SOL VANZI's TIMPLA'T  TIKIM THIS PAST WEEK...     
  

OLD WORLD CHARM, NEW WORLD CUISINE

Dining at the Luneta Hotel is like stepping back in time; even the cacophony of horns from piled-up traffic outside cannot seem to penetrate the 96-year-old walls of the recently refurbished edifice. Perhaps the noise is repelled by the dozens of gargoyles guarding the building’s every corner. The tastefully appointed lobby, an intimate setting for lunch or dinner, provides a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s surely a far cry from other hotels and restaurants where hundreds crowd around mammoth buffets of Cecil B. De Mille proportions. At the Luneta Hotel, the atmosphere is rich and subdued. Now read on and check out the FOOD OF THE WORLD....

ALSO: FALLING IN LOVE AGAIN


mango pistachio feuilletine ----It is difficult to match the romantic ambience of the Manila Hotel’s premier fine dining restaurant Champagne Room, the choice spot for Valentine’s Day dinner. The glow of crystal, the sparkle of silver, the scent of roses, and the soft music of a grand piano and violins discreetly played by the country’s top musicians, all combine for a heavenly setting on the day reserved for lovers. READ MORE...

ALSO: BASIC BROTHS ARE BACK!
Why pay so much for noodle soup when you can make one at home?


Chicken Mami (Image by Angelo Garcia)
Ramen continues to take Manila by storm. Weekends see families lining up for hours to pay hundreds of pesos for each bowl of noodles sparsely adorned with slices of stewed pork, fishcake, and fresh vegetables. “The broth alone is worth the price,” they all say. READ MORE.....
 


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Old world charm, new world cuisine


LUNETA HOTEL, HISTORICAL PLACE

MANILA, MARCH 2, 2015 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Sol Vanzi - Dining at the Luneta Hotel is like stepping back in time; even the cacophony of horns from piled-up traffic outside cannot seem to penetrate the 96-year-old walls of the recently refurbished edifice. Perhaps the noise is repelled by the dozens of gargoyles guarding the building’s every corner.

The tastefully appointed lobby, an intimate setting for lunch or dinner, provides a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s surely a far cry from other hotels and restaurants where hundreds crowd around mammoth buffets of Cecil B. De Mille proportions. At the Luneta Hotel, the atmosphere is rich and subdued.

FOOD OF THE WORLD


Paella valenciana


Mexican starters


Kare-kare


Morcon


Waldorf Salad, empanadita

(Images by Noel B. Pabalate)

Chef to Royalty, Veteran to the Seven Seas


Chef Noli Kingking will take you around the world in Luneta Hotel's dishes.

The hotel’s regal ambience would inhibit other chefs, but not Noli Kingking, who served the Kuwait Royal Family for three years, preparing and serving food on bejeweled plates made of gold and other precious metals.

Needless to say, Chef Noli had access to the best, the rarest, and most expensive materials and ingredients for the royal banquets.

Chef Noli spent his early kitchen years roaming the seven seas aboard some of the biggest and most luxurious ocean liners. For six years, he assisted in preparing daily buffets for 2,000 persons. The voyages tested the staff’s talent and stamina, as all cruise ships’ kitchens operate 24/7, catering to every passenger’s whims and wishes. “Impossible” was a word erased from the crew’s vocabulary.

Business Buffet

The Luneta Hotel’s lunch buffet (P550/pax) shows off Chef Noli’s talents and rich experience. Both the ala carte menu and the rotating buffet menu present the best dishes he perfected through the years.

Buffet starters on one balmy afternoon were Mexican: crisp corn tortillas to be topped with beef chili, fresh salsa, cheesy fish fingers, and creamy cheese sauce. Waldorf salad and fresh greens were complemented by olives, pineapple chunks, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

Two soups came from East and West: Egg Drop Soup and Creamed Sweet Potatoes with homemade croutons. The Egg Drop Soup showed attention to detail. Only egg whites were used as yolks altered the texture of the egg threads that are the trademark of the dish.

The main courses were from all continents: Korean kalbi jim (beef ribs), Vietnamese caramelized pork, Italian buttered fish pomodoro, pancit canton, penne alfredo, Greek herbed roast chicken, and teriyaki.

The dessert table starred the Philippines’ favorite summer treat: a DIY halo-halo stand, supplemented with pichi-pichi and buchi.

Top selling dishes from the ala carte menu are three of the country’s favorite party and fiesta preparations: morcon, kare-kare, and paella valenciana.

Chef Noli’s kare-kare is truly unique, though sticking to the original recipe. He uses no commercial peanut butter. He roasts and grinds peanuts himself, just the way he does with two kinds of rice. The clincher, though, is the addition of roasted pinipig, which is likewise run through the food processor.

The pinipig gave the kare-kare gravy a special kind of viscosity and grainy texture that’s endearing and very homey.

Luneta Hotel, 02 8758921


Falling in love again by Sol Vanzi February 12, 2015


mango pistachio feuilletine

It is difficult to match the romantic ambience of the Manila Hotel’s premier fine dining restaurant Champagne Room, the choice spot for Valentine’s Day dinner.

The glow of crystal, the sparkle of silver, the scent of roses, and the soft music of a grand piano and violins discreetly played by the country’s top musicians, all combine for a heavenly setting on the day reserved for lovers.

Dinner for two under the palm crystals at the Champagne Room during this season of love is made more memorable with a special His and Hers menu from executive chef Conrad Walter, featuring dishes that utilize ingredients believed to make lovers fall in love all over again.


heart-shaped vacherin


lobster medallion in sauternes aspic


soup of white asparagus


grilled U.S angus beef tenderloin


roasted chilean sea bass carrot.

Images courtesy of Manila Hotel

The meal comes complete with not just any bubbly but an exquisite Moët et Chandon Brut, compliments of the hotel.

Among the ingredients used for the His and Hers menu and credited with aphrodisiac powers are asparagus, lobster, avocado, chocolate, berries, cream, champagne, beef, rose petals, nuts, tea, and coffee.

A romantic Champagne Room dinner also highlights the Honeymoon Suite Package offered all Saturdays of February. The Manila Hotel invites couples to stay in one of only two Honeymoon Suites of the hotel, guaranteed to rekindle the flames of love amid lavish surroundings and sumptuous feasts.

An option is to go on a dinner cruise on historic Manila Bay while watching the world-famous sunset. Breakfast for two at the Café Ilang-Ilang the next morning completes the honeymoon escapade


Basic broths are back! by Sol Vanzi January 29, 2015

Why pay so much for noodle soup when you can make one at home?

:
Chicken Mami (Image by Angelo Garcia)

Ramen continues to take Manila by storm.

Weekends see families lining up for hours to pay hundreds of pesos for each bowl of noodles sparsely adorned with slices of stewed pork, fishcake, and fresh vegetables. “The broth alone is worth the price,” they all say.


RAMEN HOMEMADE SOUP

Ramen’s popularity continues to be boosted by articles of praise in prestigious publications such as The New York Times, which recently revealed that ramen broth is made by boiling pork bones overnight or longer, a frugal cooking method my family has practiced for generations.

FREE FOR ALL

My lola Tina used all parts of a pig, cow, chicken, fish, crabs, and shrimps. They were the secret ingredients to the pancit, lugaw, mami, sopas, and miswa served as merienda to workers at her husband’s jeepney factory and at special celebrations like fiestas. Her small karinderya was famous beyond Las Piñas, although she never used vetsin (MSG) and refused to touch instant broth powders and bouillon cubes. She made broth from scratch.

From butchers at the Zapote market, she received freshly skinned cow and pig skulls, all for free. Fish vendors also gave away very small wild crabs called pakot and molting shrimps called luno. Into her broths also went various roots, peels, leaves, and stems like ginger, garlic, onions, carrots, celery, and kintsay. Nutrient-rich items that would otherwise have gone to waste enriched her basic broth preparations that provided unique character to her dishes.

STOCK BAG

Raising my own big family, I adhered to grandma’s kitchen rules, which are easier to follow with the help of modern appliances. Our freezer, for example, contains a bag reserved for meat bones from steaks, chops, and roasts. Another bag keeps vegetable trimmings. Whenever there’s time to spare, I dump the contents of both bags into a huge caldron to simmer with water, beer, and any leftover wine. After a few hours, the broth turns milky and thick, ready for use. The broth goes into small containers and frozen for future use. Bone stock is the right liquid for making gravy and sauces. It is also the best liquid, instead of water, when cooking stews and braised meats.

29 BUTCHERS AND FISHMONGERS

One can still get free cow and pig skulls from butchers in large markets such as Divisoria, Nepa-Q, and Blumentritt in Manila. Abattoirs in major towns and cities are also good sources of free animal parts. Fish vendors who sell fish fillets often have fish vertebrae from prime fish which they practically give away or dispose of cheaply. Simmered with herbs, fish bones produce gelatinous broth that’s perfect for chowders, paella, bouillabaisse, gumbo, pasta, cioppino, and sopa de mariscos. Fish bones, minus the herbs, can also be used to make sinigang and pesa with the right vegetables—delicious, organic, all-natural, cheap, and nutritious.




Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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