Monday, June 12, 2006

G.U.S. NITPICKS!! (v. 4)


Finally, the much-delayed Saturday lunch with my cute and fresh-as-a-daisy-looking friend, G., was pushing through. I had mentioned Malate, as i haven't been in this area for nearly a year. G. dissented, saying the good restos such as Bravo, etc. have closed, and we would be better off going elsewhere. Being obstinate by nature, i insisted.

So there we were, circling the area looking for a suitable place to dine in, but no such luck. We didn't want to eat at Cafe Havana and other places you could find elsewhere. Unfortunately, Malate is now overrun with Korean restos and clubs/bars/KTVs catering to Korean clientele (and to some extent, Japanese). I know some heritage conservationists in Manila are wringing their hands about this, but what can you do?

So we ended up driving along Jupiter St., looking for that elusive resto. It came down to a choice between Queen's (Indian cuisine) and this fairly new, homey-looking resto, Palatofino. We decided to give the latter a try.

First impressions were quite positive, with its simple interiors, wood-panelled ceiling and white/green tablecloths.

Menu was extensive enough, albeit rather pricey (esp. the meat and fish entrees). Fortunately, the appetizer we ordered, Calamari Freschi (squid with tomato, red peppers and avocado), made up in taste and texture what it lacked in presentation. Likewise, the Linguine Con Cozze (mussels in white wine and chives) was quite tasty and didn't scrimp on the mussels; and G. liked her Penne Pancetta (with tomato, spices and creme fraische) as well.

However, dessert (my fave part of any meal) didn't turn out so good. The creme brulee with berry compote tasted and smelled more of banana than anything else.

And the service was inattentive, at best. The restrooms were kinda filthy, too. And it was a pricey meal (with taxes and service charge, our bill reached PHP1,160.00) considering we didn't order any drinks at all. I would have thought that Jupiter St. is a lower-rent area vs. Makati malls like Greenbelt, but it wasn't reflected in this resto's prices.

Sayang, i thought this resto had potential to be a cozy hang-out place. All in all, a return trip is rather unlikely.

(Palatofino Resto is located at Jupiter St. corner Saturn St., Bel-Air II, Makati City)
G.U.S. NITPICKS!! (v. 3)

SPA 168

I've tried most of the spas in the Timog/Tomas Morato area, but somehow overlooked this one. Probably because the building complex where it is located also houses a McDonald's outlet, and i try to stay away from Ronald McDonald. And this particular McDo has a giant french fries rising from its structure. . .so tacky!!!

Out of curiousity, i did give SPA 168 a try today. It can best be described as a no-frills spa; it just offers a one-hour massage (your choice of Swedish, Shiatsu, or combination) along with steam/shower, etc. Price is at PHP350.00 (common room) and PHP450.00 (VIP room). None of that body wrap or body scrub using exotic fruits or condensed milk nonsense here :D

The men's locker and shower area was rather small, but clean. I must say, though, that the blue-colored shorts and robe they give you to wear after your shower evoke thoughts of being a patient readied for the operating room. Not very pleasant at all. And the guy manning the locker gave me this pair of shorts which were way too big. Granted that i'm at least 20 lb overweight, but hey, my waistline isn't the same as Shaq's, you know?!

Anyway, onwards to the massage. This is what matters most anyway, diba? (which is why i'm in no particular hurry to go back to Nurture Spa, Tagaytay, but that's another story) This is where SPA 168 delivers, i think.
It was actually very good; i wouldn't say one of the best ever i've had, but definitely better than some massages i've gotten in other spas which charged nearly double the price. I even fell asleep at the end, which rarely ever happens.

All in all, quite good value for money. [clap clap]

(SPA 168 is at Dallas Commercial Building, located at Tomas Morato corner A. Roces Ave., Quezon City)