Monday, July 5, 2010

A Culinary Vacation

We wanted a vacation so bad, but the budget didn't permit us. So, when we had a little something last month, we planned to go somewhere. Still not enough for a full-blown vacation, and Mark being wary of flying during the rainy season-- we settled for a feast in Tagaytay to nowhere else but-- Antonio's!

We've heard of their great steaks long before. But last month, we saw a great feature on the Philippine Star of Antonio's by Paolo Lorenzana- and we saw this scrumptious photo of one of their dishes. So Mark took me there on the holiday last week, while the new President was taking his oath. :)

The path going there reminded me of Sonya's Garden- a winding, wildflower-strewn little road. I love these flowery paths. A big black wrought iron gate greets as we enter Antonio's. There were quite a number of cars parked that day. We found a spot just beside the gate, and parked right there.

We still had to take a 2 meter hike to the door. The door! Oooh! I love those big wooden doors. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of it alone. Sigh. I was too excited to think!

As we entered the bungalow, we were met by ancient photos hung on a gallery- showcasing the family's heritage. The place smelled of dew and wooden antiques---heavenly!!! I grew up on those heavy wooden furniture- so their smell brings back memories. We were seated by the Koi pond and the big balcony, where we saw other diners on the lower level. The floor was made of black graphic machuka tiles. Lovely. White walls. High ceilings, garden and black wood. High on class and romance. Nothing too fancy. Just really classy. Clean lines are still the best design.

Wait- I'm supposed to talk about food! Hehe. The maitre d' was a very nice lady who gave us the best seat and treated us perfectly. She gave us several menus, and the husband ordered the dish we came here for-- Roasted Bone Marrow with Parsley Salad and Onion Marmalade . We came prepared-- or so we thought.

The next person who attended to us, was the waiter in charge of our table. He had to explain to us that they served the entree in sets. And we thought we could order ala carte- to his (and ours too ) seeming consternation! Obviously, we didn't look like the ones on the other table, since Mark didn't really inform me we were going that particular day (We wore plain shirts and jeans, and yes, it was another one of his surprises.).

Anyways, we continued to order and were really excited for the appetizer. And because we ordered the set meals, we got this on our table first-

Parmesan roll.

I forgot the exact name of the bread. I know there was Parmesan on it so I will christen it- the Parmesan roll! This is the first bread that the husband liked. He says - "all bread are the same". I protest, of course. This time- I won. :)

And then came the much awaited appetizer---

Roasted Bone Marrow with Parley Salad and Onion Marmalade

And this is the way to eat it.

Verdict: Husband liked it, I was disappointed. I expected more from this dish. I expected the bone marrows to be in their plain, salty, creamy essence. What dominated in this dish were the capers on top. Lots of capers. And the menu says parsley salad. No mention whatsoever of capers. I like capers, but in small quantities, and not to overwhelm that special thing called- bone marrow. The dish was accompanied by toasted and dry slices of baguette, and a serving of the onion marmalade. The onion marmalade was quite nice.

I wiped the remaining fat off the marrow with the remaining Parmesan roll.
It tasted much better.

Next up, was the House Salad-

This is described as -
Fresh Mesclun Salad from the Garden, Bleu d'Auvergne Crumble,
Glazed Walnuts, Dried Cranberries with Raspberry Vinaigrette.

I loved the walnuts. Mark loved the blue cheese.

Like the House Salad at Sonya's Garden, this salad also had a lot of bitter varieties. I don't know if these are much healthier than the milder ones, but they had a lot of it. A little off-putting, really. I liked the Walnuts though, and the Cranberries and Raspberry Vinaigrette. Husband likes the cheese. It was a very strong cheese, almost goat-like in taste. But when I googled the Bleu d'Auvergene, they say it comes from cow's milk.

Tomato and Capsicum Soup

Very strong and pimiento-ey, with a pleasant milk froth on top.
This is one of those times when I am thankful we don't like the same things.

I gave him my share. Everyone's happy. :D

While waiting for the entree, I spied this lovely lamp. I want one.

This is Mark's pick-
Barbecue Lamb Cutlets with Garlic Risoni.

And because he's married to me, I got to sample this dish too! Hehe.
It's so good! The cutlets were cooked just right. Juicy and almost well done.
The Garlic Risoni surprised me. I thought it was rice at first since I wasn't able to read about it on the menu, but this was actually rice shaped pasta! So cute. It was smothered in a light but creamy sauce.
Good one, babe!

I had this-
Grilled Chilean Sea Bass on Truffle Mashed Potato

I also liked this! It was a very tender, fat and creamy sea bass,
plus the potatoes had bacon bits.
Yum! Happy.

All the heartache I felt over the appetizer and the soup almost vanished at this time. The main dishes were really good! And when when they reminded us of the dessert, I was all giddy! Great. We had some tarragon tea while waiting. The tea was too strong though. It could have been steeped too long.

There were like 5 dessert choices. And here are the winners--

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

Mark is happy with this.
The dense cheesecake is covered in thick and smooth caramel which oozed with every spoonful.

Assorted Berries with Creamed Chantilly

I had this because I'm such a sucker for berries. I am so happy that this had blueberries, strawberries and one special raspberry tucked in the middle of the sponge cake and whipped cream.
This is really much like a berry trifle. Lip-smacking.

Thanks you Lord for this visit, it was a lovely trip and, we hope to be back to try that suckling pig. :)

Someday again. :)

Have a blessed day, everyone!


gwacie said...

Oooh, those berries! I want to try that parmesan roll, too. :)

Glad you're back, Lumette. It's just so YOU to say "While waiting for the entree, I spied this lovely lamp. I want one." :)

Gita Asuncion said...

ooooh, everything look so good... that bone marrow look so sinful heavenly!

Jenny said...

so how much is it now? went before with my parents and we weren't too happy so we haven't been back since. that was i think about 5 years ago!

Shalum said...

@gracie- you know me :) hehe. i was daydreaming again.

@doc gita- i know. i hope they do something about the capers!

@jenny- hehe. i purposely did not post the prices. let's just say you set a budget of 2T per person, which won't be very hard for you. wink ;) hehe. try the suckling pig daw. it's their specialty. or did you try that one before?

Shalum said...

Hi Gracie. You know me :) I was daydreaming. Again!

Hi doc Gita. I know! I hope they take out the capers though.

Hi Jen! Ummm, let's just say you need to set a budget of around P2T per person. Although the others are really more expensive

♡u8mypinkc00kies♡ said...

wow @ the dulce de leche!!

Anonymous said...

The bone marrow appetizer looks yummy!