My husband is fond of Chinese restaurants, so with the arrival of the cool season, has wanted for the last few weeks to go into Manila for a feast.
Usually we find one of the larger restaurants and go in and order all sorts of food and he chooses most of them and presides over the feast, a joyful family celebration.
So he has been asking to do this for several weeks, and wanted to go last Sunday.
But it is also pre christmas season and there are a lot of trade fairs so Chano and Joy are busy. Then we are having to process the rice for Christmas gifts, which we pack in a decorative package as a gift. Since we now have our own ricemill, that means checking the mill (some of the rollers broke down, so we had to replace them) and also planting rice in the dry season (We lost part of the last harvest from typhoon related flooding).
So Lolo asked to go on Wednesday or Thursday (Thanksgiving, not celebrated here) but they decided to take us on Friday for evening supper.
Big mistake: No, not because of shoppping but because the traffic is worse Friday with everyone going to visit relatives outside Manila.
It took us two hours to get to the mall in Bulacan (and it would be another hour by freeway to Manila and then going through the bad 5 pm traffic to find a busy restaurant on Friday evening). By this time, I was feeling lousy, Ruby had car sickness, and so we stopped at the mall, not for the food court but to go to the Chinese sit down restaurant there.
The place was clean and the menu good.
But the food was poorly cooked. Tasteless. The chicken and fish was supposed to be batter fried, but was frozen stuff they merely heated or microwaved so it was tough and the coating was like paper. Then they used a canned a sweet and sour sauce on top, instead of a freshly made sauce.
The fried veggie dish was also tasteless. Even the lechee nuts were canned with cool aide type cherry juice to flavor it.
The only thing good was the fried rice dishes. But even these lacked the garlic and onions that one expects, and the "special" fried rice merely had canned gravy and veggies over it: tasted okay but it wasn't fresh, and for the prices we paid, it should have been better.
I am now heart broken. What we should have had was a joyful meal, but Chano and Joy were busy talking and fighting over the orders that needed to be prepared, Ruby was bored and busy texting all over, and I was bored too: the food would have been better from the food court. Indeed, there was a Pizza hut and a barbecue restaurant next to where we ate, and I was tempted to go there for take out.
Lolo seemed to enjoy it, but it breaks my heart to know what we were looking forward to, and what we actually did.
So should I have backed Lolo and gone to Manila? No, because with the heavy traffic, we would all have been exhausted by the time we reached there.