Saturday, September 23, 2006

G.U.S. NITPICKS!! (v. 8)


Dinner with my bon vivant friend D. is always a fun-filled experience. So i did not hesitate when he suggested we eat at Mezzaluna, formerly known as Amoroma. D. had quite an interesting story about the new management and new chef, which took over from Amoroma. Not sure if i can repeat it for public consumption though. . . .

Not being very familiar with the area, i had the devil of a time finding this place. Upon entering Mezzaluna, i found its interiors cozy and subdued, rather smaller than i thought it would be. The brick walls, patterned floor tiles, lamps hanging from the ceiling and silver cutlery all evoke "fine dining" and "authentic" Italian (read: expensive). The mood is enhanced by the piped-in music (CD of an Italian female singer named Laura Pausini), uplifting and pleasant to the ear.

The food menu didn't seem very extensive, but interesting nonetheless. We ordered the Bruschetta PHP210 (mushroom, pesto, mozzarella cheese, basil and fresh tomato), which didn't scrimp on the ingredients.

For the main courses, after much dithering, we finally agreed to share:

Pomodoro e Basilico Fresco Pasta PHP220 (fresh tomatoes, olive oil, fresh basil leaves and mozzarella cheese)

Pizza Con Salsiccia e Patate PHP330 (mozzarella cheese, onions, potato and italian sausage)

We were concerned at first about how the potato would blend into a pizza, but need not have been, after all. The pizza was very tasty, but not heavy on the palate.

For dessert, i tried the Vanilla Pannacotta with Mango and Mint Salad (PHP125). Simply quite superb!!! The pannacotta had exactly the right texture, and flavourful already on its own. . . but not cloying, so i could probably eat half a dozen in one sitting!!! :D Bravo, ang sarap talaga!!! [it's fantastically delicious]

The Baked Lemon Pudding with Vanilla Gelato (PHP185) also looked interesting, but alas, we were too full already.

On the debit side, their fresh dalandan juice was a tad too sweet.

All in all, Mezzaluna provides very good food, coupled with relaxing atmosphere and solicitous service. And the bill came to around PHP700 per person, which is not bad at all.

Just wait till i get back and order that bucketfull of pannacotta. . . .

(Mezzaluna is located at Ground Floor, Valuepoint Condominium, 227 Salcedo St. corner Gamboa St., Legaspi Village, Makati City)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

G.U.S. NITPICKS (v. 7)!!


This rather oddly-named coffee place is located at the rather oddly-named Aseana Power Station, basically a strip mall complex which is a stone’s throw away from SM Mall of Asia.

Turns out it is a Taiwanese franchise, although I would think the local owners were given a lot of leeway by their franchisors. Aside from some murals on the walls with Chinese characters, there is really nothing in this coffee place that says “Taiwanese”.

This is not necessarily bad, since as far as I know, Taiwan is not a country renown for its coffee beans and tea leaves (oops, did I just mention one of their competitors? Hehe ;D)

Anyways, on to our meal. Life Coffee serves a wide array of coffees (hot coffee, hot mocha flavored selections, cold coffee drinks, blended frappes [similar to frappuccinos]) and teas (freshly brewed cold teas in passion fruit, grapefruit, mango, peach, etc. flavors, and the like). They even have fruit smoothies!

But it is so much more than a coffee & tea place. Their menu is pretty extensive, covering the ff:

- Paninis (Roast Beef, BBQ Chicken, etc.), ranging PHP120 – PHP130

- Pastas (their Cream Pesto Pasta with Mushrooms (PHP130) was simply quite superb!)

- Rice toppings, such as Pork chop with black pepper sauce (PHP145) and Spicy chicken in garlic pesto sauce (PHP135)

- Salads

- Pizzas, 6 choices all in all (we tried the King Triton Pizza (red and green bell peppers, sardines, black olives, capers, mozzarella cheese; very flavorful and crust was thin and crunchy. Quite good). Prices range from PHP175 – PHP250.

- Cakes

Also worth a special mention is the Life Coffee special nachos (PHP135), which is an ideal snack and the way it is presented is quite lovely indeed.

In my opinion, Life Coffee serves very good food and drinks at reasonable prices; and definitely worth a visit, esp. if you can’t bear having to go to the mall and looking for parking space, just to eat.

Also, it seems to be more of a family resto, and not so much a “hang-out” place. So perhaps the owners should consider repositioning it a bit.

And one minor quibble: Those chocolate-brown cushioned chairs with rounded backs aren’t very comfortable at all. My back hurt after sitting in one for more than an hour.

(Life Coffee & Tea will open its second branch at SM Hypermart in Libis, Quezon City, besides Tiendesitas, later this month)