Wednesday, December 30, 2015

College Friends Get Together in Blackbird Restaurant

The Christmas holiday is the season for reunions with family and friends. This year was a reunion for friends whom I haven't seen in awhile - my College gal pals. I had not seen most of them in awhile as we live in different parts of the Metro with various work schedules and basically different lives now (some of them are already married with kids and one works as an OFW in Dubai).

I haven't seen Kat, the one who works in Dubai, since her wedding in Tagaytay. So when she came home for Christmas this year and invited us to a dinner meet up, I made sure to find time.  

Marian suggested Blackbird Restaurant in Ayala Triangle, Makati. I've had that restaurant in my list of food places to try in the city. 

Before it was a restaurant, this was originally an airport that was way back in 1937 until 1947. It was the first modern and commercial international airport during World War II. It also served as the base of the Japanese and American soldiers. After the war, the Ayala Group of Companies retained its original architecture before the war to serve as a reminder that this was the leading transportation and communication site. 

When I was old enough to roam around the streets of Ayala, Makati, this building was already the Filipinas Heritage Library until recently of course when it was transformed to a fine dining restaurant that serves contemporary European and Asian dishes.  

We made reservations for 7PM and Jack and I got there about 30 minutes early. We decided to wait for awhile for our friends to show up thinking we were the first ones to arrive. 

There was a bar across the waiting area where you could order a drink or two.

Finally at 7 PM, we decided it was time to go to our table and just wait for the rest of our friends there rather than possibly lose our reservation.

This hallway leads to the inside of the restaurant. 

The restaurant was packed and so the only table we could get was outside so be sure to reserve a table early. Anyway it was okay. December nights now are cold so dining al fresco at Blackbird is actually very nice. Plus the ambience outside is beautiful.  

Kat and Jayson were already there and when Marian arrived, we decided we'd go ahead and order. 

For starters, we ordered:

Tempura Eggplant
Prawn scotch eggs, betel leaves, coconut chili sambal 

Twice cooked beef short rib sweet fish sauce hot and sour salad

We also ordered two kinds of pizza.

Mushrooms, guanciale, fontina, thyme and truffle oil
Italian sausage, fennel tomatoes mozzaa and chili

The Italian sausage was just okay. I was excited about the mushrooms pizza but it seemed overcooked as it was pretty hard to eat. 

Kath and Karla ordered pasta:

Portobello mushroom asparagus fontina, truffle oil lasagna 

Linguine, mussels, squid, sweet shrimp, saffron, roast tomato  

While Marian, Jack and I ordered these:

Lamb rendang fried egg pickles rice 

Blackbird fish pie salmon, smoked trout, sweet shrimps, creamy leeks, potato crush 

What was I thinking ordering lamb rendang? I'm not into spicy kinds of food. Jack exchanged dishes with me since I liked the blackbird fish pie better. However you'll find that the taste can be too much after awhile so you gotta balance it with the leafy greens.

Kath's husband, Jayson was also with us that night and this is what he ordered:

Dry rubbed wagyu hanger steak, mustard butter and fries 

The waiter said the main dishes are only good for 1 person however we all found the servings to be big and would have been good enough for sharing especially since we ordered a lot - the starters with the pizzas alone were already filling.

After dinner, we moved to another spot for desserts.

I loved this area as it was a bit more secluded from the rest of the diners. A great spot to catch up on each others' lives.

Cheesecake, macadamia praline, banna brulee, dulce de leche 
Burnt butter and vanilla seed ice creams, chocolate brownie, candied pop corn, salted caramel 
Old friends meet again, wearing older faces 

Blackbird Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Rainbow Rowell's Attachments

At the start of the year, I challenged myself to read 24 books this 2015. Well, it's almost the end of the year and I am not even halfway through meeting that challenge. I pledged to read 24 books this year because I thought it's something I can easily meet after successfully meeting my GoodReads challenge last year.

Anyway this is not to say I'm already giving up. There's still a couple more days left in December for me to complete the challenge. For now, let me share with you another Rainbow Rowell book I recently read.

The plot: Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?

I enjoyed reading this book. I thought the overall story is cute. I could picture myself and Maila as Beth and Jennifer because we used to gab a lot virtually too while at the office except we didn't use email. We used a private message program installed by the office and Yahoo Messenger. Sometimes we gabbed on Facebook. 

The story is set in the late 90s when there was a whole lot of buzz about the Millennium bug and how it was going to cause a system crash in the PC come 12 midnight of the year 2000. I remember that era because I was in high school during that time and Internet was fairly new. 
I thought that Beth and Jen were awesome women. Very relatable. Like I said, I could picture Maila and I as them. I also found them to be witty, strong and smart women judging from the email exchanges they sent each other. 

Lincoln, the hero of the book, I could picture him as this big and cute guy. But personality wise I didn't like him. He wasn't very sociable and he didn't have a lot of direction in life. He didn't really know what he wanted to do so he kept going back to school to study. But I appreciate his transformation - from this lost and brokenhearted guy to someone who finally decided it was time to become an adult and move on with life. 

Though I liked reading Jen and Beth's private conversations throughout the book, after some time I was beginning to find it dragging.

I thought the story of Lincoln and Beth was cute. Especially when Lincoln started reading about Beth's office crush which got him real jealous and then realizing it was him all along!    

I would go and recommend reading this book. It's such a feel good.