Category Archives: Food

Enye’s New Items on the Menu for 2019

I found the Best Paella Negra of the Philippines.

I had the chance to try the new items on the menu of Enye by Chele Gonzales at Crimson Resort & Spa Mactan. Enye is one of Mactan’s pride restaurants that appeal to all ages. Its food is classic, yet timeless and the ambiance is artfully fashionable with intimate atmosphere.

A welcome glass of a newly popped bottle of wine commandeered and psyched up our senses to gourmandize the 12-course dinner Chef Chele Gonzalez had assembled himself as a special preview of their reengineered menu. For 3 hours, he thrilled us with Enye’s new offerings together with their perfected staple — the Paella Negra.

We started with four appetizers. First, the Wagyu Beef Flamenquin, a breaded, deep fried wagyu beef with camembert filling. This is one of my personal favorite among the new items. A crunchy crust that enveloped the tender wagyu and melting camembert cheese was a party of texture in the mouth.

Vieiras Gratinadas came next. It was a gratinated baby scallops with bechamel sauce, ham and cheese. I could smell the fresh ocean waves roiling into our plates.

Then came the croquettes. The first was Croquetas de Setas y Trufa, a bechamel croquettes with mixed mushrooms and truffle oil. This was scene stealer. Although the presentation was simple, its flavor was bursting. It made me realized that Bechamel is the life partner of mushrooms. Their combination is divine.

Another set of croquettes was rolled out on our table. The Croqueta De Mariscos (seafood croquette) highlighted the fact that we were just a few meters away from the whispering sea of Mactan.

It was an umami overload, after the appetizers. We proceeded with the first “official” course, the White Snapper Fish and Scallop Ceviche. Interestingly, I’ve learned that ceviche is not necessarily the same as “kinilaw”, the latter uses vinegar to cure the fish while the former uses citrus juices. On our plate was a white snapper cured by Peruvian Tiger’s Milk, a citrus-based marinade with fish juices, tempered by coconut milk and curry espuma or foam. Everything was in equilibrium, infusing air to the coconut cream and curry provided a gentle stabilization of the acidity extracted from the lime.

Just as when our sense of taste was reset by the tartness of the ceviche, the Seared Foie Gras was served. The runny yolk that percolated on the seared foie gras, together with the port wine sauce, was devilishly piquant. I forgot that they were two cholesterols plotting a conspiracy. I was so in the zone, I could not abort the mission.

We were getting ready for the two mains, but before that, we washed up with some soup, a Baked Grouper Fish Fillet. The aroma from the broth, although served on a lower temperature from what we expected, was not just a tease to the olfactory nerves, it was also good for the gustation system. The swimmer crab provided a distinct flavor that carried the dish all the way to the last bite.

The mains were Paella Negra and Cordero Asado de Manera Tradicional.

The Paella Negra on their old menu was already exquisite as many other Paella Negra out there in the market. Yet, they are determined to position their Paella Negra ahead of the game. Instead of the typical shrimps, mussels, mayonnaise and whatever customary seafood toppings, they topped it with grilled large octopus tentacles, juicy scallops, and green herb and saffron aioli to kill the competition down to its knees. It was a knock out — a unanimous decision, at least in our long table of ten. I think the secret was the Soccarat, the crust that formed at the bottom of the paellera, as any good paella should have. No, it is not burnt, never. It takes a very experienced chef to determine the perfect time when the paella is ready. Ours was served on the dot. Perfect!

The slow braised lamb shoulder paired with rustic roasted potatoes and some greens filled us to the brim. The roasted potatoes coated with some spice was something I would want to eat again the next day. I was so close to ordering one for take away.

Certainly, the dinner was never exhausting but definitely we didn’t mind to get some energy boost from the new sweet treats of Enye.

The Apple Tart was an interplay of textures from the light and bubbly apple foam, soft and chewy roasted apple, and smooth vanilla custard and ice cream.

The Choco Mango Cebu pairing was my favorite dessert. It was like they were having their day off from the tug of war of flavors. It was so well balanced, no overpowering. Everything contributes to its refreshingly vintage indulgence.

The Tarta de Queso Casera made a sensible connection of the definitive taste of apples and mangoes. The rum ice cream on the side wrapped up the night.

Enye operates from 6:00pm to 10:30pm everyday. It is always a good idea to reserve a table for special dinner. Dining at Enye is always special.

Atty. Ethelbert Ouano (@iamethelbert) together with other Sun Prepaid Ambassadors Michael Karlo, Banisa, and Sinjin. #SUNParaNimoCebu

Atty. Ethelbert Ouano (@iamethelbert) together with other Sun Prepaid Ambassadors Michael Karlo, Banisa, and Sinjin. #SUNParaNimoCebu

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Seafood Fiesta at Montebello Villa Hotel

Montebello Villa Hotel introduces their new themed dinner buffet, Seafood Fiesta. Enjoy your favorite seafood every Friday from 6:00PM to 9:00PM for 799 per person.

I should get an award for this plating. :p

A good spread of seafood kinilaw and other famous seafood dishes are waiting for you at La Terraza in Montebello Villa Hotel.

Your selections include:

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Sugbusog Gihapon the Sinulog 2019 Feast

Celebrate Cebu this Sinulog in the most immersive way possible through a culinary journey that explores the best and most popular heritage and contemporary food from Cebu.

All these food are served under one roof without the hassle of heavy traffic jams. In one buffet spread, one can enjoy different kinds of kinilaw, Cebuano entrees including lechon, kalderetang kambing, and humba and for dessert, masareal and tagaktak. These are the Cebuano food offered in the latest edition of Marco Polo Plaza Hotel’s Culinary Journey, Sugbusog Gihapon along with the staple international offerings of the restaurant.

In time for Sinulog, Marco Polo Plaza Hotel celebrates the grand festival with a feast of classica cebuano favorites at Cebu’s Best Premium Buffet Restaurant, Cafe Marco, from January 15 to 21, 2019.

Let me share to you my appetizer, main course, and dessert plate.

Pit Senyor!

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Movenpick’s Chocolates for Dinner

A few days ago I tried the latest offering of Movenpick, the latest culinary craze, chocolates on savory dishes.

The quality of Swiss craftsmanship is world-famous and even the country’s chocolate is produced with legendary precision. Who else can give us better chocolates but Mövenpick. Their own brand of chocolate is made in keeping with the tradition, as well as its own culinary values that date back 70 years, and is produced in Switzerland using 100% cocoa butter.

As I landed from Manila, I rushed to Mövenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu’s The Sails restaurant anticipating what would be a refreshing dinner and also a “happy meal.” (Fact: Chocolates are antidepressants.)

We started with salmon fillets enlivened with dark chocolate. Salmon fillets were marinated for long hours like a mackerel sushi. Shime Saba is my favorite among the sashimis and I think I found its salmon counterpart.

The savoury tarte tartin with a white chocolate was a palate cleanser. It sets the mood for chocolates that night.

The seven chocolate-inspired creations include: marinated ‘beetroot salmon’ with root vegetables and 72% dark chocolate to enhance the meal’s rich earthiness; ‘tomato tarte tartin’ where ‘white lemon’ chocolate complements the goat’s cheese, pine nuts and coffee beans; ‘sea bass and green tea’ – a light foam of green tea, almonds, nuts and Mövenpick ‘Maple Walnut’ is the star; ‘minute beef goulash’, with a traditionally-made Hungarian goulash sauce, enriched with dark chocolate; ‘lamb shank and pesto’, slow-roasted and then refined with pistachio and hazelnut chocolate pesto; and ‘duck breast and potato pie’, with white chocolate, lime and pepper giving the pink-roasted meat a delicate yet spicy freshness.

I should say, my 2 favorites which I think were the standout dishes were the lamb shank pesto and the duck breast and potato pie. The lamb shank was slow cooked and off-the-bone but the meat was firm and never saggy. It was very good. The duck breast was at its perfect color, pink. It was smokey and flavorful. It has a good amount of skin on it. With ducks, you’ve got to have the skin.

We finished our dinner with ‘chocolate pavés au chocolat’, combining milk chocolate, crispy cocoa bean fragments, sizzling pecan nuts and slightly bitter matcha powder, all with a hint of green tea and paired with an espresso. I am not really into sweet treats but these are just on the right amount sweetness.

Mövenpick chocolate the hero of seven dishes in its latest global campaign, which runs from 10 October to 20 November 2018.

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Italian Wine Pairings at Aqua

Last Saturday, after super typhoon Ompong left the Phillipines, life carried on and everyone was grateful that it brought no harm to the country. The disaster preparation and response were remarkable. Despite the ferocity of Ompong, only a few reported unfavorable incidents were reported. The Philippines must have been on its right way to resiliency. While still feeling the tail of the storm, the weather calls for some good wines for thanksgiving and of course, to warm the spirit in air.

Aqua in Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa hosted a timely Italian Wine Dinner. It was exquisite. It masterfully curated and paired the lovely dishes prepared by Chef Andrea Burziu of Aqua with the perfect Italian wines from Wine Depot.

We started with a rather unconventional appetizer of deep fried ox tongue, saffron mayonnaise and some greens paired with my favorite wine of the night, the 2015 Col di Sasso from Banfi, Tuscany. The tongue was braised/simmered and deep fried to produce that prized tenderness coated with batter for deeper flavor and crunch. The saffron mayonnaise was a good compliment to the tender-bouncy-textured tongue.

Chef Andrea Burziu told us that for our second dish he has a little surprise for us. On our plate was an oversized Ravioli stuffed with spinach and handmade ricotta giant topped with sweet cheese fondue paired with 2016 Moda from Talamonti, Abruzzo. The surprise was that as soon as we break the ravioli a runny and creamy egg yolk oozes out. It was rich, delicious and crazy beautiful. If chinese dumplings have Xiao Long Bao, this one is for the Raviolis. It got me asking how did they do that?

Our main was a steamed grouper in Potato and Parsley Mousseline crust with Eggplant and sun-dried tomato ratatouille paired with 2016 Trebbiano from Talamonti, Abruzzo. It’s funny how this dish is reminiscent of our well-loved escabeche. I must learn how to cook that ratatoulle. It was divine!

To cap the dinner was a Strawberry Mascarpone Tiramisu it was so gorgeous I didn’t touch it for a long time that I just had to ravel its beauty; that alone, is already enough. But of course, I gave in. I had to eat it paired with 2014 Collepino from Banfi, Tuscany.

That was a lovely dinner with varied table topics from wines, the filipino food on making its way to the world, the hospitality industry and even about wellness in dining.

Thank God, Ompong was already out of the country.

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Kimstaurant is now in Cebu

An irresolute crying clouds covered the whole city but my stomach is firmly convinced by its whining that it is hungry. Rainy days and hungry always get me hound for soulful food which today led me to Seoul. I mean to korean food.

Don’t you just love korean food on rainy days? The samgyupsal and bulgogi combo is a serious rainy day treat. Hot, spicy, filling, and healthy.

In Cebu, more and more Korean restuarants are opening their doors to Cebuanos. The latest I tried is Bacolod’s favorite Kimstaurant located at The Greenery in Pope John Paul II Avenue in Mabolo.

Here are some of my personal favorite arranged in order.

1. The Beef Galbi Jiim — braised beef short ribs — are fall-off-the-bone tender and rich in flavor. It is a stickier version of Korean Beef Stew.

2. Their Bulgogi is one of the best here in Cebu. Serve hot off from the pan, it is sweet, tasty, with hints of spice. The beef is conspicuously fresh.

3. Japchae, a mixed dish at boiled bean threads, stir-tried vegetables, and shredded meat.

4. The double fried soy glazed chicken is divine. I’m definitely sure you will love it.

5. Yakiniku offerings of Samgyupsal and Galbi are of course must.

While at Kimstaurant, I highly recommend that you try the refreshing Aloe Vera Juice. Speaking of fresh, the raw beef meat with egg (Korean Steak Tartare) is also something worth exploring.

Kimstaurant is open from 11:00 am. to 11:00 pm. Make your reservations by by calling +63 945 988 5541.

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Spanish Buffet at Montebello Villa Hotel

Spanish cuisine is something that is not very strange to the Filipino palate. Its traces are evident in our feasts on celebrations and special occasions. From tapas to roasted whole pigs, Spanish cuisine is regarded as a luxurious indulgence.

I was curious about the Spanish Night in Montebello Villa Hotel after reading some facebook posts of my friends raving about it. I immediately chatted two friends, Carlo and Ted, who are also aspiring chefs themselves, to accompany me and check on the Spanish buffet. I wanted to learn more about Spanish cuisine, and these two will be able to provide fresh perspectives and inputs about it.

 

Ted, Ethy, and Carlo.

 

Reservation is always appropriate. A call to the hotel to reserve a table for three was in order especially that the Spanish Buffet is only available every Saturday night.

The moment we were seated, we were approached by the waitress in red and black flamenco dress for our drinks. I had Sangria of course. It was served in full glass with a prominent scent of mixed fruits.

Swirl.  Smell. Sip. 

At first sip, I already know that it could be a good contender for the best Sangria in town to date. Sweet, effervescent, and innocuously potent. It was reminiscent of my own Sangria concoction I had during every fiesta. A mix of 3:1:1 red wine, white wine, and Sprite, with slices of my favorite fruits. It was a Spanish Holiday in a wine glass.

It wouldn’t be a Spanish buffet without the staple callos and lengua. I honestly had kept my expectations low considering the price of the buffet at P649.00 per person. Surprisingly, they are sensational! A product of laborious food preparation, the meat is tender and the spices are balanced, nothing overpowers the other. It was very good that I became so curious about the chef behind them. I asked a little background of the chef. I was told from a grapevine that the chef was from a restaurant which used to be on the top spot in Cebu Spanish food dining. No wonder these food do not only taste familiar, they were actually exceptional.

 

This Lengua is TDF!

 

Callos is an acquired taste. Glad, I acquired it.

Another favorite that I should mention was the Pescado En Salsa Verde (Hake in Green Sauce). The aroma of the spices and butter not only teased your sense it lingered in your mouth. Although the piece of fish that I had was a bit dry, the sauce still made it noteworthy. It was indeed an unforgettable dish that goes along with the memorable spanish songs like the timeless Bolare played by the band on the background.

 

Pardon me for skipping the dessert. I am not really a dessert kind of eater. I am trying to cut down my sugar intake so that I can still have my coke and favorite coffee. The dessert spread on the buffet were promising though. I saw some churros and flans.

 


Why not have the dinner by the pool?

 

The Spanish Buffet is available every Saturday Night. It opens at 6:00PM. Candle lit dining by the pool with some Spanish vibe on the air could be a very good option. 

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Rico’s Lechon at Axis Vibo Place – Escario

In Cebu, lechon is a commodity. We use it to feed our guests, comfort our weary souls, celebrate big and little successes, and even just to perk up an ordinary day. With a very high demand like that, it is quite expected that most restaurants selling whole lechon will run out hours before they close. This month alone, I have been declined twice. There were just too many diners. Restaurants already ran out of lechon as early as 8:30PM.  An additional restaurant would be a pleasant progression on the authentic Cebuano lechon experience.

My favorite lechon, Rico’s Lechon, is quite aware of the scarcity and has been on a constant lookout on how to accommodate the very high demand.

Last September, Rico’s Lechon inaugurated its new commissary in Talamban which can accommodate 125 lechon cooking simultaneously for 2 to 3 hours.

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 And now, just when the year is about to culminate, Rico’s Lechon ends the year with a bang as it opens its newest and most spacious branch at Axis Vibo Place in Escario which is set to conquer uptown Cebu’s upscale dining scene with Cebu’s staple and celebrated food, the lechon.

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It’s a two-storey facility with interiors designed by Cebu’s famous interior designer Marie Sheila  L. Solon. The general ambiance is homey and classy. The dining area is wide and can accommodate up to 100 persons dining at a time while the function room has 100 seating capacity.

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There may be enough room for everyone but it is still advisable to call the branch for reservation at this telephone number: (032) 233 4144. You may reserve your lechon order ahead too to avoid being run out of it.

Patrons may also reserve or order whole lechon at this branch. One whole Rico’s Lechon is  priced from P3,500 to P8,000.

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Starbucks heard me.

I am a coffee addict; I take around 3 to 5 servings/cups everyday. Anything more than that might not be very wise and could mean a sleepless night. I was always wondering what could be a better substitute of coffee if I am already at the threshold of my personal daily allowance for coffee.

Some few months ago, when I already had 4 to 5 cups of coffee for the day, I had tried experimenting with my orders in Starbucks. Not coffee but same fun and experience, it got to be a tea. The standout is what I personally called as Sunset. Iced China Green Tips Tea + 1 pump of Strawberry Sauce = P125.00 (If I wish to be more playful I usually add a pump of mint.) This has been my go-to drink at Starbucks for weeks when I heard the news about the new Starbucks product.

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Starbucks heard me. They are amping their tea game.

Starbucks is launching Starbucks® Teavana™ for the first time in the Philippines, as well as to other markets in Asia. Starbucks is introducing innovative Starbucks® Teavana™ handcrafted beverages — shaken iced teas, unique layered beverages and combinations of tea and espresso.

This is a modern take by Starbucks on the tea experience for people looking for new and different tastes and experiences. It will give customers the opportunity to enjoy a range of unique iced and hot tea beverages with bold taste and layered flavors, handcrafted the way only Starbucks can. It’s Tea Reimagined.

“The launch of Starbucks® Teavana™ brings an entirely new tea occasion specifically developed for our customers in Asia, who increasingly want new and different tastes and experiences,” said John Culver, group president, Starbucks Global Retail. ”With Starbucks® Teavana™, we see a tremendous opportunity to leverage the company’s expertise in creating best-in-class retail experiences, handcrafting customized beverages, and sourcing the finest ingredients, to create a new, premium tea experience. Just as we’ve done for coffee, this is tea reimagined at Starbucks.”

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The launch of Starbucks® Teavana™ is the first time Starbucks has launched a brand on this scale since 2008 with the launch of Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew, and represents an important growth opportunity for the business.

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Thai Fun Food Festival at Mövenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu

Very recently Mövenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu opens “Thai Fun Food Festival” at The Sails restaurant wherein diners will have a chance to win a round-trip ticket to Phuket, Thailand courtesy of Cebu Pacific, inclusive of two nights hotel stay at its sister hotel, Mövenpick Resort & Spa Karon Beach Phuket.

In between courses, I flexed some muscles to make room for more spicy food!

Everyday from September 10-18, 2016, The Sails will showcase the best of Thailand cuisine prepared by real Thai chefs from Mövenpick Resort & Spa Karon Beach Phuket. The three guest chefs will be seen in action around The Sails, cooking and serving authentic and diverse specialities that reflect the Thai culture, ingenuity and tradition.

It’s difficult to choose if I should have Tom Yum Soup or Chicken with Coconut Milk so have I have both.

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Tom Yum Soup and Chicken with Coconut Milk Soup

Chef Christian Bouby, the executive chef, is proud to put the spotlight on the three guest chefs from Phuket, Thailand, namely Wiwat Yong-en, Sutee Yamkratho and Teenasit Nakrua.

“Thai cuisine captures the interest of many, not only for its enigmatic and exotic cultural influences, but also for the interplay and harmony of flavours present in each dish,” explains Chef Bouby. “The playful and creative nature of the Thai people is visible on every plate they serve. They are very adventurous when it comes to texture and essence.”

Here are some food on the buffet:

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With this alone, the trip to Movenpick is already worth it. 

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The salad and appetizers were big teasers.

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Another stellar dish from Thailand. I usually make Thai Beef Salad at home. 

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Thai food is always a food adventure.

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How can I forget you? I will go back to Movenpick just for this. 

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Dessert? My favorite of course is Thai’s Sticky Rice. I really don’t know why I can’t hack it at home. 

“We live by our service philosophy of bringing something fun and fresh, to be a trailblazer of genres and flavours,” says Mr. Harold Rainfroy, general manager. “We always aim to bring in new excitement in various seasons to delight our guests of different nationalities.”

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GM Harold Rainfroy, Exec. Chef Christian Bouby with guests Thai Chefs: Sutee Yamkrathok, Teenasit Nakrua and Wiwat Yong-en from Movenpick Resort & Spa Karon Beach Phuket  and  F&B Manager Mr. Jerly Tio

“Our team is excited to work with these three kitchen superstars,” adds Mr. Jeryl Tio, food and beverage manager. “They are bringing with them years of experience and innovation in Thai culinary traditions, with age-old recipes tweaked with modern sensibilities. The menu selections they’re preparing for this food festival will use special ingredients they’ve sourced from Thailand. That’s as far as we go when it comes to bringing authentic flavours to the table, and it’s definitely something we all look forward to.”

Dinner buffet is at PHP1,600 nett per person.

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