The O-Desk Christmas Bash
Rina has the most intriguing job. She works with a whole bunch of people, but the thing is, they don't see each other, because they all work from home. It's actually pretty cool, and she's enjoying it, because she gets to spend more time with Schatzi. I think it's the perfect set up, because since we both want to have a baby soon, this way she doesn't have to worry so much about traveling back and forth from the house to the office. If I worked from home, I probably wouldn't get anything done, except catch up on series and sleep. Of course, if someday this blog starts earning for me, I'll have that luxury, but until that day comes, it's off to the every day drive to Makati for me.
Since everyone works from home, you can imagine that their Christmas party wasn't your usual office yuletide celebration. It was actually a lot like a chat room "eyeball" (Although I've never actually been to one, I imagine thats what it would be like) Rina had a blast because a lot of them have become her "chat mates". She's gotten to know a few of them rather well, especially when they share the same shift and she doesn't have so much customers. Even though I don't usually go to Rina's office parties (cuz of my shyness), I went when I found out it was "Bugsy's" (I'm so easy).The temptress that is Rina, knew exactly what my weakness would be and said, "If you go with me, you can blog about the food of Bugsy's - FOR FREE."
In that one sentence, she said two things that appealed to me. "Food" and "Free". So i gave her a deep sigh, and replied, "Fine, I'll go, but only because I can't stand to be apart from you, even for two minutes..", which was met with a slight rolling of her eyes, and a triumphant smile.
Standing in front of them, I felt like I had to defend my thesis
I had actually been to Bugsys once before with my cousin Paolo, but we only ordered the Deep Fried Burger Melt (P175). I was told that their Chicken wings are top notch, but I have yet to try it. Everyone was requested to wear Red at the party, so Rina brought out the shirt I wore for halloween. Since I hadn't worn it since then, but I had already spent P800 bucks on it, I decided to go with their theme as well, even though I didn't necessarily need to. Rina finally met some of her work friends in the flesh for the first time, and you could swear that they had been working in the cubicle next to each other forever! They way they swapped stories and reminisced about works experiences non-stop was uncanny, and not to mention at often times, hilarious. Since I didn't know anyone there except for Rina, Chaikka, and Don, I pretty much kept to myself but found myself having interesting conversations with Jeff, the husband of Rina's friend, Joan. Who would have thought that the guy I was speaking with over dinner, I would see on TVmonths later, with the new moniker, "The Romantic Jazzer"? (Great stuff, by the way, Jeff! Congrats!)
Gangster pictures on the wall
Given the name, it's obvious that Bugsy's is a throwback to the Mobsters era. I think they did a decent job of creating the look, although another similarly themed restaurant in Makati captured it better (But from what I tried, Bugsy's has better food). It's elegant without being too posh.. and Casual and cool, without losing its class.
Rina took a lot of pictures of the food of other people, but I didn't know them well enough to ask if I could have a bite. I figured it might freak them out a bit if I went up to them and said, "Hi I'm Richie, Rina's husband. You gonna eat that?". I'll do a little review of the food that I did try.
Lamb, Corn, Potatoes and Mint Jelly. Perfect combo.
Chaikka ordered their Lamb Chops (P295), which was something I had my eye on when I saw the menu. The reason why I didn't order it, was because I believed that, no matter how much I love lamb chops, if you buy it from the grocery, cook it just the right way and add mint jelly, there wont be much of a difference when you eat it at a restaurant. The lamb was overcooked by just a tad, as I noticed Chaikka having a bit of a struggle when slicing it. Which was a shame because it was seasoned beautifully, bursting with gamey flavor of the lamb. The mashed potatoes, although not without a little lumps, was good as well. It wouldn't have hurt my feelings if they added a little bit more corn, though, but kudos to Bugsy's for acknowledging the importance of the Mint Jelly. Some don't like it, some do (I do), but Lamb Chops should ALWAYS be served with mint Jelly (I hope you wrote that down). Given the quality of what you get, and the quantity (3 good sized chops), Bugsy's Lamb Chops is a good deal.
I'm worried if I make fun of the God Father, I'll get shot in the eye.
Rina ordered The God Father (P285), one of Bugsys' more popular dishes. I took one glance at it and knew instantly that this was nowhere near enough for her to get full. That's not just a testament to my wife's appetite, but to the small portions of the dish they served. It looked more like The "God Baby" than it did The "God Father" (Rim Shot).
To their credit, the tenderloin slices of beef were silky soft. Two chews and you'd be ready to swallow (I'm a professional, so please don't try it at home). What makes The God Father disappointing, is the simply the portioning. It honestly looks more like an appetizer than a full meal. And the amount of corn on the plate was just sad. It looked more like bits of corn fell on the plate while being scooped into another dish, and the chef just decided to go with it. Also I would suggest using a different type of cheese - something like mozzarella that looks more appealing when melted. The Parmesan they placed on top of the beef just looked like it hardened, and didn't do so much for the taste.
What could have been a perfectly good dish was ruined by the portioning. It could have been delicious, but not worth the price.
I ordered the Southern Fried Pork Chops (P165) because i read it had "Milk Gravy" in it. Ever since I ate in the Doubletree Hotel in Anaheim in 1998, and tried their Breakfast Buffet's Biscuits in Milk Gravy, I've been trying to find something that comes remotely close to that - but I have yet to find something that comes even remotely close to it. (Mr. Jones' Biscuits are an acceptable substitute, but it's still not the same.. sniff)
The late comer
It was actually an OK Fried Pork Chop. (When you order breaded porkchop, you can't expect a high level of sophistication to it - it is what it is.) The batter was a little heavy - but that's ok with me because I like fried crunchy things, I can deal with that. The gravy was more peppery than it was milky, but still had some good merits to it.
My problem with this dish, is that it took them 30 minutes to bring it to me. Yup. 30 minutes for a Fried Pork Chop. How hard could it have been to dredge the pork chop in batter and fry it up? When I complained, the waiter gave me the dumbest excuse. "Umm.. Sorry Sir.. because.. Umm.. your pork chop was raw before we cooked it, so we had to cook it.. just to make sure.. it's umm.. cooked." "
To be fair, he actually said it in Tagalog, so maybe it would make more sense then. He actually said, "Sorry Sir.. Kasi.. Umm.. Hilaw pa kasi yung pork chop bago maluto.. so lulutuin muna namin.. para pagdating sayo.. umm.. siguradong.. umm.. luto na siya..."
Nope. Sorry. Still made no sense to me.
It wasn't a bad dish at all, but It's not worth a 30 minute wait. But for the price, it would have been a good deal (Two Chops for P165).
King of the Mobster Family: Bugsy Malone
I gave Rina one Pork Chop because, like I said, The God Father just wasn't gonna cut it. Though I had polished off my Pork Chop in record time, there was still an empty void in my tummy that the 30 minute wait had created. Just as I was about to whisper to Rina that I wanted to drive thru for a burger and nuggets on the way home, her boss tells them, "Hey if you're still hungry, you can order some more!". So it was time to get this party STARTED. Everyone was ordering the steak, and I didn't want to feel out of place, so i ordered one too. (I'm lying. I saw everyone around me ordering one, and I got jealous)
The Bugsy Malone (P480) turned out to be a pretty darn good steak. And best of all, they brought it to me in around 10 minutes only! Given the disparity of the prices, the tenderness is far from that of Gustavus , but lets face it, there are few restaurants here that can match that kind of quality. Regardless, for its price, it's still a very good steak. Perhaps they could have at the very least added more corn or something, instead of just mashed potatoes and gravy. Otherwise, from the marbling of the fat, to the way it was cooked, this was pretty hard to fault. A very good dish that I would definitely go back for.
Everything is better Ala Mode.
Someone ordered the Lava cake (P145), and asked me to give it a try. Because of my brother Ryan's legendary creations, I'm a self proclaimed Lava Cake Expert. I've tried Lava cakes from around the metro, and nothing comes close to what my brother makes. Like others before it, Bugsy's falls far short of the standard Oz Cakes has set for me. Nothing oozed out when I sliced into it. It looked more like a cupcake than it did, a Lava cake. I wasn't able to try the Chocolate Chip Almond Cookie with Ice Cream, because I was already too stuffed from the Steak and the Pork Chop.
I would definitely go back to Bugsy's to try other dishes. I just hope their Kitchen improves their service, but they're on the right track when it comes to the taste of their food. The next time I go to Bugsy's, I want to remember it for the great food, not the long wait.
OTHER FOOD I DIDN'T TRY
The Mozzarella Sticks (P175) looked really good, because they weren't just rolled up in lumpia wrappers and deep fried. They were big fat logs that that had mozzarella cheese practically squirting out from its ends.
Someone ordered the Pan Seared Salmon (P285), which looked oily and buttery.. just the way I like it. I don't know if it tasted any good though.
Despite the fact it had BBQ Sauce and fried onions, two of my staple ingredients when constructing a burger, for some reason, the Texan Burger (P285) didn't really catch my attention. I don't know, maybe it was the lack of Bacon?
So much for "Prohibition". The drinks flowed freely.
This would interest me more if you told me it was a vanilla milkshake.
I Thought Jeff was swiping from my steak when I wasn't looking.
It turns out, I was swiping from HIS Steak. Oops
I promised to post any picture that has Don with his eyes open.