Almost twenty fours since I had one of the best ramens I have ever had, I am still longing for it. If you know me pretty well, you would know that I have a thing for noodles. Ramen is right up there with cream- or oil-based pasta. Well, that might explain this belly a lot.
Well, Ippudo’s Akamaru Shinaji just made my insides and my spirit sing last night. It was that gooood!!! It was only one of three ramen being offered by Ippudo but make no mistake about their quality. The noodles had the right firmness and the broth was so flavorful. Even though I don’t like too much spice in my food, I was glad I ordered this instead of the milder Shiromaru Motoaji that the husband had. The special miso paste with a dash of fragrant oil gave it the right kick. Plus I had extra slices of chasu (or thin pork belly slices) so it was meatier and fuller.
Ugh. I want to go back tonight.
It is very seldom now that we go out as a family, just the four of us. So we took the opportunity to bond at Lois’ first birthday more than a week ago. We even got a surprise visit from one of our best friends, Jane, who is now based in Singapore.
After Lois’ birthday celebration, we strolled around the Evia Lifestyle Center, our new hangout, the kids played, and the adults had cake and coffee. Simple and lovely, but we had so much fun. It’s good that Evia offers things to keep kids occupied.
It’s not too late to learn something totally new–the basics of programming! Now, being in the Social Science field, this is a little alien to me although I have been blogging for several years now. But blogs have templates, and I just started adding to my skills. Managers need to do this from time to time so as not to become obsolete or useless when new things come their way. So hooray!
Another Story is one of the newest restaurants in the rapidly developing Evia Lifestyle Center along Daang Hari, at the point where the cities of Bacoor, Las Pinas and Muntinlupa meet. What used to be a small strip of restaurants plus a small supermarket is now a 3-building complex that houses state-of-the-art cinema, a variety of restaurants, specialty shops and a whole lot more. What I especially like about it is, and you can call me snooty, but it’s just me, not accessible via public transportation. You really have to purposely go there (and not as an afterthought) and bring your own car. This means that this is not crowded at all, hooray! People come here to eat, buy and just…do something, and not merely hang around. Not for somebody just wanting to pass the time.
We had dinner at a new establishment called Another Story. Without really looking at what it had to offer, I immediately shepherded by family here, and my main consideration was ambiance. What a nice, nice place to look at. And there were a few tables available so it was a plus that we didn’t have to jostle for a place to sit down. It was eclectic to say the least, with a mishmash of furniture and pieces that are varied but seem to be so put together. It was a happy jumble for me, and I was at home right away. It was like sitting in a garden, with foliage all around you, but without the bugs, dust, mud and whatnots. And all ’round the restaurant were quotes that add to the feel good vibe of the whole place.
Food was a bit on the expensive side but tastes good anyway. Didn’t get to enjoy it too much because they had no high chairs for babies, and Maxine was her usual likot self. The menu was not that extensive but it looked to be carefully selected. We had pasta and a seafood platter to share. Maybe sometime the hubby and I can enjoy a stress-free meal here.
Our last stop during our trip to Tagaytay City was another late lunch, this time at Gourmet Farms along Aguinaldo Highway in Silang, Cavite. I’ve been wanting to go here since forever, ever since I read about how they use their own organic produce from their own garden. Not that I’m into overzealous healthy eating (I call myself a balanced eater), I am normally on the lookout for healthy options for the husband.
So here we are. Another thing I was looking forward to was the Greek-inspired design of the place. The main building, which is the Dining Room, is an imposing white and blue structure reminiscent of Santorini, complete with climbing trellises all over it. At the back and sides are the organic gardens, while up front are a coffee shop for those wishing to just grab a cup and some sweets then go, and souvenir store, where they primarily sell coffee.
What we had:
Ampalaya tea for Dad
Lettuce chips with salsa
Pesto arugula pasta
Chicken ala Kiev
I immensely enjoyed our meal and stay in the restaurant. As it was nearing 3:00 in the afternoon when we came, it was quiet and we had the chance to leisurely savor the food and the ambience. The taste and presentation of the food were impeccable. I especially like the pesto arugula, however, the pizza was a bit blah for me. Everything else was good. Perfect way to end our family trip.
During our particular stay here at Taal Vista Hotel, the hubby and I saw to it that we would get some relaxation off. Let’s face it. Normally when we go on family trips, we hardly have time for ourselves, except maybe bathroom time, and that’s what, 15 minutes tops. The kids would always need something. And since we cannot really drag ourselves too far from them, the best way to have this “me” or “us” time is to go and get a massage after putting them to sleep. And we did!
The Asmara Spa was located at the top floor of the mountain wing of the hotel (we were billeted at the lake wing). The walk to the location was quite a feat but I had my eyes on the prize. And I was not disappointed. The spa was small, with only a handful of private rooms for the services it offers. It means a more personalized service that’s not hurried or too methodical.
Sigh, it was pure bliss. Although the husband complained a little that he wanted something harder than the aromatherapy massage we availed. For me, it was just what I needed to unwind and de-stress, and forget everything else for an hour. I must have dozed off the moment the masseuse put her skillful hands on my back. I went to bed with the knots in my neck and back unknotted. Just what I needed.
One of the places we visited during our last sojourn to Tagaytay City is Paradizoo. It is actually located in the nearby town of Mendez, just about 5 kms. from the city center. And while there is nothing more that makes me happy than seeing my daughters happy, I have grown tried from always going to Skyranch, which is Mischa’s favorite, and this visit to the zoo is a refreshing change from this (although we would still end up in Skyranch the following day). She was a bit petulant at first, but as kids are wont to be, she would enjoy herself as soon as we reached the animals.
It was drizzling when we came. Parking was a bit of a problem since the one they have can only accommodate, I think, 3 cars. Parking on the street outside was not an option since the zoo was on a town highway, and it was situated on a sloping part. Oh well, good thing there was only a handful who were crazy enough like us to traipse around a zoo on a rainy day.
What I liked about the zoo is that it is not very commercialized and the creatures that are inside are mostly in their natural habitats, and not caged or fenced, as bigger establishments usually do. Maybe it is because the animals are the tamer breeds – camels, ostriches, llamas, goats, sheep, rabbits, ducks, etc. Mischa was able to go inside an enclosure where she fed the animals. Both she and Maxine had fun observing and interacting with the animals.
But aside from the featured animals, there was also a huge flower garden, a butterfly santuary, a pet cemetery, of course, a souvenir shop, and a cafe. If anyone is interested, there are available cabin rooms for overnight stays.