Finally, I can say that Charley's is one of the best places for group food trips! It is unique because of its Equestrian farm setting -- think beautiful horses as an ambiance, cool Batangas winds, and good food by no other than Mr. Popit De Leon (P800/head). I can't believe that we are in Lipa, Batangas and we have to thank Charley Leviste- Antonio's family for opening up their gorgeous Lipa farm / house on weekends to the public. I have so much things to say about Charleys so this will be a trilogy series on the best of Charley's.
First, I was pleasantly surprised that Poch, who initiated this Food Trip to Charley's, was able to confirm 16 participants to this food trip. Not even the controversy surrounding the Levistes of Lipa can stop us from going last Saturday. It was a mix group of the who's who of McCann Erickson (great people) and my most admired foodie bloggers (I'm also a fan of foodie bloggers). I was so excited because I'm able to meet Joey of 80Breakfasts, Christine of Ramblings from a Gypsy Soul, Wysgal of Rants and Raves, Mila - the watergirl, Tessa, Mrs. Carlos Celdran, Socky of Tennis and Conversation, and Eileen, the OrangePixieGirl -- all in one event. This is like a marketman's EB but I like this setup better because it is more a personal EB of sorts and more time to get to know one another.
Even with this group of 16, it was hard to get to know each of them since I had to balance my passion for photography and talking to each one of them. I wished that there is a part 2 and more! Some readers ask how to get invited to these events, well I don't know... Sometimes, it just happens -- like this one. We were also limited by the maximum allowable at Charley's which is 20, so we can't invite as much people to this food trip. This is like a friendster gathering where you invite a friend and later on you find out that he is a friend of a friend. Somehow, we are all connected at one point and the 6 degrees of separation holds true.
Back to Charley's... Overall, We had a great time! Nothing can beat great company, perfect unique ambiance and good food by a Les Roche trained Chef anytime of the day. We were glad that we cancelled our Bohol/ Dumaguete trip and we were able to join this food trip to Charley's. As for the food, everybody agrees that the Fresh tomato soup and the Crepe Suzette cooked in front of you with the aroma embracing the entire room are the hands down killer food. The Mahi-Mahi was a disaster (sorry to say this) but it was supposed to be seared but mine felt raw and mushy. The Batangas Beef Stewed in Rosemary and Wine with Rice Pilaf was yummy because of the sauce and the magic spell of the rosemary. You'll find yourself asking, can we have an extra white rice?
Popit told me that when he cooks in Charley's, he is obliged to use the organic Herbs from Charley's garden. This is the secret in most of the food -- the fresh tomatoes, the basil in the soul, the rosemary in the beef stew, and the lemon grass in the Ice Tea. In the end, Charley also sells them and my wife bought fresh Basil leaves for P20/ bunch . The next day, I'm enjoying pesto pasta prepared by my wife -- super delish!
Thanks to Popit and Charley's for the Wonderful Time!!
Bloggers On A Road Trip by Tennis and Conversation - Know the story on how this food trip was organized.
Lunch at Charley's by ramblings from a gypsy soul - Check out Christine's love for the horses!
Saturday's Lunch @ Charley's , Lipa, Batangas - Wysgal's account on last Saturday's awesome lunch.
First time we saw this table, all we can say is Wow! We had to squeeze 16 people into this long table for 12. The room is air conditioned and there is classical music playing as background music. You can see Popit from the Kitchen window and this room is perfect and conducive for conversations and if I must say an EB of sorts.
This is the view from the Main Dining area and how we wished that Charley would have a horse equestrian show while you are having your lunch/ dinner. This reminded me of a place in Orlando where they have a Arabian Night Horse show performing while you eat. I would pay anything just to see Toni Leviste in action in her sister's farm while eating lunch/ dinner :)
Soup: Tomato-Potato Soup with Basil -- Nothing beats this fresh tomato soup sprinkled with cheese. This is the best way to start the Popit de Leon meal. Everybody agrees that you can taste the freshness of the tomato without the sour/ maasim taste.
Beverages: Lemon Grass Iced Tea and choice of Barako or Hot Tea
We brought red wines and I'm not sure if we paid the P300 corkage fee. The lemon grass iced tea was refreshingly great (but my wife makes a better one) and the fresh tarragon tea was good. The beverages and drinks were just perfect and I cannot ask for more. Better bring your own wine, since Charley's don't have a wine cellar.
Starter: Steamed Seafood Custard - This one got mixed reactions and I think only Felipe raved about this. I didn't like the crab shells bits, the ginger taste, and the texture of this seafood custard.
Vegetable: Tomato Farcie and Pan Seared Mahi Mahi with Tarragon Sauce
Since the Mahi Mahi was a kinda disaster, lets not honor it even with a photo.
Starch: Rice Pilaf and Batangas Beef Stewed in Rosemary and Wine- It looks ordinary but yummy once you taste the beef stew sauce and smell the rosemary. The beef was soft and easy to munch. I had two of these (since I returned my mahi mahi) !
Dessert: Crepe Suzette - Popit applying his theater skills to show us how to cook a crepe. This was just awesome! The aroma of the butter and the crepe engulfed the entire airconditioned room and I can't describe how magical the crepe taste with the ice cream and other secret ingredients.
Charley's Farm Dining and Organic Produce
Charley Leviste - Antonio
Gov. Leviste Hi-way, Marawoy, Lipa City, Batangas
Phone: (043) 756-5876
Mobile: (0920) 950-7032
minimum of 10 and maximum of 20.
Take South Luzon Expressway to Exit 51 also known as Batangas
Take that route to Star Tollway
Make a left immeditely after the tollway of Malvar
At the end of this narrow road, make a right turn to Jose P. Laurel street ? (this is a main highway of Lipa)
Continue along the road until you see Balete Drive also known as Governor F. Leviste Highway
The estate on the left with the HUMONGOUS stonewall is Charley’s. You cannot miss this one!