02 January 2017

On The Tummy Spot: PatisTito Garden Cafe in Laguna

A year and 1 day ago to date, this foodie and a few friends went road tripping through Laguna all the way to Lucena to attend a good friends' wedding. Of course we planned out our foodie stops and PatisTito Garden Cafe was foremost in our mind. Me and fellow foodie and amazing cook friend J, already mapped out the route we were taking a few weeks before the trip so that it would be seamless come road trip time. The first stop was of course this gorgeous garden cafe owned by the iconic couple Patis and Tito Tesoro of Pinoy barong fame.

Armed with Waze and big tummies we happily made our way on the road. It took some time but we were able to find it as well as asking for directions from people we chanced by on the road. Indeed it was kind of hard to find but when we got there we were fascinated with old school Filipino decor, wooden tables, and a garden meant to be enjoyed. It was outdoor/garden dining. We actually called ahead to reserve because we wanted one item on their menu that needed 24 hours ordering beforehand.

We started off with some appetizers. They had a lot of them but we got the combination platters because we wanted to try as many items as we could in their menu because we didn't know when we could ever visit this restaurant again. We had Combo A. It was a delightful fried combo of tasty pork and beef balls, ground pork with yummy cheese, and hearts of palm rolled up spring roll style with a dip of vinegar, chili sauce, and tomato sauce.

We also had their delicious and very refreshing Ensaladang Pako. It was a simple fern salad with slices of red egg, tomatoes, sprinkled with cheese, and slathered with their own dressing and this is one of those that I will always remember. Very local and very refreshing indeed.

In between courses, we happily explored the interesting surroundings filled with Filipino curios. It was like going back in time 50 or so years ago to really old school Filipino houses.

When our piece de resistance finally arrived, we all sat down to enjoy the meal. The menu item we had ordered beforehand was the Chicken Kinulob. This was basically slowly cooked chicken over a charcoal fire for a few hours together with some potatoes, carrots, bacon, tomatoes, and Spanish chorizo. The chicken became so tender and cooking over a charcoal fire inside a native "palayok" (ceramic pot) did wonders for the dish. Collective Ooohhhsss and Aaaaahhhss for this one! Good job PatisTito Garden Cafe.

Of course, we added one other dish to complement our chicken, we had their Kare-Kareng Dagat. This was equally delicious too. Pieces of seafood and vegetables cooked over a slow fire with the customary home made peanut sauce stew and with it came one of our collective favorites - "guinamos" (fish paste). Another winner. The fish paste didn't taste at all fishy and it was great to pair with the seafood and vegetable pieces of the dish.

A meal wouldn't be complete without dessert and of course there is always room for that course. We had very traditional dessert this time paired with their mangosteen coffee. We had their Turon con Latik. Banana and nangka slices rolled in spring roll wrapper, fried with brown sugar and served with some nata de coco. Yum! You can't get more traditional than that.

Overall we had a great and lovely time at this garden cafe. We don't know when the next visit would be but most assuredly it would be worth the trip.


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