Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Caruso Ristorante Italiano, Revisited ♥ ♥ ♥

 

I have three go-to Italian restaurants here in Manila: Va Bene when I want something quick, La Nuova when I want to enjoy a quiet meal by myself, and Caruso when I want friendly service and white tablecloths.

 

 

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When my Ninang Ann Marie and cousin Cherry requested for pasta during their recent
trip to Manila, Caruso was the first place that came to mind. The Italian restaurant has
been there forever. And the secret to its success: Consistency.

 

 

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 I noticed through the years that a lot of Caruso's diners are families. In fact, we also invaded the
restaurant for a family celebration few years ago. Read about Felisse's birthday dinner here

 

 

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But it is also perfect for romantic dates. Request for the nice table by the piano. ;)

 

 

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Our dinner at Caruso felt like we were eating at our favorite uncle's home. 
Dario, one of the owners, went around the tables making sure guests were happy.

 

 

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He also recommended this lovely bottle to go with our dinner

 

 

What I like about Caruso is the simplicity and freshness of its food. The pastas are homemade, the ingredients of good quality, and the flavors honest.

 

 

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Fresh mozzarella in caprese style

 

 

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Beef carpaccio with shaved parmesan

 

 

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Homemade ravioli with spinach and ricotta cheese in brown butter and sage

 

 

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Garganelli with porcini mushroom - so earthy and creamy

 

 

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Spaghetti vongole with just the perfect amount of heat. My favorite of all!

 

 

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Grilled lapu-lapu fillet with capers and olives

 

 

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Lapu-lapu in tomato sauce with capers and olives 

 

 

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Beef tenderloin with rosemary

 

 

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Even the side of potatoes tasted fantastic!

 

 

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After dinner, our server parked the dessert trolley right next to me and asked if I was 
interested in any. Umm… No???

 

 

Unfortunately, the desserts left much to be desired.

 

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The Torta Millefoglie was soggy

 

 

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Strawberry Pie needed oomph

 

 

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Tiramisu was not bad, but not the best

 

 

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This one saved the meal. It was the creamiest, most luscious panna cotta in the city.
I normally don't like light-colored desserts, but this is a winner in my books! 

 

 

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Perfect with a good cup of Italian coffee

 

 

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As always, I enjoyed spending time with family

 

 

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Make sure to say hello to Caruso owners Dario Gardini and Emilio Mina and
expect these charming gentlemen to make you feel right at home

 

 

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What?! There's a Caruso in Boracay??? Also opening soon in
McKinley Venice Mall!

 

 

Pink

 

 

See my previous post on Caruso here.

Caruso Ristorante Italiano: 210 Nicanor Garcia Street (formerly Reposo), Makati City. Tel: +632 859-2451

 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

My Summer Selfie Inside the Mezquita

 

Everyone knows I LOVE traveling. I am passionate about discovering new places, new cultures, new sounds, new tastes.

Whenever I am on a trip, I take an exaggerated number of photos and videos. I have this need to capture every moment, every experience, every dish I feast my senses on.

And since I traveled all alone around the south of Spain, I took quite a couple of selfies, too!

 

 

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That is me inside the Mezquita in Cordoba. This Mosque-Cathedral is a symbol of the many
changes the Spanish city has undergone over the centuries. Originally a Catholic church,
it was converted into an Islamic mosque in the Middle Ages, then back into a church after
the Spanish reconquered Cordoba in 1236. It was an amazing experience just to be
inside a church within a mosque within a cathedral!

 

 

This is just one of the 7,688 photos I took during my recent trip to Spain and yes, 40% of them is food. After all, eating is my favorite way to explore a new city!

And how wonderful that my mobile carrier of 22 years, Globe, has a storage and sharing service to help me manage my digital life. I've had my share of horrible experiences like losing my SD cards, having my camera stolen, and worst of all, accidentally deleting ALL my photos!!! I know much better now, that is why I save all my favorite photos and videos on Globe Cloud.

Of course, saving my itinerary with all the details of my restaurant reservations is equally important, too!

 

 

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Because I am obsessive-compulsive like that

 

 

Globe Cloud also allows me to share things privately with my family and friends by using a shareable link that I can send to them through email or social media. I don't post everything on Instagram and Facebook, you know! :P

Anyway, the reason why I am telling you all this is because, aside from wanting you to be smart about backing up your files, I want you to win the summer vacation of your life!

Imagine an all-expense paid trip to Miniloc Island in El Nido, Palawan (including chartered flights, transfers, accommodations and full-board meals!!!) with 2 of your favorite people!

All you have to do is this:

1. Download the Globe Cloud App (it's free!) on your Android or iPhone from April 25-May 20, 2015.

2. Upload your #SummerSelfie to your Globe Cloud account and share it on your Facebook or Twitter. Don't forget to hashtag #GlobeCloud and #SummerSelfie!

 

 

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Do it already!!!

Download Globe Could here.

Globe Cloud Facebook Page here.

  

 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Madrid Fusion Manila 2015 Regional Lunches

 

Published on Manila Bulletin Lifestyle, April 30, 2015

READY FOR THE WORLD
Local heritage dishes of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao take center stage at Madrid Fusion Manila


After a month of overeating my way through different cities in Spain, I can say that I was the most excited for Madrid Fusion Manila. After all, it was the biggest culinary event in our country, the first in history. Michelin-starred chefs flew to Manila, shared and exchanged invaluable knowledge at the "International Gastronomy Congress," and, of course, checked out what the Philippines had to offer.

The world's eyes were on us. And my eyes were on… Pepita's Lechon! The suckling pig stuffed with chorizo and crab fat paella was the very first thing I attacked when I arrived at SMX. Oh, how I missed Filipino food!

 

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Dedet dela Fuente, The Lechon Diva, with her Spanish-Manilena lechon

 

 

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 Pepita's suckling pig with chorizo and crab fat paella

 

Luckily for me, Madrid Fusion Manila aimed not only to bring globally renowned chefs to our country but also to put our local heritage food and agricultural products on the international map. The Department of Agriculture (DA) spearheaded by Undersecretary Berna Romulo-Puyat organized a series of regional lunches during the three-day convention to showcase the very best of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The foreign chefs, who were present at the lunches, were undeniably impressed with what they saw, touched, smelled, and tasted.

 

So was I.

 

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Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Berna Romulo-Puyat

 

 

The Luzon lunch curated by Angelo Comsti, author of From Our Table to Yours and The Filipino Cookbook and editor-in-chief of F&B Report magazine, featured delightful creations by chefs Miko Aspiras of Scout's Honor and Le Petit Souffle, Josh Boutwood of Bistro Group, Robby Goco of Cyma and Green Pastures, Myke Sarthou of Alab, Happy Ongpauco-Tiu of Pamana and Tsokolateria, and Mikel Zaguirre of Locavore.

(I tried my very best to eat every single dish presented but a few ran out before I could get to them, which explains why my photos are not complete. Sorry!)

 

 

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Angelo Comsti, author of From Our Table to Yours and The Filipino Cookbook
and editor-in-chief of F&B Report magazine

 

 

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Kinilaw by Robby Goco
Lemon oil snapper, tanigue, shrimp mi-cuit, crab claw, sorrel flowers, micro cucumber,
stevia leaf, green mango pearls, spiced vinegar jelly

 

 

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Bringhe by Happy Ongpauco-Tiu
Violet Cordillera rice, spicy adobo, banana chips, alugbati flowers, coconut milk, turmeric,
glutinous rice, calamansi, nat a de coco, spiced pickled pinakbet 

 

 

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Empanada by Myke Sarthou
Goat meat, vinegar, rice flour, raw green papaya, quail egg, fennel bulbs, onion, pork fat, annato 

  

 

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Balut by Josh Boutwood
Duck, duck eggs, mugwort, tapioca, milk, garlic, shallots, vinegar 

 

 

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Sinigang by Kei Zaguirre
Snapper, fish sauce, yellow miso, tamarind, pickled red radish, mustard greens, vinegar,
basil, tomato

 

 

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Laing by Robby Goco
Taro-coconut ginger espuma, gabi leaves, crispy roast suckling pig, siling duwag, dilis dust 

 

 

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Lechon Manok by Josh Boutwood
Native chicken, seaweed, sour cream, wood sorrel, dried fish, tuna roe, gotukola,
lemongrass, yellow pea flower 

 

 

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Crispy Pata by Happy Onpauco-Tiu
Pork skin, pork leg, kesong putt, balsamic vinegar, garlic, chili, wansuy, pickled calamansi, brie

 

 

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Sisig by Kel Zaguirre
Chicken liver, pickled peppers, green chili, foie gras, shallots, pork crackling

 

 

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Leche Flan by Miko Aspiras
Pig's blood, edible flowers, passion fruit, orange, lemon, lime, lemongrass, pandan, mango,
cream, fresh milk, coconut water, pinipig

 

 

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 Sapin-sapin by Miko Aspiras
Cacao nibs, local chocolate, peanuts, cashew, goat's milk powder, rice flour, coconut water

 

 

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Manila Chocolate Truffles by Machiavelli Chocolatier

 

 

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Cocktail Bar by Destileria Limtuaco and Olivia Limpe-Aw, the CEO of the 163-year old distillery

 

 

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Larry Guevara's Fiesty Pinay Cocktail, a combination of vodka, Paradise mango rum, 
caramelized ampalaya, lemon juice, mango jam, tabasco sauce and salt air 

 

 

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Kalel Demetrio and Destileria Limtuaco's newest products 

 

 

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Kalel made me try so many of his creations! My favorite was the Spiced Dalandan cocktail.

 

 

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But my ultimate favorite was the Intramuros, a chocolate liqueur that is perfect for
drinking on the rocks, for pouring over your coffee, hot chocolate or dessert!
I drank so many servings of this! Hick!!! :P

 

 

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Look at how happy we all were

 

 

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More happy tummies

 

 

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Bravo, Luzon Team!!! 

 

 

JJ Yulo, founder of Pinoy Eats World and Just Jonesing, was in charge of the Visayas region. In his team were chefs JP Anglo of Sarsa, Fernando Aracama of Aracama, Pamela Cinco of Risa's Chocolates, Tony Boy Escalante of Antonio's, Margarita Fores of Cibo, Lusso and Grace Park, Enting Lobaton of Enting's Restaurant, Ariel Manuel of Lolo Dad's, and Sunshine Pengson of The Goose Station and Shine Bakery.

 

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JJ Yulo, founder of Pinoy Eats World and Just Jonesing

 

 

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Mang Enting has got to be my favorite person that day! He served a medley of kilawin 
presenting the local ceviche in its... 

 

 

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Past

 

 

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Present

 

 

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And future forms. This one had scallops, sea urchin, tanigue, shrimp, tuna, seaweed and chili.
KABOOM!!!!!!! 

 

 

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Another favorite, also of Mang Enting, was this roasted baby lamb from Negros Occidental

 

 

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Barbacua Terrine by Ariel Manuel 
Slow cooked pulled oxtail terrine 

 

 

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Silat Lumpiang Ubod by Tony Boy Escalante
Fresh heart of palm and chicharon spring roll

 

 

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Chef JP making a bowl of batchoy for me

 

 

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Batchoy by JP Anglo
Oxtail, kurobuta pork belly, offal noodle soup. Always hits the spot!

 

 

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Lukos Adolo and Pili Croquetas by Fernando Aracama
Vinegar stewed squid with red rice croquetas

 

 

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Capiz Diwal by Margarita Fores
Grilled Capiz angel wing clams 
(Photo by Anton Diaz) 

 

 

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Dinuguan at Puto by Tony Boy Escalante
Pork face blood stew with steamed native rice cakes

 

 

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Alupi by Fernando Aracama
Steamed banana leaf wrapped cassava and coconut topped with caramelized coconut cream

 

 

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A table full of sweets by Sunshine Pengson

 

 

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Dulce Gatas Cookies by Sunshine Pengson

 

 

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Mango Rum Empanaditas by Sunshine Pengson

 

 

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Pamela Cinco of Risa Chocolates and husband Dexter

 

 

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Moron by Pamela Cinco - suman mixed with chocolate from Leyte

 

 

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80% Smoky dark chocolate with passion fruit

 

 

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Piaya Bar by Fresh Start Organics

 

 

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Artisan chocolates by The Chocolate Chamber (TCC)
Shameless plug: My sister serves TCC hot chocolate at her Tweedle Book Cafe.
My favorites are chocolate orange, chocolate salty caramel and dark chocolate. :)

 

 

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TCC owner Raquel Choa

 

 

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One of the best things about going to Madrid Fusion Manila was meeting people who share the
same passion - eating! Beside me is Singapore-based Evelyn Chen who I have been following
on instagram (@bibikgourmand) forever! What a delight to finally meet her in the flesh!

 

 

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Evelyn interviewing Anton Diaz about the secret to his blogging success

 

  

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The team behind Bono churning fresh gelato for everyone to try

 

 

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Their newest flavor - Mango Ube Symphony. Mango gelato topped with homemade ube
halaya and rum-soaked mangoes

 

 

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Look who is also a lover of Bono Gelato! Ces Drilon!

 

 

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Team Visayas with Governor 

 

 

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A more complete Team Visayas. Amazing job, guys! 

 

 

The Mindanao lunch was headed by the author of Eat Out Now and executive editor of Town & Country magazine Alicia Sy, who was joined by Jordy Navarra of Black Sheep, Tippi Tambunting of M Dining and Donosti, JAckie and Rolando Laudico of Chef Laudico and Guevarra's, Mark Tan of Allium, Bruce Ricketts of Mecha Uma, Carmina del Rosario of The Crazy Cook, and Juan Carlos de Terry of Terry's. Executive chef Noel dela Rama made sure everything went smoothly on all three days.

Bono Gelato, Carmen's Best, Coco Natura, Destileria Limtuaco, Don Papa Rum, EDSA Beverage Design Studio, Farmacy, Fog City Creamery, Fresh Start Organics, Holy Carabao, Luna Cafe, Machiavelli Chocolatier, Malagos Cheese, Malagos Chocolates, Niner Ichi Nana, Philippine Coffee Board, Sebastian's, The Butchery, The Chocolate Chamber, and Theo & Philo also set up booths to showcase their products. 

 

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Alicia Sy, author of Eat Out Now and executive editor of Town & Country magazine, 
with Yvette Fernandez from whom I grabbed this photo. Thanks, Yvette! 

 

 

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Tuna Kilawin by Roland Laudico
Tuna loin, suwa, tabon tabon, sea urchin, lato, sili labuyo, roasted bell pepper, virgin coconut oil

 

 

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Kinilaw of Kitayama Beef by Jordy Navarra
Kitayama beef from Bukidnon, tuna roe, biasing or kabayawa

 

 

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Adlai and Cheese Bechamel Croquette by JC de Terry
Adlai, Malagos cheese 

 

 

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Grilled Pineapple and Curacha Salad by Roland Laudico
Curacha, coconut milk, lemongrass, pineapple, crab roe, heirloom tomatoes,
Malagos goat cheese, cilantro, coconut spiced vinegar

 

 

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Chicken Satti with Adlai by Tippi Tambunting
Adlai, chicken, tomatoes, coconut

 

 

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Dirty Rice by Bruce Ricketts
Adlai, pig's blood, offal 

 

 

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Kitayama Beef Brisket Kulma by Mark Tan
Mindanao braised beef dish with hints of curry and local spices

 

 

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An Interpretation of Buntaa from Butuan by Jordy Navarra
Mudcrab meat and roe, buko, gata, ginger

 

 

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Balbacua by Carmina del Rosario
A rich stew made with braised oxtails and shanks in ginger, ground peanuts, red peppers
and an assortment of spices and herbs from Davao

 

 

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Endulsao Chavacano by Tippi Tambunting
Braised pork belly and pickled radish served over heirloom rice

 

 

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Trio of Mindanao Fruits and Cheese by Jackie Laudico
Durian cheesecake, malagos chèvre gougeres with banana caramel and pepato crisps
with bignay jam 

 

 

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Maja Blanca topped with Lambanog Vanilla Syrup by JC de Terry
Coconut, milk, lambanog 

 

 

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Suman Panna Cotta by Jackie Laudico
Adlai cake, coconut cream panna cotta

 

 

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Assorted Cheeses by Malagos Cheese 

 

 

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Malagos Chocolate

 

 

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Did you know that Malagos Chocolate won the bronze prize for Best Unflavored Drinking 
Chocolate in 2015 Academy of Chocolate competition in London? Congratulations, guys!!!   

 

 

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Artisan Chocolates by Theo & Philo

 

 

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Coco Sugar and Coco Jam by Coco Natura

 

 

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With members of the Coco Natura family who are also the people behind Fog City Creamery
and my favorite Costa Brava cakes!

 

 

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Cocktails by Erwan Heussaff of Niner Ichi Nana

 

 

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EDSA Beverage Design Studio's Jericson Co and David Ong serving Davao Mount Apo
Cold Brew. 

 

 

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Ana de Ocampo and Tippi Tambunting, the beauties and brains behind two of my favorite
restaurants in Manila - Wildflour and M Dining

 

 

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We were treated to a traditional dance performance

 

 

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Chef Lau and Yvette also joined in the fun

  

 

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Congratulations, Team Mindanao!!!

 

 

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More Team Mindanao, and of course, our very own Margarita Fores who continuously 
promotes Filipino cuisine to the world. Without Gaita, there will be no Madrid Fusion Manila.
And to DA Usec Berna Romulo-Puyat who never fails to give her full support and
always champions our local farmers.

 

 

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To the Enderun volunteers who worked hard amidst pressure and harassment
(mostly from me and my camera), THANK YOU! Every one of you did an outstanding job.

  

After eating my way around Spain, trying out some of its best produce in the best restaurants, I came home to eat my way around the Philippines at the Madrid Fusion Manila regional lunches. All I can say is I am genuinely amazed at how much talent we have in our country and how rich our agriculture is.

I feel so proud.

It is time,

Philippine cuisine is ready to become a global sensation.

 

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