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SUMMER FOOD TRICKS
Unless you’re thinking of bringing crackers and protein bars, planning an on-the-road menu is trickier than you think. Everything about summer spells freedom—picnics, trips to the beach, visits to family ancestral homes, and fiestas wherever one turns. In short, summer is the season for food. READ ON.....

ALSO: A meal at the top
A new restaurant in Tagaytay serves dishes from the hands of a New York-trained Filipino chef. Several journalists went out of their way to break workday rules last week, starting the weekend break a day early for a three-hour, mountain-top lunch that would be impossible to match in the lowlands of their daily grind.

ALSO: Taal Vista Hotel, Tagaytay
Location. Situated in Tagaytay, Taal Vista Hotel is close to Summit Ridge Promenade and Picnic Grove. Additional area attractions include People's Park in the Sky. Hotel Features. Taal Vista Hotel has a full-service spa, an outdoor pool, and a fitness center. Complimentary wireless Internet access is available in public areas. This 4-star hotel features business amenities including a business center and meeting rooms. This Tagaytay hotel offers a restaurant, a coffee shop/café, and a bar/lounge. READ MORE...

TAAL VISTA HOTEL, TAGAYTAY --Click for map here


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Summer food tricks

MANILA, MARCH 16, 2015 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Sol Vanzi - Unless you’re thinking of bringing crackers and protein bars, planning an on-the-road menu is trickier than you think.

Everything about summer spells freedom—picnics, trips to the beach, visits to family ancestral homes, and fiestas wherever one turns. In short, summer is the season for food.

PACK FOR TRAVEL

Whether in a car, bus, boat, or plane, food safety should be the primary concern of travelers, particularly parents with youngsters in tow. Decades spent raising five kids taught me to always play it safe and avoid small eateries or karinderya while on the road.

This does not mean limiting our diet to crackers and chocolate bars. It simply dictates that we should plan everything well, down to the smallest details such as bringing garbage bags and damp paper towels (Wet Ones).

INSULATED BAGS

The most vital piece of luggage for travelers, whether alone or in groups, is an insulated bag, which acts like a soft ice box. In this bag, we usually pack frozen, 500 ml. mineral water bottles that keep everything cold as the water thaws. On a bus trip to Ilocos last year, our water remained chilled overnight until it was breakfast time in Batac.

The bag also prevented our egg salad and ham and tuna sandwiches from spoiling. In the same bag, apples and oranges stayed fresh and crisp.

JOURNEY MENU

Planning a picnic or travel menu needs more care than a home dinner or lunch. The food should be flavorful, filling, nutritious, not messy, and, most of all, safe.

At the top of our family’s favorites list are: hardboiled eggs, cold roast chicken, pork barbecue in skewers, ripe bananas, chicken wings, nuts, dried fruits, flaked adobo sandwiches, Vienna sausages in pull-tab cans, peanut butter on crackers, and cold pasta salads.

FOR PICNICS

As much as possible, we advise against packing highly perishable dishes such as kare-kare, saucy menudo, cream-based viands, bone-in chicken barbecue, and large, whole grilled fish.

Kare-kare spoils very fast because of the ground peanuts and rice in its gravy.

Often, the telltale signs of bubbles and foam appear even before one’s destination is reached. The same is true of menudo and other tomato-based stews unless they are simmered until the sauce evaporates, leaving only a very thick, oily gravy.

Cream, being a dairy product, turns sour at room temperature. Bone-in chicken barbecue does not often get fully cooked. The flesh close to the bones sometimes stays rare and bloody, causing ailments to the diner.

Large fish, when grilled whole, tend to be burnt on the outside but raw or half-done inside. To prevent this, cut the seasoned fish into several pieces, wrap them tightly in banana leaves or aluminum foil and then grill.

GRILLING TIPS

Keep the meats and fish in the ice box until you are ready to broil. Do not use the marinade for basting. Make a fresh batch of sauce to brush with while grilling.

For convenience and flavor, bake or roast whole slabs of pork ribs in the home oven. Slice into individual ribs and refrigerate. At the picnic, baste with barbecue sauce and broil over very hot coals.


A meal at the top by Sol Vanzi March 5, 2015


Taza Fresh Table Restaurant in Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay

A new restaurant in Tagaytay serves dishes from the hands of a New York-trained Filipino chef

Several journalists went out of their way to break workday rules last week, starting the weekend break a day early for a three-hour, mountain-top lunch that would be impossible to match in the lowlands of their daily grind.

PRICELESS VIEW

The setting alone takes one’s breath away:

Taal Vista Hotel’s new restaurant, Taza Fresh Table, which offers the incomparable Tagaytay Ridge view of Taal Volcano, Taal Lake, and all the surrounding mountains and hills.

It’s the same postcard-perfect panorama that awed me in the early 1960s when I was a part-time tourist guide, herding retired American school teachers and federal workers every weekend to supplement my weekly student allowance. Its magic has not faded. The majesty always guides my thoughts to a Creator greater than all of us.


Rib-eye wagyu steak (Images by Pinggot Zulueta )


Vegetable pizza


Moroccan chicken


Tomato salad


Alugbati salad


Tomahawk pork chop

BEAUTIFUL EDIBLES

Matching the panoramic vista are Taza’s dishes, created with utmost care by New York-trained chef Jayme Natividad who, like many legendary kitchen gods, received early training from his grandmother.

The lush foothills of Mt. Apo in Davao encouraged the budding chef to embrace everything in nature, from the creatures of land and sea to the colorful plants that grew in abundance as far as the eye can see.

This romance with his surroundings is evident in Jayme’s signature dishes: alugbati salad, molten chocolate cake, cannoli stuffed with ube ricotta, grilled vegetable pizza, and heirloom tomato salad dressed with salted egg vinaigrette.

ARTISANAL EVERYTHING

Taza’s menu reads like the diary of a chef who never sleeps. Everything is homemade, from the fresh fruit chutneys to the thick slabs of honey-cured, smoked bacon and pimento-spiked chorizo appetizers. “I never forgot the way my grandmother made ham and sausages from scratch. It all seemed very natural and effortless,” he says.

But effortless is the farthest word in mind when making boquerones, the Spanish specialty of deboned anchovies in garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice, that’s part of the quartet of appetizers, or mezze, served as starters. Marinated three-mushroom combo and pureed roasted eggplants or baba ghanoush complete the ensemble.

SHADES OF CASABLANCA

Rekindling memories of Bogart and Bergman is the crowd favorite Moroccan chicken, cooked and served in handpainted tagine or earthenware casserole. The generous chicken pieces are browned and then simmered in thick gravy, suffused with spices and dried fruits, and perfumed with rose water.

The unique shape of the shallow tagine casserole, covered with a high-peaked dome of the same material, allows vapors from the ingredients to rise and then, to drip down, keeping everything moist and imbued with all the flavors of North African spices.

FLINSTONE’S CHOPS

Meat dishes in huge servings worthy of Fred and Wilma Flintstone, the tomahawk pork chop and ribeye wagyu, were shared by all nine of us at the table. Rare pink salt enhanced the flavors while caramelized onions provided sweet depth.


Taal Vista Hotel, Tagaytay 60 Kaybagal North Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay, Cavite, 4120, Philippines, ‏‎866-299-2910‎ Lowest price$164 CAD


TAAL VISTA HOTEL, TAGAYTAY --Click for map here

Location. Situated in Tagaytay, Taal Vista Hotel is close to Summit Ridge Promenade and Picnic Grove. Additional area attractions include People's Park in the Sky.

Hotel Features. Taal Vista Hotel has a full-service spa, an outdoor pool, and a fitness center. Complimentary wireless Internet access is available in public areas.

This 4-star hotel features business amenities including a business center and meeting rooms. This Tagaytay hotel offers a restaurant, a coffee shop/café, and a bar/lounge.

Additional amenities include a rooftop terrace, an arcade/game room, and tour/ticket assistance. For a surcharge, guests have access to a roundtrip airport shuttle (available on request). Guest parking is complimentary, and available on a limited first-come, first-served basis.

Guestrooms. The 261 air-conditioned guestrooms at Taal Vista Hotel include minibars and hair dryers.

Guests can use the in-room complimentary wireless high-speed Internet access. Televisions are equipped with cable channels.

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Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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