Thursday, April 19, 2012

Gino's Brick Oven Pizza

I follow two food bloggers, Anton Diaz of and Lori Baltazar of  Thanks to them, Hub and I get to discover hidden restaurants and uber yummy desserts.

We live near the Katipunan area and had it not been for Lori's post on Gino's Pizza, I would have been able to try the best pizza (for me) later rather than sooner!

Lunch last Saturday was at Gino's, I didn't even know it was there.  Located on the 2/F of the building where Mercury Drug is in Katipunan, there isn't a sign outside so it's very easy to miss.  The restaurant is right beside Cello's Doughnuts, well they actually share a big space, a wall divides the two restos.  Found out that yes indeed, they are from the same owners.   

Pizza has always been my favorite food of ALL time.  You can give me any kind of pizza, from 3M, to panizzas, to homemade loaf bread pizzas.  And can I just tell you that Gino's did not disappoint (for the pizzas, at least).

We ordered the Margherita and the Sausage pizzas, plus the Tomato Basil pasta for A.  Lori mentioned that pastas are made fresh here at Gino's, so all the pastas you will eventually eat here are not the supermarket-bought variety.  You can order their iced tea with a hint of calamansi by the pitcher for only P 120.

The crust was perfect, not too thick, not too chewy.  Reminded me of the bread my then boyfriend (and now known as the Hub ;) ) were scrimping on during a trip to Washington DC  The pizza sauce worked well with the kesong puti (carabao's milk cheese) and basil. 

The Tomato Basil pasta, was also good, however it was a bit watery.  We skipped dessert because we planned on getting doughnuts from next door instead.  But finishing a whole pizza each, plus a few spoonfuls of spaghetti did not leave enough space for dessert.

I've said this to my friends who asked me how the food was here at Gino's,  the food would have been more perfect if paired with a good chardonnay or beer! :)

Hmm I think I know where we'll be having dinner tonight...

Gino's Brick Oven Pizza, Katipunan
2/F K2 Bldg., 341 Katipunan Ave.
Quezon City, Metro Manila
(02) 381-3963

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Last Minute Easter Treat

It was already about 830PM at home, and I was sorting through the things we brought from our weekend at the hotel when I saw the cable of Hub's Jambox (  He said it was just 'somewhere there' and I just wasn't convinced.  Feeling guilty for not REALLY checking the room before we checked out (I just did an eye sweep), called the hotel to asked if we left anything.

Was connected to the Housekeeping Department to which the floor supervisor said they did not find anything in the room  Though he kindly offered to check for us again since the room was empty (yay!).  I called him back after 10 minutes and thank God he found the Jambox, it was at the back of one of the side tables.  Though this meant that they don't really and thoroughly clean the rooms heehee.

So back to Roxas Blvd my Hub and I went, took us less than 20 minutes to reach Diamond.  While waiting to claim the Jambox, I hovered over to the KoHiKan coffe shop at the lobby to buy another ensaymada.  Their ensaymadas are sooo good but I just bought one piece earlier.  It was already out of stock that evening, but the nice lady informed me the ALL cakes were at 50% off.  Turns out all of their branches (Rockwell and Fort) sell their stuff at half off every night starting at 8PM.  Take your pick...

These cakes were at P 1500 each, a slice at P 250, so imagine a whole cake half off at P 750!  We would always get the Le Royale at their Rockwell branch, so it wasn't too difficult for us to decide on which cake to get.

Not too bad for a late night 2nd trip to Roxas Blvd on this Easter night.  Hope you had a Blessed Holy Week like we did!

Holy Week 2012

For the second year this year, we've decided not to go out of town and just stay put in Manila during the Holy Week.  This is the only period of the year where you can go anywhere in Metro Manila without any traffic jams :)

We spent Good Friday to Easter Sunday last year at the Diamond Hotel, just so we could use the vouchers that came with the membership, and we enjoyed staying in Manila so much we decided to stay there again this year.

From our home in the north, we were in Roxas Blvd in just 20 minutes, could have been 15 if not for the re-routing before we reached the Quiapo area in preparation for the Good Friday procession.

The reception area was quite busy as it was already 2PM, after waiting in line for a few minutes, a pleasant Paulo greeted me.  As usual, we requested for a room on a non-smoking floor, king bed, and a crib for S.  He asked me if I specifically requested for the 9/F or any other floor preference, I told him not really, as long as our requests were considered.  He gave me keys to a room on the 16/F, and even before we reached the room we somehow sensed Paulo's kind gesture to us.

He upgraded us to a Premiere Executive room, a corner one at that!  With views of both the bay and Old Manila, plus the room was huge!  The couch may already double as Ate J's bed.

So we happily, thankfully, and comfortably settled in our wonderful room, and took this shot of the afternoon sun before my Hub and I went to the hotel gym (in preparation for the numerous hotel buffets we would partake of).

Tried not to eat too much of the wonderful buffet, because it was, after all, Good Friday.  The hotel's Seafood Buffet came with free flowing red or white wine, Hub went ahead and ordered chardonnay for both of us while I got food.

Food quality and selection is very good, comparable to Makati Shangri-La's Circles and Edsa Shang-ri La's Heat.  Seafood were very fresh and desserts of course were wonderful.  I'm not and never have been a fan of ice cream but I saw that they had salted caramel and I asked if they made it in the hotel, and they said yes.  Decided to try it out and it was just tooooo good!  Went back for 4 or 5 times heehee.

After dinner, Hub, A, and I went to Intramuros to visit the Manila Cathedral, which we also did last year.  It was almost deserted if not for a few kids begging for coins, and a few other people perhaps completing their Visita Iglesia.

The following day, after brunching on the hotel's free buffet breakfast, we decided to swim then went out later that day to ride a calesa (horse-drawn carriage)!

The calesa ride was at P 350.00 per half hour, and since there was just a handful of people in Intramuros (in Metro Manila, generally), no traffic and no waiting in line to get a ride.  We just went around the walled city and went to the San Agustin Church.

This photo above is the interior of the San Agustin, without any edits!  So beautiful and solemn indeed.

We didn't stop too much during the calesa ride as the kids enjoyed just sitting in the moving carriage.  We did however stop to take a photo of this Starbucks branch in Intramuros which I found to be very charming, it blended so well with the walled city's theme.  Too bad it was closed though hehe.

Before checking out of the hotel on Easter Sunday, Hub and I again went to the gym for a while, since the kids just loved staying inside our room.

The gym wasn't big, and would get crowded with about 5-8 people inside, but it had a good line up of machines and equipment.

Also took photos of Corniche, where we had our breakfast and dinner buffets.  The place was not as massive as Circles, would not even catch up to the size of Heat, but the decor and ambiance were tasteful, clean, organized.

 View from the 2nd Floor

Chanced upon Paulo when we were checking out and again, we thanked him for the complimentary room upgrade.  This Diamond Hotel is really starting to grow on me ;)