Monday, July 05, 2004

Swiss weekend

I decided to surprise my husband John with a weekend away, since this is the first Saturday in two months that their band doesn't have a gig. We drove up to Vieux Chalet, a Swiss restaurant in Antipolo owned by the Hassig family.

In addition to good food and a great view, Vieux Chalet also offers overnight packages for couples. This includes an overnight stay in a breezy little room surrounded by trees, use of the pool and sauna, a Swiss brunch, and a massage for each of you. The massage normally lasts 3 hours, although if their primary masseuse isn't available, you can get a 1 hour 45 minute massage from their alternate masseuse, Mavis.

I called Leslie Ann at Vieux Chalet on Friday to confirm our reservation, and she faxed me a map. We got lost a couple of times, but never for very long.

We spent the afternoon having a massage, reading, napping, and generally relaxing in the huge house; we had it all to ourselves. For dinner, we had some very tender tenderloin (with Cafe de Paris, a butter-and-herb sauce), mashed potatoes (a little too creamy for my taste), mango shake, lemongrass cooler (yum!) and topped it off with two orders of chocolate parfait (a mix of ice cream and chocolate mousse, with a hint of mint - double yum!).

John played the piano after dinner. Turned out one of the other guests was the lead vocalist of a local band. She sang along - terrific voice. After all the dinner guests left we sat down with Flo (who helps her mom Susan manage the restaurant) and her friend Me-ann, and had a great time swapping favorite funny movie quotes and listening to spooky ghost stories.

Breakfast, or rather brunch, was a Swiss deli platter - ham, bacon, sausage, egg, cheese and bread. Lunch (can you guess this was a food trip weekend?) was Fettucine Padilla (like Alfredo, but with ham and mushrooms), garlic baguette, and more lemongrass cooler.

Finally, appetites slated, we packed up, waved goodbye, and drove off home feeling extremely refreshed (stopping at Crescent Moon Cafe in Barangay Dalig to buy some pottery from Lanelle Abueva Fernando's studio).

Vieux Chalet is celebrating their 20th anniversary at the end of August.

Reservations

For Vieux Chalet, call 697-0396 or 0919-237-2140. For Crescent Moon Cafe, call 630-5854.

Prices

Meals at Vieux Chalet will run between P700 and P1,300 for two people, with dessert. Servings are generous - a medium-sized steak was just right for the two of us, while we had one full serving left over from the medium-sized pasta dish we ordered.

Overnight stays at Vieux Chalet are P3,500 total for two people. Without the massage, stays are P2,100 per couple.

A square plate from Crescent Moon Cafe will cost around P220.

Directions

Vieux Chalet is on Taktak Road in Purok Sampaguita, Antipolo, Rizal.

Crescent Moon Cafe is on Ascension Road, in Barangay Dalig, Antipolo, Rizal. GPS waypoint coordinates here.

Call ahead to ask them to fax you a map. Once driving:

Take Ortigas extension going towards Rizal. You'll pass Cainta Junction (marked by a big Robinsons' mall) and Ever. Just keep driving until you reach a big fork at the end of the road. You can't miss it - there's no way to go straight at the fork, the road "ends" at a large Jollibee billboard. The sign on the left fork reads "To Antipolo". Go left and drive up the winding mountain road towards Antipolo. You'll pass Beverly Hills Subdivision and Evergreen Village on your right side. This is the Circumferential Road.

Just past Evergreen Village, you'll see a pocket park (Hamaka Park) at another fork. The pocket park is surrounded by red brick, so it's easy to see (and there should be a sign indicating that Antipolo church is to the left). Turn left at Hamaka Park and drive down P. Oliveros street. You'll get to another red brick plant box (with just a tree in it this time) at an intersection that has a USA88 gas station. Turn left again here. That puts you on Taktak Road. Then just keep driving up (and down) Taktak Road until you get to the gate for Purok Sampaguita (other resorts in the compound include Villa Christina and Villa Mari - watch out for their signs). Once inside Purok Sampaguita, follow the Vieux Chalet signs until you get to the restaurant.

If you miss the left turn at Hamaka Park you'll see Ynares Center on your left side. That's a sign you should turn back or stop and ask for directions to Taktak Road.

To go to Crescent Moon Cafe, coming from Vieux Chalet, drive back down Taktak Road and P. Oliveros street until you get to Hamaka park. Turn left to get back onto the Circumferential road. You'll pass Ynares Center on your right side (and that's a good sign, this time!) then keep driving up the Circumferential road for several intersections. You'll pass a Flying V gas station on your left side. After that, watch out for a Shell station on your right. Almost right after the Shell station there's a small road on your right, with a tiny Crescent Moon Cafe sign posted at the corner. Turn right following the sign and drive down the road, you'll eventually see Crescent Moon Cafe on your left. I think the cafe is only open for lunch, but the pottery shop is open until 4 pm.



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