Meet The Fort’s Secret Recipe

13 06 2009

Secret Recipe

Several Fridays ago was sort of another “treat yourself” day.  Since it was the birthday of a  colleague, we decided to give her a treat at the Secret Recipe, The Fort.  It was our team’s second time there.  This casual dining place has captured our taste buds for its kinda unique spaghetti stir-fried in “tom yum” minced chicken, chilies and spices called “Tom Yum Spaghetti” and Crispy Chicken Salad  although we were not quite satisfied with the service the first time.   Imagine… our salad came when we were almost finished with our main course.  But yeah, we came back for the Tom Yum Spaghetti which at that time arrived in smaller serving and paler sauce.  That wasn’t how it was presented before.  Each one vividly remembers.   When we partook of it, disappointment came co’z it tasted quite differently from the previous time.  The distinctive flavor was gone.  It was a little bland.  Must be the pasta which was not very well drained that resulted to a watery sauce.  The good thing was we decided to have just one order of the dish and tried the other pastas i.e. carbonara and bolognese.

 Tom Yum Spaghetti

The bestseller Crispy Chicken Salad was consistently served in a bowl of colorful ingredients of romaine lettuce, red cabbage strips, slices of cherry tomatoes and chicken cubes with this tangy mixture of house-blend dressing.

 Crispy Chicken Salad

For our Pasta Carbonara, we chose penne instead of rigatoni.  Honestly, I prefer tomato-based pasta but I quite liked Secret Recipe’s version of this cream-based dish with prawns and mushrooms.  The sauce was not too thick which rendered a more flavorful taste. 

 Carbonara

The Spaghetti Bolognese came with a generous mozzarella on top of minced beef.  The pasta serving was a little larger compared to the “Tom Yum” Spaghetti, we wondered why.

 Bolognese

For our sweet ending, we were successful to be able to try its award-winning marble cheese cake. We were dying to order this cheese cake during the first visit but we ended up with caramel cheese cake which is marked as “favorite” in the menu.  Both cheese cakes are first-rate for me – it was like eating one whole bar of real cheese, one should not really miss indulging in either.

 Cheese Cake

As I said, it was a “treat yourself” day.  After work, I and another friend went to Serendra to stroll and window shop.  After checking out two shops, we stumbled upon The Spa.  My friend got excited and dragged me to it.   At first, I was hesitant co’z I’m used to bringing my spa stuff whenever I feel like having a massage.  That time, I had nothing on hand.  On second thought, why not?  At least, I’ll be able to check out The Spa’s facilities at this branch. 

The Spa 

This branch has a more modern interior, more of the black and white concept.  Though it offers the same services as the other branches, it lacks the dry sauna, which is my favorite, and the cold pool. 

Still, The Spa never fails to render a very relaxing experience with its Swedish massage. 





Another pampering moment…

6 04 2009

While standing by my dresser as I fix myself for church yesterday, I again saw my The Spa voucher that had been sitting in the shelf for almost a month now (I purposely placed it in that spot co’z it’s nearing expiration).  As I checked the expiry date which was written as 04/05/09, I uttered in great dismay, “Sayang” ( What a waste!) thinking it was April 9 yesterday.  But after a while, I realized it was only April 5.  Just in time, so I decided to ring The Spa right after the church service for a 6 p.m. schedule.

The Spa

I requested for an upgrade to Executive Package to enjoy more privacy.  I came in at 4:50 p.m. just to confirm my appointment but the customer service staff handed me my locker key so I decided to get inside.  Initially, I was planning to check PCX for my favorite hand cream before I proceed to my massage but… it was ok, anyway.  “At least this time, I won’t be rushing in the wet area.”   So I had a total of about an hour relaxing and enjoying my dip in the jacuzzi followed by a cold shower, then sauna.  The temperature was a little higher than normal so I stayed for 10 mins. only  then dipped in the cold pool for about 5 seconds.  But just before my feet reach the bottom, an older lady in the jacuzzi surprisingly asked me if I could bear it co’z it was really freezingly cold down there.  I said “yes” but only for a few seconds.  She was really amazed!

I got in the waiting lounge just in time.  I didn’t realize that I had spent so much time in the wet area, so my time to enjoy my cup of ginger tea and to read a bit was cut short.  

Inside my room, when I was asked by my therapist what type of service I wanted, I told her “Swedish” since they don’t have the Combination.  But she told me that they do have at the same rate, so I opted this time for a Combination Massage.  The procedure started with a pressure-point technique for about 20 minutes followed by Swedish with just a little amount of oil.  I didn’t bother to ask my therapist if that was the way it is for that type of massage co’z I’m used to generous amount of oil for easier and smoother glides.   Still, the whole process completely eased my body aches and tensions though I wasn’t able to snooze, even a bit.  There were a number of stretching styles which were new to me but you just have to relax and go with the flow to enjoy the movement and benefit from them. 

After my massage, as usual I felt hungry.  I went again to  Pho Hoa for a hot noodle soup but this time I tried something different – Pho Nam, Chin, Gan  Bo Vien or the Flank, Brisket, Tendon and Meatball Pho and of course my all-time favorite at this Vietnamese Resto, the Cha Gio.   I was a bit disappointed with my ordered soup co’z it was all-meat.  I was looking for some fish balls in my bowl.  I don’t know but I just love Vietnamese fish balls.  I was even considering an extra order of the balls but at almost Php90 for 6 pieces, I discarded the idea.  I thought, anyway, I already have some and will just be contented with that.  But no!  They were not fish balls, but meatballs and the taste was undefinable (something artificial?).   But,  I would say that the rest of the meat was very tender and tasty but the thought of fatty flank and tendon getting inside my system, “Oh no!”.  I will never ever order this dish again but for the meat lovers out there, oh well, you will love it, surely!

 





A Moment to Relax

29 12 2008

The last three weeks had been so stressful for me (except on my birthday).   Glad it was over and yesterday was the last day.   Last night when I got home, I was already planning to have a little pampering at The Spa today. 

I woke up quite late and after checking out my wallet for The Spa’s contact card, I discovered that I have a birthday voucher from My Spa (another spa salon located here in Las Piñas City) for a free foot scrub or back massage and two free tokens from Bioessence for either a foot massage, back massage or hand spa, aside from the other treatment packages I previously purchased.  Looks like this week and January will be full of pampering and beauty sessions – things I think I truly deserve….

Doesn’t anyone who looks good feels good or even better?  A good start for 2009, right?

So after a little last-minute shopping for New Year’s gifts, I had a Swedish massage.  While still in my room, I can hear my tummy rumbling.  I was already starving, I can’t believe it.  At past 6 p.m.?  Quite early…

Was trying to figure out what to eat while still in the massage bed… I wanted Greek food but was also craving for Vietnamese.   Since I had a massage, I thought it would be wise to have a hot soup so I went to Pho Hoa and feasted on two of my favorites –  Pho Do Vien (seafood noodle soup) and  Cha Gio (fried rice paper roll with lettuce wrap).

By the way, I didn’t realize Pho Hoa has so many branches in the U.S. especially in California. 





A Refreshing Start at The Spa

20 12 2008

Part of my birthday routine is pampering myself so I went to The Spa, a world-class spa amid the bustle of the Alabang Town Center.  I was thinking of using one of previously purchased massage coupons but upon checking out the site, I decided I would go for the Executive Refreshing Start Package. 

The Spa

The scent of peppermint was a soothing welcome.  Being Tuesday, the spa was  spared from  some crowd.  It felt like the whole place was all mine…  

As usual, I came in about an hour before my appointment to enjoy the wet amenities.  I started with a quick bath followed by dips in its contrast pools (jacuzzi and cold pool), then sauna, shower and steam.  

At the lounge, the hot ginger drink provided a warm sensation to my body while waiting to be escorted to my private massage room.  I realized I had a nap while in the massage bed.  After that soothing Swedish massage, I had another drink followed by the simultaneous face and foot rituals.  My only complaint was I didn’t go solo in that room.  The aromafacial involves facial massage movements that stimulate blood circulation and encourage cell renewal while the peppermint foot scrub consists of a refreshing foot bath and scrub ended with a gentle relaxing massage.  I left the place refreshed and full of bliss… 

Again, another great spoiling treat for the spa-holic me.