On a Monday night, the last thing I would want to do is go out and spend money. But just this Monday, my south-based workmates and I fell for our spur-of-the-moment gimmick desires and headed to Alabang Town Center. We weren’t craving for alcohol though and just wanted to have a nice dinner, especially since our morning was pretty stressful–internet at the office was wonky the entire day.
Dwight, B and me arrived first in Alabang. We haven’t even checked out all our favorite stores when the power went out! This is a first for me–and everyone, I guess. We thought the power would return quickly since most malls have generators. Right? But when we walked out of the main mall and went to the courtyard, the stores and restaurants there had electricity. Weird.
If you’re familiar with ATC, you’d know Friday’s and San Mig Pub–they’re restaurant neighbors. It was really funny because Friday’s had no electricity, but San Mig Pub had one. We kept making up scenes. One, how annoying would it be if we dined at Friday’s with no cash on hand? A lot of people pay using their credit cards so they can’t blame us for not bringing cash.
When Camille arrived, we all decided to eat at Xoi Vietnamese Kitchen. The restaurant was packed, but since Camille had nothing but raves for the place, we waited to get a seat. Service should always be a priority for ANY establishment, which Xoi clearly lacked.
For one, no one was manning their al fresco area, where customers walk through. We were all waving our hands just to get noticed, but it took a long time for them to pay attention to us. When someone finally came out to talk to us, we told them we were willing to wait for a table. Then we asked if we could order in advance, but he said we can’t because we had no table. DUH. Didn’t we just tell him that we were willing to wait for a table to free up? Gosh. We couldn’t bear the heat and their inattentiveness so we left.
Restaurant options was very limited since virtually 70% of the mall had no power. One of the few good restaurants that were open was Italianni’s. That’s where we drowned in good food, ginormous laughs and great service.
The bread disappeared quickly, but typical of us Filipinos, there was one piece left that nobody grabbed. Alas, the server just had to take it away.
We also saw a friend at Italianni’s–Ken! Haha, kidding.
First plate to arrive was the plate of Sicilian Chicken Caesar Salad. From the burst of color to the awesome flavors, this salad was a delight to devour. The dressing was suitably light, while the medley of greens and fruits had a distinctly summery taste to it–if that makes sense.
My plate of Shrimp & Mushroom Linguine. I feel like I’m a little biased when it comes to pasta plates since I love ‘em so much. As such, don’t think I’m over-complimenting Italianni’s when I say that I really loved my linguine dish. It was everything that I loved about pasta–perfectly cooked noodles, good sauce-to-noodle ratio, generous toppings (if applicable), and a slight tartness in the sauce.
The boyfriend, on the other hand, chose Beef Salpicao. This dish doesn’t come with rice so the boyfriend had to order a cup of rice (Php75). I didn’t think the portions were good enough even as a rice-free dish. I taste a piece and found it was a bit tough.
The version Chili’s serve, if I remember it correctly, is actually better-tasting, methinks. Pepe’s, a restaurant in Bacolod also serve great Beef Salpicao.
And just ’cause Babe took pictures, here’s what Dwight and Camille devoured:
This was almost a deconstructed lasagna plate because it wasn’t “stacked” like how this dish should be. Cam thought it was a bit tart for her liking, as she busied herself dusting it with grounded black pepper.
Dwight’s last-minute choice–Grilled Pepper Fish Fillet. This one was the most grand in terms of presentation and plate size. Boy did this plate occupy a lot of table space.
And then, us. Just ’cause we wore matching tops.
Photos: Paolo Ramos