Sunday, October 28, 2007

A birthday dinner

One thing I like best is fine dining. So when my husband brought me to La Guernica (Adriatico circle) for Christmas in 2003 (we were still dating), I knew that were shared the same passion.

Fast track to our first wedding anniversary in 2006. He took me to The French Corner at Westgate Alabang for dinner. Immediately, we fell in love with the place. The service was exceptional and the food was very very very good! From that time on, we sort of made this restaurant "our" place.

(photo courtesy of

Tonight was our fourth visit. This time it was our birthday dinner. For starters Hal had the Prawn Bisque and mine was the Pumpkin-Carrot soup. I just love pumpkin soup. I really wanted to try this because it was the first time I've seen it in the menu. While waiting we were served with the complimentary bread basket with butter and the best salsa I've ever tasted! We didn't have to wait long for the food to be served. The soup was very very good. Hal says that his soup reminded him of the crab fat he abhors, but this one was cooked so well that he finished it all.

Next came our main course. Hal ordered the Lamb Rack "Herb de Provence", medium rare. I got the Marinated Lamb Chops. Since my last encounter with lamb in 1999 was terrible, I had mine medium well. I decided to finally face my fear of eating lamb meat after so many years.

They finally came.

Lamb Rack "Herb de Provence"
(photo courtesy of:

I waited for Hal to take the first bite.

He melted in his chair.

I asked: "How does it taste?".

He answers: "Like heaven! That's the first word that comes to me."

Then he goes: "It's like saying: Where have you been all my life, you lamb, you!".

So it's THAT good.

I try mine.

Marinated Lamb Chops

It's THAT good! Heaven.

The meat is very very tender and it still is very juicy. My order came with some mixed greens, and an herb rice, I think. I didn't concentrate on them too much because my attention was on the lamb. I can still taste its richness. I can still feel its tenderness. I'm not going to stray away from this meat from now on. Silence descends upon us as we finish our dinner. Across me I see a very satisfied face. Hal finishes off his plate as I am still half way through mine. His lamb rack came with baked potato and some mixed greens. He gave me a slice of the lamb but, for me, it was to herb-y (is there such a word?). He loved it though, and that's whats important.

We were too full to have dessert. We were about to ask for the bill when suddenly staff greets us with a "happy birthday" song. They placed the cake on the table. On top were two candles (pink and blue) and it was garnished with strawberry and sugared grapes. This was a chocolate mouse cake. Yummy! So we didn't leave yet. :)

our birthday cake

Hal and I have tried most of the fine dining restaurants in Manila. You can always say "to each his own" but I don't think there will ever be one as good as this.

The first time we were here, Hal told me that he's taking Hiro there when he grows up.

Will this be "their" restaurant the same way "La Guernica" was Hal and his dad's?

Only time will tell. Hopefully, it will be there when that time comes.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Glorietta bast

I read this from a blog:

Good day everyone,

I wish I were writing under different circumstances.

I would like to inform you that my wife Leslie Cruz was part of the
casualties in the Glorietta 2 Mall bombing in Makati City, Philippines. She
was supposed to have a minor out patient surgery at Makati Medical Center at

I had taken a leave from work to accompany her there. We dropped off our
daughter, Amber, at my parents place in QC to babysit at around 10am. We
then proceeded to Makati and was there at 1230pm. Since she had been fasting
in preparation for her procedure, she wanted to move around and listen to
some music while I grabbed a bite to eat. We parked at the basement of Park
Square 2, and headed for the Glorietta 2 entrance. We parted at the top of
the escalator, she turned right towards Filbar's while I went left towards
the restaurants. That was the last time I would see her.

Around 120pm, she had called me so that we can meet at the Glorietta 2 exit
just in time to make her appointment. As I made my way there from Glorietta
1 through the connecting hallways, and was about to turn the corner, I heard
2 deep thumps and the shock-wave from the blast hit me. At that moment my
heart dropped as I knew that the origin of the blast came from the same
place where we were supposed to meet. I tried getting to where my wife was,
but the dust was too much and it was as if I was staring at a white wall.

I still tried to convince myself that she was able to make it out, and that
after ringing her mobile without a response only meant that she dropped it
in the confusion. After 6 hours of searching from Makati Med. to Ospital ng
Makati, the blast site, and back again to MMC - with the help of all the
people I could get hold of, that I was able to get confirmation in what the
state of my wife was.

My Dad and Uncle signaled me in from the ER of MMC. My Uncle (who's a
doctor) asked me to describe Leslie's appearance to another group of
doctors. I saw in the eyes of one that the description made sense. Instead
of confirming it to me, they huddled together, then brought me to a small
examination room. It was only through a digital camera that I was able to
confirm (and deny) that she was indeed gone.

I have so many regrets. I should have met her sooner. I should have ran
instead of a brisk walk. I should have not chose to park where I did. I
should have braved the dust and went in the blast site. I should have ...

Today's the 4th day. It is still terribly difficult to breathe, let alone
wake up realizing that your source of strength, your best friend doesn't lie
beside you on your bed. That my deepest worry is when Amber starts asking
for her Mama.

I am glad that Amber's too young to understand the loss and pain. In time I
would like to tell her the details of how her mother died, but more
importantly I would like to raise her as how her mother lived - a loving
person, strong willed, decisive, caring, and nurturing. She has always cared
for her family and friends, and sacrfied her career for being a full time
mom and home maker.

As with all couples we had our ups and downs - none of which I regret not
going through. The sweet is never as sweet without the sour. For almost 4
years of marriage, we've finally hit our balance in life only to be taken
away in an instant. I have no regrets about our marriage. She has loved me
and Amber beyond her capacity. I will always love her.

It is my first time to write to egroup as I've lurked and watched emails
being sent to and fro. All I want now is that for each of the couples here
is to cherish each moment that we spend with our loved ones. Pretty simple
to say, very easy to take for granted.

Thank you all for the prayers. I would still like to ask you to please
include Leslie in them until her 40th day so that the path to God's kingdom
is well lit and she is no longer in the dark.


Carlo Cruz