7 Must-try Cheeses from California

Cheese expert Mark Todd holding up half a wheel of Vella Cheese Co.'s Dry Monterey Jack cheese

Cheese expert Mark Todd holding up half a wheel of Vella Cheese Co.’s Dry Monterey Jack cheese

WE love cheese. We love to pair it with ham or bacon for a great sandwich for breakfast or merienda. We love loads of grated cheese on our spaghetti and ensaymada. More so on our pizza! We love the sharp flavor of Cheddar and Edam, the stretch of mozzarella, the creamy smoothness of cream cheese, the texture and smoky taste of kesong puti when it’s grilled… But there are lots more different types of cheeses out there that are just waiting to be discovered and appreciated by the Filipino palate, and California, which is one of the oldest and biggest cheese-producing states in the United States, makes some 350 to 400 different types of cheeses for the world to enjoy.

While there are commercial or commodity type cheeses that are produced in large quantities in California, it is the state’s unique artisanal cheeses—some of which cannot be found elsewhere—that are among the best in the world. The Cheese Dude, Mark Todd, who serves as consultant of the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), pointed out some of these must-try artisanal California cheeses when he was in Manila last August, 2015, for a series of cheese seminars held in conjunction with the World Food Expo 2015 (WOFEX 2015).

Cheese tasting after the CMAB seminar on California cheese and wine pairing held at Makati Shangri-La Hotel

Cheese tasting after the CMAB seminar on California cheese and wine pairing held at Makati Shangri-La Hotel

Todd gave impromptu information on California cheeses at the CMAB booth at the three-day WOFEX 2015 at World Trade Center and shared a wealth of invaluable cheese information in a cheese-and-wine pairing seminar held at Makati Shangri-La Hotel. Participants got to taste various award-winning soft fresh, soft ripened, blue-veined, semi soft, pasta filata, semi-hard, hard, smoked, spiced and flavored, and processed cheeses from California, and he picked seven artisanal cheeses that are must-tries because of their superb quality and taste.

His recommendations:

Fiscalini Extra Mature Bandage Wrapped Cheddar Cheese

Fiscalini Extra Mature Bandage Wrapped Cheddar Cheese

1.  Fiscalini Extra Mature Bandage Wrapped Cheddar Cheese—an 18-month natural bandage wrapped Cheddar cheese that melts beautifully when cooked.

Fiscalini Lionza

Fiscalini Lionza

2.  Fiscalini Lionza—an heirloom Alpine Mountain cheese originally made by the Fiscalini family of Switzerland in the town of Lionza, it’s a great fondue cheese.

Vella Cheese Co.'s Dry Monterey Jack Cheese

Vella Cheese Co.’s Dry Monterey Jack Cheese

3.  Vella Cheese Co.’s Dry Monterey Jack—aged for a minimum of one year, this particular cheese came to be by accident. Someone accidentally left some Monterey Jack cheese, a high-moisture cheese, to dry out in the refrigerator too long. Not wanting to throw out the cheese, the cheese-makers decided to taste it and, lo and behold, they realized that they had created a new and better cheese. This one’s got cocoa and pepper coating and is still hand-made.

Marin French Triple Creme Brie

Marin French Triple Creme Brie

4.  Marin French Triple Crème Brie—a soft ripened cheese with an edible white crust and soft, creamy white interior, it has a richer taste and mouthfeel than regular Brie because of its higher fat content.

Di Stefano Cheese Co.'s Burrata alla Panna

Di Stefano Cheese Co.’s Burrata alla Panna

5.  Di Stefano Cheese Co.’s Burrata alla Panna—a soft fresh cheese made by an Italian cheesemaker, it’s all natural and made using pasteurized milk and cream, lactic acid, salt and rennet. It’s like mozzarella cheese wrapped around heavy cream.

Fiscalini San Joaquin Gold

Fiscalini San Joaquin Gold

6.  Fiscalini San Joaquin Gold—a semi-hard cheese that’s unique to California. Its home is San Joaquin Valley and is named after its color, which is dark yellow that’s bordering on gold. Aged for 22 to 24 months, this granular cheese never gets creamy and is an excellent table cheese.

Fiscalini Artisanal Purple Moon

Fiscalini Artisanal Purple Moon

7.  Fiscalini Artisanal Purple Moon—a handcrafted raw cow’s milk cheese, this Cheddar cheese is soaked in Cabernet wine, so it takes on patches of purplish-red color in the cheese, thus giving it character and texture that’s all its own. Cube it for the cheese platter or grate it for a unique pizza cheese.

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Destileria Limtuaco Launches
Manille Liqueur de Dalandan

The newly launched Manille Liqueur de Dalandan

The newly launched Manille Liqueur de Dalandan

DESTILERIA Limtuaco & Co. Inc. is the oldest distillery in the Philippines. Established in 1852, the company has had five generatioons of master blending tradition, and it has invented, developed and patented numerous formula and aging processes in the wine and liquor industry and is now known to be the quality leader of the Philippine liquor industry. The maker of such popular brands as Napoleon VSOP Brandy, White Castle Calibre 69, Maria Clara Sangria and Paradise Mango Rum Liqueur and recipient of countless awards and recognitions, the company continues to keep up with the times and constantly introduces new and exciting products. One of its newest and most successful products is Manille Liqueur de Calamansi, a liquor made using the rinds of calamansi, which is a local produce that is abundant in the market.

Now comes Manille Liqueur de Dalandan, which was formally launched at Chef Margarita Fores’ Grace Park, a farm-to-table concept restaurant located at One Rockwell, Rockwell Center, Makati City, in the presence of Destileria Limtuaco president and CEO Olivia Limpe-Aw, last Tuesday (September 22, 2015).

Manille Liqueur de Dalandan is the only liquor in the world that utilizes the essential oils of dalandan and captures the sweet zesty profile of the fruit. It’s the latest addition to Destileria Limtuaco’s Philippine Craft Spirits line, which came to be as the result of Limpe-Aw’s efforts to create uniquely local products.

“I saw the limited use of the crops that we had, and I wanted to show everyone that with proper research, the right materials and, most importantly, drive and passion, we can find a way to be advocates of our own produce,” Limpe-Aw explains.

With the dalandan farmers of Socorro, Oriental Mindoro, from left: Dr. Rainier Villanueva, president and CEO of Rainier's Research & Development Institute Inc.; Olivia Limpe-Aw, president and CEO of Destileria Limtuaco & Co. Inc.; and Manille Liqueur de Dalandan brand ambassador Chef Margarita Fores

With the dalandan farmers of Socorro, Oriental Mindoro, from left: Dr. Rainier Villanueva, president and CEO of Rainier’s Research & Development Institute Inc.; Olivia Limpe-Aw, president and CEO of Destileria Limtuaco & Co. Inc.; and Manille Liqueur de Dalandan brand ambassador Chef Margarita Fores

The Manille Liqueur line began with calamansi, which got the master blender down to the grassroots and in direct touch with farmers, and now the new tradition continues with dalandan. Both variants enable Destileria Limtuaco to support local farmers by patronizing their products and paying them the market price of calamansi and dalandan. By cutting out the traders, the farmers now get 100% of the profit of planting the citrus fruits and taking care of them until they are ready to be harvested.

Manille Liqueur de Dalandan’s brand ambassador is Chef Margarita ‘Gaita’ Fores, who herself actively supports local farmers and champions Filipino produce all over the world.

“I’ve had the honor to be able to present Filipino cuisine and products abroad, and being able to showcase the best in our country has always made me proud. Now, encountering products like Manille Liqueur de Calamansi and being brand ambassador of Manille Liqueur de Dalandan, I think my advocacy has gone full circle,” says Chef Gaita during the formal launch of the product in her restaurant.

The newly launched Manille Liqueur de Dalandan

The newly launched Manille Liqueur de Dalandan

Dalandan Liqueur Rhum Cake

Dalandan Liqueur Rhum Cake

Top mixologist Enzo Lim shakes up a special cocktail drink called 'Dona Sol'

Top mixologist Enzo Lim shakes up a special cocktail drink called ‘Dona Sol’

For the launch, Chef Gaita even prepared and exclusive menu that utilizes Manille Liqueur de Dalandan in every dish, starting with Di Martino Mezzi Rigatoni with Dalandan Rinds, Fresh Mint and Light Cream Sauce for the pasta dish. She also wowed everyone with her Roast Bacolod Style Lechon Stuffed with Dalandan Manille and Dalandan Leaves, which she served at the buffet table with Red Wine Liver Sauce and Calamansi-Santol Mostarda di Frutta as accompaniments, Black Heirloom Rice for the healthy starch, and Tagaytay Haricot Vert for the veggie. Pass-around dessert were bite-sized portions of moist and lovely Dalandan Liqueur Rhum Cake.

To highlight the many possibilities with Manille Liqueur de Dalandan, top mixologist Enzo Lim concocted and served two exciting drinks—Doña Sol, a blend of Manille Liqueur de Dalandan, local whisky, sweet vermouth and orange juice; and Sinturis Smash, a Mojito-inspired mix of Manille Liqueur de Dalandan, muddled lemon and mint leaves with a little bit of gin. Guests also got to sample Manille Liqueur de Dalandan straight from the bottle and into a glass filled with ice.

Si Handcrafted Dalandan Face and Body Soap

Si Handcrafted Dalandan Face and Body Soap

Also during the formal launch of Manille Liqueur de Dalandan, Destileria Limtuaco launched its Si Handcrafted Calamansi and Dalandan Face and Body Soaps. As part of the company’s thrust to help preserve the environment and reduce its carbon footprint, it decided to convert its post-processing calamansi and dalandan rind, fruit and seeds into a by-product called calamansi mud and dalandan mud. These are natural ingredients that go into every bar of Si Handcrafted Calamansi and Dalandan Soap, as developed by Dr. Rainier Villanueva, president and CEO of Rainier’s Research & Development Institute Inc.

These soaps can now be bought online through the company’s e-store, https://cmc.estore.convoymktg.com, or telephone number 361-7491 local 841.

Get ready to be blown away by Manille Liqueur de Dalandan.

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Applebee’s Is Now in Manila!

Mouth-watering 'Pork Ribs' of Applebee's

Mouth-watering ‘Pork Ribs’ of Applebee’s

APPLEBEE’S Grill & Bar, the quintessential American restaurant chain that’s among the largest casual dining brands in the world, is now in Manila. It recently opened its first location in the Philippines at W Global Center, 30th St. corner 9th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, in the presence of Daniel del Olmo, president of DineEquity Inc.

DineEquity Inc. is the parent company of Applebee’s and IHOP, and franchise holder of both brands in the Philippines is Global Restaurant Concepts Inc. (GRCI). GRCI currently operates seven IHOP restaurants in the Philippines and intends to grow Applebee’s, the new brand that it has brought in to the Philippines, in the same aggressive manner over the next few years.

Applebee's Grill & Br at W Global Center, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Applebee’s Grill & Br at W Global Center, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

The bar area on the ground floor

The bar area on the ground floor

Main dining area on the second floor

Main dining area on the second floor

Global Restaurant Concepts Inc.'s Griffith Go and Archie Rodriguez (extreme left) and corporate chef Paolo Gutierrez () with the Applebee's staff at the open kitchen

Global Restaurant Concepts Inc.’s Griffith Go and Archie Rodriguez (extreme left and second from left) and corporate chef Paolo Gutierrez (front row, right, in white) with the Applebee’s staff at the open kitchen

Applebee’s is backed by 35 years of experience in American casual dining, serving the best ribs, steaks, burgers, chicken, appetizers and cocktail drinks. It first opened in Decatur, Georgia, in 1980 under the name T.J. Applebee’s Edibles & Elixirs. It turned out to be such a huge success that, six years later, its first franchised restaurant opened in Kansas City under the name Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar. By 1996, the chain had 819 restaurants not just in the United States but also in Canada, the Caribbean, Germany and The Netherlands. Today, there are more than 2,000 Applebee’s restaurants in 49 states, 16 countries and two U.S. territories.

“We are delighted to bring the classic American grill and bar experience to guests in the Philippines, which has long been a goal for all of us at DineEquity. Our largest ever consumer research study identified the Philippines as a market with great growth opportunity for Applebee’s,” says Del Olmo, who adds that it took a bit of time for Applebee’s to enter the Philippine market because DineEquity wanted to find a franchise partner who would bring the same level of commitment, quality and guest satisfaction that GRCI had when it brought IHOP to the Philippines.

To which GRCI president and CEO Archie Rodriguez replied: “My team and I are excited to celebrate everything with our guests at Applebee’s, as we serve classic American grill and bar flavors. We are sure Filipinos will love the whole concept of Applebee’s—from its menu and service to overall ambiance—with their friends and family.”

Heading the Philippine kitchen is corporate chef Paolo Gutierrez, who grew up in the United States and knew the Applebee’s brand very well. The menu is basically the same one from the U.S., although the Philippine store has introduced a couple of items, including a line of Kids’ Menu, and Chef Paolo’s team is developing some dishes locally. “We will just need to send the taste profiles and recipes to the U.S. for approval,” he says.

Pork Ribs

Pork Ribs

Applebee’s specializes in steaks and ribs, including the USDA House Sirloin (Php975), which is served with seasoned vegetables and a choice of garlic mashed potato or baked potato; Ribeye (Php1,550), a 12oz. USDA ribeye steak served with a choice of garlic mashed potato or baked potato; and Pork Ribs (Php650 for a half slab and Php950 for a full slab), BBQ pork ribs marinated in Applebee’s special house blend, grilled to perfection, and served with corn on the cob, French fries and coleslaw, with a choice of honey BBQ sauce, smoky chipotle, spicy sweet Asian chili and Korean BBQ sauce.

Some of the dishes to try, from appetizers or bar snacks to main meals, pasta, burgers, desserts and cocktail drinks:

Potstickers

Potstickers

Potstickers (Php325)—shrimp and pork filled wontons served with Thai peanut and soy dumpling sauces. They’re fried to golden perfection, making them crunchy on the outside but tender and juicy on the inside.

Sriracha Shrimps

Sriracha Shrimps

Sriracha Shrimps (Php445)—crispy shrimps coated with rich and creamy Sriracha chili-lime dip. Shrimps are always a winner, but these ones are fresh and lovely and have just the right spicy kick.

Green Bean Crispers

Green Bean Crispers

Green Bean Crispers (Php195)—battered and fried green beans, served with lemon aioli. They’re so surprisingly good that they’d make you look at vegetables in a totally different way. My favorite!

Wonton Tacos

Wonton Tacos

Wonton Tacos (Php195)—spicy chicken stuffed wonton shells with coleslaw and cilantro. The wonton shells are like tacos that, instead of half-moon, are triangular in shape.

Boneless Chicken Bites

Boneless Chicken Bites

Boneless Chicken Bites (Php275)—lightly breaded tender chunks of boneless chicken, with a choice of honey BBQ, sweet and spicy, classic buffalo or Korean BBQ sauce.

Double Crunch Bone-in Wings

Double Crunch Bone-in Wings

Double Crunch Bone-in Wings (Php295)—double fried chicken wings with a choice of honey BBQ, sweet and spicy, classic buffalo or Korean BBQ sauce. Crunchy exterior, tender and juicy interior, just the way wings should be.

4-cheese Mac and Cheese with Honey Pepper Chicken Tenders

4-cheese Mac and Cheese with Honey Pepper Chicken Tenders

4-Cheese Mac and Cheese with Honey Pepper Chicken Tenders (Php385)—cavatappi pasta covered with rich four-cheese cream sauce, tossed with bacon and bell pepper, topped with chicken tenders glazed with honey pepper sauce. A light, full meal in itself!

Cowboy Burger

Cowboy Burger

A closer look at the Cowboy Burger

A closer look at the Cowboy Burger

Cowboy Burger (Php525)—true blue Western burger patty on a toasted brioche bun, layered with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles, smothered with honey BBQ sauce, and topped with crispy onion strings, melted white Cheddar cheese and smoked bacon.

Quesadilla Burger

Quesadilla Burger

Quesadilla Burger (Php525)—juicy burger with Applebee’s Mexi-ranch sauce, pico de gallo and shredded lettuce, served in a unique Jack and Cheddar quesadilla. A burger and a quesadilla in one, you get the best of both ‘worlds.’ For burgers, diners can swap their fries for Crunchy Onion Rings or Sweet Potato Fries for Php125.

Churros S'mores

Churros S’mores

Churros S’mores (Php215 as bar chow, Php245 as dessert)—it’s an order of churros twists with a chocolate dip topped with toasted marshmallows. Another two-in-one offering.

Triple Chocolate Meltdown

Triple Chocolate Meltdown

Triple Chocolate Meltdown (Php295)—moist chocolate cake with a fudge-filled center that bursts out chocolate goodness when forked, served with vanilla ice cream on top and drizzled with chocolate fudge.

The menu also carries a whole range of salads, sizzling entrées, chicken and fish dishes aside from the steaks and ribs that meat lovers would go crazy over, and huge sandwiches.

Berry Sangria

Berry Sangria

Applebee's Bahama Mama

Applebee’s Bahama Mama

For cocktail drinks, Applebee’s offers a number of refreshing choices, including Berry Sangria and Applebee’s Bahama Mama.

Applebee’s is open daily, from 11:00 a.m. to 12 midnight, Sundays to Thursdays, and from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., Fridays and Saturdays.

 

(Applebee’s Grill & Bar is located at the G/F, W Global Center, 30th St. corner 9th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.)

 

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At PBCo, Everything Has Peanut Butter!

Fish Diablo Pasta

Fish Diablo Pasta

IF peanut butter is your ultimate comfort food and your default spread for bread for breakfast, you’re not alone. There are gazillions of people like you, and two of them happen to be the owners of PBCo, Pam and Richard Chua, and they’re created a place that offered ‘Everyday Happy Food’ at Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons, Pasig City. It’s the newly rebranded PBCo neighborhood café, where every item on the menu—from stuffed French toasts and waffle toasts to sandwiches, burgers, soups, salads, pasta and signature meals to milkshakes and ice cream toasts—has peanut butter in it. The only difference is the amount of peanut butter that goes into it.

Yes, peanut butter! There is peanut butter in your traditionally savory dishes, such as Classic Spaghetti, Sloppy Burger and Hometown Fried Chicken meal. In some dishes, the peanut butter taste is pronounced, while in others, you hardly even taste it but it’s there.

PBCo at Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons

PBCo at Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons

“We wanted people to realize that peanut butter is not just a spread for your sandwich. It can also be a good ingredient for any dish. Everything is better with peanut butter. Our goal, though, was to achieve a perfect balance of flavor and not let peanut butter overwhelm the dishes on our menu,” explains Pam, who is a self-confessed peanut butter addict.

Pam and Richard actually started PBCo. back in 2009, and they had stores in some key malls, but it was more concentrated on selling the different flavored variants of peanut butter that they had developed, and jars of PBCo. peanut butter—including chunky, creamy, dark chocolate, white chocolate, and green tea—sold like hotcakes. Even then, PBCo. already had a small café component to it, with a menu that offered items with peanut butter in them. But, just recently, they decided to rebrand. That meant focusing their peanut butter in jar offerings to just the top four variants—Chunky & Crunchy, Dark Chocolate, Very Creamy and White Chocolate—and expanding their café menu to include waffle toasts, stuffed French toasts, sandwiches (griddle roasted sandwiches that are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, served with fries), burgers (100% all-beef burgers on toasted sesame buns), soups and salads, pasta, signature meals, milkshakes, ice cream toasts, and hot and cold drinks.

Stuffed Monkey French Toast

Stuffed Monkey French Toast

Crunchy Jamberry Stuffed French Toast

Crunchy Jamberry Stuffed French Toast

PBCo’s Stuffed French Toasts are particularly popular, and two of the best-selling variants are Stuffed Monkey (Php245), French Toast filled with dark chocolate peanut butter, fresh banana slices and vanilla cream cheese; and Crunchy Jamberry (Php320), cereal-coated French Toasts stuffed with cinnamon peanut butter and signature jamberry. They’re great for breakfast.

Roast Beef N' Gravy Sandwich

Roast Beef N’ Gravy Sandwich

Marshmallow Dream Sandwich

Marshmallow Dream Sandwich

So are the sandwiches, both savory and sweet. A must-try among the savory choices is Roast Beef N’ Gravy (Php285), beef slices with gravy sauce on grilled hoagie roll; and, among the sweet sandwich variants, Marshmallow Dream (Php185) should be able to satisfy one’s sweet tooth. Diners might also want to try Elvis, The King Sandwich (Php225), which happens to be the late King of Rock and Roll Elvis Presley’s favorite peanut butter, bacon and banana sandwich.

Sloppy Burger

Sloppy Burger

PUlled Pork Burger

Pulled Pork Burger

Instead of sandwiches, some diners prefer burgers, and the burger selections at PBCo can be surprisingly good, including Sloppy Burger (Php295), PBCo’s take on the American favorite Sloppy Joe’s on top of a quarter pounder burger patty, and Pulled Pork Burger (Php285), slow-cooked barbecued pulled pork with hickory peanut sauce.

Cream Cheese Chowder

Cream Cheese Chowder

A simple soup to enjoy with just about anything is Cream Cheese Chowder (Php16Smilie: 8), which is a blend of cream cheese, carrots and potatoes, served in a warmed bread bowl.

Cold Asian Noodles

Cold Asian Noodles

Mac & Three-Cheese

Mac & Three-Cheese

Classic Spaghetti

Classic Spaghetti

Creamy Curry Pasta

Creamy Curry Pasta

To enjoy peanut butter in savory applications, the following pasta dishes should do the trick: Cold Asian Noodles (Php185), cold noodles with sesame peanut butter vinaigrette; Mac & Three-Cheese (Php165), macaroni in three-cheese sauce with crunchy nuts-crumb topping; Classic Spaghetti (Php165), spaghetti with classic tomato based meat sauce; Fish Diablo Pasta (Php220), spaghetti with hot and spicy red sauce with chili peanut butter, topped with bite-sized fish fillet pieces; and Creamy Curry Pasta (Php220), which is spiced pasta in curry cream sauce with chicken pieces. There’s a hint of curry in the white sauce, but peanut butter rounds out the flavor.

Hometown Fried Chicken

Country Chicken Steak

Cajun Fish Fillet Meal

Cajun Fish Fillet

Country Chicken Steak

Hometown Fried Chicken

Commanding a good following among the signature meals are Hometown Fried Chicken (Php330), crispy chicken pieces coated in sweet soy garlic peanut butter sauce; Cajun Fish Fillet (Php265), fish fillet coated in Cajun seasoning, topped with mango-tomato salsa and served with peanut sauce dip; and Country Chicken Steak (Php320), chicken breast cutlet breaded with seasoned crackers and smothered with milk gravy, served with mashed potato.

Marshmallow Ice Cream Toast

Marshmallow Ice Cream Toast

For dessert, all three variants of ice cream toast enjoys diners’ patronage—Banana Bacon Ice Cream Toast (Php16Smilie: 8), a layer of banana bacon ice cream over a layer of toast ice cream with dark chocolate peanut butter syrup; Marshmallow Ice Cream Toast (Php165), fluffy marshmallow ice cream over toast ice cream with creamy peanut butter syrup; and Cinnamon Apple Ice Cream Toast (Php165), apple ice cream over toast ice cream and cinnamon peanut butter syrup. In case you’re wondering what toast ice cream (the bottom layer of ice cream in all variants of this dessert) is, it’s literally pieces of toast frozen and processed into ice cream. Quite interesting!

White Choco Cherry Milkshake

White Choco Cherry Milkshake

Basil Lemonade

Basil Lemonade

And there’s nothing better to wash down a meal with than a glass of refreshing White Choco Cherry Milkshake (Php125), Maraschino cherries with white chocolate peanut butter and vanilla ice cream, topped with whipped cream. Or how about a light and refreshing glass of Basil Lemonade?

The first and only one of its kind in the Philippines, PBCo stretches your imagination on the many savory and sweet possibilities of peanut butter, lets you be the judge of what works and what does not, and gives you a good dose of this comfort food—all in a fun and casual neighborhood café setting teeming with fun elements and cool visual aesthetics. These come in the form of industrial-inspired interiors with vibrant splashes of colors, artsy wall décor, and bright lights. The best ambiance to enjoy your comfort food in!

“It is important to us to make sure that guests feel good when they are here, that they immediately feel a sense of home here from the moment they walk in,” Pam says.

 

(PBCo is located at U-B1, Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons, Brgy. Orando, Pasig City.)

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Diamond Hotel Philippines Celebrates
‘La Comida Mexicana’ Foodfest

Cinnamon Churros Chocolate Sauce

Cinnamon Churros Chocolate Sauce

JOINING the Mexican community in the Philippines, Diamond Hotel Philippines celebrates Mexico’s National Day this September by staging a special Mexican food festival dubbed La Comida Mexicana. On a limited run from September 16 to 20, 2015, the food promotion takes place at the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant Corniche, which is known for its local and international food fiestas.

For La Comida Mexicana, Corniche lays out a spread of the finest Mexican dishes, as prepared by Mexican guest chef Daniela Romero Silva, who came in straight from Mexico specifically for the food promotion. Chef Daniela, who hails from Sonora, Mexico, runs her own restaurant, Las Chulas Restaurantes, which she opened in December 2012 and now has three branches.

Mexican guest chef Daniela Romero Silva conducting a cooking demo on opening day

Mexican guest chef Daniela Romero Silva conducting a cooking demo on opening day

At the 'La Comida Mexicana' opening, from left: Chef Justin Abulaban, Madame Ana Maria Romandetto, Mexican guest chef Daniela Romero Silva, Mexican Ambassador Julio Camarena Villasenor, Rustan Commercial Corp. VP for Store Development Michael Huang, and Diamond Hotel Philippines GM Vanessa Suatengco

At the ‘La Comida Mexicana’ opening, from left: Chef Justin Abulaban, Madame Ana Maria Romandetto, Mexican guest chef Daniela Romero Silva, Mexican Ambassador Julio Camarena Villasenor, Rustan Commercial Corp. VP for Store Development Michael Huang, and Diamond Hotel Philippines GM Vanessa Suatengco

Assisted by Chef Justin Abulaban and the culinary team of Corniche, she prepares a wide selection of authentic Mexican appetizers, pica-picas, wet burritos and fajitas, a soup of the day, hot dishes and desserts.

Mexican appetizers and pica-picas that grace the daily buffet spread at Corniche include Chicken, Spinach and Pepper Jack Enchiladas, Grilled Jalapeño Peppers, Queso Fundido with Native Chorizo, Mini Chicken Chimichangas, Beef Flautas with Avocado Dip, Chicken Quesadillas, Chicken Chimi from the Oven, Terrific Turkey Chili, Pulled Pork Taquitos, and Pork Carnitas. Diners also get to enjoy Burritos Filled with Hot Meat Sauce and Glazed with Cheese, Chicken Rice Burritos Mildly Spicy, and Chicken with Colorful Veggies (white onion, red and green peppers).

Mini Chicken Chimichangas

Mini Chicken Chimichangas

IMG_2794

Chicken Quesadillas

Chicken Quesadillas

Chicken Rice Burritos Mildly Spicy

Chicken Rice Burritos Mildly Spicy

The featured soup alternated from Tortilla Soup to Crema de Frijol Negro (black bean cream soup served with fresh coriander, grated cheese, soft cream and tortilla chips) then back to Tortilla Soup.

Beef Carni

Beef Carni

Pescado Guachinango a la Veracruzana

Pescado Guachinango a la Veracruzana

Chicken Mole

Chicken Mole

Hot dishes from Mexico that diners of Corniche get to enjoy for the duration of the Mexican food festival are Beans and Steak Pan with Onion and Garlic, Sweet Corn in Honey Milk, Beef Carni (marinated flank steak with pepper beans and chili), Mexican Baked Fish with Hot Spinach Dip, Albondigas Meatballs, Pescado Guachinango a la Veracruzana (fish fillets with spicy sauce, olive oil, tomato, onion, garlic, chile guero, green peppers, olives, capers, laurel, thyme, salt and pepper), Camarones en Salsa de Chile Chipotle (sautéed shrimps in chipotle sauce), Carne Tampuquena (sautéed beef with chilis, refried beans, guacamole and enchilada), Mexican Fajitas (sautéed onion, green peppers and Mexican spices, served with a choice of chicken, beef or shrimps), and Queso Fundido (Mexican melted cheese, with mushrooms or chorizo, served with soft tortilla).

There are also live and interactive Tortilla and Taco Stations, as tortilla and taco are among the most well-known Mexican fares around the world, including the Philippines.

Arroz con Leche

Arroz con Leche

Flan Napolitano with Caramel

Flan Napolitano with Caramel

Manzanas Almendradas

Manzanas Almendradas

Two Mexican ice cream flavors--Sweet Corn and Pina Colada

Two Mexican ice cream flavors–Sweet Corn and Pina Colada

Held in partnership with the Embassy of Mexico, headed by Ambassador Julio Camarena Villaseñor, La Comida Mexicana also pays great attention to the exquisite desserts of Mexico. Individual portions of Arroz con Leche (rice with milk), Flan Napolitano with Caramel (similar to the Filipino leche flan), and Manzanas Almendradas (mini apple tarts) are available at the dessert buffet at all times, while diners can have as many Cinnamon Churros Chocolate Sauce as they fancy. The churros with a thick chocolate dipping sauce are particularly good.

La Comida Mexicana is available at Corniche until Sunday, September 20, 2015, for Php2,550 nett per person. What’s more: Mexican nationals, Mexican Embassy employees and Diamond Indulgence members get to enjoy the buffet at a discounted price upon presentation of an identification card.

 

(Diamond Hotel Philippines is located at the corner of Roxas Blvd. and Dr. J. Quintos St., Manila; with telephone numbers 528-3000 and 305-3000. For reservations at Corniche, call 528-3000 extension 1121.)

 

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