Thursday, September 26, 2013

Green Pastures: Organic Eating Had Never Been This Goood!

As we live in the world of instant society, the quicker we get things done, the fancier.  News are fed and trended through social networking portals, shopping is done easily, without even leaving the comfort of your home or done while working and credit cards are way the cool money nowadays.  Information at our finger tips at the speed of light, with e-mails working way faster than postals, ample resources are accessed in the net, thus researches are easily manageable that what it used say, 20, 30 years ago.

Even our food have merited from the changing times.  Instant noodles, instant cookies, instant canned viands, instant fruit juices, to name a few.  I grew up in that kind of world, where "Sinigangs"are flavored artificially from sachet, scientifically made to resemble "tamarind paste."  Pancakes are premixed and all you need is water and just to cook it.  What they call juices are bottled up and lined on grocery alleys.  Breads are engineered and mass produced, filled up with preservatives t last a month.   I guess all these are but usual, since everything is fast-paced and coping up with the changing world is becoming tiresome.

With all these, have you ever stopped and asked how our food products are prepared, stored and sourced out?  I've given a lot of thought on these ever since my daughter had her diabetes awaken. As a mom who is very much concerned of the family's health (yes, admittingly, I'm a health freak), I have given much attention to what I give my kids.  As much as possible I veer away from using taste enhancers and tried to make a stir about how such preserved food can harm our body and give us cancer to some extent.   Joining Eat and Cheat Cancer book project as a writer made me more heedful to cancer giving components and cancer-fighting ingredients.

Cooking at home with natural ingredients is one way of making sure what you are getting is nutritious.  But how about dining out?

In choosing where to dine, there are several factors I would usually consider- accessibility (depends on where I'm located),  costs, ambiance, the whole theme of the restaurant and lastly, whether they consider using organic ingredients on their menu.  Must I admit that at times we are drawn to fast-food chains.

In our last visit to the new wing of Shangri La mall, Bhogs and I stumbled upon Green Pastures.  Let me just re-word the restaurant's name for this post, I think I found my greener pasture when it comes to feasting on.
Let me call this place an organic shack, the new baby of Chef Robby Goco who is zealous in providing dishes using all-organic ingredients and novel food preparations.

Green Pastures probably have been derived from my revered Bible verse from Psalm 23 - " "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures."

Can you picture yourself on a mattress of soft, green grass, cool shade under some tree, no noisy street traffic or worry from dangers or problems, just peaceful rest, and no fear.

Don't you want that in your health and lifestyle as well?  Why not look for a greener pasture when comes to dealing with food.  As Chef Robby told us why he chose the name of his new restaurant, "each one of  us has our green pasture."   But for him, there was a yearning for a more pleasant meal, a better life, one that promises to be healthier but does not sacrifice on the valuable taste - the greener pasture.

I like how the diner was conceptualized.   It resembles a barn or a farm shed, with wooden planks as dividers and pulled up windows.  There were ample seating outside.  With the rainbow colored chairs popped out everywhere giving sort of a fun character against the quaint brown shed on the middle.

We sat in front of the open kitchen, front row seat of the cooks show!  Along the side of the kitchen is a wall studded with indoor plants, which Bhogs had been planning to incorporate in one of our rooms.

Next is studying the menu.  We both found it very interesting and every dish is unique in some aspects. Another plus factor of Green Pastures is their cheerful staff.  We were a bit unsure what to get. to be honest I was kind of giddy to try everything but don't know where to start.  Good thing our wait-staff was very knowledgeable and she told me everything I needed to know about their offerings.  I was  enamored by how the theme was thought of and how everything were properly executed, down to the very last detail.  The cheeses, mustard, mayonnaise, buffalo butter and some other condiments are home-made.  Ingredients are all-organic.

When we say “organic,” it refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed.  There are specific requirements to be met and maintained in order for products to be labeled as "organic."  For us consumers, it means less pesticides, fresher and locally sourced produce (means economic sustainability for our country).  Organic farming is better for the environment, as I've read, this kind of practice in farming reduces air, water and soil erosion and are safer for farmers and surrounding environs.

Now, catching up on our daily greens?  We hopefully started with a salad but the list of their salad choices were overwhelming.  Good thing the staff greatly recommended Pinoy Eggs which is served with kale salad.
Pinoy Eggs, seemed catchy enough!  It's a soft boiled egg encrusted in shredded house-made longanisa, oh, how can I forget, they use free-range duck eggs.

We both loved it!  It even made us wonder how they were able to roll the soft egg in the crunchy and savory crust and fry it to perfection.  It went pretty well with the tangy dressed salad.  Something really new and unique.
Then we had a soup.  Not just your average soup though.  Their rehashed version of Italian minestrone is perfect for kids and babies, and to those who is in a special diet.
The Green Pasture Minestrone is a clear soup base with chopped zucchini, squash, canellini beans, greens and parmigiana.
After the wonderful aperitivo, we ordered 80/20 Burger, pronounced us "ey-tee-twen-tee."  Here we go...It is an open faced burger (my kind of burger!) made of 80% Wagyu beef and 20% double smoked organic pancetta (bacon) topped with house-made stracciatella, sliced tomatoes and greens.  The juicy burger patty, and the whole sandwich  may look expensive for others with a cost of  P 425 but knowing that you are getting high-quality products that won't give you cancer or allergies, I wouldn't mind, plus the fact that it really is that good, plus it is served on a big llanera of oven-fried fries richly-flavored with herbs.

Stracciatella are thin strands or odd shaped left-over fresh mozzarella or burrata soaked in heavy cream.
I'm one big fan of  burgers and would love to come back for their other burgers on the menu like the Vegetarian Burger That Doesn't Suck! and the Blue-ribbon Burger.

To end our snack sweetly, we were given a cold bowl with  "MilkEggsHoney."  I would exchange the traditional leche flan for this!  It is a layer of organic honey comb, home-made Greek yogurt and citrus curd. It's the sweetest sunshine to end all desserts.  A curd is a mixture of  egg yolks, sugar and butter zested with orange and lemon juice and with a sprinkle of lime zest.  It's a blast of crunch, silken, nutty, sugary and tangy in one bite.

So, if this is not a place where the grass is greener, maybe this is a restaurant next to heavenly.

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