It occurred to me that, while most people work to eat, I was lucky enough to eat so that I could get work done during the Trinoma Blogger’s Food Tour. (And hopefully “eat-to-work” will happen more often… :p ) As the year started, I promised to live in overindulgence, so this is in alignment with my goals. I know it’s been a full three-or-so days since then and I’m only just now writing about it, but everything that took place took a lot of decompression. (Or digestion?)
[STOP! HAMMER-TIME! Before treading on, might I suggest you grab a lightly-salted snack and a hot/cold beverage. Also, play a nice upbeat tune, for maximum enjoyment.]
Upon registration, I got to be in the pink(!) group. My friend Cathie (whom I met at a similar event) arrived, and while introducing her to my officemates (leaving her in-between conversation with Jori, Alvin, Cheekie and the friendly-neighborhood-T’rgoman), I helped myself to the barbecue that was being served in the registration area. (I know, I know, the event’s called a “food tour,” meaning consumption of food was inevitable — but I like barbecue! Besides, how would you manage a walk around Trinoma if you didn’t have energy, right?) This is pre-venge, on all the food that I wasn’t going to taste later on, but eating those barbecues seemed like a good idea at the moment.
(here’s a faux-gritty-HDR ‘shop of a photo from Elaine’s album)
While the bloggers were arriving, I took the time to spread the word of Hukayy! (Seize the opportunity, yow) In doing so, I was able to talk with Arpee and Noreen, whom, as it turned out, were food bloggers. We had a nice chat about the best places to eat and fiestas in Rome. (BTW If you guys ever get to read this, it was VERY nice meeting the both of you, the photos in your blog make me want to lick the monitor! :p )
After a while of moving in from table to table, it was time to start the Food Tour! We got a presentation about Trinoma. At this point, I was breathing deep — knowing is half the battle, after all, while the other half is kicking ass (in this case, eating), so I was getting myself prepared to
do battle eat. I flip my “favorite sin” knob from “sloth” to “gluttony.”
We were then grouped according to the colored sticker we had, and we were briefed on how the whole thing would go down. Ms. Anne and Kan were the marshals for the pink group, and they handed us a list of the participating restos for the event. I got grouped with the adorkable Betsy, the took-a-half-day-to-join-in-on-the-fun Cathie, and the newly-met Omar.
We tried to get into Crustasia, not knowing what to expect, this, being our first stop in the eat-athon. — As it turned out, they were as surprised as we were, so … NEXT! At this point, half the group went to La Maison, while the other half went to Cabalen. We flashed our Trinoma bling —re CHA-CHING! We were sampling lechon and sisig! Next, we went to the blogger-favorite, La Maison.
(Tapos na sila, nasa nguso ko pa yung lechon chunks, yeh)
While we were passing by, we were greeted with a warm smile and a “good afternoon!” Seeing our fellow bloggers walk out in all-smiles was a good indication. Someone even told us, “try the ribs — it’s the best!” We were scarcely on the way inside, and we were already feeling good about the place.
Double doors opened for us, and then we were escorted to the function area, (Le Salon) where the food was prepared. The colors and lighting imply relaxation, making for an environment that is conducive to eating. We were warmly welcomed by Ms. Mariel, head of Guest Relations. While getting portions, we were getting real-time commentary on the food, which was a nice touch. I got a nice, meaty portion of ribs and a healthy serving of the Dover Sole fish fillet. The denim menu made me wonder how many jeans it would’ve made, if you stitched them together … but that’s just me, haha!
(The photo is shaky kase nag-tremble sa sarap yung kumuha)
The honey-chili sauce made for a nice juxtaposition in flavor, sweet-meat-spicy, yum! The fish fillet, as Mariel mentioned, melted in our mouths, while the hollandaise sauce provided just the right amount of tangy in the flavor. (At this point, Mikko arrives.)
Upon exiting, the same warm smile that greeted us on our way in asked us how the food was, and remembering my policy on honesty, he was reciprocated with a resounding “delicious!” Turns out he was the restaurant manager! I chatted him up for awhile, telling him about my cousin’s proposal on taking on the barkada ribs with just the two of us. (It can be done!) And Mr. Robi says we were welcome to try anytime.
We then headed a level up to Abé, a capampangan-based restaurant. Upon entering, the Filipino influence was apparent. The window panels had the shell tiles(?) that filter in the light. (I loved those the most, because we had that in the second house the family lived in.) The furniture was a mish-mash of classical materials designed with modern needs in mind.
We also managed to catch up with the other half of the pink group, one of which was taking pictures. (Hi Renzie!) We said our “hellos” and dove into the food.
(The merry band of pink-sticker-sporting, goodie-bag-toting crew @ Abé)
The dishes were interesting — from one look, I could tell they were Filipino dishes, but I don’t think I’ve had them served in such a unique way. I took a sampling of lumpia and the rellenong mais. They did not disappoint. I knew they looked interesting, they even tasted great, but what caught me was the feeling while eating. The lumpia looked like regular lumpia, but upon the first bite … wat?! It seems like all the ingredients for the lumpia were mixed together in one mash, making for a less-messier way of eating lumpia. It also felt neat eating it, my brain was telling me the texture was for mashed potato, but my taste buds were screaming, “lumpia!”
At this point, Mikko and his AME friends Ryan and Lowell join the party.
We tried Madison, but had to move on to Hossein’s. At this point, we teamed up with our fellow pink-mates, Kringle(who used to be in intern in the office!) and JP. Ms. Cristy welcomed us and had us take our seats … we got served! Haha! (And yeah, that’s a terrible joke)
(Where’s the homos???! lol)
The way the place was decorated really evoked the feeling that eating a kebab there was an authentic Persian experience. We were served with homos and put-name-of-foodstuff-here to go along with the beef kebab, along with tomatoes and pita bread. Mixing the homos, tomatoes, kebab and the pita bread was a treat! (Lyrics from “Beautiful Girl” by Flight of the Conchords play … you know that line.) While there, Ms. Cristy answered every question we had in mind, like how the lamb kebab was really good, and that unfortunately, it wasn’t for sampling. :p
(the gang, Kringle and Jp in the front)
I’ll definitely make my way back there to try those lambs sometime, haha! NEXT!
Just beside Hossein’s was Haiku. I mean, up to this point we’ve been eating something fried, deep-fried or double-deep-triple-fried, so a healthier food selection was a nice change. (Plus, since it was beside Hossein’s, the walking would take less effort, I mean while carrying the food we’ve consumed, that is!)
Haiku really resonated with my values for nature. They had plants(as I remember?) inside, and their tables were made of wood. They had Merlot and Chardonnay as a centerpiece, and wine = from grapes = grown from the Earth. Good stuff, beybeh.
The salad arrived — we were being served healthy food by default! Coolness. (The meat-eater in me settled down a bit.) The plates had a star shape, evoking one of my favorite hobbies — lying down like a starfish and dreaming.
By the salad were two slices of tuna sashimi topped with ginger and garlic(?). It was definitely different eating with only the vinaigrette to differentiate the flavor, and not soy sauce/wasabi. It was still good! Then I wondered about the ginger, as it was my first time eating sashimi with ginger — does gingerbread have ginger in it?
As much as I liked Haiku, like the poem type, our sampling had to be short and sweet, as there were still levels of restaurants waiting for us.
[PAUSE! At this point, you’re more than welcome to take a bathroom break, yow break, Coke break, sandwich break or leave a bookmark and continue reading later on … because Paolo cares.]
TGIFridays was next, and since it was the lobby area, instead of going inside, we got to eat al fresco, with all the families and couples just hanging out in full view. We were also able to sit next to trees, more oxygen = more energy! They had two ginormous trays of perennial favorites, chicken fingers and buffalo wings.
The chicken fingers, of course, taste so good with the honey mustard … yum! Chikins being one of my top favorite foods, the buffalo wings were a no-brainer … they were yummy and hot!
I walked up to the restaurant manager, (Ergh, I was starting to forget names by this point. With all the aroma, flavors and names I’ve accumulated since 2 pm, I wasn’t in the peak condition to remember everything!) and talked to her about their World Famous burger, and how I’m yet to completely eat one. NEXT!
Darting forward, we got to Italianni’s … and yes, I’ll have to say it, the girl serving us (Zoey) was so beautiful, she could be a part-time model. (Ahaha!) She got me to eat a vegetarian plate! I couldn’t help myself — as she handed me the sampler plate, I told her she was pretty.
Then I sat back with the rest of the group, and massively enjoyed the spinach and artichoke formaggio — of which, I think I would lick an empty bowl of, like a cat! (Or maybe just use the bread to clean off the bowl, then eat the bread, pancit-canton-style.) The penne arrabiato, which is a vegetarian pasta was good too, considering that I did have my veggie allowance from Haiku.
By the way, I like their press kit — it had two glossy pictures of food, for when, you know, you’re craving for some visual treats — then dashing to the restaurant itself to satiate the longing.
Fish & Co. was just a walk away, but then I was feeling heavier. Every step strained my calf muscles with all the additional weight. (Breath in, breathe out.) They had fish fillet and mussels to be served, and yet I couldn’t get over the nets and the life preserver on display by the table. I liked how the presentation looked, it’s as if the flavors made their way into land … into our mouths, or how, if ever I was at sea, Fish & Co would feed me, while the life preserver would keep me afloat! The fish fillet was accompanied by lemon butter, providing a delicious, tangy alternative to ketchup, hehe.
As a side story, I saw Zoey waving at me from Italianni’s, so I waved back — while walking the opposite direction — I hit my shin on a cement corner. Ouch! Number of blog-related injuries? One.
Time was running out – we had to eat faster and more efficiently. NEXT!
Our next stop was Bubba Gump — and yes, I didn’t know that the “Gump” was for “Forrest Gump,” I haven’t seen the movie. The staff escorted us to “The House of Gump,” their function room. I had an interesting conversation with the one handling the service about mud pie, and how the idea of a pie made of mud was really appealing to me. Mikko said it wasn’t really made of mud, but I didn’t want him to break the appeal for me. She then told me to look inside the kit, I might get a special surprise. (I got apple cobbler)
Unfortunately, I couldn’t eat the pingpong thing — I have this allergy for shell foods, plus, my previous shrimp experience still hasn’t healed yet, so I just sampled the pasta. Tasty!
We went to a very interesting-looking restaurant, Holy Cow Chop House. They have this gigantic “holy” cow in front, with wings and a halo. I liked the display of wines and different-colored cows-with-halos in the center of the room. I also liked the “throne” chairs they have — guaranteed to make you feel special while eating there.
They served us bite-sized beef bites, chips with a guacamole(?) dip, and a tray of both chocolate and cheesecake bites. I like the idea of beef as a finger food, and since it tasted good, I liked it. The chips and dip were also good, but the cheesecake was the highlight for me — they came served in teensy-tiny little bits that you can pop into your mouth quickly, — oh, and did I mention that they were scumptious?
Plus, the cows-with-halos displays made me think … at least they were serving us “good” cows — they had halos, after all.
The staff was very helpful in identifying what the food on display was, and also, they told us to take our seats, as they were preparing our samplers … I begged the waitress to just send out a plate for Mikko, and I’ll just share. (Yes, I was quite full at this point.)
The kebab was delicious! In the words of Jonat, “mapapa-curl ang toes mo sa sarap!” And the one with the pita also tasted good — I didn’t know if I was having difficulty in walking around because I was full, or if my toes were curled.
I stepped out a bit while the group was eating to get some fresh air and saw Iggy by Holy Cow Chop House. He told me that the group he was in had to face Level 1 as the first stop — holy cow! Level 1 had the most number of restaurants, so for their group, it must be like doing heavy lifting before warming up. I suggested he step into Holy Cow and try the cheesecake, he breathed out, and made room. (See how that ties into his blog entry about trying cheesecake?)
We ran out of time to try Level 1, but I didn’t mind — I did find out that eating straight for 4 hours is something I can’t do everyday, haha! (Yes, I tapped out.) We made our way to the park area, where the center was reserved for the bloggers. And it doesn’t stop there! (And yes, I did start that sentence and this one with a conjunction.) As if the bloggers weren’t feeling special already, they also got treated to soft grooves by Sound and a raffle, as each one recounted their war stories with their comrades.
20 pounds later, I would like to thank Trinoma for organizing this fun little food romp around the mall — I mean, I already like Trinoma before all this, doing this just makes me like the place more. (this is where I first saw Transformers after all, and it’s nearer to where I live, plus, I could see my mountainous backyard from the outside area, haha!) Special mention to the participating restos (you know who you are!) — rest assured that we all appreciate the time and hospitality you provided us as we got ourselves full. Not only did you create guaranteed customers, you guys’ve also been setting the internets ablaze with the kindness since that historic little Wednesday afternoon, when the gravity seemed to have gotten a bit more concentrated in the north.
Kudos to the peeps in the office who made it happen — sama nyoko lagi! Hahaha!
I heard from someone’s grandma that “Each meal only happens once in your life. You have to make each one special.” Thanks to the newfound friends who preferred to savor the moment, rather than fastbreak-eating to make it to the next resto. (I was the slowest eater at the table, haha) You’ve made my guilt-free-eat-free day all the more special.
Now excuse me while I grab a Coke.