Dinner at Outback Steakhouse

It was April 7, 2012. My family and I went to Makati Shangri-La hotel  for my sister’s birthday and for our vacation. We ate lunch at Dad’s and after that we went shopping and went back to the hotel.

We went swimming and we were there for about an hour or more. We took a bath, rested and went out to look for a place to eat dinner.

The Place

Australia

We   dropped by at Outback Steakhouse at Glorietta 4, Ayala Center for Zia’s birthday dinner.

At first I thought it was a bar but when we went upstairs I was surprised to see a   big restaurant  .  We sat at  the window   in front of the S.M. food court.

Australia

Outback Steakhouse has a wonderful theme and great pictures. The outback is a home land for many Australian animals like dingoes and wombats.  Kangaroos and dingoes hide in the bushes to rest  when the weather is really hot.

Australia

There are also birds who fly at the crack of dawn. Snakes and other reptiles bask in the sun .

The pictures on the wall show road  signs  , animals, and geography   of Australia.

The bathroom doors had “Blokes” and “Shielas” on them rather than Men and Ladies. The toilets were really clean and smelled good.

Toilet

The waiters and waitresses also wore hats, vest and shorts used in the Australian outback.

The Food

Bushman's bread

Combo Appetizer

First, we ordered appetizer and water. They gave us Bushman’s bread , which is made with wheat and honey. It’s  brown and served with butter. The inside is soft and the outside is crunchy.

We ordered the Combination Appetizer, which includes  Kookabura Wings, Aussie Cheese Fries and Crispy Calamari.

Kookabura Wings tasted like buffalo wings. It  is deep-fried and crunchy. My little sister found it too spicy but I didn’t think so. The fries had cheese and bacon, and tasted like it was homemade .The calamari is crunchy  and tasted fresh.   The combination platter also had four slices of celery, which was  as fresh as if it was only plucked from the ground the same night.

Alice Springs Chicken

The Baby back ribs

Grilled Chicken and Swiss sandwich

Fish sandwich

Garlic rib eye steak

Next, we ordered our main dishes. I ordered  Alice Springs chicken.

The Alice Springs chicken is a flame grilled chicken breast that has  mushrooms, bacon, Monterey jack and Cheddar. It also has honey mustard sauce.  It’s cheesy, flavorful and cooked properly.

Mom ordered 1/2 slab of Baby Back Ribs . My mom was surprised and happy  because the serving was bigger than she thought it would be.  There were about 5 ribs on the half slab, but it had lots of meat.  Knowing that I love ribs too, my mom gave me a piece so I could describe its taste. The ribs are  tender.  I could taste the smoky flavor on the barbecue sauce and ribs.

My sister got the Grilled Chicken and Swiss Sandwich. I had a piece too because mom wanted me to taste everything. It’s made of chicken breast, caramelized onions, Swiss cheese, lettuce and tomato, and buns.

It also came with fries. It wasn’t very tasty , but I think you’re supposed to add some salt when you eat it.

My younger sister ordered the Fish Sandwich .  It had breaded fish and cheese, with tartar sauce  , lettuce, tomato and burger buns.  Like the Grilled Chicken sandwich, it , too needs a little more salt  and pepper. The bread is soft and crunchy. The vegetables are fresh and still crunchy.

Papa ordered the Garlic Rib Eye steak, which also came with vegetables and baked potato. Papa  said it was cooked perfectly and tasted really good.

The servings were generous and we were all full.  Right after dinner, the crew burst out of the kitchen, singing Happy Birthday to my sister, Zia. They brought her a serving of ice cream with chocolate drizzle and a candle on top.

This surprised us but made us and Zia happy.

The food is worth the price because it’s delicious and the servings were more than enough.

The Service

The place was kid friendly. When we arrived, we were given coloring papers and crayons to keep us busy. They had high chairs for little kids. The waiters and waitresses also talked to us.

Say CHEESE!

The service crew are very friendly and were very helpful all the time. They are smiling every time they came to our table. We always got water refills once our water run out.

It was great that they remembered when my mom mentioned it was my sister’s birthday so that they sang her happy birthday after our meal.

Outback Restaurant is a great place. I wish we’d go back there again.

Here are my ratings (5 is the highest):

5 stars for the food
5 stars for the place
5 stars for the kid friendliness
5 stars for the service

See you all next time! Adios!

My Passion and My Steak….

Mom and I , when I was 2My mom always told us that in order to be successful, we must first find that one thing that ignites our interest, stirs up our passion, and tickles our imagination as to how far it can take us. To many people, finding that one thing takes a long time. To some, it comes as a surprise. To others, such as myself, it comes as a result of circumstance. Some time ago, I was attending school , like most kids. But my family decided that it was much better for me and my siblings to learn at home.

As a home schooler, I learned the word “pressure”, “catalyst” and “carbon dioxide” by sticking Mentos inside a bottle of Coke and watching it explode in our backyard.

Me and my siblings at Avilon zooI learned about the classifications of animals by going to Avilon Zoo, and taking notes from the tour guide.

I learned about divison by separating candies that my Papa brought home from his trips abroad into 5 of us siblings. I learned about fractions, estimates, units of measure, converting ounces to cups, and boiling points by cooking pasta , risotto,soup, etc.

As I learned Math, I also started to develop an interest in cooking. It often was the case that my mom, seeing my interest, started asking me to do things in the kitchen, such as making omelets for breakfast, cooking risotto for dinner or grilling steaks. Then my mom thought of having me and my brother audition for a cooking show for a major television network. It turned our world topsy turvy. From then on, I never looked back. Experiencing people other than my mom and my Papa criticize my cooking made me want to be better. Well, such were the circumstances that led me to the revelation of my passion for cooking.

But there was one dish that I had specific passion for- steaks. Now I will tell you about the week that was.

The Steaks Workshop

Not too long ago, I enrolled in Chef Ernest Gala’s Steaks, Salad, Pastas and Roasts course at Sylvia Reynoso Gala Culinary School.
Me, Chef Ernest Gala and other classmates

Me doing the sauceWhile waiting for Chef Ernest to arrive, we watched his shows on the television situated in the kitchen. Three friends whom I met there were curious as to my schooling, perhaps because it was a Tuesday and yet I was preparing to grill steaks rather than reviewing for a Math or Science quiz. I told them that I’m home schooled and that I love cooking. That day, we were cooking salads, pastas, roasts and steaks. I really love learning the different aspects of cooking, but my weakness lies in baking. Maybe I’m just not born for it.

We made three kinds of salads. I made a Festive Tuna, potato, beet and apple salad. One of my classmates made Hearty Mediterranean salad with anchovies, capers and feta cheese. My other classmates made the Special crab salad with creamy mayo. I learned that if balsamic vinegar isn’t available, we can use Knorr seasoning or worcestershire sauce. It changes the flavor but it’s good too.

Filets mignons with caper sauce
sizzling italian pork parmigiana topped with magnolia mozzarella cheese
Then we made filet mignons with caper sauce, sizzling Italian pork parmigiana topped with Magnolia mozzarella cheese, and Chateaubriand with Bernaise sauce. Last but not least, the Monterey roast rack of lamb with creamy cucumber sauce. I learned that when roasting, we must use a meat thermometer to know whether it’s over cooked or it’s still raw. I never used a thermometer at home, as I only used a wall clock and my gut feel.

We made pastas like Special Magnolia chicken spaghetti with 4 cheeses and Baked lasagna with ricotta and Magnolia cheese. I learned that in some countries, mozzarella cheese are colored white because they use carabao’s milk. In the Philippines, we have yellow mozzarella cheese because we use cow’s milk.

SALADS

Festive tuna, potato, beet and apples salad

Festive tuna, potato, beet and apple salad
This salad includes all purpose cream, salt and pepper, diced potatoes, beet, apples, pickle relish, onion and tuna. It is served with prepared lettuce and eggs.

I found the salad a little unusual because it had beets in it. It was my first time to eat beets . I actually thought that a beet is a fruit but it’s technically a root. The cream and beet combination gave the dish a subtle but intriguing taste.

Hearty Mediterranean with anchovies, capers and feta cheese
Hearty mediterranean salad with anchovies, capers and feta cheese

This salad includes baby tomatoes, black olives, capers, anchovies, Feta cheese or Quick melt cheese, dill leaves (fresh) and peeled cucumber. There is also crushed garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil, oregano and salt and pepper.

This salad is simple but good and tasty. I like the flavors of the olives and all the cheeses. I also like the cucumber because it’s sliced really thin.

Special crab salad with creamy mayo
Special crab salad with creamy mayo
This salad has iceberg lettuce, peeled cucumber, big salad tomatoes and boiled eggs. For the dressing it has MAGNOLIA mayo, HUNTS catsup, salt, pepper and PEOTRACO corn syrup .

The cucumber – tomatoes – boiled eggs combination gave a crunchy, sour and sweet taste..a taste that appealed to my mom’s palate.

ROASTS

Chateaubriand with Bernaise sauce
chateaubriand with bernaise sauce

Monterey roast rack of lamb with creamy cucumber sauce
monterey roast rack of lamb with creamy cucumber sauce

This ribs has crushed garlic, rock salt, Mc Cormick rosemary, black pepper, balsamic vinegar, olive oil. The sauce has cucumber, grated cheese, minced onions and salt.

I like the ribs because it’s tender and it’s well seasoned. The consistency of the sauce is perfect- not too watery, not too thick.

TENDER ROAST MONTEREY PORK BABY BACK RIBS WITH SPECIAL BARBECUE SAUCE

Tender roast monterey pork baby back ribs with special BBQ sauce
This baby back ribs has garlic, knorr seasoning, rock salt, mustard, molasses, chili powder and Hunt’s tomato sauce. The sauce has chopped onions, brown sugar, vinegar, HUNT’s tomato sauce, Lea and Perrins worcestershire sauce, knorr seasoning and salt and pepper.

I love the flavors of the chili and mustard plus the onions and the vinegar on the tender ribs.

PASTAS

BAKED LASAGNA WITH RICOTTA AND MAGNOLIA MOZZARELLA CHEESE
Baked lasagna with ricotta and magnolia mozzarella cheese

This lasagna has sausages, ground beef, salt, pepper, herbs, sugar, eggs and ricotta cheese, among others. I was not able to taste the lasagna because when we heated the lasagna at home, the glassware cracked in the oven!

SPECIAL MAGNOLIA CHICKEN SPAGHETTI WITH 4 CHEESES

Special magnolia chicken spaghetti with 4 cheese
This spaghetti has Magnolia butter, boiled chicken, cream, grated mozzarella cheese, grated quick melt cheese, Fontina cheese, grated provolone cheese, grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper….Loved this one too.

We had these dishes for dinner that day. It’s plentiful, very delicious and the taste is right on. I’ll give these dishes *****stars for the taste and **stars for the difficulty. (because it’s yummy but easy)

Now all this talk about food is starting to stir up my imagination again….I think I know what I'm gonna do today.