We spent Friday night (Feb. 24) to celebrate our 10th anniversary at The Farm at San Benito, the Hippocrates Health Resort of Asia. Being a health resort The Farm serves only raw and organic vegetarian food at their restaurant, the 85/15*.
Meat-eaters and junkies that we are, we braced ourselves for bland, inexciting food. (We even brought along a just-in-case-we-go-hungry stash of a loaf of wheat bread and a jar of portoguese sardines.) We were pleasantly suprised then when we were served good-looking gourmet food. Dinner was a 5-course meal: Garden Salad with Caesar Dressing or Italian Tomato Dressing; Cauliflower Samosas with Assorted Chutney; Indian Spinach Soup with Sesame; Baked Tofu Mardas with Sauteed Vegetables on Mango Chutney and (Brown) Rice Pilaf and.... surprise! Piña Colada Cake...which even had a itty-bitty scoop of choco-sorbet on top, made of nut milk.
So entertained was I by the food presentation and so overwhelmed was I of the chef's skills and creativity--imagine having to vary your menu daily and living with the constraints of using only organic ingredients (meaning, no enriched flour, no msg, etc) -- that I forgot to take pictures of what we ate! Which is a shame, because the Piña Colada cake was really pretty. :(
(And guess what, we didn't get hungry and didn't touch our just-in-case stash!)
I had a chance for snapshots the following morning when we had breakfast. Fresh fruits, home-made bread, home-made muesli and granola, and a second-showing of Cauliflower Samosas lined the buffet.
The photo above shows my breakfast plate -- fresh fruits and muesli, a piece of the cauliflower samosa, and two kinds of homemade bread (the pinwheel cookie look-alike is actually dessicated coconut and something resembling ground nuts), which I all enjoyed. (Mike had fresh fruits, granola with nut milk and a samosa.)
We both got up for another plate, sampling the other breads and the jams -- banana lime, prune jam, choco nutella among others. I even had a Cappuccino, which was once again a toast to the skills of the chef who found a substitute for coffee beans. The overall dining experience was made even more enjoyable and extraordinary by the ambience provided by the jungle and nature surrounding us. Dining out in the open air we were serenaded by the chirping of birds and refreshed by mountain air.
(Off-topic: I just have to say, the restaurant's rustic-nature theme was executed tastefully and with extraordinary understated elegance, consistent with the overall image and presentation of the whole park.)
How did we know the ingredients were organic? First off, The Farm is in the super-outskirts of Lipa City and is on a mountain in Bgy. Tipakan; going out for supplies is so tedious (and costly), the farm owners and staff would probably opt to grow the ingredients themselves. Second, we did see and inspect the vegetable garden, as you can see here :)
At noontime we checked out to go back to reality, but before heading home we stopped by Robinson's Place in Lipa City to meet up with my friend Haidz who I haven't seen for ages. We had lunch at Tokyo Tokyo, where I found myself struggling to make a choice for which item to order. (All seemed oily, salty and unhealthy. :P) Anyhow, I settled for Tempura while Mike had Beef Misono a.k.a Beef Swimming in Saturated Fat. :P Is it possible, The Farm has made converts of us overnight?
The answer came when we got home, when I weighed in and found to my ultra-happy surprise, that I lost 2.5lbs from that overnight conversion. :P (Imagine how much I could have lost if we stayed for 3 days or so!) And eureka! This could be a way to lower Mike's cholesterol!
Well, gotta go peel apples for breakfast!
*Why the name 85/15?
We have named our restaurant 85/15 in order to represent the ratio of raw-to-cooked foods that we provide at every meal. The reason we serve 85% of our food in its raw, unadulterated state is because raw foods contain enzymes that cooked foods do not. Enzymes are crucial catalysts for every bodily function and are present in a perfect balance in all raw foods provided by Nature. Enzymes are destroyed by heating foods above 42 degrees Celsius so we use specially designed dehydrators that give raw foods the appearance of being cooked without overheating and destroying the enzymes. Your soup will be served warm rather than hot in order to preserve these valuable nutritional rejuvenators. (From www.thefarm.com.ph)