Thursday, July 26, 2007

Secret Spot

I won a bet with H (ha!) and chose to have dinner at Cookbook Kitchen. It's this quaint restaurant hidden in a quiet neighborhood in Mandaluyong. It's a cozy place that's perfect for some quality time with your honey. The yellow lighting and the mural (based on Van Gogh's The Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum at Night) give the place a slightly dreamy quality, whisking you away to a charming French cafe tucked away in an unassuming side street.

If I remember right, none of the main dishes are over P250 or P300. I had eaten there before and was raring to go back for the parmesan-crusted white fish--baked fish that melts in your mouth. Aaaah! It's served with rice, although I think it would be phenomenal with creamed spinach (a side dish that, unfortunately, isn't served anywhere in this country as far as I know).

H chose the chicken stuffed with ham and cheese, served with some pesto sauce. It was pretty good, but I tend not to order anything with pesto in it since we always seem to have homemade pesto (we whip up a mean tuna pesto pasta--slightly spicy. Yum).

For dessert: something I had been dreaming about for weeks--the Strawberry Shortcake Overload! Strawberry shortcake holds a special place in my heart--to me it means a special occasion. When I was a kid (this was back in the 80s), we celebrated my lolo's birthday with a towering one from Sugarhouse. It looked so huge to me then, and even now, when I see that pic of my lolo and lola smiling in front of his yet-to-be-sliced cake, I still think it's massive.

The Cookbook Kitchen version is made of white cake topped with cured strawberries, ice cream, and surrounded with whipped cream. Good grief. It's a dessert after my own heart. When the waitress set it down on our table, H and I just stared at it for a few seconds.

H: That's good enough for five.
T: Really? I think I could finish it on my own.
H: Now that's scary.

Cookbook Kitchen is located at #8 Socorro Fernandez cor. Luna Mencias St., Mandaluyong (near Shaw Blvd.). For reservations or directions (it's a bit hard to find), call (02) 724-3595.

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