Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lobster, Crabs and Boracay

Tonight, some of the Travelife Magazine team decided to accept an invitation from our friends at the Marriott Hotel to try out their new seafood buffet at the Marriott Cafe, called Ocean's Surf at Marriott Cafe. There's a lavish buffet spread every night at the Marriott Cafe, but on Fridays and Saturdays for the rest of 2011, the hotel is putting out a grand seafood buffet cosing PhP 1750 nett for adults and PhP 875 nett for children over 12, filled with tempting displays of crabs, lobsters, shellfish and all kinds of fish.

I'd had a big Chinese lunch today so I was fully intent on going to Marriott and literally picking at my food. However, I tasted the crabs first and they were incredibly fresh -- so I just had to have a proper serving. The increase in seafood really makes a big difference not only in taste but in presentation. Everything looks just so much more colorful -- and I've placed a couple of great photos here, taken with my mobile phone, to prove my point.

The seafood appetizer buffet is a lavish arrangements
of fresh rock lobsters, oysters, clams, shrimps,
seafood salads and appetizers.



Steamed or grilled seafood with
an assortment of dips and sauces



Seafood can also be prepared to order,
including baked or sauteed with garlic

Later on, after I had had my share of appetizers, I went for some freshly-cooked pasta at the pasta station.

A great marinara pasta

"What do you recommend?" I asked the chef, who was holding a frying pan in one hand and who was ready to take my order.

"The marinara is very popular," he said. I took him up on his suggestion and tried the marinara, which was incredibly good. The noodles were done to just the right point of al dente, and the tomato-based sauce was very flavorful. So again, I threw my caloric concerns to the wind and went back for a second helping.

"What did you put in that sauce?" I asked the chef. "That was really good."

He smiled at me. "We make our own sauce from scratch here," he said.

So our team had a very good time relaxing after a long day and tasting everything that caught our fancy. I also had some roast beef and then a variety of desserts from the sweets display, which also had an ice cream bar and a very good quality chocolate fountain.

Conversations with an airline man


Then just as I thought I was ready to finish up and leave, Andrew Budiman, the very amiable country manager of Singapore Airlines, walked in and sat next to us. I'd just seen him at someone's birthday lunch on Sunday, which, coincidentally, was also a buffet spread.

"It's good this is a seafood buffet," he said. "Much healthier."

I looked at him amusedly. "That's what you think," I said. "I can tell you that I have not felt this full in a very long time."

We ended up talking for quite a bit and the conversation was really interesting -- from a Christmas holiday in Boracay and the situation in Indonesia, to the way airlines allocate seats and tickets.

Andrew was completely enamoured by Boracay although he had the fright of his life landing on that short Caticlan runway -- a fact I found pretty funny, considering he's an airline man. "I usually ride big airplanes but I've been on pretty small planes before," he explained. "And small isn't a problem at all. I used to take planes from Vancouver to Seattle and they were really small. The problem is that runway. I thought we'd hit the fence when we landed as we literally stopped right in front of it."

"The other problem with Boracay is that it's getting too expensive," Andrew continued. "Especially compared to its competition, like Bali. In Bali, you can get very good accommodations even for about US$120 -- but in Boracay it's hard to find a similar quality for that price."

"And in Boracay, it seems locals and foreigners are charged different rates," he added. "We often had to pay higher rates for riding the jeep or bus, just because we were foreigners. If it was PhP5 for locals, it was PhP50 for us."

But these experiences didn't deter him from waxing rhapsodic about Boracay. "That's a beautiful beach," he said. "From now on, I'm going to be Boracay's ambassador. It's a pity not enough people outside of the Philippines know about it yet."

To reserve a limited seat,
please call Rachel at 813-8400 or email travelife@travelife.biz
Tickets for the dinner and concert cost PhP 1499 per person.


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