Although we loved our Hamaru experience and we do intend to dine there again, the food park where it is located offered no other attraction for us. We had almost given up on this food park hopping when Speedy suggested yesterday afternoon that we go to Pitstop Foodpark rather than cook dinner at home. The heat was terrible and turning on the stove would have added to the stored heat inside the house. Okay, I said, why not? So we drove to Congressional Avenue Extension in Quezon City and had our best food park experience. So far. We spent a little over a thousand pesos and it was money well spent. Well, for the most part. Something killed our joy at the end of the meal. Just read on.
In the interest of transparency, the decision to go to Pitstop Foodpark was fueled by the desire to try Qrazy Quesadilla. It is owned by a friend, Chris Teodoro, who co-owned and operated Tapa Boy, a food truck in L.A., California. Chris and I go a long way back to the early days of my blogging. He played a huge role in Sam’s journey into photography (see also the comment thread in a 2007 post, if you’re interested).
We went to Qrazy Quesadilla (as paying customers of course) with high expectations. All of those expectations were met. With aplomb. The food was lovely, the prices were friendly and the pico de gallo was to die for. What did we have?
Sam had chips with jalapeño sauce. PHP75.00. The only vegetarian dish we had. De rigueur because Sam doesn’t eat meat. I didn’t want to ask for a share of the dish but when I tried the pico de gallo, I found myself competing with Sam for the chips with which I could scoop the salsa. The pico de gallo was addicting.
For our quesadilla, we chose the one with chicken filling. The tortilla was wonderfully charred, the filling was generous, the Sriracha mayo had just the right amount of heat, and the quesadilla came with another small bowl of pico de gallo. Yay! At PHP185.00, it was ten times better than the terrible quesadillas we had at Food Trip Foodpark in Marikina.
Then, there was the main dish.
Burrito bowl. I saw a sample on the counter because they were experimenting with plating options when we arrived. Sirloin steak, rice topped with roasted tomato salsa, grilled tomato and onion wedges, slivers of tortilla and more pico de gallo. No sinews in the meat and despite the relative thinness of the cut, the sirloin was not overcooked. Tender and juicy and beautifully seasoned. Price? PHP185.00.
Of course we tried the food from the other stalls too. Sam would have starved if all she had was her bowl of chips, after all.
Sam went to this stall called Nori Sushi X Burrito serving Japanese-Mexican fusion food.
She chose sushi burrito, a concoction of rice, tuna and vegetables wrapped in nori. I asked her to rate it. Without considering the price (PHP195.00), on a scale of 1 to 5, she gave it a 3.5. It tasted okay, she said, and the tuna seemed fresh. But the way it was wrapped was terrible. Too loosely packed which was probably why it had to be wrapped in foil. Otherwise, it would have fallen apart. Neither did Sam like the fact that the sauce came in little plastic bags instead of being served in a small bowl. We were dining in, after all, not eating on our feet on the sidewalk.
Sam and Alex both wanted Japanese food, not fusion this time, so they chose from the menu of Kimu San.
The yakitori negima was priced at PHP155.00. Not exactly inexpensive but they do know how to season yakitori at Kimu San and I didn’t even bother with the dipping sauce. The meat was perfectly grilled too. Crusty where the chicken caramelized on the surface but moist deep inside.
Then, there was takoyaki. Sam and Alex chose “original” so that meant there were bits of octopus. I’m not really a fan of takoyaki but, yes, there were bits of octopus embedded in the batter. PHP120.00.
Now, meat. Speedy required more meat so he went to Honey Bunch and ordered beef belly.
The grilled beef belly, served on a hot stone, was tender and juicy with just enough fat to prevent the meat from acquiring that dry and boring texture. I found the basting sauce a bit too sweet though. Speedy said that considering the small amount of meat in the dish, it was overpriced at PHP180.00.
We were happy with the savory dishes we had. The food was good; the prices were okay. All we required at that point were coffee and dessert. Unfortunately, the coffee stall had run out of coffee. Unfazed, we went looking for dessert. Speedy and Alex spied a cake stall while searching for a cold drink and Speedy said there was dulce de leche cheesecake. So, Alex and I went there.
That looks good, doesn’t it? I ordered a slice of the dulce de leche cheesecake. PHP150.00.
Sam was the first to taste the topping. The moment it touched her tongue, she balked. Jelly, she said, not dulce de leche. And when we cut through the cheesecake… Oh, my goodness, there was so much flour in it that there was no way it could be described as creamy the way cheesecake should be. Sam said, “I can’t even.” Alex, who paid for it, demanded reimbursement from her father, who refused. We didn’t finish it. There were four of us and we touched, maybe, just a sixth of the thing. I wanted to leave it right there on the table. In the end, I handed it to the security guard (I did tell him it was leftover) who accepted it gratefully. But Sam said it was embarrassing giving him something that bad. Because, yes, it was THAT BAD.
When we got home, I made coffee. As I started editing the photos from out Pit Stop dinner, Sam went about making dessert. She melted chocolate, dipped salted pretzels in it, and… easy, unpretentious dessert. It was a great way to end the day.
*Edited at 11.22 a.m. to reflect the correct price of the quesadilla, and the correct name and price of the burrito bowl.