Chez Deo: A stopover for Italian cuisine in Balayan (GMA News Online)

Cozze e Gamberoni - A big serving of seafood pasta

(This feature was published in GMA News Online last November 16, 2014)

Balayan in Batangas was an unfamiliar destination to me until I met my future husband, whose family hails from there. He would bring me there on road trips at least once a year. The town is popularly known for its Feast Day of San Juan, which coincides with the Parada ng Lechon Festival every June 24.

On any other day, though, there’s not much to do except maybe treat your taste buds to something special from Chez Deo Ristorante Italiano @Gliceria.

It comes as no surprise to see ancestral homes and similar structures in this quiet little town, but it’s amazing to see contemporary establishments like Chez Deo, which is situated in a renovated house and is probably the most “upscale” restaurant in the area.

My first impression was that it felt out of place in this rural location, but when I dined there I felt right at home in the comfortable setting. As we entered the gate, I saw a sprawling lawn that was beautifully landscaped—not too manicured, but not shabby either. The open-air but tented dining area on the ground floor featured simple furnishings—stylish red plastic chairs and tables covered in checkered cloths. From my seat, I had a clear view of the brick oven where they bake their bread and pizzas.

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California Pizza Kitchen unveils new flavors, new ‘island’ layout (GMA News Online)

Fettuccine with Mushroom Truffle Cream Sauce

(This feature was published in GMA News Online last September 14, 2014)

I remember having my first taste of the Original BBQ Chicken Pizza of California Pizza Kitchen back in college, over a decade ago. Its unusual flavor appealed to my palate then, and I’m not surprised that the item is still available today.

There are now 10 branches of CPK all over the metro, and the latest one in Century City Mall presents a new dining layout and new additions to the menu as well.

The secret to success

The Century City Mall branch also features a first for CPK worldwide: a layout that Archie Rodriguez, president and CEO of Global Restaurant Concepts Inc. (which brought the brand to  the Philippines), calls its “island concept.”

“We call it an ‘island’ because it’s located in the center of the mall, without walls, and yet has our trademark open pizza kitchen,” he said. “I’ve been wanting to do this concept for a while now.”

The new branch can accommodate 80 guests and the open space allows mall-goers to see the restaurant from any angle, which lets the establishment showcase its food and service at the same time.

 

<Read the rest of the article HERE>

Restaurant Review: Choose your own toppings at Mad for Pizza (GMA News Online)

My personal pizza order

(This feature was published in GMA News Online last July 2014)

Bonding over food is a common activity for family and friends, and it becomes even more fun when you are trying out a new restaurant. That’s what my college buddies and I did recently when we met up for lunch at this new restaurant concept called Mad for Pizza. Like what the name suggests, the establishment serves the Italian favorite — but this one is better because you can actually customize pizzas to your preference.
The casual dining place had a fun atmosphere with its diner-like interiors and loud music blaring in the background. My guy friend Aeus immediately noticed the glam rock sounds and asked the server if it’s the type of music that they normally play in the restaurant. He nodded and grinned when he got a positive answer. I guess lunch was off to a good start.
<Read the rest of the article HERE>