Pockets of Progress: Wholesome, Hearty, Healthy Food at Green Pastures

Green Pastures is making this wonderful concept a household term for all of us: farm-to-table. It means that everything you eat on your plate has come straight from where it was produced. No fuss, no middle man, no prolonged and commercial process – just pure freshness, back to the basics, and a simpler way of doing things.

 

I personally appreciate this concept because I am no stranger to it. 

 

Heck, I grew up with it. As a girl raised by old-school grandparents in the province who owned a farm, our meals at home were literally farm-to-table! From the rice we produced to the some of the veggies and herbs that came from our backyard to the freshly-caught seafood peddled by fishermen’s wives roaming around the neighborhood, everything was really straight from the source. 

 

My grandmother would combine all these into her good, old, traditional home-cooked meals. There was a lot of clean-tasting veggie broth, sinigang, rich Ilocano meat dishes, and grilled seafood with sweet, juicy tomatoes and little red onions. What I appreciated was the simple goodness of it all, the healthy factor, and the fact that it was pure and devoid of preservatives and artificial ingredients.

 

So when I heard of Green Pastures and how they are redefining what it means to eat healthy, organic food, I knew I just had to try it. I wasn’t looking for that familiar food I learned to love at home, I was looking for something different, something new, something made of the same good stuff but with a certain twist to it.

 

See, I always believe that good food should not just be delicious and unpretentious – above all, it should be ingenious.

 

Good food must surprise you, because it is far from routine and it should come as a shock to your tastebuds. A strange but pleasing sensation, a burst of flavors, a feast of textures, and an orgasmic meal, to sum it up.

 

And this was what I was looking for when I came to Green Pastures, based on the rave reviews I’ve read about it.

 

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I liked the warm, wooden ambience of Green Pastures when I saw it. I liked the wall of greens that greet you when you enter it and the wide, airy, open space that doesn’t make you feel that you are actually inside a mall. The plaid-shirt-and-jeans attire of the staff was a quirky touch, adding to the farm-life atmosphere. 

 

We arrived there a little after lunchtime on a Saturday and my, oh, my, the place was packed! Good thing I arrived an hour and a half ahead and had my name listed so we were reserved a table by the time we got hungry. I always take it as a good sign when a restaurant is crowded – it simply means the food is fabulous and there’s a reason to keep coming back there.

 

I had one thing on my mind, as soon as our waitress at us down to our table. This was the main reason I wanted to try Green Pastures:

 

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HOUSE-MADE RICOTTA CHEESE AND ONION JAM!!!

 

If there’s one thing in the world I adore, it’s CHEESE. I love, love, love that cheese has so many varieties, makes ANYTHING taste great, melts in your mouth, and it is always, always rich, creamy, and exciting and comforting at the same time. And if cheese is lovingly and thoroughly made from scratch, instead of just the processed and store-bought kind, you can bet I will be dying to try it.

 

The house-made ricotta cheese of Green Pastures did not disappoint. Wala akong masabi. It’s creamy without being too heavy and it has a smooth, easygoing texture that glides down your tongue then your throat. 

 

Best of all, it goes perfectly with the onion jam. OMGGGGG. Kinikilig ako. This onion jam is like caramelized onions, jelly, and French onion soup all rolled into one. It’s true what the reviews said, they should definitely have jars of this on sale here – sooo good to take home and just spread on everything. It’s addicting, especially when combined with the cheese.

 

As if that were not enough, there was a whole head of roasted garlic on the side. They thoughtfully left the garlic open so you could just pluck out the roasted cloves with your fork and spread it with everything else on the toasted sesame loaf bread, which was soft on the inside but with buttery crunchiness on the outside.

 

Ahhhhh, maybe this is what they call a food coma. I swear, each bite sends shivers down my spine. Nakakakiliti sa sarap.

 

I’d go back to this restaurants just for this!!! And this is just the appetizer…

 

My mom, sister, and I enjoyed this so much we asked our waitress for two extra servings of their house bread because we wanted to finish up all that cheese, practically cleaning the plate.

 

After that very satisfying teaser, we soon got down to the main course. Being stuffed happily from all that bread (!!!), we decided to just try two main courses.

 

This was the first one:

 

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THE SHRIMP SCAMPI AND CHORIZO PASTA

 

My mom was the one who chose this. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the shrimps they used here were beautiful, fat ones. It made for a meal I would consider sulit (worth your money). Not all establishments serve shrimps this size and at first bite, the shrimps were flavorful and cooked just right, not overdone. The sauce was a bit spicy which complemented the thin pasta and which did not take the center stage off the shrimp. The chorizo played a supporting role – I expected to find sliced chorizo bits, but instead, the chorizo looked like ground meat scattered all over the sauce. I was glad they were not too intense and kept the focus on the fat, fat shrimps.

 

After finishing the pasta, we were nearly full! But then came our last order:

 

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DUCK-FAT FRIED CHICKEN AND SWEET POTATO FRIES

 

I was curious about how duck fat could transform the fried dishes we know so I ordered this. Okay, I’ll be honest – I gleaned from a review of that the duck-fat-fried fries were out of this world. I wasn’t sure if that was indeed the exact dish  but I saw the words “duck fat” and fries” so let’s hope I got it right.

 

I have to say, sweet potato fries are much better than the regular potato fries. I am a French fry addict and so, it takes a lot for me to say this. I like this version of sweet potato fries more than the classic version I’d always eaten in Max’s ever since I was a kid. The sweet potato fried weren’t soggy at all and they retained this quality all throughout the meal. The edges were crisp and not at all oily. Hurray.

 

The fried chicken was impressive in that it was not greasy at all. I am not sure what is special about duck fat, but the skin of this friend chicken was crispy and encrusted with herbs, so that there was a lingering flavor upon chewing the soft meat. It didn’t leave you with that salty craving fix you get when you devour a whole bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken or any fast food fried chicken. They did the impossible feat of making fried chicken taste….clean. I liked the sauces that came with it, the sweet tomato ketchup and the green one that was like mint jelly. The green one was my favorite, as it was sweet and herby and went very well with the chicken skin.

 

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MY MOM WAS OBVIOUSLY HAPPY WITH HER FOOD.

 

 

 

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I WAS SATISFIED AND RARING TO WRITE ABOUT IT.

 

 

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VERY CLEAN PLATES – OH YES, WE WILL BE BACK VERY SOON. 🙂

 

Congratulations to Chef Robby Goco and his team! Months after this restaurant opened, the waiting lines are still very long and you have to wait at least two hours to be seated. This is truly an indication that this restaurant is well-received, and organic food, prepared in an ingenious way, is definitely here to stay!

 

I applaud Chef Goco for bravely putting up a restaurant that advocates the farm-to-table concept. May this be very sustainable as this is a sign of progressive times. I hope more establishments follow his lead. Healthy living is so much more interesting if you’ve got these gamechangers challenging the way you eat.

 

As a doctor, my advocacy is to enjoy life and eat cleaner, healthier, and better.  I can’t wait to have my private practice a few years from now so I can recommend innovative places such as this to my very own patients. As they say, spread the good news!

 

P.S. Do check out Green Pastures here: 4th Floor, East Wing, Shangri-la Mall, 1650 Mandaluyong, Philippines. Browse their website to get a visual treat: https://www.facebook.com/greenpasturesresto.

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