I now know what Laura Esquivel probably meant

21 08 2010

Starbucks' Classic Chocolate Cake

I OFTEN wonder why, whenever I’m actually in the store at Starbucks, I never ask for this pastry.  But whenever I get things to go, it is the first thing I ask for, around which I build the rest of the takeout food I get.

I finally got the answer earlier in the afternoon today, while enjoying one – fresh from the refrigerator – in joyous solitary confinement at home.  I let out copious, unapologetic moans with each bite!

It sounds quite scandalous, I know.  And it is.  I couldn’t help but imagine the stares I would get from other diners who probably would have gone to the place for a leisurely, and surely wholesome tête-à-tête.

This surprising, amazing moment of clarity necessitated the sending of text messages to close friends, declaring that “Starbucks’ Classic Chocolate Cake is THE love.”  It’s sinfully luscious, with all three layers bathed in glossily smooth frosting, crowned with shards of chocolate for a subtle yet dramatic touch.  Quite the classic.  Quite old-fashioned.  Undeniably good.

TheCorporateTeener texted back to clue me in on who Starbucks’ supplier is!  Wow, pleasurable moans, and now, an ultimate “know-who” (as opposed to “know-how”).

Three layers of heaven

 

Shards of chocolate on top and on the sides

 

Classic. Old-fashioned. Simple. Straightforward.

 

 

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





Salsa for comfort

20 08 2010

Fresh homemade salsa by my friend Mitzi. The chips were from another friend, Michelle.

ONE SOLITARY moment by the nightstand in my dark hotel room, six years ago, solidified my love affair with salsa.  The dip, not the dance, just to be quite clear.   I figure the mention of “love affair” may conjure images of lustful dancing and throw you off from my train of thought.

I was in Las Vegas at the time, at the Sahara Hotel & Casino to be exact.  Like most who had gone to Vegas and gambled, I did – and I lost.  I quickly burned $150.00 in slot machines at The Bellagio and the Sahara.  Right there and then, I swore off gambling of all forms.

On my way back to my room, I asked Mother if we could swing by the gift shop.  I was resolved in erasing from memory the clanging sounds of all people winning at the slots around me, the loser.  I thought that a nice refrigerator door magnet or some T-shirt would be capable to eclipse nagging thoughts of loss.

But you know me, I got out of the gift shop not with what I intended to look for, but with food.  Yes, the gift shop had food.  Very considerate to late-night munchers like myself!  I got two big bags of Tostitos® Corn Tortilla Chips, and two large jars of Tostitos® All Natural Chunky Salsa – Hot.

I went up to my room and licked my gambling wounds, comforted by chips and salsa overnight.  By the time the dawn cracked, I had already cleaned out both jars.  Clearly, salsa had moved up from “something I like” to “something I love”.  And oh, something really comforting.  (What’s with me and all the comfort food lately?!)

The photo at the top is of fresh, homemade salsa courtesy of budding culinarian, Mitzi.  I haven’t met any salsa I didn’t like.  And Mitzi’s version – while it could have bigger, chunkier bits – is superb.  Though I do think about asking her to fire it up with lots of jalapeños next time.

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





No lavender in mine but it’s fine

20 08 2010

My mother's chicken salad sandwich spread on Gardenia classic sliced white bread. This ended up being a triple-decker!

I AM a shameless solicitor of recipes.  And if there’s one thing I’ve striven hard to learn – no matter how simple – it’s my mother’s recipe for chicken salad sandwich spread.

To me, it’s the addition of the word “salad” in the name that just makes it sound so terrific.  And I thought, no sandwich spread recipe could live up to a name that has that word (salad) in it.  But fortunately for me, one can – my mother’s.

So when she made quite a lot this week, I made it a point to check the fridge for it, and slather generous amounts on to my favorite pan de sal (Filipino breakfast rolls) or on to slices of classic white bread.  They’re perfect any time of day – morning, noon, or night – all the way to midnight when I’m curled up in bed, watching reruns on TV.

As I bring up this subject of chicken salad sandwich, I’m reminded of probably the only version that could rival what I’m used to at home.  It is made by the boulangerie Provence Breads & Café at the Downtown Public Library in Nashville, Tennessee.  They are renowned to make the best bread in Nashville, making about 20 kinds fresh everyday!  My favorite sandwich from their menu is the Roasted Chicken Salad Sandwich – oven-roasted chicken breast, with lavender, fine herbs, (sliced) toasted almonds, red onions, and celery, mixed with sour cream and mayo, then layered with vine-ripened tomatoes, and crisp lettuce on their rustic sourdough.

I think it’s the lavender that brings it into overdrive!

It's no Boulangerie Provence rustic sourdough but I love this Gardenia bread's crustiness. Perfect with the chicken salad!

 

A stack of pan de sal filled with my chicken salad spread

 

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





Convalescing with my chicken tinola

19 08 2010

A most serendipitous find – Swanson 100% Natural, 99% Fat Free, No MSG Added Chicken Broth!

THE GREEN LANTERN has been feeling under the weather lately.  As I can be a good friend when I feel like it, I thought about bringing him some comfort food today.  I’ve already attempted many times to articulate here just what comfort food is.  I guess, succinctly, it’s food that when you eat, you instantly feel good.  With what I made for The Green Lantern, I intended that not only does he feel good, but also – and more importantly – that he finds his way towards convalescence with this dish’s restorative qualities.

While I have claimed that The Green Lantern’s Chicken Tinola (chicken in a gingery broth with chayote squash and chili tops) is the best, I made a firm resolve to make my best-effort version of it and bring some for him to work today.

I’ve actually been meaning to make this since a couple of weeks back.  However, I couldn’t find the time – worse, “make” the time – to make my chicken broth first.  That alone takes at least a couple of hours simmering.  What I use to make this is at least a kilogram of what the supermarkets package as “soup stock” cuts, lots of carrots, celery stalks, white onions, a head of garlic, salt, pepper and sprigs of thyme.

My next best option is to use my favorite Swanson 100% Natural, 99% Fat Free, No MSG Added Chicken Broth.  Unfortunately, it’s been quite a pain to look for them here at home.  In the States, I would get boxes and boxes of this from Costco and would stash them away in the pantry.  Imagine just how much I would get when they’d go on sale!  I just find that Swanson’s chicken broth is indeed the best alternative to water and even homemade chicken stock.

While doing my special grocery shopping last night for pure honey and other ingredients for drink concoctions I have in mind, I made a most serendipitous turn at one aisle and saw beneath the stack of Campbell’s – what else?! – Swanson!  I said to myself, “finally!”  I got three 14-oz. (396-gram) cans, enough to make one huge batch of my chicken tinola!

Since it’s also Brother’s favorite, I decided to share with him as well.  I actually ended up making enough for The Green Lantern, Brother, and my family.  I finished cooking at around 1:00 AM this morning (I make it to work at 6:15 AM – DAILY).  It honestly doesn’t sound like hard work at all.

———————–

Here’s a quick recipe guide for my chicken tinola.  For this batch, I used

1.50 kilograms of chicken – all breast meat, skins removed

Two 14-oz. cans of Swanson 100% Natural, 99% Fat Free, No MSG Added Chicken Broth

About a cup of water

Two three-inch knobs of ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks

Crushed garlic from one whole head

One large white onion, sliced thinly

Two chayote squashes, peeled, seeded, and sliced

Chili tops

Fish sauce to taste

In a heavy-bottom pot over low fire, sauté the ginger, garlic, and onion in a little vegetable oil.  I always use low fire when sautéing because I allow the garlic and the onion to sweat and become sweet – with no browning happening.  Once the root aromatics have become translucent and begin to almost break down, bring them to the sides of the pot, raise the fire to medium, and add the chicken.  Sear all sides.  A very faint browning is okay.  Once the chicken has turned opaque, add about a tablespoon of fish sauce, and a cup of water.  Bring to the boil.  Lower the fire once more and allow the chicken to simmer, covered, for at least 10 minutes.

Pour in the two cans of Swanson chicken broth and bring back to the boil.  Simmer for about another 20 to 30 minutes.  Add the chayote squashes.  After five minutes, throw in the chili tops.  Turn off the fire.  Serve with steamed white rice.  Enjoy!

Three cans of this magic broth got me started on my special grocery shopping for The Green Lantern's chicken tinola!

 

Pieces of skinless chicken breast meat simmer in the lovely melange of slow-sautéed root aromatics, a little water and a little fish sauce.

 

I used two of the three cans I bought.

 

The Green Lantern's chicken tinola is cooked and is ready for tasting! Because I took off the skins from the chicken, this version ended up being leaner than usual. And even after being stored in the fridge for about three hours, the oil didn't coagulate as much.

 

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





I eats me spinach

18 08 2010

Spinach on a bed of instant extra hot chili pancit canton (Filipino braised nooodles)

MY PENCHANT for these greens would surely make Popeye the Sailor Man so proud.  Honestly, these past couple of weeks when I’ve constantly had this, I did find myself singing, “I’m strong to the finich, cause I eats me spinach!”  But I’m no Popeye the Sailor Man.

Our local farmer’s market (read:  palengke) has spinach in abundance.  I don’t know if “spinach” translates to Filipino.  But who cares?  So long as I get the flavor and the nutrients – iron and calcium most notably – I couldn’t be bothered dealing with translations.

Though I have to point out that unlike its American counterpart that has really rounded leaves – almost watercress-like – the locally grown variant has really ovate leaves.  Though both are really quite succulent (think cactus) and taste quite nutty.

Local spinach is sold with the roots still intact. The leaves are quite succulent, but not as rounded as their American counterpart.

The leaves have been picked and are ready for washing. At least three times!!!

See how much a "lot" of spinach wilts down after blanching!

The year and a half I lived on my own, I would always hoard these.  I would always get enough to last me a week.  But realistically, I’d go through my supply in just a couple of days.  It helped hugely that each bag was already triple-washed, ready to be eaten.  I would just rip one open, throw everything in a large wooden bowl, add to it sections of mandarin oranges, and dress the whole thing with extra virgin olive oil, a little red wine vinegar, a sprinkling of kosher salt, and a few grinds of the pepper mill.  Sometimes, I would add a splash or two of fresh orange juice.  And I would have a salad in seconds.  But I do remember that I often also ended up just munching on the baby leaves, straight from the bag, while watching TV.  And there were also times when I used spinach to substitute for kangkong (swamp cabbage) in Filipino dishes.  No wonder it took no time to deplete my weekly reserves.

Here at home, I’ve started to put spinach in most everything.  Last week, we made a stew of mung beans.  And eventhough we’d already put lots of bitter gourd tops in the dish, I served myself a portion that had the leaves from one bunch of spinach.  The sinigang na baboy (pork in a broth soured with tamarind and tomatoes, with lots of fresh vegetables) I brought for The Green Lantern the other day also had spinach.

But my favorite has got to be spinach in pancit canton (the instant kind, extra hot chili please!).  All I need each time I have a craving are a couple of packs of Lucky Me Instant Pancit Canton (extra hot chili variant), three dashes (or even more now) of McCormick Cayenne Pepper, and the leaves from one bunch of local spinach.  When the spinach is really young and fresh, it’s only the roots I remove (as I can eat the whole thing)!  I prepare the pancit canton according to my specifications, while about the same time, I finish blanching the spinach.

Look at the photos, doesn’t a pile of crunchy, bright green spinach put the perfect crowning glory to an otherwise ordinary fare?!

I stick my fork in a lot of spinach before I twirl the noodles.

 

This dish is a party in your mouth, both in terms of textures and flavors.

 

The noodles are cooked to "al dente" and the vegetables have a bite to them still. Sarrrap!

 

Lucky Me Pancit Canton

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





A thing that makes me happy

17 08 2010

Part of my collection of Teodoro "Teddyboy" L. Locsin, Jr.'s "Free Fire" in TODAY

I AM A COMPLETE NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS junkie.  In this day and age when information travels through optical cables underground and underwater, beamed through satellites in dizzying speed, I still crave for the feel of paper between my fingers, not the click of a mouse, when I wake up in the morning.

So you see, I love newspapers.  I still belong to the old school – okay, ancient – people who prefer to pay for the content that they read.  Not that there’s anything wrong about totally relying on what’s made available free on the net.

For a couple of weekends now, I’ve devoted a huge chunk of my weekends to preserving my more-than-a-decade-old stash of newspaper clippings.  By preserving, I don’t really mean slipping each clipping in a polyester-film folder with a sheet of alkaline-buffered paper as the backing.  No.

I simply mean cutting each article to size – or cutting them into two to three parts – then pasting them on white bond paper.  My specifics are quite simply sourced – legal sized (8½” x 13”) “substance 24” bond paper, and a heavy-duty glue stick that glides on smooth.  Of course there’s the trusty cutter, and a lot of plastic rulers (I end up cutting their edges so I go through them quite fast).

My newspaper clippings run a gamut of feature subjects – wristwatches, wristwatch stores, restaurants, recipes, food, Teodoro “Teddyboy” L. Locsin, Jr., interviews, the “Playtime” features in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Margarita Araneta Fores, and Kris Aquino.  Yes, Kris Aquino.  But only her broadsheet interviews and stories about her advocacies – not the sleazy showbiz gossip people make up about her.

Some of my favorites

"What's respect got to do with newspapers?"

My all-time favorite from his "Free Fire" column... "Really something about Mary."

As for columnists, I’ve collected and continue to collect the works of Teodoro “Teddyboy” L. Locsin, Jr. (his “Free Fire” in TODAY), Kris Aquino (her “Kris & Tell” in the Philippine Daily Inquirer in the early 2000s), Celine R. Lopez (“From Coffee To Cocktails” – the one with the really nice essays), Winnie Collas Monsod, and Jessica Zafra (from “Twisted” in TODAY to “Emotional Weather Report” in the Philippine Star).  For a while, I followed Scott R. Garceau.  But not anymore.

"Kris and Tell" from a decade ago!

One clipping that made mention of the late former president's fresh corned beef. Just reading about it whets my appetite!

So far, I’ve finished working on Mr. Locsin’s.  I’m contemplating on starting Jessica Zafra’s.  But that’s quite a lot.  I’m daunted to say the least.

Jessica Zafra from over a decade ago!

That's the look of a writer who seriously means business.

Part of my Jessica Zafra collection is this thick! Though, I want to clarify that I still buy the books.

Working with newspaper clippings can be a dirty job. Hehehe.

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





Buttered crabs

16 08 2010

Buttered crabs for eNTeNG c”,)™©

A DISH like this makes me glory in every crustacean’s existence.  That, and having to one day reach out for Lipitrol.  Hahaha!

I missed my youngest brother’s dinner party.  But there wasn’t any cause to fret as I would always get pasalubong.  He hosted it at one of his favorite places.  And along with the Sinigang na Maya Maya sa Miso (red snapper in a sour broth made of tamarind and fermented red soybean paste with lots of fresh vegetables), he sent over a couple of the fattest, most roe-laden mud crabs I’ve ever seen, cooked in lots of butter and fresh garlic.

My brother knew what I would like best.  Growing up, all of them knew that I’ve never really loved pork, beef or chicken, as much as oysters, clams, mussels, and crabs.  If sending me fish and crabs isn’t thoughtfulness, I don’t know what is.

I slumped on the dining chair, piled a mound of piping hot steamed white rice on my plate, and ate away.

I gloried in every crustacean’s existence.  And in having brothers.

The claws had a lot of meat in them! Yum!

 

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





Three times was not the charm

13 08 2010

Skewers of my favorite grilled chicken liver at Mang Inasal

THE GREEN LANTERN was feeling under the weather so when he hinted that he would want to have lunch at the newly opened Mang Inasal restaurant nearby, I was game.  Nevermind if this was about to be my third day in a row munching on heavily annatto oil-basted grilled chicken (“chicken inasal”).  I would be there to support a friend who was after the place’s complimentary hot broth, perfect to soothe a scratch in his throat.

The Green Lantern and The Flash asked for identical meals – the chicken breast-and-wing cut, referred to in the Ilonggo dialect as “pecho.”  A couple of our other friends asked for the same.  As for me, I opted for five skewers of my favorite grilled chicken liver.  The best thing about “chicken inasal” is that, unlike the usual barbecued chicken, it is infused with the flavors of lemongrass, and annatto oil, among other aromatics.  The usual accompanying dipping sauce is a concoction of soy sauce, organic vinegar, calamansi (Philippine lemon or calamondin), and lots of bird’s eye chilies.

"Pecho" (chicken breast and wing)

But why did I say that this third visit was not the charm?  It was the service.  We went to the place for the hot broth, served to tables as the orders arrive.  However, this time, I probably went down three ring sizes hailing the wait staff with my hands, trying to ask to be served.  It would have probably been fine if they couldn’t see me – or if they weren’t telling me, “Yes, Sir, kukunin na po.” (Yes, Sir, right away.)  But no, they kept promising, kept going back to the kitchen, but would be back not with what I requested for, but to get other tables’ requests.  Was someone smacking them in the head in the kitchen, driving them to forget?

I’d had enough and that’s when I went to the service area and – politely still, I may add – asked for soup.  The girl who attended to me, turned around…  and yelled at the people at the kitchen.  Gosh!  I mean, she didn’t have to yell.  Then, the forgetful wait staff came out the kitchen door, figured in front of me…  and ignored me yet again, about to serve a table of newly arrived guests.

That’s when I had it!

Excuse me, but you are not going to ignore me!”  He turned around, feigned surprise, and apologized.  He proceeded to our table and I walked right behind him.  (I was actually tempted to go for the Oscar-worthy line, “I’m not going to be ignored,” complete with the intonation, vibratto and the head tilt.  But I didn’t want to make a scene.  Hahaha!)

I’m not a difficult customer.  I’m even overly animated when I relate to the service crew sometimes.  And, not to make a big fuss out of it, I do tip well.  I don’t do it out of a sense of obligation that I should subsidize the wait staff’s wages (that’s something their employers should be taking care of).  But I do tip well to express appreciation for attentive service and excellent performance of one’s job.  It’s just a mere token to say thank you.

But this turned out to be lunch from hell, or in hell.  Well, just for me (I tried not to ruin “totally” the others’).

I lost my appetite and didn’t eat.

(Though I’d surely come back to eat at Mang Inasal.  I understand that this branch is still going through birth pains, being really new.  Besides, The Green Lantern loves this place.  So I most definitely will find myself back – soon enough.)

I guess all these chilies got me all fired up!

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





A morning foursome

9 08 2010

A sunny-side up and an egg over easy on a Sunday morning.

“SUNDAY MORNING rain is falling / Steal some covers, share some skin.”  That was playing in my head when I woke up this Sunday morning.  I looked out the window,  I looked at the sheets.  And realized that only the first five words of my fave Maroon 5 song was true.  Not that I’m complaining.

But my tummy was.  So after a quick freshening up, I went to the kitchen to fix myself breakfast.  Of my many options – not to mention my usuals – I just decided today’s had to be an express one.  And oh, comforting too.  I needed my food to have the feel of a warm blanket I could pull up to my chin as the torrential rains raged outside.

I saw a note that said they left me my favorite pan de sal (Filipino breakfast rolls).  So that made me decide quite easily, ruling out thoughts of pasta sauces already sloshing and swirling in my head.  I went to the fridge and took a couple of eggs, hoping they’d settle to room temperature the moment I needed to deal with them.  I turned on the heat under a heavy-bottom frying pan, reached for the vegetable oil and poured a little in – going about twice around.

While I allowed the heat to distribute evenly throughout the pan – I always start with low fire – I went to the cupboard to get four Lipton Yellow Label tea bags, just the usual dark English breakfast tea.  For each of the concoctions I had in mind, I needed two, which I placed in two of my favorite coffee mugs.  I couldn’t be bothered to go to the sink anymore so I settled with the leftover distilled drinking water in the whistling kettle, and set it over high heat.

Back to the frying pan, I made eggs two ways – one sunny-side up, and one over easy.  The latter I make not so much because I favor it, but because I like the snooty quality to its name.  “Over easy”.  Which just means I cook the egg on one side just until the white is nearly cooked, then lightly on the other side, leaving the yolk slightly soft.

By the time I finished the over easy one and had to put it on my Pottery Barn plate, the kettle was already furiously calling out to me.  I turned off the fire, directed the kettle’s steaming spout to the tea bags and with one fluid pouring motion, began to extract the “delicious infusion of leaf goodness”.  The really dark brown cloud of tea goodness that started to permeate the rest of the water was already good as is.  Especially after my strict five-minute steeping process.  But no, I had to turn one into milk tea, and the other into lemongrass tea, achieved with a couple of teaspoons of this organic lemongrass syrup that The Green Lantern gifted me with.

To my plate of eggs I piled four of the pan de sal.  Back to my room, I enjoyed my breakfast in bed.  I turned the TV on – just as ambient sound – while I go through the morning papers.  I didn’t mind the cold.  With each bite of the pan de sal and eggs, and each sip of the milk tea – then the lemongrass tea – I felt really warm.

Sunny-side up!

 

My milk tea and lemongrass tea. I made both by frist steeping a couple of Lipton Yellow Label tea bags in each. I used an orgranic lemongrass syrup from The Green Lantern for the (of course!) lemongrass tea.

 

The pan de sal inspired this simple yet filling (late) morning munch! (That Cebu Pacific coffee mug has been my favorite for the longest time. I only use that mug. If not that, then it's the Cappuccino mug that was a gift from my good good friend Ms. Jo.)

 

Messy in bed!

 

The best pan de sal (Filipino breakfast roll) is crusty (but not tough!) and dusted with lots of crumbs, and soft and chewy inside!

 

 

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





A feast that pleased the eyes and the belly

9 08 2010

Kanin Club Turon a la mode

OUR VISITORS had ribs at Racks the night before.  So when they go home to Singapore, it would be quite hard to claim that they have had authentic Filipino cuisine.  Definitely, they couldn’t put a check mark yet by “eat local food” on their to-do list.

Our renowned Filipino hospitality would be all for naught if we were not to solve this seeming conundrum for our first-time visitors.

Fortunately, they were billeted at the best hotel south of Manila – also the house of my favorite ube ensaymada – that it was quite easy to decide where we’d host them for dinner.  And it didn’t hurt that our restaurant choice made it to the first ever edition of the Miele Guide, launched in Singapore in the 2008/2009 season – Kanin Club at Westgate in Alabang.  (Now on its third year, the Miele Guide has established itself, in its creator’s own words, to be the most credible, independent and respected system through which restaurants are evaluated across Asia.  Before a restaurant makes it to the list, it goes through four rounds of gruelling evaluation and voting.  More details are available at www.mieleguide.com.)

I didn’t have my trusty Canon IXUS 860IS with me that evening.  That explains the lack of food photos on this post.  My colleague Lester did have his Nikon D3000, but I didn’t want to impose my shoot-first-eat-later policy (hahaha!).  But by dessert time, I was able to oblige him to snap a couple of shots of the fabulous KC Turon a la Mode.  I found myself having to describe it on-the-spot to one of our guests.  I called it a dessert of banana slices stuffed with a strip of ripe jackfruit, purple yam jam, sweetened young coconut strips and red mung beans, dusted with dark brown sugar, rolled in rice paper and deep-fried.  The caramelization on the wrapper was achieved by adding more brown sugar while frying.  Kanin Club added a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds as a finishing touch.

Yet another Kanin Club Turon a la mode!

Kanin Club, while unmistakably a casual dining place, boasts interiors replete with the upper class, almost elitist air of Filipino houses during Spain’s 333-year occupation of the Philippines.  The walls intersperse modern glass and old stained glass windows.  The dining table has the shadow box treatment as the top glass protects underneath wood-and-capiz-shells window panels that appear to have actually been taken from old houses.  And save for the booth cushions and some of the chairs, there are a lot of the wrought iron chairs that my grandmother had at home when I was a kid.  A couple of those have survived to this day – one actually “sits” by my brother’s bed, doubling as the night table.

After the interiors had provided the initial feast for the eyes – and opening conversational pieces – it was the food that eventually had our guests and ourselves talking.  As we explained to our three guests, while there still remains very distinguishable and characteristic Filipino dishes, Filipino food has also evolved, imbibing the best influences of Chinese, Indian, American, and Spanish cuisine, among others.

This was how our check looked like (all descriptions, mine).  For our appetizers – Squid in Salt & Pepper (fresh tender squid dredged in a light batter and deep-fried, served with a sweet spicy sauce), Kinilaw na Blue Marlin (chunks of fresh blue marlin “cooked” in vinegar and citrus juices, with minced shallots, ginger and chilies), Tokwa’t Baboy (cubes of deep-fried tofu with slivers of tender pork in a dressing of vinegar, soy sauce and chopped onions), and Gambas con Kabute (fresh jumbo shrimps and mushrooms sautéed in a spicy sauce).

For our salad – Ensaladang Talong (grilled eggplant, peeled and chopped, served with tomatoes and onions in a vinegar sauce).  For our main dishes – Tapa ni Ana (cured and air-dried stips of beef, deep-fried), Chicken Curry, Sinigang na Hipon (fresh jumbo shrimps in a tamarind-soured broth with lots of vegetables), Binukadkad na Tilapia (a whole tilapia, filleted, and deep-fried to a crisp), and Pinakbet (a stew of local vegetables, flavored with fermented shrimp paste, and served with crispy-fried pork).  We enjoyed all these together with Tinapa Rice (garlic fried rice flavored with smoked fish).  Drinks were either the Iced Lemon Tea or Iced Green Tea.

Only the best restaurant's in Asia make it to the Miele Guide! (From the Sunday Inquirer Magazine, 16 November 2008. This is from my personal collection of newspaper clippings.)

 

Kanin Club makes it to the first edition of the Miele Guide.

 

Filipino culinary icon, and my favorite, Margarita Araneta Fores said, "At least we have one restaurant in the Top 20!" I say, not bad at all!

 

What I wore to dinner

 

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.