TOQUE OF THE TOWN
By: Ed Quimson
A few of my buddies (Yoying Pimentel, Cindy Syjuco and Benji Luna) and I decided to have some pizza one day, so we went on a little sojourn all the way to Di’ Mark’s.
The traffic in Makati Avenue was, as usual, bumper to bumper. Not having been to Di’ Mark’s for quite some time, it was pleasant to see that the place was just as I remember it to be- checkered table cloths topped with red ones adorned with red candles in Chianti bottles. The wooden ceiling is lined with beams. Strung garlic and pepper hung on the walls. The entire ambience gives the atmosphere of a pizzeria in the back streets of Rome.
Di’ Mark's menu is quite extensive, so we hard a hard time deciding what to order. For starters, I had the Antipasto platter-an array of assorted greens dotted with olives, pickled mushrooms, sardines, cheese, pepperoni, salametti and garlic bread.
The presentation of the food was reminiscent of Florence, Tuscany, Venice, Milan and other quaintly exotic getaways in Italy- likewise with the taste. The marinade of the vegetables was light and tasty.
Yoying had cheesy onion- a rich soup made of sautéed onion with spices and top with plenty of grated cheese. Excellent and very flavorful! Benji (who is forever on a diet) just ordered fried mushrooms with garlic, but ate the entire dish with such gusto! I could not resist a taste. True enough, the mushrooms were indeed succulent and tasty, with lots of garlic and peppered with chili. Cindy went for a hearty main dish, the Bistecca ala Paulina- tender slices of beef sirloin sautéed in butter with onions and sliced French Fries Potatoes, and which comes with cream of vegetable soup and a basket of garlic bread.
According to Cindy, the soup tasted a bit bland and starchy (perhaps the flour that was used for thickening was not cooked enough). The Bistecca ala Paulina however, was sooooo good! The meat was sautéed to perfection. The potatoes were French-fried first, and then sautéed with the meat and onions. For Cindy to gobble up every bite, it must have been really heavenly! For the hungry Yoying and myself, we ordered a single pizza each. She had the Mad Scramble- Italian sausage meat, pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers, onions, black olives, chicken and fresh tomatoes. A teaser of a pizza! I had the Taco Pizza, which had chili beef, chopped onions, tomatoes, grated cheese and crispy lettuce- quite interesting for a pizza! Yoying and I actually argued about whose pizza tasted better (I still think mine was tops!)
What I really enjoyed was the pizza crust, which was not so thick, not so thin and not so doughy. It was crispy and made just right-actually the best that I have ever tasted in the country.
As usual, after the meal, I was the only one with a bit of space left in my stomach. So, for the grand finale, it was Chocolate Ice Box Fudge- it’s as sinfully delectable as it sounds. A scoop of fudge topped with cream- each bite was so utterly enchanting!
Actually, the best part of our entire feast was the bill. As I’ ve said before- so wallet-friendly! In conclusion, Di’ Mark’s as well worth the nose to nose battle we experienced, with all those smoke-belching road monsters racing to get ahead of each other along Makati Avenue.