Dinner in Tuscany, Tagaytay?!?


Posted by mandz | Posted in | Posted on 12:09 AM

Yesterday I had an unexpected experience dining at a restaurant in Tagaytay named after its owner, Marcia Adams. I was supposed to meet friends there, who recommended the place and dubbed it as the latest place-to-be in the blogosphere. But by the time Mike and I got there, my friends decided to cancel their plans to have dinner, and left both of us alone in unfamiliar territory. I cant complain though. I had one of the most romantic dinner dates with Mike that night.

It is a nondescript place hidden in the outskirts of Tagaytay, right past the arch. With no signages or indication of being a commercial establishment, dining at Marcia's felt like imparting in a well-kept secret.

The place was BEAUTIFUL. I wish I could have taken better photos coz the ones i took don't even come close. I could just imagine how breathtaking it would be in the mornings when the sun is shining. 

Inside was a cozy little cellar with high brick arches that swallow in the moonlight. The weather was cool and crisp, which was a perfect excuse for couples to huddle closer to each other for warmth. For me, it was an excuse to order a carafe of chardonnay.

Outside is a luscious garden teeming with colors and life. The flowers, the air, the stars, the wine, the homey atmosphere, only added to the unique character of the place.

For those who plan to visit and dine, be prepared to shell out a cover charge of Php700.00 per head. However, once you order a main course (which already costs a minimum of P700), you already have a choice of an appetizer, a non-alcoholic drink and dessert as part of the package.

For starters, we chose to order apple chutney with a slice of cheddar on a bed of wafer crackers. This, we partnered with a carafe of South African white wine (Franschoek Cellar, La Cotte Mill - Chenin  Blanc). The tartness of the cheese and the sweetness of the chutney, matched perfectly with this (thanks to Marcia's husband, Neil, who recommended it).

Next, Mike got a Pumpkin soup while I ordered some kind of Galician soup, which is basically just a broth with potatoes, veggies, and beans. They were both well-seasoned. However I have to say that the pumpkin soup was more mushy than creamy.

We downed the food with Mike's favorite drink, Bundaberg, which is an Australian-made beverage. We were given a choice of ginger beer and peach. Naturally, we ordered both.

For our main course, I ordered a chicken kebab marinated in yogurt and cumin served with couscous, while Mike had the grilled aromatic pork with rice. Again, the meals were definitely well-seasoned.  However, I have to say that taste-wise, there was nothing special about it. If I were to describe the aromatic pork in one word, it would simply be "liempo."

For dessert, I had a panna cotta with lime sauce while Mike had the fried bananas with a chocolate dip. The panna cotta was perfectly tangy and creamy, which I definitely enjoyed. However, the bananas were just so-so.

All in all, dining at Marcia Adams was still an extraordinary experience if only for the beauty of the place and the atmosphere. It was quaint, romantic, homey, and downright pretty, even at night. In terms of the food however, everything was perfectly seasoned, but none really left an impression other than maybe the panna cotta and the wine.

For the value of the food, I would say that a cover charge of P700 is a little too steep. I'm afraid that I have had better and cheaper pumpkin soup served at Meat Plus in Subic, and the same goes with the chicken kebabs which you could easily get at Cafe Mediterranean for almost the same quality.

I hate having to write this review after being given such glorious service by Neil and Marcia, and the delight  of being in such a beautiful place. After scanning all the positive reviews from other authors like the ones in Our Awesome Planet and Metro Magazine, this one feels almost intimidating to write. But honestly speaking, there was nothing special about the food.

Would I go there again? Definitely, if only to prove myself wrong...

I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so...


Posted by mandz | Posted in | Posted on 8:56 AM

Its been a few days since my first ever post, and I've been toying with topics to talk about since. It hasn't been easy since i'm not exactly the best documenter of things. I tend to forget to take photographs of important moments after getting lost in them.

Today however, I did not forget.=)

Mike was craving for Japanese, and since I've been the one choosing the restaurants we've been eating in the past weeks, I decided to cut him some slack. We ended up in this small Japanese place hidden in a row of commercial establishment along BF called Omatsuri. I swear, you wouldn't even notice it at all if you weren't looking.

The moment you enter the place you're greeted with a resounding *insert Japanese greeting here*, and an overwhelming smell of Sake, seafood and grilled meat in the air. The next thing you'll notice is the ambiance, rows of Japanese artwork and bottles of what I can only assume is rice wine lined up along shelves across the wall.  

To top that off, a couple of Japanese men were talking/arguing at the far end of the bar while the Japanese bartender (which I could only assume is also the owner) was happy just serving them platters of sushi and filling their glasses to the brim with beer. It felt as if we had entered some kind of wormhole which for some reason, led us to Japan! It was bizarre.   

The food was good. My only complaint is that the meat could have been a lot more tender. But then again, it wasn't bad for the price we paid. I guess after feeling like i just teleported to Japan, my expectations increased three-fold. I expected Wagyu beef, melt-in-your-mouth goodness, cows lined up in some farm in Okinawa while they're fed endless gallons of beer and massaged on a daily basis, chopped, flavored, and grilled for my satisfaction. Alas, I ended up with beef from the nearest grocery in Manila.

The rest of what we ordered however, was perfect. The rice was sticky, just what you would expect they would serve in a good Japanese restaurant. The miso soup was well-seasoned, while the tofu was perfectly crunchy on the outside, and firm on the inside.

All in all, it was a pleasant dining experience, only best described through our empty plates and full bellies.Though the meat did not come to par with my expectations, Omatsuri definitely left me only with good memories.

Right here, right now...


Posted by mandz | Posted in | Posted on 8:18 AM

Whatever inspired me to start a blog at this point, I have no idea. Maybe I just needed something to remind myself after years of living, that my life is worth... the world.

Now to kick-start this thing, I imagined posting pictures of my childhood, and then go on from there. But then again, I figured it might be too chronological and bland. Don't get me wrong, my childhood is FAR from boring! But we'll talk about that later. Instead, I think "the me" in "the now" would be more appropriate.

the me...

Here I am, plain and simple, in a rather cheesy pose, taken by mike during one of our trips. I don't think i'll be posting a lot of pictures of myself from now on. But for those who wonder what I look like, this is me...

"The now" is at a time where everything is possible, 25, recently unemployed, saved some money but not much, dabbled in lots of jobs but still confused, in a relationship but not married. The list goes on. But perhaps the one thing that describes me at this point is... nothing, absolutely zilch! Thats how my life has become right now, a giant black hole, a bermuda triangle, a big fat mystery no one understands, not even myself.

Maybe this is why I started this blog in the first place, in an effort to understand who I am later on. With the hope that maybe I can piece snippets of my memories together, so I can go "ahhh... so thats why God put me here!"  Anyway, enough with the dramatics. This should be enough for now. So here I am.. the me, the present, and the blog.