Thursday, September 29, 2011

Empanada Nation



I’m now back to restaurant blogging after a long hiatus. Since I’ve been dining in a lot of fancy restaurants recently, I think I’ve spent a huge portion of my savings without me knowing. Hence, for this gastronomic adventure, I called up my usual food buddy and asked her to suggest some cheap restaurants around the city. 

        
Empanada Nation popped into her mind right away and, without any hesitation, I readily decided to give it a go (I really am a sucker for good food for a cheap cost). Anyway, for this food trip, we had to take the taxi as the shop just relocated recently to Sgt. Esguerra, which is a rather inaccessible place from where I live. 
AMBIANCE AND ENVIRONMENT
It was a silly experience, really. Clad in what I would consider as my most luxuriant outfit and taking a cab to get here, I looked pretty awkward, if not totally out of place, in this restaurant. This place had this carinderia-like feel inside. The floor looked sticky, the place is not airconditioned and, since there were only a few of us visiting the place that day, the ceiling fans weren’t even working!
Orange and blue isn’t really the most flattering color combination for a restaurant but I guess the owners of the store had a different vision.
After taking some photos, I went in and looked for a menu (I’m such a social climber) and, of course, there wasn’t any. I only saw these posted illustration boards inside with the menu written on them in colored chalk.
Overall, i think this is not a very inviting place for people who’d like to dine out. It was very uncomfortable to stay here and we literally had to shoo away some flies inside the establishment. Nevertheless, no place is unfit for a hungry stomach, so we still went in and ordered.
FOOD AND DRINKS
Obviously, Empanada is their specialty here and the problem is I don’t actually eat Empanada. I just hate the flavor of the pastry and the filling. It’s icky to me. The challenge therefore for Ate (who prepared our Empanadas) is to convert me to an Empanada lover after this experience.
Peering through the foggy glass wall (as it was raining that day), we were able to observe how Ate prepared our Empanadas. Above, you can see her pound the ingredients needed for my Double Special Empanada.
This is the Empanada dough which was very orange. 
Ate now flattens the dough with an improvised rolling pin.
She then cooks the veggies. It doesn’t look appetizing to me.
Here, Ate places the filling on top of the dough.
On to the frying pan!
Finally, it’s all done and ready to serve!
Double Special Empanada (P 70.00)
Now, for the real challenge, I had to consume this entire serving of Empanada, which was really huge (probably the biggest one I’ve seen in my life). It has two servings of Longaniza and an egg.
I sliced the Empanada in half for photography purposes and I guess it looked yummy. I tried munching on this and, surprisingly, it tasted good. The pastry of the Empanada was thin and crispy. The filling was very good as well. the flavor of the Vigan Longaniza was actually the most distinctive one I can taste here. Thank God, I didn’t get to taste the veggies much as they looked pretty unappetizing. I never thought I’d ever appreciate Empanada, but this changed me.
Special Empanada (P 55.00)
My friend only had the Special Empanada. it just comes with one Longaniza and an egg but it has more vegetables on it. I’m glad I didn’t have this one as I thought that the veggies inside the wrap are not really delicious. I hope there’s a version with no veggies at all!
Crispy Bagis (P 80.00)
I think this one’s comprised of pork intestine seasoned with some salt and was deep fried to make it very crispy. This is not really good for people who are not drinking. It tasted okay with the vinegar and all but it was a bit too salty for my sweet palate. I think this will go well with beer.
SERVICE AND OVERALL SATISFACTION
The service was really bad. Apart from you ordering everything, the staff was simply unfriendly and unaccommodating. The waiters didn’t even greet us when we came inside and we had to find our own seats as they did not lead us to a table. 
When our order was served to us, they provided no table napkins. And there was only one table with a napkin holder from the dozens of tables in the restaurant. I guess good service comes with a price and, for the cost of the food, I think I shouldn’t be expecting anything from the personnel.
VALUE FOR MONEY
The food here is not at all expensive. The Empanada alone is filling. It’s already like a complete meal. I wouldn’t say that the price of the food is dirt cheap but it was very affordable. I'd still want to come back here some other time, just for the Empanada, but, if ever I do, I'd probably have my order wrapped and taken out.
FINAL SCORES
Ambiance - 2/5
Food - 3/5
Service - 2/5
Value - 5/5
TOTAL - 3/5
   
  
Empanada Nation
09209215385, 09178938665, 09235564567
26 Sgt. Esguerra St., Brgy. South Triangle
Quezon City, M.M.

3 comments:

Sheena said...

Ive actually been here a few times, tne food they serve is pretty good. Its actually a favorite among me and my friends. The restos feel is actually nice! I really felt like i was in one of the same type of hole in wall restos when we visied laoag a few months back! Id go as far as saying that this is probaly the best tasting empanada in manila!

Flavors of Manila said...

I agree. I'd have to also say that the Empanada here was fantastic! This is the only Empanada I have ever enjoyed eating, so far.

Glen Villar said...

Well, at least they should open the ceiling fan above your table. :)

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