McDonald’s gives Pinoys even more reasons to wake up to holiday mornings and smile, as the fast-food chain introduces the new McGriddles. These delectable breakfast treats are made of soft, warm griddle cakes with maple syrup baked right into them.
Best enjoyed with a hash-brown and a cup of freshly brewed McCafe Premium Roast Coffee or a glass of Minute Maid Fresh Orange Juice drink, the new McGriddles come in two variants—Sausage McGriddles, and Sausage, Egg and Cheese McGriddles. The latter’s got all the works, including savory sausage, fluffy scrambled egg and melt-in-the-mouth American cheese. Both, however, make use of only the finest ingredients.
Sausage, Egg and Cheese McGriddles
The new McGriddles are now available through dine-in, take-out, drive-thru and McDelivery (via 86-2-36, mcdelivery.com.ph, or the McDo PH App) daily from 4:00 to 10:30 a.m. in all McDonald’s breakfast stores nationwide.
Premium fresh fruits presented in a modern setting at the new Robinsons Selections at McKinley Hill
LAST year, grocery chain giant Robinsons Supermarket created a new, higher-end brand called Robinsons Selections and opened the first store of this new concept at Eight Forbes, Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City, to cater to the grocery needs of the high-end community.
Just last week, specifically on November 27, 2015, a second store of Robinsons Selections opened at the Venice Grand Canal Mall in posh McKinley Hill, Taguig City, in response to the growing shopping sophistication among consumers especially in the area. The new store brings to the McKinley Hill community the same state-of-the-art design and top-of-the-line offerings as the first store, but this one is housed in a larger area of 2,481 square meters. The new store thus features a bigger food-to-go section with carefully curated gourmet goods for those with discerning palates. Freshly prepared ready-to-eat dishes are available, so shoppers doing their grocery can just buy food to take home for lunch or dinner.
Robinsons Supermarket has just opened its second Robinsons Selections store at Venice Grand Canal Mall in McKinley Hill, Taguig City
Priest blessing the store premises
Ready-to-eat dishes are available at the Food-to-Go section
The fruit bar offers a variety of ready-to-eat sliced and juiced fresh fruits, salad packs and more
Fresh fruit and vegetable juices are available in bottled form
Also in the food-to-go area are the Fruit Bar, where different kinds of fresh fruits that have already been sliced, cut up and combined with other fruits, mixed salad packs and freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices are available for sale. There’s also a salad bar and a make-your-own-fruit mix bar, although fresh fruits and vegetables in their whole, raw form, as regularly found in groceries, are also bountiful.
The salad bar offers a variety of prepared salads and you can also make your own
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Fresh premium fruits
Fruit carving display
‘Shark and dolphins’ fruit and vegetable display
The Gourmet Deli presents wide selections of hams, cheeses and deli items
Not too far away is an impressive Gourmet Deli, where whole legs of ham, big wheels of cheese and deli selections like sausages and deli slices are prominently displayed. Then there is a sushi bar, whose refrigerated displays offer different combinations and packs of sushis, sashimis and makis.
The seafood section
Fresh fish selections
Premium fresh seafood
Salmon steak slices available at the seafood section
Likewise, the fresh seafood, poultry and meat sections present wide arrays of choices, including premium seafood and fish.
The grocery area
Rice varieties in wooden barrels
The special promotions area
Cashier equipped with fast, high-tech machines and the video screens spread all around the store
Fresh cut flowers for sale
The gift-wrapping section of Robinsons Selections
The regular grocery display shelves are also teeming with a wide range of merchandise, including higher-end brands and premium items, both food and non-food, that will surely delight shoppers in the McKinley community. Other features that are worth noting are the Bakery, which churns out batches upon batches of freshly baked breads and pastries; Petals and Posies, which sell fresh flowers and plants; a Gift & Wrap section, where items bought for gift-giving can be wrapped nicely; and Concierge, which is a service that reinforces Robinsons’ mission to become the premium shopping destination.
With the launch of Robinsons Selections in McKinley Hill, Robinsons Supermarket now has a total of 120 stores. Robinsons Selections, which aims to be the grocery store of choice for discerning shoppers looking for fresh and healthy food and other needs which suit their shopping lifestyle, is poised to open a third store in Robinsons Galleria Cebu on December 10, 2015.
Prohibition Cocktails served at The Peninsula Manila, from left: Monkey Gland, Gunner and Hanky Panky
EVER tried Prohibition Cocktails? These are cocktails that reference the Prohibition era and its ‘speakeasy’ culture. It dates back to the 1920s, when Chicago was home to infamous gangster and prohibition-dodger Al Capone.
Prohibition Cocktails include Hanky Panky, which was designed by one of the few women bartenders of the era at the Savoy Hotel in London; Monkey Gland, a drink that was designed to give men a little extra ‘vavoom’; and Gunner, actually a mocktail (since it doesn’t contain any real alcohol) but which has been described as “the only real Hong Kong cocktail.”
All three drinks were served during the Celebrate Chicago month of November (2015) at The Peninsula Manila Salon de Ning and The Bar. Here are the recipes, which The Peninsula Manila gladly shared.
I HAVE a special place in my heart for Chicago because it’s the first place that I got to visit when I went to the United States for the very first time in 1994. There was a conference on foster parenting and adoption going on in Chicago back then, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), then headed by Secretary Corazon Alma de Leon, invited me to go along with the group as a media observer. I was very new in the publishing industry back then, working for a weekly women’s magazine, and I had collaborated with the DSWD on several feature articles for the magazine prior to the invitation. I considered myself very lucky to have been singled out by the DSWD to go with their delegation on the trip. I learned a lot from the conference, as it opened my eyes on the harsh realities of Filipino children being given up for adoption by their parents for different reasons and it touched my heart that foreign couples, particularly Americans, adopted them, a number of whom even had disabilities, and loved them as their own. That trip also enabled me to visit my sister Julie, who lived in Los Angeles, California, and her family for the very first time.
So, when The Peninsula Manila recently celebrated Chicago via an intimate kitchen party and cooking class, I went and celebrated with them. The month-long celebration this November was in line with the stylish renovation of The Peninsula Chicago. To celebrate its grand comeback, The Peninsula Manila and its sister hotels worldwide decided to celebrate the spirit of Chicago for a whole month by presenting an exhibit of Hong Kong-based urban photography artist William Furniss’ bold, abstract images of Chicago’s skyline and landmarks and by offering special menus created by The Peninsula’s expert chefs featuring favorite dishes from The Windy City.
Executive sous chef Franco Diaz (left) and executive chef Mike Wehrle of The Peninsula Manila showing how to make a ‘Chicago style Deep Dish Pizza’
Chicago Deep Dish Pizza
As part of its own Chicago celebration, The Peninsula Manila hosted an intimate media party in the hotel’s Banquet Kitchen, where Executive Chef Mike Wehrle and Executive Sous Chef Franco Diaz conducted a cooking class featuring Chicago Deep Dish Pizza, Reuben Sandwich, and Prohibition Cocktails. We had a pizza and sandwich party along with the cooking class, and the barista turned out glasses upon glasses of Chicago-style Prohibition Cocktails—Hanky Panky, Monkey Gland and Gunner. They’re called Prohibition Cocktails because in the 1920s, Chicago was home to infamous gangster and prohibition-dodger Al Capone, and so themed cocktails were served. I “gunned” for the Gunner, since it was the only mocktail (cocktail without alcohol) among the three drinks, and enjoyed my Chicago Deep Dish Pizza with it.
Prohibition Cocktails, from left: Monkey Gland, Gunner and Hanky Panky
To end the party on a sweet note, trays of mini Red Velvet, Chocolate and Butter Cupcakes and Cheesecakes with edible ‘Chicago’ signs on them were served.
For the bigger picture, guests of The Peninsula Manila for the month of November also got to see snippets of the Chicago lifestyle and taste the authentic flavors of Chicago. The Lobby served homemade versions of famous Chicago specialties, such as Chicago Hot Dog and Duck Hot Dog, Reuben Marble Rye Sandwich with Sauerkraut, Chicken Pot Pie and Salted Caramel Sundae. Escolta, the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant, had as part of its buffet spread select Chicago favorites like Chicago Deep Dish Cheese and Pepperoni Pizza, Poutine and an ‘Eli’ cheesecake rotation plus a Chicago Burger Station. Meanwhile, The Peninsula Boutique had ‘Eli’ Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Strawberry Cheesecakes and assorted cupcakes up for grabs.
With Celebrate Chicago serving as a festive gastronomic preview, the holidays now begin at The Peninsula Manila.
Chicken Inato, served with puso rice, as prepared by Alab’s Chef Myke ‘Tatung’ Sarthou and his kitchen team
EACH of us has a food story to tell. It’s either about a favorite food from our childhood years and why it became our favorite, or about a new place we have discovered that has a unique food story that’s just dying to be told, or about a family relationship or friendship that’s deeply rooted on a particular food. And every year, Mama Sita Foundation encourages everyone to recall that special food story and share it by joining the annual Mga Kuwentong Pagkain food writing competition.
This year is no different. Mama Sita Foundation launched this year’s Mga Kuwentong Pagkain contest over a sumptuous themed dinner held at Alab Filipino Cuisine in Tomas Morato, Quezon City. But just as in the previous year’s the grand launch highlighted a particular regional cuisine in the country. This time around, it highlighted the cuisine of Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Dubbed Puerto Princesa’s Cuisine: A Creative Encounter, the event once again featured Dr. Fernando Zialcita, director, Cultural Heritage Studies Program, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ateneo de Manila University. Dr. Zialcita’s Introduction to Cultural Heritage class put together a presentation on the different culinary cultures that can be found in Puerto Princesa and appreciated by the rest of the country.
Mama Sita’s ‘Mga Kuwentong Pagkain’ food writing contest encourages everyone to share interesting food stories
Fromleft: Dr. Fernando Zialcita, director, Cultural Heritage Studies Program, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ateneo de Manila University; Clara Lapus, president, Mama Sita Foundation; Cecille Nepomuceno-Gamat, information officer, Mama Sita Foundation; and Chef Myke ‘Tatung’ Sarthou of Alab Filipino Cuisine
The three students who gave their presentations after in-depth research were Paolo Vergara on Puerto Princesa’s Diverse Culinary Heritage, Cheska Mallillin on The Tagbanuas and Their Forest Honey, and Juan Lorenzo Armovit on Palawan Craft Beers: Getting High on Honey.
Vergara spoke about the three different cultural and culinary heritage or traditions present in Puerto Princesa today: 1) The Tagbanuas, who are close to nature, and whose food revolves around whatever nature brings them, including Ubod ng Yantok (rattan); 2) Cuyuno Island, which has very organic souring agents for their Sinigang, and where Kinilaw and Laoya are main staples; and 3) Vietnamese food, because of the settlement there of Vietnamese refugees, whose Pho, Chao-Long and Banh Mi has become integrated into Puerto Princesa cuisine.
Mallillin emphasized the Tagbanuas’ close affinity with the forest, how they practice horticulture and harvest rice and sweet potato, and what rituals they observe when harvesting honey from the forest.
Armovit talked about the small-scale production of craft beer in Palawan done by the Palaweño Craft Brewery and how they incorporate forest honey into their different variants of beer.
Vinegar bar for the Do-It-Yourself Kinilaw presented the whole range of Mama Sita’s vinegars
Fresh oysters for the ‘Kinilaw’
Thinly sliced raw squid for the ‘kinilaw’
Freshly sliced tuna
Afterwards, Alab’s Chef Myke ‘Tatung’ Sarthou served everyone a simple menu of Puerto Princesa cuisine. His first course was a unique Do-It-Yourself Kinilaw. His staff laid out spreads of fresh oysters, shrimps, squid, tuna, and an assortment of seaweeds, as well as small bowls of condiments like minced garlic, fresh coconut cream, fish sauce, calamansi, siling labuyo (bird’s eye chili), siling pansigang (finger chili), and julienned raw mango. Also on the table was a vinegar bar, which consisted of Mama Sita’s assorted bottled vinegars. Everyone had fun mixing condiments and vinegars for his/her own kinilaw (ceviche).
Next came Laoya, a Puerto Princesa soup dish of boiled pork hocks with stringbeans, raw jackfruit, onion and lemongrass, seasoned with salt, and simmered for three hours. It was served with chopped up Chicken Inato and pusô rice.
Tocino del Cielo and Puto Maya for dessert
For dessert, it was a combination of Tocino del Cielo (egg yolk and honey custard, topped with toasted Palawan cashew) and Puto Maya (sticky rice balls cooked in coconut milk and ginger).
Then everyone had a taste of Ayahay Craft Beers from Palaweño Brewery.
Two variants of Palawan beers made by Palaweno Brewery–Palawan Wit (left), and Palaw’an Honey Kolsch (right)
After the sumptuous dinner, focus shifted back to the Mga Kuwentong Pagkain food writing contest, which Mama Sita Foundation president Clara Lapus and information officer Cecille Nepomuceno-Gamat emphasized is open to anyone who has an interesting food story to tell in the form of a written essay, a video or a poem. Essays must have a maximum word count of 2,000 words, while video submissions must have a maximum running time of 10 minutes and poems must have a maximum of 300 words.
Participants, they said, may submit in three categories—Heritage Category (stories on historic dishes an food preparation, traditions and rituals focusing on food or family heirloom recipes), Regional/Local Category (stories on regional or local cuisine, which includes local dishes or delicacies, artisanal specialties, food customs and rituals, exotic native ingredients or food preparation methods), and Personal Experience Category (intimate non-fictional food stories that showcase interpersonal relationships, journeys and catharses).
Criteria for judging are Content and Significance to Philippine Cuisine (40%), Presentation (25%), Originality (25%) and Over-all Impact (10%). Grand prize winners of each category will receive a cash prize of Php10,000.
Deadline for the submission of entries is December 10, 2015. To join, download an entry form at www.msita.com/mga-kuwentong-pagkain/, fill it up and submit to email@example.com.