Wednesday, May 30, 2012

C' Italian Dining

Halfway thru SCTEX on our way home from a relaxing weekend at Thunderbird Resort Poro Point, I was asked if I wanted to have an early dinner somewhere in Clark, Pampanga. First thing to come to mind is C' Italian Dining which from what I've read makes the best panizza in the whole country!

We got to C' Italian just in time for the 6pm dinner opening. I was worrying they might not allow me to go inside since I was wearing shorts and sandals but thank goodness they're not strict with the dress code.

As soon as we entered, I immediately noticed the autographed plates with messages of love and praises courtesy of the restaurant's patrons adorning the wall of the reception area.

One of the waitresses guided us to the dining room which for some strange reason, reminds me of the Volturi Castle in the Twilight movie.

Where's Edward?

Paintings by local artists hanging on the walls are for sale.

A basket of warm home-made bread was delivered to our table a couple of minutes after we were seated.

It comes with a cup of pesto-cheese-olive-oil dip.

I was made to choose which Panizza to order and since I was feeling rich that day, I ordered Panizza Millionario *wink* which is also one of Chef Chris Locher's recommendations.

Panizza is a rectangular thin crust pizza cut horizontally and served with arugula and alfalfa sprouts. Panizza Millionario has five types of cheese, herbs, truffle oil, sun-dried tomato, ham and shrimp.

Panizza Millionario - Php845.00

One order is good enough to share.

How to eat the panizza:

1. Place a slice of the panizza in your plate.

2. As a personal preference, I place the arugula first then loads of alfalfa sprouts on top of it.

3. Roll the panizza and tadaaa!

If you like Yellow Cab's Dear Darla, there's no way you won't fall in love with C' Italian's Panizza! I now understand why people travel all the way to Clark just to have a taste of the finest panizza ever to hit the ovens. Nothing beats authentic, fresh and perfectly baked goodness!

I am now a certified C' Italian convert.


C' Italian Dining
1210 Don Juico Ave. Clarkview
Balibago, Angeles City
Pampanga, Philippines
Tel.: (6345) 892-4059

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Breakfast at Olives Restaurant, Thunderbird Resort

I woke up in time for breakfast with this view from our room's veranda. If breakfast is not served buffet style, I would have just ordered room service again and eat here. There's a form in the room where you can choose from either Filipino, Continental or American breakfast, hang it in your doorknob and food will be served in your room at your desired time. Spell spoiled and convenient!

Buffet breakfast is served at Olives Restaurant which is located right beside the room below us.

The restaurant was half full when we arrived. We immediately scouted the spread to take note which one's to get first. First stop was the salad/cold cuts/fresh fruits/cheese/yogurt and muesli bar.

The cook at the egg station was so kind and nice. He checks on me every time I pass by his station if I wanted eggs so he'll cook it right away daw.

If you're a heavy eater and likes rice in the morning, there are a lot of viands that you can choose from.

Crispy Bacon

Chicken Adobo

Daing na Bangus

Pork Mechado

Aside from overflowing coffee and tea, there are available fresh fruit juices and chocolate drink for kids. Beside that are containers of cereals and a bread and pastry tower.

We were able to try pretty much everything in the buffet. The more notable ones for me are

Chicken Arroz Caldo -- Tasty and had chunks of chicken. I love that I can
put lots of garlic and leeks in it which I absolutely like.

Muesli -- I can eat this everyday. Paging Mom!

Appetizing Smoked Tanigue, Mushroom Ham and Cheese

Scrambled egg with lots of vegetables inside

Ultra Crispy Bacon, Tender Pork Mechado and Yummy Daing na Bangus with Rice

Refreshing Watermelon Juice

I slept like a baby the night before then had an amazing brunch at the restaurant before going back to our room to sleep again. This is what a real vacation is, I wouldn't trade this for anything else.


Olives Restaurant at Thunderbird Resort
VOA Compound, Pennsylvania Avenue
San Fernando City, La Union, Philippines
Tel.: (6372) 888-7777
Fax: (6372) 888-3888

Monday, May 28, 2012

Halo - Halo de Iloko Balay

After having lunch at Thunderbird Resort, well, more like in the room, we decided to go out and have dinner outside Poro Point. I asked the staff in the lobby to recommend the best restaurant nearby and she said Halo-Halo de Iloko. And so, with a map on hand printed by the concierge, we made our way to the town proper where the restaurant is located.

Don't be deceived by the name because they certainly has a lot to offer more than the dessert this house was built from eight years ago. In fact, they just celebrated their anniversary last month, hence the written messages posted all over the restaurant's walls.

This place reminds me of Cafe Juanita in Pasig with the random decorations or as my friend would describe, organized clutter.

It was a hot night so we decided to dine inside even if the chairs are not comfy and the table, errr, more like the coffee table, is way too small to hold all our orders.

The waitress recommended for us to try their Buko Shake but we thought since we are ordering the most famous Buko Halo-Halo, we settled for what she said is another crowd favorite -- Pandan Juice.

More popularly know as sago minus the gulaman.

Instead of garlic, they put sesame seeds on top of the rice.

If there's a cup of ice, expect to have more than one entree as we love to have choices. We chose Sweet and Sour Bangus Belly and Beef Kare-Kare with Bagoong from the three-page menu. Bangus in this side of the country is really export quality -- they're bigger, fatter and definitely yummier!

Halo-Halo de Iloko's version of Kare-Kare was okay. The beef was tenderized it almost melts in your mouth but it would be better if the peanut taste is more distinct. Up to now, I haven't tasted a better version that can beat my dad's Kare-Kare.

I like my Bagoong spicy and a bit sweet but this one can pass.

If chicken built Max's house, I think this halo-halo is responsible why there's Halo-Halo de Iloko Balay today.

As expected, Buko Halo-Halo is served in a buko overflowing with ingredients like Ube San Gabriel, Nata de Coco, Saba, Gulaman cooked with Buko Juice, Macapuno, Corn, Yema with Pandan and Ice Cream on top. They also use muscovado sugar instead of the regular one.

It was sinfully delicious -- not too sweet and very creamy. Ten spoons up!

Even the balay (house) is as colorful as their Halo-Halo.

We made a quick pit stop at the casino but didn't go inside fearing both our accounts will run dry in just one night. So we just spent the night admiring the beauty that is Thunderbird and had a mini-pictorial at the entrance of the resort.

Now that's a guilt-free and wholesome fun!


Halo-Halo de Iloko
corner of P. Burgos and Zandueta Sts.
San Fernando, La Union, Philippines
Tel.: (6372) 388-3145

Friday, May 25, 2012

Thunderbird Resort | The Room

Thunderbird Resort is probably in the top 3 of the most luxurious resorts in the Northern part of the Philippines so expect to spend a bit more to experience leisure living at its finest. There are four types of room here -- Deluxe, Deluxe Suite, Junior Suite and Master Suite rooms.

We booked the deluxe room being the cheapest which ranges from Php8000 to Php9000 per night depending if its a weekday or a weekend stay during peak season, but still felt like royalty as soon as we step foot in this 47sqm abode.

It didn't took long enough before the doorbell rang and we were served glasses of refreshing juice. By the way, there's a Do Not Disturb button near the side table if you prefer some quiet time.

The room is equipped with a pantry with coffee and tea making facilities, in-room storage box, iPod docking station with speakers, WIFI access and an HD LCD Television with home theater surround system.

You can borrow movies from the concierge with just one call. While waiting for room service, we asked for the available movies that they have and guess what they brought -- Confessions of a Shopaholic. Talk about personalized service!

And now I present Thunderbird Resort's famous bed which has almost become synonymous to comfort. Its so nice that we just want to stay in bed and order room service during our entire vacation. The pillows are so fluffy and smells great.

Random paintings adorn the wall. Does putting Santorini photos too much already?

In-room safe and the softest bath robes and slippers I have ever tried on.

The bathroom is too big I had to ask the bellboy who brought us to the room if the open space is for a bath tub not yet installed. He then told me that the difference between the Deluxe and Deluxe Suite room is the latter's hot tub. I guess I would be making tumbling exercises here after all.

A set of VMV Hypoallergenics toiletries are placed on one side of the sink along with a personalized comb, dental kit, shower cap and loofah. The housekeeping staff are so generous they gave me toiletries thrice a day.

Another view of the expansive modern bathroom.

I didn't felt sorry for not having a bath tub with this nice shower with working hot and cold water.

We initially agreed on  having lunch downstairs at Olives Restaurant by the lobby but the room was so nice and cold and pretty we didn't want to leave. Good thing there's room service. Oh, and its fast too!

Here's what we had for lunch still ordered from Olives Restaurant but delivered to our room, no need to go outside the sweltering weather. No appetizers so let's get down to business.

It was still hot when we took off the plate cover, enough to smell the food and remember how hungry we are. With Confessions of a Shopaholic still playing on the TV, we started having lunch within the comforts of our room.

Spicy Lamb Shank - Php590.00 + 10% service charge

Braised with ginger, saffron, chillies and raisins served with couscous.

I tried both but leaned towards the Devilled Chicken more. I love how spicy and tender it was, probably the most perfectly roasted chicken I have ever tasted. The lamb shank by the way did not disappoint either, we just wished the serving was bigger.

Devilled Chicken - Php420.00 + 10% service charge

Half chicken with green olives, chili flakes, tomato, red wine and vegetables on the side.

We did not bother ordering dessert and just settled with the fresh fruits in the room.

As much as we wanted to stay indoors and watch as many movies as we can, we still have to go out and see the rest of the resort before night time. We walked, we swam, we explored the place, we played in the sand, we took pictures and we waited for the sunset. We did pretty much everything we want to and we had a great time!

Just when we thought it couldn't get any better, we were greeted with this nice little touch by the resort.

Who doesn't love chocolates right? But it would be more surprising if it came with flowers. *wink*


Thunderbird Resort
VOA Compound, Pennsylvania Avenue
San Fernando City, La Union, Philippines
Tel.: (6372) 888-7777
Fax: (6372) 888-3888
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