A Piece of Italy in Mandaluyong

My roomie, Mils, had a sudden craving for Italian last Tuesday. When she mentioned Galileo, I did not hesitate for a second. I’m scheduled to work from home that time so I have more hours to spare. We went there in our just-out-of-bed state for a late lunch and were crossing our fingers that they let us in. Kidding on that part. The people in Galileo are so friendly, they wouldn’t really mind if we looked a bit frazzled.

Galileo Enoteca is this hole-in-wall Italian place just a block away from us, which serves authentic Italian food and houses one of the biggest wine cellar that I’ve ever seen. This is my third time to dine in this place and it’s a good thing that I managed to take some pictures (blurry as they may). The first and second time, I was just oohs and aahs at how cozy the place was and how good their food were.

I love this appetizer because of the chicken liver dip. I know that most are not into chicken liver but it’s on of the best I’ve tasted. Not bitter at all!
When you order a pizza, you can opt to have 2 separate flavors. We ordered the Tutta Carne (mix of ham, Italian sausage, and pepperoni, and pomodoro) and Margherita. I’m not into pepperoni but the Italian sausage made up for it. 
For the pasta, we ordered the Penne con Funghi Porcini and Tartufo Bianco (Mushroom and white truffle oil). Honestly, I was quite disappointed with this. Aside from the penne not being al dente, the sauce was too salty for my taste.
I was not disappointed with the wine that we ordered. It was sweet with just a slight hint and aroma of alcohol, not the type that would make you wrinkle your nose when you waft it from the glass. We ordered a bottle and took home what was left.

I read somewhere that Enoteca means wine bar, which explains the appearance of the resto. It’s dimly lit with brick walls and rows of cupboards of wines like any typical wine cellar. You can even see some boxes by the corner which will make you feel that you’re just having drinks in your friend’s basement.

The cheese, cold cuts, and assorted canned products are strategically displayed by the main door so diners will be much tempted to take some Galileo piece home . As for me, I had fun just watching the display; it made me feel like I’m in a real Italian store.

Mils said that she’ll be hoarding some products here before moving out to another city. I might do, too. After all, this is one of the things that I will miss much in Mandaluyong. 🙂

La Dolce Vita: Le Pollypockets’ First Anniversary

Yesterday, Christian and I celebrated our first anniversary. We wanted to do something special but not too grand so we decided to head over to Bellini’s for lunch.

This Italian restaurant is situated at the far end of Cubao Expo. If you’ve been to Cubao Ex, you’ll agree with me that this place is not your typical romantic date place, with all the antique souvenir shops, old shoe stores, and low-key bars surrounding the compound. But part of Bellini’s charm is its unassuming atmosphere (who would’ve thought that an authentic Italian resto can be found in this kind of hub?), its novelty, and of course, it being featured in one of my favorite Filipino movies of all time: One More Chance.

If you’re a certified Filipino, is in your mid-20’s, and haven’t watched this film, shame on you! Haha!Seriously, you should watch this.

I was giddy like a kid when we arrived at the place. We spent some time taking pictures by the front door (the joys of a first timer!) that the owner, Roberto Bellini, must have been weird-ed out. When he poked his head out of the door and greeted us, I knew that we have to get inside.

Others may consider the place kitschy with all the colorful, baroque-sh paintings on the walls and the ceilings and the 3D wall decorations but I loved it! I felt like I was transported in a different place and in a totally different century.

We were given these cute bread sticks to nibble on while waiting for our food. I expected that it will take a while for us to be served with our main dishes so I ordered a plate of focaccia bread for appetizer. And it was heaven! It was toasted on the outside but soft, chewy, and warm on the inside. And it goes really well with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil dip. I think I had a bit too much of it, though, because by the time the pasta arrived, I was feeling a bit full. 😀

For our pasta, we ordered the Pesto Mare (creamy basil pesto with assorted seafood). Our waiter suggested that we had it with their fresh fettucine pasta and it was delicious! I can’t really put my finger on it but there’s something special with the taste and fullness of the al dente pasta that complimented with the creaminess of the pesto sauce.

Mr. Polly and his shake craze: He ordered fresh mango shake which was really good.

One letdown that we experienced, though, was the pizza. We ordered the Maria Luisa but it took a lot of time to be served. We were long finished with our pasta, were already busy taking snapshots around the place, and had our rounds of One More Chance memorable movie lines (“Malaki lang ang katawan mo pero di mo ko kayang patumbahin!”; “Ako na lang… ako na lang ulit…”) when the waiter told us that they just started preparing it. Since we were quite full, we just opted to take it home and go straight to desert instead.

As the waiter suggested, we had the Obama cake. It was a heavenly slice of moist chocolate cake with meringue-like upper layer topped with caramel and chocolate syrup. It was not overly sweet and was served warm so it was something new for me. One slice is good enough for two. 😉

As a compliment to all diners, we were served with a shot of sweet red wine. It was different from what I am used to. It was sweeter than it is alcoholic and from what I’ve heard, Mr. Bellini prepared this himself.

Another thing that I love about the place is how Mr. Bellini is hands on with the guests, jumping from one table to another, serving and entertaining us with his charming ways. On one occasion, he even stopped by our table and ‘complimented’ us with all our photo taking sessions with the food and the place. It was in Italian and I naturally didn’t understand it but I would like to think of it as a compliment because he was smiling. Haha! He even graced up with a photo op using my Choco Instax. Special occasions like this call for special photo snaps as well. 🙂

Overall, I was really happy with how our anniversary lunch turned out. So here’s a toast to the first of many anniversaries that we will have. 🙂