Saturday, December 25, 2004

Hey, I Used to Eat There

Listening to the DJ drool about the restaurants where he'd like to spend Christmas dinner got me thinking about the various food places which I miss, as they've closed down.

What do I miss?

1. Italian Village - now, this was the supreme Italian cuisine during the 70s and 80s. My family would always go there for special occasions. We would start off with an appetizer of chicken livers wrapped in bacon and deep-fried; for all you liver-haters out there, this dish might actually get you liking it. It would be followed by a green salad in a red wine vinigairette (spell-check, anyone?), which my brother and I would continue to attack, long after the greens were gone. And finally, the main course: pasta. I always ordered spaghetti with meat sauce, and no restaurant which followed has ever equalled the sauce that Italian Village used.

Italian Village closed down in the mid-80s due to a prolonged strike. I guess the owner got fed up and closed the restaurant down. That was a a sad day.

2. Angelino's/DC Diner - Angelino's never really came close to Italian Village in terms of the pasta, but the food was decent. I especially liked their Mushroom Soup, which was tomato-based, and had a raw egg which cooked in the soup's heat; that was a heavenly soup.

I don't know why the restaurant folded more than a year ago, but it enjoyed a brief resurgence tag-teaming with Seiji restaurant along Katipunan this year, and then fizzled out.

3. Jack in the Box - This American fastfood chain was simply squeezed out by the competition, namely, Jollibee and McDonald's, which was a shame. What I liked about Jack in the Box burgers were that the veggies were fresh and crisp, and the burgers were always meaty. There were some specialty sandwiches as well, such as the sourdough burger, which was one of my favorites.

4. 5 Anne's/Frankie's Steak House - For Katipunan Ave. old timers, these were the relatively cheap eateries to go to when one was on a budget. Both restaurants served a variety of foods, but I liked their grilled stuff best of all. For the uninitiated, the restaurants stood where National Book Store and Jollibee Katipunan now are (I think).

5. Tita Amy's - Located along the strip of stores in front of Ateneo's Gate 3, Tita Amy's promised filling and budget-conscious meals; there was a great variety of them, and I can't remember which ones I liked best.

The space where it used to be was taken over by another Chinese-style eatery, Red Fox, which also didn't last long. Maybe the space has bad mojo.

6. Ling Nam - This used to be my favorite place in Greenhills to go to for beef mami. I think a remnant of it still exists in Shoppersville, but I'm not too sure.

7. Joe Kwan - There used to be a food gallery across Glo-ri's Commonwealth, but it's gone now. Joe Kwan was my quick fix for beef mami (I know, I'm partially addicted to the stuff) after classes. Instead of going straight home, I would alight at Glo-ri's and help myself to a steaming hot bowl of beef mami.

There's still a branch of Joe Kwan's along Buendia near Roxas, but I'm not that addicted to go all the way there.

8. Chopstix Express - What happened to this restaurant to me is a mystery, because I figured that it was doing well. No, I didn't go here for the mami, but for their steamed chicken with black mushroom rice meal, which was really delicious. That dish disappeared from the menu a few months before the whole chain went under. Super Bowl of China has a similar dish which is just as good, but since H isn't partial to Chinese food, I don't get to sample it often.

Managing and maintaining a restaurant must be a difficult job; I remember reading somewhere that it's a very cutthroat business.

I just wish the eateries above had survived, as I miss some of their dishes terribly.


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