The Aristocrat Bakeshop giveaway : sweets perfect for the holidays!

Aristocrat Restaurant isn’t just known for their excellent Filipino comfort food. Their cakes, breads and sweets are equally addicting. I wrote before about the dessert buffet they had to introduce their baptismal package and it was an occasion we can’t resist. For example, the reputation of their Torta de los Reyes is legendary. A simple bite of this sans rival is enough to bring me to seventh heaven..it’s oh so delicious!

Torta de los Reyes

(Photo courtesy of Aristocrat FB page)

My other favorites from this chain are the pillowy cheese rolls, the caramel cake, mucha leche (a frozen cake covered with white chocolate curls) and basically EVERYTHING!!! haha. At the original Aristocrat restaurant in Roxas Boulevard, they have a separate section for their baked goodies and dessert lovers can literally get lost in there. Am sure it will be a destination for families feasting this Christmas.

The lovely Miss Earth 2014 candidates visited The Aristocrat Bakeshop recently and they sure forgot their diet to taste the heavenly goodies. Pls watch this video…

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Circa 1900 restaurant in Cebu #USPotatoSafari

Last week, I flew to the island city of Cebu to join the friendly folks of the US Potato Board in their event called the USPB Potato Safari. They’re marketing US potatoes in the Philippine market (for good reason!) and the idea is to have chefs in the city’s top restaurants experiment with various potato-based dishes for everyone to enjoy.

Making an impression was Circa 1900 which is a former colonial house restored into a sprawling resto serving Asian fusion dishes . It was refreshing to see all the expanse and the trees. It reminded me of my childhood in the province with the grandparents.

Circa 1900

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The tasteful interiors showcase Filipino wooden furniture.

Circa 1900

There’s also a corner where a piano could be found. Unfortunately, the piano man wasn’t playing when we visited as it was lunchtime.

Circa 1900

Circa 1900 serves great food whipped up by owner-chef Steve Shrimski, an Australian. He was a former executive chef in the leading hotel chains around Asia but decided to settle in Cebu for good with his Filipina wife Eya in 2009. It is perhaps the city’s good fortune that Chef Steve is able to showcase the creativity and deliciousness of his dishes in the family restos, which also includes Canvas Bistro Bar Gallery at the Ayala Terraces.

chef_steve_shrimski_of_circa_1900_explaining_his_set_menu

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Catering by Claudia’s of the Romulo Food Group

Most of us look forward to Christmas because of parties, gifts, food-laden tables and the general atmosphere of merriment. It was just timely that we were introduced recently to Catering by Claudia’s which is the catering arm of the Romulo Food Group. This chain also includes Romulo Lounge, Claudia’s Kitchen, Cerchio and Tito Chef.

Catering by Claudia, owned by the husband-and-wife team of Enzo and Sandie Romulo-Squillantini, is inspired by the historic career of the family patriarch, General Carlos P. Romulo, who was the first Asian President of the United Nations General Assembly.Formal affairs hosted by the good general were always much awaited by their international guests because of their varied and delectable selections.

Decades later, this is the same tradition being carried over by third generation Romulos. They describe their offerings as “truly representative of the international palate with a touch of the discriminating Filipino taste.”

The Catering by Claudia event we attended was a mind-boggling buffet filled with more than 50 dishes, not to mention such innovative drinks as dayap green tea, tamarind with chili & honey, minted kamias crush. Here were just some of those which caught our attention:

Appetizer – crispy aubergines with salted egg, onions and tomato in spicy lemon mayo caponata.

Crispy aubergines with salted egg, onion & tomato

Roasted Kalabasa and Carrot soup, scented with cumin and served with crostinis.

Roast calabaza and carrot soup

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Win free GCs to Chef Jessie Rockwell Club!

November is just around the corner and we can almost feel the excitement in the air because soon…it’s the much-awaited Christmas season!!! Before you go into the frenzy of buying gifts, decorating your homes, planning vacations or attending parties, indulge yourself in a meal at one of the finest restaurants in the metro. That’s right, we’re giving away two gift certificates worth P1,500 each at Chef Jessie Restaurant in the exclusive Rockwell Club of Makati City.

Chef Jessie

With its resort-style atmosphere, Chef Jessie boasts of an international menu that aims to please the palate and fill hunger pangs. We recommend the chef’s specialties like the salmon caviar pie, balut surprise, burgers, pan-fried goose liver salad and baked cheesecake. Or choose any of the dishes that suit your fancy.

This giveaway is for Metro Manila residents only and winners must be willing to pick up their prize in Makati City. To join, follow our usual mechanics via Rafflecopter.

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Beef stroganoff recipe + Maya Kitchen giveaway!

I had fun attending a cooking class at Enderun Extension last month and having a hands-on experience cooking Beef Tenderloin Rossini with Pan Seared Foie Gras on a bed of risotto.

Last September 27, Chef Martin Kaspar, one of the owners of L’Entrecote in Burgos Circle and also an instructor in Enderun, staged a cooking demo at The Maya Kitchen in Makati.It was very interesting since the students learned how to cook restaurant-quality food and it’s not so difficult after all. The chef’s recipe for Beef Stroganoff has cognac and it adds a unique twist to the dish.

Beef Stroganoff

Read the recipe after the jump and find out how you can be one of 3 winners of our giveaway of a cooking class at The Maya Kitchen (P1,500 value each).

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Wagyu dinner at Akira teppanyaki resto

It was that weekend we were checked in Astoria Plaza and nothing seemed to go well. The wifi was (forever) not working in the hotel and our Kapitolyo food trip went sour as there appeared to be coordinated bad service in that dingy place called Three Sisters and Charlie’s Grind & Grill next door. A trip to the civilized confines of Shangri-La Mall was definitely in order.

This mall has one of the best curation of restos in the metro, so if you want to play safe with your hard-earned moolah, dine here! The Shang’s East Wing has gotten so much buzz because of the excellent food choices. We decided to train our tastebuds on the menu of Akira which is the newest teppanyaki restaurant in town.

Akira

Akira is part of the growing chain of dining places owned by actor Marvin Agustin and his business partners (which also includes Banzai in MOA ). The complete name is: Akira The Art of Sushi and Teppanyaki. The sushi part escaped me, but I don’t mind coz we were going to have Wagyu for dinner!

All that beef, majestic glorious beef that melts in the mouth and makes you feel you’re in heaven….my oh my!

wagyu

But that’s getting ahead of the story. Watching the chef doing a teppanyaki show where he performs with knives, like they do in Benihana, is one of the attractions at Akira. I made sure I filmed it for posterity:

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Ramen heaven at Ippudo Megamall @ippudoPH

This is a rather late post on the pre-opening dinner I attended for Ippudo Philippines’ first branch in SM Megamall last September. Anyway, it was one of the most raved about restaurant openings by celebrities and social media personalities alike. Maybe Manila is really ramen-crazy or Ippudo had an excellent publicist but having tried it myself, I can say it deserves all the buzz!

Ippudo’s maiden branch in Manila is located on the third level of SM Megamall’s newest & hippest wing called Mega Fashion Hall. It’s a 200 square meter space and seats approximately 79 people.The design is very hip and classy.

Dining area

My friends have been telling me that they’ve been trying to eat at Ippudo but the lines are always long! I feel lucky to be among those invited to taste it beforehand, but it seems I want more of the ramen goodness. You see, I was only able to taste one variety out of three – the Akamaru Shinaji ramen. They also served five kinds of their side dishes and for sure, these were enough to fill me up….

Ippudo dinner

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Krispy Kreme Cadbury doughnuts!

Krispy Kreme PLUS Cadbury chocolates….who can resist?

This box of delightful treats sure made me smile when I arrived home and saw it on our kitchen table. Thank you KK Delivery! :)

Krispy Kreme Cadbury Doughnuts

With September being the International Chocolate Month, Krispy Kreme rolls out these limited edition, definitely worth trying Cadbury doughnuts in different flavors –

Fruit & Nut is a chocolate doughnut dipped in white chocolate with chopped toppings of Cadbury Dairy Milk Fruit & Nut!

Chocolate Mud Pie has a chocolate kreme filling dipped in dark chocolate then topped with crushed Oreo and Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate.

Chocolate and Biscuit is topped with checkered chocolate ganache, chopped Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate and sprinkled with graham cracker crunch.

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All set for 2014 Oktoberfest @SofitelManila

Oktoberfest, the biggest festival in the world, is set to rock Manila on the weekend of October 17 and 18. The action happens at the Sofitel Harbor Garden Tent. This year’s celebration hopes to equal, if not surpass, last year’s record where about 4,000 guests drank 30,000 liters of beer, consumed 1000 kilograms of sausages and 300 kilos of pork knuckles…in just two days!

Here are the photos of the Oktoberfest launch we attended in Sofitel two days ago. ’twas just a preview of the actual festival but how fun!

Oktoberfest means beer and food and more beer! The men in their Lederhosen costume and women in dirndl are so dainty to look at…

Prost!

Beer pouring

Proceeds from the sale of this year’s Oktoberfest tickets (at P3,300 for non-members) will go to the welfare projects of the German Club Manila.

Prost!

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COCA Restaurant in SM Aura Premier is one year old!

SM Aura Premier is my favorite among the SM concrete slabs in Metro Manila and there’s no surprise there: it’s their ‘showcase’ mall. It seemed only yesterday when we met Sarah Jessica Parker live for the Aura opening in May 2013 and time indeed flies so fast!

One of SM Aura’s pioneer establishments, COCA Restaurant, recently celebrated their first year anniversary. But instead of doing so with a bang, the resto chose to give back by partnering with the international non-profit Life Project 4 Youth (LP4Y). This group is involved in giving less fortunate, educated youths of society become more productive by giving them access to employment. In this case, Coca sponsored the internships of several adults endorsed by LP4Y.

Photo shows (from left): Ludovic Ducuing of LP4Y, John Gabayeron, Alvin David Silvana and Aurelie Garancher.

Coca 2

The COCA anniversary and thanksgiving dinner was a simple affair where everyone sampled the house specialty “suki” which is the Thai variant of hotpot or shabu-shabu. One couldn’t possibly visit the resto without tasting this. Sorry the picture here looks blurred due to all the steam coming from the boiling soup :)

Coca

COCA Roast Chicken in all its glory, with Khao Man Gai sauce (P550)…

Coca chicken

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