Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Casa Italia Cafe, part 2

Yesterday, desserts came first at Casa Italia Cafe. Today, I want to share something else you might want to try at their cafe, that is not the typical Italian food - Pizza and Pasta. But before I share the food pictures, a look at how beautiful their cafe looks like:

The view from where I sit.

If you're alone and just want to have a cup of coffee, I suggest you sit by the bar and watch how they make your choice of drink.

I seriously want a taste of that croissant. Reminds me of how my friend Nina says it, "kwasan."

In a way, I love the divider. It gave diners some sort of privacy, without totally blocking out the view.

Want to combine eating with school work? The cafe has wifi connection that will allow you to connect to the Internet, though I wasn't able to check if they have electric plugs around.

A closer look at the shelves. Some Italian phrases and words are easy to translate, but "Il meglio dell' Italia" means "The best of Italy."

Two very interesting things to see - coffee silos in Italian flag colors and this dining area perfect for meetings.

Now, on to the food...

Pumpkin Soup (p150). Creamy and seasoned just right, I loved this so much to the point that I asked certain things about it - does it have carrots and/or apples (something like that) because partly I want to know if I can recreate it at home. This was so good, I can just have this and be contented.

Italian Baked Chicken (p330). I was not sure if they used chicken breast or thigh fillet, but I loved that even if it was baked, it was still juicy and tender. The sauce (or gravy, as how Italians call it) wasn't tarty or sour, something I preferred, but it wasn't the sweet kind the way Filipinos usually go for.

Sole Fillet with Lemon Pepper Cream Sauce (p490). A little bit pricey for me...but I liked that they used sole fillet instead of the usual cream dory fillet. The sauce lacked that lemon flavor I wanted, but it was still a good dish overall.

Hickory Pork Belly (p430). So heavenly good! The meat was tender and screams "barbecue" through and through.

Kaffe Otto. Not my drink, but this I think would be a good way to eat a great meal. This is Casa Italia Cafe's own blend of coffe, something I will try when I dine there again.

I plan to take mom and sister there so they can taste their food, too.

Casa Italia Cafe is located at the ground floor of SM North EDSA (The Block).

Monday, May 30, 2016

The Many Ways to Enjoy Gelato at Casa Italia Cafe

Summer is already over here in the Philippines, but the thing is, regardless of the season, we just enjoy to eat iced treats. And I don't know if you can relate to this, but here at home, whenever one is down with the flu, that's when cravings for something cold and icy is strong.

Personally, I cannot eat a lot of any food product with cold milk and/or cream, but that hasn't fully stopped me from trying out different ice cream parlors and gelateria. My latest escapade was at Casa Italia Cafe, located at the lower ground floor of SM North EDSA (The Block).

Founded by Fox Hardegger, Casa Italia is a modern day interpretation of the traditional Italian bar serving wholesome menu of freshly made food, Italian beers and wine, and handcrafted premium gelato in a fast casual all-day dining setting. It originated from a gelato palour in 2010 (in Singapore), expanded into specialty coffee and comfort food place, and now has opened many branches in different countries, including two here in the Philippines. I still haven't visited the one in BGC, but the one closer to my place, I visited not too long ago.

They do offer a wide array of food choices, but this post is dedicated only to what they are most known for - the gelato. The savory food I tried at Casa Italia will be shared on a different post.

Even before you enter Casa Italia, it would be impossible not to be tempted to try out their gelato. Look at those colors! They have so many flavors to choose from, but all were churned out honestly with natural ingredients and produced absolutely free of artificial flavours, chemicals, colorants, or preservatives. Though "gelato" is the Italian word for "Ice Cream," it is generally lower in calories, fat, and sugar than traditional ice cream.

I was able to taste different flavors -
  • Green Mango - Full of green mango goodness; it tasted like the real fruit, it made me crave for salt and bagoong alamang!
  • Guyabano (in picture) - If I didn't know this was gelato, I would think it was real guyabano flesh smashed and refrigerated. It was that delicious!
  • Ube - I was hoping it would taste like Ube Halaya, but it wasn't. Of all the flavors I tried, it was the most bland, but it could also be because I tasted it after I tasted several fruit gelati.
  • Pineapple - Another very close to the real thing gelato, but this was a tad sweeter than the normal pineapple fruit.
  • Choco Chili - I love that it tasted mainly of dark chocolate (very dark but very good), and the kick of chili could be felt once the gelato has melted in the mouth. 
  • Roasted Rice - I understood that this is an acquired taste and at first I admit I didn't like it that much, but it kept me tasting and tasting it...until I am in love with it. If you want to try something different, I highly recommend this.
Actually, I recommend every flavor they have, but I would suggest you try something seasonal or something you don't see often, to make your gelato experience more memorable.

Casa Italia Cafe don't just offer plain gelato, they also offer different kinds of gelato-based treats:

Smoothies and Frappes
  • Gelatoccino - Casa Italia's gelato and coffee in one delicious drink
  • Gelato Frappe - Dairy based frappe mixed with gelato (of your choice)
  • Gelato Slush - made with Casa Italia gelato sorbet
  • Yogurt Smoothie - made with Casa Italia yogurt gelato
If you want any of these drinks, feel free to ask the staff for recommendation.

Gelatonini. The newest way to enjoy gelato! This one is pandolce (Italian sweet bread) panini sandwich with scoops of nutella gelato. The idea of this was taken from our everyday mamang sorbetero selling sorbetes in bread buns.

If you are into a mix of savory and sweet, they also have the Ham and Cheese Gelatonini. It's basically the same (in concept) as the one in picture, but for the filling, it has real ham and Formaggi Gelato (cream cheese and cheddar cheese flavors).

Sunny Daydream. A good-for sharing dessert, this one has an apple peach cobbler base topped with mango, melon, and raspberry gelato, as well as whipped cream, almond slivers, and Peppero sticks.

Midnight Surprise. Another good-for-sharing treat... this one has chocolate lava cake base topped with nutella, raspberry, and white chocolate gelato, as well as cookie bits, almond slivers, and Peppero sticks.

Liquoratto. A combination of gelato and liquor when you need a pick-me-up. On the left is Limoncello Liquoratto - a combination of raspberry gelato and a shot of Il Limone limoncello.  On the right is the White Velvet - a combination of white chocolate gelato and a shot of Amaretto. Actually, you may also opt for two shots of liquor, but for me, a shot will do. Between the two, I loved White Velvet more.

On the next post, I will share meals I tried at Casa Italia, but if this post made you want to try out their gelati, the shop is located at the ground floor of SM North EDSA (The Block), near the Hypermarket. For more details and future offerings, like their Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/CasaItaliaPh

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Celebrating my 36th at Microtel by Wyndham (Mall of Asia)

This year, I had no intentions of celebrating my birthday at all. I am grateful to turn another year older, yes... but at this point, I am more of being thankful than actually celebrating it, if you get what I mean. On the day of birthday, it was pretty much an ordinary day, but I gotta give it to my mom and sister for making it more special. My mom cooked Pansit Bihon and my sister brought home KFC and a small single serve slice of cake from Bread Talk.

I guess my sister truly is into not following requests as far as birthdays is concerned. For me, spending the day with the people dear to my heart would have been enough, but I was surprised to know my sister was cooking up a surprise. I would have never known about it if my sister had to ask me something about Agoda.

That's how I found out she was trying to book a room at Microtel by Wyndham - Mall of Asia. She asked me if I liked it, and instead of answering her, I asked if mom would agree to it. I was surprised when she told me she already talked to mom and brother. Ah huh... so I was the last one to know? Hahahaha. With the help of brother, sister was able to book hassle free.

I am not sure where sister got the idea of staying here, but I loved it instantly!

It was a little sad that only available rooms were those for smokers. We could definitely smell the cigarette smoke residue along the halls and inside the room, but it wasn't a big problem at all.

The room had two double-sized beds (as pictured), so of course mom and sister shared and I had the bed all for myself. Yipee! Since this is mainly a food blog, I decided not to share a picture of the bathroom and toilet anymore. It was nothing special, but fully functional. :)

They didn't have electric kettle, but they do have a steady supply of clean, drinking water and ice. Though guests had to get water and ice near the elevator, not having to buy bottles of water was a great relief.

The (zoomed) view from our room. So pretty!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Energen Healthy Breakfast Movement 2016

We know for a fact that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but we often neglect it because of many reasons - getting up late, worried about being stuck in traffic, not having the "time" to prepare breakfast... and even if we do have the time, we sometimes prepare or eat whatever is available, therefore, we don't get the right amount of nutrition, and this makes us undernourished or in some instances malnourished. According to DOST-FNRI, 6 of 10 Filipino households suffer from poor nutrition as a result of our skipping meals and unbalanced diet.

I admit, I am guilty of such poor diet. We don't skip breakfast, but our meals throughout the day is often fried food and meaty viands (like Adobo and Dinugan, which don't have any vegetables). We do eat vegetables, yes, but not as usual as we should have. I think we need to plan meals as soon as possible.

Energen has been a good way to bridge the gap. At times when I couldn't sit down and eat breakfast, I would just fix myself a cup and it would be enough to calm my hungry tummy until I could finally have a proper breakfast. It tastes good, and it has a good amount of cereals, and it has essential vitamins and minerals.

Not a while ago, Energen launched its first leg of Healthy Breakfast movement at Brgy. Commonwealth in Quezon City, where people got to learn about the importance of starting the day right with proper breakfast, as good nutrition starts at home. I learned so much from attending the event. As what Greg Anonas (Energen Marketing manager) said, "Breakfast is the most important meal. Studies have shown that consuming a nutritious  breakfast helps ensure that children and adults will have the energy that can sustain their productivity throughout the day. It also helps contribute to the development of mental and physical abilities."

People sampled a cup of Energen paired with Pinoys's favorite breakfast - Pandesal. Did you know that even if you eat a lot for breakfast...if you don't pair it with B vitamins, energy from your breakfast will not be released? One more good reason to drink Energen at breakfast.

Energen will promote The Healthy Breakfast Movement throughout the year with its series of community-based events nationwide to educate families, and for them to have free one-on-one consultations with licensed nutritionists and from nutrition education talks as well as enjoy a fresh cup of Energen together with some fun activities.
Energen HEALTHY BREAKFAST MOVEMENT is a series of community-based events nationwide to educate families about the importance of eating a healthy and nutritious breakfast. In the Energen HEALTHY BREAKFAST MOVEMENT, families can have free one-on-one consultations with licensed nutritionists and learn from nutrition education talks, as well as enjoy a fresh cup of Energen together with some fun activities.

Read more at: http://www.girlandboything.com/events/energen-healthy-breakfast-movement/

Speaking of fun activities, attendees had the chance to win prizes (Motorcycle, TV, and cash), while bride-to-be Rochelle Pangilinan led a series of Zumba dance routines. She herself testifies that Energen has helped her feeling energized despite her hectic training and schedule for her upcoming teleserye.

Next round of Energen Healthy Breakfast Movement will travel to Cebu City (Tinago Sports Complex) on May 21 and in Davao City (Davao City Recreational Center - Almendras Gym) on May 28.

Make Energen a part of your daily morning routine. Available in three flavors - Vanilla, Chocolate, and Ginger, it is available in leading supermarkets and sari-sari stores nationwide at 6 pesos SRP per sachet.

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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}