I woke up to my wife asking me whether or not my Mom had any plans for Father’s Day so we could plan around it. You never know when a nice Father’s Day type celebration may be interrupted by a congratulatory call by an unwitting relative. So when Mom asked me where I wanted to go just so we could eat out, I felt terrible that we actually had to go somewhere, so I left the deciding to her. We end up meeting at Tiendesitas for what Mom saw on television to be a caterer’s convention. We’d been on the lookout for a caterer for Nicole’s first birthday and this seemed to be a perfect opportunity to look.
It being our first time in Tiendesitas, we thought it best to just look around while Mom made her way from the Cathedral. The wife and I were amazed by the variety of dog breeds on display. I’m amazed too at the fact that I can smell natural dog odours quite distinctly. I realized that whatever I used to think was dog stink before was actually quite muted. These smells were sharp and pungent. Anyway, I promise the wife to get a dog as soon as we’re able to afford a house and lot with an expansive lawn. Hopefully that doesn’t take too long – Labrador retrievers have a way of taking my breath away.
We were also able to look around and marvel at the inordinate number of Hello Kitty products being hawked in the various novelty stores just beside the pet shop. Nicole’s having a Hello Kitty themed party for her first birthday and I wanted to get a clearer picture of how much we were going to spend on little trinkets for our little tot attendees. I’m sure they’ll like the loot and goodie bags we’re planning for them.
Despite our wandering, we had no idea where the catering convention was until we chanced entering it from the main dining area. I was looking forward to meeting Mom and finally getting food into my starving belly. Little did I know that the affair would be one big letdown.
The wife and I met Mom as she emerged from behind one of the stalls. She had a look of pain on her face closely resembling that of someone experiencing debilitating and life-threatening injury. None of the caterers that she saw were up to snuff, save for a select few. Overall though, it was terribly disappointing.
Most of these caterers think that the way to get future business is to put sludge that somehow resembles glop on a chafing dish close to a steaming heap of rice for an insanely low price will be appetizing enough to entice someone to get them for their wedding. I don’t know about you, but food being served on some chafing dish has to be almost miraculous in its presentation to be anywhere near appetizing. Between you and me, I think that’s the idea behind all these buffets. Personally, I like to treat buffets like an opportunity to make my own 20-course meal.
The atmosphere was so toxic we just had to leave.
I know. It’s insane, right? Adding to the overall toxicity was the organizer’s idea to hold a Center for Pop Music Philippines mini-concert in the middle of the event, when the event is just behind the main dining area where there is another “folk” band playing. I felt sorry for the band people trying to keep the time and tone of Fire and Rain while some amateur made grotesque trying to do Run to You. I felt even worse for the exhibitors who paid good money only to get stuck with junk. Fortunately, it was the last day of the exhibit and the exhibitors had nothing to lose by being there, most of the exhibitors being established names in the business.
What’s with these people anyway? Why do we clap when these singers try to reach the high notes (even if they fail miserably)? Why do we allow our children to become such shysters and purveyors of the tacky? This imitation diva worship drowned in camp sucks big time and should be banned from public consumption. You know you agree.
So it was with some small relief that we move into the relatively quieter environs of the main food area, where some of the food lumped en masse is actually quite appetizing. We manage to bump into the Three Sisters stall which sells their barbecue in the same manner as they’ve done for the past thirty years on a West Capitol Drive in Pasig. Being a sucker for nostalgia and closure that I am, we buy ten sticks (the last of which is entering my tummy as I write this very line). There’s nothing like food to bring back warm memories of happier times.
Beside the stall is a farm outlet of ECJ Farms (which I’m told stands for Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr.), which specializes in durian ice cream and durian jam. The durian ice cream is the best I’ve ever tasted, bar none. The ice cream is so good I forget the fact that I hadn’t eaten all day and that I’d just come from one of the worst exhibitions I’d ever seen in my entire life. When I heard the big ice cream makers were going to release durian-flavored ice cream, this is how I thought the end product would be. The pulp meshes with the ice cream so seamlessly it feels like you’re eating cold durian pulp, minus the strong scents and garlic aftertaste that push many (including my wife) away.
Thank God for small mercies.