Wednesday, May 13, 2009

There's Always Time for Mom

During this unusually hectic period in my life, I suddenly find myself at a different pace. Before, in between handling issues at work and planning my wedding, I have always found time to focus on my writing, chill out with some friends, goof-off in Facebook and even sneak in a bit of girly pampering once in a while. Recently though, I catch myself multi-tasking (a skill that I have never been very good at) in the office as the final stretch of wedding preparations takes up most of my time. My blog (until this entry) has been quiet for more than a week and on most days I am too burned-out to even have a few drinks with friends. As I lay in bed catching a bit of riveting reality TV, my mind still races, thinking of things I have yet to accomplish, while I nervously picked at a neglected fingernail.

When Mother’s Day came around, though, I have decided to “take a chill pill” (as my sister Foxychef always tells me) and put my focus on something else. Yes, I know that Mother’s Day was probably a marketing plot dreamt-up by some Machiavellian capitalist swine that needed to boost sales in his flower shop. But then, there are a lot of things more wrong in this world than honoring the person that endured 26 hours of labor and a permanently-protruding bellybutton to bring me into this world. So, I made sure I was well-rested the evening before that so I would be bright and perky all Sunday.

I originally wanted to bring my mom to brunch at Myron’s Place, but it was already fully-booked when I called. The next place I thought of was Chelsea Market and Café, a restaurant I knew my mom liked. Since they do not accept reservations I knew we had to be there early, preferably before 11 AM.

Matt also brought his mom, and luckily they arrived early enough to score us a table. My parents and I- along with my sister Queenbee, brother-in-law Marc, niece Rianna and her Yaya Grace- arrived a few moments after. Matt, being the uncharacteristically sweet and romantic German that he is, gave each of the mommies in the group a bouquet of flowers. My mom, annoyed that we were at a table near the kitchen, asked the manager to give us another table beside the window, which was reserved. “First come, first served, diba?”, she asked in her signature tone which has been compared to Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada. Good thing that the manager was smart enough not to argue.

With our frosty drinks, we were served their freshly baked focaccia bread and spiced bread sticks accompanied by a huge head of roasted garlic.

To start our meal, I ordered two kinds of salad, which came in huge serving bowls: Roasted Chicken with Romaine Lettuce, Crispy Bacon and Ceasar Dressing, and Mesclun Greens with Green Apples, Gorgonzola, Walnuts and Vinaigrette. The chicken Ceasar is a favorite of ours, but we got another salad for Matt and his mom, Tita Beth, who do not eat pork. Matt cannot resist the allure of the chicken Ceasar, though, as he got himself a serving while avoiding the bacon. Across the table, Rianna happily munched on the crispy strips of pork.

We also shared the Jalapeno Cheddar and Emmenthal Fondue with cherry tomatoes, olives, boiled baby potatoes, crutons and chips. Matt would have wanted more Jalapenos, but I thought it was good that it was not too spicy. Everyone enjoyed this, obviously. Cheese is, without a doubt, a consistent crowd-pleaser in our family.

For variety, we decided to order a bunch of main courses for sharing. Something we always order in Chelsea is the Fish and Chips, which my dad pounced on and so I was not able to take a picture of it. The first time I ordered it, I was glad that they stayed true to the original British beer-battered crust that I think is essential. Too often I have been disappointed upon being served a panko-crumbed fillet of white fish in some restos. Chelsea’s version is one of the few winners in the city, for sure.

Great value for money is the Whole Roasted Chicken with rice Pilaf which easily serves four on its own. The chicken was beautiful to look at and perfectly-cooked, the rich aroma of rosemary and paprika permeates the senses.

Matt, who is in love with pizza, just had to order a combo of the Five Cheese and Portobello Mushroom. When it arrived, though, it seemed much smaller than the sixteen-inch diameter that the menu promised. The flavor, too, was a bit lacking somehow. I remember the Portobello Mushroom pizza to be much better.

Queenbee asked me to order the Fetuccini Carbonara for Rianna, who is a big fan of the pasta dish. Chelsea’s version is, once again, true to the original, using fresh egg yolk to thicken its already creamy sauce, while crispy bacon bits (real bacon, not the one from a plastic bottle) add a smoky, salty flavor. Yes, you guessed it, another family favorite.

Although stuffed from the large amount of food that was previously consumed (even resident “garbage compactor” Matt has raised the white flag), I just could not resist having a taste of their Cookie Dough Cheesecake which I have been eyeing for quite some time. A huge slice came to the table and, upon inspection, I noticed that not only was it topped with little balls of cookie dough, but the crust was cookie dough as well. This dessert was so rich that two mouthfuls of the stuff were enough to satisfy me. I loved it though, and if somebody brings this to my next birthday party, I would be eternally grateful.

After my dad finished his coffee, we decided to escape the afternoon heat at Serendra and move on to our various afternoon activities: Manicure and pedicure for me and Queenbee, nail art for Rianna’s little toes (she opted for white bunnies with a sky blue background); fearing boredom as we went about our girly business, Marc accompanied my dad to the off-track betting station; mom had her hair blow-dried for our dinner date with Tita B and family. We all then met up at the nail salon where my mom surprised us by paying for our mani-pedis. Rianna also got a treat and was given the ironing board (go figure) she has always wanted.

It was the first time ever that I treated my mom to a Mother’s Day lunch. With the big day coming up, I cannot help but feel nostalgic and emotional as I close this chapter in my life and move on to the next. Despite being a very tight-knit family, we rarely demonstrate or verbalize our love and appreciation for each other. It is during these little moments when we laugh, talk and simply spend time together that I show them, in my own weird way, how much I love them.

(Awkward pause)

Mom, I hope you enjoyed your Mother’s Day. Thanks for being the best mother you could ever be to me and my sisters. You have that gift of knowing when to hold me back and when to let go, and I am the happy, well-balanced person I am now because of it. Thanks again for everything. Love you!

(Awkard pause)

Chelsea Market and Café
Serendra Piazza
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Tel. no. (632)9097011


Miguel said...

Nice pictures...its nice when you have natural light...thats the best light for food pics...

Chinkee said...

Hi Mig! Wow that's a major compliment coming from you. Its the firs time someone complimented my food shots. Hehe. I will print it and frame it to the wall. Hahahaha! Thanks:-)