(I wrote this many months ago for my birthday, but I never got to post it. So even if its half a year late, I would post it anyway. After all, it’s about me turning 30.) I am the ARSENAL Party Planner, so when my birthday rolled in, I was thinking that maybe they’d surprise me or maybe they won’t. Or at most, there would be cake, because we always get cake. But they did surprise me and it was a lot of fun. And I did not expect such a unique presentation of cupcakes! How do I contextualize this? I play multi-player EDH (Elder Dragon Highlander) of Magic, the Gathering, a collectible card game. My commander is Bruna, Light of Alabaster, and basically, I have a hit list of all other commanders that I want to kill. That is basically my playing style. I don’t really intend to win, I just want to kill each of the commanders at least once, thus, the Bruna hit list. What my play group did was print out the basic commanders in the hit list and place it on coffee cupcakes. It was an incredible surprise that I did not expect. Also, they gave me candy roses, and those are really yummy as well. My ARSENAL twin, Aya, also celebrated his birthday with me. It was indeed a lot of fun. We had a typical dinner at the food court and I thought our night would end there until we started to look for a place to sit and talk after the mall closed. Thus we ended up in Magnolia Flavor House. They had a promo at the time, if we ordered a pizza and a pasta, we get free ice cream. So we got a couple of those and once the waiter realized that it was my birthday, he asked me to write my name on a piece of paper, and later on, they surprised me with a birthday song and a complementary ice cream. It was a lot of fun. Also, being in a Magnolia House feels so old school, our late-night meal felt so nostalgic. They were even playing 90s songs, songs I literally grew up with. We over-stayed a bit, because we didn’t exactly plan this, and we waited around until the clock struck 12–my official birthday. I guess the saying was right, the best things are unplanned things. (Looloo review here: https://looloo.com/r/3ql9) Of course, the pièce de résistance of all birthday celebrations–a lunch at Châmpetre. I’ve wanted to eat here for years–literally since I found out about it. But it’s so far and expensive, I never really had the chance to. So when my Mom and I were discussing things I want to do for my birthday–we decided on this one. She gave me a budget to work on, a generous one, and we were able to enjoy a meal at this lovely French provincial restaurant at the heart of Bonifacio Global City. I loved that the place do not have a hint of pretension about it, and the food was incredible! The staff was also helpful and accommodating. The entire experience brought me back to Europe, with Mom and Ian along for the ride. It was the best way to turn 30. We started with the cheese platter to share because I absolutely love cheese. So there. Loved the spread. Didn’t take notes on the names of the cheeses–but it is a nice platter with six cheese types. There’s brie (a personal favorite, soft with mild flavor), hard and sweet cheese (emmental, if I am not mistaken), two cheeses on the medium flavor and texture side, a type of goat cheese garnished with olive oil (soft, with strong flavor), and of course a type of blue cheese. The plate is garnished with walnuts, apple slices, grapes, and served with fresh bread. I’ve said I love cheese and I enjoyed this platter so much. Mom and Ian did too. A great way to start a meal. Too many good things on the menu. They had a lunch menu too, but no–we went for the mains. I had the grilled scallops with Lyonnaise sauce, Mom had the beef onglet steak, and Ian the lamb chops with Algerian-style couscous. Servings were very generous. Mom only finished half her steak so we had it bagged for later. She loved it though, and she even finished the side salad. It’s their best-seller, apparently. Ian’s lamb and couscous were very generous. Couscous was very fluffy, the lamb was cooked perfectly, and we didn’t expect the stew on the side. Very nice flavors. The dish also came with very peppery sausages. This dish was almost good enough for two! Ian can’t help but keep on eating. The grilled scallops was the best–great thing I chose it, at my Mom’s urging. The scallops were cooked perfectly! And the creamy, peppery Lyonnaise sauce was just heavenly. The sliced potatoes complemented the dish nicely. It looks small and light, but it was far from it. Good thing I ordered a glass of Chardonnay to go with this. Loved every bite of it. Because we were so full, Ian and I just shared the Grand Marnier with candied orange zest ice cream, and it was great! You taste the layers of orange flavor in there. Next is Champêtre’s birthday surprise–the dark chocolate mousse. Needless to say, it’s the best mousse I have ever tasted. Smooth, thick, pure dark chocolate goodness. Blended well with the ice cream order as well. I was so full yet I just can’t stop eating. Too bad my mom was simply too full to have dessert, she just took a bite to taste. Next time, we definitely need tummy space for their berry soufflé and end the meal with espresso. (Looloo reviews here: https://looloo.com/r/3qke, https://looloo.com/r/3qkk). Mom had to go home and Ian and I ended the day with a light dinner at one of our favorite places–Pi Breakfast and Pies. We had our old classic, the corn waffle with chicken skins, and we tried something new, the cherry pie. Suffice it to say that we always come home full and happy after a meal here. By now, the staff is familiar with us, because we either dine there or simply buy bread. Given that it’s a Monday, it was a quiet night, and a very beautiful ending to a 30th birthday celebration. Not that the birthday celebrations have ended. We said we would make the best out of this month, despite the busy schedule. And we are intent upon it. We just don’t know what the next celebrations would be. Anyway,we’re not even at the halfway mark yet.