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PHNO TRAVEL & LIFESTYE (FOOD)
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports)

SOL JOSE VANZI's  TRAVEL LIFESTYLE & FOOD PAGE THIS WEEK

(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)
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TRUE TO TRADITION
(As in Oysters Rockefeller holiday special)


NOVEMBER 24 -Singaporean laksa

ALSO: Haute cuisine? Santa serves up sleigh-borne dinner in the sky


NOVEMBER 25-Guests enjoy dinner at the table “Santa in the sky”, lifted by a crane and decorated to match the appearance of a “Santa Sleigh” as part as the Christmas festivities, in Brussels, Belgium, November 25, 2016. REUTERS/Yves Herman / MANILA BULLETIN
Not waiting at home for Santa Claus, gourmets in Brussels are flying off aboard his sleigh to dine with him above the city’s rooftops and twinkling Christmas lights. “Santa in the Sky” is a novel twist on the Belgian capital’s “Dinner in the Sky” venture, where diners and the chefs cooking for them are lifted high in the air on an open platform suspended from a construction crane. This weekend on the city’s chic Sablon square shopping district, a bell-ringing Santa Claus is welcoming people aboard the “restaurant” fitted out as a sleigh decked with lights and drawn through the air by four theater-prop reindeer. Diners, who sit strapped to chairs to eat at a bar running round the open kitchen, can pay up to 250 euros ($265) for a gastronomic four-course supper with wine, or go for options starting at 55 euros for tea — of course, it’s “high tea”. READ MORE...


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True to Tradition

MANILA, NOVEMBER 21, 2016 (MANILA BULLETIN LIFESTYLE) Published November 24, 2016, By Sol Vanzi - Filipinos love anything topped with melted cheese, especially shellfish. Every cook has his/her version of baked tahong (mussels), which always disappears fast no matter how it is prepared.

Among the popular toppings for baked stuffed shellfish are bacon, minced ham, green onions, parsley, spinach, garlic, and breadcrumbs. Plus cheese, of course. The toppings could be sprinkled on the shellfish meat arranged neatly on the half-shell or blended to form a thick paste that forms a crunchy crust after baking.

Before baking, a sprinkling of paprika on the surface livens up the dish by adding color and heat.

At the Manila Pavilion Hotel, nothing but the richest baked shellfish—Oysters Rockefeller—is on the menu as part of the “12 Holiday Specials at the Seasons.”

It was originally prepared with blended 18 ingredients, including the now-banned absinthe. The first time it was served in New Orleans in 1899, the dish was named “Oysters Rockefeller” because of the rich sauce that was green as money, reminding people of the famous contemporary millionaire J. D. Rockefeller.

Light and Fresh


Singaporean laksa

A second appetizer on the Seasons holiday menu is the classic American shrimp cocktail: poached large prawns in homemade cocktail sauce containing no mayonnaise. The prawns were naturally sweet and briny, tasting of the ocean. Firm flesh revealed how fresh they were.

Deep-fried beef kare-kare ravioli, completing the trio of starters, blended well with the other dishes because of the lightness of the pastry dough, the peanut sauce, and the tender braised beef filling.

Noodles two-ways

A very light and creamy laksa, Singapore’s spicy noodle soup, was perfect to warm the system during the season’s chilly days and nights. The Seasons’ version wisely went easy on the curry and chili, making the laksa easy to slurp and enjoy without feeling full. Homemade noodles featured in the first main course, which is the epitome of comfort food: fettuccine with lamb ragu.

The handkneaded and shaped noodles were thicker than commercial varieties, with roughly jagged edges that soaked up the ragu’s rich brown sauce. The lamb was so young and tender its meat was melting into the gravy.


Roasted rib eye of beef with red wine sauce

Surf and Turf

More comfort food filled the rest of the menu, beginning with beef rib eye roast with a red wine sauce. The meat, dry-aged for several weeks, was fork tender and tasted the way beef should. It did not bleed on one’s plate the way un-aged beef does. And the color was deep, not bright, and red. The wine sauce was mellow, using the best red wine. One rule chefs adhere to is: “Do not cook with wine you would not drink.”

The last main course was also nostalgic: salmon and potato cake with sautéed spinach, which appeared to be simple and easy to cook, but in reality involves numerous steps. First, a whole salmon is poached in wine and herbs, cooled, skinned, and deboned. After flaking, the salmon meat is mixed with onions, diced boiled potatoes, bread crumbs, and beaten egg.

Salmon and potato cake over sauteed spinach and aioli sauce Salmon and potato cake over sauteed spinach and aioli sauce


Salmon and potato cake over sauteed spinach and aioli sauce

Formed into patties, the salmon cakes are dipped in egg, then fine crumbs before frying in butter until golden and crisp on the outside.

A homemade aioli sauce was the perfect dip.

Finally, several small desserts capped the meal that celebrates all that the holiday season stands for: tradition, good company, and lasting memories.


MANILA BULLETIN LIFESTYLE (By Reuters)

Haute cuisine? Santa serves up sleigh-borne dinner in the sky 0 SHARES Share it! Published November 27, 2016, 4:15 PM By Reuters


Guests enjoy dinner at the table “Santa in the sky”, lifted by a crane and decorated to match the appearance of a “Santa Sleigh” as part as the Christmas festivities, in Brussels, Belgium, November 25, 2016. REUTERS/Yves Herman / MANILA BULLETIN

Not waiting at home for Santa Claus, gourmets in Brussels are flying off aboard his sleigh to dine with him above the city’s rooftops and twinkling Christmas lights.

“Santa in the Sky” is a novel twist on the Belgian capital’s “Dinner in the Sky” venture, where diners and the chefs cooking for them are lifted high in the air on an open platform suspended from a construction crane.

This weekend on the city’s chic Sablon square shopping district, a bell-ringing Santa Claus is welcoming people aboard the “restaurant” fitted out as a sleigh decked with lights and drawn through the air by four theater-prop reindeer.

Diners, who sit strapped to chairs to eat at a bar running round the open kitchen, can pay up to 250 euros ($265) for a gastronomic four-course supper with wine, or go for options starting at 55 euros for tea — of course, it’s “high tea”.

READ MORE...

Free to marvel at Brussels’ Flemish Renaissance grandeur and medieval churches, customers can savor haute cuisine from distinguished chefs, some with Michelin stars to their name.

On Friday evening, Maxime Mazier’s menu included a lobster and artichoke starter, line-caught sea bass with shellfish and coconut marshmallow with mango. The trick, he said, was coping with the gusts of winter night air that whip around the sleigh.

“It’s not that warm,” he said. “Just as you’re serving, if the wind gets up, for the fish, which has to be served just right, it’s the timing that’s important.”

Michael Chiche, who helps run the Brussels-based firm that over the past 10 years has brought the sky-dining experience to 58 countries, said he was confident the four-day Christmas event which ends on Sunday, would be repeated next year.


Guests enjoy dinner at the table "Santa in the sky", lifted by a crane and decorated to match the appearance of a "Santa Sleigh" as part as the Christmas festivities, in Brussels, Belgium, November 25, 2016. REUTERS/Yves Herman / MANILA BULLETIN

“To be in the air, first, it’s the view,” he said. “Secondly, you’re blocked. It means that you are with your guests, you are with the chef and all the flavors, everything, you’re going to experience it completely differently.”

Helene Ziegler, 19, an art history student, said it had been worth a moment of panic: “As we were on the way up, I got a bit scared. It was moving. But once on top, it became very quiet.

“It’s great to see the entire city. The food is very good. The chefs prepare it in front of us. It’s wonderful.”

The evening, she said, was a gift to her and her sister from their father — though he found a convenient excuse not to join them 100 feet (35 meters) above the cold cobbles of the Sablon.


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" EVERY THURSDAY OF THE WEEK.
http://www.mb.com.ph/lifestyle/


Sol in 1997 Photo: PHNO Editor/Travel & Leisure page
http://www.newsflash.org/staff/solvanzi.htm


Photo of Sol and young Kyle Victor Jose in March 2005 at PHNO/QCNet
office in Levitown, Paranaque. Photoshot by Leo Q. Carolino.


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