IF you love American food – burgers, fries, baby back ribs, stuffed potato skins, Mac & Cheese, New York style pizza, apple pie and New York style cheesecake – then you better make yourself free for lunch or dinner in the next few days and hie off to Diamond Hotel Philippines’ Corniche.
Corniche’s weeklong All American Feast: U.S. Food and Wine Festival is ongoing until Sunday (September 1, 2013), so you can still catch it. It has internationally renowned Chef Christopher Gallaga of Fat Angelo’s as featured guest chef, and though he already left for the U.S. yesterday (August 27, 2013), he had trained the chefs and kitchen staff of Diamond Hotel really well, so the food is really good.
Since the Southwest monsoon rains threw me off schedule last week and I failed to make it to the formal opening of the All American Feast at Corniche last Thursday (August 22, 2013), my husband Raff and I had lunch with Diamond Hotel’s dynamic PR team Melanie Pallorina and Twinkle Lacsamana today (August 28, 2013) and had a taste of the featured American dishes.
Chef Christopher’s All-American dishes have been incorporated into the entire buffet, starting with appetizers, salads and soups to hot dishes, carvery items and desserts.
For starters, I had a piece of Maryland Crab Cakes, although Chipotle Smoked Hot Wings (Buffalo style chicken wings with Chipotle sauce) and Russet Skins (potato skins stuffed with bacon, cheese, sour cream and chives) were also available. Who knows you might even catch the two other appetizers, Country Cured Ham on Biscuit and Oyster Rockefeller, on the All American Feast menu, as well?
Salad selections include Cobb Salad, Pickled Beetroot with Green Bean and Arugula Salad, Wedge Salad (Iceberg wedge with bleu dressing, tomato and bacon), Waldorf Coleslaw (with raisins, apples, cabbage, carrots and celery), and Fig, Fennel and Potato Salad.
For soup, it alternates between Wisconsin Beer Cheese Soup and New England Seafood Chowder. Today was New England Seafood Chowder day, and I had some. Rich and creamy, it was perfectly flavorful and served still warm.
Then it was time for hot dishes, where the All American Feast menu included Pot Roast Short Rib, Codfish Fingers (Alaskan cod cut, breaded and fried, served with cocktail and tartar dipping sauces), Mac and Cheese (elbow noodles baked with Cheddar cheese sauce), Shrimps and Grits (Creole style bay shrimps on corn grits) and Southern Fried Chicken. The Codfish Fingers are the best, I enjoyed the subtle flavor and crunch of the Southern Fried Chicken, and I had some Mac and Cheese. I was really curious about the Mac and Cheese because it was Diamond Hotel’s executive chef Marko Rankel’s favorite, and he had been eating a lot of it the past few days. A simple and no-frills dish, it was a comfort food that anyone would surely enjoy, and I enjoyed my portion for lunch.
All American Feast also features lunch alternatives like Chicago Slider (miniature cheese burger), NY Pizza by the Slice (large New York style sliced pizza), Crab Roll (dressed crab meat on soft roll), Oyster Po Boy (fried oyster on French roll) and Fajitas.
On the carving table today was Turducken, a specialty dish which is actually turkey stuffed with boneless duck and chicken – thus, its name turducken – rolled and roasted with cranberry dressing and gravy. Talk about indulgence!
On other days, the carvery featured U.S. Lamb (rack of lamb or leg or Denver rib, served with chili orange and mint); U.S. Roast Beef; BBQ Smoked Baby Back Ribs with Jack and Coke Sauce; or Sous-Vide Pork Loin with Pear Cranberry and Raisin Sauce.
Now, for my favorite part of the meal, which is dessert, the choices are Apple and Raisin Pie (traditional American wedge pie), Strawberry Cheesecake (New York style cheesecake with fresh strawberries on top), Chocolate Pudding Cup (deep chocolate custard in ramekins with whipped cream garnish), and Sun Kissed Sherbet (citrus “sherbet” ice cream).
All these classic American specialty dishes can be enjoyed with the rest of the regular lunch and dinner buffets of Corniche for Php1,780 nett per person. Add Php495 nett and diners can enjoy their lunch or dinner buffet with a free flow of Beringer wines. Yes, Beringer wines! My favorite. I saw a bottle of Beringer White Zinfandel on the center display table of Corniche and almost reached for it. Haha.
(Diamond Hotel Philippines is located at Roxas Blvd. corner Dr. J. Quintos St., Manila. For inquiries or reservations, call Corniche at 528-3000 extension 1121.)