Thursday, October 6, 2011

Four hours of a sweet but fattening lunch

Today was one of those days that are nicer than others. Much of it had to do with the fact that I had a very nice lunch today arranged by Miko, one of our editors, together with his friends. We were invited by Cristina Rivera, to have lunch at Sweet Bella, a new pastry and all-day dining restaurant in the Burgos Circle, named after her daughter Bella.

Cristina's family, by the way, owns Melo's Steakhouse as well. She trained to be a pastry chef at a prestigious California culinary school and then worked for years creating the desserts and other sweet concoctions at the family's Melo's Steakhouse.


The lunch was today but last night, a beautifully-wrapped box of macarons arrived unexpectedly at my home from Sweet Bella with a note saying I was invited to lunch at 1 PM. It made me think there was some big social event that I was being asked to join.

"Is this a big event? I thought it's a "just us" lunch," I texted Miko. Miko texted back: "Just us."

I replied right away: "Wow. She certainly knows how to do a nice invite. The macaroons are wonderful." Miko replied: "She's really a good hostess."


And true enough, she was. We had such a great time and I ended up breaking the diet I've been so good at following so far. The food was so good and so bad for me. I particularly liked the giant hamburger, the pesto omelette and the luscious eggs benedict.

The pesto omelette

The super delicious hamburger

Luscious eggs benedict

And we actually sat eating for over three hours. "This is all your fault," I told my lunch companions. "I've basically been so good for over two weeks now, until today. And tomorrow, I actually have to get into a ball gown." I'm attending a black-tie affair tomorrow and it's long dress for the ladies. Yet there I was having big spoonfuls of all the 10 cakes laid out so prettily on the table. And before I knew it, it was just before 4 PM and I was due to meet with the Brazilian ambassador at his residence in Forbes Park.

The Veronica


We were feasting on desserts by then, and having the best hot chocolate in the world. "This is better than Angelina's in Paris," I said. It's true. I love Angelina's hot chocolate in Paris, but with deep and rich hot chocolate like this at Sweet Bella, I don't need to fly to France anymore to get my fix.

"My dad always said that if I do hot chocolate, I should make it the best," said Cristina, who friends fondly refer to as Tintin. Tintin, by the way, has named some of her most luscious cakes after her friends. She's named one after Miko, and it's called Michael Angelo. And there's a beautiful passionfruit cake, as well, named after her best friend Veronica.

I reluctantly tore myself away from the array of luscious cakes to get into my car for the short drive to Forbes Park. The ambassador and I had the most interesting chat about politics, history and culture, and I learned so much about Brazil. But that's another story for another blog entry.

Anyway, in the five minutes it took to the Ambassador's residence, my phone pinged and it was Miko with a message. I'd left him at the cake shop, you see, to finish the remains of dessert, but he knew that Tintin had given me a beautiful box of chocolates on the way out.

"The Michael Angelo is the red chocolate," he told me. Obviously, he wanted me to try this chocolate named after him. I replied: "I'll make sure to savor it." Then I put a smiley face at the end. And added "Haha" for good measure.

Rich chocolate desserts

This cake actually has guava in it

The perfect ensaymada

The best hot chocolate -- better than Angelina's in Paris,
as far as I'm concerned

Croque Monsieur

Burgos Circle, Rizal Drive
Bonifacio Global City
Tel 844-0680


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