I LOVE the color purple. I get attracted to it, particularly when it comes to food. It is, to me, one of the most appetizing colors. I also love ube, and, well, yes, the root crop happens to be a beautiful shade of purple. So, when I saw the promotional material of 7-Eleven for its Ube Loaded Summer Treats, I knew I just had to try the Ube Fundae Halo-Halo—and I did the last time I went to pay bills and pick up some grocery items at Metro Supermarket, Shaw Center Mall, in Mandaluyong City.
After enjoying several glasses of Halo-Halo from the neighborhood stall and the fast-food restos around the area where my sister lives (my husband Raff and I are temporarily staying with her as Raff recovers from his stroke), I have been on the lookout for Halo-Halo concoctions with a twist, and 7-Eleven’s Ube Fundae Halo-Halo was one of those which caught my attention.
It is actually halayang ube that has been transformed into an icy treat, pumped out of a sundae machine straight into a paper cup. You can have it that way for Php25. But you can also get yourself a pack of Halo-Halo topping for Php20, pour it over the Ube Fundae and enjoy a different variant of the Halo-Halo we all love.
The Halo-Halo topping has langka (jackfruit), banana, beans and sago (tapioca). It is a little bit bitin because you might look for the other staples of Halo-Halo, such as gelatin cubes, nata de coco and kaong, which add not just a deeper dimension of flavor but also color to the icy treat. I did look for them, but the beautiful purple hue—and flavor!—of the sundae more than made up for it.
The Ube Fundae, without the Halo-Halo topping, can also be swirled plain and enjoyed in a cone. It is just as refreshing as an icy treat in the remaining days of the hot summer season.
Other ube treats included in 7-Eleven’s Ube Loaded Summer Treats are Ube Slurpee Donut, Ginataang Halo-Halo, Slurpee Halo-Halo and Ube Cake Wedge.
SINGAPOREANS have their Ice Kacang. Koreans love their Bingsu. We Filipinos always turn to our own icy treat, Halo-Halo, when the hot summer days are simply too much to bear. Whether it be Halo-Halo from our favorite coffee shop or Filipino restaurant or from a seasonal Halo-Halo stall in the neighborhood—just as long as it is Halo-Halo with ice and milk, gelatin, nata de coco, ube, langka, banana and all the works!
After trying quite a few Halo-Halo concoctions this summer, I have turned my attention to Halo-Halo creations with a twist. One of these is Jollibee’s Halo-Halo Sundae. Since Jollibee is just outside the gate of my sister Susan Dy’s small townhouse community in Mandaluyong City (where my husband Raff and I are temporarily staying as he recovers from his stroke), I figured, why not try the Halo-Halo Sundae that looks impressively yummy on the promo poster strategically displayed on its glass window?
So I did.
Just as its name implies, it is Jollibee’s soft-serve ice cream served in a cup, sundae style, then topped with some of the elements that make up the classic Halo-Halo—nata de coco, banana, langka (jackfruit), red bean, macapuno and ube syrup. Although you might look for other ingredients that go into traditional Halo-Halo, such as pinipig, leche flan, halayang ube instead of ube syrup, and a scoop of ube ice cream instead of the soft-serve ice cream, Jollibee’s Halo-Halo Sundae is just what it promises to be—a refreshing sundae with Halo-Halo ingredients as toppings. No pretenses. Just a straightforward summer cooler that does what it is supposed to do: cool you down and satisfy your craving for something sweet at the end of a meal. It might be bitin if you eat it on its own, but pair it with spaghetti, chicken or burger and it is just right.
Marco Polo Ortigas Manila pampers Mom with love and special treats on Mother’s Day
EVERY second Sunday of May, the world celebrates Mother’s Day to honor the special woman in our lives who has dedicated her life to making her family happy—Mom. For showering her family with selfless love and dedication, she deserves a special treat on her special day. So, where will you bring her on Mother’s Day?
MARCO POLO ORTIGAS MANILA
Treat Mom to a special and intimate weekend getaway at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila by booking a Premier Room on May 13 to 14. It comes with a complimentary 90-minute relaxing spa as well as breakfast buffet for two adults and two kids aged 6 to 12.
Over at Cucina, she can have a feast, with a lavish buffet that’s fit for a queen. The buffet spread showcases live action stations featuring a symphony pf flavors from the world’s different culinary capitals.
Another choice is Lung Hin’s spread of authentic Cantonese dishes featuring the signature dishes of the Chinese restaurant’s Executive Chinese Chef on May 13 and 14. Get together with family and friends for Php23,600 for 10 persons.
But if afternoon tea is more to Mom’s liking, Connect Lounge is ready to pamper her with a wide selection of sweet and savory treats, with a free flow of coffee and tea, plus special gifts, compliments of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, from May 1 to 31, 2017.
For more information, visit www.marcopolohotels.com.
RICHMONDE HOTEL ORTIGAS
Richmonde Hotel Ortigas’ Richmonde Café serves an array of international dishes and comfort food favorites in honor of the most important woman in our lives—Mom—on Mother’s Day, May 14, 2017. Mom and family get a Special 4+1 Deal on the Mother’s Day Lunch Buffet. For every four persons partaking of the buffet at a regular rate of Php998nett, Mom gets to enjoy the buffet for free. Kids also get a special treat when they join the group—children aged 6 to 12 get 50% off while children aged 5 and below get to eat for free.
A spread of international dishes and comfort food awaits Moms at Richmonde Hotel Ortigas’ Richmonde Cafe
Sweet treats for Mom…
The Mother’s Day Lunch Buffet, available from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., features a spread of flavorful salads, soups and appetizers, mouth-watering entrées and carving, delightful pasta dishes cooked according to preference, and divine desserts.
Best of all, Mom gets a special gift pack from La Filipina.
For inquiries and reservations, call 638-7777.
Richmonde Hotel Ortigas is located at 21 San Miguel Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City.
EASTWOOD RICHMONDE HOTEL
At Eastwood Richmonde Hotel, Mom gets royal treatment on Mother’s Day with a grand feast of regional favorites at The Lounge. Spoil her with local specialties, such as Baked Mussels and Ulo ng Salmon na Sinigang sa Miso for starters, Isabela’s Pancit Cabagan, Pampanga’s Bringhe and Sinoteng Baby Squid, and Central Visayas’ Beef Pochero for mains, plus Eastwood Richmonde’s signature Crispy Lechon and Baked Herb Crusted Salmon at the carving station, Camaron Rebusado at the live cooking station, as well as tempting desserts like Halo-Halo, Brazo de Mercedes and Buko Pandan. Kids who dine in with Mom also get their own mini buffet at the Kids’ Corner.
A royal buffet of Filipino regional favorites for Mother’s Day at Eastwood Richmonde Hotel
The Mom, You’re Our Queen Mother’s Day Buffet is priced at Php999nett per person. It is available on May 14, 2017, for lunch, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and for dinner, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Mom can even eat for free on Mother’s Day with the hotel’s Special 4+1 Deal, where a fifth person gets complimentary lunch or dinner buffet for every four guests who are paying the regular buffet rate.
Children aged 6 to 12 get 50% discount while kids aged 5 and under get to eat for free.
A special gift from Elizabeth Arden awaits all moms who will be dining at the buffet.
Eastwood Richmonde Hotel is located at 17 Orchard Road, Eastwood City, Bagumbayan, Quezon City. For inquiries and reservations, call 570-7777.
IF you’re looking for a place where you can have Sunday lunch, buffet style, with the family in privacy and yet have almost as extensive a buffet selection as when you’re in the coffee shop of a five-star hotel, you might want to check out the Sunday Grill Buffet of Makati Shangri-La Hotel’s Sage Bespoke Grill. Sage Bespoke Grill is a cozy, more relaxed and private dining place where a more intimate dining setup has been created. There are less buffet stations, but everything is pretty much covered—appetizers, salads, soup, seafood on ice, even carvings—although the hot dishes, side dishes, and desserts are served in a more a la carte style than buffet.
After creating a new a la carte menu of innovative dishes for Sage Bespoke Grill, Chef de Cuisine Eric Weidmann focused his attention to the Sunday brunch/lunch buffet of the restaurant and came up with a winner of a combination.
Watermelon Salad with Feta
Broccoli Salad with Quinoa
Burrata with Heirloom Tomatoes
Assorted cheeses at the buffet include whole wheels of exquisite artisanal cheeses
Duck Liver Galantine
‘Carving’ Jamon Serrano…
The appetizer buffet, where diners usually start, features a wide selection of charcuterie or cold cuts, antipasti, salads and palate-teasers such as Watermelon Salad with Feta, Prawn and Avocado Salad, Broccoli Salad with Quinoa, Burrata with Heirloom Tomatoes Salad, assorted gourmet cheeses, Gravlax Salmon, and an exquisite Duck Liver Galantine. There is even one whole leg of Jamon Serrano, which is being ‘carved’ on site, so diners get the freshest helping at all times.
An exquisite soup, such as Lobster Bisque, is also always available, and it goes very well with the selection of freshly baked breads at the buffet.
Fresh seafood on ice include scallops, mussels, prawns and oysters…
… large clams
… and Boston lobsters!
Right in front of the appetizer buffet is a two-tiered giant ice tray teeming with fresh seafood, such as large clams, mussels, scallops, oysters, prawns, even Boston lobsters. Eat them as is or with a squeeze of lemon or a dash of cocktail sauce.
Preparing Caesar Salad a la minute, tossing the ingredients in a giant wheel of Parmesan cheese
Choose the herbs, spices and condiments that you want to go into your Beef Tartare
In a corner, live stations for Caesar Salad and Beef Tartare are kept busy by diners, who come by to request for freshly prepared Caesar Salad, mixed in a giant wheel of Parmesan cheese, and Beef Tartare. The latter is actually raw hand-cut beef mixed with condiments and sauces and made into patties. Yes, it is eaten raw, in the way fish, shrimps and other seafood are eaten raw in Japanese cuisine, where they are called sashimi.
Cooked Egg with Morels and Green Asparagus
Scallop and Clam Risotto with Leeks and Champagne Sauce
Lobster Ravioli with Shellfish Cream and Baby Spinach
When it comes to hot dishes, there is no buffet selection but a special menu with four items: Cooked Egg with Morels and Green Asparagus, Scallop and Clam Risotto with Leeks and Champagne Sauce, Lobster Ravioli with Shellfish Cream and Baby Spinach, and Mini Chicken and Truffle Pot Pie with Puff Pastry Crust. These dishes are served cocotte style from the kitchen, and each diner is supposed to choose one dish to order.
Josper Tomahawk Steak available at the carving station
Juicy and perfectly roasted Josper Sirloin Steak
Diners can also partake of the Josper steaks at the carving station. There are usually two selections, such as Tomahawk Steak and Sirloin Steak, which are slow-cooked to perfection in the Josper grill. Juicy, naturally flavorful and perfectly seared and properly cooked through in the Josper grill, they are a food lover’s treat indeed. Such gastronomic treats are only to be expected from Sage Bespoke Grill, which is a restaurant with a new dining concept that showcases premium superior steaks, seafood and best-selling comfort food served in a relaxed setting amidst the hustle and bustle of the city. It boasts of a Josper grill, which combines a grill and an oven in a single machine so that dishes can be grilled to perfection without the risk of overcooking, thus preserving the meat’s juiciness and texture and making it pure pleasure on the palate.
Serving grilled shrimps at the table
Then comes the lapu-lapu fillets
No less than service manager for F&B Simone Cordedda doing the honors of serving skewered barbecues
As a part of the Sunday Grill Buffet at Sage Bespoke Grill, the service crew goes from table to table offering Brazilian churrasco style grilled meats and seafood. From time to time, they come out from the kitchen with long metal skewers of meats, fish, prawns and other seafood straight from the grill and serve them to diners. Sometimes it is even Makati Shangri-La’s service manager for food and beverage Simone Cordedda who personally serves diners with freshly grilled meats.
Grilled Scallops and Boston Lobsters
Seafood lovers who want even more seafood for lunch can have seafood items from the buffet grilled or baked and served at the table.
Delectable side dishes to go with the mains
To go with all these delightful mains, a wooden tray of side dishes is placed at every table for diners to enjoy, and it includes Creamed Spinach, Forest Mushrooms and Mac and Cheese.
The Dessert Platter consists of, from top: Brownies, Pineapple Crumble, Banana Pudding and Floating Island
Showmanship at its best: Preparing Mango Crepes Flambe at tableside
The delicious Mango Crepe Flambe
The Sunday Grill Buffet also takes care of dessert, which is a lot of people’s favorite part of the meal. Every table gets a Dessert Platter with Floating Island, Banana Pudding, Pineapple Crumble and Brownies on it. There is also a mobile crepe-making trolley, where the assigned chef prepares Mango Crepe Flambé at tableside upon request. It’s an entertaining performance complete with flaming pans courtesy of shots of Grand Marnier splashed into the hot pan and the sweet aroma of ripe mangoes wafting in the air as the crepe is prepared.
Limoncello to end the meal with
As a fitting meal-ender, there is also Limoncello to wash down all that food.
Every detail that will make Sunday Grill Buffet truly enjoyable for diners has been carefully thought of.
Sage Bespoke Grill’s Sunday Grill Buffet is priced at Php2,650++ per person, and is available every Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
(Sage Bespoke Grill is located on the second floor of Makati Shangri-La Hotel, Ayala Ave. corner Makati Ave., Makati City 1200; with telephone number 813-8888.)
MARCO Polo Ortigas Manila’s Vu’s Sky Bar and Lounge has a new refreshing drink to offer. It is a local concoction called Sapphire Road, and it is named after the street where the hotel stands.
The signature cocktail is a booze of refreshingly light and savory sipping mixture of beer and brandy. It incorporates a hint of calamansi, mint leaves and Palawan honey, after which it is strained into a sleek drinking glass filled with crushed ice and calamansi spiral.
Served in a locally inspired coconut bowl, banana leaves and dry ice for that ultimate relaxed look, it blends perfectly with the breathtaking view of the city and the right mix of music courtesy of first-class artists to set the tone for unwinding. Monday Night Bash presents new tonic music from Pure Sound, Take Me Back Tuesdays puts the spotlight on rock and roll sound from Midlife Crisis, Wednesday Shindig presents the best of the ‘80s with Hi-Way 54, Thursday Evening Groove brings the tone down to relaxed music by Silk, , while Feel Good Fridays puts the sound of Spellbound on center stage. It is party time with Sabor Latino and DJ Chester for Retro Saturdays, while soothing melodies cap off the weekend for Slowdown Sundays.
Vu’s Sky Bar and Lounge is open Mondays to Saturdays, from 5:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., and on Sundays from 5:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight. For inquiries, call 720-7777.