New Year’s Eve dinner at Vieux Chalet

There’s a first time for everything. New Year’s Eve 2010 was the first time that we dined out on the last day of the year. The very first time. When I was young, we would spend New Year’s Eve at my uncle’s house because it was also the birthday of a cousin. When that cousin went to live in the U.S., we spent New Year’s eve at home. After Speedy and I got married, the first few years, we spent New Year’s eve with his family because it was a tradition with them to have all family members present when the clock struck twelve. After that, it was just the four of us at home.

Why we decided to dine out this time, I am not sure. It might be because things are so different with the girls away in school, it’s the last few days of the Christmas break and we wanted to do something new.

So we went to Vieux Chalet hoping we’d see some fireworks display as we viewed the city from the hilltop.

It was still early and the fireworks were few.

But we had an unforgettable dinner.

Italian chickpea soup with paratha bread. If I weren’t anticipating more delicious courses to follow, I’d have asked for seconds.

The appetizer plate had a slice of melon, homemade bread, homemade ham, air dried beef, cottage cheese and blue d’Avergne.

The salad consisted of homegrown organic talinom, organic lettuce, homemade ricotta cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, organic basil, homemade vinaigrette and cashew nuts. I forgot to take a photo before eating the salad (I was famished) so I took a photo of the empty salad bowl instead.

Before the main course, sorbet was served. Made with kalamansi juice and mint leaves.

Then, there was the lamb chops in prune-red wine reduction sauce, served with creme spinach and potato croquette. I found the lamb chops a bit bland (I’d have preferred more salt) but the sauce was wonderful. The creme spinach was delicious. The potato croquettes were perfectly formed and fried.

Coffee and dessert followed. Cappuccino, of course…

Carrot cake for Speedy and myself. The praline on top was much, much more than merely ornamental — it was light and crisp, not chewy like pralines sold in jars.

Sam and Alex had the Christmas fudgy chocolate cake.

Pricey at P1000 per person? Yeah. But when you consider the quality of the food and service, it was worth the price tag. Besides, it was New Year’s Eve.