Life

Why I Haven’t Been

“I’ve been busy.” and “Life gets in the way of blogging/writing.” have become my default excuses for not paying attention to BaconTunaMelt enough. While there are other things to do, I simply got tired of writing things I eat in detail. Let’s face it, everyone and their mothers take pictures of food and post it on various social media platforms. What else do I have to offer? Besides, Microblogs with pictures are way easier to maintain.

It got to the point where I’d take pictures of noms whenever I eat out and hope against hope that I can somehow get started on my queue of posts longer than Santa’s Naughty list. (I’m still dramatic, there’s that.) But existential crisis aside, this post (and this pizza glugging sloth and cat combo) will hopefully get the ball rolling. Yay?

catpiza

Noms

Sand, Sun, and Nomz at Luca’s Lodge, Puerto Galera

Summer is obviously over, what with the torrent of rains that have been plaguing the country for the past couple of weeks. However, I still have a backlog of sunny posts that I haven’t gotten around to writing yet. Like this one. Here’s to hoping that a bit of reminiscing about the sun and sand and nomz (of course) can help to brighten up this otherwise grey day.

Look, blue skies!

Puerto Galera in Mindoro has been called the poor man’s Boracay. But like Jason Statham is the poor man’s Bruce Willis, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing (Hey, Statham wasn’t so bad in Expendables 2). Puerto Galera has nearly all that the Philippines most popular beach has to offer and you don’t have to travel by plane to get there. It’s win-win for those who want some sun and sand closer to home. It doesn’t hurt that the trip would be cheaper too.

How does one get to Puerto Galera from Manila? First of all, you’d have to get to the Batangas port which is merely an hour and a half’s car/bus ride away. From there, you can choose to ride the RORO if you have a vehicle with you or the SuperCat, which will get you there quicker. Then when you get to the island, it’s but a few minutes of travel to get to the shore depending on which resort you’ll be staying at.

Luca's Lodge (Somebody went a little crazy trying out the panoramic tool on my phone camera.)

Luca’s Lodge is where we stayed at the last time we went to Galera. It’s a tiny little island cove (?) at the very near end of the Galera beaches owned by an Italian, who incidentally will most likely be there also if in case you decide to visit. Besides affordable rooms, they also feature an authentic Italian restaurant called Cucina Italiana. The restaurant/bar/cafe serves a mix of Italian and Filipino dishes including pizza, pasta, crepes, sinigang, inihaw na liempo, among many (mouth-watering) others.

The half-folded Luca's Pizza

This is one of the specialties, the Luca’s Pizza. Although it doesn’t look it, it’s actually a whole meaty pie but folded in to make it easier to eat. The pizzas are honestly really good. They weren’t much different from pizzas that were actually made in Italy, otherwise known as country of origin. Luca’s pizzas are truly authentic, or at least I think so. As is everything else we ordered from the menu. Besides excellent pizza and pasta, Cucina Italiana also serves a very good cappuccino (my personal gauge to classify a restaurant/coffeeshop as good).

The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and drinks.

Here’s a tip, if you’re checked in at Luca’s Lodge, you can request the restaurant staff to cook dishes not on the menu. They’ll just charge you a reasonable amount per head for a set of dishes.

Cucina Italiana also has a bar, with a good selection of alcoholic drinks to help you destroy your liver enjoy the night at the beach. Luca’s Lodge has all you need in their little strip of the beach- sand, sun, and nomz. To book your stay, you can visit the official website of Luca’s Resort.

Noms

Italian Wars: Amici vs a Veneto
Within the course of a week, I had the chance to dine at two old time favorites- Amici and a Veneto. Both are local Italian restaurants that have similar items on the menu so we’re doing a side by side review/feature. Despite the title, I’m not pitting one against the other (What? I like them both!). It’s not a competition (boo!).
Amici or a Veneto?
Back in the day, we would troop to the Amici branch at Don Bosco every so often to have lunch and then cap the meal off with a generous serving of premium gelato ice cream (this was before gelato hit mainstream). My (highschool) friends and I frequented the one at Glorietta 3 after cutting classes. a Veneto is a popular stop because of their helfty servings at (almost) fastfood prices with restaurant service.
Amici’s Pollo Arrostito (p245) / a Veneto’s Baked Ziti with Chicken (p315)
Staple nomz in Italian restaurants are chicken, pasta, and pizza. We’ll give you a little bit of each.
As an Amici main entree, Pollo Arrostito is one of the most popular for the price and safeness. You can’t go wrong with half a rosemary chicken that’s lightly seasoned with a side of vegetables. The chicken had less meat than expected but on the whole, it’s a good dish. Serving is good for one (two if neither of you are hungry).
a Veneto’s Baked Ziti with Chicken is one of the pricier ones on their menu, but the serving is good for sharing. Two or three can gorge on this basketful of baked ziti topped with (yummy) breaded chicken and then slathered with a generous amount of mozarella cheese. The order always comes straight from the oven (with a warning to not touch the hot plate) and a few forkfuls warms you up in a good way.
Amici’s Tutta Carne (p295) / a Veneto’s New England’s Best (p270 (10″))
Tutta Carne is Amici’s version of an all-meat pizza (perfect for those who don’t like veggies). Pepperoni, ham, and bits of meat are toppings on a thin and light pizza crust that’s oven baked to a fine crisp. The pie is enough to be shared by two (if you have other orders).
New England’s Best is also one of a Veneto’s best. Ham, mushroom, onions, green peppers and a whole lot of mozarella cheese are the toppings on a thin(ish) pizza crust. The ten inch pie is good for three to four.
Amici’s Caramia desserts: Nocciola Gateau (p75) / Pistachio Gelato (p55)

One thing that Amici has to offer on their menu that a Veneto doesn’t is a good number of tempting desserts. Because of their tie up with the wonderful Caramia Gelateria, gelato ice cream and cakes are readily available. 
Besides being deliciously sinful, the gelato scoops are fairly priced at only fifty five bucks a scoop on a wafer cup (considering the prices from other gelato shops). The Nocciola Gateau cake comes highly recommended by our server. It’s a cake made up of crunchy meringue layers held together by cream and chocolate, making it taste kind of like chocolatey sansrival. b(~_~)d
The atmosphere at a Veneto is very friendly, like a diner. It’s a place where you’d bring your family on a Sunday brunch or your friends for a quick Friday get together. Amici is a place where it would be good to bring a date on a Saturday night. The warm yellow lights inside the restaurant give off a romantic vibe, and you can order a glass of wine or two while you regale your date with stories to impress.

While you get more value for your money at a Venetto with their large servings, Amici levels up the playing field with well-prepared nomz, classy ambiance and fantastic desserts. Both remain to be two of my favorite pseudo-Italian restaurants in town.

Amici
Location: Ayala Triangle Gardens, Makati Avenue, Makati

Contact details: (02) 621-6128

Other info: Amici Facebook page
Map:

View Larger Map

a Veneto
Location: Lower Ground Floor, Bldg A, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong
Contact details: (02) 818-3090

Email: avenetopizzeria@yahoo.com
Map:

View Larger Map

Etc.

Thanksgiving Turbaconducken
Belated Thanksgiving everybody! The holiday isn’t big here in the Philippines, we don’t celebrate it at all, in fact. But in honor of the holiday that turkeys fear the most, we at BaconTunaMelt present to you the TURBACONDUCKEN! *cue lightning and thunder*
It’s not human body parts
What in the name of all that is holy is that, you ask? That was exactly my question when I first saw it so I did some Googling and found out that the people of BaconToday cooked up this.. thing. 


This thing called a turbaconducken is a whole chicken wrapped in bacon, stuffed in a whole duck wrapped in bacon, stuffed in a whole turkey wrapped in bacon. Really.

Not the contents of Dexter‘s trash bags
This picture was taken with the chicken and duck parts already wrapped in bacon, before stuffing them inside the turkey and then wrapping the whole thing with more bacon and then cooking it in the oven for an entire day. Amazing what people can come up with, eh?
After this, Thanksgiving will be a holiday that all edible animals will fear. I now know what to be thankful for, I’m thankful that I’m not one. On that note, imma have me my second KFC Double Down (sorry heart).
Noms

Stories and Snacks at Tagaytay Highlands
A few weekends ago, my family and some friends were en route once again to Tagaytay to do a bit of R&R. One of the best places to do just that is Tagaytay Highlands, where the greens are lush, the air is fresh and the crowd is thin. Tagaytay Highlands is a country club where you can swim, fish, play golf, tennis, basketball, among many other recreational activities.
The sights at Tagaytay Highlands
After using up some energy on swimming and fishing, the group gathered at Toscana, one of the restaurants in the area, for snacks and stories. It was mid afternoon so we settled on a couple pies of pizza and a round of drinks.
Toscana serves Italian food, gooood Italian food
Pizzas from Toscana are the best pizzas I’ve had so far in my entire life, no contest at all. The closest commercial pizza I can compare Toscana pizzas to is Big Apple pizzas, but they’re still a pretty far second.
Toscana’s Pepperoni Pizza – have a slice of heaven
I’m partial to pepperoni pizzas because I don’t want too much fuss on my pizza. Man oh man, pepperoni pizza from Toscana is like heaven on earth, I was so in love with it that I forgot to take a picture of the other pie. Their pizza was made of soft and chewy medium crust topped with good quality pepperoni and generously spread with thick mozarella cheese. Omnomnomnom!
Mango shake, Sarsaparilla, and Watermelon shake

The drinks:

  • Mango shake- In a country that exports mangos by the bulk, mango shake is usually a failsafe drink, they’re usually good to go all year round. This one was thick and fruity, the fruit was a little on the sour side but it was still pretty good.
  • Sarsaparilla- An interesting drink, as it’s imported from some other country. The bottle looked like cough syrup with it’s small mouth and wide body. It was alright, it tasted like a watered down Sarsi.
  • Watermelon shake- This drink is made of win. The fruit was ripe and sweet and they used more than enough to make it tasty rather than just sugary. It was just a lovely blend, that’s all that can be said.

Good food, good drinks, and good company make for another awesome R&R day in Tagaytay.

Pepperoni Pizza on Foodista

Etc.

Get a Limited Edition Eraserheads Boxset from Greenwich!
If you’re from the Philippines and you’re a child of the 90’s, you’d know Eraserheads for sure. With timeless hits like Ang Huling El Bimbo, Alapaap, and my personal favorite, Magasin, the band has been etched into the hearts of many Pinoys, mine included. For those who don’t know who they are, get on YouTube right this minute! For the non-fans, uh.. hi. For the fans out there, you’d be happy to¬† know that Greenwich is giving away exclusive Eraserheads boxsets!
There are two ways to get this limited edition cd set:
Option 1- Get an Eheads Card and collect six Eheads stickers until end of promo period. You’d have to order 3 large Greenwich pizzas with drinks and 3 Greenwich Barkada Feasts in total.

Or,
Option 2- Get one Greenwich Barkada Feast and pay p2,499 for The Eraserheads Limited Edition CD Set.

The set includes:
  • 10 remastered studio albums
  • a bonus cd of unreleased recordings
  • a special pop-umentary DVD
  • a magazine of photos, lyrics, and history
  • an exclusive Eheads tshirt
Larry’s gorgeous Eheads set
One of the first few people to get this special set is Mr. Larry Cayco. (Thanks for the pizza!) Read his detailed review of the boxed set here. Are you a true fan like him? Quick, get yours now before they run out of stock. Promo runs until October 31, 2010.