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That delicately smooth and crisp outer layer on top as fragile as an eggshell matched with lightly ruffled clean and small "feet" on the bottom, the sumptuous filling in the center between two perfectly paired discs capped by its melt-in-your mouth finish with each indulgent bite...start counting your smiles and forget the calories. But say it wrong and you get your grandmother's homemade coconut treat instead...


You've probably seen all the brightest, most vibrant colors and hues of this most decadent nibble, but there's still so much more to discover. The range of colors is probably thicker than most Pantone color guides, and the flavor combinations have gone beyond traditional with inventive creations infused with matcha, foie gras, rosewater and even fermented sour mangoes and bacon. Still, the macaron continues to tempt and entice. And as the local culinary landscape evolves, you can expect even more creative interpretations of this very French delight.       


But it all started from humble beginnings as a simple cookie or sweet biscuit in Italy. The origins of this sinful indulgence goes as far back as the eighth century in Venetian monasteries as rustic almond biscuits, the soft maccarone, but it was transformed when the delicate treat was brought to France during the Renaissance. It's said Catherine de Medici of Venice brought along her Italian pastry chefs before marrying Henry II of France, thus planting the seeds for the soon to be famous biscuit in her new home. It wasn't long before versions of the Venetian treat was made in a French convent near Cornery in 1791. The macarons gained popularity when Carmelite nuns seeked asylum in Nancy to escape the chaos and violence of the French Revolution. To help pay for their rent, the Carmelite nuns baked and sold the single disc biscuits. Soon, word spread about the "Macaron Sisters" and their almond biscuits.

It was popular then as a simple single disc cookie, but things were about to change dramatically when someone decided to do a double serving with an indulgent filling...       


From Venetian monasteries to the French Revolution, the indulgent cookie-like dessert continued to gain popularity. But it wasn't until the early 1930s when Pierre Desfontaines of the famed French patisserie, Laduree, served two almond meringue discs stuffed with a sweet filling of buttercream, jam or ganache. Another baker named Claude Gerbet, is said to have created the macaron as we know it today. But whoever was the first, combining two macarons together with a sweet filling remains one of the culinary world's rare moments of pure epiphany.


From its humble beginnings in monasteries, the macaron's evolution to its familiar sandwich form elevated the simple biscuit into a decadent guilty pleasure. Today, the sweet meringue confection made with almonds has blossomed into the ultimate bite-sized indulgence romancing the palate with its delicate texture and decadent sweetness. The Venetian monks probably would have been amazed at their creation's development and character arc (thanks to GoT, "character arc" is a popular term now buzzing all over social media). 


Tradition still rules. Whisked egg whites folded with sifted ground almonds and powdered sugar still form the traditional base of the macaron, in a tedious process called macaronage. But it's the imaginative flavor combinations that make the macaron so contemporary and up-to-date. And as young pastry chefs challenge the norm and push the envelope with outlandish flavors, the macaron will keep pace and remain in step with the times.


Macaron or macaroon? Not to be confused with your grandmother's desiccated coconut macaroon that's simply world's apart, the French macaron is loosely adapted by the English as "macaroon" during the 16th and 17th centuries. Many bakeries in the UK still use "macaroon" for these prized high-end bites. You can say both macaron and macaroon are correct. No, not really. Not on the other side of the Atlantic. Say "macaroon" and your grandmother's dense, crunchy and homemade coconut cookies comes up and not the elegant round sandwich-like macaron. Does it matter how you say it? Maybe. Then again, it really does. Since the dual disc form with a sweet filling was first made in France during the 1930s, maybe it's just right and proper to call it the way the French have always called it. I'll go with the French on this one. Oui? And next time you enter a fancy patisserie, you just might get a nod of approval when you say it right.


It's a French thing. Besides, your indulgent experience with a macaron becomes complete, maybe even more authentic, when you say it the French way. Despite its Italian origins, you can say the current form and shape we all love was refined and perfected in France. Macarons, not macaroons. Weighing a gram or even less with a light and airy texture, the macaron has come a long way from austere Venetian monasteries to the affluent and posh Parisian cafes. But you don't have to go all the way to Paris to enjoy this lavish sweet treat...


The Peninsula Boutique at The Peninsula Manila is a delicatessen and bakery as well as a gift and flower shop offering fresh baked bread, lavish cakes and pastries, savory sandwiches, premium teas, fine chocolates and unique gifts and souvenirs, including the decadent macarons.


Elegantly packed in a compartmentalized box, the intricate macarons are neatly stacked and perfect gifts to friends and family. Or a well-deserved treat to yourself. Executive Pastry Chef Xavier Castello ensures each bite becomes a lusciuous sensory experience of pure decadence, textures and fragrances.


The elegant macarons are riding high on the crest of a resurgent popularity in the metro, and you can savor these tempting bites at The Peninsula Manila. But say it wrong, and you get your grandmother's homemade coconut baked confections instead.

The Peninsula Boutique is located at B1 of The Peninsula Manila, Corner of Ayala and Makati Avenues, Makati City or call 887-2888 for inquiries and more information.

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From the classic New York Cheesecake to the modern New York Cheesecake Entrement, the nostalgic Pineapple Upside-Down Cake to the avant-garde Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Verrine, the colorful Rainbow Cake to the indulgent Rainbow Cake Gelato Bar, and the decadent Sans Rival to the inventive Sans Rival Petit Gateaux, fifty lavish cakes executed two ways in the distinctive culinary styles of the country's finest pastry chefs elegantly laid out in a book...


...it's A Piece of Cake by Chefs Aileen Anastacio and Miko Aspiras. Two of the country's premier pastry chefs collaborate for a beautiful yet comprehensive, simple and easy guide to both classic and modern desserts for home bakers and professional chefs with their masterfully written and photographed book. You too can recreate these timeless desserts with each masterpiece lovingly detailed in the book. Baking at home can be "A Piece of Cake..." 


Classic meets modern.

Homey and approachable, modern and inventive. The sheer elegance of the concept makes the book a must have for passionate home bakers and emerging pastry chefs, featuring your favorite desserts prepared in both the classic and modern way by Chef Aileen Anastacio and Miko Aspiras. The stunning cover features a New York Cheesecake executed two ways for a visual representation of the unique concept. The book is designed and structured to make baking, well, a piece of cake. With how-to guides on baking techniques, beginner-friendly and fool-proof tips, equipment, kitchen essentials and ingredients, creating your own masterpiece at home is easy, simply decide whether to go classic or modern. The collaboration took two years of both hard work and a whole lot of fun, recalled chefs Aileen and Miko. The book features fifty desserts and 100 recipes reflecting the two contrasting culinary styles of the chefs with Aileen's warm, traditional, comforting and rustic manner and Miko's modern and avant-garde approach. These styles are seamlessly woven in an elegant book that will make you embark on your own culinary journey at home. And after going through the recipes of the book and you decide to pursue a career in baking, no worries, there are a number of options. 

Formally launched last April, the secondary launch of A Piece of Cake at CCA Manila aims to highlight the institution's baking programs and short courses. CCA Manila offers the Certificate in Baking and Pastry Arts Course, a program designed to provide students with a strong foundation on baking and pastry arts supplemented by management competencies. The comprehensive program includes food safety, knife skills, baking math, green chefmanship, nutrition, preparation and serving of coffee, among others. The one-year program also provides exposure to bakeshop, patisserie and cafe operations. If you don't have the time to commit to a one-year course, you can opt to enroll in CCA Manila's Fundamentals in Baking and Pastry Arts Course. A 13-day comprehensive hands-on program with a total of 84 hours, students learn the essential skills and knowledge on food safety, baking math, techniques and methods for breads, cakes, cake decoration and chocolate confections. 


A Sweet Collaboration.

For Miko Aspiras, it was a chance meeting with Aileen Anastacio in Boracay two years ago that sparked an idea he's always had in his mind, a dessert recipe book that featured two ways of preparing the classics. For Aileen Anastacio, it was all in the timing and it was a perfect opportunity for another book. Her previous books, Home Cafe in 2010 and Home-made for the Holidays in 2012, were certified bestsellers. Her first book, Home Cafe, was even proclaimed the Best Dessert Book at the 2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards later translated and printed to Mandarin. It's that kind of day when everything was perfectly aligned, and A Piece of Cake was well on its way.


This year, A Piece of Cake is hot off the press recreating the culinary journeys of Chefs Aileen and Miko. Two divergent and contrasting styles representing two distinct culinary expressions, A Piece of Cake is more than just a collection of recipes. It's the culmination of years in the local food and beverage industry for the country's very best pastry chefs beautifully laid out on velvety smooth paper stock.

The pristine white cover of the book highlights the indulgent creations of Chefs Aileen and Miko. Two years in the making, A Piece of Cake is produced by an all-Filipino team of young professionals including one of my favorite photographers, Justin de Jesus whose eye brilliantly captures each of the indulgent masterpieces.   


Recreating a New York Classic.

At CCA Manila's USDA Theater, Chef Aileen Anastacio prepared one of her signature desserts, the New York Cheesecake featured on the left side of the book's cover. The traditional components of the familiar New York-style cheesecake are laid out by Chef Aileen, from the Graham crust, the silky smooth cream cheese and toppings of fresh berries. It's cheesecake the way you remember it. And still love.

And it all looks easy. Then again, Chef Aileen makes it look easy with years of experience in preparing some of the most indulgent cakes in the metro like my old favorite, the Cappuccino Mousse from the days of Goodies N' Sweets (for more on Chef Aileen Anastacio, see my previous post, At Home at Marmalade Kitchen).


For over two decades, the renowned pastry chef, author, cooking show host, entrepreneur and consultant Aileen Anastacio continues to pave the way in the local culinary scene with her successful enterprises. Currently managing C'est Si Bon Corp. and Marmalade Kitchen, Inc. where she supplies sweet confections to various institutions as well as private dining and consultancy services, Aileen Anastacio adds the final touches to her classic New York Cheesecake with a masterful flair...


...and that's how you recreate a classic. Her pro tip? Try to pick berries with the same size for decorating your creation. Separate the oddly-sized berries for symmetry and balance.


The soft and dense texture of Aileen's classic New York Cheesecake takes you back with the very first bite, with the richness of the cheesecake perfectly balanced by the fresh and tart berries. As with all desserts, each creation must first feed the eyes before the palate. And this one does exactly that. You just don't expect anything less from Chef Aileen. 


Weaving a Modern Spin to a Traditional Dessert.

Known as a maverick and trailblazer in revolutionizing the local pastry scene, Chef Miko Aspiras adds his own progressive and inventive style to traditional desserts garnering recognition and awards along the way including gold medals in the Philippine Culinary Cup, Hong Kong Food Exposition, and the World Association of Chefs Societies. He was Esquire Magazine's Chef of the Year in 2015, and one of the much-anticipated highlights of the 2016 Madrid Fusion. Accolades continued in 2018 when he was recognized by Philippine Tatler as T. Dining's Best Pastry Chef. But Chef Miko just doesn't slow down, constantly pushing the envelope with his passionate and creative mind. Like his take on the classic New York Cheesecake...

...with the New York Cheesecake Entrement. The multi-stepped process includes not only the traditional Graham crust and cream cheese filling but blueberry jelly, strawberry mousse, a vibrant red glaze, green "hull" plastic mass and sesame seeds. But don't be intimidated, the book takes you through each step...


...with clear and easy-to-follow instructions (for more on Chef Miko Aspiras and his diverse culinary endeavors, see my posts, Elegant Indulgence In A Box From Workshop Bespoke Bakery by Le Petite Souffle on his signature pastries, Canned Goodness: Garde Manger's New Enlatados on his savory creations, Bite and Sip: Scout's Honor Craft Cookie Shop's Craft Cookie Milkshake Version Upgrade and Ready for Cookie Camp at Scout's Honor Craft Cookie Shop on his refreshing take on cookies, Culinary Crossovers: Le Petite Souffle Opens Second Branch at Mega Fashion Hall and Find Out Why Freezer Burn Is The Hottest Spot in Bonifacio High Street). I first met Miko when he was with one of the metro's prestigious hotels in charge of their pastries during the early days of my blog. Since then, my blog has been blessed with numerous features of Miko's creative mind and his various projects. And it always feels good to feature an old friend whose been a part of my food blog's growth through the years.

The light and casual banter between Miko and Aileen entertains the guests at the launch, with good vibes all the way. It's undeniable, the chemistry between two of the country's top pastry chefs is more than good. And you can feel it, which makes the casual demo so much more engaging. 


A few more sprinkles of sesame seeds to replicate the surface of a bright red strawberry, Miko's New York Cheesecake Entrement is done.


Bold, vibrant and innovative, the New York Cheesecake is reinvented with Miko's avant-garde magic for an indulgent and unique dessert that tastes as good as it looks. And that's the inherent beauty of A Piece of Cake, offering readers two different ways of enjoying classic desserts.


Witnessing the distinctive styles of two of the country's renowned pastry chefs up close is an experience in itself. And you can relive that experience with each page in A Piece of Cake.


At the end of the demo, guests were invited to sample the decadent creations from Aileen's classic New York Cheesecake... 


...to Miko's New York Cheesecake Entrement, as well as many more equally tempting creations...

...like Aileen's Caramel Cake (L) and more indulgent bites. It was a fitting conclusion to the launch and demo, when the sense of taste completes the circle. Almost immediately, one can appreciate the culinary journeys of Aileen and Miko with each luscious bite of their signature desserts. 


Aileen's Coffee Sable, an intricate dessert that pleases the eye and palate, was another popular dessert that day. Recipes for all these masterpieces, from cakes to pies, tarts, cookies, bars, confections, flans, pudding and even ice cream can be found in the book to set you off on your own culinary journey right in your home kitchen. A Piece of Cake is priced at P 1,500 and may be ordered online through their website at https://www.apieceofcakebook.com/.


Baking, as everyone knows, is all about precision in measurements, portions and temperature that demands an exacting discipline. Unforgiving with little room for error, baking anything requires you do it right from the very start. But the pay-off is well worth it after that first bite. And just like the desserts, the book is carefully crafted in a concise style lavished with drool-worthy images.  


CCA Manila was the perfect venue for the secondary launch of the book, a pioneer in the field of culinary education. The Cravings Group Operations Head Bea Trinidad accepts a copy of A Piece of Cake from Chefs Aileen Anastacio and Miko Aspiras (for more on The Cravings Group, see my posts, A Farm-To-Table Dining Experience at Sisterfields by Cravings and #BrighterCravings2018: Celebrate A Merry And Bright Christmas with The Cravings Group).


A Gathering of Culinary Icons.

Seen at the launch was another icon in the country's food scene and an old friend, Chef Sau del Rosario, a staunch advocate in the promotion and preservation of local regional cuisine (for more on Chef Sau del Rosario, see my posts, Flavors of Pampanga: The Kanyaman Filipino Food Festival by Chef Sau del Rosario at Novotel Manila's Food Exchange as guest chef for Novotel Manila, Local Flavors Shine at Diamond Hotel's Filipino Culinary Pride where Chefs Sau and Miko headlined for the Diamond Hotel's Filipino Food Festival,
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Seven new sandwiches, seven new reasons to visit Brotzeit...


Brotzeit, one of the metro's finest authentic German beer bars, takes breadtime to a whole new level with a sumptuous variety of savory offerings. Breadtime Sandwiches by Brotzeit features a curated line-up of specialty sandwiches created by Brotzeit Culinary Director Ivan Maminta best paired with your favorite Paulaner. Or Gin & Tonic. Read on and meet the Bavarian band of Angela, Helmut, Dirk, Hasselhoff, Beethoven, Von Trapp and Reuben at Brotzeit... 


Brotzeit, which literally translates to "breadtime" or "snacktime" in German, showcases the Bavarian culinary tradition of savory snacks with its range of new sandwiches (for more on Brotzeit, see my previous posts, Lass uns Essen! The New Lunch Specials at Brotzeit on their lunch offerings, And Bring The Kids Too. At Brotzeit... on their special Kids' Menu and Oktoberfest at Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant). Using fresh pretzel baguettes baked daily at Brotzeit, the lavish selection of filled to the brim sandwiches offer a contemporary and inventive spin to the Bavarian breadtime tradition. And the names of the new sandwiches are an homage to some of Germany's noted personalities...


From icons in German politics to athletes, composers, celebrities and well-loved fictional characters, Breadtime Sandwiches at Brotzeit is a epic teutonic feast masterfully created by Chef Ivan Maminta. Can't decide what to order? Well, you can try one sandwich a day for a week, or try a couple at Brotzeit's Bundesliga and Game of Thrones live screenings with the gang (check out their FB Page for screening schedules here at https://www.facebook.com/brotzeitph/).

No visit at Brotzeit is complete without their line of German beer. An Original Munchner Lager or Paulaner Dunkel Hefe Weissbier? Serving only authentic German beer brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot or German Beer Purity Law dating back to 1516, all beers on tap or by the bottle use only water, malt, hops and yeast.


In a glass or better yet, a Bierstiefel or beer boot, the clean and crisp notes of German beer refreshes and cleanses the palate. And you can have Germany's finest at Brotzeit. If it's gin you're looking for, Brotzeit hits the spot with The Gin Experience, a collaboration with Apotheke Craft Spirits and their wide range of premium gin labels...


...including Arc Botanical Gin, a local handcrafted gin with its rare and exotic blend of 28 botanicals (for more on Apotheke Craft Spirits, see my earlier post, Raising the Bar for Dad: The Pen Ultimate Dream Lounge at The Bar and Salon de Ning). Apotheke Craft Spirits carries a wide selection of premium imported and local spirits, and you can sample some of their labels with The Gin Experience at Brotzeit.  

Leave it to the master mixologist to create your special cocktail, or why not make your own? Choose from a selection of spices and botanicals for that customized gin & tonic. The refreshing notes of gin, infused with subtle hints of spices or floral notes, also pair well with Brotzeit's new sandwiches...


...as Chef Ivan Maminta presents the indulgent and mouthwatering array of savory sandwiches fresh off the grill. From Bavarian sausages to pulled pork and seafood, Breadtime Sandwiches at Brotzeit are more than a satisfying snack. It's a full meal in itself.


What sets the new sandwiches apart from the usual offerings are the fresh-baked Pretzel Baguettes, soft with a dense, chewy texture absorbing all the savory goodness of the various ingredients for vibrant flavors. Mildly sweet with a delicate hint of salty notes, the Pretzel Baguette is the perfect base for Brotzeit's sandwich offerings. Time to meet the stellar cast of Breadtime Sandwiches at Brotzeit...


...led by The Von Trapp (P 450) that will have you singing some tunes from The Sound of Music. With many of the film's memorable panoramic scenes shot in the picturesque Bavarian Alps, images of "the hills are alive with the sound of music" continue to linger many years later. That's the inspiration behind The Von Trapp, with its rich flavors lasting long after the last bite. The Von Trapp lays on bold flavors with a footlong Bavarian sausage topped with red and spring onions.   


The addition of mildly spicy chili gives it a more international flair, and another layer of rich flavor. But every inch of this footlong is proudly Bavarian. I particularly enjoyed how each bite delivered a range of flavors from all the toppings, capped by the Bavarian sausage and the pretzel baguette. This one's the complete package, in true Bavarian style. And I'm pretty sure Captain Von Trapp would approve. 


The Dirk (P 450), named after the 14-time all-star power forward from the Mavs is another winner from Chef Ivan Maminta's playbook. And just like the sweet-shooting seven-footer, this spicy footlong currywurst is way too tall for the pretzel. Known for his signature one-legged fade-aways, the German NBA stand-out won't have it any other way. The rich spice blend of the currywurst adds a flavorful depth to the sandwich, followed by the sharp notes of the peppers and pickles.


The Beethoven (P 450) takes another route with its savory filling of mildly sweet, tart, smoky and spicy pulled pork spare ribs, onions and gherkins draped in a rich Jagermeister sauce for another tasty breadtime option at Brotzeit. The different ingredients all come together in perfect harmony, this is after all, named after a master of the classics. Like distinct musical notes in Beethoven's iconic symphonies, this one is richly layered with flavors that complement the other in a seamless blend.


And if you prefer seafood, worry not. The Breadtime Sandwiches at Brotzeit includes a tasty duo of seafood sandwiches as well...


...meet The Helmut (P 490), a luscious salmon sandwich named after the former West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. It's a refreshing variant that really highlights the wide range of flavors of Brotzeit's breadtime offerings. The indulgent melt-in-your-mouth texture of the premium salmon adds a distinct layer of richness that's both fresh and clean for a lighter yet equally satisfying option. 


The fresh and crisp lettuce, onions and cucumbers deliver both flavor and texture to the sandwich without overwhelming the delicate notes of the salmon. And the versatile pretzel baguette once again is the perfect base for this sandwich. Generously loaded with salmon, The Helmut ensures you can enjoy the familiar briny sweetness of this prized seafood with every bite. But there's more...


Think prawns thermidor on a sandwich. The Angela (P 490) is another lavish seafood sandwich with succulent shrimps covered in a rich and indulgent sauce and one bite will make you vote for this sandwich named after Germany's current chancellor, Angela Merkel. And just like her political style, the flavors are subtle and smooth, followed by a robust punch that resonates and coats your palate with a lingering richness. Just like the German Chancellor's many finely crafted and well made arguments, this one nails it. Masterfully and elegantly.


Each tempting offering of Brotzeit's Breadtime sandwiches offer unique and distinctive flavors, making each one different from the other adding to the variety of options. But there's more...


The Hasselhoff (P 390), inspired by the TV actor whose memorable roles included a lifeguard and a crime fighter with a car named KITT, is also a quite the rock star in Germany. Just how did he figure in Germany's cultural scene? His chart-topping triple-platinum single "Looking for Freedom" sort of became the anthem when the Berlin Wall came crashing down back in 1989, and The Hoff cemented his place in German pop culture. Brotzeit's The Hasselhoff has that same unrestrained approach to flavor with its bacon-wrapped sausage topped with crisp onions. And what a combo.    


It's a fitting tribute to the most watched man on TV according to the Guinness World Records. The bold smoky notes of the bacon complements the sausage with layer upon layer of vibrant flavors and textural contrasts from the other ingredients. There's just no holding back on the flavors with The Hasselhoff. And franky, there's just nothing more satisfying, or liberating, when bacon becomes part of the meal.


A popular bestseller from the old menu is given a fully loaded version upgrade. Chef Ivan Maminta takes on a deli classic with his version of The Reuben (P 490) with hefty slabs of briny smoked pastrami topped with homemade mustard, sauerkraut and Emmental cheese on a pretzel baguette. If you've had Brotzeit's Reuben before, you'll be pleasantly surprised with the newest version...  


...with its impressive slabs of smoked pastrami. Bigger, better, it's no longer the stock version. This one is seriously upgraded and modified to satisfy any appetite. But it's not just the size that impresses, the flavors are delicately balanced with the homemade mustard, sauerkraut and Emmental cheese coming together stuffed on a pretzel baguette for one sumptuous sandwich. 


The variety and range of flavors offer something for everyone, weaving modern and vibrant flavors to the Bavarian culinary tradition of breadtime. Breadtime Sandwiches at Brotzeit are a welcome addition to the popular bestsellers of Brotzeit, like the beer-infused Schweinshaxn or crispy oven roasted pork knuckles.


And now all you have to do is pick your beer. Or gin. And enjoy a Bavarian culinary tradition with Breadtime Sandwiches at Brotzeit. So have another round...Prost!

Brotzeit is located at the Ground Level, High Street Park, Shangri-La at The Fort, 30th Street corner 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City or call 815-9338 for inquiries and more information.

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Savory goodness served piping hot, the Beef Brisket Hong Kong Curry in Casserole at Honolulu HK Cafe will have you going for another round...


It's just one of many comforting dishes served at Honolulu HK Cafe, one of Hong Kong's oldest and iconic tea houses established back in 1940. Known for their signature coffee, Bo Lo Buns and Egg Tarts, Honolulu HK Cafe also offers a wide selection of savory main dishes, including the Hong Kong Curry in Casserole...


Honolulu HK Cafe boasts of an impressive selection of soothing beverages from their signature coffee and tea to the indulgent Iced Red Bean with Milk (P 130), just what you need to cool down from the summer heat  (for more on Honolulu HK Cafe, see my previous post, Coffee, Egg Tarts, Bo Lo Buns and More at Honolulu HK Cafe, Now Open at SM Aura Premier).


Authentic home-style noodle dishes offer even more tempting options at Honolulu HK Cafe, like the Stir-Fried Flat Noodles with Scrambled Eggs and Shrimp (P 268). Soft and chewy flat white noodles with the creamy texture of scrambled egg adding layers of richness capped by the briny sweetness of shrimps, it's a nostalgic dish takes you back with its simple yet delicate notes.  


And who doesn't like Sweet and Sour Pork (P 288)? The contrasting textures of the tender and crisp pork draped in a thick sauce completes your nostalgic journey...


...that's best paired with Honolulu HK Cafe's Fried Rice with Diced Chicken and Salted Fish (P 238) for a sumptuous dining experience.


But it's the Beef Brisket Hong Kong Curry in Casserole (P 328) with fork-tender chunks of beef that really hits the spot for me at Honolulu HK Cafe. The mildly spiced and thick curry sauce packs a flavorful punch, made even richer by the beef brisket and vegetables. The curry sauce delivers a range of complex flavors, from a subtle sweetness to deep nutty notes followed by hints of the curry spice blend. Other Hong Kong Curry in Casserole variants include Chicken (P 288), Pork Chop (328) and Seafood (P 338), each one draped in the special curry sauce. Cap your feast at Honolulu HK Cafe with their signature coffee and egg tarts, and plan your next visit for another round of that Hong Kong Curry in Casserole... 

Honolulu HK Cafe is located at the Lower Ground Floor of SM Aura Premier, C5 Road corner 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City or call 886-3333 for inquiries and more information. You can also visit their FB Page at https://www.facebook.com/honoluluhkcafeph/.

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A chicken dinner prepared just the way you like it. Fried, grilled or smoked? Have it all at RACKS...


Hickory Smoked Spring Chicken, Grilled Lemon-Garlic Spring Chicken and Fried Chimichurri Spring Chicken, each one prepared with that distinct real American country kitchen style of RACKS. Why not have all of them? You can enjoy the signature Butterfly Spring Chicken prepared three different ways at RACKS from now until June 30, 2019 to spice up your summer. Read on for a closer look at the tasty summer offerings from RACKS...


First order of business at RACKS? Cool down with a refreshing thirst-quencher that's perfect for summer days with the new Mocktails by RACKS. The Very Strawberry (P 175) has that soothing balance of sweetness and tartness to chill your palate, pairing perfectly with the new Butterfly Spring Chicken summer specials of RACKS.


Fruity with fresh and vibrant notes, the new Mocktails just bring in the summer vibe at RACKS. Other equally refreshing Mocktails include the Classic Mojito (P 175) and Mellow Watermelon (P 175). After a few sips, you're just about ready for the new Butterfly Spring Chicken summer specials at RACKS...


The Fried Chimicurri Spring Chicken (P 495) paired with Fried French Green Beans served with a mustard dip takes the classic chicken dish to a new flavorful level with the nutty hints of chimichurri. Perfectly fried with a comforting crispness contrasting with the juicy chicken, it's the most traditional of the of the three options yet refreshingly different at the same time. And the chimichurri makes all the difference.


It's the contrasting textures of juicy and crisp chicken that always makes fried chicken top-of-mind when it comes to favorites. RACKS spins a novel twist to this classic with the addition of chimichurri, adding layers of fresh and nutty hints to complement the delicate notes of the chicken. The spring chicken, with its tender meat, also delivers fresher and cleaner flavors.


The Hickory Smoked Spring Chicken (P 495) has that signature RACKS touch of bold flavors from the smokehouse. Smoked for hours using hickory wood, this low and slow cooking method infuses the spring chicken with intense barbecue flavors. And when you have tender fall-off-the-bone chicken smoked just the way RACKS does it, you don't need any sauce at all. This variant has everything you love about RACKS, with the deep and rich smoky notes you can find from their other signature specialties.


The creamy mayo-based Alabama white sauce with hints of apple cider vinegar for that tangy sharpness, complements the Hickory Smoked Spring Chicken perfectly. Now all you need is a tasty side, and the Potato Salad works for me.

I have to say, the sides just work so well with the new dishes. RACKS offers a variety of sides but the Fried French green Beans (L) and the popular Potato Salad (L) were the perfect sides for the Fried Chimichurri Spring Chicken and Hickory-Smoked Spring Chicken respectively.


The Lemon-Garlic Spring Chicken with Curry Rice (P 495) is a grilled chicken dish with hints of lemon-garlic adding a flavorful punch. The grill once again does its magic, as it does with the other popular favorites at RACKS. This time, the mild notes of the spring chicken are refined and brought out by a flaming grill with charred marks adding both flavor and texture. 


The lemon-garlic adds vibrant layers of flavors to the delicate notes of the grilled spring chicken without overwhelming it. The flavors are rich yet subtle and easy on the palate. After all, it's the grilled spring chicken that's the star of the show. 


Laid on soft and fluffy curry rice, it's a complete and satisfying meal in itself. The range of distinct flavors, from the lemon and garlic-infused spring chicken to the richly spiced notes of the curry rice make it different and unique among the butterfly spring chicken summer variants of RACKS. 


Three unique and distinct spring chicken variants, each one perfect for summer. The new seasonal offerings complement the current menu at RACKS reflecting the culinary style that's become synonymous with the brand. Fried, grilled and smoked, the Butterfly Spring Chicken at RACKS are more reasons to visit and enjoy the taste you remember.


Summer also means desserts. And RACKS has that covered too with The Ultimate Banana Split (P 295), an indulgent creation inspired by an ice cream parlor classic with an inventive twist.


The bananas are breaded and deep-fried for that delectable crunch, served with ice cream drizzled by chocolate and sprinkled with cookie crumbs. It's dessert with that unmistakable RACKS touch. Enjoy The Ultimate Banana Split with Strawberry, Avocado, Vanilla, Kesong Puti and Pastillas.


Three new Butterfly Spring Chicken dishes, three Mocktails and an indulgent dessert, RACKS definitely adds spice to your summer. Summer may almost be over, but you can still enjoy these new seasonal dishes at RACKS until June 30, 2019. Fried, grilled or smoked? Have it all at RACKS... 

New items on the menu are available for a limited time from April 5 to June 30, 2019 in all RACKS branches nationwide. For more information and the full list of branches, visit http://www.racks.com.ph, and follow @racksphl on Instagram and Racks Philippines on Facebook.

RACKS is located at the Connecticut Carpark Arcade, Greenhills Shopping Centre, Greenhills, San Juan or call 584-2173 for inquiries and more information.

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Exquisite dim sum masterfully prepared in one of the metro's finest and authentic Cantonese restaurants is showcased in a lavish presentation of tradition and culinary expertise, made even better with one sweet deal... 


Lung Hin of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila offers unlimited orders from a savory selection of 19 steamed, pan-fried and deep-fried dim sum dishes for a sumptuous all-you-can-eat Premium Dim Sum Lunch Set Menu. Paired with a choice of rice or noodles, appetizers, Hong Kong barbecue, soup and main courses from Monday to Saturday for only P 1,888++ per person all the way until May 31, 2019, now that sounds like a good deal. But it gets better. Diners can also avail of an additional and special 25% savings for an even sweeter deal...


One of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila's multi-awarded restaurants and a recipient of the prestigious China Hotel Industry Golden Horse Award, Lung Hin takes you on a culinary journey of the Orient with its authentic Cantonese cuisine (for more on Marco Polo Ortigas Manila's Lung Hin, see my previous posts, Meet Chef Ken of Marco Polo's Award-Winning Lung Hin on my first experience at Lung Hin three years ago, Cantonese, Anew: Celebrate the New Year with New Dishes and Exquisite Abalone at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila's Lung Hin on their featured abalone dishes for Chinese New Year and Exceptional Service That Exceeds Expectations: A Forbes Travel Guide Five Star Staycation at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila on a memorable weekend with dinner at Lung Hin).

And dim sum is way up there on my list of Lung Hin's must-try dishes. When you can enjoy unlimited orders of dim sum at a special price with an additional 25% savings off the regular P 1,888++ per person rate, that's one deal that's hard to pass up. Have a refreshing Honeydew Fruit Shake to open up your palate for the coming dim sum feast at Lung Hin...


Less the special 25% discount off the Premium Dim Sum Lunch Set Menu rate, having a dim sum feast at Lung Hin delivers more bang for the buck. That means more dim sum for you. But first, here's some basic rules to keep in mind. You can enjoy unlimited servings of any of the 19 specialty dim sum with the Premium Dim Sum Lunch Set Menu with a no left-over or take-out policy. That's fair. Begin your dim sum feast with a comforting bowl of Braised Spinach and Seafood Soup, a thick and hearty soup with its vibrant green hues delivering rich flavors...

...or the Braised Hot and Sour Seafood Soup with its bold notes followed by a subtle spicy heat. Each bowl offers distinct flavors, and whatever you choose sets you up perfectly for the lavish dim sum feast warming up your palate and body. Diners can choose one of these soup dishes in the Premium Dim Sum Lunch Set Menu...


...along with one appetizer, like the Stir-Fried Squid with Mashed Salted Egg and Seasoning. The squid is perfectly tender, with its mildly sweet briny notes complemented by the nutty salted egg breading. Once you start, well, you know how it goes. The other tasty option is the Chilled Marinated Hand-Pulled Shredded Chicken with Jelly Fish.


Now for the dim sum. Lung Hin offers a variety of dim sum, like the Baked Barbecue Pork Buns with a savory filling... 


...the crisp Deep-Fried Shrimp Spring Rolls served with a sweet chili sauce...


...the intricate swan-like Deep-Fried Taro Puffs...


...and the Fried Glutinous Rice Dumplings, each one offering rich flavors and textures that will have you going for another piece. And why not. You can have as much dim sum as you want.


And Lung Hin impresses with its signature and authentic dim sum selection. Included in the selection are inspired and inventive dim sum creations that you can only find at Lung Hin... 


...like the Steamed Scallop Dumplings with fresh, succulent scallops. Each tasty bite delivers a flavorful richness of briny yet mildly delicate sweetness from the scallops...


...and you'll want another. There is an indulgence in its layered flavors and textures unlike the usual dim sum, and this alone is reason enough to experience the Premium Dim Sum Lunch Set Menu at Lung Hin.


A tasty alternative is the Steamed Vegetarian Dumplings with its deep and rich colors filled with fresh vegetables. But just like many of Lung Hin's signature dim sum, you'll experience a savory richness with these dumplings. Without the guilt. The flavors are just as rich and vibrant for a new flavor experience.


The Steamed Kimchi and Shrimp Dumplings pack a flavorful punch with the sharpness of chili for a refreshing and soothing heat that warms up the palate perfectly tempered by the sweetness of the shrimps. The heat does not overwhelm the palate, but it lingers.



And you'll want another. The colors alone provide a visual cue on the intense flavors, and the Steamed Kimchi and Shrimp Dumplings are just one of many creative examples of Lung Hin's dim sum mastery. 


You'll also find familiar and comforting favorites like the Steamed Spinach and Shrimp Dumplings with its nuanced notes. A dip in soy sauce with just a dab of chili brings out the flavors.


You just can't say no to Lung Hin's Steamed Shrimp Dumplings, with plump shrimps intricately wrapped in a soft, paper-thin pouch crowned by gold flakes. An audible snap accompanies each bite, releasing intense briny notes. Another round of Steamed Shrimp Dumplings? Absolutely.


Other savory dim sum include the Steamed Pork Spare Ribs with Garlic...

...and the Steamed Chicken with Golden Mushroom (L) with deep earthy flavors. Don't forget your old dependable favorite, the Steamed Pork Siu Mai with Truffle Sauce (R). Other dim sum specialties include Steamed Barbecue Pork Buns, Steamed Chicken Feet with XO Sauce and Beef Ribs with Black Pepper and Pumpkin.


Diners can add a choice of rice or noodles to their Premium Dim Sum Lunch Set Menu at Lung Hin, making it a real feast.

It's just not a Cantonese feast without the mandatory fried rice dish. Choices include the traditional Yang Chow Fried Rice (L) or the mildly sharp flavors of the Tai O Salted Fish Fried Rice with Diced Chicken (R). Each rice dish is loaded with vegetables and seafood. It's a complete meal in a bowl.


Craving for noodles? The savory Braised E-Fu Noodles with Enoki Mushroom is a good choice. The tender enoki mushrooms add deep, nutty and earthy notes to the richly flavored noodles to complete your Premium Dim Sum Lunch Set Menu at Lung Hin. The other noodle option is the Fried Noodles with Shredded Pork.


From the Hong Kong Barbecue selection, the Roasted Pork Belly is another must-try dish at Lung Hin. Tender and juicy capped by a crisp layer of crackling, they do roasted pork belly really well at Lung Hin. 


A dab of mustard adds a contrasting flavor to balance the savory richness of the pork belly. Diners can also opt for the BBQ Pork and Sliced Chicken from Lung Hin's Hong Kong Barbecue selection.


For your main course, diners can choose from nine savory dishes as part of your Premium Dim Sum Lunch Set Menu at Lung Hin (1-2 persons choose one main course, 3-4 persons choose two main courses, 5-7 persons choose three main courses and 8-10 persons choose four main courses). The Hot Prawn Salad with large plump prawns draped in a creamy and mildly sweet dressing combine for rich flavors to supplement your dim sum feast.



The Steamed Garoupa Fillet with Supreme Soy Sauce is another elegant dish you can add to your Premium Dim Sum Lunch Set Menu at Lung Hin. The soft fillet just melts in your mouth followed by the subtle hints of soy for rich flavors.



The classic Wok-Fried Sweet and Sour Pork with Pineapple is one of many nostalgic favorites at Lung Hin. Crisp on the outside and tender and juicy inside, the pork is covered in that familiar sweet, thick and sticky sauce everyone loves. One bite will take you back to the time when you first experienced this dish as a child. Perfect with your bowl of Yang Chow Fried Rice.


The Deep-Fried Spare Ribs with Black Vinegar Sauce is a savory dish with the richness of the pork balanced by the mildly sharp notes of the black vinegar. Other options include the Steamed Squid with Broccoli and Vermicelli in Garlic Sauce, Deep-Fried Boneless Chicken in Lemon Sauce, Sauteed French Beans with Minced Pork and Preserved Vegetables and Stir-Fried Seasonal Mixed Vegetables with Garlic.


And if you're still hungry, you can order more of Lung Hin's signature dim sum. How about one more steamer of Lung Hin's Steamed Scallop Dumplings?


Cap your Premium Dim Sum Lunch Set Menu with the Chilled Mango Pudding for that perfect sweet ending. Other indulgent desserts include Chilled Mango Sago with Coconut Milk and Chilled Coffee Jelly.


The Premium Dim Sum Lunch Set Menu at Lung Hin with 19 authentic dim sum, a choice of rice or noodles, appetizers, soup Hong Kong Barbecue and main course is just too good a deal. Available from Monday to Saturday for only P 1,888++ per person (plus you get an additional 25% savings off the regular rate for even greater value for money), the Premium Dim Sum Lunch Set Menu is one of the sweetest deals in the metro. But better hurry. The Premium Dim Sum Lunch Set Menu is only until May 31, 2019. Craving for a sumptuous dim sum lunch? Head on over to Marco Polo Ortigas Manila's award-winning Lung Hin and enjoy a lavish dim sum feast...

Lung Hin is located at the 44th Floor of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, Meralco Avenue and Sapphire Street, Ortigas Centre, Pasig City, Metro Manila or call (632) 720-7777 for inquiries and reservations. 

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An enduring legacy from the days when sugar dominated the global economy that triggered colonial expansion by the Spanish, English and French to the new world in the Caribbean, the culture and lore of rum continues to this day. Tales of pirates, naval traditions and explorers in the new world are just part of the mystique of this well-loved spirit made from sugarcane or molasses. Enjoy a tipple and rediscover the golden age of rum with The Peninsula Manila's Rum Diaries...


The Peninsula Manila showcases some the world's finest rum with Rum Diaries at The Bar from April 25 to June 30, 2019. Immerse yourself in the rum experience at The Bar with a flight of three iconic labels, Ron Matusalem 23 Gran Reserva from the Dominican Republic with its deep and indulgent hints of toffee-like sweetness, the Dictador 20-Year Old from Colombia with its complex notes and the multi-awarded Clement VSOP from Martinique. The best of the Caribbean in one flight, and it's here at The Bar. Like what you see so far? Read on for a closer look at one of the featured rum labels...


There are three distinct style of rum, the Spanish ron, the spiced English rum and the French style rhum, it's a reflection of the colonial influences that dominated the Caribbean. Driven by the search for sugar, it wasn't long before the Spanish, French and the English transformed the prized commodity into a spirit. The name of the sugarcane or molasses-based liquor is said to have been derived from the English word "rumbullion" which means "mayhem," and that's no surprise given the historical context of the Caribbean at that time. Explorers, traders and the battle-hardened crews of the Spanish, French and English navies roamed the seas carving up their own territories in the new world establishing vast sugar plantations. Add some privateers and pirates to the mix, and you get the picture.

The sun-kissed tropical climate of the Caribbean makes it fertile ground for the profitable sugar crop, with its vivid sunsets captured in each bottle of rum. And one of these world-renowned labels shine bright at The Bar. Established in 1872, Ron Matusalem was founded by Evaristo Alvarez along with the enterprising brothers Benjamin and Eduardo Camp in Santiago de Cuba. The name is inspired by the Old Testament, the biblical patriarch who lived to the old age of 969 years and a Spanish proverb, "this is older than Matusalem." It's an appropriate reference to the lengthy aging process of the brand.

But the founders had with them a secret that set Ron Matusalem apart from the rest, an uncompromising and patient aging process called "Solera" often used for the finest brandy, sherry and cognac. The tedious process includes stacking rum blends of different ages in tiered casks with the oldest at the bottom and the youngest on top, the same method used in Jerez for their famed sherry. And like all the finer things in life, it takes time. The Solera process results in an elegant and softer finish with deep and vibrant notes. Only six other rum brands use the slow process, and time does the rest. But no one does it quite like Ron Matusalem. Under the watchful eyes of the master blender who, by tradition, comes from the family of founder Evaristo Alvarez, each batch is patiently given the time to mature.

Ron Matusalem is now managed by the fifth generation of the Alvarez family. Ron Matusalem uses American bourbon casks and French barrels for their prized rum, with each barrel imparting its own distinct notes made even richer by the delicate process of toasting or charring the wood. From charring each barrel to the tiered cask or Solera aging process and the blending, Ron Matusalem continues a 147 year-old family tradition with its exceptionally smooth and meticulously blended rum.

And since 1872, Ron Matusalem was the preferred rum of choice for centuries to come. During mid-1930 to the early fifties, Cuba was the popular destination of the world's movers and shakers lured not only by the white sand beaches but by its famed rum. It's a period described as the "Golden Era" when Ron Matusalem dominated the gold rum market with an impressive 50% market share. Ernest Hemingway, the legendary old man, enjoyed Ron Matusalem. In fact, it was his favorite rum. There's even a cocktail, the Papa Hemingway, made with Ron Matusalem, lemon juice, grapefruit juice and maraschino Luxardo created in his honor. But the golden era came to an abrupt end when a revolution led by Fidel Castro toppled the Batista regime. Like many prominent Cubans, the Alvarez family went into exile in the US leaving their distillery behind. It was an end of an era...


...and the iconic brand became a part of the Caribbean's many storied legends. In 2002, Matusalem and Company was relaunched with a new distillery and production facilities in the Dominican Republic. With renewed branding efforts focused on its Cuban roots targeted at the high-end market, Ron Matusalem is definitely back. Ron Matusalem recently hosted a tasting and training session at The Peninsula Manila with their prized selections, the Matusalem Platino, the Matusalem Gran Reserva 15 and the Matusalem Gram Reserva 23. Each one is an elegant expression of the master blender's craft with unique notes reflecting the spirit's diverse flavor profiles. Like the subtle nuances of the Caribbean's many colorful sunsets, each sip recreates the history, lore and rich culture of the sugar-laden islands.  


Hektor Monroy, APAC Regional Director for Ron Matusalem, described in detail the history and the exacting Solera process behind the brand...

...attended by mixologists, bartenders and staff of The Peninsula Manila. The casual and informative vibe of the session not only revealed the brand's fabled past but a renewed and bold vision keeping it in step with the times. The graceful swallow in the brand's classic logo is all set to fly once more. But the best part of the session is the tasting...  


...starting with the Matusalem Platino, a crystal-clear premium quality triple-distilled Solera-aged rum filtered and refined for an exceptionally clean, crisp and delicately balanced flavor with comforting sweet hints. A bold yet fragrant aroma hits once you raise the glass to your lips, with a sip delivering upfront flavors with subtle notes of nutty molasses, spicy black pepper, toffee and vanilla followed by an almond and roasted coconut finish. The deceptive absence of color is no indication of the complex layers of flavors, mellowed with a velvety sweet finish through the proprietary Solera process. The Matusalem Platino, with its intense flavors, is perfect for cocktails.     


Known as the cognac of rums, the Matusalem Gran Reserva 15 is a deep golden amber hued rum with aromatic hints of chocolate, butterscotch and mild ginger. Delicate layers of vanilla, mocha, espresso, walnut, sweet butterscotch and chocolate, cinnamon and a light citrusy finish like orange zest drapes the palate with each sip. The deep, rounded caramel sweetness with just a whisper of nutmeg and dark chocolate adds that lavish and indulgent finish. This is the rum from the golden age, recreated with the same passion since 1872.  


Distilled from fermented molasses, aged in American bourbon barrels and blended in the family's famed Solera system, the Matusalem Gran Reserva 15 is a definitive expression of the finest Spanish style rum of Cuba. But there's more...


The Matusalem Gran Reserva 23 is another elegant spirit made with the Solera system with its deep copper hues. The full-bodied flavors with hints of honey, vanilla, caramel, espresso and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg follows a nose of rich chocolate and coffee, all coming together in a silky smooth finish. Indulgently layered with complex flavors, the Matusalem Gran Reserva 23 is another fine example of Solera aged rum.



The aged rums have their own distinct flavors, notes, color and aroma reflecting the heritage and tradition of Ron Matusalem...


...that's best appreciated and enjoyed neat.


And it's a welcome addition to The Bar's premium selection of fine spirits at The Peninsula Manila.

One last round of rum and the session ended on a high note. At the end of the session, Ron Matusalem's APAC Regional Director Hektor Monroy joined the staff of The Peninsula Manila to answer more questions on the brand and the obligatory group photo. It's a great start to get reacquainted with a legendary rum...  


And, just like Jack Sparrow, you're asking why is the rum always gone, worry not. You'll have all the rum you want at The Bar's featured selection, Rum Diaries (more on the Rum Diaries at The Peninsula Manila's The Bar on the hotel's website at https://www.peninsula.com/en/manila/special-offers/dining/rum-diaries). Starting April 25 to June 30, 2019, you can enjoy Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva 23 along with other fine rums including Clement VSOP from Martinique and Dictador 20 Year Old from Colombia at The Bar with a tasting flight paired with a cigar for only P 1,400. After your initial flight, have another or why not have a shot of your preferred rum? Better yet, have a bottle. At The Bar, you can enjoy shots or a bottle of Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva 23 (P 900/Shot and P 13,500/Bottle), Dictador 20 Year Old (P 1,100/Shot and P 16,500/Bottle) and Clement VSOP (P 700/Shot and P 10,500/Bottle) with Rum Diaries.


But Hektor Monroy wasn't done yet.


At The Bar, Hektor Monroy spun his own magic creating handcrafted cocktails blended with the prized rum...


...offering even more refreshing options to enjoy your rum experience with Ron Matusalem.


With each soothing cocktail, the much heralded golden era of rum shines once more at The Bar with some of the world's finest rums. Each deep, mellow and sweet sip takes you back to the free-wheeling Caribbean high seas when exploration, colonial conquest and revolutions shaped the island territories and the bright lights of Havana lured the world's elite driven by the search of the finest rum. It's the Caribbean's rich history and heritage distilled in a bottle, aged and matured with the traditional and exquisite Solera process reflecting the vivid colors of the tropical sunset. Ron Matusalem's story lives on with your next round, and it just keeps getting better.


Find out more on the interesting stories of the Caribbean's finest rums at The Peninsula Manila, and create your own stories with Rum Diaries, now spinning tales at The Bar all the way until the end of June.

For more on Ron Matusalem, visit their FB Page here at https://www.facebook.com/MatusalemRumGlobal/

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Lengua, cochinillo, callos and canonigo, the delectable quartet of all-time favorites at Alba Restaurante Espanol. And you can have as much as you want and come back for more...


The name Alba is synonymous with authentic Spanish cuisine, an iconic institution loved for generations since the day it opened back in 1952. With its fifth branch now open at Estancia Mall in Capitol Commons, Alba Restaurante Espanol takes you back on a nostalgic culinary journey with their signature dishes of Lengua, Cochinillo, Callos and Canonigo and so much more with their daily Lunch and Dinner Buffet (for more on Alba Restaurante Espanol at Estancia Mall in Capitol Commons, see my post, Reunirse: Alba Restaurante Espanol Opens at Estancia Mall).

At Alba Restaurante Espanol's newest branch in Capitol Commons' Estancia Mall, you can enjoy a sumptuous Buffet offered daily for Lunch (P 875 net) or Dinner (P 935 net). The Buffet is also offered daily at the Prism and Tomas Morato branches, Saturdays and Sundays at Westgate Alabang and Sundays at Polaris in Makati.  


Now managed by the family's second generation, Don Anastacio de Alba's culinary legacy is lovingly preserved at Alba Restaurante Espanol. And this is immediately evident with their wide range of tasty starters, from their homemade Chorizo and Albondigas de Vaca...


...to Tortilla Espanola, asparagus, mushrooms and a variety of charcuterie and cold cuts. At Alba Restaurante Espanol, a sumptuous meal always starts with their signature Tapas Frias and Tapas Calientes.


And for the mains, the all-time favorites that built Alba Restaurante Espanol fill the plate...


...with the Cochinillo Asado, whole roasted suckling pig with tender and juicy pork capped by a lightly crisp layer of crackling. The pork delivers a savory richness with just a hint of sweetness contrasting with the richly seasoned notes of the crackling. Great even without the sauce, the flavors are clean and the crackling is perfectly crisp. It's flavors like these that make Alba Restaurante Espanol special, masterfully recreated and passed down from Don Anastacio de Alba to the second generation. 


Continue your feast of nostalgic flavors with the Lengua Sevillana, stewed ox-tongue that melts in your mouth followed by the nutty notes of mushrooms in a rich gravy. One bite immediately triggers so many memorable dining experiences at Alba, becoming a part of so many stories that have shaped and strengthened ties with friends and family. That's what dining at Alba's is all about. And the buffet is regularly replenished with these signature dishes, so there's no need to rush.


But it's the Callos a la Madrilena that had me coming back for seconds. And thirds. The stewed ox-tripe with its butter-like texture draped in a rich sauce draws inspiration from the founder's roots, preserving a culinary legacy firmly embedded in our own heritage through a shared history.


That distinctive "sticky" texture of the sauce enriched by the ox tripe and tender beef gives this dish an elegant savory finish that lingers long after the first bite. It's callos executed in a rustic and traditional manner, and Don Anastacio wouldn't have it any other way. Go ahead and have another bowl...


For dessert, have a big slice of Alba's Leche Flan, an indulgent custard one never tires of no matter how many times you come back for it...


...and the Canonigo, a decadent fluffy meringue covered in a sinful vanilla custard sauce to complete my quartet of all-time favorites at Alba. The deceptively light as a feather finish of the traditional dessert gives it a unique texture, coating your palate with a lavish richness like no other. 


Seconds? Absolutely. And you can do exactly that with Lengua, Cochinillo, Callos, Canonigo and more at Alba Restaurante Espanol's Lunch and Dinner Buffet at Estancia Mall. But better call for a reservation, and come hungry...

Alba Restaurante Espanol is located at Level 2, Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City or call 253-4953 and 253-8272 for inquiries and more information. You can also visit their website at https://alba.com.ph/.

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Memorable summers means travel and exciting road trips. And your 1Rouge, 1Blanc and 1Rose from 1Wine by Paul Sapin is ready for the road...


Taking your libation along on your road trip or travels was never this easy, or cooler. Lightweight, portable and handy, 1Wine by Paul Sapin is ready to go wherever your summer plans take you. And there's nothing more soothing than a refreshing glass of wine for those special moments on the road to take in the summer experience. Take your 1Rouge, 1Blanc and 1Rose from 1Wine with you on your next trip, and consider it a travel essential. That's one for the road with 1Wine...



NMARL Philippines introduces 1Wine from France by Paul Sapin, a leading merchant of fine wines since 1889. Bottled in a newly developed lightweight and recyclable multi-layer PET that keeps your wine fresh for 24 months, the handy 187 ml packaging makes it handy and convenient for road trips, picnics, hiking, swimming or any outdoor summer activity. Easy to carry and specially designed with its very own cup, enjoying and sharing fine wine completes those special moments in your summer adventures. Resealable and shatter-proof, you can still enjoy your 1Wine after the first round, perfect for those times alone while having a room-serviced massage.

1Wine is available in three variants: 1Blanc, a crisp and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc with subtle hints of citrus and tropical fruits best paired with light dishes like seafood and salads; 1Rouge, a smooth and deep Merlot with the rich notes of blackberries and plums that go well with savory meat dishes or cheese; and 1Rose, a dry and fruity wine with fruity and floral notes that pair well with anything. Each single-serve 187 ml variant is reasonably priced at only P 249 per bottle. The innovative design with a cup integrated in the packaging makes it even more convenient.    

1Wine by Paul Sapin is also available in special boxes ideal for gift-giving with The Classic Duo (P 499) which includes Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and a handy ice bag; or The Whimsical Duo (P 499) with Cinsault Rose and Merlot. The attractive and colorful boxes are also the perfect way to get acquainted with 1Wine.


Each box comes with two variants of 1Wine and a handy ice bag to keep your 1Wine chilled and ready. It's one more innovative feature that makes 1Wine your ideal libation on the go. 


Designed for the contemporary traveler and road trip adventurer, 1Wine is definitely one cool way to beat the summer heat.


1Blanc, 1Rouge or 1Rose, why not enjoy all variants? The lightweight packaging makes it all possible without the fuss. 


Bringing all three variants of 1Wine guarantees you have the perfect wine for any special moment or mood on your summer getaway. 


And once you reach the top of the hill or the end of the trail, simply twist open a bottle and enjoy. It's moments like these that make summer travel special.  


All packed up and ready to go with 1Rouge, 1Blanc and 1Rose from 1Wine by Paul Sapin, and your summer adventure is in the bag. Take 1Wine for the road, and let your summer begin...

1Wine is now available at all Landers Superstore branches including Cebu. It is also available in Raging Bull Burgers, Shangri-La at The Fort. You can also have it delivered straight to your doorstep through Lazada or by just simply messaging @nmarl.ph on Instagram and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NMARL.ph/.

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Savory and fork-tender beef, succulent seafood and roasted Peking Duck served with a flaming twist, take a peek at Ma Ho's new menu...


Since it opened in 2016, Marriott Manila's signature Cantonese restaurant, Man Ho, has been known for its refined take on traditional Cantonese cuisine. From delicate dim sum specialties to sumptuous beef, pork and seafood dishes using the finest and freshest ingredients, Man Ho elevates the Cantonese dining experience with its inspired modern interpretation on traditional flavors. Man Ho is ready to tease your palate once again with a selection of new dishes combining tradition with a refreshed and contemporary touch...


The lavish interiors exude a modern vibe, the perfect stage for a sumptuous feast  (for more on Man Ho, see my previous posts, Elegant Cantonese Cuisine at Man Ho, Now Open at Marriott Hotel Manila's New West Wing on the opening and Man Ho: Cantonese Flavors at Manila Marriott Hotel's New West Wing on some of their signature dishes).


The new menu at Man Ho includes tasty appetizers to savory roasts, the Chef's Double-Boiled Signatures to mouthwatering mains of beef and seafood courses capped by dessert, it's an impressive feast showcasing the creativity of Man Ho's culinary team.


Our feast at Man Ho began with tasty bites of Wok-Fried French Beans with Salted Egg Yolk (P 380) made with a lightly crisp outer layer of batter made with rich salted egg. The fresh snap and subtle sweetness of the French beans are complemented by the deep, nutty notes of the salted egg opening up the palate for the next appetizer...


...with the Wok-Fried Pork Parcels with Szechuan Chili (P 360), delicately wrapped pouches with a savory filling drizzled with a mildly spicy Szechuan chili sauce. The contrasting textures and flavors tease the palate, tempting you to reach out for another piece.


The tender Slow Braised Australian Beef Shank in Palawan Honey (P 480) rounds out our appetizers, a comforting and hearty dish with the savory richness of beef layered with a delicate hint of sweetness from the honey. The range of flavors from the appetizers are just a preview, with even more dishes to be served. 


A refreshing addition to Man Ho's offerings of signature roasts, the Shredded Chicken with Jellyfish (P 980 Small/P 1,600 Large) combines textural contrasts and subtle yet rich flavors in one dish. The tender shreds of chicken and the soft bite of the jellyfish with its delicate briny sweetness deliver clean and refreshing notes...


...followed by the crunch of the crispy wontons and sesame seeds perfectly finished by the finely julienned cucumber and carrots. Unlike the heavier flavors of the more common and usual Cantonese fare, the flavors at Man Ho are gentler, even sublime almost like tip-toeing on the palate rather than aggressively goose-stepping with overwhelming notes. It's Cantonese cuisine, refined.    


A cart is then rolled in beside our table. It's man Ho's Roasted Peking Duck, served with a fiery spin. 

The beautifully roasted duck is then laid on the carving cart, prepped for the much-awaited procedure with the flame. A French technique using flaming liquor, the dramatic cooking method is an experience in itself, layering the duck with even more flavor. 

And yes, they are using the good stuff. A shot of The Dalmore 12 Year Old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky is the fuel for the flame. At Marriott Manila's Man Ho, you can expect nothing less. Ignited by a torch, the flaming spirit is then gently poured as gentle blue flames drape the roast duck.


The familiar richness of the Roasted Flambeed Peking Duck served with Chinese Pancake (P 3,288) is enhanced by its encounter with the flame, coating it with a malty almost caramel-like sweetness adding depth to its flavors. Then again, adding The Dalmore 12 Year Old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky just adds an indulgent finish to any dish. 


The flambeed roast Peking duck is then carved...


...with the crisp skin wrapped in Chinese pancakes. From the elaborate flambe to the carving, nobody serves Peking Duck like Man Ho.


The flavors of the roast duck goes beyond just the expected richness, it's much deeper layered by the sweetness of the whisky. The flambe adds a sharp finish, and brings out the rich flavors of the duck. Definitely different, think of it as your traditional duck leveled up with a flaming finish. The rest of the duck is then sent back to the kitchen, prepped for the next course.


A comforting soup served in a coconut shell is then served, the Double-Boiled Abalone with Red Dates and Coconut Broth (P 680) to cleanse the palate.


A new addition to Man Ho's offerings of Chef's Double-Boiled Signatures, the light broth delivers gentle notes with every sip followed by a hint of sweetness from the coconut. The succulent abalone infuses its briny flavor to the broth, completed by the red dates. The layers of flavors are subtle, soothing the palate and warming the body for an elegant soup dish. 


Our feast at Man Ho continued with a tasty pair of seafood dishes, starting with the elegantly plated Stir-Fried Shrimps and Porcini Mushrooms and Broccoli (P 1,280) with its vibrant colors that first feeds the eyes...


...and one bite of the fresh and plump shrimps deliver crisp and clean flavors to complete the sensory experience. Freshness is flavor, and this dish masterfully combines the distinct notes of each ingredient in a seamless blend.


The Pan-Fried Australian Barramundi on Black Bean Sauce (P 980) is a heartier dish with the bold and robust notes of black beans and fresh vegetables pairing well with the firm yet melt-in-your-mouth texture of the fish for delicately balanced flavors.


From starters to mains, Man Ho's new dishes clearly impressed. But Man Ho had one more dish for a strong finish. The Pan-Fried US Beef Tenderloin in Black Pepper Sauce (P 1,500) is all business when it comes to flavor, with the rich beefy notes draped in an equally flavorful black pepper sauce topped with crispy thinly-sliced garlic slivers. The upfront flavors of the black pepper sauce tempers the richness of the beef without overwhelming it in another masterfully executed dish.


And the rest of the duck? Deep-fried to a light crispness and richly seasoned with salt and pepper, it's another perfect ending to a memorable feast at Man Ho.


A pot of freshly brewed tea accompanies our dessert of Sticky Glutinous Rice with Coconut or Coconut Muchi (P 198-3 pcs). The new menu showcases the refined culinary style of Man Ho, weaving tradition with a bold inventive flair that sets it apart from the rest. It's another reason to visit Man Ho. Elegant Cantonese cuisine is just a short walk away at Marriott Manila's new West Wing...

Man Ho is located at the new West Wing of Marriott Hotel Manila, No. 10 Newport Boulevard, Newport City Complex, Pasay City, Manila or call (632) 988-9999 for reservations. You can also visit their website at https://dining.marriottmanila.com/restaurants/man-ho/ for more information.

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