Dinner at 22 Prime Discovery Suites

“Roses are red, violets are blue. We’ll treat you to dinner tonight at Prime 22.”

Toblerone cheesecake from Coffee Bean + calligraphy (c/o my sister, Camille)
Toblerone cheesecake from Coffee Bean + calligraphy (c/o my sister, Camille)

Two weeks ago, our parents celebrated their 30th anniversary. Because it was a very special occasion for the family, my siblings and I prepared two surprises for them that day. The first one was an invitation for our parents to have dinner with us at 22 Prime (Discovery Suites), one of the best steak restaurants in Manila. While, the second surprise was an email account filled with greetings and messages from more than 100 people, including family and friends. Yay!

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By God’s grace, our parents enjoyed the surprise celebration! We spent the whole night talking about their marriage, what they have been learning from their experiences, and how God has been so gracious to them and to our family for the past 30 years. (You can read more about it here: http://encouragingtreats.com/secret-30-years-marriage/)

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We usually don’t eat at hotels because of our budget. But, every now and then, it’s fun to try something new with the family. When we arrived at Prime 22, the staff warmly welcomed us and guided us to our table. They even offered to pull and push our chairs as we sat down. Love it! The place had dim and soft lights all over the place which helped create a cozy and relaxing atmosphere. Throughout the whole night, the waiters also stood nearby and attended to our requests. Even without us asking, they re-filled our glasses with cold water – a simple and thoughtful act that I truly appreciate as a customer whenever I dine out.  Moreover, while waiting for our main dishes, we were given two, refillable baskets of complimentary bread with spreads. The spreads offered were: Herbed butter, Feta Cheese in Olive Oil, and Sun Dried Tomatoes.

For our main dishes, we had the ff.:

LOBSTER BISQUE (Php 395) – Fresh lobster, micro greens, and tomato herb croutons. Although this soup was a bit salty for me, it still had a rich seafood taste and was very smooth and creamy.

Lobster Bisque at 22 Prime
Lobster Bisque at 22 Prime

PRIME CEASAR SALAD (Php 360) – Fresh bacon, six minute egg, and shaved parmesean cheese. A simple and refreshing salad. It helped balance the strong flavors of the soup and steaks.

Prime Ceasar Salad at 22 Prime
Prime Ceasar Salad at 22 Prime

SURF N TURF (Php 1,450) – Grilled Angus ribeye steak, jumbo prawns, twice baked potato, and grilled asparagus, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes. The 200-gram Angus steak was perfectly tender and juicy. It had a tangy gravy on the side, but even without it, it was already full of flavor. I just hoped that the steak and prawns were bigger though. But overall, it was a delicious dish. You can never go wrong with ordering steak and seafood. Well, for me, at least. It’s one of my favorite combinations!

Surf n Turf at 22 Prime
Surf n Turf at 22 Prime

WAGYU HANGER STEAK (Php 950) – 200-gram grilled hanger steak, baked tomato, and herb mashed potatoes. I like how the steak was perfectly grilled without having any hint of bitterness. Even if it had charred marks, it was delicious, juicy, tender, and flavorful. How did they do it? Haha! The mashed potatoes also complemented the steak well. It had the right amount of salt, butter, cream, and herbs.

Wagyu Hanger Steak at 22 Prime
Wagyu Hanger Steak at 22 Prime

OYSTERS PLATEAU (Php 1,200) – A tower of oysters served with a cocktail sauce, mignonette, and horseradish cream. THIS DISH WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT. We made sure to order oysters because we were celebrating the pearl anniversary of our parents. :) Aside from its lovely presentation, this tower had 3 kinds of oysters (broiled, baked, and Rockefeller) which was perfect for our family since we have different taste preferences. My personal favorite is the classic oysters Rockefeller (with lemon juice squeezed over them). My other siblings liked the cheesy baked and broiled oysters more.

Oysters Plateau at 22 Prime
Oysters Plateau at 22 Prime
Oysters Plateau at 22 Prime
Oysters Plateau at 22 Prime
Oysters Plateau at 22 Prime
Oysters Plateau at 22 Prime

CHOCOLATE GODDESS (Php 360) – Double chocolate mousse, melted dark chocolate, topped with candied pistachios. This dessert was amazing. Even after two weeks, I still remember how rich the chocolate flavor was. It also had a smooth texture which was very delectable. When I go back to Prime 22, I wouldn’t mind ordering this dessert again.

Chocolate Goddess at 22 Prime
Chocolate Goddess at 22 Prime

Before we left the place, the staff and waiters of Prime 22 were gracious enough to help us surprise our parents one last time that evening. Just before serving our dessert, they brought in a complimentary slice of chocolate cake with a dedication (made out of chocolate ganache) written on the plate. They also brought out the bouquet of flowers that we bought for mom earlier that day. Yay! Thank you, Prime 22, for the special treat!

22 Prime
22 Prime

As we were on our way out, our dad shared that his heart was so full and overwhelmed because of the love and grace they experienced that day through the surprise gifts and greetings. It was also a very encouraging experience for the whole family and we can only thank God for this privilege and for His grace.

This is the day which the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. –Psalm 118:24

 

Until our next special night out! :)

 

PRIME 22

22nd floor, Discovery Suites, 25 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center Pasig City.

For reservations, call  7196822  or 7198888.

www.discoverysuites.com

When I Sat on Chocolate Cake

I rarely eat sweets. But, when people offer chocolate cake, brownies, or crinkles, I usually give in. Most of the time, I buy or make these chocolate desserts whenever I crave sugar. I guess eating them is just a delightful thing to do! On the other hand, sitting on chocolate (or chocolate cake, in my case) is a different story. Haha! Let me share with you the highlight of my day.

Chocolate Cake and Outfit of the Day
Chocolate Cake and Outfit of the Day

Before going to work today, I spent time with God by writing my thoughts and prayers on my journal. In my heart, somehow, I knew that I was struggling with pride because I was dwelling on thoughts about “my” strengths or “my” good points. It was crazy. I wanted to share this struggle to God, but instead of acknowledging my pride and asking for His forgiveness, I just wrote “I humble myself before you, Lord, etc” on my notebook. After writing, I felt like I just sugar coated the words that came out of my heart. When I think about it now, it is so weird that I didn’t write what was really inside my heart. Was I worried about getting caught by others who might read my journal? Was I trying to hide my pride? Why was I so afraid to accept and write the truth when I was having a conversation with the One who created me; who knows my struggles even before I confess?

Fast forward to 6pm, while I was leaving the office, one of my colleagues asked if I had my period because it seemed like I had a huge stain on my black skirt. I told her that I didn’t. But, eventually, we realized that I had accidentally sat on a huge piece of chocolate cake this afternoon during our break. I felt so embarrassed because I walked around the building for hours that afternoon and I didn’t notice or feel it. Also, those who may have noticed it probably didn’t know how to inform me. Huhuhu. You could just imagine my reaction when I found out hours after the incident.

As I sat inside the car on my way home, I still felt ashamed. But because I didn’t want to think about it anymore, I tried to process things. I asked myself why I was so bothered by it. And then, I realized that I became so conscious of other people and of what they thought about the chocolate stain on my skirt. Clearly, my pride was affected and I was thinking too much of myself. I then remembered my time with God earlier today.

God spoke to my heart and convicted me of my pride. If I continue to be proud and if I choose not to acknowledge that the “strengths and good points” that I have were all because of God and His grace, I won’t be giving God the glory He deserves. Today’s incident was such a humbling reminder for me to always humble myself before God, acknowledge my weakness, repent, and do my best to honor and obey Him.

“For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”-Matthew 23:12

Grateful for today. :)
Grateful for today. :)

In spite of the embarrassing (and funny) situation today, I still thank God for showing His grace to me through these three things:

1.) At least, I was wearing a BLACK skirt. Haha!.

2.) I had a colleague who was kind and brave enough to warn/inform me.

3.) God didn’t want to let this day pass without helping me guard my heart from pride.

 

“Whenever I climb too high
Keep my feet on the ground
And when I get full of me turn me upside down
You know pride and not just summer
Come before the fall
So if You that’s getting bigger
I don’t mind being small”

[Jimmy Needham – Being Small]

Encourage yourself one treat at a time.

Chocolate Cake and Le Butter

Dear future self,

Just a piece of advice: Always remember that in order to make buttercream frosting, you’ll need to use butter. Hahaha!

Sincerely,

Me.

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I only had about two hours to bake and prepare a homemade chocolate cake for my younger brother who was coming home from a retreat in the province. I wanted it to be a surprise because we weren’t able to personally surprise him on the day of his birthday since he was out of town. So, I hurriedly prepared the cake batter and frosting, baked the cake and cupcakes, and frosted them just in time.

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While I was making the frosting, I noticed that unlike the other batches of frosting that I made, this batch produced fewer cups. I felt that something was missing, but because I didn’t have much time, I continued to frost the cakes. The frosting was very smooth, chocolaty, and creamy! It tasted like melted ice cream and it had just the right amount of sweetness!

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After eating dinner with the family at home, we brought the cake and cupcakes out and greeted our brother, Gabo, a happy birthday! By God’s grace, the freshly baked cakes were light, fluffy, and moist and the family appreciated how the frosting complemented the chocolate cakes. Of course, Gabo also pointed out that we used his favorite brand of milk chocolate on the cake and I think he was happy about it. Yay! Haha.

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When it was time to clear the table and clean the dishes, I placed some of the cupcakes and cake in the refrigerator and stored the leftover frosting in a small plastic container. Just before rinsing the rubber spatula that I used, I dipped my finger on the remaining chocolate frosting on it and tasted it one last time before the night ended. I couldn’t believe it. Immediately, I blurted out “Shucks. The butter. I forgot to add the butter!”

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It was hilarious because earlier that day, I even made an extra effort to buy more unsalted butter for the cake that I was going to make and I forgot to use it. Hahaha! I felt bad at first because it wasn’t the frosting that I originally wanted to make, but at the same time, I was grateful for it because it was a new discovery for me!

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When I told my family about it, I also mentioned that I was actually planning on using 1 cup of butter for the butter cream frosting. And when they heard “1 cup” they immediately said “Then, it was a good thing that you forgot to add it. Haha.”

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I love how God uses even the simplest mistakes made in the kitchen to remind me of how His grace is always more than enough for me. I was tempted to feel bad because I wasn’t able to use butter cream frosting for the cake, but at that moment, that melted-ice-cream frosting was THE frosting that God wanted us to taste and enjoy. Plus, although it would probably taste delicious too, we were spared from indulging on butter that night. Alright!

It was a great reminder for me to keep on trusting that God is in control, that He knows exactly what I need, and that He is always more than enough for me. :)

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.”

[Proverbs 19:21]

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To my younger bro, ‘Gaboot’,

You’re now 21 years old. Woohoo! We’ve had so many crazy moments together since we were kids and I know that we will continue to be crazy when we get older. But, by God’s grace, I’ve seen you become more mature in different aspects and it has been a blessing for me to see you grow. I pray that God would continue to give you the desire to know, love, and serve Him all the days of your life. May He use you even more to reach out to others and share the love of Christ to those around you. And even though this stage in your life might be quite challenging, I believe that you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. Psalm 105:4!

Lurve,

Le Butter. (HAHA. *inside joke*)

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CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES*

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

4 eggs

1 cup plain sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Stir the flour, cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a bowl.
  3. Mix in the butter until the ingredients are well-combined.
  4. Add in the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla.
  5. Fill the cupcake liners and bake for about 15 minutes. Use a toothpick to check the center of the cupcakes if they’re done.
  6. Cool completely before frosting. I used Cadbury milk chocolate to design the cake too!

 

*Recipe adapted from http://bakingamoment.com

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CHOCOLATE FROSTING**

1 cup milk

2/3 cup white sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

  1. Mix the milk, white sugar, flour, and cocoa powder in a pan.
  2. Bring it to a boil while stirring, until the mixture is thick. Set aside to cool.
  3. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave. Set aside to slightly cool.
  4. Whisk the chocolate mixture in step 1 with the softened butter, until creamy.
  5. Add in the melted chocolate. Whisk until fluffy and well-combined.

**Recipe adapted from http://www.visionsofsugarplum.com

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)