Pork BBQ and Java Rice
Bin gets a craving for Aristocrat pork BBQ every two months or thereabouts. A pretty easy guy when it comes to food, when he says that he wants to eat at Aristocrat I know better than to argue with him. Besides, he lets me get my way all the time (almost!). He’d been coming off of a long week that included some landscape renovation that was being done at the side of our house.
As a couple, we can be described as “adventurous,” although only in the culinary sense, save for some other areas. But when it comes to Aristocrat, routine’s the deal. Here, the order is always the same, it could probably be turned into a rap or something: “Two orders of pork BBQ, one extra order of java rice, fried lumpia, and Coke Light.” Java rice, depending on where you order it from, is simply white rice that is fried with ketchup and/or atchuete (annatto) oil, along with some onions and seasoned to taste. Incidentally, I just googled “java rice,” and the first two pages are devoted to java rice finches, a species of birds. (!)
Anyway, one thing you have to love about Aristocrat is its consistency. They’ve perfected the art of cooking with their eyes closed, and judging from their food, every day is a good food day. Good for them. Better for us customers.
Of course no dish from Aristocrat would be complete without their sweet piquant all-around sauce. Dark brown and viscous, the sauce used to be served in bottles from which customers could help themselves. Alas, with the Filipinos’ penchant for wastage, Aristocrat was forced to serve the sauce upon request only.
I was there today and my two year old, Boo, fell in love with the sugar flowers on the chocolate chiffon cake. I particularly liked the ones on the lemon chiffon cake myself, but Boo said she wanted the “brown.” So I nicely asked the girl behind the counter for a slice, to which she shakes her head and says coldly, “Hindi puwede ang slice lang, po.” (You can’t buy just a slice). She then went on to say almost perfunctorily that only those cakes with a price-per-slice written on its namecard were actually sold by the slice. Suddenly the air inside that bakeshop turned frosty, and I all but grabbed Boo’s little hand and we went back to Bin who was waiting at the restaurant. I then launched into a mini tirade about poor service to which my poor, hungry Bin had to listen to.
What irks, no pisses me off royally about bakeshops like these is their insistence on selling only whole cakes. How are people supposed to know if the cake is good if they can’t even buy a slice to try? What if you take a chance and buy the whole cake out of desperation only to be rewarded with something that tastes like library paste, huh? Huh! Huh!
What made the matter worse for me at Aristocrat was that the woman behind the counter didn’t even bother encouraging me to try the other slices which were sold by the slice. She just stood there sullenly with her back to me, cutting a slice of cake for some other customer. (Yeah, just ignore the customer standing in front of you, lady).
Aristocrat bakeshop also has this annoying policy of only allowing merienda (snack) foods to be eaten in the bakeshop. One time we were there, Bin wanted to order fried lumpia (spring roll — see what I mean about us never changing our order here?), so he could eat with me while I had my chicken pie. “No can do,” the lady says. Well now, that pissed him off, and he let the server have it.
So it isn’t just me, I know. Bakeshops and restaurants should put their customers’ needs before their own. Sure, they may have a business to run, but they’re nothing if they don’t have customers.
A big thank you to -Ant- for the use of his terrific photo.