There are four badminton groups I join at Valle Verde Country Club—MWF, TTh, Saturday and Sunday groups.
Each group talks to me about food. I must look like some sort of crispy pata, or perpetually hungry.
Our MWF group has traveled to Asia—Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and, most recently, South Korea.
My Sunday group usually celebrates someone’s birthday by treating the celebrator to a restaurant of his choice or one of our “blessed” members just treats us to some buffet of his choice. “La lang, type nya lang.”
Last Monday, we had lunch in a hotel. This took two weeks of planning. On the day of the lamon, I skipped breakfast and stretched my tummy space to maximize this feast.
Since I am always so hungry when I start, my mind tells me, “This is such a delicious spread.”
The only time I realize how good it really is or isn’t is when I leave the place. And most of the time, it is a letdown.
Between a huge spread and one with fewer items but where almost everything is a winner, I would choose the latter.
We all have our own strategy in attacking a buffet. I check out the spread twice, then plan my approach. I like to start with the salads, then move on to tiny portions of what appeals to my eyes and imagination, then finally go back and focus on those I like.
This spread we tried recently had a salad bar with cold cuts, soups, a tray of European cheeses, oysters, steamed clams and mussels, an assortment of sashimi and sushi, fresh chilled shrimps, a handful of Pinoy dishes, a few roasts, European stews, an Italian spread, assorted pastries and New Zealand ice cream.
With my cardiologist and badminton buddy, Doc Eric Pascual, seated across from me, I started with two plates of salad with blue cheese dressing, some turkey pastrami which I thought was delicious, and a couple of slices of Spanish Manchego cheese. On the side, I also had crusty farmer’s bread. Fantastic!
For my third round, I had some fresh peeled shrimps with the light red shrimp cocktail sauce. Sarap! I paused and joined the banter then went back and had the lengua which had a fantastic sauce but I felt the meat could be a bit more tender.
I got a beef Burgundy that was made very well with the authentic taste of red wine sauce. The lamb minted stew was also outstanding. The chunks of lamb were sticky-tender and the aroma of the meat and richness of the sauce made me want to go back.
The barbecue ribs were very good but a bit dry, possibly left over from the night before. I still loved it. The striploin roast with baked potato on the side and gravy also looked very good but, like I said, my cardiologist was right across from me. I’ll return for that.
I had a cheese platter of Emmental, blue cheese and my favorite Manchego after the meal.
For dessert, I had a pecan pie and a slice of bittersweet chocolate cake with two scoops of creamy New Zealand ice cream, salted caramel and chocolate Oreo. The salted caramel is to die for.
I know I will be going back because, as soon as I took my first bite, I was on my cell calling my other buffet partners, my two boys Franco and Arturo. Both athletes, they also love to eat and eat a lot. They took after their mother.
You can use that as an indicator of how good the food is. If your loved ones come to mind when you’re eating, that’s a sign you’re enjoying the meal. I still dream about this buffet.
My plan was not to eat too much since I wanted to play badminton a few hours after. Of course, I was a miserable failure at that attempt.
Today, this has become one of my two favorite buffet spreads. Not too much but quality is outstanding. Check it out!
Spectrum is at Fairmont Hotel in Makati; tel. 7951888. Visit the author’s blog sandydaza.blogspot.com and follow on Twitter @sandydaza