Goodbye, 2020! | Our New Year 2021 Celebration

Happy New Year, everyone!!! What a crazy year that was, huh? I bet you all couldn’t wait to say “Good riddance, 2020!”

I hope your New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day celebration was a BLAST, fireworks or no fireworks! As for me, Mike, Andi, we just had a small, simple, and quiet dinner at home. Ever since we moved here in our condo, we’ve been spending New Year’s Eve here instead of at my mom’s place because we have the best view of the fireworks from our home and we really wanted to make the most of it since we know we won’t be staying here forever.

I chose not to cook and exert too much effort for our media noche because I didn’t want to be stressed while ringing in the New Year. Mama deserves to relax too! I decided to order all our meals, which was a good decision because at least I also got to help restaurants and food sellers. These food suppliers need our support more than ever this year because their industry has been seriously affected by the pandemic.

But first, let me show you my simple last-minute New Year’s Eve tablescape!

I honestly didn’t plan any of this in advance (except for the balloon), so I just put this together at the last minute using whatever I could find at home.

Holiday-themed paper plates and napkins – My mother-in-law sent a balikbayan box from Australia and these paper plates and napkins were part of the package. These turned out to be a blessing because these saved me from washing too many plates after our dinner! I can’t believe I didn’t think of buying paper plates and utensils before! These actually have Christmas designs on them, but I used them for New Year anyway because they looked festive and classy.

Gold and rose gold utensils – I got these from Lazada months ago for PHP 79 each because I do a lot of food photo shoots for brands. We’ve never actually used these because I really intended for them to just be my photo shoot props. But since it was New Year’s Eve, we decided that we might as well eat with fancy-looking spoons and forks! Gold utensils always make any table arrangements so posh… even if you’re just serving canned corned beef or instant noodles! Haha!

Candles and candelabras – These were given to me by my mom a long time ago. You’ll see this in a lot of my photos because they just go so well with any occasion or table styling.

Flameless candles – These were part of my decorations last Halloween and I got to maximize them by using them for New Year too! When my mom saw a photo of our table spread, she thought they were ACTUAL candles! They do look realistic in photos and videos because the lights actually flicker! These are a great alternative to traditional wick candles because they pose ZERO risk of fire. You just need batteries to make them work. These are super cheap at only PHP 29 each!

Happy New Year balloon – Another Shopee find! This comes as part of a set with 2 other balloons and costs PHP 95.

For our food, I wanted to try dishes that we’ve never had before. I also made the contingency plan of ordering from different shops because I have heard some noche Buena horror stories wherein food orders didn’t arrive or they arrived very late or spoiled, ruining their celebration. I wanted to make sure that if one of the shops I ordered from screwed up my orders, I could still count on the others. I didn’t want us to go hungry on New Year’s Eve because it’s bad luck to welcome the new year on an empty stomach. Yes, I just made that up, but look… if you’re hungry, you’ll be in a bad mood, and that’s a terrible way to start the year!

Sharing with you where we ordered our food:

MAMA LOU’S (@mama_lous)

Baked Truffle Salpicao – Creamy mushroom risotto with flavorful truffle and juicy, tender beef salpicao, and garlic bits, oozing with mozzarella cheese… oh Loooord!!! This was my only food splurge for New Year’s Eve and I have NO REGRETS in getting this. It was the star of our New Year’s Eve feast! My EQ was tested because I could not wait until media noche to eat this. The smell of the truffle was tempting me, as if saying: “Eat meeee!” It really was as delicious as I hoped it would be, and I really enjoyed every bite of this!

It was also a plus that the container was microwavable so I didn’t have to transfer it to a different container when it was time to heat it up.

The online ordering system was also excellent! After placing my order via their website, it was immediately confirmed and a Mama Lou’s representative gave me a call to confirm my order. I also got an e-mail that notified me that my order was on the way.

We used to dine at Mama Lou’s a lot pre-Covid and their food has never disappointed me. Good to know that they still maintain the quality of their food and service even during the pandemic.

Price: PHP 995 inclusive of 8% packaging fee for the Happy size (3-5 persons)

CATERING TRIO (@cateringtrioph)

What drew me to Catering Trio was how affordable their food trays were! They were probably one of the cheapest food tray providers that I chanced upon, and it helped that they had a lot of good reviews on their Facebook page.

Baked Lasagna – This lasagna was one of their bestsellers, and I was really surprised to see how big the servings were, considering that it only cost PHP 300+! If you’re having a party and serving a lot of people, this is probably the best dish to order from them. This is also recommended for people who don’t like sweet, Pinoy-style pasta, like my husband who didn’t grow up here and doesn’t understand what’s up with Filipinos mixing sweet and salty.

While this isn’t the most extraordinary lasagna that I’ve ever had, I’d say it’s still good and comforting, and I like that they didn’t scrimp on the cheese and meat. Andi enjoyed it, so I think it will be a hit with the kids.

Price: PHP 345 for a small tray (3-5 persons)

Singaporean Fish Fillet – I asked them to reduce the spice level of this one so that Andi can eat it too, and they gladly heeded my request. The fish was soft and tasty, but it could use more sauce as it was a bit dry, especially after I’ve heated in the microwave.

Price: PHP 360 for a small tray (3-5 persons)

Garlic Chicken – This was my favorite out of the three dishes that I’ve tried from The Catering Trio. It had a good blend of sweetness which fused well with the sharp taste of the garlic bits. My husband is a witness to my love for garlic (and he is also a victim of my garlic breath kisses). Andi thought it was yummy, so this is another one of their dishes that kids will surely love! Perfect for kiddie parties!

Price: PHP 325 for a small tray (3-5 persons)

I only paid a little over PHP 300 for each dish or PHP 1,080 for all three meals including the PHP 150 delivery fee! Not bad at all!

I also really appreciate their good customer service. They had a Viber group for people who want to order from them and they are VERY responsive. They answered all my questions patiently and promptly, and were flexible in accommodating my requests. Even their riders are courteous and cheerful. The servings are large, the food trays are packed really securely, orders arrived on time, and their staff is easy to talk to, and they have their own riders for a hassle-free delivery.

By the way, they also offer event packages and they have their own venue in Ortigas, in case you are looking for affordable and reliable caterers and venues for your next function.

COCINA SERRA (@cocina.serra)

Shepherd’s Pie – Mike has been craving for Shepherd’s Pie ever since we watched The Haunting of Bly Manor. There was a scene where the actors were having cottage pie for dinner and it looked so appetizing, but nobody even touched it! (I wonder if they just threw it out after the shoot?!)

It was a challenge for me to look for an online seller of Shepherd’s Pie that sold it in small portions, as most of them were selling them in huge trays good for 6 persons and up. I didn’t want any food waste so I scrapped those options. Luckily, I found Cocina Serra. They offered Shepherd’s Pie good for 1-2, 2-3, and 3-4 persons and they had glowing reviews, so I went with them.

All of the food suppliers I chose for New Year’s Eve had one thing in common: they all had their own delivery service or took care of booking a rider to deliver the food. Cocina Serra was the only exception and they’re Paranaque-based, which is super far from my place, but I took my chances because I wanted to surprise Mike. Luckily, I found a rider! Success!

Mike said that this was the second best dish after the Truffle Salpicao. It was meaty and the mashed potatoes were creamy, although he said it had a hint of sweetness in it (the foreigner in him is very sensitive to sweets, but I couldn’t tell, really). It was pretty filling too!

Price: PHP 360 for a tray for 3-4 persons

BY CHEF KIN (@bychefkin)

Mascarpone Tiramisu – This dessert was supposedly for me and Mike only because we thought Andi wouldn’t appreciate a coffee-based dessert, but what do you know? She had a bite, and then she asked for more! I made the right decision in getting this for dessert because the serving size was just right for a small family of 3, so nothing went to waste, and we ate all of it down to the very last crumb. The coffee wasn’t too bitter, making it kid-friendly (or maybe Andi just has a strong tolerance for coffee?). This cake uses real mascarpone cheese instead of cheap substitutes, making this a light and creamy treat. The cake itself is moist and not too sweet. Yummy! We really liked this one. And it’s cute that it says “Happy New Year” on it!

Price: PHP 350 for the petite size (5-6 inches good for 2-3 pax)

DELI DROP

Cold cuts – I ordered cold cuts from Deli Drop for Andi’s birthday last December 21 and I had some leftovers, so I made a mini grazing board for New Year’s Eve. I’ll write a separate post on that event and the food I ordered, but I highly recommend them if you’re looking for cold cuts, cheeses, and other food items. The quality of their cold cuts is good and they have affordable choices for people on a budget. They are also very warm and easy to deal with.

For this petite grazing board, I used Citterio Salami Napoli Piccante and Mortadella San Petronio with Pistachio. Both are delish!

I just used Fita crackers, blue cheese, and grapes for the charcuterie board. I also placed a small bottle of jam from another grazing board that we had for Christmas but we didn’t get to touch it coz we were too full!

Price: PHP 205 for the Mortadella and PHP 220 for the Salami. Check their website at delidrop.ph for a price list of their cold cuts. 

MEGA PRIME (@megaprimequality)

Fruit salad – This was the only dish that I actually made for New Year’s Eve. I made it for Andi because this was supposed to be her dessert. Of course, I used Mega Prime fruit cocktail because I know their ingredients are delicious and fresh and Andi loves their fruit cocktail. I mixed it with Nestle cream and condensed milk, and I was done! Instant dessert in a matter of minutes!

We also had these:

Crackers and cheese pimiento spread – This was a gift from The Asian Parent and the pimiento spread by Trish from the TAP team. It arrived just in time for New Year’s Eve so I decided to serve it. I belong to the best mom community! So thoughtful of them to send this over!

Wine – I served wine but nobody actually drank it. Mike didn’t feel like having wine and I didn’t want to open it if it was just me who was going to drink, so I just used it as a display! I just brought it to our family reunion the next day since I belong to a family of boozehounds!

Round fruits – You know you’re a Filipino if you eat 12 round fruits for New Year’s Eve! But again, I didn’t want to be wasteful so I just served oranges and grapes.

After dinner, we counted down the hours to 2021 and waited for the main event: the fireworks display! This was something we’ve been looking forward to all year! Actually, this was something we’ve been looking forward to since the day we first moved here. We were even more excited for it this year because Andi’s already at that age when she can really appreciate it (instead of being scared of it).

We are so lucky to live in a place with a panoramic view of the whole metro so we could see the fireworks from the MOA area, BGC, and other cities. The best view for us would be the Rockwell side. Here are just a few snaps from the camera. None of these are filtered or edited.

It was so beautiful and magical!!! We just kept going “ooh” and “wow” the whole time. Andi was blown away and kept saying in an animated voice “Mommy! Daddy! Look at the colors!” and “Wow! So beautiful! So big!”

My heart was so full while watching the fireworks with my little family. It has been a brutal year, but I was just so grateful that we were all together. We faced some bumps along the way but we’re alive, we’re healthy, and we have one another. That was the most important thing.

Not the best year, but I survived it with the best people.
Me: “Andi, one photo of us please!” Andi: “No.” =p
Wore the perfect NYE dress: it’s in the color of the year (grey), it says “Best Day Ever,” and it has pictures of food because I was so ready to pig out!
Last mom and daughter selfie with this little cutie for 2020! 🙂
We had our family gathering last January 1. It’s our yearly tradition! It’s nice that we can all be together again after the pandemic kept us away from one another.
New Year blessings! As usual, my family prepared the most delicious food! We also had yummy cakes from Butternut by Carlito’s Catering. The ube one was my favorite! We also loved their baked salmon (not in photo). It was wiped out in a matter of minutes!

This year didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to, but it did teach us to appreciate the little things, make the best of what we have, and recognize what really matters in life.

Let’s be hopeful and optimistic as we claim that it will be an amazing year! 🙂 Happy 2021, friends!

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