Thursday, March 5, 2015

A King's Feast: Lafite Wine Launch at Nobu

 

A King's Feast

Published on Manila Bulletin Lifestyle, February 26, 2015

 

The outdoor cabanas at Nobu turned into a magical place on the evening of February 16, with Manila’s food and wine-loving people chitchatting away in jubilant spirits while enjoying free-flowing wines from Domaines de Barons Rothschild (Lafite).

 

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 Nobu at night

 

 

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Free-flowing Domaines de Barons Rothschild (Lafite) wines all night

 

 

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Spicy tuna on toasted rice

 

 

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Crispy pork tacos

 

 

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Fresh oysters with yamamomo

 

 

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Chateau Lafite Rothschild is probably the most powerful wine label known to the world. Upon Maréchal de Richelieu’s return to Paris in 1755, King Louis XV told the governor, “Maréchal, you look twenty-five years younger than you did when you left for Guyenne,” to which he replied, “Does his Majesty not know that I have discovered the Fountain of Youth? I have found Château Lafite’s wine to be a delicious, generous cordial, comparable to the ambrosia of the Gods of Olympus.” Soon after, Lafite was labeled the “King’s Wine” and was served at royal receptions 

Of course, a King’s Wine comes with a king’s price tag, the most expensive being Chateau Lafite’s vintage 1787 at $156,450. Gulp!!! Chateau Lafite Rothschild was the start of the Domaines de Barons Rothschild (DBR) Group. Since acquiring it in 1868, the Rothschild family has expanded its properties and operations to include Château Duhart-Milon, Château Rieussec and Château L’Evangile, and continued to move beyond the Bordeaux region with Viña Los Vascos in Chile, Domaine d’Aussières in Languedoc, and Bodegas Caro in Argentina. It also produces a more affordable range of wines in the Bordeaux appellation under the brand “The Collection.” There is now a bottle of DBR wine accessible to everyone, every day.

 

 

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DBR Wines

 

 

In his welcome speech, DBR Export Director Michel Negrier announced with pride, “Our wines are elegant and special because of the attention to detail we put into producing them.” Each bottle is marked with the DBR logo which represents excellence and finesse based on a rich past and tradition rooted in the Bordeaux soil. “Wines should be enjoyed with good food,” Negrier added, and the delicious 7-course feast we had was prepared by no other than Nobu’s celebrated Executive Chef Zachary Hillberry.

 

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DBR Export Director Michel Negrier giving his welcome speech

 

 

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 Nobu Manila's Executive Chef Zachary Hillberry

 

 

“Drink wine and be friends,” Negrier said to signal the start of dinner. 

And so we drank the night away and became friends.

 

 

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Our first course of Seafood Ceviche was marinated ever so quickly in lime, calamansi and chili to showcase the freshness of each ingredient. The Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc with its acidity and lime notes was an easy and delightful pairing. Produced from 100% sauvignon blanc grapes without the use of oak, it immediately greeted my palate with pure, fresh and clean flavors.

 

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Seafood Ceviche 

 

 

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Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc 2013

 

 

The Tartare of Salmon, which was a fish heavy in oil, needed a wine with body and richness. The creaminess of the Aussieres Blanc Chardonnay provided a perfect match, its roundness complemented the spiciness of the soy dressing and tamed down its wasabi character.

 

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Tartare of Salmon

 

 

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Aussieres Blanc Chardonnay 2012

 

 

Probably the most challenging pairing, and admittedly Chef Zach’s favorite, was the Sashimi Salad with Legende Pauillac. The French Bordeaux is most commonly paired with lamb and other red meats, but after trying out 20 different wines, “we chose the Pauillac because of the food synergy. The karashi miso dressing which had lot of onions, black pepper, soy and sesame really complemented the tannin. Taken by itself it is a very heavy wine, but with the salad there was a beautiful balance. Searing the tuna also added to the smokiness of the wine,” marveled Hillberry.

 

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 Sashimi Salad

 

 

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Legende Pauillac 2011

 

 

Again, an unorthodox but very successful move was presenting the Los Vascos Grande Reserve with yet another seafood dish - Balsamic Teriyaki Chilean Sea Bass. Malbec is a very spicy grape so aside from the bold and sweet teriyaki sauce, the chef had to add a lot of black pepper to the fish to achieve harmony in the pairing. The richness of the sea bass also held up to the structure of the Los Vascos, one of the best Chilean wines made by the French.

 

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Balsamic Teriyaki Chilean Sea Bass 

 

 

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Los Vascos Grande Reserve 2011

 

 

No fork and knife was necessary for the extremely tender Brandt Angus Shortribs. The sweet and fruity Blason d’Aussieres and the elegant and spicy Chateau d’Aussieres both complemented the richly marbled meat and the earthy eringi mushroom truffle salad.

 

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 Brandt Angus Shortribs with Eringi Salad

 

 

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Blason d'Aussieres 2011 and Chateau d'Aussieres 2010

 

 

With the big and fabulous Amancaya Gran Reserva Malbec, the chef served Niman Ranch Lamb that was slow broiled for 12 hours and seasoned with two of Nobu’s signature sauces – the spicy anticucho and sweet miso – to give body to the lamb’s subtle and sweet flavor. The Argentinian wine was full-bodied, strong and very drinkable, the malbec brought the fruits, the cabernet sauvingnon brought the structure. It was the most unforgettable course of the night for me.

 

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Niman Ranch Lamb in Anticucho Miso

 

 

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Amancaya Gran Reserva 2011

 

 

The arrival of DBR wines marks an exciting time for all the wine enthusiasts in the country. Some wines are very drinkable now, a few have to wait. This makes me very excited for what’s now and what’s to come. 

 

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Had the best time at our table with Cheryl, Roxanne, Margaux and Nana

 

 

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All the ladies with Chef Zachary

 

 

Domaines de Barons Rothschild (Lafite) wines are distributed by Artisan Cellars and Fine Foods. Tel: 632-521-7392; Website: www.artisan.com.ph 

Nobu Restaurant is located in Nobu Hotel, City of Dreams Manila, Entertainment City, Aseana Avenue, Paranaque. Tel: 632-800-8080

 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Ueshima Coffee Shop 上島珈琲店 ♥

 

My stomach woke up feeling painfully full from the previous night's dinner of two bowls of Ichiran ramen, so I decided to keep it light for breakfast the next morning.

 

 

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Ueshima "Precious Coffee Moments" is a popular local coffee chain that you see quite
frequently around Japan. I've had good coffee memories in its Taipei branches and 
thought I should check out one of the Tokyo outlets.

 

 

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Unlike its Taipei shops which exude warmth and coziness, this particular branch was very
basic it actually felt cold and a little uninviting.

 

 

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They had sandwiches, little cakes and pastries, but none of them caught my interest

 

 

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Ueshima uses the Nel drip, which is an old fashioned way of brewing coffee using a cotton 
flannel sack instead of paper filter. It takes more time to drip coffee, thus giving you a richer
cup with more supple texture. 

 

 

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Aaahhh Japan… the land of automation!

 

 

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Me and my coffee. All I need in the morning.

 

 

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Sadly, my double nel drip sugar-free milk coffee was as weak as a broken heart. 
I usually have my coffee black, but all double nel drip coffees here were served with milk.

 

 

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I had to order another cup. This time I chose my favorite from Ueshima Taipei - 
Sesame Milk Coffee 

 

 

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Again, it was too weak. I guess coffee is like love in many ways.

"There are all kinds of love in the world, but never the same love twice."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Read my post on Ueshima Taipei here

 

Ueshima Coffee Shop 上島珈琲店 Official Website

 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Ichiran 一蘭 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

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I wanted to check out what the Ichiran hype was all about. The Japanese ramen chain
already has an outlet in Hong Kong, but I waited for this Tokyo trip.
Japan is really the best place to do it.

 

 

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I heard lines can get crazy long. I was lucky the ramen gods were
good to me. Ichiran has many branches around Tokyo and some, 
like this one, is open 24/7. 

 

 

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The wait was manageable at 11pm. Yes, I was so full from breakfast and lunch and all my 
coffee and donut and bakery stops, I had to push dinner close to midnight! 

 

 

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You order from the vending machine. Don't worry, there are
English translations and photos to help you with the process.

 

 

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After you pay it will give you these stubs. I ordered ramen + noodle refill (¥980), 
Osukaran vinegar (¥80), half-boiled salted egg (¥120), and seaweed (¥80). 
Whew! That was easy! 

 

 

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 The stressful part for me was getting seated, but only because I am the worst with directions! Lol!

 

 

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 So I pressed the green button for assistance and a nice man came out to escort me to my seat.

 

 

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It was all individual seating at Ichiran, where they believe the best ramen experience
can only be achieved when nothing separates you and your bowl.
No friend, no clingy boyfriend. Just you and your noodles.

 

 

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Hangers and tissue. What a thoughtful gesture!

 

 

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In the toilet were different rolls of toilet paper for different needs.
Another very thoughtful gesture. Lol!

 

 

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My booth

 

 

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You then customize your ramen. This is how I like mine.
I highly recommend you copy it! 

 

 

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Look! My very own water dispenser!

 

 

And then the weirdest thing happened.

 

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The wall in front of me opened up and a pair of hands suddenly appeared with my ramen!
WHOA!!! 

 

 

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And egg

 

 

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Which I thought could be less cooked

 

 

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The hands appeared again and again until all my orders were complete

 

 

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Then I took my first sip and almost hugged the stranger next to me!
THE ICHIRAN HYPE IS REAL!!!!! The tonkotsu broth was extremely rich and creamy,
the pork slices incredibly tender, the noodles long and perfectly firm, and the red pepper
sauce added even more excitement to everything. It was a bowl of heaven and I finished 
all of it, between moans of pleasure, in no time.   

 

 

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I did not hug the stranger beside me, but I asked him to take a photo of me with my food
so I will always remember this night when I ordered two bowls of noodles and finished both.

 

 

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How could I not??? Look at the beautiful and springy golden strands.
My stomach was near explosion levels but my mouth refused to stop slurping.

 

 

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 NO, I DID NOT FEEL GUILTY AFTER THIS.
In fact, I was thinking to do it all over again the very next day.

 

 

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Which was why I did not buy these boxed ramen to bring home just yet,
so I had reason to come back before my trip ended. Wait for that post! :)

 

 

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Ahhhhh I was so happily stuffed I practically rolled down the stairs
on my way out.

 

 

Ichiran Official Website

See my other Tokyo posts here

 

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