Mom & Tina’s: A great place to treat the family
For our family, March is a month of celebration. Both my moms (biological and mother-in-law) were born on this month, and in my humble observation…moms’ birthdays are the most celebrated. Why of course, they deserve the royal treatment after running after us when we were toddlers, teaching us in gradeschool, extending endless patience towards our rebellious phase in high school, believing in our dreams in college, and cheering us on as young professionals! I am super lucky to have moms whom I can talk to about anything under the sun, minus the judgmental stares. They are both cool women, although different in a lot of aspects. My biological mom, Mama Letty, is the epitome of OC-ness. I do not remember any day in school wherein I have no hanky, newly sharpened pencils, nor money in my wallet. She thinks about everything! I swear she can run a whole military base! I appreciate her being responsible, self-sacrificing, and disciplinarian. My mother-in-law, Mama Debbie, is the friendly mom. She’s like your barkada and knows the coolest stuff. She’s really great at badminton and can effortlessly whip up a gourmet meal in minutes. Whenever I want to cook, I ask her for recipes but the dishes don’t turn out like hers. And so, I leave the cooking to my husband who is the better cook, thinking to myself that good cooking must be genetic. Hehehe!
Last March 1, Mama Debbie turned golden! I told my husband that I want to give her a golden retriever to mark this big day in her life. My suggestion was met with incredulous looks, and so I settled to buying her a badminton outfit instead. With her birthday being a Saturday, the whole family trooped to a quaint bakeshop-turned-resto along E. Rodriguez Avenue in Pasig City – Mom & Tina’s Bakery Cafe.
We almost missed the cafe since it is not facing the road. Good thing, Mama Debbie told us to watch for San Jacinto Restaurant (in front of SM Hypermart) because right beside it is the cafe. We arrived at around 6pm and while it’s a little bit early for dinner, their parking space is already full. By the way, they do not accept reservations so you better arrive early…especially if you want to get the best seats. Some tables have this comfy midnight blue sofas instead of wooden chairs. I admire the interiors of the cafe, it’s like an old american country-style home filled with the aroma of good food…and not to mention, ceramics. As stated at the back of their menu, their recipes were handed down from generation to generation. In fact, the name of the cafe was taken from their matriarch, Mama Belen, and her daughter, Tina Torres-Santos. The mother-and-daughter tandem both have the gift of cooking, and I’m super glad they thought of sharing their delectable meals to us.
To start off Mama Debbie’s celebration, we initially ordered Ceasar Salad and Mango Kani Salad, both at P175.
They are both good and I’m happy to note that they didn’t scrimp on the sauce. Oh, if you’re on solo flight, you can even have a half order of the salads at P90. Their menu is rich with choices; they have soup, steaks, pasta, paella, and a wide array of desserts. I, for one, have ordered paella valenciana — my all-time favorite dish! When it arrived, I immediately scooped into the rice and it instantly reminded me of the authentic paella I have tasted in one of the restaurants in Las Ramblas, Barcelona. It was beautifully designed too, but I wish it has more shrimps and served in a paella dish to have more character. But for P160, I am not complaining.
My husband and most of the family ordered steak. While the Rib-Eye Steak is such a delight at P285, together with the Prime Rib Steak at P345, my hubby swears that the Grilled Lamb Chops is worth every centavo of its P345 tag. My sister-in-law, Anna, cautions that the steaks should just be cooked medium-rare since she didn’t get to enjoy her steak after requesting that it be cooked well done. The Grilled Lamb Chops goes with mixed vegetables, mint sauce, and mashed potato with gravy. It’s quite a heavy meal for a girl, but boys will surely appreciate the huge serving.
My brother-in-law, David, who does not have a penchant for tasting new dishes, ordered his usual carbonara. It was served with two cupcake-like breads and he finished it off in a jiffy. He does not have anything good or bad to say about it. Maybe, after having carbonara over and over again, they all just taste the same to him. Hehehe! But I encourage you to be more adventurous when dining at Mom & Tina’s, especially with the desserts! Oh, they have cupcakes, tortes, brownies, pies, and cookies. They even have cute boxes for it if you want to give them as gifts. It’s a great gift idea if you’re “nanliligaw”, and it will not break your budget too. I would suggest their Mango Cream Pie, which, at P85, can easily become your comfort food. My whole family enjoyed the Turtle Chocolate Cake, which is like a yummy brownie with ice cream on top. And yeah, they serve a wide array of coffee concoctions which you can enjoy with your dessert.
I will definitely go back to Mom & Tina’s, if only for their Ceasar Salad and Mango Cream Pie. I enjoyed my dining experience with them since I am all for the laid-back atmosphere that their cafe has. Next time, I’ll surely bring a good book along and taste their coffee concoctions. Oh, I’ll turn off my cellphone too.
P.S. My family was served by a very professional and thoughtful waiter named Dave. Request for his services if you’re dead set on enjoying your stay at Mom & Tina’s. Don’t forget the hefty tip!