Green Tomato, Black Ink

Had an interesting lunch date with one of the country’s webcomics pioneers Ariel Atienza at the “Green Tomato” restaurant in Shangri-La mall EDSA.

The place was serene, considering it was lunch hour and neighboring restaurants like Pho Hoa and Secret Recipe were spilling with customers. Noisy areas aren’t good for long interviews.

Green Tomato serves Italian fare in a wood-paneled, modern-looking space with cozy wooden chairs embossed with a shape of a lettuce leaf on the back rest.

The prices are reasonable and the servings are good for 2 people if you’re one to count calories.

Warm Mushroom Salad – P270

I would have preferred Portobello over Shitake, but the salad was okay. The mushrooms were flavorful because they were doused with balsamic vinaigrette. The bell peppers were sweet.

But the dish in general was vaguely unsatisfying. Maybe I should have gotten the Farfalle, a pasta salad dish with lemon garlic dressing, ribbon pasta and meat.

Cheese-filled Spinach Ravioli – P270

There are 6 thin pieces of ravioli here, each stuffed with what tastes like cottage cheese and boiled spinach, laced with thick pomodoro sauce. Not bad!

It can be replicated if you buy those canned cheese ravioli and bottled tomato pasta sauces from local delis. It was pretty good.

My interviewee Mr. Atienza got Brandied Shrimp pasta, but I was too shy to ask him how he liked it. I sort of felt bad talking to him all through lunch, instead of letting him enjoy his pasta in peace.

But he gave me an interesting crash course in the history of Philippine webcomics and how it’s likely to develop in the future. Got good material for my Asia Views magazine assignment.

Also, he showed me some art after lunch, and I was so impressed! He sketches in pencil and ink at a local cafe, then edits the colors and backgrounds on his computer. Super galing!

Here’s a sneak peek at his comics panels, influenced by Archie comics:

The full-color versions are just really awesome. Wish I could make decent comics too. Maybe something about a green tomato. đŸ˜‰


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