Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mom & Tina's Bakery Cafe

Have you ever experienced an extremely laid-back Sunday morning on a warm sunny day? How about a wonderful day you spent with your family, sitting on a comfy couch and chatting over pastries and coffee? Well, probably, at least once in your life, you have. 
However, in this time and era, most, if not all, people do not have the liberty to experience that quiet calmness anymore. Everyone’s just so busy and, even if a lot of people just want to take their minds off the things they need to do, spend some time off, and enjoy the moment with their family, they do not always have that opportunity to do so. This is where I think Mom & Tina’s Bakery Cafe enters the picture.
Just stepping outside this restaurant brings you right away to a place that seems so fantastical - it’s almost dreamlike. The place looks nothing like any local restaurant. Can you see the bricked walls and the architectural design of this place? It’s like going inside a theme park or warping yourself straight to Europe.
And it gets better as you go inside.
It’s such a quiant and homey environment.
It’s clean.
It’s bright.
And, most importantly, there are lots of sweets and baked goodies inside!
We spent a lot of time looking at their very cute menu until, finally, we decided to complete our order list.
What’s on our table?
Blueberry Muffin (P 45.00)
Well, of course, we prioritized the sweets and pastries more than anything else, and first on the list is the Blueberry Muffin. This was okay. Nothing extraordinary, really. I guess blueberries are better made as a syrup and topping on cheesecakes than used as a flavoring for muffins.
Hershey’s Kisses Brownie (P 32.00)
After we finished the Blueberry Muffins off, we munched on this tiny piece of brownie next. It was the smallest treat we had for the day, but, oh, what a delectable little brownie this really was. It was just heavenly! My goodness! I had to clench my fists so tightly, close my eyes shut, and almost scream “Mamma Mia” at the top of my lungs after taking a bite off of this brownie. It was that good. Mom and Tina, whoever you two guys are, thank you for perfecting the chocolate brownie recipe. Without exaggeration, this is definitely the richest, moistest, and densest chocolate brownie I’ve ever tasted in my life, and the Hershey’s Kisses at the center just gives this piece of heaven a creamy chocolate goodness. Too bad the serving size is too small. We screamed for more, but we had too much on our plate to consume.      
Baked Oreo Cheesecake (P 150.00)
Oh, and it just keeps getting better and better. We had the cheesecake next, and it was absolutely enchanting! This is certainly one of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever tasted in my life. I forgot about Italianni’s New York Cheesecake, Banapple's Strawberry Crunch Cheesecake, and Secret Recipe’s Caramel Cheesecake after trying this one out. It was simply divine!
Beehive (P 65.00)
We already had a sugar overload after eating too much sweets, but we still went on and devoured the Beehive next. I initially didn’t like to order this, but my friend insisted on having it because of the cute little bee on top of the chocolate coating. She had her eyes set on the bee even before we went and looked at any other cupcake on display. I think the bee has a hypnotic effect on her and she instantly got lured to eat it. 
Alas! The Beehive got butchered and, as expected, it was a coated chocolate cupcake with a marshmallow filling. It was too sweet, but my friend still enjoyed eating the sugary bee candy whole. 
White Chocolate Chunk Cookies (P 64.00)
We aren’t giving up, are we? Up next on the chopping board is the White Chocolate Chunk Cookies. It was crumbly and crunchy and, well, not really my type as I like my cookies to be a bit chewy. Nonetheless, it just had the right texture and flavor - not too hard, not too sweet. The white chocolate was also a pleasant addition to the cookie. 
By this time, we’re already running out of water and the silly waiter is still not refilling our glasses even after calling his attention plenty of times. What a way to ruin our epicurean adventure. We were parched to death!
It’s a good thing they served the lasagna already so we’d have something salty to snack on while waiting for the glass of water.
The lasagna came with two pieces of bread, which I think were reheated. They were okay, but I prefer a better pastry paired with the pasta.
Chicken Spinach Lasagna (P 175.00)
But who could complain with a pot of lasagna like this? This is just lip-smacking good! Scrumptious, I should say. The flavors of the spinach and pasta sauce blended so well with each other, and the pasta was simply perfect. It reminded me of what my late mom would always cook for us when we were kids (and she cooks really well). I didn’t want to share this small portion of pasta with my friend, but she helped herself anyway. Again, the serving size was just too small for heavy eaters, like us.
We were refreshed a bit because of the savory goodness of this dish, but still no water came. Heck! We were already suffering from dehydration when our glass of water was refilled, finally. I wonder if they have water shortage in the store.
Lost and Found
So, we left the place, without tipping the waiter as he was irrevocably incompetent. However, happy with the food, we went ahead without me noticing that I dropped something on the floor of the restaurant. I left my sunglasses underneath the couch! It wasn’t that expensive anyway, but it’s still a nice Kenneth Cole shades, which I can’t easily find here in the Philippines. Having realized that I left it in the shop, I called them up right away to tell them about the incident, and they assured me that if they find anything, they’d send me an SMS right away.
After one day, they indeed sent me a message and told me that they’ve found my sunglasses and I could claim it at the counter. Happily, the next couple of days, I went back to their store and had a box of cupcakes and muffins taken out as a sign of appreciation for their honesty. This pretty much makes up for the incompetence of the waiter we had the day we dined in. It was redemption at its finest.
I went back at around 7:00 PM and this was  what the store looked like at night. Neat, right?
Here’s the box of my take-away muffins and cupcakes.
Box of Six Muffins and Cupcakes (Varies)
I had six muffins that day. In order (clockwise from the top), they are the following: Blueberry Muffin, Chocolate Fudge Cupcake, Butter Cupcake, Carrot Cupcake, Mocha Cupcake, Mocha Fudge Cupcake, and Banana Cupcake. I shared these with the folks, of course, and according to them, the best ones are the fudge cupcakes (both mocha and chocolate). You can never go wrong with anything that has chocolate in this shop.
Overall, I’d still recommend this cafe. Sometimes, the waiters can be a bit grumpy, slow, and incompetent, but the food was absolutely delicious and the price was just right. I hope they can make bigger servings though.

Ambiance - 5/5
Food - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Value - 5/5
TOTAL - 4.5/5
Mom & Tina's Bakery Cafe
(02) 914 0833
106 E. Rodriguez Jr., Ave., Brgy. Ugong
Pasig City, Metro Manila

Friday, December 23, 2011


Almost halfway done! 14 letters more, meaning at least 14 more restaurants to go and I’d be done with this food journey.
What an experience! So many things have happened since I first started this blog and I can’t believe that, within such a short span of time, I’ve experienced so much and learned a lot, not just about food but with my life as well.

Hence, in celebration of this accomplishment, I wanted this dinner to be a bit special. And, of course, my usual food buddy went with me on this occasion and she agreed to eat in a semi-high-end place, called Lusso.
Lusso is a small restaurant located in Greenbelt 5 and it’s really hard to find because there’s not even a sign that says Lusso in this place.
The restaurant’s name is just subtly engraved on the metal door handle outside. 
As you can see above, there is an al fresco dining area outside, and I believe it’s even bigger than the restaurant’s interior.  
Nonetheless, albeit the size of the restaurant, it still looked quite comfy and elegant inside. In fact, I actually like the appearance of the place. It looked very sophisticated without being overly ostentatious and intimidating. 
Now, let’s head on to the food. I actually wanted to order a lot of Italian dishes from this French-Italian restaurant, but my friend said that she’d rather try the French food listed on the menu instead. Hence, on this day, we had a French-inspired dinner.
Bottargo di Muggine (P 375.00)
For the appetizer, we chose to have eggs. This one’s the Bottargo di Muggine.
Honestly, I don’t know what the heck this food is. I don’t even know how to eat this! I advise people to do a little research before ordering and actually eating this one as it can be a little embarrassing if you don’t know how to eat this. I swear, the people beside our table were looking at how clumsy, if not totally ignorant, we were in eating this dish.
This is how it looked like the first time we opened the heavy cover of the mini metal pot.
And this is what happens if you don’t know how to eat this stuff! LOL
Anyway, this dish was okay. The bread wasn’t stale. It was soft and delicious. The eggs had this fishy flavor close to anchovies or shrimp paste, but it also has that distinct egg flavor that’s really noticeable. 
Salade Nicoise (P 340.00)
Up next is the salad. We had the Nicoise Salad and I guess ordering this was not really the most intelligent decision I’ve ever made. The first issue I had with this dish is its name - it was hard to pronounce. I tried to pronounce it three times in front of the waiter (who can perfectly pronounce it), and I looked and sounded very stupid. It’s a good thing we’re the only ones dining in the restaurant when I ordered. Otherwise, I would have made a fool of myself in front of the other diners too.
The second issue is with the vegetables - I don’t know any one of them and some weren’t even tasty. It was like eating a bunch of leaves. The vinaigrette was also a bit strong. The dish overall was very acidic, but I still ate the entire thing. Haha! I guess when you start to get used to eating foreign vegetables, they become more friendly to your palate. 
Pan-Seared Salmon (P 550.00)
The main course came right after. We had two actually, the Pan-seared Salmon and the Shepherd’s Pie.
Now, the major faux pas of the day was asking the waiters to serve the dishes in order (as in this restaurant, the waiters, by policy, serve dishes one after the other). However, the biggest embarrassment of the night was telling the waiters that we would share the main course. Stupid! That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever said. I forgot that in upscale restaurants like this, people don’t share meals. I’m such a square.
Yet, we still shared the main course. Haha! That’s because I had to taste this one to rate it, right? Anyway, the pan-seared salmon was divine. It was fried to perfection and it was really crispy. The skin was the best part of the dish as it was the crispiest. This slice of fish was also floating above a layer of creamy caviar, which was so luxurious and enticing as well.
Shepherd’s Pie (P 575.00)
Next off is the Shepherd’s Pie, which came in this very cute metal pot and was served with, guess what. Salad again! My goodness, the leaves are just so hard to get used to, but, again, we ate all of it. Haha!
Anyway, this pie was also a fairly appetizing dish. The layer of mashed potatoes is very pleasant while the lamb meat was so tender and flavorful. It was actually very filling. We were shocked at how full we were after eating just half of the serving. It’s really heavy. I just thought though that it’s a tad too rich and can sometimes be cloying. 
Pecan Tart (P 190.00)
The dessert came last. They only had two options that day, so we were forced to pick one of the two. After much recommendation from the waiter and deliberation on our end,  we settled for the warm pecan tart.
When this was served, however, another funny thing happened. My friend, thinking that the heavy cream on top was actually ice cream, scooped a huge serving of it and ate it straight away and, of course, since one mouthful of cream was just too much to tolerate, she instantly felt like throwing up right after. So much for being naive and innocent. She actually looked pale after swallowing the extremely rich and creamy topping. Good thing no one saw her spoon the thing right off the tart!
As regards to the pecan pie, however, it was really good. It was not too sweet and it was really refreshing to eat even if it’s a bit warm. This was one of the best ones we’ve tried for the day and, of course, this was gone in a flash. 
Now, if you would ask me if I would recommend eating in this restaurant. I’d definitely say yes. The service here is stellar, the food was generally great, the ambiance is delighting, and the only drawback I can think of is the price of the meals. It’s surely a nice place to try out at least once in your life.
Ambiance - 4/5
Food - 4/5
Service - 5/5
Value - 4/5
TOTAL - 4.25
(02) 756 5893
G/F Greenbelt 5, Legaspi St.
Legaspi Village, Makati City

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