Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Raving About Ristras

Ristras Mexican Grill had us craving for more!
(Great tasting Quesadilla, Salsa Sauce, and Virgin Margarita drink)

They call it PASSION FOOD. And yes, each bite was marvelous! I could feel the fervor of the makers embedded in every morsel. The serving was enormous, justifying what I initially thought as quite pricey. Each dish, after all, could be shared by two to three persons and was more than enough to fill you up. Given that, the menu offerings were actually very reasonable and even cheap considering the quality. On top of it all, the service was also remarkable. As they claimed, it was indeed "slow food, done right, served fast"!
My fiance and I enjoyed this first visit at Ristras.

Upon seeing the massive and very tempting four-piece Quesadilla, Sherwin and I ordered it at once and were not disappointed. It was heavily stuffed with a variety of delicious cheeses and veggies, mixed with our three choices of meat--- grilled chicken, steak, and carnitas (organic pork). In addition, we also had the Albondigas Soup, their Mexican version of meatballs and noodles. This was one of the best soups I have ever tasted, and it was definitely filling already. The exquisite taste of our orders had us sinking our teeth into everything everyone else was having, trying out each Mexican specialty and loving every mouthful. We had Enchilada, Chimichanga, Nachos (which had white and purple chips!), and Burritos (gigantic ones!!!).
The company of good friends brought my overall satisfaction one notch higher.
(Left to right: Enchilada, Burritos, Chimichanga)
With the rare but taste nachos in the background,
this shows the little captured moments of our unforgettable get-together.

Ristras Mexican Grill is located in the busy dining district of San Juan, barely noticeable but still with its own charisma. Specifically, it can be found at the corner of J. Abad Santos and Lopez Jaena streets. The place was small, but packed with people. The white, roughly textured walls were attractive enough. The atmosphere was casual, perfect for exchanging stories and laughing out loud with friends and loved ones. But more than anything, it was the food that had me raving about the restaurant for weeks! For one thing, I left with the thought of coming back soon. And for another, it turned me into an instant Mexican food lover!


Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Baby & Confusion Store

Aaaarrrrgggghhh! I screamed in my head, with a wavering smile plastered on my face. I rather got the impression that Baby & Co. stood for "Baby and Confusion" when their saleslady still could not understand what we were trying to say after explaining it for several times already. I felt like I was again a pre-school teacher, trying to be patient as I rephrased my instructions in different ways and even gave examples to drive my point.

My close friend Minik was having her baby shower that afternoon, and she had registered at Baby & Co. Since SM Marikina was the nearest branch where my fiance and I could drop by on the way, we decided to buy our gift there and were even delighted to see that they had a rather bigger branch with wider selection than the ones we've seen in other places.

Eager and expecting to do it fast, we approached the first saleslady we saw. She was very friendly and accommodating. After informing her of our purpose, she immediately excused herself to get the "list" for us. But when she came back, she was holding not what we had been anticipating. She handed over a glossy, colorful paper containing the list of items a mother would need for her baby. We then explained that we wanted to see the list that Minik and her husband Brian chose because they had registered in their company. We even emphasized their names. A look of suprise, then understanding registered on her face. She then asked, "What quarter?" My mind went blank and a feeling of irritation passed over me. I sighed and explained once more. Finally, she went to get their supervisor because her brain cells were probably becoming over-roasted without even coming close to terms with what we really wanted.

The supervisor was a woman who looked quite presentable and decent. She was equally friendly. She came to us, holding a brochure about their "Star Baby" promo because she had the impression from the saleslady that maybe we wanted to enter our own child in that contest. The clock was ticking, and we have not gotten anywhere close to even choosing a gift! You can just imagine how frustrating and annoying I felt. My fiance was even more goaded, that's why he chose to just roam around and check out some of their products.

Feeling like a broken record, I explained our purpose-now-a-dilemma to the supervisor. Good thing she instantly understood and went to get the actual list we had been waiting for! If she had not, I'm not sure if I could have held my composure any longer.

When we finally had the list, the supervisor left us in the hands of another saleslady (not the previous one). But whoa! The story doesn't end here. All of a sudden, we were surrounded by not one but around five salesladies with eager smiles, all peeking at the list then rushing off to grab some items. And some of them were even running with excitement. Before we could even react, there was a small cart in front of us filled with about six products! "Wait!" I said right away. "We're not going to buy everything on that list." Though someone said they just wanted to show us the options, I had an inkling that a few of them really thought we needed to purchase all the listed items.

As we were weighing our options, the group of salesladies launched into their own confused discussion of what this was all about. I was surprised (okay, a little shocked as well) to hear that most of them did not have an idea what a baby shower was! All along they had thought that the baby was already out. One even asked us if it was a baptismal celebration. But then, a more shocking revelation was that they also did not know anything about registries!

As soon as we got our gift, we tried to get out of there fast, muttering thank you's. We were irritated, frustrated, and late. Not a good customer experience, I tell you... Being clueless is one thing, but not being oriented about your company's procedures was quite maddening. Thus, upon paying at the cashier, we filled out an SM feedback form and recounted our exasperating encounter.


Mocha Lover

I can hardly be called a coffee lover. Yes, I love hanging out in coffee shops. And I love the aroma of coffee, which seems to hypnotize me in a moment of suspended bliss and comfort. More often than not, my eyes wander to the mocha choices and I usually end up buying one of the mocha blended drinks. I choose between hot or cold, depending on the weather conditions at the time. But regardless, my longing for that wonderful concoction of coffee and chocolate never diminishes nor changes. And as I share my thoughts here, I sip on my warm Mocha Berry Latte with great satisfaction. Good thing my laptop has a camera so I could take a picture of its amazing layers of rich coffee, berry-flavored creams, velvety cocoa, and frothy milk!

The delicious layers of my Mocha Berry Latte