Friday, January 27, 2012

Italian Dinner with K

Marikina Shoe Expo - General Romulo Ave.
Cubao, Quezon City
17 November 2010

Traveling from Baguio City, K and I directly went to our next home for the holiday: Fernandina 88 Suites Hotel along P. Tuazon in Cubao. It was our choice of home because each room had it's own living room and kitchenette, and it seemed to be near the next places we planned to visit for the next two days.

We got there around 4:30 in the afternoon, and after settling in and doing the laundry (thank heavens for the kitchenette and the balcony), it was time for us to eat dinner. I told K there are a lot of restaurants nearby, but for some reason, I only wanted to eat dinner at one restaurant - Bellini's.


pictures taken late last year - my original pictures were too dark to be recognized

Cubao has been part of my life one way or the other - when we were kids, parents would always take us to Fiesta Carnival and when I studied college, I'd always pass by Cubao because it was there I take the jeepney ride home. Years after I finished college, Cubao went to a major makeover and this part of the Marikina Shoe Expo became a little secret that not many people know about - maybe because all spotlight has been on Gateway Mall and the nearby places.

Bellini's is an authentic Italian Restaurant serving dishes since 1999. Owner Roberto Bellini is an Italian papparazzo, who met his wife Luisa while covering the EDSA Revolution. After years of living in Italy, the couple (along with their kids) went back to the Philippines to put up this restaurant.


It is quite a long restaurant, with different sections for diners to choose from. This picture above is the area closest to the main door. A good place to enjoy a bit of "restaurant life," as there is a television showing some sports, and this area is also close to the kitchen and bar.


Another section of the same area - I just wanted to show some of the couples' works (Luisa became a papparazzo, too, if I remember correctly) as well as some bottles of wine.


Middle section of the restaurant features this mural showcasing a fusion of Italy and the Philippines, and possibly some landmarks around the world.


This section is the farthest from the main door - this was where K and I decided to stay, just so we could have some peaceful dining experience, but turns out, as diners come in, they would prefer to stay here, too. :)

Staff are all friendly and nice - the waiter pulled my chair and pushed it back in as I sat, he even laid out the cloth on our laps before handing us the menu. As we make our choices, the wait staff told us to just enjoy our stay and munch on the bread sticks as we wait for our food, which will take time before serving - they prepare the dishes upon ordering.

For that dinner, we had:

Milanese Beef

Milanese Beef. Fried veal dipped in egg and breadcrumbs. K's choice. K and I both agreed - the veal was tender and the breading had a very light crisp. K enjoyed his meal as it was served with potatoes and carrots, another reason not to eat rice for him.

Osso Bucco

Osso Bucco ala Fiorentina. Bone marrow veal steak. My choice. The time we had this food trip, I was always playing "Cafe World" on Facebook, and I always "cook/serve" Osso Bucco on my restaurant, so when I saw this on the menu, I decided to go for it, just so I would know how it tasted. Fork tender beef and the sauce just had the right amount of seasoning... but somehow I didn't like it - maybe because I expected too much from the dish (well, I didn't know what the dish was before I ordered it) - to put it simply, it was like eating Beef Caldereta minus the other ingredients. Still, because it was very tender and tasty, I enjoyed my meal... with a cup of rice to go with it.

While eating my meal, I ranted about my wrong choice of dishes. Like for this food trip - this is an Italian Restaurant, yet I should've ordered for any of the pasta dishes. Oh well, maybe if given the chance to eat here again, I'd go for the pasta or pizza.

Foccacia Bread

Foccacia Bread. The wait staff asked K if he wanted to eat Foccacia Bread to go with his meal. This one's not for free (like the ones at Italianni's or at C' Italian Dining), but we both loved this bread as it was still warm, it was crispy on the outside, yet very soft inside. It comes with a dip, but eating it as is was already okay.


Cassata. I already knew K would pay a lot for this dinner, but I still asked if it was okay for us to have desserts. He said yes, but while checking the menu, K asked the wait staff if they had Cassata, as he said it's traditional Italian dessert and he wanted me to taste it. When they said they have one, we quickly placed an order for it.

Taken from Wikipedia, "The Cassata Siciliana consists of round sponge cake moistened with fruit juices or liqueur and layered with ricotta cheese, candied peel, and a chocolate or vanilla filling similar to cannoli cream. It is covered with a shell of marzipan, pink and green pastel colored icing, and decorative designs. The cassata is finally topped with candied fruit depicting cherries and slices of citrus fruit characteristic of Sicily."

Tasting it, it was like eating ice cream fruit cake. I loved it so much, but I let K eat most of the chocolate part - I loved the white and the tiny red part! :)


Vino Samto. Sometime during our meal, Mr. Roberto Bellini came to chit chat with us. He talked about his life as a papparazzo and how he helps around in the kitchen to ensure good quality dishes. Towards the end of our dinner, we were served this wine, which they said was something Mr. Bellini made himself, and is something they always serve to guests as a complimentary drink. I do drink alcohol beverages, but if I can stay away from it, I would... so I just let K drink this. He said it was sweet with a slight kick of alcohol - a good way to end the dining experience.

Bill was quite expensive, but K said it was all good - the food was good, the ambiance was good, and as we walked back home, he thanked me for a wonderful dinner.

Bellini's is located at the Marikina Shoe Expo, just near SM Savemore Supermarket and the Araneta Bus Terminal.


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Jenn, the Foodie

I come from a family who loves cooking and eating. I never had any formal training in cooking and that I taught myself how to cook based on the handed down recipes, but I could say that I can cook good food. In 2008, I started documenting my food trips for my travel blog, and since I have quite enough to start a food blog, might as well put all those food trips in one location. Thus, a food blog is born - thanks to the new Friendster Blogs. However, due to several problems, I was left with no choice but to pack bags again and move here instead. Here's the permanent address, promise! Enough talk, let the food trippin' begin! {Know More About Me}