Monday, October 24, 2011

The Carvery, Wesgate Alabang

It was the weekend once again, post my birthday. Hubby and I decide to eat out for lunch, just the two of us. I couldn't make up my mind on where to go except that I didn't want to go very far from where we live. Westgate is just 15 minutes away by car. So, off we went. Such an old fart, I know.

It's been a while since we scoured the Westgate area for restaurants. It seems that most of the restaurants in Westgate have closed down. There's a restaurant there that we haven't tried yet. It's called The Carvery, they serve roast beef. I was very skeptical upon reaching the restaurant because it was a little past noon and the place was empty. Oh my, should we even try?

We pressed on, just to see if they were any good. It was a slow Saturday after all. Most restaurants in Westgate were devoid of customers. Hmmmmm.... ghost town?

Anyway, hubby tried the Cream of Asparagus Soup. He liked it very much and ate it up to the last drop. Then again, Hubby's usually perfectly happy with a heated can of Campbell's cream of mushroom soup.

Moving on. Hubby and I shared a Caeesar's Salad with a slice of roastbeef, cooked medium rare. I liked the roast beef very much. Tender and juicy. The salad itself is very ordinary and they didn't even bother to cut off the yellowed ends of the romaine lettuce.

Hubby ordered the Prime Rib, which he finished in five minutes flat. Hubby enjoyed it very much, obviously. It was very tender and cooked perfectly. The side of corn looked very dry though and seamed like it was sitting in the fridge for days.

I on the other hand, ordered a Roast Beef Sandwich with mozzarella, pesto and roasted peppers. It was nicely presented, as you can see from the photo below. The filling was good, the roast beef was tender and cooked perfectly. However, the whole wheat bread that they used were hard as rocks, and I kept taking off hardened portions (only a small portion of the bread was left). Totally ruined a perfectly good sandwich. Obviously, the bread wasn't freshly baked and was probably sitting in their cupboard for days.

The lowdown? The roast beef was good, I admit. Everything else was just so so.  The coleslaw that came with my sandwich tasted old, if that makes sense at all. Hubby loves colesalw but after taking a bite, he set it aside and never touched it again.

The chips were very oily and the mayonnaise was not the best kind. I have a thing about a particular brand of butter and mayonnaise. I just can't stand them, specially if I am paying.

The cherry tomato on top of my sandwich was probably a hundred years old, it was dry and wrinkly. Just like me, ha ha ha! I needn't be reminded that I'm pushing 40!

The waiters knew I wasn't happy with my meal and asked me what's wrong. I told them that the bread was stale and hard. The waiter just told me that they toasted it too long in the toaster. Riiiiight. You can't fool me. The bread was S-T-A-L-E. They should have offered me an apology and a replacement for my sandwich or something. They saw me taking pictures of the food. Hello, I could be a famous blogger or food columnist.

They're just lucky that I am not, bwa ha ha ha! :-)

Seriously though, when you see an empty restaurant, during lunch time, on a weekend, trust your gut and spend your money elsewhere.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Another year has passed ......

Life only gets better with age.

Thank you for all the warm greetings, texts, calls and emails.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sumo Sam in Nuvali II

Our intentions were good. Hubby and I drove to Nuvali to spend the afternoon biking. The clouds were against us and are hiding somewhere in the mountains. The sun was just too hot and I was slowly making sour faces and getting irritated. Poor Hubby, he tried to appease me by letting me drag him from store to store to browse.

We decided to eat first while waiting for the sun to go down a little bit. In typical Hubby fashion, we dined at the most convenient Japanese restaurant in the area, Sumo Sam.

Hubby ordered the Tempura Ramen. I was surprised that it was good. Most ramen that I've had in other restaurants were either too salty or suspiciously taste like they were made with instant broth. Anyway, Sumo Sam's Tempura Ramen was nice, with just the right balance of saltiness and just a hint of sweetness. I would order this again.

I ordered the Chicken Sesame Yakisoba. It was good too, but a bit too spicy. I would request it to be less spicy next time. The yakisoba tastes like Kung Pao Chicken, a dish I really like.

Hubby had the Calamansi Iced Tea, not sure why it was colored red though. My Hubby is muy gwapo 'no? :-)

Fully sated, and the sun no longer as harsh, we unload our bikes and pedaled with the cool wind blowing on our faces. We like biking in Nuvali because it's so windy there and there are no cars in certain areas. Very ideal place for two old farts biking.

Such a nice way to spend the afternoon.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Chicken Pasta

I often have go to recipes in my "arsenal" when I wanted something quick, delicious but looks like I put so much effort preparing it. I find the simplest recipes are often the best and the most pleasing.

This recipe of Chicken Pasta only has a handful ingredients and is super easy to prepare. It's a great last minute recipe, as long as the chicken fillets are de frosted. You need to place the fillets between two sheets of cling wrap and pound or whack them with a frying pan, depending on your mood. It's a great stress reliever, I tell you. You can also just slice them thinly so that they cook faster.

So here's the simple recipe:

Spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
2-3 Chicken breast or thigh fillets, pounded thin
Extra virgin olive oil
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can, diced tomatoes
Chili Flakes (optional)
Canned button mushrooms (optional)
Fresh or dried basil leaves (fresh is best)
Freshly ground salt and pepper
Grated parmesan or edam cheese

1. Season chicken fillet with salt and pepper. Using olive oil, lightly fry chicken fillets in a non-stick pan until cooked through, do not brown. Remove from pan and set aside to cool slightly. Slice or tear chicken fillets to bite-sized pieces.
2. In the same pan, add a little bit more olive oil, add garlic and saute until just about fragrant. Do not brown. 
3. Add chili flakes, cook for a few seconds and add in the diced tomatoes. Season to taste. Simmer in low heat for a few minutes or until your kitchen smells like an Italian restaurant, he he he. The tomatoes should turn a little dark after a few minutes. Add in the basil.
4. Add the chicken and mushrooms until warmed through.
5. Add cooked pasta to the pan and mix well. Mine had too little noodles that's why it's swimming in sauce.
5. Add grated parmesan right before serving.

Simple yet delicious. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Home Made Sukiyaki Beef Tapa

I know I've been neglecting this blog lately. It's not because I'm busy or anything. In fact, I've had a few forays in the kitchen plus some new restaurants that we tried. I don't know,  maybe I lack inspiration to actually write and string a few sentences together . I have a few unpublished/unfinished posts that are rotting here and waiting to be edited and published. But I feel that they are past their prime :-)

Anyway, this post is mainly for my personal reference than anything else. For the first time, I made home-made tapa using sukiyaki beef. The marinade turned out really great (I was even surprised myself). I didn't write any of the measurements down as I was making it, and winged it by tasting the marinade (before adding the raw beef of course). Here's the approximation:

Sukiyaki beef slices
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce (local brand is best)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of white sugar
Sea salt (about three to four turns using a salt grinder)
1 to 2 teaspoons sesame oil (yes, this is the secret ingredient)
Vegetable oil for frying

1. De-frost sukiyaki beef. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the next five ingredients (you can add freshly ground pepper too, if you like. I didn't though). Mix well until the sugar is well incorporated.
3. Add the sukiyaki beef to the marinade and let stand for thirty minutes only. Sukiyaki beef is very thin and would absorb much of the salt if you leave it too long in the marinade.
4. Add a little vegetable oil to a non-stick pan and pan fry the marinated beef until done. It will take only a minute or less, per side.

I need to make this again soon.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Farewell to the greatest visionary of our time

With thanks every time I post using my MacBook, while I text using my iPhone, while listening to somber music using my iPod and while surfing the web in bed using my iPad. Thank you.

Steve Jobs. Visionary. Gone too soon.