A payday is probably the most important day for every Filipino working overseas. This is the time when we do our major monetary obligation for our families and the home country. Thanks to the remittance arm of Bank Abilad for providing the international remittance service we need.
By practice, when that day falls on a Thursday, that important day will mutate into a boys’ night out. Last January 2015, I published a post titled “Boys’ Night Out Redefined & Reworded” to give those people, who are interested in working here, back home a heads up on the title’s first three words. Saudi Arabia is a prohibition state; therefore, drinking alcohol or yeast-fermented beverages and doing “other things” that are allowed in the place I come from are out of the equation.
Last Thursday, September 17, my chum and I saw some of our very good friends at the favorite mall, Hayat Mall, after sending money at Enjaz. That was around 7:00 PM. Since this opportune time does not happen so often, we decided to reload the kind of boys’ night out we do. Let us blame the unpredictable, forgotten family day policy. The original plan was to dine at the food court where there are value meals. But like I said, the food court became limited to families. We had to satisfy our hunger though so we were compelled to go for casual dinner. Besides, we only do this once in a blue moon. I was really glad our friends did not hesitate more so when they gave in to my suggestion: Applebee’s.
I actually have a lot of memories with Applebee’s. During my stint as a divisional errand boy of a major department in the company where I work for, I frequented the place to pick up telephone-ordered food and drinks for the big guns attending this monthly executive meeting. Applebee’s here in Riyadh City do not do delivery. Taking those corporate victuals from the restaurant entitled me for a free meal of my choosing. This explains why Chipotle Lime Salmon became my favorite, and I have talked it up in one ( “Heaven On A Plate“) of my food stories.
We usually imagine a boys’ night out as a group of men dressed in corporate attires or denims talking about sports, barber stories, women, frustrations, and bathroom humor with the presence of “prohibited drinks” on the table. Forget the last item in the series. The truth is we also do cerebral conversations such as discussing politics, religion, UFOs, and aliens. The kind of boys’ night out I am going to talk about again is something appropriate to the kind of place we are at, Riyadh City.
The most interesting part of our version is tucking into some special food and drink and doing a lot of grunting to indicate pleasure. It was a payday and we have all the reasons to give ourselves a tasty treat.
The usual ambiance of Applebee’s is not festooned with sleek interiors but busy walls full of photos and sports paraphernalia that evoke a feeling of enthusiasm for sports. There is also a TV so one can watch international or local sport events. (I usually see football.) I am guessing the restaurant’s somewhat sporty concept gives a feeling of being fit and healthy thereby translating it positively into his appetite and food choices.
The effect of the motley of lights illuminating subtly in the crepuscular interior provide an irresistible contrasts, which makes the ambiance insanely cozy and romantic.
But it was a mall day so we did not make it inside the restaurant. Families were the priority. We were then asked to occupy two tables in the harlequin patio adjacent to its front door. This part of the mall gives an authentic Middle Eastern vibe with its colorful and elaborate wall designs, almost ethereal in my book.
The wait staff were very friendly and helpful (i.e., always ready to take photographs for guests) and our food was served quickly.
With what we have ordered, I could say we were in the mood for pasta and burgers.
John and I ordered Southwest Fettuccine Steak.
Onel preferred Chipotle Lime Salmon.
RJ, Keys, and Bults chose burgers with fries.
We, of course, paired them with succulent beverages served in huge glasses.
You could see bigger smiles on our faces upon diving into the food. Six hungry white-collar workers wanting to forget the frustration of not having more economical meals. Kidding! That should have been wanting to splurge on the edible wonders of the world’s largest casual dining restaurant company.
After chowing down, the guffaws, topics that go from one place to another, and window shopping are what concluded the night out. It was fun loosening up from a week of elbow grease on the other side of the fence. Whatever the culture is, it is primal for us to find some time sipping from a cappuccino or cafe latte cup. Oh, make that sitting down at a restaurant for some decent food or beverage and window shopping.
Our innate pursuit for bromance is not just something cultural but scientific as evidenced in the following articles: “Simple Steps to Increase Your Life Expectancy“, “Men need nights out with the lads, scientists say“, “Boys’ night out may be key to happy marriage“, and “Why Men Need A Guys’ Night Out With Their Friends“. Having said that, I would like to reiterate that we are generally content with our respective relationships.