Category Archives: Eat!

Hearty meals, new food finds and adventures.

SM’s “The Tasting Corner” encourages you to go for “The Perfect Serve”

Everyone loves a good selection of wines and spirits in every party. In fact, an oft-quoted meme has turned into a nice reminder why the presence of alcohol often predicts a party is a success:

However, did you ever felt like serving spirits as is, straight from the bottle always seemed like a waste of perfectly-good alcohol? How do you even liven it up a bit?

SM’s “The Tasting Corner” came up with a solution that will excite enthusiasts

For a limited time only, buyers sample some of the most iconic premium wines and spirits in the world at the Tasting Corner in selected SM Markets.  This innovative new concept is the first of its kind, and a rare experiential opportunity for those who are curious about premium brands to sample these drinks in their “perfect serve”.

Knowing the perfect serve

The perfect serve is the way in which wines and spirits manufacturers recommend that their drinks be served.  Most perfect serves are surprisingly not common knowledge, and quite often they are not how everybody drinks it.

For instance, most Cognac aficionados would never think to mix Hennessy VS with ginger ale and a slice of lime, but that is exactly the way in which Hennessy recommends that Hennessy VS be enjoyed.

Everyone knows the proper lick, shoot, and suck routine for drinking room temperature Tequila, but Jose Cuervo actually recommends Tequila chilled to a precise temperature, and taken straight up.

Hardcore Scotch Whisky drinkers usually prefer their Scotch neat or on the rocks, Johnnie Walker actually recommends mixing Johnnie Walker black with ginger ale or cola.  And while wine connoisseurs everywhere will usually insist on room temperature serving for most if not all wine, Carlo Rossi and Los Cardos actually recommend that their wines be chilled.

The best thing is there is no need to try to imagine what that is like, these and other perfect serves are in store at the Tasting Corner, to sample for free.

Contrary to popular notion, knowing the best way to enjoy your alcohol doesn’t rely on tour alcohol tolerance and it also doesn’t make you an alcholic. Most likely, you will end up as the one who mixes the best drinks and knows all the “good stuff.” If this leads to more party invites and bonding with friends — congratulations, you now have a better social life than us.

Tasting Corner’s sampling activity is the brainchild of Mr. Antonio Villasenor,CEO of Blue Mountain, the exclusive distributor of wines and spirits in all SM Markets: “The main objective of the Tasting Corner is to give our valued customers a new shopping experience at SM Markets’ Wine & Liquor Section.We are giving them a unique opportunity to know top wine, liquor, and beer brands with the help of our Brand Ambassadors who will not just share their expertise but let them taste the liquor themselves; so they may compare and pick which brand suits them the most”.

Freebies and free samples at the Tasting Corner

The Tasting Corner is a Pop-up store that will appear in selected SM Supermarkets and Hypermarkets between August 16, and November 8.  Free samples of brands such as Johnnie Walker, Hennessy, Jose Cuervo, Fundador or Carlo Rossi, and Los Cardos will be available throughout the Tasting Corner’s limited run.

The Tasting Corner will also offer exclusive discounts/price offs, and lucky Tasting Corner customers can also walk away with premium branded giveaways such as overnight bags, flasks,glasses, pens, and many others.  Johnnie Walker fans will love the SM 60th anniversary commemorative bottles.

The complete schedule of the Tasting Corner is as follows: August 15 to 30 in SM Hypermarket Mall of Asial; August 17 to 30 in SM Supermarket The Podium, and SM Hypermarket North EDSA The Block; August 31 to September 13 in SM Supermarket Megamall B and SM Supermarket Makati.  September 14 to 27 in SM Supermarket Aura and SM Hypermarket Pasig; September 28 to October 11 in SM Supermarket Cebu; SM Supermarket Fairview, and SM Supermarket San Lazaro; October 12 to 24 in SM Supermarket Southmall and SM Hypermarket Clark; October 26 to November 8 in SM Supermarket Lanang Davao, and SM

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World Street Food Congress celebrates the year of Pinoy street food

Some of the Philippines most loved comfort street food will be taking center stage, but will be served with fun twists and new interpretations, at the World’s Street Food Congress 2017 (WSFC17). 

A brain child of foodie and TV personality K.F. Seetoh of Makansutra fame and presented by the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), the five-day gastronomic adventure, happening at SM MOA Concert Grounds on 31 May – 04 June 2017, will unearth Filipino specialties from six provinces across the country.

 

Kare-Kare Palabok
Sisig Paella

 

You will get to taste a rare fusion of Kare-kare and Palabok from Pampanga, Grilled Chicken with Black Grated Coconut from Davao, as well as discover the delicious pork monggo from Pres. Duterte’s favorite karinderia in Davao.

Each major region will also have its signature street food showcased. From Luzon are Sisig Paella, three (3) types of pizza: Pinakbet, Longganisa, and Bagnet, Cheese Empanada, Bicol Express Risotto and Pinangat Burger.

Beef Tongue or Lengua Con Setas Olivias Gua Bao

Representing the Visayas are Beef Tongue or Lengua con setas oliva gua bao, Piaya, and Chicken Inasal served with soft shell coconut tacos. Pyanggang, a grilled chicken with black grated coconut and Junay, a steamed, spicy rice wrapped in a leaf with boiled egg will represent Mindanao.

 

Chicken Inasal served with soft shell coconut tacos

If you are a foodie then, you are in for a treat as more than 40 different international street food dishes from Germany, Mexico, USA, Thailand, Japan, India, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Singapore will also be sharing the limelight. Must-tries are Marmite chicken burger from Singapore, Kushikatsu Daruma from Japan and Claypot Apom Manis from Malaysia, to name a few.

WSFC is now in its fourth edition and will once again be hosted in Manila, which is one of the most dynamic and fastest growing gastro cities in Asia. It annually celebrates and addresses inherent opportunities of global heritage street food culture. Through this event, the Philippines once again takes the spotlight for being a premier destination for gastronomy and culture.

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I wonder if the rock star of the foodie world (and my personal hero) will be back for this year’s Food Congress

For more information about WSFC17 visit, http://www.wsfcongress.com

La Espanola shows clever ways to use and enjoy your olive oil


I had the pleasure of being invited to the recently-concluded Madrid Fusion Manila courtesy of La Espanola Olive Oil

Considered to be the oldest olive oil company in Spain, La Espanola prides itself for having the widest collection of olive oils in the market. 

As a health nut (or trying to be a health nut), I have always looked for ways to make the food that I eat tastier and healthier. One of these hacks is to use Extra Virgin Olive Oil for frying and as the perfect dressing for salads. I find that La Espanola has the bitter-sweet distinct taste that is not so common in other brands. 

What makes La Espanola Olive Oil healthy is the presence of polyphenols which contributes to the protection of blood lipids from oxidative stress; and oleic acids which contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels. 

For Madrid Fusion Manila, La Espanola brought in Chef Xavier Btesh, the genius behind the kitchen of some of Manila’s hottest hotels and restaurants. A health aficionado, Chef Btesh showed clever ways to prepare a Medittarenean dish Tabouleh using San Remo Couscous, La Espanola Olive Oil and the choicest tomatoes, raisins and cucumber. As a fan of couscous, this was an immediate favorite. 

Chef Xavier Btesh shows how to make homemade healthy mayonnaise

Tabouleh

While the tried and tested way of preparing couscous is to soak it in hot water, Chef Btesh showed an alternative way using only olive oil and lemon juice. 


Next in line is Chef Btesh’ homemade Mayo using only mustard and olive oil while the finale was the Olive Oil infused vanilla ice cream which was a hit among the media and guests present during the demo. 

Using La Espanola olive oil made a lot of difference. For one, the flavors are more refreshing, heightening the freshness and taste of the individual ingredients. 


La Espanola shares the following tips on choosing your olive oil: 

  1. Always go Extra – extra virgin olive oils retain more polyphenol because they are mechanically extracted. 
  2. Olive oil bottles should be dark to shield the oil away from light and protect the special nutrients present in the olive oil 
  3. The best way to check the olive oil is to smell and taste it. 

    La Espanola Etra Virgin Olive Oil comes in three flavors, basil, garlic and lemon. Available in all supermarkets and groceries nationwide. 

    Bakers Maison does Bread Right 

    I have a serious problem when it comes to bread. I just can’t stop eating it. For someone who is supposed to stay away from Carbohydrates, this presents a big problem. 

    So when Bakers Maison invited us for a sneak peak of their latest bread offerings and to offer tips on how to jazz it up through yummy sandwich ideas, I said yes of course. 


    In my opinion, breeds is the most flexible of all Carb types: with so many varieties and so many ways to eat it – a good loaf of wheat bread, a hunk of cheese and a nice hot tea makes more an ideal afternoon snack. 

    Thus, it was more than welcome when Bakers Maison, a new bread boutique, unveiled some recipes where dinners can pairtheir Bakers Maison signature load pieces with some good proteins and vegetable selections. 





    Invited to do a demo on some of the yummy sandwich ideas are Master Bakers led by Chef Edwin Tan. The Bakers gave bloggers ideas on how to prepare delicious and healthy sandwich types using Bakers Maison breads. What I particularly loved about the demo is the brilliant use of vegetables and proteins to make interesting sandwich combos. 

    A clear favorite is Chicken Baked Pumpkin Sandwich, brilliantly done by Chef Edwin, which used a Ciabatta Classic bread and paired it with baked pumpkin and chicken ham. I hated pumpkins with the same level of intensity as my hate for bossa nova but this one I devoured like mad. 



    What I love about the breads from Bakers Maison is that there’s a certain texture and chewiness to it. It’s not dry or flaky, or grating to the stomach. The inside of the bread is soft but can ably hold when piled with meats, cheese and greens. 

    As much I would have loved to eat bread every single day of my life, I still needed to watch what I eat. But the breads from Bakers Maison is worth sinning for. 

    Grilla: Pinoy Comfort Food Meant for Sharing 

    The plates came out one at a time, usually steaming hot – the smell of familiar, comfort cooking wafting through the air. 

    We were at Grilla Restaurant and Bar, a sprawling restaurant and bar serving delectable Pinoy dishes along the SM by the Bay strip within the MOA Complex. At Grilla, your pot of sinigang or sizzling plate of Sisig comes with the magnificent view of the famous Filipino sunset. 

    We were first served Tokwa’t Manok (P155), which was their version of tokwa’t baboy. The chicken was supposed to offset the richness of the Pork and give a healthier version of this classic Pinoy pulutan and it was, indeed, good. The chicken was flavorful and tender and the tofu cubes were fried just right However, my coronary arteries were missing the sinfulness of the pork, so this one didn’t fly as much for me. 


    Next, we were served the Crispy Chicharon Bacon (P185) which was a run-away hit to the people at the table. Imagine a wide cut of bacon, dressed and breaded then deep fried and served with vinegar as dipping sauce. Yum. 


    The following came in quick succession: Beef Kansi (P325), which was a cross between sinigang and bulalo. Served steaming hot, with a soup pour-over, the soup was a nice combination of sour and spicy; the massive serving of Crispy Fish Trio (P450), deep-fried tilapia, bangus and hito served in a large plate; the Sisig Sampler (P320) which became my quick favorite and composed of Grilla’s famous pork Sisig, chicken Sisig and tofu-sigarilyas Sisig. 





    If we thought that was the end of the feast we were mistaken. We were just about to attack the fish trio when the efficient servers brought out the Lechon Liempo Ala Cebu (P225) served with sinamak; and the Grilla original dish Grill-A-Palayok (P750), which is the restaurant’s version of a boullabaise – mussels, clams, maya-maya fillet, thinly sliced Beef and pork belly served steaming hot on very hot stones in a palayok. The broth was was made of ginger and lemon grass and reminds you of the kind of soup that warms not only the stomach but also the heart. It was so hearty and delicious. 


    Not to be outdone is the final piece-de-resistance: “Pista Sa Nayon” – a collection of Crispy Pata, Sinampalukang Inihaw na Manok, Seafood Gising-Gising, Fried Okoy served with Steamed Rice. This one large serving is perfect for the family lunch and only costs P995. 

    Capping off the delicious lunch was Halo-Halo Spring Roll (P165), Grilla’s take on the classic Filipino dessert served on deep fried spring rolls; and the Grilla Dessert Sampler


    At the helm of Grilla is a group of friends with a passion for good food and an ambience that brings family and friends together. The interior inside the restaurant is distinctly Filipino, while service is quick and light. At the forefront during the launch is former PBA cater Ritchie Ticzon whose good looks continued to turn heads in spite the passing of time. 

    Former cager turned restaurateur Ritchie Tucson with the rest of the Grilla team

    Grilla is the kind of place where you often end up meeting with family and friends for a “salo-salo” – a gathering of good company while enjoying good food. The food servings are huge; served piping hot and evokes good ol’ Pinoy cooking. 

    If you’re looking for a place to dine in within the usually chaotic MOA complex, give Grilla a try – it’s at the thick of the action but minus the chaos. 

    Skippy’s knows how it’s like to Party Down Under 

    There’s hundreds of bars and restaurants in Metro Manila but how do you find one that’s so chill – without any air or pretense? 

    Try going to Skippy’s Bar and Grill, conveniently located at the BGC Forum, right across the new MCDonald’s Cafe in BGC. They know how to unwind just right. 


    I was fortunate to be one of the invited bloggers as the bar celebrated Aussie Day. Since the establishment was owned by a Filipino-Australian couple, the chill party vibe of the Land Down Under was alive and well. 

    As I got older, I noticed that I started to shun bars and even restos where you had to put in an effort to feel welcome. You know, gotta have the flashy clothes and the swag, but none of that is needed when you’re at Skippy’s – just bring a healthy appetite and a very chill vibe and you’re all set for a fun evening. 

    Let’s talk about the food: 

    We began the evening with a good serving of Cajun Pizza, served on a round block of wood,  its melted gooey cheese complemented the generous toppings heaped piping hot: fat, juicy prawns, green and red bell pepper, Cajun sauce and tomatoes. Then we were served with Buffalo Wings topped with fries. The Wings were just right, a bit spicy for my liking but very soft and juicy. 

    Cajun Pizza
    Buffalo Wings with Fries


    Then someone in the group had the brilliant idea of getting Skippy’s version of the good ‘ol Sisig. It. Was. Heavenly. Prolly one of the best sisigs in town. The combination of the meat and the selection of veggies was brilliant, with the meet having that melt-in-your-mouth, cheesy feel. I take sucky photos but I can assure you that the photo above will not do justice to the masterpiece that was Skippy’s Sisig. 


    Beef Pot Pie
    Crispy Pata

    Salpicao

    Then, the Beef Pot Pie I ordered finally came. I had high expectations but a bit disappointed on the heartiness and the size of the servings. Nonetheless, the come-off-the-bone goodness of the Crispy Pata and the garlicky-salty yumminess of Salpicao easily made up for my heartbreak over my Beef Pot Pie. 

    From the bar: 


    WaZZup Pilipinas founder Ross del Rosario and one huge cocktail

    My drink of choice – Iced Tea

    Skippy’s had a collection of local, international and artisanal/craft beer, as well as a long list of cocktails/mocktails – whatever floats your boat. 

    The bar also also stocks wine and other hard drinks including Vodka, Tequila, Rhums, Whisky, Cognac and Brandy. For those looking for a long night of drinking with the barkada, a bucket of San Miguel Premium or Cervesa Negra is only PHP540, while a bucket of San Miguel Pale Pilsen is PHP480. 

    The entertainment: 

    There’s a band (so a lot of singing and dancing) on some nights; otherwise you can go for a game of pool in one of the pool tables inside. Dancing is heavily encouraged. 

    The servers are friendly and efficient, though it can get a bit slow during busy nights. There’s a welcoming and happy atmosphere – people chat and often times spill outside, nursing a beer while chatting or just hanging out. 

    Check out Skippy’s at The Forum, BGC. 
    Disclosure: I was part of a blogger group treated by Skippy’s for a night of dining and drinking. Nonetheless, the views expressed in this article are entirely my own. 

    Press release: Early New Year feast at St. Nicholas Catering’s “Boodle Fight sa Bilao”

    “Boodle Fight sa Bilao” and “Shrimp Wednesday” Only at St. Nicholas Catering and Restaurant 

     Share a feast with your family and friends at St. Nicholas Catering and Restaurant. Indulge and feast on a great selection for the special price of Php999.00 for the Boodle Fight sa Bilao Set. The set is available in a variety of selections named from well-known tourist destinations like Palawan, Boracay and Batangas all available for only Php999.00 per set. 

    BEST SELLER: The Hot and Juicy Shrimps

    St. Nicholas Catering also offers Hot and Juicy Shrimps in the following flavors/variants: regular, spicy, mild, sweet, and medium. The shrimps are guaranteed fresh, sourced directly from Roxas City, known as the seafood capital of the Philippines.

    The resto’s Chef Nick also personally came up with its signature sauce which further enhanced the flavor of the dish.

    Wednesdays is a special day for shrimp lovers and regular customers at St. Nicholas Catering and Restaurant for its called “Shrimp Wednesday” where shrimp lovers get 50% off from the regular price of Php399.00, further marking it down to Php199 per order. 

    At the helm of St. Nicholas Catering and Restaurant is Chef Nick Pelaez. He started the catering business back in 2003, while the resto is considered to be still on its infancy, it’s now on its third  year serving sumptuous Filipino dishes for Mandaluyong and nearby areas. 

    While fast-food chains were a dime-a-dozen, St. Nicholas has its own charm due to the intimate ambiance of the restaurant which entices diners to visit. The busiest hours are lunch and dinner, while the resto also serves brunch and merienda. 

    Visit St. Nicholas Catering at #1 Fatima St. corner San Rafael st., Bgy., Plainview, Mandaluyong City, Philippines 1550

    Phone: (02)535-7637 | Email: st.nicholascatering@yahoo.com 

    Follow them on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/st.nicholasresto/