Friday, February 29, 2008

VDay 2008

As much as possible, the wife & I try to stay away from fancier, more costly restos during Valentine's.  This year, I had a brainstorm.

Located at 21 United Street, Barrio Kapitolyo, Pasig City, Cafe Juanita is the kind of restaurant that makes it fun to be a foodie.  First of all, its location is certainly off the beaten track but is just a stone's throw away from Shaw Boulevard.  Second, its décor is, err, unconventional as well.   

Stepping inside makes you think you stepped into a bric-a-brac store from the sixties or something.  Actually, that’s not too far from the truth.  All the décor in the store is actually for sale (if you look closely, you will notice that everything seems to have a price tag, LOL).

Oh, the food, you say? Well, the menu is as unconventional as the rest of the place, with European dishes such as pasta and Fabada being served with asian favorites like Curry Rendang as well as local favorites like Kare-kare.

What’s even better, they didn’t have one of those “special” fixed priced menus for Valentines. One simply orders ala carte like any other day.

We started with Fabada (one can never go wrong with this) and moved on to a salad of local vegetables with sweet chili sauce. It had a little gata in it and I was very surprised to find myself eating the whole thing (sorry honey).

For entrees, we had an Ilocano favorite: Bagnet garnished with fresh tomatoes, as good as anything I got in Laoag. Along with this we ordered their ginataang gulay. This too was excellent. The coconut-flavored sauce was perfect, tasty without overpowering the veggies. The way they roasted their eggplant was simply perfect. Finally, we had Chicken Padang (sic?), which is a Thai dish that surprisingly tasted very much like my favorite green curry chicken.

For dessert, try their cassava cake. I usually go for more fancy fare but this was served warm and buttery and just hit the spot.

Our bill ran up to a whopping 1,500 for the pair of us. Not bad for a valentine’s meal we could barely finish, right?

If you’re coming from EDSA, take Shaw Boulevard until you hit the rotunda at the provincial capitol. Take a right at the rotunda and right again at the second corner. Café Juanita will immediately be on your right.