Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Ube Cheesecake

D I N E 


At a residential street in Pasig City's Barangay Bagong Ilog stands a whitewashed bungalow that's attracting epicureans from brunch to dinner. In the morning when it's closed, the newly-opened restaurant called Calderon and Guevarra Gourmet Carinderia looks like an antique shop. The same can be said during Mondays when it's closed like a typical museum. For the rest of the week, though, it's swarmed by new dining guests. Since it opened in March of this year, it already gained a decent number of patrons and it hasn't even reached its sixth month in operations yet.

Calderon and Guevarra Gourmet Carinderia is a boggle for the uninitiated dining aficionado. How could a carinderia even serve anything that's close to what is perceived as gourmet? It's like watching Kim Kardashian walk down the runway in avant-garde. Most of the time, it doesn't work. In this case, however, it just makes sense. Filipino comfort food dishes can be served with compelling flavors in inventive ways. And it can be done in a venue that's not intimidating. Here, what's odd is the affordable price that makes you think you just consumed something out of a seasoned chef's inner circle.

Tinolang Manok for P100
Chicharon-topped Pork Sisig with Pita Sisig on the side

Totally Delicious Tinola

Take for example the Tinolang Manok that I ordered for late lunch one random weekday at the restaurant. The chicken was served on top of a bowl of rice separately from the ginger broth which is not the usual way to serve the dish. I initially though that it was going to be to my discomfort that I would have to sample the dish in two ways. Oddly enough, I found it effective because I appreciated the popular saying about a comforting food being delicious based from how the broth tastes. In Tagalog, the line is "sabaw pa lang, ulam na." And, that's just how it tasted! I just wished I could have requested a bigger bowl of that soup.

Mixed Berries Smoothie
More Inventive Orders

My other main dish order also didn't disappoint. Called Adob-U, the chicken pork adobo was served in two ways as well -- traditional and in flakes with crackers and a slice of ripe mango on the side. Since it's good for sharing unlike the budget-conscious serving of the Tinola, I had half of it to go.

I paired both dishes with a cold glass of Mixed Berries Smoothie which any kid would definitely love to have. It was just unfortunate that I had it in the late afternoon after getting scorched under the heat of the sun. I would have loved to order something more refreshing than sweet.

Memorable Ube Cheesecake

It was a good thing that my dessert order of the Ube Cheesecake came just right on time after I finished my glass of smoothie. It's not the same as another ube cheesecake that I've tasted sometime ago in Kapitolyo for having a less dense cream cheese, but it's unique in its own way in that it's topped with fruit slices, sealing the whole experience of ending a meal with something sweet.

During my revisit of the restaurant for Mother's Day, someone played a tune on this piano.
Revisited the restaurant for Mother's Day
Chopsuey Rice Topping

Quick Revisit For Mother's Day

For my recent revisit of the restaurant, I brought with me my old folks to celebrate Mother's Day. I had to make a reservation knowing that I'll be competing with other avid patrons to covet a table for that special occasion. We had a budget rice bowl of Chopsuey, an inventive serving of pork sisig -- traditional with chicharon toppings and in pita format on the side, plus a budget bowl of Pork Adobo. And, since it was a special day for all moms, mine received a complimentary dessert.

The dishes I sampled at Calderon and Guevarra Gourmet Carinderia are indeed culled from eatery favorites but they definitely weren't at par. If anything, they were beyond carinderia which is probably why they deserve the appreciation of those with refined taste buds even if they're ridiculously affordable.

Calderon and Guevarra Gourmet Carinderia

Address: 14 Pvt. Aurellana St. Bagong Ilog, Pasig City, Philippines 1604
Mobile: 0923-322-0367

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