Category Archives: Food

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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Bollywood Tandoor and Curry On!

At the foot of the Banilad-Talamban flyover, there is a thriving Indian community of students and some businessmen that inspires many establishments within the vicinity to cater to their needs. Bollywood Tandoor is one of those that aspire to serve them and the Cebuanos with authentic Indian food and entertainment.

Media and the Bloggers at Bollywood Tandoor

Named after one of the biggest film industry in Asia that has produced several good and award winning films that even appeal to the tastes of the Filipinos (my personal favorites are: “3 Idiots”, “PK”, and “My Name is Khan”), Bollywood Tandoor embodied the international flare of Indian culture and the curious and explorative taste buds of Cebuanos. It serves Northern Indian food and other popular Indian dishes using original ingredients and sprices and traditional method of preparation. It even has to fly in some chefs and cooks from India and Dubai just to ensure that it only serves authentic Indian food.

Bollywood Tandoor

 

A week ago, Bollywood Tandoor proprietor, Soni Vasnani, invited us to dine at their restaurant to celebrate in advance the Indian Independence Day to be celebrated on August 15 in India. Soni is not new to the business. He has worked in a restaurant since he was 15 years old. He has travelled the world and cooked for several peoples. In Cebu, he has been here for 12 years. His most successful venture before Bollywood Tandoor is Mr. India in Countrymall.

The place is not difficult to find as is just by the road near the flyover. Ample parking spaces are available for diners.

Bollywood Tandoor Main Dining Area

One of the function room of Bollywood Tandoor

As you enter, you know that you are in for a big feast as several air-conditioned themed function rooms that can accommodate the whole board or office. The restaurant can serve up to 200 pax dining together at a time. It is not the typical Indian Restaurant that we may already get used to. It is clean, huge and inodorous. The spices are fragrant and can be adjusted according to your liking.

Some of the food served to us during the event:

My personal favorite was the TDF (to die for) Pork Curry. Too bad, they run out of mutton that day. I would have liked it too. Unfortunately for me, it was sold out during lunch to a big group of Indian students.

Bollywood Tandoor also offers live Belly Dance Show every Friday and Saturday from 7:30 to 10:00 PM.

Contact Number: 0933 950 3612

Facebook Page: https://web.facebook.com/BollywoodTandoorCebu

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Vikings Luxury Buffet Cebu opens! 

Finally, the long wait is over. Vikings Luxury Buffet Cebu is now open in SM City Cebu with more than 350 seating capacity and 2 VIP areas. 

Vikings Luxury Buffet – Cebu


Weekday Lunch

Kids Below 3ft – FREE

Kids between 3.1ft to 4ft – P188.00

Kids between 4.1ft to 4.6ft – P388.00

Adults – P688.00

75 years old and above – 50% special discount
Weekday Dinner / Weekend & Holiday Lunch and Dinner

Kids Below 3ft – FREE

Kids between 3.1ft to 4ft – P288.00

Kids between 4.1ft to 4.6ft – P588.00

Adults – P888.00

75 years old and above – 50% special discount
All prices are subject to 5% Service Charge. 
Promo Alert: Dress like a Viking (any gear) and get 50% discount until May 12, 2016. 

Reserve your seats by calling (032) 255-3888 or 09989969888. They open 11:00 AM for lunch and 5:30 PM for dinner. 

Two more restaurants by Vikings will open soon at SM Seaside City. Watch out for it soon here. 


#EatLikeAViking #cbsForever 

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Kadaugan sa Mactan 2016 Activities at Mactan Newtown

Have you been to the Kadaugan Food Fest 2016? If not, this Friday might be the best day to go at the Liberty Shrine in Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City. Aside from the usual nightly entertainment and food display from top hotels and restaurants in the City, a major concert will be held at the neighbouring Mactan Newtown.

On April 22, 2016, in time for Kadaugan Festival Celebration, Barbie Almalbis, The Dawn, Shiela and the Insects, Drive Me to Juliet, Jewel Villaflores and Break Offenders will stage a concert entitled “Sound of Victory” at the Mactan Newtown, a few meters away from the Liberty Shrine. 

  
The concert is open to everyone but those who will have a minimum of 200 purchase at Mactan Newtown tenants/stores on the event date will be prioritized.

While you are there, you may check the following activities within the Mactan Alfresco in Mactan Newtown.

  

Your One Stop Food Tour

For dining and leisure activities, the township is home to the Mactan Alfresco, an outdoor dining strip inspired by Singapore’s famed hawker or food hall centers. The food strip features a varied selection of authentic Cebuano restaurants that are sure to be enjoyed by craving locals and tourists looking to dine on the best of Cebu’s cuisine.
Feast on Lechon Overload

Find only the freshest Lechon at Mactan Newtown’s 6 roast pits where you can witness tender Cebuano Lechoncooked before your eyes by Lechon experts like Ayer’s Lechon and Anna’s Lechon.
Be Captivated by Cebu’s Rich Culture

Mactan Alfresco also offers a cultural showcase every weekend. Guests can watch thrilling performances from 6:30-8:00PM to experience Cebu’s diverse culture and history. See traditional dances like Ritwal, Banga, Tinikling, Sinulog, Singkil, Subli and captivating Fire Dances performed on stage.
Shop for Souvenirs

Take a piece of Cebu home with you from the assorted souvenirs shops available at the venue. Find everything from t-shirt souvenirs, snacks, home décor and furnitureto make your trip more memorable.

A Beachfront Lifestyle for You

Tempted to live close to this action? Visit the MactanNewtown Showroom for a glimpse of the country’s first beach side township and the “Live, Work, Play, Learn” lifestyle offered by Mactan Newtown.

The Mactan Newtown is a pioneer development offering Megaworld’s trademark township model. 

Contact Details:
709-9888
709-0888
0917-8380111
http://www.megaworldlifestylemalls.com.

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Rico’s Lechon Mactan is now open!

How about Cebu’s Lechon as welcome and farewell dinner just 3 minutes from the airport? 

  
In an effort to preserve its original recipe,   Rico’s Lechon keeps it as a family business and opens a new family-owned two-storey restaurant at Mactan Promenade beside the Airport Road in Lapu-Lapu City, three (3) minutes away from the airport and just a few meters across Starbucks Marina Mall. It can accommodate upto 100 customers dining at the same time. 

    
Aside from the original and spicy lechon they also offer new food items on the menu like the chicken halang-halang, spicy lechon rice and lechon salpicao.

  
   
  

  
 
Enrico Dionson, CEO and General Manager of Rico’s Lechon,  recalls his humble beginning as a “masyador” in an illegal cockfighting to a booming and nationally (make that internationally) well-known lechonero. Now on it’s second branch (the first is at Panagdait, Mabolo, Cebu City), the family is looking forward of opening 2 to 3 branches within Cebu City. 

  
The new restaurant is updated, hip and cozy with intagrammable spots. Dining there is an internatioanl Cebuano dining experience. 

  

The restaurant and take-out counter are both open to serve diners as early as 8:00AM and will close at 10:00PM to cater late flight. Enrico encourages costumers to call a day ahead for bulk orders. Their telephone number is : (032) 345-5688.

Don’t forget to use their official hashtag #DaBestGyud. 

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