Friday, January 9, 2009

There is No "No" in Italian

Telling me not to eat carbs is like telling a lion not to devour an injured antelope.

My most ultimate comfort foods (chicken arroz caldo and pasta) fall under that category. Aside from that, I believe that it is very unnatural to do away with carbohydrates. Even your body reacts by making you unbearably cranky and depressed.

But I have to do this, at least for two weeks. Based on experience, it really was the fastest way to shed some pounds. So, as of Monday, I have decided to take a break from carbs.

The following evening, though, Matt and I decided to have dinner with our Discovery Weekend friends, Brian and Therese, at Carpaccio. What the hell was I thinking? Nobody on a quasi-South Beach Diet would even entertain the thought of having dinner at an Italian restaurant. But I, silly girl with the zero self-control, told myself that I will just order a salad and some fish. Yeah, sure.

So off we went to the newly-renovated Italian restaurant on the second level of Werdenberg Corp.’s restaurant complex, right next to their main building. It has been transformed from their old look of a small Tuscan eatery to a posh, uptown dining establishment.

We were quickly given a table at the smoking area which we fortunately had to ourselves. Things could get pretty loud when Matt and I get together with the newly-married couple, so it was a good thing we could have our hearty belly-laughs without bothering the other customers.

I do not know a lot about Italian wines, as some reds I have tried I find too bullish and tannic, while some Pinot Grigios are just plain flat and boring. I do like this particular white wine (Mancini Verdicchio Dei Castelli Di Desi 2006) which I frequently buy at Santis, and I thought Therese- a newly-anointed wine disciple- would enjoy its crisp, peach and green apple notes.

We started with the Carpaccio Cipriani (thin slices of raw beef drizzled with olive oil and topped with a salad and sliced provolone) and Caesar Salad. With a squeeze of lemon, the carpaccio tasted fresh and bright, the subtle cheese a perfect accent to the meat.

The men both ordered pasta, A Caneloni ala Casa (pasta tubes filled with ricotta, beef and spinach, topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella) for Matt and a Ravioli Panna (meat-stuffed pasta pockets filled with a parmesan cream sauce) for Brian. For journalistic reasons, I was allowed to try their dishes. The Caneloni I like very much because it was not overly creamy like some tend to be. The Ravioli was a good portion and quite hearty, but I would prefer that it have a bit more sauce. It does not hurt to have a little left over for bread-dunking.

Therese and I shared the Bistecca ala Casa (12 oz. Angus Rib-eye) and the Risotto al Funghi (Arborio rice dish cooked with porcini mushrooms). Our bubbly server, Reina (whom we love, by the way), suggested that we should just accompany our steak with some stewed vegetables, as the risotto is more than enough for us two. The steak, like in any Wedenberg establishment I have visited before, was a perfectly marbled, properly-grilled piece of choice beef. It was topped by an earthy and rich mushroom sauce which really made the dish scream for a big red wine. The risotto, aside from the heady aroma of the porcinis, also had nuances of saffron, which I think nicely rounded out the dish.

Stuffed but unwilling to give up just yet, we took a look at their dessert menu. Matt the ice cream monster chose from their selection of gelati (Italian ice cream), as did Brian. Therese and I once again shared a dish, this time their Dolce Platter, which were tasting portions of their Tiramisu, Panacotta, Crème Brulee and Biscotti. Out of all that, we liked the panacotta the most.

Before that evening, I have only eaten at Carpaccio a couple of times, preferring the European comfort food at the old Bianca’s. I don’t know if the food actually improved, but this particular dinner was exceptional. I will surely be back for more. After two weeks, I hope, and not even a day before.

Carpaccio Ristorante Italiano
Yakal St.
Brgy. San Antonio
Makati City
Tel. no. (632)8437286


miss martel said...

you don't need to diet this early.. do my 5-day diet for 2 weeks and you'll drop 10 lbs. do it for 3 and you'll drop 15..

day 1: fruits only.
day 2: veggies only.
day 3: fruits and veggies only.
day 4: protein only.
day 5: fruits, veggies and protein only.

day 6 & 7: take a break and eat what you like but just don't eat like a monster.

day 8: start at day 1 again..

Chinkee said...

Tons, no carbs is hard enough... Fruits only??? Hahahaha! But will surely give it a shot. This diet might be good for getting rid of the last five pounds. Thanks!

Miguel said...

The carpaccio looks delicious :)...

Chinkee said...

Hi Miguel! Yes the carpaccio was yummy:-) Subtle flavors but so good. It also helped that the lighting was good, i guess. Since there was nobody else in the smoking area, the waitress was nice enough to turn on the lights whenever some food would come out.

Try Carpaccio... The food was excellent:-)