Girls’ Lunch Out at Italianni’s UP Town Center

Last week, I met up with my favorite duo SoRah (Sophie and Farrah) for a “girls’ lunch out” at the newly-opened Italianni’s (also partly Baker & Cook) UP Town Center.

Katipunan never fails to bring back memories of my university days in Ateneo (though the traffic is surely something I’ll never miss). There used to be very limited options for dining when I was a student, with no UP Town Center (or even Regis Center) yet for us to enjoy. Nonetheless, it was still fun having all the freedom to go out for lunch outside school if I wanted to.

Can’t imagine how it must be like for students nowadays, with all the happening places that have popped up along Katipunan through the years. I try to console myself by thinking that with more options comes more distractions. And possibly more calories?

After quickly checking out Mango’s 50% off sale, I immediately hopped over to the newly-opened Italianni’s right next door to meet up with Farrah and Sophie. I find it very refreshing to be surrounded by younger people (they’re about 5-7 years younger than I am) because I get to somehow tap into their energy. When I was their age, I hustled pretty hard, and it’s admirable to see them hustling just as much at this stage of their lives. Now that I’m older, I find myself getting tired or burnt out more easily, so it always helps to get inspiration from these girls who remind me of who I once was – someone with an unending zest for life.

And so, with a lot of soul-searching and re-connecting with what’s happening with the world these past few months, I’ve decided to go back to doing more day-in-my-life type of blogs, because that’s something that my current married self would be more interested in. Experiences, not things. But food is always a good thing, of course.

(The one person that didn’t get the OOTD memo is automatically relegated to the middle.)

You can see Baker & Cook on the left. Not sure if you guys remember, but I was at their opening event in S Maison last January. It’s a Singaporean artisan bakery chain headed by global baker and celebrity chef Dean Brettschneider.

In my wedding SDE, there’s this one drone shot where you can actually see a huge Baker & Cook billboard on the side of SM Mall of Asia. So yup, I don’t think Rg and I will ever have a reason to forget it!

My family would often go to the Italianni’s in Eastwood (near my parents’ house) before I moved out and got married. Value-for-money family-sized portions, classic American-Italian comfort food, and exceptional customer service – what more can one ask for?

When Rg and I were still dating, we’d often go to either the Italianni’s in BGC or the one in Greenbelt, near his office. Recently, he had a work meeting there, and he heard something about a secret menu? Or some secret dishes (like a secret cake?), at least? If anyone’s heading to Italianni’s soon, do let me know in the comments if the rumors are true!

Summer thirst quenchers – I had the Mango Mint Tea (I loved it so much I had to jokingly plead to the brand manager to keep it on the menu forever! #waytouseinfluence), Farrah had the Four Seasons Mango (the undeniable best seller), and Sophie had the Mango Pineapple one.

Highly recommended, these limited time drinks! Hope at least one makes it to the permanent menu because I need it in my life.

(Suddenly my hair is down in this photo because Farrah told me to show my new haircut off, lol.)

Food is here! I chose my favorites off the menu. These are all good for sharing though I might have over-ordered for 3 relatively petite girls, haha.

Salmon Carpaccio – Thin slices of fresh salmon fillet with cherry tomatoes, capers, basil pesto, black olives, and tomato relish.

Classic appetizer. I can finish a whole serving alone – I did it once before and I can always do it again!

Pizza Abbondaza – Sicilian style pizza with three flavors: classico pizza, pesto meditterraneo and quattro formaggio topped with feta cheese.

I always order this 3-in-1 pizza sampler if I’m with a small group of people. It’s better than ordering 3 different servings of pizza and having to take home so many leftovers.

Parmesan Crusted Fish Fillet – White fish fillet coated with Parmesan cheese, served with caper cream sauce, mashed potatoes and sautèed vegetables.

A light-ish option for 3 girls who wanted to share a main dish but also wanted to save space for dessert.

(The mashed potato in this one is super yum, btw. Can’t escape the carb life!)

Spaghetti Vongole – Fresh clams, sautèed with garlic, tomatoes, white wine, olive oil and sprinkled with chili flakes.

I used to never order vongole until I met Rg. It’s his go-to pasta dish, and he orders it everywhere, even in Italianni’s.

Personally, I’m partial to light, olive oil-based pastas (like aglio olio or pesto), and this one is a sure winner in my book. It’s not as spicy as it looks, so don’t be intimidated!

Thanks for having us, Italianni’s UP Town Center! We had a lot of fun bonding over good food, and even better drinks (I swear, these Mango quenchers are something else!).

We’ll try the coffee at Baker & Cook next time – a visit that will surely merit its own blog post!

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