Thursday, April 21, 2011

Trellis N Vines

On March 30, the boyf and I had planned to have our dinner at Barrio Bistro in Bo. Obrero because I had been reading a lot of blogs about it and it really piqued my interest. Unfortunately, the place was exclusive for a party during our visit so we found ourselves looking for another place to dine instead. Thankfully, Torres St. is just close by and so we immediately headed there in search for a place to satisfy our palate and hungry tummies.

We went to the Davao Convention Center complex because there is a long line of restaurants to choose from. We wanted to try Ranch & Reef but it was jam-packed so it was not even an option for that particular night. There was Nonki and we have already tried it before so we wanted to opt for something new. Then we spotted Trellis N Vines and I immediately dragged E there.

Upon entering this cozy little restaurant, one thing that I immediately noticed was how beautiful the ambiance was. It was predominantly yellow and bright colors that I ended up telling E that I would definitely try out this place again with friends. I noticed that they had some excellent patrons, too – not the usual rowdy crowd that I encountered in a lot of dining places here in Davao.

The waiter was also quick to greet us and lead us to our table. I noticed that there was a huge selection of items on their menu… which is good for those with a discriminating taste bud so you can pick one that you like best. For this dinner, E ordered the Vietnamese fried chicken while I went for the beef broccoli. I was tempted to order the crepe for dessert but put that off because I have yet to see their serving….

We did not have to wait for too long either for our food to arrive, and I was glad I did not place my order for dessert yet because the servings were humongous. I think each order was good for 2-3 people, so I quickly thought to myself that this place could really be perfect for a group of friends or families. The Vietnamese fried chicken came with its own dip with (I suppose) Vietnamese herbs and spices. It was spicy indeed so I did not even give it a try… The dip was not necessary anyways because the fried chicken was well marinated and tasted real excellent. My beef broccoli was just as excellent, too. The beef was tender when I tried to cut through it with a knife. The tenderness of the beef provided a nice contrast to the crunchiness of the broccoli… I think they just blanched it and not cooked it along with the beef, which is perfect!

We were both very full after that dinner and yet we were unable to finish all of our orders. The bill was very reasonable and I am really quite happy about this dining experience. Looking forward to dining there again, with friends this time…

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Comfort Italian Food at Salutti

I don’t make claims to becoming an Italian food connosieur but I do recognize good Italian food. When I first visited Salutti at Casa de Habana compound, I knew that I was bound for my second Italian food trip at the said restaurant, sooner or later. That second trip took place a few weeks ago on a lazy Saturday night when my boyf and I wanted to try something new to satisfy our gastronomic cravings. It was a sudden decision to eat at Salutti since he enjoyed the Asian Beef Panini so much he’d been wondering when he’d be able to try it again.

Early in the evening, the restaurant is solemn. Casa d

e Habana compound is usually filled up with hippie groups of people, mostly college studes to un

wind on a Saturday night, during late nights. There are options to dine al fresco but Ed took the liki

ng of taking pictures of their lighting fixtures.

Ed opted for his favorite Asian Beef Panini yet again, couldn’t blame him because he’s been really craving for that ever since he had a taste. The meat was tender and sweet, which really blends well with the crispiness of the lettuce in the salad and the sweet-tart flavor of the mango sauce included in it. It is quite deceitful as it appears on first look as a light meal but it really does make up for one full meal in itself.

Meanwhile, I opted for the Chicken Fingers with Honey Mustard Dip. I admit, the serving was too much for my digestive system to take in, although it was a pleasant experience for my pallette. The dip had honey, mustard, and fresh basil chopped finely, that enabled its fresh flavors and aroma to incorporate really well with the mixture. Of course, I couldn’t finish the entire serving myself and so Ed was yet again tasked to finish the rest.

Eating at Salutti is fast becoming a favorite. Whether you love Italian food or not, it is something that your taste buds will thank you for. Good thing I’m in no diet so devouring on these delectable dishes left no feeling of guilt at all. And besides, we’re off to start our tennis sessions in the coming weeks, so now I have a way to increase my metabolism…just in case I get too caught up with the food!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Crepelato – Home of Dessert Goodness and Personalized Service

Since I first tasted Tata Benito’s A Whole Latte Love Coffee’s Mango Crepe, I thought for sure this was going to top my list of dessert favorites. I haven’t had the chance to go back to that same coffee shop but the craving for that rich and luscious tasting dessert never ceased to linger on my taste buds. So, I single handedly conducted my own research for the best place to satisfy my crepe cravings. And that is when I stumbled upon “Crepelato” in one of many Davao Food trip blogs.

It was finally last week that I decided to pay this dining place a visit. I tagged along my boyfriend, the mandatory food trip partner, to taste their specialty, as well as try out some other dishes that’s on the menu.

We did not have a hard time spotting it, since it is located right in front of the old Sampaguita Inn along Quirino Ave. The place was a tad smaller than I had expected, but that did not take anything away from the homey and welcoming feel that the overall ambiance emitted. I thought that the choice of color was a nice preview into what their specialty crepes and gelatos had to offer.

As my boyf and I were about to assume this cozy little corner table, we were invited over by one of their staffs to taste their gelatos, allowing us to choose one that we liked best to have on our crepe float. I thought it was pretty generous of them to do that free sampling, after all there is probably no other restaurant or dining spot in Davao City who offers that to their customers, and at the same time, it shows exactly their commitment to offer customer satisfaction, such that you’d know exactly how your order will taste like.

After sampling some of their gelatos, I choose to have their Capuchillo for my crepe float while Ed chose his favorite ice cream flavor – Vanilla. For our main dish, one of their waiters suggested their best-seller, which is Victorian Spare Ribs. And since I only came there for their dessert, I opted for a lighter meal – Pasta con Malunggay. I was a bit skeptic when I decided to order this pasta meal, but their owner reassured me that you won’t be able to taste any malunggay from the dish, which she probably have guessed is what worried me.

We only waited for a few minutes and I haven’t had enough time to take some pictures of their place and also observe some other customers who were (at this point) getting their free taste of the gelato, until my pasta dish was served – quick service indeed! I would have to say that I was very pleased with their spaghetti – it was a huge serving, for something that only costs P50! It was also very meaty and not too saucy, although there was nothing about this recipe that made it memorable. Nonetheless, at a P50 meal that satisfied my palate, I cannot complain really!

Then, a few minutes after my pasta meal was served followed up Ed’s order, the Victorian Spare Ribs. This one was priced at P150, although judging by the tenderness of the meat, the richness of the sauce, and the size of the serving, I would not mind paying for a bit more. It was THAT good! I earlier said I was not in the mood for rice but I could not resist tasting the dish as well – it was simply irresistible. And Ed savored every last bit of the meal! I can tell when he is happy and satisfied! :D

Then came the crepe floats… The presentation was very charming, colorful, and vibrant! These were the exact same qualities one would often look for in a dessert. It was yummy enough to look at! So, I did not waste any second to dig in. The gelato had the right consistency and I was congratulating myself for choosing the right flavor. It was sprinkled with cereals, which offered some crunch and nice contrast to the texture of the crepe and the gelato. I am not too sure about this, but I believe that each serving costs P65. And it was not bad at all knowing how rich each serving is and I savored mine up to the last bit!

Now, here are my ratings for Crepelato…

Pros: Customer service is excellent. I liked the fact that they were very accommodating to customers the moment you step into that door and by the time you walk out of it. The waiter also were very attentive to our needs and even offered to refill our glasses with water even if we did not ask for it. The owners were there too, and she was courteous enough to speak with us and asking us about the meal right before we left. It makes a whole lot of difference when the owners are very much hands-on with the services and the operation of an establishment.

Cons: I only visited the place once and it was rather a short one. As of now, I cannot spot any drawbacks to dining in Crepelato, although I wish that they would expand on their store to make it more roomy. But since they are in operation for only a few months, I bet they wold soon consider this, especially as more people will discover their heavenly crepe floats.

Overall: Crepelato was one of my most satisfying gastronomic experience as of late. There is always something that would top of an excellent experience; for instance, food was in very good quality, then it was topped by a warm, genuine service. And when it was time to pay our bill, we were surprised at how affordable the entire meal was. I will definitely see myself trying out some of the other dishes on the menu, as well as other flavors of the crepe floats.

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