4. The food
For a getaway that makes you feel right at home, CASA San Miguel’s Backstage Cafe offers the best of what this house has to offer: rustic, home-style cooking. Somehow, a lot of intimate vacation spots can miss out on great food, which can really deduct from the overall experience, but to this writer’s pleasant surprise, Backstage Cafe had a decent menu, taking special care not only of the taste, but the presentation of their meals as well. Backstage Cafe’s menu is reflective of the Magsaysay family recipes, which clearly has a rich heritage.
Just like this roasted chicken, based on a recipe by the Magsaysay family matriarch, Rosario Magsaysay. It’s wonderfully huge and succulent, as I imagine this being served during family lunches in the past. The chicken was roasted just right, giving it a nice color, and the meat juicy and moist throughout, with a flavor that was sweet and smoky.
We also loved this classic carbonara, served with the egg for that extra richness.
Backstage Cafe also makes its own gluten-free bread, and that breadstick as a side dish to their pasta dishes is no exception.
Backstage Cafe’s famous Battle Royale Pizza. The name alone conjures some pretty wild images, but it’s a good ringer for the various toppings and generous servings of this family-style pizza.
And who can leave CASA without trying Julian’s Dream Polvoron? This polvoron, a creamy, luscious mixture, is best known for being served at Obama’s state dinner when he visited in 2014. Offered in different flavors such as avocado, langka, mango, pastillas, the treat is named after a character in a local Zambales folk tale who is forced to give up his mortality and marry a mermaid, but later regains his humanity and returns to his mortal life. A bite of this does feel like a dream, indeed.
3. Every nook and cranny deserves to be captured in photos
While Instagramming every bit of your trip is a tired and trite concept these days, there’s simply no resisting the appeal for capturing feasts for the eyes and immortalizing them in photographs. Each part of CASA San Miguel is worth taking snapshots of, as you take home with you memories of its beauty.
Take for example this small section adjacent to CASA, a cozy cafe called Pasilyo. A personal favorite is the Volkswagen kombi that was turned into a tiny reading nook and bookstore.
The Backstage Cafe’s al fresco area is even more charming at night.
More reasons why it breaks my heart to leave Casa San Miguel on the next page!