va bene pasta deli, makati

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Talk about Italian dishes I’m no expert other than my palate had improved over the years, in some way my sensory organs can identify now how fresh and clean taste should be like. From one bite I can tell the different flavors but not authencity, it’s too ambitious. I leave that to chefs and travelers who experienced the streets of Italy.

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Va Bene Pasta Deli at the Petron Service Station at the corner of Pasay Road and Dasmarinas Village in Makati was a very nice find. Though the cozy Italian deli has been there for quite a while now it was only November of last year when we found time to visit. Christmas feels eh so I wanted us to try something else other than the customary Chinese lunch on weekend.

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Ze husband sometimes had qualms of my restaurant pick especially if the location is not as impressive as the neighboring Rockwell or the hyped Kapitolyo. For him Va Bene was another of his never-heard restaurants and probably another of his wifey’s blogger project only. Hehehe.

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We arrived at the restaurant past 1pm already and because the restaurant is not that big you can already declare a full house. I wanted to sit near the wall but there was group occupying it before this photo so we had to stay at the table next to it. I thought I spotted the former presidential sister at the table near the entrance, well, it’s not impossible anyway only that there were no PSGs around so I discard the idea that it’s Ballsy.

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*complimentary bruschetta with tomato salsa

Okay, an intro so long must be good, please note that prior to this dining event I skipped checking out the restaurant’s menu online, I want Va Bene to impress me and it didn’t fail. The wait staff was helpful while I’m placing our orders; he had recommendations and willingly discusses the dishes.

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AFETTATI (cold cuts served with homemade pickles and toasted bread). I am a fan of prosciutto, it’s a default that I’ll get it amongst tho I had second thoughts about the Gorgonzola, ze husband would be so delighted if I got this, one of his favorites.

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PASTA FRESCA (Fresh Pasta), we got the Potato Candele. Ravioli with bacon, zucchini and carbonara sauce. It was filling and tasty.

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Another pasta dish that we got is the Organic Eggs Tagliatelle. Portabello mushrooms, white wine cream sauce, truffle oil. It was so creamy yet no sickening feel after. The fresh al dente pasta was insanely good.

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Chef Massimo you own the fresh pasta!

We skipped the main course and dessert because it’s pricey, maybe a second visit is a must plus I really need to get a taste of that Gnocchi, uhm how do you say it? Nyo-key? No-key? 😀



Va Bene Pasta Deli | 2F Petron Gas Station Edsa Cor. Pasay Rd Dasmarinas Village, Makati | T. +632 02 5569442


mama lou’s italian kitchen, solenad


Home-cooked spaghetti vongole while recuperating from anemia at home…


When two dear friends from high school celebrated their birthdays back in July I was a day out only at the hospital following that serious anemia I never imagined. I was on leave a few days after and was jaded at home because ze husband was not giving me go signal yet to go out. He worried about relapse and other complications so I had to stay back. Following Friday of that week and the end of my torture at home I invited few friends and the celebrators over late lunch. Their little celebration was a good excuse for me to get a breather and eat Italian. 😀


Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen at Solenad has been on my must-try restaurants other than everytime we’re at that side of the city we’re always in hurry and our main concern were outlet shops. So, I think a separate food trip is really necessary minus any form of shopping. We’re all first-timers at Mama Lou’s but if you know me I have this system of checking the restaurant’s menu days prior to our visit, I read recommendations, bestsellers and most importantly I check the pricelist. I don’t want to be in trouble just in case my party won’t go dutch and if in case we’re splitting the bill at least I’d know if it’s reasonable or not. And because I was the one who initiated this group date I took care of the ordering part.


I had us Poutine P160 for appetizer. Glorious French fries topped with smooth brown gravy, and mozzarella cheese


We had 2 kinds of pasta and both were good –Spaghetti Meatballs P295. Spaghetti with mouthwatering homemade meatballs. The meatballs were huge.


Linguini Vongole P295. Linguini pasta with baby clams and garlic.


I also got an order of Risotto Tartufo Funghi P325. This is wild mushroom and truffle cream. I’m slowly loving this Italian recipe but then I always find it more satisfying when shared. There’s umay factor when you try to finish an order by yourself, I think it’s the heavy cream.


And pizza, Mama Lou’s Special Large 14” P450. Tomato, mozzarella, prosciutto, mango, arugula and balsamic cream.


Added Pizza Bianca P375 because it was well-recommended by the wait staff. This one in cream, mozzarella, bacon and mushroom.


Their pizzas are oven-bricked and crispy thin, served with alfalfa sprouts and arugula. You can roll it or eat as is. Pizzas are similar to C’ Italian’s.


And because we’re dining Italian and we’re celebrating Greg and Renzy’s 40 something birthdays, I thought it’s fancier if there’s a bottle of wine, I thought it’ll help increase my red blood cells in a way. On the contrary, I learned that tannins in wine are not really good with iron deficiency issues. But believe me there was no diet restriction on my home instructions from MMC.

Back at Mama Lou’s –resto is pleasant, be sure to reserve the table close to the wine racks. I insisted us be seated there because it’s a bit distant from other tables apart from its really picture worthy.


Anyhow, we had a good convo all throughout our meal, I love this pack because topic can go anything under the sun and I can stay a listener or go hysterics even at the shallowest jokes. You see I have a very small number of real friends but I’m not in any way saddened about it, in fact I always consider it as a blessing because too many people in your life can be just hazardous at times and troublesome. Be picky with who you invest your time in. 🙂



Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen | Solenad 2, Nuvali, Santa Rosa – Tagaytay Road, Don Jose, Santa Rosa | T. 049 3020752


casetta del divino zelo, silang

Remember the P.S. I left on my Caffe’ Sant’ Antonio post, well this is it. 🙂


Maybe because I’m one lethargic blogger to date I lost track of new places and restaurants popping up recently. Let’s say that even the spring of many food bloggers now didn’t help convinced me to try anew, I’m very partial to old favorites and kept on going back. Like for instance in August, I visited Bag of Beans countless of times, that’s how consistent I am as a customer especially if there are no bad experience even at one time.

Honestly and no offense to food bloggers out there, I stopped getting recommendations from food blogs that write and eat at the same event because it’s likely reading the same thing, and there are biases sometimes. Tho I still believe some bloggers out there still try to deliver based on their own judgement and liking despite the free food.


Well, sometimes it helps that we’re always on the road because I get to peep at new establishments and catch sight of signage’s, these giving me ideas other than what really encourage me are recommendations of restaurant owners themselves to try this and this because they’re very open in posting they had a meal somewhere else despite having their own eating place. What a sport I think to even promote a possible contender? 🙂


Casetta Del Divino Zelo, an Italian restaurant tucked near Ilog Maria Honeybee Farm in Silang, Cavite was our lunch venue last Sunday. I got it from Lime and Basil’s IG feed and sought Google help later on. Of course I had high expectations especially that even the sassy lawyer cum writer had all good to say during her visit. The restaurant is owned by Tahanang Divino Zelo (Congregation of the Daughters of Divine Zeal) and is established to support the mission for the unexpected mother needing attention with her unborn child. And nuns operate the restaurant with some aide who’d clean tables and serve food.


* took home this flyer to give you a run through of what they serve

Pay As You Order. Do this at the counter located at the entrance, the menu is very simple and limited so it won’t take you too long to decide –pizza, pasta, desserts and drinks. They also sell freshly baked breads and pasalubongs including newly harvested vegetables.


The dining area is cozy and spacious with peaceful music playing –the classic Pavarotti!


Green-covered walkway leading to the chapel


Maria Madre Delle Vocazioni Chapel, 9am mass held every first and third Sunday of the month


Even before our food were served I smelled good food, something that delighted my senses without ado. First our pasta plates, all in generous serving, unpretentious and clean taste.


Bolognese P175. Think you can’t get wrong with this classic spaghetti minus the sweet sauce.


Marinara P235. Oil based pasta with generous fill of seafood.


Lasagna P250. The order was big, ideally can be shared by 2 people.


It looks plain but it tasted pleasant.  Sisters, if I may suggest why not add eggplants and herbs harvested at the Casetta’s compound.


I also got us Italian bread for P20 each. You can request it reheated and it tasted pretty good even without the olive oil and balsamic vinegar dip. Anyway, good that I didn’t asked for the dip because the restaurant maybe practicing the Italian food rule here.


We also got the family size Proscuito Con Arugola pizza P570 and at first bite I knew I run into something really great. If you’ve been watching TIMY I was like Basti savouring Greek yogurt while making Iris envious. Hahaha. 😛 I am convinced that pizza dough is made of good flour minus the extender –crusty edges and chewy inside. And if the principle of an Italian pizza is having it cooked thru wood-fired oven then Casetta’s pizzeria makes the grade.


We didn’t pass over on dessert, we ordered Ciambella Cake (Lemon Cake) P25/slice and Tiramisu P95.


The latter got me, I love its strong espresso flavor and it tasted coffee liquor as well. I forgot to ask how much a whole order is, I want to get one and enjoy it with coffee at home. About the Ciambella, uhm better to ask ze husband how it was because he didn’t share even a forkful. He forgot that I fancy lemon bars so it’s no-brainer that a lemon cake would be a favorite too. 😦


Drinks. They have Italian made coffee which I still have to try on the next visit. I ordered Cucumber P50/glass and it was real thirst-quencher, a must-try when you visit.


It was a wonderful lunch to date, one of those lazy Sundays after an early errand. Casetta’s is a perfect place if you want to dine and disappear from the hype of the mall ambiance, food is excellent and flavored even healthier. One place you’d like to go back again and savour Italian while you get a taste of nature and home. I’m definitely coming back! ♥



Casetta Del Divino Zelo (near Ilog Maria) | Km 47 Emilio Aguinaldo Highway Lalaan 1, Silang, Cavite | T. +46 6860714, +63927 6571458 | Opens every Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday 10:00am to 5:30pm


manam comfort filipino, makati


These days’ meeting with friends during weekdays is almost a luxury for me, nothing like the old days when I can meet up with them anytime, and anywhere. First, my work schedule is not permitting plus I stayed away to night outs long ago because I feel sick everytime I’ll stay out late. Okay, Lola mode is on. Hahaha.


Not the boy best friend from London but we looked pretty good here, Gew! 😀


Ge is my brother from another mother. #partnersincrimesince1996

The occasional and numbered meet ups happen mostly when someone is in town, when someone is going away or we’re celebrating belated birthdays. When one of my boy best friends went home from London last April, I know he won’t let go of the chance to meet us, so, it’s no surprise when his message came in asking me to organize a dinner for the group. Just like that, I would take charge of all the arrangements and pick the restaurant of my choice. Sorry guys I’m bias to my preferences. This time, I picked a Filipino restaurant that was well recommended by many.


Draft’s Sausage Platter is ♥

Maman Comfort Filipino at Greenbelt 5 was jam-packed that night; they don’t accept reservation so we had to queue for more than an hour. While waiting for our table, the gents decided to have a glass of beer at Draft which is bordering only to Manam, at least we would be able to hear from our seat if our names are called. I enjoyed the gastropubs cocktail snack –onion rings and sausages! Sarap!

Just in time after finishing their beers we were told that our table was all ready, I went in first to pick my seat and to pick our food for the night. I know it’ll be a long night so I made sure that food will not bore them at all. I ordered the all-time favorites –sisig, kare-kare, kilawin, grilled pusit and more.


Mga Mangga’t Bagoong, Gising Gising, Freshly Char-Grilled Squid na Binusog ng Crab at Chorizo and my Ube+Sago Shake 😛

With this group, it’s so hard to capture the food decently because they’d knock down the food soon as it landed the table. Kumusta naman di ba? I can’t say wait because they won’t really appreciate it even if I say hey, I blog! But I’m so used to them already so I have to adjust and do my thing quickly.


Apart from Maman’s good food we had a good convo only that at times I had to pause and rather be an audience while they poke fun at remembering yesteryears and mortifying encounters in the past and recently. There are times I feel that talking is becoming a tiring feat so don’t over think otherwise if I suddenly choose to stay quiet a little bit. I’m only recharging my energy that is. Anyhow, Ge was his very normal self this time, I could tell he’s never been this lively the last time, even Gem noticed it. We could really tell because we’ve been together for a long time and despite the distance now we’re still the same crazy group.


And we’re solid as a rock you know!

The meet up ended at Seattle’s Best, we had coffee and teas and another round of chitchats like the old times, we don’t really ran out of stories only time. At past 1am we called it a night and we all look forward to Ge’s homecoming again in 2017, who knows it may turn out a big reunion for everyone. 🙂



Manam Comfort Filipino | GF Greenbelt 2, Esperanza St cor. Greenbelt Drive,  Ayala Center, Makati  | T. +632 625-0515