table for two | cucina at marco polo

I was someone’s bestfriend back in high school and bff to some but in reality I never had that very, very close relationship to anyone, ssshhh. I have friends {real friends and close friends I can count on my fingers} but none I consider the best or my favourite amongst, it’s always a group intrinsically. The reason is very clean and clear, I just want to be fair tho at times it’s very hard, can you blame me? 😀

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Even before the hype of the holidays came in Rosette invited me for dinner with her husband, Darwin, who by the way is also a friend back in college. But at the last minute we had to cancel because of an unprompted sales event that Rosette had to go.

And when we finally both agreed of the date again, Darwin had to fly to Malaysia to attend an emergency call at work, my division party fell on the same day too but you probably know I’d choose the former. Rosette and I had to go, table for two please.

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I had no idea of our dinner place that night, she mentioned Makati but doubted her right away because traffic would annoy her back and forth especially that she’s driving. I was surprised {yes, I was!} when after our turn at Meralco Ave., she entered the driveway of Marco Polo Ortigas. ♥

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Oh we’re dining at Cucina, I murmured, I was giddy and very grateful that Rosette had chosen a hotel buffet. It’s something I missed. And because it was my first time too at Marco Polo I was more than happy to savour the best of the best, with a friend of course.

Cucina at the 24th of Marco Polo was spacious and chic, it’s an all-day restaurant offering innovative Continental and Asian cuisines. They offer breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet contrary to my info, I thought they serve ala carte only. The buffet service was extensive too if to be compared to my favorites. I love their seafood station because they have huge oysters, I’m solve already!

And because paella is a national anthem for me now, I was overjoyed to find out that they’re serving freshly cooked paella straight from the paellera. Their seafood paella was the bomb, a must-try!

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Amongst the spread I was happy with their cheese and bread station and dessert selection although I was not able to sample everything because I was smitten by the crepe alone.

There’s also a carving station –roast chicken and roast beef, you have to try the latter it’s flavourful and tender.

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Rosette and I enjoyed everything including the healthy salad and fresh salmons. I can only wish the third person was still living and enjoying a plate with us, it could have been more fun. We missed you M!

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We capped off our hefty dinner with coffee like the usual and I was very thankful and beyond blessed to have friends who really spend time.

Me: Thank you for the great dinner and chitchat, it was a nice break from all the office hullabaloo. Thank you also for the wonderful friendship…God bless you even more!

Rosette: Yup, it was a great dinner with you! Thank you too for taking a break with me!

 

 

Cucina | 24F MARCO POLO ORTIGAS, MANILA | Meralco Avenue and Sapphire Street, Ortigas Centre, Pasig City, 1600 | T.  +632 720 7777 | Email.  mmanila@marcopolohotels.com

 

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10th at The Gingerbread House

Had so many plans lined up for our 10th Wedding Anniversary last December but because of the unexpected turnaround of events, from high to low…lowest, we have to be more sensible. We have to consider many things this time, we have to be more cautious of our overheads, much as possible cut down all that we think are unnecessary.

 

During our anniversary weekend, we just went out with the family. We attended Sunday mass at Our Lady of Lourdes, our wedding church a decade ago. Because it’s almost Christmas time, there were too many church-goers; added fact was the nearby mall now so it was hard to find a seat so we were compelled to stay at the second floor.

 

Right after mass we hosted a dinner at Seafood Island at Ayala Serin {the mall beside the church}, it wasn’t really our first choice because we could have settled in a more private dining but changes happen in a snap and I was a bit under the weather.

 

Seafood Island is known for their eye-catching boodle feast and grills, so I thought it’d be perfect for big eaters like us besides we love doing boodle fight at home, at the old garage. We ordered two sets of Tali Beach, good for 5-7 each as described, but knowing us we could easily knock down both.

 

Tali Beach Boodle Feast P1345 {5-7 pax daw o}. Set includes plenty of steamed rice, 2 crabs, 1 big pork bbq, 1 stick chicken inasal, 1 grilled tilapia, abt 6pcs of medium-sized shrimps, 1 grilled squid, bowl of pakbet, grilled eggplant and tomato, seaweeds, slices of green mango with bagoong and watermelon.

 

The food wasn’t bad at all but ze husband was dissatisfied, it’s a Budol Feast he recounts because it’s pricey and yet we really felt it was not worth of what we paid for. Ah ‘ney let’s put it this way maganda naman ang presentation, may effort.  😀

The following day both of us took a leave from work to celebrate further tho there was no real itinerary on hand. I also took the time to buy some more gifts for special colleagues. Our first stop was Gourmet Café in Silang, I was eyeing their Christmas crates with coffee and teas however, I was told that I cannot buy right away; I have to place an order and pick it. What an inconvenience? Pano na lang kung ang bibili ay tourist lang who happen to pass by? I don’t know but the way people at the café handled my inquiry and concern, it was so lame. Customer na, ayaw nyo pa?

Anyhow, because I don’t want the incident to transform my temper to beast mode, we had sweets to kill the negative vibes. Besides I was really looking forward to try their Cheesecake. We also had Sansrival, chocolate bars and chocolate muffin for our little Miss.

The cheesecake was divine!

Next stop was at Carmela’s to sample their banana cakes; it was good but a bit pricey. I’d rather get one from Purple Oven given its price and taste.

Discovered these chocolate bars at Carmela’s, from the hometown.

Because we thought it was too early yet to head home, we drove to Alfonso to visit the famed The Gingerbread House. It was a bit far, off the road; my cousin who visited also hated the road because it’s narrow.

For somebody like me who loves Christmas this is one of the best places to go. I’d love to live in a house with Christmas ornaments and feel all year round. A lot of good vibes!

The Gingerbread House compound is big and spacious, there’s an activity area, bakeshop, souvenir shop, the main house that houses the restaurant, the garden is airy, there’s a fish spa at the back and soon to arise overnight rooms to visiting guest. We were fortunate to have chitchat with the owner, they were originally from Marikina acc to the patriarch and her daughter who owned and conceptualized the venue is based abroad, US if I remember it right. Tama ba Manong? He was so accommodating and I love hearing success stories of his family, a very proud father I may say, who wouldn’t be? I was thinking if Tatay was ever proud of me also, for my little triumphs?

Because of the staff’s persistence {following us at the 2nd floor area asking us to check their food} we were pushed to dine in and try their dishes, at least the staffs were not annoying.

Oh I love this dining!

We had this like Pica Pica Platter, Buffalo Wings, Carbonara, Mac n Cheese and their special GBH Pasta. Food wasn’t bad but not something that you’d go back again, I’d say at least they put effort in making the food looked presentable hence the price was a bit high.

During our visit the staffs were mostly preparing for the lights and snow fall, however this was delayed because of typhoon Nona. Anyhow, if you’re planning to visit I think they’re open until Jan 15. By the way, you pay P30 per head upon entry.

I just had to recount last year’s wedding anniversary date with fam also, I know it’s not a coincidence or something but our visit at Ted’s was so Christmassy also. And tho Ted’s is a quaint resto only, I love the vibes, its more countryside, warm and cozy. Well, I got another whole year to scout a Christmas themed café for next year; I’d love some warm cinnamon smells and fresh pines.

And because ze husband and I have come this far, a decade by now…I think it won’t hurt to splurge a little on our joint birthday next week. Wish us the bests’ this 2016!

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‘Ney, knowing that you’ll be in all my tomorrows may not be enough other than just the thought of it makes me so well today. Another marvelous year has flown by, rough times, happy times, we’ve been at rock bottom and yet I know we’ll going to be at high point again. Thank you for the nightly massages and morning coffee, for driving me to work and for making me feel young everyday. Happy Anniversary ‘ney, I love you dearly, it never fades a bit!

 

P.S. Photos to follow…

 

christmas time and the new year {2016}

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*photo taken at Rustan’s Shangri-la 

I’ve always been a big fan of Christmas, of the whole yuletide thing, and that’s one of the many reasons why the blogs were named after winter –my picture actually of Christmas is winter!

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*snapshot from the workplace, such creative guys 🙂

And why January? Why not, it’s my birth month after all and Christmas extends until January, and January is one of the coldest months, and tho nature looked ghostly and lonely during this time I love it nonetheless.

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The last time I checked its 70+ days to go before Christmas Day, and then Christmas went by sooo fast including the New Year and its 2016 now. For the last 41 years Christmas has been my most anticipated occasion other than last year was a totally different story. The activities remained the same including shopping for family and friends, the trimmings –my sister’s blue tree depicts how I was despite the happy face, the happy thoughts and the festivities abound, the blissful get-togethers and overabundance of food. I don’t want to change a thing regardless of what happened, I don’t want to bring a sad feel at the household, I want them to embrace Christmas the usual albeit the thought of missing Tatay.

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*our little Miss was such a model

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First Christmas without Tatay was life changing; I kept tears from falling every mention of him. I find it very difficult to discard the idea that he’s gone, not in days, not in years because it’s forever in my lifetime. I remember him fondly when ze husband and I were on our last minute shopping a week before Christmas. I remember how it’s quite a challenge to buy him a gift that is not a repeat of the previous years, a piece that he would appreciate and use. And suddenly he made it easy for me this year, Tay I don’t really mind the struggle every year to please you, if only I could turn back time.

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Christmas morning. We don’t really celebrate Noche Buena, we don’t stay late until 12 midnight to gather and eat and open gifts so I was spared from crying on Christmas Eve. Like the usual we’d always asked the kids to sleep early so Santa can finally land his sleigh and leave gifts underneath the tree. Before bed I placed my gifts to everyone, I always make sure everyone has a box to open, I’m their no-secret Santa anyway. The household was all up by 7am, excited and cheery, while at the back of my mind I just secretly hoped they love my gifts.

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It was a happy occasion when everyone started to open their gifts, I gave Nanay 3 gifts this year because I don’t want her to feel empty, and I don’t want her to feel short of anything just because Tatay is no longer around. I know I can’t replace the missing person with any worldly goods but at least I was doing well in distracting them for a time and be merry.

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Merry Christmas fam! 🙂

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My happy B and Astro Boi were equally happy of their Christmas presents. 

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We had our usual visitors on Christmas Day –godchildren, relatives and the maternal fam of course. We skipped the usual night out on Christmas Eve this time because of the horrible traffic last year plus I don’t really feel going out, I felt tired and because the following days would be busier, I want to reserve all the energy I have.

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Happy Fiesta. Every year we observed the feast of St. John the Evangelist even if we don’t have too much plus the fact that we can’t stop people from visiting. It’s a customary that we prepare lunch {and take outs} for all visiting relatives and friends. Tatay loves and hates this occasion; he hates it because of the preparations, especially the artisanal “ube” making.

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Team Eyaya. Concurrence with the fiesta we marked this day as the E-family get-together as well. We thought it’s a good venue because we don’t need to prepare food anymore plus everyone would be coming, meaning free that day from any other activities and we’re seeing the New Year a lot more occupied. By late noon, we gathered the maternal fam for the traditional exchange gifts, we had three categories this time, the tots, pabebe {teens} and the adult. It was a fun, fun afternoon, one that I cannot trade with anything because these people had been my jack-in-the-box, Jim Carrey {for the wits, naks!}, MacGyver {for the skills to seemingly unsolvable problems –bukas kotse, hacker ng wifi, what a showcase of talent guys!}. Kiddin’ aside they’re my closest family, they’ve been the most thoughtful and it’s time tested.

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I love you fam! Hopefully, this year would a happier sight especially that our generous sponsor would be coming home to celebrate Christmas here.

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Media Noche. It’s festive like the previous years. The dayout at Divi Market happened early morning, the kids even squeezed SB while at Binondo and we even had more time to shop at S&R Macapagal this time. By 11am, errands were completed and we’re so ready to head home. I can only wish Manila roads be like traffic-less everyday so everyone will be productive and stress-free.

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*chicken pastel with homemade dough bec filo pastry was so hard to find 

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Anyhow, soon as we hit home we started the preparations for NYE. My sister was our Chef de cuisine that night; she’s in-charge of the mains while I went busy with the entrée {salad + cheese platter} and the overall buffet table set-up. We had everything covered and for the first time again in many years a decent cake landed in our table, yehey!

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Holy Jolly Cake from Cupcakes by Sonja, this was more like an effigy of the Rainbow Fiesta cake available all year round {my guess}.

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The first time I tasted it brought back so much of childhood memories, old birthdays because of the marshmallow icing. I suddenly remember the years of deprivation of eating sweets because I was a sickly duckling with tonsillitis issue.

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We lit fireworks again this year, I remember how Tatay dislikes this NY activity because of its risks and other unhealthy effects other than it really add colors and joy to every household. Sorry ‘Tay but we couldn’t just kill this practice every year. I missed your ranting over us.

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And we had salo-salo after welcoming the New Year, everyone enjoyed the widespread.

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2015 was like a nightmare for us, it’s been a real rough year, we lost Tatay in a snap, but all his memories are reminder of good things, better things to come. We miss you ‘Tay and we hope you had your first holiday in heaven merry like when you were here.

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A better 2016 is all I hope and pray, happy New Year ‘ney! ♥ Uhm…stop annoying me please. 😀