Seeking Green(er) Pastures

The mention of the word “organic” when you describe food is often met with raised eyebrows. Many identifiers come to mind: natural, free range, healthy and pricey.

There is confusion as to what organic food really is. I doubt if there is a nationwide standard for what is organic or not, or if the regulation has been put in place.  The general notion on organic food is the non-use of chemicals in the production process. But sometimes you think, is the food you buy really organic? Is it worth it?

It is true that organic food is expensive. Its price tag is almost 30-50% higher than their non-organic counterparts. In a blind taste test, you could not even tell in taste which is organic or not. What is the point then if it will leave a big hole in our pocket?

The entire point of switching to an organic lifestyle is to steer clear of the hormones and chemicals that are rampantly used in commercial food production.

I cannot claim expertise in organic food, as I do not have any background on it. Except that for a time in my life, I chose to eat organic, free range and non-GMO food items. It was incredibly difficult to stick to that diet. Not only was it expensive, there are very limited choices.

So imagine my excitement when I heard that Green Pastures opened at the East Wing of Shangri-la Mall. I was so excited about it, that I dined there for the first time. Almost three years after it opened..

Wow, right? But in Filipino parlance, “huli man daw at magaling, naihahabol din“. Better late than never.

The constant long queues for lunch and dinner discouraged me from popping in at the restaurant. But that Sunday morning, my friend Mina booked us a table at 10 am.

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Table at Green Pastures; Photo by Michelle Africa

I took Mina’s lead in ordering. I told her to order her favorites. I am also a bit put off by the high prices of the dishes. This was expected, of course, in a farm-to-table restaurant. Having said what I said above, I would have appreciated knowing where the produce came from. It could have been indicated on the menu, or posted elsewhere in the restaurant. Anyway, that’s something to think about when you claim your restaurant to be farm-to-table.

To tame our hunger pangs, we ordered the Homemade Stracciatella with Whole Wheat Sourdough Toast. Homemade cheese will always sound good to me. That item jumped off the menu as soon as I laid my eyes on it.

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Homemade Stracciatella Cheese with Whole Wheat Sourdough (Php 325 or USD6.97); Photo by Anna Carmina Torres

This was lovely– a perfect way to start a brunch. This was more than enough for two. We were almost full by the time we were done with it.

And anyway, it was Sunday. Yes, we ordered more bread.

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Stracciatella Cheese with Toast with the Farmhouse Salad (PhP550 or USD 11.73); Photo by Michelle Africa

The Farmhouse Salad was next up for us. It reminds me of a cobb salad but not quite. You find chicken, bacon, mango, corn, cheese amongst the greens greens. This was filling, like a one dish meal.

Remember this was food supposedly for two. I guess we were overexcited ordering, because of the extensive menu. Easily, three ladies lunching could share this appetizer spread.

We weren’t quite done. A meal with Mina will not be complete with an order of carbonara. She just absolutely loves it. But really, how do you go wrong with bacon and egg?

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Green Pastures’ Solo Carbonara (PhP 355 or USD 7.50); Photo by Michelle Africa

The harmony of cheeses, the dices of pancetta, the fresh mushrooms, the green peas, the runny egg on top. This isn’t your traditional carbonara. But it was a sight for sore eyes, and a delight for hungry tummies.

It was a pleasant experience dining at Green Pastures. It is comforting to know that organic has become trendy around town. We could only hope that more restaurants would follow suit. Not just one or two, but more… With more farm to table restaurants, this would  enticing more farms to go organic. And somewhere down the road, the produce will become more affordable and accessible to all.

Green Pastures
4/F East Wing, Shangri-la Plaza Mall,
Mandaluyong City
(632) 654-3219
https://www.facebook.com/greenpasturesresto

 

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