WITH Christmas fast approaching and weight gain waiting in ambush, I'd rather stay as far away as possible from all those new restaurants and lurk around in the more familiar and exciting places -- the karinderia that is mobbed by the throngs.

This one is really old. Friends over a decade ago were already recommending the place. Except that... it's not really in my regular route. That was until last Tuesday when I had to pick up a prescription from food buddy Doc Nina, who was the doctor on duty for Sutherland at that time. She was on her way out to find food when I arrived, and so I tagged along and was finally able to eat at the White House Eatery along Jacinto Extension just a few meters from Sutherland.

It was not yet 12 noon, and so the place was just filling up. We managed to grab a table in a corner.

The food on display are the food you grew up with, thus, the temptation to order all. Through sheer willpower, I was able to keep my order down to just one bola-bola and the ginataang gulay. Nina and her companion got the pork Bicol express, tortang talong, and spicy beef.

It was comfort food, all right. The type that you'd seek out when yearning for the familiar, and I can understand why the place fills up to the tightest tight during meal times, especially with the call center just a few steps away.

And yes. Turo-turo price. Burp!