Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Bad End to a Good Start

Friends of mine who also work in the University of the Philippines (UP) and live near it (in fact they live on campus)tipped me off the other day to a breakfast place in the newly opened Ayala-UP technohub.

They know that my husband and I go out for Sunday breakfast to get away from the household and the kids so that we can actually have a conversation---even if the conversation is about who gets to call the plumber.

Flapjacks, a 24-hour breakfast restaurant, is a pleasant place. It's got this airy, open feel. The huge glass windows allow the sunlight in and the orange chairs and yellow walls keep things happy. As newcomers, we did not realize that it was a self-service restaurant, but the waitress gladly brought us menus, took our orders and even brought us the bill. She also suggested that we share my "endless cup of coffee" as it was obvious that I did not understand that to mean that a big insulated jug of coffee would be brought to our table. I have not seen eggs benedict on a breakfast menu for a long time, and I so had that. It was..eggs benedict. I don't think breakfasts need to be complicated in order to be good. So when I say, "ok", I mean it as an endorsement. Indeed the menu covers generally what I look for in a breakfast menu when I am not having my usual oatmeal--rice, tocino, tapa, longganisa, ham, bacon, eggs, bread and hotcakes.

I am excited too about the possibilities of this part of the technohub. Only a third of the establishments are open, and I am looking forward to the opening of more food outlets and a drugstore. I did not get to go to the bookstore, but I will next time.

Today was the kind of Sunday that convinced me that I am almost over the intense mothering years. My eldest son woke up at 2 pm---his usual; my middle child was off to a debate tournament; and my youngest did not get in until about 4 pm as he had slept over at a cousin's house.

We almost had dinner at home, except that Sundays have been family day since forever. So we decided to have a quick dinner out just to keep the habit going. Both my middle child and my youngest wanted to get home early though, to do some final bits of homework before knocking off. They were both exhausted.

We haul off to the technohub again. At night, the center court features a lighted set of fountains--pretty. We have come to expect some prettiness from Ayala developments. I might add that there is sufficient green in this large commercial/business area. I haven't seen it all though. I wonder whether old trees were cut as the only trees I saw were young ones.

Then the nightmare began. We decided to eat at the Old Spaghetti House. It took some time before they could clean the table we took over from people who had just left; some time before someone came to give us menus; and some time before we could place our orders. We were still good-humored at this point because it did look like a busy night. (My entire family suffers from liberal, middle class guilt. We are very rarely mean to waiters.) But it got worse and worse. We practically had to beg the waiters for water. The food came in dribbles. After repeated follow ups, my husband finally went over to the counter only to come back with our youngest son's food platter in hand. (I jokingly asked if he had volunteered his services out of love for his family.)My husband's order never came, even if it was the same order as that of our middle child, who had finished his food way beforehand. In exasperation we asked that all the rest of our orders (desserts and my husband's oh-so-absent meal) be canceled and we be given the bill. Guess what? The bill comes, after follow ups, only they were still charging us for everything.

So my husband gets up to talk to the manager (poor man was getting a work-out instead of a meal) and she turns out to be the owner who turns out to be unable to do anything about anything. It's a pity I did not know this, as I had earlier vetoed a suggestion that we just walk out because I was afraid that the waiters would have to pay for our bill out of their salaries. (It's that liberal middle-class guilt thing again.)

We ended up at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf beside the nightmare of an Old Spaghetti House. The sympathetic people there brought my husband a tuna sandwich real quick and some soothing tea for me. It was there when we realized that this was the first time ever that we walked out of a restaurant with one of us being unfed. The second worst experience was at the soft opening of another restaurant, but the manager was so apologetic he did not charge us and had us take home some cake. That made us less miserable.

We are home now and the kids are upset about having to sleep much later than expected because dinner took so long. As for me, I had hoped to go to bed early too, but I just needed to write this down.

Anyway folks, do the serving staff, the cook and the owner a favor and lessen the load on the Old Spaghetti House at the UP-Ayala technohub---avoid the place.


your goddess friend said...

oh-oh...that's just so bad. good thing your hubby has you for a wife DL... fun is that flashing neon sign you carry around. he he he...

so B is into debate too? cool...a chef and a debater

Sylvia Estrada Claudio said...

The great thing about the internet is that you can get some back via negative publicity of your own making. Did you get the recent mp3 file of Gary Granada vs GMA Kapuso? Kainis talaga itong mga big mayayabang na kumpanya and their tax-shelter driven attempts at social responsibility.Another proof that we are right to be cynical about the claim that "profit" and "public service" can work hand in hand.

your goddess friend said... does that mean i won't be able to profit from your brilliant ideas????? i thought of getting a hefty amount just for marketing you that you can fix things. tee hee.

dark lord, please blog about your birthday party!!!!