Filipino cuisine and the usual that we cooked at home, but broadly speaking, the taste and ambiance and the service are 2 thumbs up.

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We had shrimps, beef and green mango salad.
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Two old-time favorites: Turon and bibingka..
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And another favorite: Sago and gulaman for our drinks.
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We were also provided with mascuvado sugar either for our bibingka or sago gulaman should we wanted it sweeter.
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Each table is served with staple condiments.

And these are the elements making up a note-worthy place that deserves frequent visit. I then again wished that Tagaytay is just 15 minutes away from me. More of a visceral thing to me. We were in a relaxed mode anyway.

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I had fun spotting two of the most important letters to me..=)

The place is huge, giving justice to it’s name: “Balay Dako”. Dako is big in the Visayas where Chef Tony hailed from.

You’d be glad to know that after we had our desserts, our feet lead us to their specialty shop and brought home some stuff too.

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Went shopping too.
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Neatly arranged items..
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Chalkboard menuboard which will eventually be included in my other blog that features my fascination on Calligraphy.
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When you visit this, there’ll always be something that you can bring home..
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Like these..
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Fish in oil..
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Chicharon which equates to 20 counts of burpees.. =p
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Freshly-baked daily.

Find time to visit the place and I’m pretty sure you’ll like it there too.

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Their welcome arch..

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They asked if we have tried these other two: Breakfast at Antonios and Antonio’s Restaurant (the pilot branch). And if not, they said that we must. =) I think I’ll start saving for the latter. Their steaks are famous. =)

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THE FUSION CUISINE

The Fusion Cuisine

When the main bridgeway in our town closed for re-construction, our route going to Manila pass by two villages which includes Pacita Complex. The trip was longer but it allowed me to discover some new food places to visit anytime.

One of which is The Fusion Cuisine located at the main road of Pacita complex. It stood out along several restaurants.

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D’Fusion Cafe..

It caught my interest since the facade is very attractive and welcoming, an attendant is cooking “Takoyaki” right in front of their entrance when we came and it is enticing.

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Takoyaki…=)

There is a “Menu for the day” signage in a miniature easel, where the menu is written in chalk and the attendants are vigilant enough to greet you upon entry.

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I ❤ easels and chalk-written menus!

It is a joint that pours booze until midnight. It was only after dinner time when we arrived.

Jen was adamant to get a bottle of her favorite beer. An Estella. What I had is my usual iced tea.

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Finally, she got one..

For our food, we normally inquire what their best seller is and should it fit our preference, we get it.

I had grilled pork. And Jen had grilled salmon. Both of which are two of their best sellers.

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Attack! (–,)

It took them more than fifteen minutes to serve it. Slightly too long for me, I just had to kill our time while waiting for our orders to arrive by taking photos of this small nook. Literally, its’ name fits their place as it showcased a mix of cultures strongly hinged to Philippines, Thailand and Japan.

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We found it weird not to find the usual sidings for grilled items. They’ve attempted to create a twist, when we’re used to buttered veggies and probably only the lemon slice is suited for Jen’s salmon. The slightly buttered corn in that mini bowl is okay, however, it doesn’t fit the slices of cucumber and tomatoes. We then affix the term “fusion” to all our observation.

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We missed the soup..

It made sense that the attendants asked how our food is. It is a traditional take that I think is effective when you want to improve on your craft.

It made me raise the glass. Or should I say the Estella bottle. =)

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This is Jen’s, I don’t drink beer for almost 20 years now.. =)