October 29, 2009

Ups and downs of independence

I keep telling myself and everyone who wants to hear it how awesome it is to live on my own. And truly it is. Who am I to complain, living in a 140m2 condominium with pools, badminton and basketball courts (not that I play any of those sports), gym, playroom, plenty of green areas, and plenty of shops and restos within walking distance.

I can eat nutella of the pot with a spoon. I can wear hideous jogging pants. i can even walk around naked. I can decide not to make my bed in the morning and watch as many corny reality TV shows as my brain can take. I can have cereals for dinner (which I just did).

But no matter all the freedom living on my own gives me, the other side of the medal isn't quite as shiny. Truth is, living alone can be quite lonely. All those meals by myself, watching a funny movie with no one to laugh with, no one to greet you when you get home after a long day of work and at night... I won't even go there.
As much fun it is to have dinner on the sofa while watching Bravo TV shows, it doesn't compare to having dinner and a decent conversation with a real person.

Now, I've never been the ultra-social type of personality and I truly enjoy my alone-time, but moving to the Philippines brought me to a whole other level of independence. In a culture, where moving in together before marriage is frowned upon, I find myself missing the college days of sharing an apartment with a roommate or even the days of living at home with my parents.

Now, I know that in reality life isn't a fairy tale. I am lucky enough to say that mine is somewhat close, but I had one thing I would ask my fairy Godmother to swirl her wand for, it would be to have D.'s warm body wake up next to me in the morning and sit down to have breakfast with me.

More than in any culture I know, family plays a crucial role in the Philippines. It is a tremendous adjustment for me though, since as much as I love my family, I flew out of the nest as soon as I graduated high school. But true love is about embracing one another’s culture. I struggle at times, I admit it and I disagree with a lot of the traditions, but at the end of the day, I also know how to respect them. Everything has a price. This is mine. Cultural differences.

Battle of the Persians

There's a new kid in town - well, not sooo new. Although Behrouz has sentimental value to me since it's linked to fond memories of our early dating stage with D.; I undoubtly found a new contender in the battle for best Persian resto in town.
Persian Square is one of the many new hotspots that emerged with the rise of Sykes in Ortigas Home Depot.
Owned by an Irani business man, the resto serves traditional Middle Eastern cuisine with all the favorites you might expect and some new dishes you will enjoy. We've been tried it out soon after its opening and have become regulars ever since.
I'm not an adventurer when it comes to food and I like sticking to the classics. We usually order hummus, but Iast time I wanted to try out the Mirza Ghasemi, which is mashed grilled eggplant sauteed in onions and garlic with Persian spices and home-made tomato sauce. This is without a doubt my new favorite appetizer.

Their perennial classic Chelo Kebab Kobideh comes with a huge serving of buttered long grain basmati rice and two grilled tomatoes. A dish definitely large enough to share, unless you're glutons like we are. I'm still a little disappointed that all restos serve butter in those little plastic single serving cups. Persian Square, unfortunately, is no exception.
The Chelo Morg is also worth a mention. Thin slices of fillet mignon marinated in onions and lime juice. Very delicious. For those who favor chicken, there's always Chelo Joojeh; tender chicken fillets marinated in saffron, lime juice and onions. Very juicy and tasty.

And a friend told me that Persian Square serves the closest thing to a shawarma since she moved back to Manila from Saudi. I have yet to try that out.
The design reminds me more of dungeons&dragons (fortress type architecture) meets Barney (purple is the predominent color scheme). Every you look you can see that the owners are in the tiles business (I heard over 3000 squares are to be found in the restaurant) and your experience will be topped off with the tantalizing sounds the Arab MTV that plays on the plasma - which by the way always gets me head-bopping.
Verdict: if you're looking for minimalist, edited design and style, go elsewhere. But if what you want is authentic persian food, you found your bet here.


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