My family is so nutty like a fruitcake! It has been weeks that some members of my family were contemplating on revisiting and spending the weekend at Okada Manila, the iconic oceanfront integrated resort here in Manila. We then decided to visit one Saturday.
And while everyone was fixing and getting ready to do the “pasyal” (translation: stroll) everyone were suggesting what to do and where to eat while inside plush and lavish Okada. That is until I raised the idea of dropping the plan of going to Okada and we should instead go to S&R where unhealthy American food are available. My nephew Luis reinforced my idea when he expressed that he is craving for some delicious Clam Chowder which Nengkoy also loved and never misses to order every time we dine there.
While we were in the car heading to sophisticated Okada, everybody then decided to do a detour. We agreed to replace the long-ago-planned weekend destination, that is, from the grand and luxurious Okada Manila to the huddle-filled and unsophisticated food court of S&R membership-shopping store!
I ended up enjoying the Clam Chowder, a big chunk of pizza and two pieces of crispy fried chicken! And since we are there, I decided to buy a tray of huge muffins and a big bag of toilet paper rolls. While munching on the greasy pizza, I contemplated that my crazy family’s detour to S&R food court was in agreement to Leonardo Da Vinci’s notion that “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”
About two weeks ago, Nengkoy, I and my family had an early dinner in one of the posh and popular Filipino-fusion cuisine restaurant just beside the lobby of the deluxe and swanky Conrad Hotel (hahaha! I refuse to name the restaurant). It was my first time tasting Pares in that dinner.
Pares is the Filipino’s common reference to a Braised Beef Stew usually paired with garlic fried rice and a bowl of clear soup. Pares is a common dish served in carinderias (small local eateries) usually found along the side streets of Manila.
Since it was my first time, I don’t really have an idea how a good Pares tastes like. That is why I did not know if the version of the posh restaurant was way superior as compared to other Pares-es served in customary, regular and more economical carinderias.
My adventurous nephews however are more well-versed than I am in terms of the taste of Manila’s street food and cuisine. My nephews particularly Denden commented that the Pares served in Café Adriatico is way more delicious as compared to the version served in the restaurant we were having dinner at. He nevertheless commented that the food presentation by the posh restaurant was way more gorgeous as compared to the plain and simple Café Adriatico dish.
When I try to recall if Café Adriatico serves Pares, without batting an eyelash, I reminded Denden that Café Adriatico does not serve it. He then informed me that Café Adriatico’s Beef Ninja dish is actually a Pares disguised in a modest presentation and is called in a different appellation.
My other nephew Luis confirmed this observation and stated that indeed, Beef Ninja of Café Adriatico is a Pares dish. Both agreed that though it needs improvement in terms of food presentation, Café Adriatico’s Beef Ninja is among the top three Pares-es they have ever tasted.
This inspired me to order Beef Ninja when I had the chance to dine at the 40-year old Café Adriatico in their Malate, Manila branch. While doing some photo shoot of the dish, I wonder which came first in terms of evolution. Was it Beef Ninja of the 40-year old restaurant or was it Pares served in carinderias? I may not know the birth of Pares and how it really tastes like, I nevertheless savored the delicious flavor of one of the best Pares (in disguise) dish on the planet.
I just have to chronicle this delightful experience! Me, Nengkoy and a couple of my beautiful relatives were treated to a delightful movie all paid for by my nephew Luis. I just have to blog post this event because this is actually the first time that Luis paid for all our movie tickets. And the treat was not just in any other ordinary movie house it was in an affluent and more luxurious venue, the Director’s Club in SM Aura Premier Mall.
The comfortable mechanized la-z-boy seat and the complimentary bowl of buttery popcorn added up to the pleasurable delight of the movie we chose to watch. It was the Mama Mia 2. Like the first version, Mama Mia 2 again made me tap my feet and sing along with the popular tunes of Abba. Some of the songs included in the movie were semi-hit in the Philippines yet I felt silly that I was able to sing along when these semi-popular songs reached the chorus.
Delightful would be the best word to describe Mama Mia 2: Here We Go Again. Though the movie was not as fun and as merry if compared to the first version, which included more popular tunes and more comical scenes, the treat by that of my nephew Luis made this movie unforgettable!
Every time a member of my family finishes his or her studies – may it be elementary, high school or college – the graduation dinner treat for him or her is always held at the old, not so expensive and not so savory Filipino restaurant in Malate, Manila (which I refuse to name). It has always been the tradition that Nengkoy got to insist that the celebration be held in that restaurant may you graduated with summa cum laude honors or you finished at the bottom of your class’ ranking.
But for the Master’s Degree graduation of my nephew Luis, I got to choose the restaurant! Nengkoy allowed that it be held someplace else maybe it is because the graduation is not just an ordinary bachelor’s degree but something higher, more advanced and more difficult to obtain.
I chose China Blue. Having previously enjoyed the savory food I this authentic Cantonese Restaurant located inside Conrad Hotel, Manila, I knew that Nengkoy and the members of my family in that dinner would truly enjoy some sumptuous treat!
And since I arrive early in the restaurant, took the liberty of ordering the dishes for our group. And when everyone arrived and each dish was being brought in into our room, I asked my family not to touch the dish until I tell them to because I want to take pictures of it.
Here’s the actual photos of some of our orders. And since I lack the ability on how to properly describe each dish, let me then attach a Chinese proverb for every one of it…
I failed to take a photo of the Buchi or glutinous rice dumpling with red bean filling coated with sesame seeds (our desert) which according to our waiter Angel was a very good choice because it was the award-winning dessert of China Blue Manila. My family are all sweet toothed, it would not come as a surprise that everyone would just rapidly dig into the delicately sweet Buchi and would not care if I have already taken a photo or not.
I really can’t figure out what specific dish was the highlight of that dinner. It is because every dish was beautiful, every dish was delicious and every dish deserves a big round of applause!
And when Luis would decide to further pursue his studies, doctorate degree that is. I’m pretty sure Nengkoy would again agree that Luis’ PhD graduation dinner be held again in China Blue Manila.