Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tita Monings- Part deux

After the encounter with the "clinic".. I could not wait to get upstairs to the dining area. Walking up the stairs, you can feel the aura of the house from the various family photos lining the walls. The top of the stairs opened up to an upstairs living room. (still filled with photos)

top: painting of daughter, bottom: original Juna Luna
We slowly made our way to the main living area as she directed us to various paintings that dot the house. One of the more amazing ones was the ORIGINAL JUAN LUNA (wow. it's like having a MONET in your living room).

We also toured the rooms which they had converted into private dining areas (2 rooms) except for the room of the daughters.

This room was one of the creepy ones. It had a vanity were you can still see the various collections of perfume still in them and as with affluent people of the time, they had ballet lessons evidenced by the old tutus and ballets shoes in display in the room.

On the vanity, they also displayed the personal items of the girls. like baubles and necklaces. This room was adjacent to the main dining room where we were going to have our dinner.

All throughout the house, you can see a lot of family phtographs from the 1930s to the 1970s and you really feel like you are walking inside someone's (OLD) home. I was half expecting Don Alejandro to come bursting in any moment. (thankfully.. none of that occurred)
daughter's room. vanity and cabinet

ring if you want service.... murano vase.. paella
The table setting was very nice. They even laid out a menu (with burnt edges) in a scroll. I quipped to the maid... I used to do this with a lighter when I was in high school... she giggled and said, "me too!"

 They even had those BELLS were you can call the "help". the table top also had a MURANO vase from the collection of the original owners to keep you company

The dining area also had original plates from the collection of Tita Moning. It is said the plates are now scattered in different descendants.I am told they are heirloom collectibles. Each plate was hand painted in Europe and no two plates are the same.
SABA banana... plate presentation... menu at the table..

Since we were required to choose our menu beforehand, I chose Menu 3

Here's what I thought of the food:  (note, there was a deviation from the original menu. were were served caramelized banana and then TURON -- w/c is banana too-- more on that later)

The appetizers were VERY good. Loved the papaya and eggplant. It was fresh and light. A nice start to the meal. For the second course, I liked the baked fish very much. One of the best I tried. The pancit (noodles) was ok. By the time the main course 2 was arriving, I was already half full. I did not even get a chance to really dig into Paella Valenciana. The pork was ok too (hubby had seconds and thirds)  The sweet yam added to the flavor of the pork. I did not have any room for either the ubod (young bamboo shoot) and the brown rice (I passed on this one-- was too full)

service deluxe

What was really striking was that they were serving the food in platters and you would have to serve yourself. If you ever watched "The princess diaries" were they were serving the royals, the servers were on the side while the royals got a share of the food. Its the same here. You get the feeling that you are somebody quite important. If only we could dine like this everyday eh? ---come to think of it.. the Legarda's dined like this everyday!!!

I am really such a dessert person... but their dessert is kind of... well... not memorable. We were served the caramelized banana (twas ok)-- I rather like my banana on the firm side (not too ripe) and this was nearly too ripe for me. Then they served TURON. What can I say? The turon was not crunchy (makunat) and banana on top of a previous banana dish was a bit too much. I just tasted one bite and left the rest. The bread pudding was not too die for either. (sorry. I failed to see how it was a specialty of Tita Moning as it failed to blow me away.- also left the dish at one bite). I, however really enjoyed the hot chocolate that came with the bread pudding. It even had a cinnamon stick as a stirrer. (I asked the girl if I could take home the cinnamon stick)

They know how to treat guests for sure. They even took our pictures for their website and had us fill a survey form (customer satisfaction gauge) and we also signed a guest book. To top it off, they even gave me a free gift (a bottled sauce they sell downstairs). Wow. They really made me feel so special. One tip... if you are going, be early. When we arrived, we were the only ones there. Once it reached 8pm.. more people were arriving and the tour got shorter. (due to the number of guests). Being the first ones, we had the whole house to ourselves and had ample time to ask questions, take pictures (without other people being in the way.. etc).

All in all, I loved the experience. The food was not mind blowing but with the ambiance of the house. It was really a MUST SEE. I already booked another dinner for my parents and in laws. I am sure they will have nostalgic moments there. I also highly recommend this for romantic dates. (it's like taking a girl to the haunted house...  with dinner of course)

(side note: I had to use the toilet... which was located inside the girls room... the one which felt a bit eerie.... I had to ask our tour/maid if she had any "sightings" inside the toilet. -- you know, I want to be prepared... she laughed me off... and said it was safe... w/c did not lessen my anxiety... went in and out in record time.. not even wanting to look in the mirror lest I see something other than myself. LOL)

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