Wednesday 19 June 2013

The Big K's birthday treat in Tagaytay

June is the most celebrated month in our family. For some divine reason several family members have something to celebrate in June. 

Okay let's see now, there are the birthdays of my beautiful mother who unintentionally named me after an infamous French queen that probably influenced my love for anything French, two grandmothers who have long been celebrating their birthdays with the good Lord, the gorgeous H's adoring and long suffering husband, Dr. A. and his equally engaging dad, Dr. Z. who portrays the jolly good guy come Christmas time (the gorgeous H is the perfect foil as the sidekick elf), then there's the wedding anniversary of my big little brother and charming sister-in-law (got to be in the good side of the in laws!). 

And of course last but not the very least, the big K and I celebrate both our birthdays in June.

Surprise dessert treat for the big K from Verbena restaurant. Not as artistically done as Antonio's but good-tasting nonetheless. I just wished it came in a bigger slice! 

As celebrations go, instead of the typical exchange of material gifts the big K and I have long made it a tradition to go somewhere on our birthdays and wedding anniversaries. This time was no different. Well, except for one thing. The big K didn't know that we were going to have an overnighter instead of a simple birthday treat outing in Tagaytay.

So off to Tagaytay.......

Lovely view of Taal lake and its volcano from the balcony of our room at the Discovery Country Suites. 

Tagaytay is a city south of Manila blessed with a cooler climate because of its high altitude. It also has one of the best views of Taal lake and its volcano island in the middle of the lake. On a good day it is an easy hour and half to two hours drive from Manila. 

Just a side note: in the Philippines distance is not measured in kilometers or miles rather it is measured by the time it takes one to get from point A to point B. Try asking how far Tagaytay is from Manila, if you are expecting a numeric answer, think again. A typical response would be that it's a two hour drive away (come to think of it, it still is a numeric answer right?). Just one of the quirks you'll encounter when traveling in the Philippines. 

Discovery Country Suites Tagaytay

We often pass by this hotel every time we are in Tagaytay. Our friends who have stayed here highly recommend the place and their good food. So what better time to discover what this hotel had to offer than dining at their restaurant AND surprise, surprise! staying overnight to celebrate the big K's birthday.

The big K and I arrived just in time for lunch. We couldn't wait to try out their specialties. We were first served the usual complimentary bread with three different spreads: white bean, chicken liver butter and tomato. I loved the white bean and chicken liver butter! The tomato was a bit bland for my taste.

For starters, we ordered their Baby Tatsoi and Mizuna salad which came with aragula leaves, pears, blue cheese lightly dressed with a sweet sherry vinaigrette. Good serving just enough for two.

Looking at the menu I didn't know what to order for my entree. I wanted to try everything! Might as well try a little of everything. Well not really everything but three dishes that I assumed were the more popular ones since they came with their sampler plate. 

  • US beef goulash - Loved this dish! The meat was extra tender soaked in a light spicy sauce. 
  • Australian lamb riblets with homemade barbeque sauce - the meat likewise was tender and very well flavored topped with a savory sauce. It was good! I would order this again.
  • Grilled Norwegian salmon with arugula-mushroom salad - it was not as flavorful as I would have wanted it plus the fish was a bit overdone. This was a pass.

I think they do their meat dishes very well since the big K's order of braised Australian lamb shank that came with homemade herb pasta, olives and tomatoes was really very tasty. I had to stop the big K from licking his plate after! 

And now for the big K's surprise!

I booked the Oxford suite. It was a lovely room, huge (we could have a party for a dozen or more people easy!). It had its own balcony with a fantastic view of the lake. Oh, in case you're wondering I brought the wine.

The suite came with an equally huge bathroom! It even had its own carpet. Their toiletries were from the Italian luxury brand, Acca Kappa

What makes this bathroom special is the view of the lake while you're soaking right in your own tub. Just don't forget to pull down the blinds otherwise the guys at the Starbucks next door will be getting a free peep show with their shots of espressos. 

Cocktails, Dinner and yet another surprise

A stay at the Discovery Country Suites comes with a complimentary afternoon cocktails of wine, cheese and hors d'oeuvres. 

For dinner I had their Lucban Longganisa Risotto that came with bell peppers, spring onions, chili peppers and Spanish paprika butter while the big K had the Linguini Nero that came with garlic and baby shrimps, zuchini and slow roasted tomatoes. Our clear favorite was the risotto. 

And now for the other surprise. Returning to our room after dinner the big K did a double take and thought he entered the wrong room. 

Rose petals were strewn all over the floor leading to our bed with a "Happy Birthday" banner for the big K. More rose petals led to the bathroom where tea lights illuminated the tub that was filled with sweet-smelling bubble bath. Perfect to end the pretty amazing day!

Oh! I should not forget to mention the warm milk and chocolate chip cookies, nice touch to send us off to lalaland. 

The Big K's birthday treat continues here.

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