Note: M.I.Y.O. Monday stands for Make It Your Own Monday, a question thrown out to DCF readers every Monday to jumpstart the week with lively interaction. I also welcome questions and suggestions for future MIYO Mondays. Email me.
I’m headed to Italy very soon but you wouldn’t think it from the way I’ve been eating nothing but Italian cuisine the past few weeks. Ideally, I should be staying far away from pasta and pizza and baskets of grissini and focaccia as well as bistecca fiorentina but I just can’t help it. Right now, Italian food has cast some sort of perpetual siren spell on me, something I can’t break or shake off. It’s mad. By the time I get to Italy, I might very well be sick of the stuff.
And by some weird succession of – dare I say it – poor choices, I’ve not been lucky with the restaurants I’ve chosen to dine in, places that are new and old, places that don’t register on the buzz meter. If you follow me on Twitter, I’ve given some hint as to my frustration with the Italian restaurants I’ve dined at in the past three weeks. You may ask why didn’t I just go to my tried and trues, places where the pasta prevails and the pizza presses itself into loving memory? Well, I get bored easily and I had a whole list of Italian places that I needed to scratch off my list.
Yesterday for Sunday lunch, I had my Bin drive me all the way to Cavite to an Italian place highly recommended by a chef-friend of mine. No cigar – or should that be no cannoli? Save for one or two dishes, the place was less than scintillating. Mamma mia!
In the early 2000s, my favorite Italian restaurant was Caffe Maestro along Reposo, a place that served a most unforgettable panna cotta. Though its sister restaurant, L’Opera, also serves it and is still around, the ambiance is different. Then there’s Trattoria Uno which, though gone now, will always reign supreme in my pantheon of great restaurants because it was there where my king asked me to be his queen.
Driving home from that rather lackadaisical Sunday lunch, we passed by Mona Lisa, which I remembered that I like very much. And then of course there’s my current Italian mainstay, La Dolce Vita which I discovered just recently also makes one of the better calzones in Manila. But more on that another time.
DCF readers, help me get out of my Italian food funk! Tell me: what is your favorite Italian restaurant and what do you eat there?