Baguio Holes-in-the-Wall (Benguet, PH)

“The secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.” -Mark Twain

Holes-in-the-Wall: these are out-of-the-way, small places like cafe, bar or restaurants that are not considered to be fancy,expensive or unpretentious… Places to eat where they impart a more homey vibe.

You see, I love eating, and I want to enjoy eating all through my lifetime. Despite my lean frame, I actually eat almost everything (well except those with fresh vinegar). I believe that the next best thing to eating food, is talking about it. And that exactly is what this write-up is for. This blog will be constantly updated whenever I get to visit a hole-in-the-wall gastronomic hub in the City of Pines.

BEANS and MUGS

Address: 2nd floor of Filipino – Chinese General Hospital’s drugstore, M. Roxas (Trancoville), Baguio City, Benguet.

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This tiny cafe that offers some of the better freakshakes I have tasted, is hardly noticeable. I think my room is even bigger than its space. Nonetheless, I like its simplicity. Found at the 2nd floor of a drugstore and is in very close proximity to a hospital along Trancoville, Beans and Mugs have so far delighted my sweet tooth for its Matcha Freakshake and Strawberry Freakshake.

YAMASHITA JAPANESE NOODLE HOUSE

Address:Beside the famous 50s Diner, Leonard Wood Rd, Baguio, Benguet

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I am a self-confessed ramen lover. And for the longest time, Baguio didn’t have a single ramen house. And so when I have heard of Yamashita, I was more than delighted. It is just a small restaurant with chairs and a single long table in front of the cooking area. Nonetheless, the wakame ramen I have tried is satiating enough for my palate. Moreover, I think the price is reasonable!

GLYCO SWEETSHOP

Address: 72 DPS Compound Access Road, Baguio, 2600 Benguet

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One of my all-time favorite desserts shop in Baguio. Glyco Sweetshop’s cupcakes are some of the best. I particularly love their green tea cuppies. The Portuguese egg-tart is also something every visitor should taste because of the delightful balance of sweetness and the right crust texture. Despite the bakeshops name (glyco which means “sweet”), the desserts they offer aren’t very sweet which to me is a good thing.

GAME and GRUB BOARDGAME CAFE

Address: 2/F 111 Jungletown Rd, Baguio, Benguet

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I love their specialty drinks (shout out to Mango G’s!). They charge customers Php50 to rent boardgames. So while waiting for your order, might as well explore all the board games you could play (although my friends and I opted to play cards without bet!) Food prices in general isn’t that bad.

TRAVEL SIPS COFFE

Address: #11 Marcos Highway, Baguio City

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A coffee shop that is an ideal stopover, near 2 hospitals in Baguio. It is conveniently located along the main highway. They serve both hot and cold drinks (and some desserts too). Just like most cafe’s in this write u, it is small with few seating options. Nonetheless, it has a pretty cozy ambiance for you and your friends to chit chat for a few hours.

CHEF’s HOME

Address: 13 Outlook Drive (corner Romulo Drive), Baguio City (near The Mansion)

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This food abode owned by a Malaysian chef (Chef Alvin Emuang) has established itself as one of the best places to eat in Baguio City. Offering an array of authentic Asian cuisine, the very modest restaurant (that looks more of a carinderia) is heaven for good, good, good food. Looking into their menu, a typical Filipino could obviously say that most of the foods aren’t the usual ones we eat everyday. To most, the, the taste could be very strong – spicy, sour, sweet. But for a person who likes trying out almost everything, I say EAT and ENJOY! I personally love their ROTI! So yummy!

Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…

Let’s Eat: Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza (Makati City, PH)

Mi piacciono tanto la pizza e la pasta! (I like pizza and pasta very much!)

When I was self-teaching myself with some Italian words, these were some of my favourite besides my perennial favourite word “attraversiamo” (which means “let’s cross over”.

Going back to pizza and pasta, through the years, my tastebuds and stomach have developed this special love for these foods.  Hence, whenever I go for a food trip, I am always on the look-out for the best pizza and pasta and town.

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(Thanks to Fiel for capturing this panoramic shot)

Enter GINO’s BRICK OVEN PIZZA . This Neapolitan-style Pizzeria in Makati, Philippines located on Bautista Street, one of the side-streets of Salcedo Village, near the corner of Tordesillas (this is where the Salcedo Market is). And so before I leave Makati for another work opportunity, two of my workmates and I went on to try this pizza and pasta place.

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Upon entering the restaurant, I have noticed that the interior is simple with a comfortable vibe. Then came the menu… Going over it, I find the dishes straightforward – pizza and pasta, the very reason why we came. Here are the stuff they offer:

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APPETIZERS

House Salad

Mixed greens with balsamic dressing 150.00

House Salad with Burrata

Mixed greens with balsamic dressing 375.00

Summer Salad

Greens, prosciutto, dalandan dressing 195.00

Summer Salad with Burrata

Greens, prosciutto, dalandan dressing 420.00

Burrata Caprese

Cherry tomatoes, basil, burrata 335.00

Classic Burrata

Served with bread and olive oil 275.00

Classic Burrata with Cold Cuts

Ask the server for the available cold cuts for the day395.00

Burrata with Bolognese

Burrata, warm meat sauce, bread 415.00

Kesong Puti with Pastrami

240.00

PASTA

Aglio Olio

Spaghetti, garlic, olive oil, parmigiano 170.00

Tomato Basil

Spaghetti, tomato, basil, garlic, Parmesan 190.00

Salted Egg

Fettuccine, bacon, salted egg, cream, Parmesan 180.00

Classic Carbonara

Fettuccine, cream, egg, bacon, parmigianao 180.00

Bacon Sausage

Tagliatelle, bacon, homemade sausage, cream, Parmesan215.00

Pesto

Stracci, pesto, cream, olive oil, arugula, pine nuts 175.00

Bolognese

Pappardelle, bolognese sauce, kesong puti, basil, Parmesan240.00

Lengua

Tagliatelle, lengua, mushrooms, cream, Parmesan 230.00

Lemon Mushroom

Fettuccine, cream, mushroom, lemon, Parmesan 220.00

Stuffed Chicken

Tender slices of chicken breast stuffed with ground pork, served with aglio olio pasta 320.00

PIZZA

Margherita

Tomato sauce, kesong puti, basil 280.00

Queen Margherita

Tomato sauce, kesong puti, cherry tomatoes, basil 340.00

Arugula

Tomato sauce, kesong puti, cream, arugula 290.00

Sausage Pizza

Tomato sauce, kesong puti, homemade sausage, red onion, basil 320.00

Four Cheese

Tomato sauce, Mozzarella, Ricotta, Blue Cheese, Parmesan340.00

Buffalo Chicken

Tomato sauce, mozzarella, buffalo chicken, blue cheese 360.00

Prosciutto Pizza

Tomato sauce, prosciutto, kesong puti, arugula 410.00

Panna Sausage

Tomato sauce, homemade sausage, cream, parmigiano reggiano 290.00

Bianca Verde

Olive oil, garlic, kesong puti, ricotta, Parmesan, basil, arugula330.00

Rosa Bianca

Olive oil, garlic, kesong puti, Parmesan, cherry tomatoes, basil350.00

Mushroom Pizza

Cream, mozzarella, garlic, mushroom, blue cheese 345.00

Bacon Gouda

Honey, bacon, gouda 365.00

Pesto Mushroom

Pesto, mushroom, kesong puti, Parmesan, caramelized walnuts330.00

Lemon Speck

Olive oil, garlic, kesong puti, Parmesan, lemon, speck, arugula455.00

SMEGG

Homemade sausage, mushroom, eggs, gouda cream 370.00

Bomb

Balsamic onions, mozzarella, mushrooms, blue cheese 340.00

EXTRAS

Burrata

225.00

Parmigiano Reggiano

55.00

15.00

Gouda

55.00

Blue Cheese

25.00

Cherry Tomatoes

50.00

Kesong Puti

50.00

Garlic Mushrooms

65.00

Balsamic Onions

60.00

Bacon

115.00

Sausage

55.00

Prosciutto

120.00

Speck

120.00

Salami Milano

120.00

Guanciale

120.00

DRINKS

Bottled Water

30.00

Softdrinks

50.00

Iced Tea

Pitcher 120.00

Calamansi

Pitcher 150.00

Dalandan

Pitcher 170.00

Lemonade

Pitcher 250.00

What We Had:

For the pasta, we tried Salted Egg Pasta (P180). I personally adore the taste of the fettucine – aldente and gooey.I am personally surprised that the bacon-salted egg combination works wonders to the palate! It is like a Filipino-version of carbonara but is creamier.The other pasta we tried is Bacon Sausage (P215). Just like the salted egg pasta, this too has a creamy consistency. What made this dish a stand out is the sausage which really tasted good.

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For the pizza, we tried one of their best-sellers — SMEGG (P370). I love the fact that it is thin crust, with the right crisp and generous toppings. We also ordered Margherita Pizza, which is made up of tomato sauce, kesong puti, and basil. With just three ingredients, it is just so amazing to the taste as it really was flavourful!

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And finally, we sampled one of their desserts – Chocolate Chicharon!!! Okay, I admit, I ordered it because I find it unusual and to satisfy my curiousity. When it arrived, it wasn’t really enticing to eat, but when I got to taste it, I find the weird combination working some wonders to my taste buds. The dark chocolate surpisingly tasted good with the chunk of crispy chicharon.

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In general, I love the food at GINO’s. I am looking forward to trying out their other food offerings especially their burrata which most people have raved about.

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GINO’S BRICK OVEN PIZZA MAKATI
Bautista near corner Tordersillas St., Salcedo Village, Makati City
Email: ginosbrickovenpizza@gmail.com
Mobile: +63 917 964-5339 (for reservations)
Operating Hours: 11.30am to 9.30pm

***Special thank you to Alyssa for allowing me to use her phone to capture our food. hehehe.