A Date Back in Time

Thanks to Deal Grocer, I was able to book our 7th wedding anniv date at La Cocina de Tita Moning at a discounted price. We’ve been meaning to try this much talked-about resto (it’s always included in Manila’s list of best restos) for the longest time but we always put it off, partly because dining here doesn’t come cheap and partly because we almost always go out as a family, with our kids in tow. Now that Phoenix is 2 and he doesn’t breastfeed as much, hubby and I can schedule longer dates, just us.

La Cocina de Tita Moning (LCTM), as they say, is not just a restaurant but a dining experience. We didn’t expect much for fear that we might be disappointed. But LCTM did not disappoint. The Legarda house near Malacanang is where the resto stands. It is actually the Legarda family’s ancestral house that was converted into the resto. After we parked our car, we joined the other guests for the evening in the open patio at the back of the house where we were served quezo de bola toasts and lemongrass iced tea. We were then guided to a tour of the house. The moment we stepped in, there was a whiff of antique. It was like traveling back in time, looking at the old books, old pictures, antique photography and radio equipment. It was amazing how the family was able to preserve the glory of the old days.  After the tour, we were led to our tables.

Despite the formal table setup, the place didn’t feel stiff at all. The servers were friendly, but not too friendly so as to still give you the privacy you want, and the atmosphere was light and very welcoming.

We chose Classic Menu #2. La Cocina’s Gazpacho with Fresh Crab Salad was our starter. We both loved it! I didn’t even get to take a pic of this because we were too busy enjoying it! I love cooking and making my version of the dishes I taste in restos. Usually, I can detect the ingredients in a dish and tweak it at home, but this soup left me clueless. The ingredients blended so well together to make a whole, new enticing flavor.

After the soup, we had Paella Valenciana, which was served in solo paelleras, and Grilled Eggplant Salad. The paella was really good! Pairing it with the eggplant salad was a welcome surprise. They are a perfect match!

At this point, I was starting to get stuffed but, wait, there was more. Next course was the Slowly Roasted Pork in its Own Chicharon paired with Candied Sweet Camote. We also had Sauteed Ubod and Organic Brown Rice. The roasted pork was a revelation! It was heavenly especially when eaten with the camote. Hubby couldn’t get enough of it. Even the brown rice was cooked to perfection.

For dessert, we had Caramelized Saba with Vermouth, assorted fresh fruits, and Quezo de Bola Cheesecake with Fresh Mango Sauce. This was paired with either barako coffee, herb tea, or hot chocolate. The dessert was nothing much to rave about. I just don’t know if it’s because we were so full already from the main course. We didn’t get to finish our cheesecakes and the staff wrapped it up for us to bring home. The day after our date, I ate it with freshly brewed coffee and was able to appreciate it more.

Dining at La Cocina de Tita Moning was truly a memorable experience. Hubby and I had a wonderful time. Definitely so worth it = )

January 27, 2011. General. 3 comments.

Planting Memories

My husband and I are pretty simple people. He works and provides for the family, while I stay home and attend to the kids. I have a small business and take some editing work on the side for some extra moolah. We don’t live an extravagant lifestyle, we don’t get the latest gadgets, and we’re not into shopping much. What we do spend on are memories. Yes, we occasionally give in to the “good life”. Road trips, travels to nearby towns outside the metro, and overnight hotel stays. Others may find it a waste of time, or even a waste of money, to be spending so much for just one night or one weekend. But hubby and I agree on one thing: We’re planting memories! Memories that can go a long, long way.

Let’s face it, these days life can keep us away from life itself. Our day-to-day activities could take a toll on our relationships. Being a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) does not make me exempt from all the stresses of the world. Some days I feel crappier. Some days I just want to lock myself in the bathroom and forget I have errands to run and kids to homeschool. Spending a night away from home is the perfect breather. It takes us all out of the routine and we get to hang out as a family and bond. We don’t do much, actually. We would try out some recommended restos in the area, but most of the time, the four of us would just hang out in our hotel room doing nothing. We treasure these moments.

Zoe and Phoenix love our family outings. Zoe would go on for days, recalling what she did in detail, as she would look forward to our next trip. She now dreams of living in a hotel. I secretly dream of owning one, hahaha.

The kids are growing up fast. Sooner or later they will have their own set of friends and would want to hang out with their peers. For now, they belong to us. Hopefully, they will look back at their childhood with a smile in their heart and they will face the world knowing they have a home and a family with them wherever they go.

January 23, 2011. Tags: , , . General. 1 comment.