April of 2008, me and my scrapbooking friends Lee and Candy went to Sta. Ignacia, Tarlac to turn over the donations we collected for the Carmelite Nuns. Along the way, we talked about food among others, and Lee asked if we were in the mood to eat Italian. So after the visit to the nuns, we went to C' Italian Dining located in Angeles, Pampanga.
One of the nice things about this restaurant was that its owner/executive chef Chris Locher took time to mingle with his customers. He was a nice person to talk to, and he even gave a girl a tour inside the kitchen and taught her how to make pasta! In one of his chit-chats with the customer (I wasn't eavesdropping, they were speaking loud) that the reason why he chose Angeles, Pampanga as the location of his restaurant was because if he opened this in Metro Manila, there will be a lot of competition, and if he opened it in Baguio City (where he got most of the vegetables), it would be far already. Very sensible reason. Well, it might be a little far from Metro Manila, but I do tell you, it was worth the travel!
At the time we visited, the main dining area was a bit small, but they have a much bigger dining area at the back. I think nowadays the restaurant is already big since they were expanding and construction was on the way just next to the location.
We had three dishes on that day:
Paolo Miguel Panizza (parma ham slices, artichokes and mushroom served with arugula and alfalfa) - This one was so heavenly! I am not into thin crust pizza, and this one seemed to be related to the thin crust pizza, but when paired with the bitter arugula lettuce, it proved to be a great, great dish. The bitterness of the arugula and the saltiness / sourness of the panizza was a match made in heaven. It was also served with alfalfa sprouts, but I still prefer the arugula because I felt eating alfalfa is like chewing on freshly uprooted turnips - with the soil still on!
Spaghetti Frutti di Mare (salmon, mahimahi, prawns, and mussels sauteed in olive oil with garlic, olives, and capers enticed with a hint of fresh pomodore) - I still am not a big fan of seafood pasta as well as olives, but I still loved eating this pasta. I guess the love for oil based pasta made up for it. One thing to commend was the fish. I can taste the sea as I chew on it, and it was a great indication that the fish was really fresh.
Mozzarella in Carozza (golden fried mozzarella slices, served on pomodore sauce topped with fresh mushroom slices) - What makes dining fine? I guess by now I could say that it's fine dining when you asked the chef for something and he delivered it to you with gusto. This dish wasn't really part of the menu already, but Lee considers this one as her favorite dish from here, so when Lee showed sadness that the dish wasn't part of the menu, chef Chris just went, "I could serve it to you if you want." Indeed, it was so great! The cheese and the tomato sauce and the mushroom just complemented each other.
Eating here surely was wallet straining, but then again, given the great service and the great food, I am sure no one would mind the cost anymore.
*** Jenn ***
ps - By the way, I already blogged about this in my very first blog, I just changed the wordings and the delivery. Please don't be confused if you get to see the original blog post somewhere.