When I worked in Quezon City, the company I worked for had a cafeteria where I pretty much grew plumper than usual because of the food. They served the more sinful fare of the northern provinces – singanglaw (pigs’ ears and minced pig snout cooked in a ginger broth) and papaitan (beef offal cooked in a rich, fatty, somewhat bitter, bile-based broth) along with sisig (chopped up pig face cooked with eggs, onion, and a touch of garlic) and Hungarian sausages with gravy. Later on, towards the end of my tenure at said office, they began serving up Chinese-style pork adobo – a rich, fatty sort of dish with an unctuous sauce that was more sweet than spicy.
Moving back to Makati for work some years ago has given me access to a cafeteria with better food – better in the sense that it’s healthier and the food appears to be lots fresher. Case in point is the set meal shown above which consists of rice (can’t live without the grain regardless of what the diet-mad tell me!), an entree called Fish Normande, parsleyed succotash of green beans, carrots, and jicama on the side, and a compote of fresh summer fruit.
The Fish Normande was excellent: creme dory fillets wrapped in thin crepes and doused with a sauce made of Calvados-infused cream and capers. Normally a mild-tasting fish, dory prepared in this manner gets shown off quite well: a delicate meatiness amped by the richness of the cream and the sharpness of the capers.
Set meal sides are usually uninteresting, but the vegetables here were beautifully crisp-tender. The parsley butter brought out the natural sweetness of the veg and the sliced jicama brought a welcome crunch. The carrots tasted almost as if they’d been cooked in honey and the green beans had a delectable nuttiness.
The compote was so-so: assorted melon chunks with a bit of banana and avocado in a vanilla-infused syrup. However, it was refreshingly cold and the fruit properly crisp where it mattered – perfect for an almost unbearably muggy day.
After having this and numerous other excellent meals, I can safely say that – as delicious as the food was – I don’t miss that other cafeteria. 😀
Incidentally… If you have the time to read, please feel free to check out Puck and Ginger, my latest foray into fiction. As I was telling my friends, it involves a rock star, a chef, a skanky pair of soon-to-be-exes, and a matchmaking bandmate.
Oh, and if given the chance to turn this story into a screenplay, I’d cast James McAvoy (currently Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class) as Puck and his X-Men co-star Michael Fassbender as his matchmaking bandmate. Ah, a lass can dream…
Oh, and just a bit of foodie trivia about these gorgeous gents: James McAvoy was actually quite the skilled confectioner before he became famous. Michael Fassbender, on the other hand, is the son of a chef – and actually does some cooking, too!