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Sunday Lifestyle

The perfect Sunday

LOVE LUCY - The Philippine Star

I think of that as I plowed through Grace Park’s kwatros leches, perhaps one of the most perfect treats to ever pass through my lips. It is delicious, this cake soaked in four kinds of milk/cream. Or so I think. I could be wrong. Who knows what secret steps and ingredients are manipulated into this sweet masterpiece. I love it in every way that matters.

As I enjoy each morsel, I am reminded of the many Sundays of my childhood, growing up in Ormoc City. After Sunday morning Mass, Daddy would always stop by this small shop to buy a loaf or two of butter cake. It was this perfect brick — light golden brown on the outside, the golden yellow pillow inside revealed when the knife falls upon it, dense and hefty, with just the right amount of sweetness.

I no longer remember the name of that little shop, as it was one of those that sold a myriad of other things, and neither does Daddy. I am thinking maybe they also ordered it from an independent baker? Anyway. The butter cake was good in that simple, no-nonsense way and I remember thinking many times then that it was perfect by its lonesome, with no add-ons. I would always enjoy it with a big glass of cold full cream milk after every meal. Ahhhhh. The absolute decadence of it all.

Many years later, here comes Grace Park’s kwatros leches, feeling very much like a reward that day because when I first placed the order it was not available. The last serving was all gone. But the cake fairy godmother was kind to us that evening, and the same waitress came by the table after a few minutes to say that a fresh batch had just been delivered and would I want to order some? But of course! I was delighted. It felt like the best news I had all day, mainly because I went there precisely for the kwatros leches and their avocado pie that I so love almost as much (the latter was not available though).

And so we ordered it, with two other desserts, and it was just gorgeous — a thick fat slice of cake swimming in a white pool of cream. I do not know if I am just imagining that there were fresh strawberries on top, but I sort of remembered seeing and tasting it (or am I confusing it with some strawberry shortcake I had several days after Grace Park?). At any rate, the first bite brought me back to that-butter-cake-in-Ormoc-that-is-no-longer-available-today. And if back then I thought nothing could be added to make an already perfect treat even more so, the kwatros leches made me rethink that. I am off sweets for the entire season of Lent but come Easter Sunday, I want my share of kwatros leches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

On the subject of food still, I remember walking for the very first time into Japanese Wagyu Beef in Sunvar Plaza. It is this small space, with a cult following, so it is almost impossible to get a table without reservations. But there we were, a group of four or five, fortunate to get one table even as walk-ins, because my husband, bless him, had the good sense to take us at an hour that was off peak.

The waitress was very helpful, and not knowing what to order I trusted her choices completely. Out came gorgeous beef, perfectly marbled, seasoned just right, achingly tender and delicious. It was perfect. Then she brought out another dish that I ordered only because she said it was her boss’ favorite, and that it was something that one should eat to relax. We had just come from a punishing work week and heaven knew we needed to do just that. It is nothing fancy if you think about it, just a bowl of steaming hot Japanese rice.

Upon it she broke a fresh egg and with chopsticks, rapidly mixed the egg into the rice. Then she poured some very light sauce on it, I think it was soy sauce, but I could be mistaken. It was very good. I ate it with the beef and was a very happy woman. For the first time, I also ate an okra dish that I genuinely liked enough to order on our subsequent visits (and to think I never liked okra at all!). I walked out, stuffed, but feeling brand new. Delicious food is magical that way.

When I think of the perfect meal, I think of all that I have just written about today in this space. Bacon with rice is another such combination that falls under the category, but then that is another story altogether. I have other versions, too, that involve al fresco dining, candle lights, Barry White and Amy Winehouse’ music, white wine, a small group of family and friends.

What is your perfect meal?

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