Dessert Comes First

An obsession with dessert and other unabashed opinions of a food writer

Magnum White King
16
comments

Meet Petra, Meet Pilar

posted by in Restaurants, Spanish

It’s called a carinderia but this isn’t your roadside eatery.

Every foodie, at one time or another, flirts with the idea of opening his/her own restaurant. Reality temporarily suspended, fantasies of fantastic food whirl in the mind, the dream restaurant a receptacle for the foodie’s edible wish list. In time however, the realness of it all – the grim truth of opening – not to mention — sustaining a restaurant frightens away all …

… except for the very courageous foodie, the daunting realities of the task serving as fuel in the journey towards a dream come true.

This is what happened to Katrina Ponce-Enrile, the quintessential businesswoman (President and CEO of the JAKA Group of Companies) but at her core, a global foodie who honors and remembers the food of her youth in her latest endeavor, Petra & Pilar. Petra is the Ponce-Enrile matriarch and Pilar the Castañer matriarch who introduced Katrina to the wonders of properly prepared Spanish degustacions.

carinderia
here’s where you order your food

Katrina calls the eatery a carinderia, categorizing it a few notches higher than a “turo-turo.” “I’m glad to finally have this place,” she tells me. “It’s really just home-style food, dishes I grew up with, and just like in a carinderia, you have to go up to the counter and order what you want.”

Filipino food
clockwise from top: sweet and sour fish, lengua, binagoongan

The food here is welcoming in its abundance, comforting in its familiarity: inihaw na liempo (grilled pork belly), binagoongan (pork cooked with bagoong), lengua estofado (ox tongue stew), and sweet and sour fish. Another time it might be adobo sa puti, a “white” adobo sans soy sauce; embutidong bangus (steamed fish roll), bistek Tagalog (beef slices marinated in soy sauce), halaan (clam soup), ensaladang ampalaya (bittermelon salad), and rellenong alimasag (seasoned crabmeat stuffed in their shells). And like any carinderia, food is served on the oval-shaped, off-white melamine tableware that quick-service restaurants love because they’re virtually unbreakable.

shortbread cookies

Oreo cheesecake

chocolate-dipped biscotti

Petra & Pilar is a carinderia in its own category. If you order soft drinks, you’ll get it in a can — there are no dispensers to be seen. The place is also the designated showcase of Delimondo, the JAKA Foods Corporation line of deli items, a familiar sight at the Salcedo Saturday Market. The desserts – and of course I spot this immediately — are not your usual fruit salad/sago’t gulaman variety. When I’m there, they’re serving chocolate cookie sandwich cheesecake, shortbread, brownies dusted with cocoa, biscotti dipped in chocolate and crushed nuts, lemon (real lemon!) bars, date bars, and a fascinating cake called San Moreno, sponge cake layers alternating with whipped cream and chocolate and topped with a yema-like custard. Katrina tells me the dessert is a riff on something she had in Spain.

Delimondo deli
The Delimondo deli, which is on your left as you enter Petra & Pilar

There are those who may disbelieve that Petra & Pilar is a carinderia. After all, nothing beats eating in context – where are the flies? the cramped space? the less than ideal dining area? As I say, this is a carinderia in its own category; an expression of food as history and memory, the kind of food that disarms criticism because it’s just good and familiar.

Note: Prices per dish range from P40-P110.

Petra & Pilar
2111 JAKA Center, Chino Roces Ave, Makati
887-5168 / 893-5531 locals 480, 481
Open Mondays-Fridays, 7 am – 10 pm

16 Responses to “Meet Petra, Meet Pilar”

  • Hubby and I enjoy the ranch-style corned beef of Delimondo. Glad I can now get it anytime!

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  • How much is the price range of the food and desserts Lori?
    I’m stuck overseas right now and am not able to try this out in the near future!

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  • Thanks for this — I probably wouldn’t have heard of this place if not for you, even though it’s quite near me. I’ll be sure to check it out. It’s fun to shop where you eat! As for whether it can be called a carinderia or not, the real question is: what are the prices like? ;-)

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  • Those photos of the desserts are making me so hungry.

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  • They have shortbread?! Yay! I don’t have to go to Mom & Tina’s to ease my shortbread cravings.

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  • I love restaurants where the decor is not overbearing. This is quite rare especially in Filipino restaurants here in LA.

    Love your site! Hopefully one day I will take an overdue trip back to Philippines.

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  • A friend bought a few cans of the corned beef to take home to the US and his family loved it. I also like their chocolate syrup, and some of the pasta sauces. For some reason I thought this was an Ed Quimson product, didn’t connect Jaka to it. Will wander down to the center one late lunch to try out their edibles.

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  • This looks really interesting…and near where I live! Thanks for the heads up Lori! I have been meaning to try the Delimondo products too (for some reason I never get to buying it at the market)…now I can hit two birds with one stone!

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  • Well written, great pics, time to visit…

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  • this looks very interesting. i’m also a food lover with none of your expertise hehe, but i’d love to try this one for a change. hubby and i have been eating in casual dining / fine dining restos lately.

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  • The place and food looks great. But I need the price- i’m in a tight budget right now, as in 100P for lunch is too much, haha!

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  • Glenville -Each dish is about P100.

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  • my officemates and i just came back from petra & pilar to have lunch, and not only were we disappointed, but we were also outraged by the lousy service we experienced:

    1. considering that it was supposed to be “carinderia” style, it took an hour before our food arrived. when we followed up our orders after around 30mins of waiting, the waitress said that it was already being prepared. then after 20mins when we were stilll following up one or our orders, another waitress told us to wait for 5 mins because it was still being cooked.

    2. it also took more than 30mins when a waiter approached us to tell us that they were already out of kare kare.

    3. some customers who arrived later than us got their food ahead of us.

    obviously, the crew was really disorganized and they don’t seem to keep tabs of people’s orders. it was not only us, but other customers were complaining too.

    the price is also quite expensive for the food they are serving. actually i wouldn’t mind so much if the service was great.

    never again would i go back to that place. it caused us so much stress

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  • Oh gosh, I would wanna share this hilarious experience we had just to find Petra & Pilar. Read on…
    It was shared to us by a couple of our Titas when they purchased their famous ‘corned beef’ at the Saturday market, Salcedo Park. We had it for merienda paired with ciabata bread. Saying they got the address from a newspaper, off we went last rainy Sunday afternoon, planning to get a sumptuos dinner at the said ‘carinderia’. You know what?!? They got the address 2311, instead of 2111. As you would expect it, we were searching for the place around the Mantrade area. Yeah, I know we’re way off the right location. We had to do a few u-turns and breaks just to ask if they ever heard about Petra & Pilar. Hmmm… people we’ve asked definitely didn’t hear the names yet. Until it took us about an hour, so exhausted, we ended up eating at a Japanese resto within the vicinity we were in. Sad and frustrating…
    And then one sunny day, I found my way walking the sidestreet near Makati Med to get a document certified, and guess what?!? I found the ‘carinderia’. The least expected time. So it was just there all along. It was funny, thinking that we were on the other end of Pasong Tamo looking for the spot.haha!
    So we’re planning to eat out this weekend, where else….. to finally meet Petra & Pilar. :-)

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  • JUST WANNA SHARE THE EXPERIENCE WE HAD WITH PETRA & PILAR’S DELIVERY SERVICE (WHICH ACCORDING TO THEM THEY DO DELIVER FOR AS LONG AS IT IS JUST WITHIN THE MAKATI AREA). OUR ORDER WAS FOR OUR BREAKFAST MEETING TO BE HELD AT 8AM TODAY. WE MADE CLEAR TO THE STAFF TAKING THE ORDERS THAT IT IS FOR DELIVERY AND EVEN GAVE OUR OFFICE ADDRESS AND LOCATION. OUR CONTACT NO. WAS ALSO GIVEN AND THE NAME OF THE PERSON PLACING THE ORDER.

    USUALLY, OUR MEETING STARTS WITH THE BREAKFAST BEFORE THE MEETING PROPER. THE STAFF DON’T EAT THEIR BREAKFAST AT HOME AS THEY EXPECT THAT WE WILL HAVE IT HERE IN THE OFFICE. HOWEVER, WHEN 8:00AM CAME, THERE WAS NO FOOD. WE WAITED ANOTHER 10 MINUTES, BUT STILL NO FOOD. WE CALLED THE NUMBER THAT WAS PLACED IN THE FLYER GIVEN TO US BUT IT ONLY GAVE THE MESSAGE “THE NUMBER YOU HAVE DIALED IS NOT ACCESSIBLE AT THE MOMENT. PLEASE TRY YOUR CALL LATER”. THIS TYPE OF MESSAGE COMES FROM PHONES THAT ARE USUALLY OFF THE HOOK. WE DECIDED TO CHECK THE INTERNET FOR THEIR OTHER NUMBERS AND WERE LUCKY ENOUGH TO GET ONE.

    THE MOST FRUSTRATING PART IS THAT WHEN WE TALKED WITH THE “SUPERVISOR” AND TOLD HER THE PROBLEM, SHE NEVER APOLOGIZED FOR WHAT HAPPENED BUT KEPT ON SAYING THAT THERE WAS NO NOTATION ON THE ORDER SLIP THAT IF IT IS FOR DELIVERY OR PICK-UP. SHE EVEN SAID THAT WHEN SHE ARRIVED AT 7:30AM SHE WAS ADVISED THAT THE FOOD WAS PREPARED ALREADY. IF SHE WAS A COMPETENT SUPERVISOR, WHAT SHE SHOULD HAVE DONE WAS CALLED OUR NUMBER AND ASKED US. AS A RESULT OF THEIR INCOMPETENCE, OUR BREAKFAST MEETING HAS TO BE MOVED TO ANOTHER TIME.

    I TOLD HER THAT THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THAT WE WILL TRY THEIR DELIVERY SERVICE AS OUR COMPANY USUALLY HAVE MEETINGS AND WE WOULD LIKE TO INCLUDE THEIR “CARINDERIA” IN OUR LIST OF RESTAURANTS FROM WHERE WE USUALLY PLACE OUR ORDERS. BUT IF THIS IS THE KIND OF SERVICE THAT WE WILL GET, WE MIGHT AS WELL STICK TO OUR CURRENT LIST WHO GIVE GOOD SERVICE AND DELIVER OUR ORDERS ON TIME.

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