The shop looks rather nondescript from the outside save for a simple, elegant signage that announces “Satinka Naturals” and a blackboard that says, “A piece of the mountains in the city”. Well, the second one got our attention. As is common with some other establishments, the promise can be just that – a promise premised on purely commercial purposes, just enough to pull in a customer for the first time but not for a return visit. Happily, Satinka Naturals’ advertising sign is not mere rhetoric. In fact, the more often we visit, the more delighted we are in discovering, not just healthful foods, but also nuggets of health wisdom from its owners, Satinka and Shaller, who both hail from Kalinga.
Lagal[og] says: The Kalinga coffee alone is reason enough to drop by. They use a coffeepress instead of the usual coffeemaker and real coffee from Kalinga. They also have Sagada coffee but as I like my java strong, I prefer the Kalinga coffee’s robust, deep-bodied flavor. This goes very well with their no-bake, vegan Vanilla Hemp and Spirulina cookies, tasty concoctions of their friend and fellow vegan-chef, Asha Perri of Leaf Kitchen. With food this good, there’s really no excuse to dismiss healthy eating as a bland experience.
Ironwulf says: I have a natural liking for the Kalinga Coffee too, having tasted their native coffee in various places in Kalinga like Buscalan and Tinglayan. It was strong yet smooth to the taste, at the same time it has hints of chocolate. I did try the Benguet Coffee as it too, was stronger and reminds me of the ones I tasted down south in Tawi-tawi, more like a burnt rice taste, intense with the goodness that steadily grows with every sip. I really like that Satinka offers these varieties of coffee from different regions of the Cordillera.
Lagal[og] says: We were first drawn to their version of the Sagada yogurt but have since graduated to their main courses. Pesto pasta is my all-time favorite so it was a natural choice to sample this. I’ve been coming back for more of this, topped with grilled chicken. Satinka shared some of her kitchen secrets as to the relatively less-oily quality of her Grilled Chicken Pesto Pasta. She also omits the nuts altogether and instead uses black olives as well as cherry tomatoes harvested from their own farm past Tabuk. The basil is also garden-fresh; it is minced, not pulverized in the food processor. The resulting taste is fresh and light yet flavorful; not oily at all, with the symphony of basil, olives and tomatoes melding nicely with the parmesan cheese.
Ironwulf says: Of course we were interested to try the Sagada-style yogurt as it was the reason we stumbled upon Satinka in the first place. On our first visit, we tried their Fresh Yogurt with banana and oats as well as fruits in season. We enjoyed the taste but thought it was short on the thickness and consistency of the Sagada Yogurt we were used to. On a return trip, we found out unfortunately that their yogurt concoctions weren’t available so we went straight to the main meal.
The Parmesan Bechamel Sauce definitely caught our eyes, right from the menu description. It is chicken marinated in bignay wine and battered but it is light and not overly done. The white sauce has the right thickness and creaminess — rich, buttery and cheesy without being too salty. We opted for the mountain rice to go with it instead of mashed potatoes as we thought the two would go well together. The vegetables served on the side were good and crisp as they were fresh and naturally grown.
Lagal[og] says: As it turned out, we came for the food and brought home some health ideas from Shaller himself. Their apothecary shelves are an interesting motley of organic stuff, from beeswax balms to natural dog shampoos, toiletries to all-natural pest control. They even have Bentonite and Kaolin clays for detox regimens. On Mondays or Tuesdays, they would have fresh organic vegetables and produce from their own farm available on their shelves. Customers can call ahead to find out what produce is available on that particular day. But take heed, regulars usually snap up the supply within a day or two.
Personally, it’s wonderful to find a place within the neighborhood where not only can I eat better but also learn a more wholistic way of living healthfully. I’ve heard of eating based on one’s blood type but Shaller takes it a step further by offering advice on which vegetarian dish is suited to your blood type.
Satinka told us that there would be more vegan offerings by June or July as she would be collaborating with fellow vegan chef, Asha Perri. I’m admittedly a meat eater but the prospect of eating more healthfully excites me. After all, it’s not often that you stumble upon a place that leaves you feeling good, light and well-nourished, not tired, heavy and grumpy, after a full meal.