Holy Week is a big ritual in the Philippines. Catholics usually practice visita iglesia or a visit to at least seven churches. Some even go to the extreme of having themselves nailed to the cross. Most normal folks practice penitence (remorse for one’s sins) by fasting and avoiding meat. Hence, Holy Week usually sees the prices of fish and seafood go up!
I love salmon that’s why we always have this in stock in our household. The trick is to keep and freeze some for the rainy days or whenever you need it. In this case, Holy Week! Nothing but veggies and fish during this period. Daing or dilis if you may, and baked salmon if you want to indulge a bit more.
A few months ago, there was a cooking class conducted by Dr. Efren Vazquez, the trailblazing owner of Cafe Juanita, at Maya Kitchen. It was in the class where he shared his much-coveted recipe for baked salmon (among other dishes popular at Cafe Juanita, see my food blog for his recipe on Pinoy Ratatoy, a vegetarian dish). The salmon dish is usually topped with a mayo mixture but the good doctor adds a touch of sinigang powder to add flavor. I think it makes all the difference.
On December 8, Saturday, meet the man behind one of Manila’s in-demand restaurants, Cafe Juanita as he shares his cooking secrets in a class at The Maya Kitchen from 9am to 1pm. Dr. Efren ‘Boy’ Vazquez will share his one-of-a-kind recipes for traditional Filipino Christmas dishes such as Rellenong Manok, Lengua Estofado, Baked Fresh Salmon with Mayo-Sigang Dressing, Bringhe, Pinoy Ratatoy, Halayang Mangga Tart and Pinsec. Knowing how to prepare these dishes is sure to make your family’s Noche Buena memorable this year.
More on Dr. Vasquez:
“The retired doctor has singlehandedly created a culinary sensation with his Café Juanita franchise located at West Capitol Drive, Barangay Kapitolyo, Pasig. His penchant and passion for cooking he got from his family which hails from San Isidro, Nueva Ecija. Recipes passed on from his mother and grandmother are either served in their original glory or are updated to the modern times.
Hubby and I dined for the first time in Cafe Juanita at the Fort a few days ago, after visiting my doctor in St. Luke’s Global City. It has been my wish to dine in this resto because the original location in Pasig was simply inaccessible for me. Am glad they opened in the bustling foodie strip called Burgos Circle in Forbestown Center since last year. (Prior to our visit, the only eatery we’ve tried in Burgos Circle was the Kebab Factory which unfortunately couldn’t compare with the authentic Middle Eastern restaurants in Ermita :D)
The first thing that catches the eye about the cafe is its shabby chic interiors. The decor’s sure to make good conversational pieces. The soft lighting casts a romantic glow which makes the resto a great date place.
But am not about to join those who’ve made rave reviews about the place. In fact, I think it’s a bit overrated, food-wise. I would happily go back there again to try the other dishes though, and for a slice of their heavenly sticky toffee pudding served with a single scoop of vanilla ice cream and lip-smackin’ caramel sauce. It was simply delish!