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Someone's in the kitchen...

Master Chef, Dirty Kitchen

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---Stomach Ache---

For three consecutive days in rainy October, I spent my waking hours roaming around Robinson’s Place- Malate sampling out the different entrees that restaurants and fast food chains inside the sprawling complex can offer to satiate my grumbling tummy.

I love to eat and I have a humunguous appetite and like a mean incinerator I can gorge anything on a whim and just for the heck of it.

So, one day, I drove my orange second- hand car, Adolf Hitler’s version of the people’s car (read: 1967 Volkswagen Beetle) into the car park on the 5th floor and walked out into the brightly- lit air-conditioned hall eager to try on a limited budget the different food offerings in and out of Mr. John Gokongwei’s flagship mall on this side of Manila.


First stop is the old and reliable Max’s, the House that Fried Chicken built is still the best when it comes to real fried chicken in my own hungry err humble opinion. The Max’s Platter at less than Php 130.00 that consists of chicken, fresh/ fried lumpia, a glass of ice tea and a caramel bar for dessert is a delight to eat and not too heavy on the pocket.

After my leisurely lunch, I decided to do some window- shopping around the mall- Lacoste, Marks & Spencer, Levi’s, Esprit, etc. etc. and got tired terribly.

My feet got wobbly from all the walking and my tummy is running on empty. Since it was already three o’clock in the afternoon, I headed for the McDonald’s branch on Pedro Gil Wing for some chicken meal (yes, again!) but got disappointed with their serving, for the chicken is so small that it did not make any difference to ease the gnawing pangs inside the stomach of an 80 kilogram eating machine.

I then dragged my cellulite- infested weary legs down into the escalator and proceeded into the nearby Kenny Roger’s Roaster for another serving (you guessed it right, Chicken again!) that would satiate my hunger.

I ordered my favorite Solo A, steal at Php 99.00 but again was surprised on how the chicken had shrunk to an all time low, a far cry from what I am accustomed and advertised by the food chain. Sign of the times, huh?

Even the side dish and rice are not spared. Oh my, maybe they paid that much money to Boy Abunda and Kristine Hermosa for endorsements that they are now scrimping on their servings just to break even.

On the good side though, diet- conscious people can flock to McDo and Kenny without feeling some kind of remorse for over- eating. Ho-ho-ho.


Afterwards, I went up to the 4th floor and headed straight into Cinema 4 to watch the last Matrix installment of Trilogy. Halfway into the movie, I got bored with the hollow story and “welding sparks” special effects, so off I went to dreamland. A couple of hours later, I was awakened by the sound of footsteps rushing out of the movie house. I stood up and headed for the exit when I heard that familiar “brook- brook” sounds coming from my beer belly.

As a peace offering, I proceeded to Bacolod Inasal House right across the main entrance of the mall. As soon as I am seated, an over-eager waiter approached me and suggested that I should try their promo meals.

I ordered the two- pieces Pakpak, garlic rice and a plastic cup of regular Iced Tea at Php 69.00. I downed the meal with gusto but got the surprise of my life when I checked the plastic menu and realized that I was had for when I added the individual prices of the meal, my Nokia 3210 Cellular phone calculator showed the same Php 69.00 total. I thought I could save a few pesos by ordering the supposed promo but I was wrong. It’s really disheartening albeit funny how many restaurants nowadays will go to great lengths to entice and deceive unsuspecting costumers for their hard-earned money.

I decided to call it a day, went home and slept with beautiful thoughts of rich and bountiful food parading in my dreamy mind…


The next day, I passed by Holland Sausage and could not resist the temptation for a Cheese Miss and did not regret it. If only Martina Hingis, the great Swiss Miss of Tennis will come out of retirement, I will surely treat her with one of those smoked sausage and a glass of Coke.

Having filled my breadbasket to the fullest, I ventured into the National Book Store to pass the time, reading an assortment of books from Ludlum to Garcia- Villa. I saw an opened Twisted volume of Jessica Zafra but did not touch it. I just hated her writings that to me were nothing extra- ordinary. I would rather ask my neighbor Aling Utik to tell me the latest tsismis in the neighborhood for free.

I picked up a Nick Joaquin instead. I was so engrossed with reading that when I look in the blue dial of my Tag- Heuer 2000 Series watch, it is way past 12 o’clock.

As if on cue, my stomach began to rumble and tumble inside, I was left with no other option but to pay homage to Carl’s Jr. for the Php 99.00 Famous meal. I devoured the charbroiled wonder with gusto! Truly the charbroiled specials in Carl’s Jr. continue to amaze my discriminating taste buds.

I was really hook with their charbroiled fare from the first time that I tasted the Santa Fe in that old branch along Quezon Avenue years ago up to this very day not to mention the bottomless sodas on the side.

A few minutes later, my eyes caught the logo of Tokyo- Tokyo and my mouth suddenly watered in excitement. I lumbered across the hall and into the counter and I ordered the heavenly California Maki for my dessert. It was so good, it even made the Japanese blood in me shouting Banzai to high heavens!

With my body fully-charged, I decided to drop by the Easy Way branch on Pedro Gil Street to surf the Internet. The Php 25.00 rate is really cheap and reasonable. In fact, compared with other Net Cafes, this one is faster except for the aroma that fill its air- conditioned premises that really smelled like you- know. He- he

At 6 o’clock in the evening I went out to place some bet on the Lotto Station nearby for a chance to win a cool 9 million pesos. It’s a game of chance that I still play whenever I have the chance. Who knows I’ll get lucky in the end, huh?

Just as I was about to finish marking my Lotto card, I saw in the corner of my eye, a huge banner in the glass walls of Gloria Maris proclaiming the day’s meal promo--

A really good meal for less than a hundred bucks! My instinct brought me inside and seated on the cold leatherette chair. The spare ribs meal at Php 96.00 proved too much to resist from this branch of the Imeldific’s favorite restaurant during the years of the Conjugal Dictatorship.

But my elation was short-lived for I found the spare ribs’ consistency too rubbery that would put any denture- wearing customer to hard labor! Plus it was so salty that put my overly- sensitive tongue into misery. I ended up begging the charming waitress for a glass of cold water otherwise I would end up surely with damage kidneys, if you know what I mean?

I rose up and did not finish the serving and got really disappointed for what I now call as the Great Gloria Maris’ Spare Ribs Highway “Rubbery” Meal!

I know I was shortchanged of my hard earned moolah that I decided to comfort myself and decided to go to my old and reliable Chowking at the corner of Mabini and Padre Faura Streets for a well-deserved Merienda- size Lomi and Bola- bola Siopao.

Burrp.

#

C.2004