Posted by: Leap of Faith | June 8, 2010

TGIF – Truly Grand, In Fairness!

Our journey here in the desert will soon be over and I’d like to think that we’ve come full circle. Imagine, my daughter celebrated her first birthday in TGI Friday’s (read this) and, after three years, we’re back to celebrate her last birthday in the Kingdom  there again! Of course, we all look better now even though we’re many pounds heavier too – no thanks to the oversized orders we had in Fridays! 😆

I used to love Friday’s in Manila when it first opened its chain there more than a decade ago.  However, the novelty of having to eat American-sized servings soon disappeared, that was until we moved to Saudi where western-style dining options are fairly limited – especially in the area where we live.  

The place became our first choice to hold our family dinner for our little girl’s birthday because of the very festive ambience and its “signature birthday song”, which the service crew sing for its patrons who are celebrating their special days there.  If only for the song which would be a fitting way to cap Marga’s fourth (we had a full day of family festivities, mind you – click here to find out 😉 ), we just had to make sure our daughter’s day would be a very special one (despite the fact that it was a very private celebration for us this year).

As usual, do join me in re-living that special day in pictures. Enjoy! 😀

For starters, we ordered these “overloaded” baked potato skins topped with bacon bits and loads of cheese coupled with the usual sour cream and chive dip.

Rafael had a plate full of very tender calamari coated in a golden crisp fried batter…

… while Luigi had golden fried chicken fingers with honey-mustard sauce, coleslaw and lots of fries!

Pinky had a plate of grilled hamour with steamed mixed vegetables and rice…

… while Marga had a half-order of garlic chicken and mushroom fettucini (good enough for long life!). 

My order was the best – a plate of grilled Carribean chicken marinated in coconut sauce. Super loved it! :mrgreen:

Their refillable (Pinoy) flavored iced tea  – aptly dubbed “Kabayan Iced Tea”  –  was truly the perfect complement to wash down all those treats.  That is, if you are prepared to forget counting calories just for one night!

The TGI Friday’s (Dammam) crew were also all so nice – they put out all the stops – from the singing of the birthday song, the complementary dessert and free birthday balloon – to make every moment of that evening very special for our daughter.

We ordered this blueberry cheesecake from Saadedin – no doubt the best bake shop in the Kingdom.

Marga was quite embarassed to receive all the attention… check out her face – hahaha!

… and somewhat hesitated to blow her candles.

More than that, though, I think she felt uncomfortable being seen with a bunch of party-crazed goof balls like us. 😳 (Birthday candles, cake and party hats all from our personal “reserves” 😉 ).

All in all though, I can safely claim that our daughter’s fourth – despite it being simpler than her past birthdays – was indeed fun and truly memorable. Happy birthday, sweetheart! We love you!



  1. Nothing beats family and good food in making for a memorable celebration 🙂 And for some reason, I am convinced TGIF in Dammam is so much better (in terms of food and service) than the one in Khobar (home court advantage kaya? 😉 ).

  2. I so agree! The Dammam branch far exceeds the Al Khobar one by a mile! The service crew – even the other nationalities – are just so kind to us. I wonder, though, if it is because we have children – nah!

    Super love the Kabayan iced tea and that Carribean chicken. We should go back soon!

    Special thanks to Christian Aquino , branch Manager, for making Marga’s birthday really special.

  3. happy bday to the lovely princess marga! you must really be proud parents having such an angel.

    though the first line of your post is a bit sad. we haven’t met personally and i don’t really know you guys but from the few exchanges of comments in our blogs (and from the many poster-like pics in here), i can tell that you’re a wonderful family.

    wherever you’ll end up – pinas or other places abroad – i pray for your success. hope you continue to be the picture-perfect family i’ve seen here. God Bless!

    • Dante, thanks so much! We are proud parents indeed and, embarrassingly, I think my posts and pictures just highlight too much that doting quality we have.

      Our children are very ordinary and like most other kids. But, somehow, the spectacles my wife and I use seem to be showing us otherwise – I guess most parents view their kids that way – he he he!

      Sadly, we will be leaving soon but hope that, despite that, we can still remain connected even through cyberspace. We will rely on bloggers like you to remind us of the four happy years that we’ve spent here in KSA!

      God bless you too!

  4. Marga you’re still four so Happy 4th Birthday Marga! from us Fajarda Family 🙂

    Indeed, a great way to spend it privately :). But seeing it posted become an instant hit! 🙂

    We love the Sy’s weeee. We can always relate at your adventures here.

    Hush hush. hehe

    Yea we definitely want to find out what Home Court Advantage is @ TGI hehe. Goodluck to us.

    Again Happy Birthday Marga!

    Cheers! Godbless.

    • Marga sends her thanks, Fajarda family!

      It was nice to have a simple private dinner but Marga was so demanding. She said she wanted to have a cake, decorations and gifts – na sanay ata from last year’s bigger celeberation! Hahaha.

      Buti we bought a cake and TGIF had balloon decorations that time (good timing) but we did not buy her gifts – and boy, did she complain! Come to think of it, I should post pictures of our “panic” gift giving next.

      Thank you for following our blogs. It is very inspiring to know that other people – aside from our families back home – read what we write here. Medyo sy-family oriented nga lang lahat ng content.

      Ferdz, I never knew you were based in Dammam? Which dustrict are you from?

      Please do try the TGIF near the Al Shatea Mall. The place is more spacious than the one in Al Khobar plus the service crew are nice. Look for the Pinoy manager, who incidentally is also a good friend of Amy and Chito. I’m sure he will be more than willing to throw-in a few extra “freebies” for your family – just tell your kiddos to flash their cutest smiles!

      By the way, Ferdz, you might want to bring the kids to ride a camel at the Azziziyah beach. We all had fun – around SR10/person. Check out the link to Pinky’s Saudi Sexpat Stories on this post or in my sidebar to see the pictures.

  5. Oh sorry, what i mean for home court is i’m from Khobar, never gotten beyond our limits and its Dammam that we haven’t navigated eversince we got here. My apologies to confuse u..hehe.

    We will hit the Al Shatea Mall soon. weee.

    I didn’t know it was sr10/person. Was it worth it if to bargain for sr20 for a single ride for my 4 scaredy cats (i can’t blame them hehe the camel was indeed huge). Plus we had extra minutes cause “the shepherd??” ~ i dont know what to call him. Was busy entertaining another anxious customer. 🙂 It was March 12 of this year when we hit that place.

    Your tips and adventures here are truly amazing its like i’m reading thru a R&R magazine. 🙂

    Thank you always for the share. Godbless always!

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