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SOL VANZI's  TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE PAGE
FEATURING HER 'TIMPLA'T TIKIM' (Manila Bulletin)
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

COUNTRY CHRISTMAS FOOD TO WARM THE SOUL By Sol Jose Vanzi
[All the nostalgic eats at Restaurant Verbena]


Christmas table discovery Suites holiday menu offers well-loved dishes like US Angus beef short plate -
As December approaches, everyone’s thoughts turn to things associated with Christmas: carols, Christmas trees, pretty wrapping paper and ribbons, family reunions, and, of course, food traditionally associated with the yuletide season. Early this week, the first pre-Christmas lunch of the year was held way up in the mountains of Tagaytay, with a full view of sleeping Taal Volcano. There were many other firsts that day: our first visit to homey Discovery Country Suites and the first encounter with full-blooded Filipino chef Anthony Raymond. At the restaurant Verbana, the buffet was as inviting as a quilted wrap on a winter morn: honey-glazed ham, apple-brined roast turkey, roast US Angus short plate, crisp pork belly stuffed with chestnuts and dates. Each dish was a masterpiece. For hams, Chef Anthony chose to lightly cure the part we call pata front, known in the West as pig knuckle, which is smaller and more moist than the ham (pigue in Tagalog) part. The cured knuckles are cooked with herbs and spices for several hours until tender, then baked to crisp the edges and render out the fat layer. The end product had meat falling off the bones and skin that’s at once crisp and tender. READ MORE...

ALSO: RESTAURANT VERBENA


Restaurant Verbena is the multi-awarded gourmet gem of Discovery Country Suites Tagaytay. Set in the cozy elegance of this lakeside retreat, Verbena pairs the rich, stimulating flavors of contemporary fusion cuisine with the comforting ingredients of farm-fresh country food. The menu is complemented by a prestigious wine list of renowned international labels. Verbena’s hearty country breakfasts are a highlight of every stay at Discovery Country Suites, as are the sophisticated selections of wine and cheese served at sundown. MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORT HERE:

Country Christmas food to warm the soul
[All the nostalgic eats at Restaurant Verbena]


Christmas table discovery Suites holiday menu offers well-loved dishes like US Angus beef short plate

MANILA, NOVEMBER 30, 2015 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Sol Vanzi November 26, 2015 - As December approaches, everyone’s thoughts turn to things associated with Christmas: carols, Christmas trees, pretty wrapping paper and ribbons, family reunions, and, of course, food traditionally associated with the yuletide season.


View of Taal Lake while dining

Early this week, the first pre-Christmas lunch of the year was held way up in the mountains of Tagaytay, with a full view of sleeping Taal Volcano.

There were many other firsts that day: our first visit to homey Discovery Country Suites and the first encounter with full-blooded Filipino chef Anthony Raymond.

At the restaurant Verbana, the buffet was as inviting as a quilted wrap on a winter morn: honey-glazed ham, apple-brined roast turkey, roast US Angus short plate, crisp pork belly stuffed with chestnuts and dates. Each dish was a masterpiece.



For hams, Chef Anthony chose to lightly cure the part we call pata front, known in the West as pig knuckle, which is smaller and more moist than the ham (pigue in Tagalog) part.

The cured knuckles are cooked with herbs and spices for several hours until tender, then baked to crisp the edges and render out the fat layer. The end product had meat falling off the bones and skin that’s at once crisp and tender.

READ MORE...

Instead of ordinary lechon, Chef Anthony deboned skin-on pork belly, stuffed them with chestnuts and dates, carefully rolled and tied them, and finally roasted until skin was golden brown and crunchy.


Roast turkey

The iconic roast turkey was brined overnight in a mixture of apple juice, spices, and secret spirits before the bird was roasted in a very slow oven to maintain its juices.

A sauce with capers was perfect with the US Angus beef short plate, a cut that’s just right for braising. The beef flavor was almost concentrated because of the long cooking method, akin to the classic pot roast but with more layers of texture and flavor.

For carbs, there were classic jasmine steamed rice, cheesy baked potato gratin and herb-roasted marble potato. organic shoots and flowers, colorful fruits, and colorful Italian pasta salads made healthy starters.


Pecan nut

Meal-enders were special creations: red velvet cake, strawberry shortcake, sweet potato pecan pie, homebaked cookies and cupcakes, fresh fruits to dip into chocolate fondue.

Chef Anthony confessed that he took the long route to where he is now. His parents, both Filipino, brought him to live in many parts of the world that his dad’s work took them.

“I was only seven when we left so I am just now making my own Philippine memories with my Pinay wife Jenie and son Peyton,” he said.


Homebaked cookies and cupcakes

For him, long overdue international recognition of Filipino food is just around the corner. Meantime, he is kept busy preparing, and improving upon, classic dishes that warm the soul.

Discovery Country Suites’ holiday menu is available for the whole month of December, while the special buffet will be offered on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.


DISCOVERY COUNTRY SUITES

RESTAURANT VERBENA

Restaurant Verbena is the multi-awarded gourmet gem of Discovery Country Suites Tagaytay.

Set in the cozy elegance of this lakeside retreat, Verbena pairs the rich, stimulating flavors of contemporary fusion cuisine with the comforting ingredients of farm-fresh country food.

The menu is complemented by a prestigious wine list of renowned international labels. Verbena’s hearty country breakfasts are a highlight of every stay at Discovery Country Suites, as are the sophisticated selections of wine and cheese served at sundown.

Awards

•Ranked Number 2, Top 5 in the Philippines, The Miele Guide 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 editions
•Top 25 in the Philippines, The Miele Guide 2009
•Awarded Certified Fine Dining Restaurant by La Chaine des Rotisseurs
•Manila’s Best Restaurants, Philippine Tatler, 2009/2010/2011 Apple Crisp Dates and Pine Nuts Pudding Duck Confit Filipino Eggs Benedict Mushroom Soup


Pancetta Linguine Pork Pasta Salmon Pasta Seafood Risotto

 
https://youtu.be/6FIEPCyWNTk ------BREAKFAST RUN VIDEO


SOL JOSE VANZI's PHNO PAGE


Photo from Kyle Victor Jose's iPAD
Lifestyle/Food and Arts & Culture columnist of the Manila Daily Bulletin.
Signature title "Timpla't Tikim"
http://www.mb.com.ph/lifestyle/


Sol in 1997 Photo: PHNO Editor/Travel & Leisure page
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Photo of Sol and young Kyle Victor Jose in March 2005 at PHNO/QCNet
office in Levitown, Paranaque. Photoshot by Leo Q. Carolino.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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