IF you're a Gen-Xer or even Babyboomer, you're sure to pick up on that title and go on a frenzy. Yes, the spaghetti of Merco -- that one with the tomato sauce and Vienna sausage and corned beef is back in town! You can get it from Joanna's Kitchen at Don Dionisio Complex along J.P. Cabaguio Avenue, Davao City. Don Dionisio is that building where the Center for Asian Culinary Studies (Cacs) is.
It's in the inner courtyard. Just drive in, and park. Joanna's is there. My sister and I had just brought my dog to be fixed at Doc Bo's clinic and the time was just right for brunch. We arrived at 10:30 a.m. and it was already open. *Yehey!* Joanna's is a bit uppity-ish with tables already set with red charger plates (those huge plates that are not to be used as plates but top put your food plate on). It's quaint. I had my eyes (and tummy) set on spaghetti that is just like Merco's. (Joanna's is owned by a Ferrazzini, the Merco owner. It's their recipe). Having spotted that in the menu, that immediately was among my list.
Then there was the unfamiliar Pote Gallego (A Spanish soup), which the waitress said is also a family recipe, then the baked salmon simply because I find it difficult to say no to salmon. The spaghetti is indeed that old Merco recipe. It was like walking back in time. I forgot to check if they had the "chinelas", or the flattened cheese roll that was also among the faves in Merco. The Pote, beef and bean soup slowcooked to tenderness, tasted like a Spanish soup (where there seem to be more ingredients than soup). And the baked salmon was heaven. It had the zing of herbs and just the right amount of salt, not the sickly bland taste that many seem to prefer these days (Hey! it's not as if I'm eating junk food and all other salty stuff every day, so give me salt on my salmon!)
The surprise was my sister's Mango Popsicle. She ordered one. The waitress said, "That's fresh mango, ma'am." So my sister said, yes, she's getting one. What arrived was frozen cheek of a ripe mango on a popsicle stick. They meant it when they said it's fresh mango. It's fresh frozen unadulterated mango on a stick. We went home happy as comfort food tend to do to you. Where's Joanna's again? It's at Don Dionisio Complex along J.P. Cabaguio Avenue the building where Cacs is. See you around!