Friday, April 27, 2007

It's the end of the week

....A long week at that. One punctuated by a great deal of night time grazing. Think herds of buffalo tasting the grass at the new dining pasture. With occasional stops at traditional, kimono clad watering holes. And hot chocolate.

I'll get to the food later, first I just have to get a few comments off my chest and head, and shake the mental cobwebs. Michael Pollan's written an new article about food, the Farm Bill (a US agricultural policy statement with alarmingly important influence), and how we shop/eat/feed. Makes you think all road lead to Rome, or in this case the behind the scenes agri-lobby in Washington. Read it and go support your local organic farmer.

Mommy wars in school. TERRIFYING. Work for an organization like this, see the worst of human behavior, never want to propagate your gene pool again. The rhetorical statement "Can anyone be so stupid? (or insane)" isn't so absurd after all when faced with the kind of attitudes one sees at times.

Exercise has been the lowest priority of mine over the last couple of months. A new personal manifesto, return to a regularly scheduled walk. My jiggly bits are starting to have twins.

Ok, so here's this week's menu:
1. Tuesday night at Sugi: salmon sashimi, onigiri (with bonito), cold tofu, a bite of the softshell crab sushi. Shared 3 bottles of hot sake. Pre-dinner cocktails of a overly spicy bloody mary at the Shangri-la Makati. Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (could have used a third to help us eat the food, share the drinks, and maintain conversation interest)

2. Wednesday night at Premium Wine Exchange and a quick shopping run at Market!Market (with a cookie drop off in Serendra). Tasted spanish wines at the wine bar, most of them were not to my liking however. High acid content, and one wine had no nose. Sniffed long and hard, but couldn't get a sense of anything in that glass. One did have a great nose and made my palate tingle with anticipation, only to grimace in it's vinegary after taste.
I had to do a surreptitious cookie drop off, hoping the red-cheek effect from the wine tasting had passed, felt a bit wired for some strange no-caffeine reason. Chugged a bottle of milk tea hand in hand with juggling bags of highly unnutritious sweet and savory things (egg tarts, walnut pies, pork bbq sticks). Then just as I thought I was finished spending money for the night, I spy a new kiosk, O-bun, baked or toasted siopao from Naga. Tried one, but found it fell short of expectations. Too much dough, and not very tasty dough at that, more like a pasty dough one might expect of fake food displays at a Japanese restaurant. If one eats fake food made of starchy paste.

3. Thursday lunch at Terry's (Segundo Piso)
Shared a vegetarian omelette, tried a manchego chorizo fried dumpling, a couple of tempura-ed (sic) fish (tawilis), and hot chocolate with fried bread. At the deli, bought Century Choice Tuna, wild blueberry reserves, and was piqued by the boxed chocolate tablea - Sison's of Pangasinan.
Food review: the omelette or pattata was what I like about spanish frittatas. A pillow of egg with not so hidden layers of potato and whatever else they add in there. Heavy, hearty, but done exactly as I like it. Would like to have it with a spicy salsa instead of the aoili. The fried dumpling was swimming in oil, and the flavors were not a match; felt heavy on the mouth and in the gullet. The tawilis were interesting in a very native, fishy way. I prefer marinated sardines fillets, or a grilled sardine instead.
The hot chocolate was thick, creamy, and perfect on its own. The fried bread needed a dash more cinnamon or a dollop of blood orange marmalade to counter its starchy, fried mouth feel.

4. and Thursday dinner at Chelsea.
With a zillion comments and reviews stirring in my head from friends who had gone, my expectations were quite low. Yes, it's on soft launch, and yes, they're still getting themselves prepared. No excuses. You open for business, be ready for your customers, stop changing the price/quantity stated on the menu at the last minute by verbal apology. Concept - good. Implementation - below par. Soft launches should be a mind-blowing, mermaid siren calling, lollapalooza-like, make you want to come back, tell your friends how amazing it is and share the love event. Did not want to be annoyed by the sub-par service, nor by wishy washy menu pricing: they say 6 cheeses for P895 only to come back (after you've chosen which cheeses) to say that the new policy is 5 cheeses for the same price. Ticks me off. I don't like being ticked off at dinner. And why am I paying P400 for a large bone with some meat on it, a brown wine sauce, tabbouleh and roasted vegetables, that calls itself a tagine? I'll go back in a year to see if it's finally got its sea-legs.

Pre-dinner hot chocolate fix at Xocolat in Serendra, a quiet, cosy, and pleasant place for creamy hot chocolate with a tempting display of cookies and cakes. I like it more than the other cafes for the fact that I was the only one there and the chairs were comfortable. But perhaps I should have had tea instead. I had had hot chocolate as dessert for lunch, so two hits of cocoa in a row seemed to create a funny rumble in my tummy that night. The drink of emperors and my tummy didn't co-exist happily yesterday.

Top it all off with end of the schoolyear parties, graduation parties, farewell lunches for departing faculty and staff, and another set of parties for something I'm not even remotely sure about. Too much. I'm socialized out. I will probably spend the weekend in semi-isolation just to detox. The Farm anyone?


christine said...

You are so sweet, Mila! I was telling Joey last night how sweet you were for swinging by with cookies. :) Thank you for thinking of us!

Sigh, don't get me started on Chelsea. I always thought soft-launch was a reasonable excuse for poor service, NOT poor quality of food! If you're plates are not good enough, why rush the opening and risk a horrible first impression?

Katrina said...

Thanks again for the cookie, Mila! I echo Nena -- you really are so sweet. :-)

Too bad about Chelsea. They obviously can't handle the number of people who swooped down there. Anton and Joey, who went right after it opened, were lucky; but then it seems everyone else who went more recently was turned off. I decided to assuage my craving for that cheese platter by buying some at Terry's instead. Maybe I'll just go to Chelsea for merienda for the cakes. They couldn't screw that up, could they?

Speaking of Terry's, I much preferred Mary Grace's or Xocolat's hot chocolate. Where is Xocolat in Serendra, anyway? I couldn't find it last Sunday. Weird, I walked all over.

I saw that toasted siopao in the Legazpi Market last weekend. Now I'm glad I didn't try it.

ramonc said...

I'm jealous... where's my cookies Mila? :)

Mila Tan said...

Nena and Christine, glad to share the cookies. Ramon, you have to be here to get your cookie!

Xocolat's right next door to Miss Desserts. Hidden.

I had another day of hot chocolate! Dulcinea and Batirol this time, yoikers.

ChichaJo said...

Thanks for the cookies sister-in-pink-cheeks! :) I had a hungry godchild at the table so I shared it with her :)

My duck pizza was a bit dry, unlike the first night I tried it when it was really juicy (as duck confit should be) :( I'm hoping they'll improve because I like the concept. I made their arugula and apple salad at home though and it came out super good! Will give you guys the recipe tom (i mean i totally based it on their's not actually their recipe) :)

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