“Omigosh… look! What happened?”

After dinner, in the midst of the rains, we had to make a hasty trip to Robinsons Mall in San Nicolas because the mister needed to buy a gift and a box of staples for his gun tacker. After making the all-important purchases, we stopped by Mister Donut for his caffeine fix until I remembered that Greenwich came up with a new cheese pizza. Yes, not just 1, 2 or 3, but 7 kinds of cheese in its 7 Cheese Overload pizza! We got a thick crust  party size to go. I also snapped up a barkada size Crunchy Onion Rings.

Spot the difference between our Greenwich 7 Cheese Overload from the Greenwich in Robinsons Mall-San Nicolas and the screenshot of the Greenwich 7 Cheese Overload in the Greenwich website and the same pizza in the advert of Overload pizzas in the video below. What do you see?.

I’ll describe to you how our Greenwich 7 Cheese Overload from the Greenwich in Robinsons Mall-San Nicolas tastes like. Firstly, I could taste only one cheese – the taste of rubbery cheese. Lastly, the crust tastes like hot pan de sal. No offense meant to pan de sal (love ’em!), but the pizza tastes more like it was purchased from a bakery, and we all know that we could buy more than a whole shelf of pan de sal with the 749 Php I spent for the 18-inch pizza.

To be fair, the 89-peso Crunchy Onion Rings were good.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved

Mino’s Napoli Pizza: It’s Italian, but it’s also Ilocano

Napoli pizza with tomatoes, olives and anchovies

What do Italian and Ilocano cuisines have in common? Smelly salted anchovies, in Ilocano,  “bugguong a monamon”. Many people may find the smell of this preserved fish ingredient repulsive, but it is what makes both cuisines excitingly flavorful.

Ilocanos can’t live without the funky smelling fish. They consume “bugguong” like crazy. They use it on “dinengdeng”, “pinakbet”, salads, or eat it plain with their rice. Ilocanos bring their “bugguong” wherever they go, even to America, to the consternation of their whole neighborhood.

Anchovies is also the backbone to numerous Italian dishes. Italians are wont to add anchovies to certain pizza and pasta dishes.

A native of Como in Italy, and married to an Ilocana, Mr. Giacomo “Mino” Iavorone, owner of Mino’s Italian Pizza in Badoc makes his own salted “monamon” condiment. It is present in his Napoli Pizza, which I adore. Not really a hole in the wall, the no-frills, relaxed Mino’s pizzeria has been around since January 1996, and it remains to be visited by Ilocos locals and travelers alike.

I asked him how do Ilocanos like his cooking, and he said, “At first, they were agkadiakadiay (flip-flopping). Now, they have accepted the Italian way. I don’t cook sweet spaghetti. I use only the freshest tomatoes, and I make my own dough and pastas.”

“I’m getting old. No, just this,” he said when I asked if he intends to open up another pizzeria like in Laoag.

Spinach ravioli in butter

Mino’s menu consists of spaghetti, cannelloni, ravioli, lasagna, tramezzini sandwiches, his own version of hamburger, and pizzas that come in two sizes and flavors such as napoli, margherita, capricciosa, seafood, al pesto, mushrooms, salami and cheese. The prices are easy on the pocket, nothing over fifty pesos for each serving of pasta, and his pizzas, big, P180-240 and small, P100-150.

White Pizza with white sauce, mushrooms, bacon and cheese

White pizza is his latest. The carbonara-like sauce was good. As usual, the crust was chewy and nice, not cardboard-like. He also has a new ravioli that comes in mushroom sauce which I have to try next time.

Mino’s down in Badoc is just so hard to ignore, the smell of anchovies in his napoli pizza calls time and again.

Mino’s Italian Pizza Badoc, Ilocos Norte (Open from Mondays to Saturdays) Tel. No. (077) 6700083 Cellphone  No. (0926)6464174
Photos by Blauearth Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED