Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Could've Been the Best Birthday Ever!

Why do people celebrate birthdays?
 I guess it's a way of making an ultimate impression on someone, showing that you care, that  the celebrant even existed,  or showing ones deepest love.   In my family we celebrate our kids birthdays hours even before the day itself.  My husband  have this  habit of waking the celebrant late at night or even at 12 midnight just to greet, kiss and hug, so I got into it as well.   It used to annoy me, when he does that to me, having the whole day running around like a hen always following her chicks,  sleeping seemed to be the only "me-time"  for me, a birthday was not an excuse.
 But now, I have grown to appreciate every bit, every minute of life spent with my family,  every heartbeat truly matter.   And all of us make our own effort  in  every birthday a memorable one.  
Lots of birthdays come and go in my years,  I  tried so hard to remember when was to be the one  that is  kept in my heart.    I think  it is the one that Bhogs first gave me an expensive gift.   Hmmm, and another year when he gave me another gift that I adored.
Yesterday was my   ***6th birthday,   I hope you don't mind me sharing how the day went, and how it left a mark on my calendar.
Well, as I've said my husband have been showing signs of how he would celebrate my birthday.  He gave my gift not on the day but hours prior to the ticking of the clock to twelve.   When I attended an event for the launching of  180 Arts in the City, he noticed I wasn't wearing any earrings, as I was getting off my ride he handed  me a  teeny-weeny red satchel, of  Chinese silk and told me "Happy birthday ha, bukas ko pa sana ibibgay sa'yo, kaya lang may kulang sa look mo eh..." (Iwas going to give you this tomorrow, but I've noticed something missing in your look)    Inside was a  pair of chunky ringlet gold earrings.   There was actually a funny story behind that but this is getting way too long.
He does things in the most unusual, silly but melt-your--heart  way.  That's how sweet he is!   Am I not blessed?  He is such a wonderful  man, and we consider him to be the best Dad.   So began my birthday.   The night almost ended with a dinner at Joey Pepperoni's at McKinley Ave.  with a  slight jinx. To cut the story short, we went early at  Bizu Patisserie at Greenbelt Park to participate in their Macaron Day Promo, and bought  what have supposedly a gift for my sister-in-law but we ended up enjoying the macarons.
Let me give you a pip-squeak, since I'll be posting a different blog on that.
8-pc box set, part of the amount paid goes to Virlanie Foundation.
The freebies, two Macaron of my choice and a fridge magnet!
I was able to try a savory Macaron for the first time, this one is the blue cheese.
An affair with Marriott Hotel Manila followed at 7 pm.

Yes! More Macarons and mini-chocolate cupcakes
The party was in honor of the new Gen. Manager, Scott Sibley
 As much as I wanted to savor the buffet prepared by Marriott Hotel, headed by Chef Meik Bramm,  I couldn't, for I have promised   the family  a hearty dinner.  So off we went to Bonifacio Global Center to look for a fine restaurant suited for all of us, including the little ones.
We were perplexed when we got to Bonifacio High Street Central, events and happenings were left to right, parking lots were full,  every restaurant were full, my kids joked about the situation instead saying, "Mommy your birthday is so special everyone is celebrating it, not!"  It took us thirty minutes gyrating the Central to look for a restaurant.   We initially made plans of going to Nanbantei Japanese resto on the East block  but it happened to be full even at 8:30, we were asked if we can sit outside, but of course why would I want that, plus the fact that my kids would just run around the place.   We then proceeded to Aria Cucina Italiana, since it was the only restaurant with sitting spaces.
With my kids
With hubby

So as we entered we were led right away to a convincingly good table near the kitchen where I have a good view of their much talked about wood-fired oven and a show from the chefs at work.
However, let me begin my surmise,  when we were seated, we waited a long time for someone to come to us to even give us a menu.  When a lady finally noticed us, and gave us menus,  it took time for our orders to get on our table, but it that doesn't matter.   My husband was just so sad that the service wasn't as good as it should be  concerning the price was a bit high. 
I was asked once, of the many places I have tried eating to, how do I choose it or how do blog about it.   The first thing I check is the menu, good thing the restaurants on Central have menu postings by the door.   My kids love pasta and pizzas, so don't wonder why this was our choice.  the next thing I look at is the place or the vibe of the place.   The lighting was good, bright lights seem to widen the space and makes the venue well-defined, pleasant  and the artworks more lucid.    I love the string-themed divider, something like having a taste of native Boracay in Manila.   They happen to be long-familiar in Boracay, as what foodies jabbered..
So those are the plus factors of Aria.   The service was a bit poor, though, I think maybe because they are new.  That's something that can be developed.  The staff were not as agile enough, we still have to get their attention to come to us and deal with our request.   Like when my kids were served with their soup we still have to ask for spoons.   Waiting for our glass to be refilled with water is also cumbersome.
Let us see how they did with their food.
Velluta di Porcini ( P280)
Good thing I had a light dinner at Marriott Hotel, so I don't have to order something for myself, and while I was covering the event, kids had something at McDonald's, so we were on  for a wood-fired oven pizza and an authentic Italian fare.  But you got to hand it to my kids, they have acquired quite a discriminating taste for varied cuisines, most specially with Italian dishes.   If you were avid about checking out my food habit, you may have noticed I have lots with Italian restaurants and have cooked a lot of dishes from Italy.   I'm in love with everything that's Italian made or of origin and have been quite educated about them, specially that matters most on foods.  So when I reached our table I loved the scent but my daughter Dana  told me she smelled something that's not nice.   I'm guessing it may be coming from the variety of cheeses they may be using, smelled Gorgonzola and the pungent odor of pure Parmigiano, just to give a few...
Doing back, my kids didn't like the soup, the cream of porcini, was awful for them, but good for me.   So we ordered additional Carbonara (Spaghetti).
Judging by the picture, this was a win, they loved it though it lacked a bit more ham.  One order was good for two kids.   But I just needed to mention, modesty aside, they like my own Carbonara  more, yey!
 And our pizza, Capricciosa ( P580).  In this perspective, you can see that they are more on the healthy serving of food,  more veggies, less proteins, and yes that means less hams, meats, and cheese.   Also, like what I know from true-blue Italian home-cooking, they eat with less salt or no salt at all, as in the case here.  Aria's chefs should have considered that Filipino's taste differs so much with the Italians, we love rich, savory and tasty dishes so I'm not sure how this would appeal to the rest.   My kids were actually looking for condiments on the table but there weren't one.  Capricciosa has artichokes, halved cherry tomatoes, calamata olives and parma ham.
Danielle had Ravioli di Branzoni (P 390).  She liked how the ravioli was made big enough and fresh.  This one was stuffed with seafood and glazed gorgeously with tomato  and olive oil  based sauce, but she wasn't happy with it.  It lacked personality, it was bland and the tomatoes where still chunky.  If the tomatoes were cooked some more to release the juice and give it some sweet kick,  it would be tastier, the dill gave it some rustic taste though.
Darren, on the other hand had an egg yolk based sauce.  Carbonara al Penne, the way Italians make it.   The pasta was al dente, and the sauce was enough, clinging to the pasta, but not dry.   the sauce was just right up his alley, but he was looking for a foccacia or a bread stick or something to complete the look of the dish and to finish of the plate cleanly.
And since it's my birthday I get a cool glass of Aria Shake (P170), perfect for hot and busy day.  It's combination of banana, strawberry and something else, with a cherry on top!
It all boiled down to whether I liked the experience or not.   Well, at least I was able to show my kids that I can serve them good food, dishes that are on fine dining menus at a fraction of a cost, and that they have realized how expensive it is to eat out, and not being truly satisfied.   Hoping that if we decide to go back, they could at least have something to recommend to families eating specially if kids are with them.  Kids are hard to please when comes to eating at upscale places such as this, but if you really dig in to what kids like, basically is the food, in the way they ought to taste for them. 
So what do you think, did I like it or not?
Well to heal our disappointments  we headed to Gelatissimo for our dolci.  Nothing beats Italian gelato. It sure was a long walk to Serendra, and I was wearing my killer heals, yaiks,  but we can't give them more reasons to go home with long faces, would we.
Gelato-loving at Gelatissimo.  But another thought came, these two now wanted cupcakes at Marta's, ones that they can design for them to give me, since I haven't blown any cake yet.  But when we get to Marta's, they were already closed, awww. 
But what really mattered most here was that we are all-together having fun, experiencing new things, reinventing old ideas and furnishing more loving moments, with more "kulitan" on the side.  Spending is just one thing but the impression you live with your kids stays with them.   Teaching them how to value well-earned money, good food, and family-time is everything!  I can make each day my birthday, or theirs for as long as you sincerely show them their value as a person and help them evaluate their own self into being the person not what we want them to be, but what God has intended for them to be. 
If you're still stuck on the thought of how old I am seeing my kids and all, let me just leave this message to you.
In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count.   It’s the life in your years.  

Restaurant References:

Bizu Patisserie

Greenbelt 2, Glorietta 4, Greenhills Promenade, Alabang Town Center and St. Luke's Global City

Aria Cucina Italiana
Unit NEUG 205, East Superblock, 30th St. corner 7th St., Bonifacio High Street Central,, 1630 Manila, Philippines

Serendra,  Bonifaco Global  City,  Taguig City


  1. Happy birthday Joy! :D

    You have such a lovely family! Even if there were disappointments during your birthday, I'm sure your kids still made your birthday special. :)

    1. Hey Smarla! Awww! You're such a sweetheart...Thanks for the greeting.
      And yes they did make it truly special. See you soon!

  2. Belated happy birthday fellow Piscean! :) We have the same birthday! :)

    1. Happy birthday, Berylle. I sure hope yours is better!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. The photos show that you had a fun birthday celebration with the family! I think for us mothers, having the whole family with us is already a huge gift.

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