You. Yes, you, hungry-looking reader who is looking over your shoulder to check if we’re referring to someone else. You with the puzzled look. Yes, you. Meet Mr. Joey Pepperoni.
Simply saying it’s not a person is no fun. We’d like to have a slight twist and use the overused, yet always effective, pickup lines. In Filipino. Hindi tayo tao. Hindi tayo hayop. Bagay tayo. Bagay na bagay. These lines would be infinitesimally alluring if uttered by John Lloyd, but even Mr. Ingat himself can’t make these lines unrelated to this post.
Something else seems to be appropriate. Let’s recruit no less than Agent 007, Mr. Bond himself (complete with the standard pause). The name is Bond. . . James Bond.
The name is Joey. . . Joey Pepperoni. Ok, that sounds lame. But we’re just trying to say it’s a pizzeria. Joey Pepperoni Pizzeria.
On an ordinary day, we would have chosen the usual, Yellow Cab Pizza, Pizza Hut or Shakey’s. This is, however, not an ordinary day at The Annex in SM City North EDSA. We were there in search for lunch, pizza and pasta lunch to be exact. But we were thinking of Amici. It’s no longer there. Whatever the reason for its vanishing and wherever food heaven it holds kitchen nowadays, we had no time, and, more importantly, no (hunger-depleted) patience, to look for it. This isn’t an ordinary day because we were trying to taste something new. I haven’t tried Amici and it’s not there. We are regulars of Yellow Cab Pizza (Four Seasons, yum), Pizza Hut (Hawaiian and Super Supreme) or Shakey’s (Manager’s Choice, Chicken and Mojos). Then we got introduced to Joey . . . Joey Pepperoni Pizzeria. Our first time.
The beauty about eating in a place for the first time is the discovery stage. This is perhaps the only time we check the menu with keen interest and thoroughness. Cover to cover. This is the only time when we ask the staff for the bestseller and their recommendation. In subsequent trips, we’d simply rattle off what we tried the first time, or, if we had more choices but our stomach linings would burst if we order more, we’d tuck it in memory and order it the next time.
Hmmm. What to order. Precious, hunger-filled minutes ticked away and we haven’t made up our minds. Time for the fallback position — ask the staff for their recommendation. This is our preferred mode of choosing because we give the staff a fat chance of showcasing their specialty. If the choice is ours and we make a terrible choice, it’s unfair for the restaurant because either the article would be unflattering or, if unflattering enough, we’d rather not write about it.
The Joey Pepperoni staff recommendations? The Works pizza. Carbonara or bolognese. Chicken Fingers. Gelato for dessert. Hmm, which ones to order. Getting fed up of choosing what to feed ourselves, we ordered all the recommended items. We could actually see the calorie counter run out of the restaurant door.
We like the setup. Hanging warm lights, covered by brown paper bag-like material, provide a relaxing atmosphere, coupled with sufficiently-spaced tables and chairs.
The Chicken Fingers, well, we haven’t tasted it because the kids finished everything. That should count for something. The carbonara and bolognese taste great. This is, after all, an Italian-themed restaurant. The pizza, named The Works, is ok. Thin-crust, not too crunchy yet not too soft. Fresh, light toppings. Safe bet, which makes it not memorable.
The gelato tastes good. We ordered all three to compare — Cioccolato (Chocolate), Oreo Cheesecake and Pistachio (Pistacchio). Not too sweet, very fine ice cream. Flavor remains true to what it’s supposed to be. This is good gelato. Either it’s supposed to be hard or we’re correct to say that this is far from how comfortably easy and soft ice cream is supposed to be. The pistachio in particular looks too chunky. Problem with serving and presentation?
So we had our fill, with leftovers to bring home. If we’re in a situation wherein we could choose only one item to order again, we’d go for the pasta (the kids would probably have the Chicken Finger again). Thanks, Joey.