Tuesday, January 26, 2010

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

December 21, 2009, Monday. One day before I fly home for the holidays. Agenda: do bank stuff, grab quick lunch, frantic last minute shopping the rest of the day.

One thing I have learned in my 30 years in this crazy world is that things don’t always go as planned. 

Things can change. And they often do.

Sometimes in life we are suddenly faced with truths, events or obstacles that change our lives forever. Sometimes we overcome and rise over them, sometimes we stumble and fall.

Like I do. With the Robuchon obstacle. I stumble and fall into the restaurant. And that is why I do not finish my Christmas shopping.

 l'atelier de joel robuchon
The receptionist greets me with obvious hesitation. It is 2:15pm. They close at 2:30pm. I eat fast, I promise her.

She suggests the 3-course lunch set at the bar area. I say I want the 4-course in the main dining room. Again, obvious display of hesitation. But customer is always boss. Mwahahaha!

l'atelier de joel robuchon

But then again, the wait staff can also make or break one’s dining experience. And the way my Robuchon waiter rushes everything during this super hurried lunch, it definitely destroys my experience.

 IMG_8188Assortment of Robuchon Breads
The breads are excellent, as always. Waiter doesn’t hide his surprise when I ask for one of each kind. And is even more surprised when I finish them all.

The instant I finish ordering, they bring me the amuse bouche. And as soon as I put my utensils down after the last spoonful, they take away my plate and serve me the next course. One plate after another, no breaks in between. My, fine dining has never been so stressful!

IMG_8183  Amuse Bouche
I am sorry I’m not able to catch what this is called. 
The waiter tongue-twists incoherently in his hurry.

IMG_8195 Le Foie Gras
The foie gras is good, but can be better with a different accompaniment. 
The apple and citrus confit is so sour it overpowers and ruins the delicate flavor of the liver.

IMG_8199La Saint-Jacques
A little bit of spiciness adds life to the tender and chubby scallop. 
But overall just an okay dish. No surprises.

The lamb fillet is SO VERY tender. Minimal cutting and chewing required. It is an excellent dish save for the too strong tomato flavor in the tomato-eggplant fondant. I scrape off most of the red paste in order to taste the eggplant.

IMG_8221 Hazelnut Coffee Puff and Signature Chocolate Mousse
Whole hazelnuts and light hazelnut cream ooze out when you cut into the puff, a delight for hazelnut suckers like me. The chocolate mousse is very smooth and chocolatey sweet. Not as dark and rich as I imagine it to be, but still grin-inducing. I eat the two babies alternately for the best gustatory effect.

IMG_8223 Le Cafe Express
The coffee is strong and so good it deserves a paragraph of its own. 
I love that they give cream instead of milk. It makes a whole world of difference. 

macarons Petit Fours
And doesn’t that look so swanky? Macarons, fruit jellies and gold chocolate covered crispies. Preciousness.

Things don’t always go as planned. Things change. Sometimes in the blink of an eye. 

But not all changes are bad. Most actually happen for the best reasons. Like this Robuchon meal. Dining all by myself, I have all the food all to myself. No hungry male species hovering about and stealing from my plate. Yeah!!!

All by myself. And full to the brim. With a long and unfinished Christmas shopping list.

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon: Shop 401, The Landmark, Central, Hong Kong.
Tel: +852-2166-9000

Enchanté ♥



My family from my mom’s side, how we love to eat. We make every occasion a reason to get the whole clan together. To eat. Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, christenings, mothers day, fathers day, satur days, sun days…

So it is not a wonder why we are all horizontally challenged. My family from my mom’s side. We call ourselves…

Last row: Mona Rebecca (adopted), Johann, Isabelle Nicola, Archie Burton
Middle row: Shelly Donna, Maria Margarita, Frances Faye, Florence Faye, Felisse Faye
Front row: Mary Ritz, Me, Shelton Benjamin (adopted), Jeremie Rosalie


The Fatterside cousins get together for New Year dinner. Christmas and New Year, two different occasions, two different dinners.

New Year’s is at Enchanté, and here is what we fatsos have:


IMG_8858Cheese Mousse and Lumpfish Caviar. So light you can’t taste it! And that’s Frances not being able to control herself to allow me one decent photo.


IMG_8839Classic Onion Soup. Don’t be deceived. It is so, SO bland.


IMG_8854 Clam and Seafood Chowder. Johann says it ain’t the best. I say he is being way too kind.


IMG_8889Cream of Mushroom Soup. Felisse complains it’s downright bad, but still manages to finish it. Okay, good girl Peli, you may now go out and play.


IMG_8852M Tio Salad – grilled prawns and scallops in Berlinoisse sauce, sautéed shiitake mushrooms in creamy sauce, pan fried goose liver in raspberry-honey sauce, served with a salad panache and endives


IMG_8862Virgie Ramos Salad – pan fried goose liver, grilled tiger prawns, seared scallops and grilled shiitake mushrooms in raspberry-honey sauce and creamy balsamic dressing

I don’t get it. Why give one salad two different names? M Tio and Virgie Ramos, are you twins? Anyway, I love you both. The prawns are huge and succulent, the foie gras buttery and tasty.


IMG_8855Trio of Fish Tartar. Salmon, tuna, lapu-lapu.


IMG_8861 Country Style Pate in mustard vinaigrette dressing on mesclun greens.


IMG_8865 Grilled Chilled US Black Angus Rib Eye. Not bad, but not great.


IMG_8870 US Black Angus Chateaubriand. VERY tender but also very mild in taste.


IMG_8872Charcoal Grilled Chilled US Black Angus Beef Tenderloin. I have to say, very impressive grilling. All our steaks come in the exact doneness we ask for.


IMG_8866 Poeleed Duck in L’ Orange Sauce. Tender and juicy, makes Ritchie happy.


IMG_8868Pan Fried Sea Bass Topped with Goose Liver in Mariner and Raspberry-Honey Sauces. Melt in your mouth quality. I like the creamy Mariner sauce, but not so sure about the raspberry-honey a.k.a. teriyaki sauce.


IMG_8873 Seared Jumbo Scallops in Berlinoisse Sauce. If this is jumbo, I can’t imagine what mini is. Fail!!


IMG_8875Baked Lamb Rack in Provence Crust served with goat green salad and herbed couscous. Frances says it’s good.


IMG_8877     Stewed Lamb Shank


IMG_8895 Rare Cheesecake. The waiter says it’s rare because it’s made from yogurt. I say it’s rare because you don’t often find a cheesecake that doesn’t taste like a cheesecake. Disappointing.


IMG_8896 Pistachio Sans Rival. A sorry excuse.


IMG_8891 Chocolate Coffee Crunch Soufflé. The best of the three. Still, not that great.


Of course, these are not the only desserts we have. With our sizes, these can’t be all. But we already have enough mediocrity for the night, so we ask for the bill, take off, and head to my trusted, all time favorite, sure shot solution to bad and blah meals: UCC.

The food in Enchanté, not so enchanting. Because it is fairly new, I will give it another try. But for now, the only thing I like is the place.


IMG_8841 Warm and relaxing bar area


IMG_8888Pretty and dainty dining room


IMG_8844Girly and flirty ladies room


IMG_8849I feel so Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde!


And the perfect spot for the next occasion…

IMG_8884Valentines dinner, single Fatties?


Enchanté: 3/F, Oakwood Joy Nostalg Center, 17 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig, Metro Manila. +632-425-2650

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sala ♥




SOLID jewel colors.

That is the theme for our high school barkada Christmas dinner.

Ruby red, sapphire blue, emerald green, amethyst purple, topaz yellow, tiffany blue, and a million other options.


IMG_8465Compliments of the chef. Shrimp with beans on toast.


I send a group email to all so we can coordinate our colors. No two people are to come in the same shade. I want our photos to be bright and colorful so they attract attention when it appears in News Feed on Facebook.

But no. Apart from Jen, no one seems to know how to follow rules. Haaaayyyy. Can someone please remind me why I am good friends with these people?


IMG_8492 1. Oliver, Me, 2. Sherylou, 3. Sheryl, 4. Jen, 5. Irwin

Because these people KNOW me.

They know that whoever sits closest to me has to split everything with me. Because I need variety in my life. And I am the only one who can decide which varieties.


1. Because Oliver revives my faith in the existence of honest men. He is a womanizer and is not afraid to admit it. Ambitious, strong-willed and driven, this guy will go places, and he will bring me with him. I will insist.


Oliver and I share a soufflé, foie gras, seabass and veal chop.


IMG_8470The twice baked soufflé with prawns, feta and dill smells very delicious. Sadly, it doesn’t taste as. After three spoonfuls, it begins to feel like eating wet bread. You know that game women love to play, give only a little and leave men wanting more? Serious woman counseling. That is what this soufflé needs.


IMG_8475What a pretty sight. The pan fried foie gras with a chestnut flan, sautéed apples and crisp leeks is a looker. But just because something is tall, dark and handsome doesn’t mean it’s gonna feel good and delicious inside you. Same for food, same for men.


IMG_8481The roast seabass fillet with celeriac and saffron mash and smoked piperade sauce is  tasteless. And overcooked.


IMG_8490The pan roasted Australian veal chop with cream truffled leeks, asparagus, and parmesan potato beignets is huge! Oliver thinks the meat lacks taste and showers it with salt. I like the potato beignets better.


IMG_8514 2. Because Sherylou is no frills. She is easygoing, kind and generous, and shares my passion for eating and traveling. Also, after never-ending discussions and plans for a barkada trip, she is the only one who ever visited me in Taipei and Hong Kong.


IMG_8483Sherylou thinks there is nothing special about her roast lamb short loin and lamb short ribs confit with root vegetable pave and rosemary jus.

IMG_85033. Because Sheryl will be my housemate when we are old and gray… and spinsters. She is my solace in this crazy world full of bridal showers, baby showers, marriages and childbirths. Very single, but not too happy to be. So guys, make her day and PM me if interested.


IMG_8486The menu says duck breast but they ran out so Sheryl agrees on pepper and thyme roasted duck leg, spiced red cabbage, duck fat roasted potatoes, and cranberry-mandarin jus at the waiter’s insistence that duck leg is juicier. It is not. It is dry and tough. Obviously, the waiter is a leg man who has never in his life had the pleasure of enjoying soft and tender breasts.


IMG_85014 & 5. Because Jen and Irwin are perfect for each other.

4. Because Jen has been my best friend since pigtails and training bras. She is strong, steady, grounded, and fierce. Jen is an inspiration. She is everything I am not. Plus, she wears amethyst purple tonight.


IMG_8473For appetizer, Jen orders the smoked salmon and crab remoulade with a potato galette, horseradish crème fraîche and pickled cucumber salad. And she has seabass for mains, the same tasteless and overcooked seabass seen above.


5. Because Irwin is in love with the Nazi in Jen. And he is going to find someone who will be as deeply in love with the Nazis in Sheryl and me. No matter what. You hear that, Irwin? Or we send you back to concentration camp!

IMG_8467Irwin has to have soup every meal. Tonight it’s Moorish festive soup of chestnut, chorizo and saffron.


IMG_8480For mains, he has the grilled Angus tenderloin with a spinach and wild mushroom vol au vent and marsala and roast shallot jus, which he says is just alright.


And there’s Elisa, who is not in the photo because she is in Vancouver at this time, having a white Christmas. Elisa, bring back some handsome snowmen! 

The food in Sala used to be better. How I miss its Malate days. Not impressed, a bit disappointed even, we decide to move somewhere else for dessert. Cannot risk the most important part of the meal.


So why am I good friends with these people?

Because they know me.

My quirks, my capriciousness, my fickleness, my brainsickness. And they tolerate me.

My mistakes, my insecurities, my shortcomings, my imperfections. And they accept me.

They have always been there for me.

Still are. And will be.

As I for them.





So what if they are not in solid jewel colors?

To me, these ladies are already the shiniest, the rarest, the most precious gems.


Sala: Podium Level, Locsin Building, 6752 Ayala Avenue corner Makati Avenue, Makati City, Metro Manila. +632- 750-1555

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