February 4, 2007

Lunch at Charley's

The estate as seen from the questhouse rooftop

"Hi! I just made a comment on Anton's post on The Popit De Leon Experience: "road trip!" to Charley's in Lipa! And he emailed back, why not? So. Here's an open invite to bloggers i read (and lurve!!!)".

Upon receiving this email from Poch, I thought great idea! A food trip with fellow foodies, some of who I was yet to have the pleasure of meeting in person, fun! So over the next couple of weeks we selected the menu, fixed car arrangements and set the meeting place: 10:30 am at the Petron gas station along SLEX.

I think we were all so excited about the food and the company that we weren't prepared for the scene that awaited us. Hidden behind a massive stone wall lined by mahogany trees, was a beautiful first-class ranch complete with thoroughbreds roaming freely. Perhaps I was expecting something a little more rustic because it was out in the country. But whatever it was, I was pleasantly surprised.

As we pulled up, we found Popit outside ready to welcome us. Soon after, our group of 16 gathered around the table in the sunny dining room. Though the setting may have been formal, the vibe was relaxed and casual. What followed was a comfortable and enjoyable lunch among friends, old and new. The wine and conversation flowed freely as the seven course meal was served.

Chef Popit at his crepe station

Not surprisingly, my favorite part of the meal was dessert. Popit whipped up crepe suzettes and topped each one with vanilla ice cream. It was sinful and delicious. The intoxicating smell of butter lingered in the air for hours after.

We had the pleasure of meeting Charley, who treated us to a grand tour of her property. As you can see, I went a little crazy with the camera, especially with the horses. I love, love, love horses. I think they are one of God's most gorgeous creatures. I just wish they weren't such a darn expensive passion.

Anyway as they say, pictures are worth a thousand words, so I'll leave you with these.

"I'm ready for my close-up.
Ummm, I think this is my better side. Erm, no this one is!"

A tale of two cuties: Aidan with the Shetland pony

Just horsin' around

Isn't she a beauty!? She was my favorite.
She nibbled on my arm and had Aidan squealing with delight.


Thanks Poch for planning this trip for all of us! :)

* * *

Read what the others had to say about the trip and check out their beautiful pictures:

For reservations, call Charley at 0920-9507032

Driving directions: From SLEX, exit Calamba heading towards Batangas/Laguna (exit 50) until Sto. Tomas. Enter the Star Tollway, exit at Lipa and turn right. Continue down this road until the fork (across Robinson's) and take the left, passing Jollibee and SM. A billboard of the Sto. Nino Parish marks your next left to Gov. F Leviste Highway.


SeƱor Enrique said...

Beautiful horses!

How was the food?

Seemed like a fun food trip!

Anton said...


nice to finally meet you! thanks for the wonderful banana bread recipe that Mila baked for us. It was super delish!

we'll have more foodie trips soon. I want to get to know you gals better :)


Didi said...

Aren't you guys lucky!!! :) Wow!! :)

christine said...

Hi Eric, it was super fun. And the horses, wow, beautiful indeed. I would love to go back and spend more time with them. For the food, we had the following:

tomato & potato soup
seafood custard
pan-seared mahi-mahi with tarragon sauce
batangas beef stewed in rosemary & wine
rice pilaf
crepe suzette
lemongrass iced tea & barako coffee

christine said...

Anton, I'm so happy I finally met your family. I'm inlove with Aidan, he's just really a bundle of joy! He's even more adorable in person, if that's even possible. :) And you're welcome for the recipe, but Mila should take all the credit for that. What she did to the banana bread was excellent! I love her version. :)

Hi Candishhh, I have to agree, I felt lucky. :) Maybe next time we can do a bigger foodie trip and you and Jen can join us!

Watergirl said...

Gosh now I'm blushing. Thanks Nena and Anton. Glad the cake survived the trip and back to Manila. The only thing I did was make sure to put lots of butter! and nuts! Heehee. Not a healthy banana cake.
Hope to have more road trips with you all. Was a lot of fun.

Anonymous said...

It was really a beautiful afternoon. Felipe and I truly felt lucky to be in the presence of such lovely people and gorgeous views. But most of all, wasn't it FUN?! I loved that we all got along and shared all the stories and laughter. :-)

Anonymous said...

It was such a pleasant day, lovely place, lovely people. we should do it again soon. thanks for putting that together nens:-)

christine said...

Mila, it was really good, it was gone in 2 days! You'll have to teach me how to make it your way. :)

Katrina, super fun! Everyone was in high spirits and we just all clicked. I was just telling my best friend this morning: Shame on us. For 3 years, we've been planning a trip to Ugu's place and we can't seem to arrange it. Look at this, in 2 short weeks a group of 16 people, some strangers to the others, decided on a trip to Charley's and off we went. It's really different when you have a group of people with the same interests such as the group we had last Saturday. :)

Hey Mirs, thank Poch. She put this all together and herded us to Lipa. :) Am so glad you were able to join us, I somehow knew you would enjoy it as much as I did. But next time I hope you don't lose as much sleep over it the night before! hehe

Anonymous said...

Oh, my stomach just growled at the thought of fresh crepes.

Can you say YUM!

Please take me with you next time !!

(Loving the horsey pictures, too.)

wysgal said...

Everything was great and I think everyone is just clamoring for a follow up now. =)

Anonymous said...

Nens! Had so much fun! What a great afternoon...even the weather was fantastic :) I'm all for a follow-up :)

Unknown said...

Wow! Kakainggit! Doesn't it just surprise you how these beautiful places can just exist over there at home?

I am impressed. Chef Popit looks familiar. Did we know him in school? Anyway, I loved that it was a whole bunch of blogger went, it was fun checking out each one's take on the trip. Please send MrsA my best regards! I miss her!

christine said...

Alynda, come on over and we'll do the entire network of restaurants and cool places in that area! :)

Wysgal, I know I am clamoring for a follow-up! Pampanga here we come? ;)

Jo, the weather couldn't have been more perfect, no? I wish there were more days like that for us to enjoy here. Then you and I could read our books on the grass until we fall asleep. :)

Mieke, that's just the tip of the iceberg! Wait 'til you see the other places like Ugu Bigyan's. Maite and I have been planning a trip down there for (get this)over 3 years now! Not to mention Kusina Salud that friends and I have been talking about for about that long too. When are you coming over? Let's plan a road trip then too! :)

About Popit, I knew him from CSA, he was my batchmate. But it seems he went to La Salle too, from what I heard. So maybe that's where you've seen him. I'll give MrsA your love. :)

Anonymous said...

nens, where did you find this place? it's beautiful! i don't think i'll pass for a 'foodie' but i'd love to join you on your next trip!

and i think i know popit from csa. i haven't exchanged a word with him since grade school but it's nice to see and hear about people you know doing well in their chosen field.

P said...

their horses are indeed photogenic! I love your collage. Yes, yes, i'd be first to sign up for a part 2. Pampanga? Or viaje del sol?... I'll prolly bring rama next time around. See you soon, for sure, nena.

christine said...

Hi Kat, did you get my email with the links?

Poch, yes please bring Rama! I want to meet that gorgeous and funny girl. :) I'm all for another trip, just tell me when. Though February is out of the question for me. All my weekends are fully booked until March 1.

My friends and I are once again discussing a trip to Ugu Bigyan sometime March/April. Hopefully this time it pushes through! I vote for Kusina Salud or Claude Tayag (assuming Anton can nego for us). :)

briliantdonkey said...

Adorable pictures as usual. Even the ones that make me so hungry this late at night.


christine said...

Hey BD, thanks and welcome back. Always nice to see you around :).