YELLOW CAB: HEAVY ON THE POCKET | THE PEASANT PALATE | Text by Hannah A. Papasin and Photos by Julius D. Mariveles

THE YELLOW CAB take out box | Photo by Julius D. Mariveles

Hannah:  We are not experts.There we have said it. We do not have elevated palates.  We do not know what a “dish with subtly nuanced flavours” means.  Our experience with Italian food, for instance, is pink spaghetti with hotdogs.  We are not your regular pretentious pricks who believe in “fusion”, “innovation”, “molecular gastronomy” or some such b*llshit.
We are deeply aware, instead, that food is meant to be enjoyed.  We would rather eat good, old unpretentious adobo over Italian sorbet with shaved truffles. Just give us food.  We’ll eat it. And we will tell if you if it’s any good or not.
Julius:  We were told when we were kids that we should not play with food. But why do adults play with it?  Why do food that can be eaten straight should be subjected to “presentation” and why do flavours should be masked with sauces?
Not that we don’t like chefs.  In fact we’re in love with Rick Bayless, the master of Mexican food, although we are quite aware that Bayless, like all the other chefs, “elevate” food to “greater heights.”
That we don’t understand.  For two foodies from a Third world country, we grew up eating food that are mostly grilled, made into a broth or cooked in vinegar – sugba, tula, kilaw.  And that is why we like Filipino food.
This is the part where we write about it.

Would you be willing to spend P300+ for a plate 10”, super-thin pizza just because it had New York written all over it?

Call me un-hip or un-cool but the answer would be heck, no.

Unless, of course somebody is willing to do the spending for me.

Still, not everything comes free, so just this once, we were willing to suck it all up and let our wallets drain as we decided to dip our peasant palates into the pizzas of Yellow Cab.

NY'S FINEST | The purists swear it tastes like pizza the way Italians like it in America. But wait, have we been there? | Photo by Julius D. Mariveles

Pizza purists, especially those who claimed they have been to Manhattan in New Yahk, swear by the NY Classic, a pizza with nothing more than mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and pepperoni – you know, the way the Sicilian immigrants used to make.

I say bunk.  I’m not here to taste history.  If I have to pay P300+ for something, it better be worth it.  So I chose New York’s Finest (wait – isn’t that what they call their cops?  Well, never mind.)  Why?  Because it was overloaded with meat – Italian sausage, ham, pepperoni, bacon, ground beef – and pizza standards like capers, onions and bell peppers.

THE DEAR DARLA PIZZA | This is not cut into wedges but strips that would enable rolling | Photo by Julius D. Mariveles

Then, my eyes caught the Dear Darla in Kids font.  It’s sort of the spring roll from Hypertension Alley – pizza dough wrapped around arugula (!) and alfalfa sprouts (!!).  Ah… so that’s where the name came from.  Apparently, whoever conceptualized it was a fan of bad kiddie movies.

Thinking that the collective grease and cholesterol are not yet enough to give us seizures, we ordered the Fleet Starters – a combo of chicken wings, baked potato wedges and corn chips, and the classic spaghetti and meatballs.

WHAT THE NY'S FINEST IS MADE OF | Photo by Julius D. Mariveles

First, the pizza.   The dough was a little tough to chew – would have preferred a little crunch in mine, but hey, it’s a matter of preference.  As for the toppings, there was a generous layer of ground beef, ham and pepperoni – but they seem to be interchangeable with the bacon and Italian sausage.  (Told you we don’t have elevated palates – let the other pretentious pricks sing praises to the authenticity of the pizza and the divine taste of the bacon when paired off with the Italian sausage – we will just describe how the different components work).

GREEN ON GOLDEN BROWN | Alfalfa sprouts and an arugula leaf waiting to be rolled up | Photo by Julius D. Mariveles

Next is the Dear Darla pizza.  The pizza dough was really the lesser version of the NY Finest – it had capers, onions and pepperoni and meat, and large bare areas for where you’re supposed to place your arugula and alfalfa sprouts.  Taken separately, the ingredients tasted horrible – arugula tastes what all leafy vegetables taste when eaten fresh  (read: bitter) and the sprouts burned my tongue with an herb-like aftertaste.  But taken with the pizza, it worked.  Somehow, the cheese, the tomato sauce and the meat neutralized the bitterness of the vegetables.  We only wished they had served us fresh arugula, not the ones that had apparently been languishing in the bottom bin of the vegetable storage.  It was wilted and yellowing, as though it had lost its will to live.

A ROLLED UP DEAR DARLA SLICE stuffed with a leaf of arugula and teeny weeny alfalfa sprouts | Photo by Julius D. Mariveles

The Fleet Starters was an entire meal on its own.  The chicken wings came with a “spicy” sauce, or at least that was what the menu book says.  Having been a Vietnamese in my previous life, I have considerable tolerance for heat, so the “spicy” label here is quite relative.  Baking the potato wedges made it healthier – possibly to balance off the grease from the chicken – but the taste was rather bland.  Really, frying releases the starch in the potatoes better, that’s why French fries are the way to go.  But if you’re conscious about your waistlines, then baked potato wedges are most welcome.  The tortillas were appropriately crunchy (although they suspiciously taste like the ones Fritos manufacture to the masses – but hey, in the age of fast food, we can’t be choosy, eh?).

A WILTED ARUGULA LEAF that was begging to have its life ended | Photo by Julius D. Mariveles

Finally, the spaghetti and meatball.  The pasta were cooked al dente (in Ilonggo parlance: kid-ol), which is fine by my peasant palate, because I’ve had it with over-cooked, soggy pasta cooked by certain fast foods.  Those weaned on sweet ispageti might find the spaghetti of Yellow Cab a little too sour, but you know what?  That was fine by us.  Tomatoes are supposed to taste that way.  Anyway, we appreciated the little acidity that we tasted on our spaghetti.  As for the meatballs, they were the size of a dwarf’s fist (go ahead, measure them), and they were just the way we want them: crisp on the outside, chewy and moist on the inside.

The other must-try offerings include the Calzone Grande, the Cream of Squash Soup, and the Tomato Cream Soup.

Our apologies if we were not able to order them.  We were too busy operating the defibrillator and checking our blood pressure to bother eating some more.


About Hannah|JuliusMariveles

English instructor and broadcast journalist


6 thoughts on “YELLOW CAB: HEAVY ON THE POCKET | THE PEASANT PALATE | Text by Hannah A. Papasin and Photos by Julius D. Mariveles

  1. actually, I’m not really fond of pizza, but if Yellow Cab sliced of pizza “my gosh it’s Yellow Cab” is served to me, I would definitely devour it. I don’t care about the cholesterol, the grease, and whatever harmful components are in it for as long as it’s food, I will like it. But…that, if it’s given to me for free also. ^^ P300? kon ibakal ko na to tiil sang baboy, may kansi na ko, makahigob pa ko sabaw nga mapilit pilit. XP

    Posted by edzkie | November 3, 2011, 12:44 am
  2. Great pics. I agree with article. Yellow Cab is a bit over-rated. Honestly, i can’t tell the difference between Yellow Cab pizzas and the ones offered by Shakeys.

    Posted by Serene Labrador | November 3, 2011, 5:55 am
  3. may buho2 pa ang aragula ay… sus nano..

    Posted by Jewel F | November 3, 2011, 6:58 am

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