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

Through the Eyes of the Chef

Earlier today, I treated myself with a Fillet Mignon from one of the restaurants in megamall. I actually planned on eating a steak this weekend because I wanted to satisfy my craving for juicy meat. Since my siblings had other plans after the church service and I didn’t, I decided to buy the steak and go home immediately.

While I was driving home, all I could think of was how good the steak would taste like. As soon as I could, I prepared my late lunch and took my first bite. After a few seconds of chewing on the juicy piece of meat, I thought to myself, “Umm.. Is it just me or is the flavor of the steak kind of… bland.” I ended up getting disappointed with the dish. It wasn’t what I expected. It wasn’t worth the money. It wasn’t good enough for me, even when I added more spices to it.

But, somehow, in spite of my ungrateful and proud heart, God took that moment to speak to me. Through Him, I realized that maybe the chef who prepared that dish had a special purpose for it. Maybe, he’s used to creating dishes with mild flavors. Or maybe, other customers would like mild-seasoned steaks more. I realized that I shouldn’t let my disappointments hinder me from having a grateful heart. I was having steak for lunch and that was something I can thank God for. :)

After eating, I spent the rest of the afternoon browsing through my old journals and I read my entries last January 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 for a special reason. And it was interesting because when I went through my journal last January 12, 2012, I read a lesson that God taught me when I was dining in one of the restaurants in megamall. The funny thing about it was that the restaurant I mentioned in my journal last year was the same restaurant that I went to a while ago, when I bought the steak.

Photo taken last January 2012

I wrote:

“The moment I got in this restaurant, I noticed the messy, broken, seemingly undone and ugly brick walls around. While I was waiting for my drink, I thought about the walls and realized that the owner of the restaurant really designed and made the walls the way they are right now for a special purpose. Maybe, he wanted them to reflect the place where the restaurant originated from (with matching foreign music playing in the background)..

In spite of the chipped walls, hardened drippings of cement, and partial white painted walls, I somehow began to appreciate the walls when I look at them through a panoramic view. It’s like I’m actually in the country where this restaurant came from. :) Thank You, Lord, because in the same way, You are showing me that it’s so easy for me to look at myself and others and see only the “ugly” things in our lives. It’s so easy for me to dwell on thoughts and think of how I’ll never be good enough or never have enough in this life (similar to these walls.)

Photo taken last January 2012... with my mango shake. :P

But, just like how these walls were carefully made by the owner, I know that You have beautifully created us for a purpose and You’ve given deep thought to every detail in our lives. You remind me to continue looking at my life (and others’ lives) through Your eyes; through the “panoramic view” and see Your goodness and beauty. Definitely, You are more than enough for me, Jesus. Thank You for the encouragement. :)”

Psalm 139:13 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

I couldn’t believe it. God somehow connected what I learned today to what He taught me last January 2012… concerning the same restaurant.

Indeed, even though I got disappointed with the Fillet Mignon I ordered today, I am encouraged to look at the dish through the eyes of the chef who made it and appreciate it for what it is. Maybe it is the chef’s specialty… or maybe it is not. :P Nonetheless, I thank God for the dish and for the privilege of learning through it. :)

Steak Au Poivre a la Julia Child

Google’s logo last August 15, 2012 caught my attention while I was browsing through the internet that day. Julia Child would have turned 100 years old last Wednesday! It was very interesting for me because ever since I watched the movie, Julie and Julia, I was more encouraged to pursue cooking and baking. In honor of one of my culinary inspirations, I prepared Steak Au Poivre in the style of Julia Child and served it with homemade, creamy mashed potatoes and buttered asparagus.

I honestly still get intimidated by Julia Child’s recipes. They seem to require a lot of effort and expensive ingredients. Moreover, in her cookbooks and television shows, she even walks us through EVERY SINGLE detail of her recipes. Talk about hard work, determination, and passion for food! However, despite the long procedures involved in her recipes, the dishes continue to fascinate me. :)  Thus, although I’ve never cooked a steak in my life before, I was inspired to make Steak Au Poivre last night.

I was staring at my raw steaks while my pan was heating up when I told God: “Lord, I honestly don’t know how to cook these. I’m not like Julia Child or other well-experienced chefs. Would you please give me wisdom? I know that YOU know HOW to cook steaks. Thank You! :)”

After I prayed, God somehow encouraged me to feel and poke the seasoned, raw meat with my fingers before cooking them. I then carefully placed the meat on the hot pan and let it cook for a few minutes. Later, I flipped the meat and cooked the other side for a few more minutes. And lastly, when both sides were done, I wrapped it in foil and let it rest for a while. (Resting the steak in foil would help keep the juices inside the meat, making it more tender.)

I felt nervous after cooking the steaks because I didn’t have a meat thermometer, and I couldn’t tell if they were medium rare, medium well, or well done. Nonetheless, I opened the wrapped foil and by God’s grace, the steaks looked amazingly juicy, tender, and were wonderfully cooked. I immediately prepared the dish with mashed potatoes, buttered asparagus, and sprinkled bits of basil on top.

 

My very supportive and encouraging family enjoyed the Steak Au Poivre with me. One of my brothers, after tasting the steak, even said: “Wow, Nic. I’m speechless, astonished, and amazed…” Hahaha. I actually laughed at him when he said that because I knew that it was a line from a song (Speechless by Steven Curtis Chapman). I continued the lyrics and said to him: “…I am silenced by His wondrous grace.” :) Indeed, it was only by God’s grace that I was able to make Julia Child’s Steak Au Poivre

As I was cleaning some of the equipment I used, I could still remember the delicious combination of the tender steak, creamy mashed potatoes, and the fresh, crisp asparagus. And although I am not an expert, I always enjoy rearranging the food, taking photos of it, and making the dish look more presentable. :)

Before going to bed last night, I read more about Julia Child and got encouraged by what she quoted before:

You never forget a beautiful thing that you have made,’ [Chef Bugnard] said.

‘Even after you eat it, it stays with you – always.”
―Julia Child, My Life in France

After reading that, I learned that Julia Child saw the beauty in the dishes that she made, even if other people didn’t exactly agree or find pleasure with how or what she cooks. I was amazed by her ability to use even the simplest ingredients to make extraordinary French dishes. God then spoke to my heart and I realized how I was even more amazed by Him and the beautiful things He createsIt says in: 

Psalm 139:14

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Isaiah 49:15

“…I will not forget you.”

If Julia Child can excellently make French food and inspire millions of people in the world, how much more can God, the creator of the universe, make beautiful things out of us? It was also such an encouragement to be reminded by God, that in spite of the “ugly” things we may have done in the past, our failures and wrongdoings, He still sees us for who we really are — chosen and unconditionally loved by Him.

Certainly, God does not look at us and think: “Wow, what a disappointment.” But instead, He takes pleasure in what He created and He sees the good and beauty in us; He sees Jesus in us. :)

Genesis 1:31 “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

 

What a treat, indeed! Thank You, Lord, for making beautiful things. :)