Whenever I'm home in Negros Occidental (in the Philippines), I always meet up with university classmates Rayri, Jane and Margot in Bacolod City for our traditional Christmas lunchee.
But since Rayri opted to enjoy the beaches of Florida instead of the beaches of Negros this year, only the three who were in the island met up for the lunchee.
We usually gathered at Calea, the cake house in Bacolod, where we used to enjoy the pasta and the desserts which were not only to-die-for; they're to-cross-the-oceans-for!
But this year, I didn't know that Calea moved to a new and bigger place, just across the L'Fisher Hotel. And I didn't know that they momentarily stopped serving pasta. So, the three of us ended up at 21, the nearest restaurant to have lunch.
I have been only once at 21, and that was a couple of years ago. I couldn't recall the dishes I had at that time. So, on this lunchee, I ordered batchoy, that Ilonggo recipe of noodles, some innards and an egg in a broth. (Batchoy originated from La Paz in Iloilo City.)
And in between our catching-ups and sharing stories of our lives for the past 12 months, I slurped on the batchoy and minced on its noodles. I thought the stories were more interesting than my dish. The batchoy wasn't that spectacular. The interiors of restaurant looked more delicious.
The disappointment was a little bit salvaged though. Jane ordered the mango salad: cabbages drenched in mango puree and mixed with fresh mango slices. It was good.
And although we wanted to taste 21's chocolate cake, I think the waiter whom I asked to bring us that smaller version of the moist-looking, rich chocolate cake didn't want us to enjoy it. My order was simply ignored. We waited for 15 minutes, but no chocolate cake arrived on our table. So we just decided to leave 21 and have our dessert to the place which surely serves the best cakes in Bacolod City: Calea! (I told another waiter who gave us our bill about my chocolate cake order that never came. He instead asked me who our dedicated waiter was. How the hell should I know? I don't even know all the names of the members of Miss A and 2PM! Why should I know the name of the waiter who didn't introduce himself, but instead served me a boring batchoy? Ha-ha-ha!)
So, off we rushed to Calea, ordered our favorite cakes and coffee and continued on our reunion. (I love desserts. During our parties in Seoul, I would be more interested on the desserts than on the dishes everyone was bringing! Ha-ha-ha!)
(Calea has now outdoor tables where it's breezy.)
And our Christmas reunion continued, this time with my favorite Calea chocolate cake and Mocha Frost. The ladies ordered pecan caramel with vanilla ice cream.
(The simple reasons I go home for. Of course,
I mean friends. Ha-ha-ha!)
The three of us hoped that next Christmas, Rayri comes home from her Florida hideaway and joins us in our lunchee. And I hope that time, Calea would be serving again their pasta and I would be crossing the Guimaras Strait to Iloilo City for the real La Paz batchoy.