Prosciutto before changing area codes

7 09 2010

Buon Giorno!'s Prosciutto A Funghi Pizza

I LOVE prosciutto e melone – paper thin slices of prosciutto (Italian salt-cured ham) wrapped around slices of cantaloupe.  They usually make for perfect antipasto platters, along with artichoke hearts (cured in brine), green olives, kalamata olives, and a board of soft cheeses.

So imagine my surprise to find this ham made into something else – a pizza!  I wondered how much they would put on the dish, knowing how expensive this cured meat could get.  The best is called prosciutto di Parma, paying homage to its provenance where it is said to be hung to cure and air-dry along a mountain range.  Very much like a skeptical chemist (I read something with a very similar sounding title before), I expected only flecks of prosciutto to dot the top of the pizza.  But Buon Giorno! proved me wrong.

Prosciutto A Funghi Pizza does sound so luxurious.  And not being a “pizza person” myself, I wouldn’t ask for it.  But I was with very special company, for a very special reason.  It was my kiddo K-anne’s farewell dinner with my team before she would have started a new chapter in her life in a new area code.  Thankfully, the wifey and Blossom were fine with Paulo staying out late.  K-anne’s best friend Stave was present too, as well as Marge.  Among my engineers, only Adam wasn’t available.  While we were waiting for all the entrées to hit tha table, killing time with animated conversation interspersed with trying to make the image of Taal Volcano through the dense fog, Adam was checking out the pavilions at the World Expo in Shanghai.  As for Brother and The Flash, they couldn’t bail out of a DOTA session anymore.

My kiddo K-anne, one of the best and the brightest engineers I've ever had the opportunity to work with.


Beauty and the Bruschetta


My kiddo's best friend, Stave!


Best friends forever!

Buon Giorno! is proving to be a favorite destination this year.  And as with any favorites, I would always ask for the usuals.  The wait staff handing me the menu is an exercise in futility as I am bound to ask for Insalata Caprese (Caprese Salad), Tarragon Tea, and Fettuccini Primavera to be turned into Angel Hair Pomodoro without the vegetables.  And yes, the complimentary bread – left soft, never toasted.

Thankfully, company took care of asking for those that would normally zip past through my attention span.  It was Paulo who asked for the Prosciutto A Funghi Pizza.  And to wash everything down, he had Café Latte.  K-anne, obviously with her own usual, settled for the Gamberretti E Funghi Ravioli (shrimp and mushroom ravioli) yet again.  “The Bruschetta!”  she and best friend Stave chorused, undoubtedly enamored by the flavor and texture of chunks of plump roma tomatoes, cubes of fresh mozarella cheese, shards of basil leaves and extra virgin olive oil heaped on slices of toasted Italian bread rubbed with the cut side of raw garlic.  Marge had the Tagliatelle Verde Gamberi (narrow spinach pasta ribbons with lots of shrimps).  And Stave – not particularly happy with the intense pesto the last time – asked for what I was having, the pomodoro.

Buon Giorno! wasn’t exactly the first choice for the evening’s gastronomic feast.  But I figured, why not take K-anne to a place that is familiar and sentimental?  After all, that will most likely be part of what she will miss when she leaves.  Something I and her friends will too.

Before anybody gave in to all the reminiscing, and with a couple of holes still to spare on our belts as our girths temporarily expanded, we moved to Café Breton where, yet again, we yearned for the taste of the familiar – La Pinay, Strawberry and Vanilla Ice Cream Milkshakes, and Nutella Crepe.  Only the Blueberries and Cream Crepe,  K-anne’s Café Mocha, and my hot Lemon & Ginger Tea were new entries to our dessert repertoire.

I miss you K-anne!  We have to hit the city next time.  Stave can’t wait!

Buon Giorno!'s cozy interiors. Lovin' the colors and that "Tuscan Villa" to the left. That's where all the sumptuous dishes are made.


Bread basket


Complimentary bread... perfect for dipping!


Tarragon Tea




Cafe Latte


Insalata Caprese




The Prosciutto A Funghi Pizza has finally landed!


Angel Hair Pomodoro


A tight shot of the lone basil leaf


Gamberretti E Funghi Ravioli


Tagliatelle Verde Gamberi


The group moves to Cafe Breton for dessert.


Where all the crepe magic happens!


Some of the beautiful pottery that Cafe Breton showcases on their second floor. I think they make these too.


Farm fresh eggs by the kitchen counter... which I think are more for effect than actual use in the batter. I think the batter gets delivered to each branch already mixed and ready to hit the griddle.


The batter is ladled on to the hot griddle as the third of our three crepes was to be made.


My Lemon & Ginger Tea, beside which stands a bottle of honey that brings back childhood memories.


Cafe Mocha


My Nutella Crepe, with the spread kept to the side this time!


Blueberries and Cream


La Pinay


La Pinay and Blueberries and Cream


"OMG! K-anne is leaving?!?!?!"


Santino, is that you?!... May Bukas Pa!


Saw these three lanterns at the cafe beside Buon Giorno!, across Cafe Breton. Christmas is just 'round the corner. But I think these lanterns remind me of three stars in my life - K-anne, Francis, and Stave.



Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

Dinner, dessert, a typhoon, and two new Superheroes

21 07 2010

Buon Giorno!'s Special Salad

MY BIRTHDAY comes and goes just like any other day.  It has been the case since far too many candles had been needed to top my birthday cake.

But I still manage to observe it with a few important people in my life.  Aside from dinner with family, I have dinners with friends.  I mean, real friends.

One such dinner was with The Flash and The Green Lantern at Cliffhouse in Tagaytay.  Actually, it was dinner at Buon Giorno!, then dessert at Café Breton.  Brother was supposed to be with us but he had to attend to really important personal matters.

At Buon Giorno!, I allowed The Flash and The Green Lantern to take their time perusing the huge menu while I attempted to start with the complimentary bread.  I was intent on making it a leisurely meal, even as the beauty of the Taal Volcano had by then been fogged by dense formations of water droplets suspended in the air near the ground.  (It turned out to be a portent of the typhoon that came pummeling down by midnight.)

The complimentary bread

The Green Lantern makes the bread dip. I love Buon Giorno!'s two-in-one extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar bottle.

My mind began to wander, thinking if the mist would reveal a demigod that had descended from the clouds, or perhaps a goddess from the lake within a lake, when The Green Lantern lifted his face up from the menu, and with wide-opened eyes beamed, “I want the Buon Giorno’s Special Salad.”  This was already the second Buon Giorno! meal that I was sharing with this Superhero so I was half-expecting for this salad to figure in front of us.  The salad has never disappointed.  The arrangement of plump tomato wedges, navel orange sections, cucumber slices, apple thins, grapes, and sticks of carrots and turnips nestléd on a bed of the crispest Lolo Rosa was always one of the most visually appealing and stunning, their bursting bright colors slightly tamed by a light stain of Buon Giorno’s “well-revered” dressing.

The Buon Giorno!'s Special Salad makes it to the table!

Extra helping of Buon Giorno!'s "well-revered" salad dressing

From the menu’s antipasti section, we decided on the Fritto Misto De Mare, “a succulent mixed fry of the ocean’s bounty.”  The Flash had to ask what it was, and I quipped, “seafood platter.”  Don’t get me wrong, I love love love how restaurants’ menus describe their dishes really fancy.  My calling the dish a “seafood platter” was not to demean it at all but to stay true to what I knew we’d get on the plate – really fresh succulent jumbo shrimps being the best of them.  It was served with a couple of lemon wedges and tartar sauce.  A light squeeze of the lemon brightened up the seafood flavors.  But I’ve always been partial to marinara sauce so I asked for it.

The "Seaood Platter"

A closer look at the day's fresh catch! The jumbo shrimps were really plump and succulent!

For me it's marinara over tartar sauce.

The Flash and The Green Lantern took time deciding on their main courses.  I turned to The Flash, and before I could even open my mouth to ask, he uttered, “Whatever The Green Lantern is having.”

And The Green Lantern was quick to decide on the New York Pizza for his entrée, offering to share it.  As I have never been a pizza person, I politely asked for my favorite pasta – the Angel Hair Pomodoro – which, I very well know, isn’t exactly on their menu.  The closest to it is their Fettuccini Primavera with Pomodoro Sauce.  All they had to do was replace the fettuccini with angel hair, and take out the vegetables.

This beauty almost converted me! Almost!

I didn't go gaga over the pizza, yes. But I picked out from the toppings. See that almost caramelized ring of white onion? I loved that!

The Green Lantern was a happy camper!

My Angel Hair Pomodoro!

The Fettuccini Primavera With Pomodoro Sauce is the closest to my Angel Hair Pomodoro. Buon Giorno! has never turned down making pasta that is not exactly on their menu. Their kitchen has never shied away from improvisation.

I washed everything down with a pot of really soothing and fragrant Tarragon Tea, akin to Ninong Allan Paz’s favorite Tazo Mint Tea with a pinch of Tarragon.  As for The Flash and The Green Lantern, they opted for the taste of the familiar – their favorite Grape Shake.

Buon Giorno!'s signature Tarragon Tea.

I took off the tea pot lid to allow whiffs of tarragon to perfume my immediate surroundings as well.

I put some of the tarragon leaves in my cup to allow the tea to steep further.

The Flash and The Green Lantern's favorite grape shake!

Two Superheroes toast to a better future!

By the time dinner was over, the typhoon’s advance party was starting to wreak havoc in the surroundings.  But being in the company of Superheroes, I didn’t feel fear nor the need to rush.  Instead, I stuck to our plan to have dessert at Café Breton, just across the piazza.

A portion of Café Breton's menu. "Salade Bretonne" was the inspiration to the salad that became Superman's usual.

I could have Café Breton’s crêpes plain, folding them many times over to create the illusion of stacked thin pancakes just doused with really good French butter.  Even before getting it in my mouth, I’d be drooling endlessly as the melted butter cascades down the sides of the towering pile.

The crepes are turned once. It actually starts with the light batter poured on to the hot griddle, then spread in a swift circular motion with the use of a rolling pin-like wooden implement. Bubbles forming on the surface tell that it's time to turn.


Slices of ripe mango go into the center of the "La Pinay" crepe.


...Then, lots of chocolate sauce!


The "La Pinay" ends up being folded to ensconce the luscious filling, while the "Nutella" crepe is folded into halves, then quarters.

But the evening being a celebration of my birthday called for a little decadence.  And I thought that a slathering of Nutella hazelnut chocolate spread was just the right kind of sin.  I didn’t intend to share it (Hahaha!) so the Superheroes had to share their own La Pinay dessert crêpe – ripe mangoes drizzled generously with chocolate sauce before being ensconced inside a folded crêpe.  A luscious scoop of vanilla ice cream turned the dessert a la mode, as more chocolate sauce was drizzled – on everything.

The Nutella crepe!


The "La Pinay" crepe! A scoop of vanilla ice cream and lots of chocolate sauce complete the presentation.


The Green Lantern and The Flash fight over the "La Pinay"!

Going into overdrive, all three of us continued to revel in sweet indulgence as we all asked for ice cream milkshakes – coffee for me, and vanilla for my two friends.

Dinner and dessert with The Flash and The Green Lantern made me realize how fortunate I am to enjoy great food with people I can really talk to.  People who can make things easy no matter how hard the realities are.

No wonder that the worsening weather conditions as the night went on didn’t bother me at all.

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.