I started to list down all the food I loved to eat as a child, food my mom would cook, food that I missed. Food from a time long ago, comforting, heart-satisfying. From memories that have not been a part of my recent life.
I ingest recipes and then imagine cooking them in my head. And then I forget about them.
Because I eat out – we eat out – a lot. And those recipes lose their allure to gastronomic treats in restaurants with ambiance that is well worth the money. And I do not have to clean up (look, ma, no dirty hands!).
It is because of experiential eating. And when I say experiential eating, I mean Sonya’s Garden, which entered my reality more than ten years ago. Because of that one fine afternoon when we got lost looking for what would be our wedding reception venue, I found out that eating should not just be about good food. It should also be about having a great experience – a meal amidst a lush garden, fine bone china, rose petals in the salad, sheer white gauze in the windows, dew on the flowers, a singing dog (believe me) and a goddess in a flowing chiffon gown… And since then, we have been on the search for “the dining experience”. And the Manila restaurant scene did not disappoint – there is Antonio’s (Tagaytay), Ugu Bigyan (Quezon Province), Bale Dutung (Pampanga), Abe’s Farm (Pampanga) and the other places that have been getting acclaim – the so-called best-kept secrets.