Thursday, February 16, 2012

Let's Play Chess and Eat at the Same Time!

Pan de Amerikana
92 Ordonez St.
Concepcion Dos, Marikina City,
+63 (02)475-2398
18 November 2010

Pan de Amerikana

Even before I met K for the first time in 2008, I already knew he loves playing chess (we even planned to buy a pocket size chess set so we could play games while winding off time), so when a local TV show featured Pan de Amerikana in Marikina City and I saw that huge chess set, I immediately told him about it and quickly put it in our list of places to see the next time he travels to the Philippines.

While at the Fernandina 88 Suites Hotel, I planned that we would just take public transportation (meaning jeepneys and tricycles) so we could save money and it would allow him to "enjoy" more of the Philippines. Before leaving the hotel, I asked the guard of the hotel for directions and instead of saying directions, he suggested we hire the hotel's van that would take us anywhere we wanted to go. They had a base fee for 8 hours and additional fee should we exceed it. Talking about it with K, he remembered the van tour we had in Bohol and quickly went for it - for security reasons. He knew I don't have a good sense of direction and us exploring "unknown" places might not be a good idea for now.

Pan de Amerikana

We have visited a few places in Marikina first, then for lunch I asked the driver to take us to Pan de Amerikana. It has been in business since the 1950s selling breads, and is well known for its pan de sal. I don't know when the big change happened, but now, not only do they sell hot, tasty pan de sal, they also serve breakfast, lunch, snacks, and early dinner.

Pan de Amerikana

It looked a little small of a building outside, but inside was quite the opposite. The place had a lot of sections and lots of tables and chairs that can accommodate possibly a hundred diners. That being said, the restaurant is a "self service" establishment - you line up for orders and you get your condiments at the provided table, but they have wait staff to deliver your food and attend to some of your needs - like a new set of utensils or some extra tissues.

Pan de Amerikana

I personally love how busy the decorations are - it looked some sort of a jungle with a touch of nostalgia - thanks to the posters and other framed embellishments.

Pan de Amerikana

If you notice, all the tables had their own chess boards. Actually, you can borrow a set of chess pieces at the counter and play chess here if you want to. All you have to do is give them your ID, which you can get back when you return the chess pieces. K and I hoped to play a round of chess, but since we only have 8 hours for this day trip and we won't know how traffic would be, we decided to just get our food, eat, and carry on with the day.

Pan de Amerikana

The major attraction of the restaurant. We were lucky that day - we only had to wait for a photo shoot to finish, then after that we had the area all for ourselves! It sure was fun arranging the chess pieces!

But of course, we went here for food, so here's what we had for lunch:

Pinaputok na Tilapia

Pinaputok na Tilapia. K's choice. Most of the food on the menu were unfamiliar to K, so when he learned this one's a fish dish, he told me it will be his choice. It took time before this was served to us, but K loved how it tasted, so I guess it's safe to say it was worth the wait.


Waknatoy. It's basically a variation of Menudo - a pork dish with potatoes, carrots in tomato sauce. It had a funny name yes... and recalling that same TV show where I learned about this restaurant, this dish was called such because this dish is something that is always served at roadside eateries and some Chinese merchants would go, "Wak na toy!" or "Not this again!"

It wasn't the best "menudo" dish I tasted, but for p35, it was very okay.


Everlasting. Like Waknatoy, this is another dish that is uniquely from Marikina. It's their own version of the meatloaf. It is called such because this dish is always present during family celebrations and fiestas ever since people could remember. Everlasting, indeed!

I am not a big fan of meatloaf, but I didn't have any complaints about the taste of the dish. If there would be complaints, it would be with how the dish was presented. It somehow didn't look appetizing. In some blogs, they photographed the whole oval size of the loaf, while I got this. :(

Watermelon Shake

Watermelon Shake. K went for his usual choice of drink (Sprite), while I went for my favorite fruit shake. It had the right amount of sweetness, but the crushed seeds were quite difficult to "spit" out.


Turon. K and I shared this dessert... It was simple - the caramel was inside and not outside, but it tasted good.

- * - * - * -

The restaurant looked amazing, but somehow I wasn't so pleased with how the dishes were served. Granting that times are rough and cheaper prices would drive more customers, but I personally think - based on how the dishes were presented - that this is some sort of a karinderia with a very great ambiance. Well, the experience was great, but I hope they somehow upgrade how they serve the dishes... I am sure customers wouldn't mind paying a little more to get both the ambiance and great dining experience. As they say, the ambiance is something that would drive people into a restaurant... it's the food that will make them go back. Again, I'd say I enjoyed being here, but considering my location and how far I will travel to get here, I think it will take a long time before I go back.


Ensaymada. On our way out, I bought some pandesal and some ensaymada, which I shared to our driver. I just had lunch, but since the bread was still quite hot, I wasn't able to resist it. Well, the ensaymada looked simple - as there are kinds that had a lot of variations (from cheese to ham & cheese) - but this I just soooo love! Their breads are quite more expensive than regular roadside bakeries, but it was worth it.

{This is my late entry for ABC Wednesday and Food Quote}

The restaurant is open everyday from 6am to 6pm, except on Sundays (7am - 3pm). As for the bakery, it's open from 5am - 8pm everyday except on Sundays (5am - 3pm) - or until supply lasts.

The place also offer free Tai-Chi Lessons during Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 7am, and Art Lessons every Saturdays at 9am. People can also do photoshoots at the restaurant; a friend had her pre-nup shoot at the restaurant and she told me they didn't pay any fee, but since there would be groups doing their own shoot, you just have to come early or hope there won't be a lot of groups because of course, groups would have to respect each other's spaces.

Since we had a driver who drove us to the restaurant, I am not sure how to get there exactly, but I remember, we took a right turn when we reached Meralco in Concepcion Dos... and the restaurant was somewhere near. If you're taking public transportation, I guess you can take the jeep to Concepcion Dos then a tricycle going to the restaurant.


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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}