Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Savvy Dinner with a Magnifique View of the Manila Bay at Pan Pacific Manila

     Another excruciating workday was almost ending.   A midst the traffic, the blazing afternoon heat of the metro and tons of errands to do, it is always sprightly to experience a top-notch view of the sun setting on Manila bay with a starring array of  sizable cocktails, yes unbeatable isn't it?    A match made by nonetheless than Pan Pacific Manila.

    Doesn't this area take your breath away.   Outside a formal and classy lounge at the Pan Pacific Manila is a mini-paradise where an intimate group of friends and colleagues meet for a grill party which they've called as Sunset Barbecue.   However, the Garden and Gazebo only welcomes guest for the Sunset Barbecue on Fridays only, If you are interested as I am, email or call 318 0788 and ask for the Butler, of course! Open at 6 pm up to 9 pm only.
     A buffet offering at the Pacific Lounge is just pure pleasure.   To-die-for Hors D'oeuvres enticed me right away.   The fresh take on daily  greens and tomato reds lured me right away.
     I've been invited so many times in their events which served to highlight the hotel's culinary fare and as always they perk me up and not in a single event have they failed my frail palate.
      I may not be a cheese connoisseur but I can rightly appreciate any kind, hahaha, even the one that is the smelliest in the row, blue cheese (or Gorgonzola).   Lovely line up of imported cheese and dried berries and fruits fit for a royalty, is also present at the fashionable set up of the  round table aka buffet table.

     Crackling chips and nachos are also on the buffet with different dips to go with it.   Or concoct your own salsa from the buffet.

     Oohh! Darn that black pitted olives, now I'm craving for some, and my fridge is out of it.
     How can I even be luckier, Quesadillas are also included for the day's Pacific 360, it is how they call their Pacific Lounge dining promotion.

     Whatever it is that you may prefer, like bits of Western, Mexican, and Japanese, they have it here.
     On a side note, these grilled chicken served with French Fries and grilled corn can really fill your tummy

     Crunchy colorful fruit slices to take it slower and cleanse the palate.
       Then comes dessert....
       Lookey, spoons of truffles and pralines.   The idea of setting the dessert round up in this way is a terrific idea.     The trouble is whether to put back the spoon empty or pile them all on my plate.   How do you think I did it?
      Get indulged with the proper gustatory, whether you are one of the hotel's guest or just want to savor something like what we had, with friends or relatives.   Pacific 360 is at the Pacific Lounge, by it's namesake, the 21st floor is a circumferent venue for this fabulous food finds and more.   The experience is available everyday 6 PM to 8 PM, for only Php 600.00 nett, with a choice of bottomless drink, topping it off with a glass of fine wine.
     My appreciation to Miss Pauline Areglado, Pan Pacific's Marketing and Communications Coordinator, for  keeping us company all throughout the lovely dining adventure from  the  only five-star Butler hotel in Manila.   

Pan Pacific Manila Hotel
Address:   M. Adriatico corner Gen. Malvar Streets, Malate , Manila City 1004 Philippines
Contact Details:

Toll Free Reservation:

Within Philippines: 1800 8908 6362 / 1800 1441 0621

International: Call Us
+63 2 318 0788

+63 2 302 9501

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Celebrating Dad's Day at The Dining Room, Gourmet Farms

Hey there, my brain needs more juicing up, I've been up and about this whole week preparing for an event which goes with my part time job, so do pardon me for siting someone else's, quote or letter.   But I find the words so apt for my husband and maybe your dad, your husband, son or brother, or a friend.   If  I'm one of his daughter, which he now have three, these could be the same words I could have written for him, but someone wrote it first, hehehe.

"A true father is always there. He is there to spill tears of happiness when his eyes fall upon his infant daughter. He is there with arms to catch her when she takes her first steps or stumbles. He is there to teach her at the youngest age, even though she might not understand half of it. He is there to help her color inside the lines, make her grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, and tie her shoes. He is there to hug her and kiss her on her first days of school, and to walk her in if need be. He is there to teach her and tease her and laugh with her. He is always there to embarrass her, but that’s part of life. He is there to tell her to go ask her mother, when her mother told her to ask him. He is there to lecture her, prepare her for the monster called high school. He is there to put up with her teenage moods and her co-ed relationships. He is there to approve, disapprove, accept and forgive. He is there to give her a big bundle of flowers when she graduates, to smile when her name is called and feel proud. He is there to embrace her and kiss her before she goes to live and learn a thousand miles away. He is there to see her become a workingwoman, to walk her down the aisle (or not, if her independence and stubbornness prevail after all). He is there to watch her grow as the lines on his face grow. He is there to welcome her home, always, and let her hug him and smell the smell she remembers from childhood, the warm, protecting, comforting smell of dad. But most of all, he is always there to love her. And she is always there to love him back. Dad, I love you, happy Father’s Day.”

So to celebrate Dad's day , we brought my sister-in-law and her husband and kid to Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo's Heritage house in Kawit , Cavite.   We actually were there, during the 2012 Independence Day celebration.   But we had to let them experience the new Cavitex, an express way connecting lands from Bacoor to Kawit, Cavite, passing miles of bridge over murky sea water, where we get our mussels and oysters.   Eventually had them reminiscing their childhood times, because they used to live in Bacoor  and their grandparents used to own part of the land and coastal areas of Bacoor for a saltern business.

Then, as promised to my brother-in-law, after the tour inside the mansion of Emilio Aguinaldo, we treated them to an early dinner at The Dining Room at Gourmet Farms.

The Dining Room, nestled along Aguinaldo Highway, you wouldn't miss seeing a peculiar white structure just a few drops at the Gourmet Farms.   The domed structure may resemble a Greek taverna or a museum.    And it had lived up to my expectations.   Inside are captivating paintings of Koi's, plants and lilies.  It would seem you walked in an un-roofed museum,  The glass windows below the  roof invites natural light from the outside making it like an open room (pun intended).

It used to be the Gourmet Cafe which is popular not only for its unique blend of coffee but also for the fresh organic vegetables that were being grown at  the back of the cafĂ©. Soon after, the coffee shop was expanded into a restaurant that became famous for its salads, Italian dishes and specialty sandwiches.

The clean white walls of the  room explains the elegance felt once you open the double-leaf white doors.   Remove the tables and chairs and it would be mistaken as an art gallery.   For now they are carrying the "Ripples and Scents" art exhibit.   A natural realism of oil paintings by Angelito "Jo" Florendo.

On the far end of the door, is a stage with a black piano.  This piano was one of the original piece in the old Gourmet's restaurant.   Last April, when they celebrated their anniversary, Jose Mari Chan performed for the diners on that very stage using this piano.

Their best-selling shake, a signature of The Dining Room,  basil and lemon.   Make sure you have this for a refreshing start to your meal and an ending one at that.

Coffee aficionados know Gourmet brand coffees by heart.  In fact, it was Gourmet that challenged instant coffee drinkers to taste a new and premium brew that is locally planted, harvested and roasted.  So why would I not have it here at the center where it started.   The full-bodied fresh taste of their coffee comes from premium beans and roasting it properly.   I was having a migraine at that time and a good cup of coffee relieved me from it getting worse.

We all raved about their crusty toast, on every sides of our soups.   Above is the recommended pumpkin soup.   My sis-in-law even ordered more.

A clear-based Mushroom soup.   Another tough one to match.   A bowl of this is a hearty starter which we all loved even the kids, who were expecting a creamy mushroom bowl.

Daddy's bunso, enjoying a sip of the creamy bright yellow pumpkin soup, which is not oily, salty or sweet.  It's a blend of  subtle sweetness that you get from boiling the pumpkin, and the right saltiness.

My blue plate, full of Arugula and Mangoes drizzled with their own-made Asian dressing.   The vinaigrette  is a brown liquid mix of olive oil, sugar, vinegar and aromatic sesame seeds.   The what-used-to-be Gourmet Cafe was famous for its fresh picked from their garden veggies.    Here the crispy  fresh arugula in my dish came from their farm, the Gourmet Farm.   Let me also tell you that visitors are welcome to visit  the whole farm and pick fruits and vegetables, but we got there past four already and the farm tour is until 4 pm.
Spicy Penne Salsicia
By the time we get there, the buffet  table was being loaded up for the dinner which starts at 6 pm, we never knew they serve buffet but of course it was too early for dinner so most of us opted to have their pasta.

The menu serves a wide array of pasta dishes such as Primavera, Al Funghi, Vongole, Amatricciana and more and the ones we ordered.  
The Spicy Penne Salsicia have that mild piccante kick that my kids love , see how the sauce sticks to the perfectly al dente penne, that's how it should be with tube pastas, if the sauce is rightly seasoned you don't need to have sauces running over your plates which can be "ma-umay".

Chili Shrimp Pasta
So how would I differentiate the first spaghetti to the next one, apart from the colors, the sauce is way different.   If you are a bit gallant in dining you might probably prefer Pesto over Marinara or Tomato-based sauce.  Well, me I love them both.   I cook both in ways you couldn't imagine but that's another blog post.

If you are unaware of what pesto is let me share some info.   Pesto is a general term used by the Italians to describe a garlicky olive oil based sauce which can be spread on breads also used as a sauce for pizza or pasta, or used as a vegetable dip. One of my sources stated the origin of pesto may actually be North Africa. But it is mainly associated with the northern Italian region of Italy called Liguria where Genoa is located. 

The aforementioned red pasta will always be a crowd favorite, but beware it is really spicy but a sure win with all the big shrimps it it.

Classic Carbonara
As always, my kids would prefer Carbonara over other pasta dishes.   The creamy base with a milky taste is what kids look for in a pasta.   Mushrooms, garlic and some bacon bits make it more appetizing.   This serving can be good for two kids already.   You see pure Italian pasta is not complicated, it should be simple  yet always a classic.

Gourmet's Chicken Sandwich
Beef  Salpicao

The Gang

Km. 52, Aguinaldo Highway, Barangay Buho, Silang Cavite, Philippines
Open During
10:00 am - 11:00 pm (Monday to Friday)
11:00 am - 09:00 pm (Saturday to Sunday)

The Dining Room at Gourmet Farms Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Eat Like Rizal at Bacolod Chicken Inasal

      June 19, was Dr. Jose Rizal's 151st birthday.  It was actually yesterday,  so to honor him being our National Hero, and the primary mover of  Philippine Independence, restaurants and hotels have joined together in a project.   Since we are talking about Rizal and his passion for Filipino cuisine, have you ever wondered what his favorite dish or viand and even what snack he might have taken during the arising of propaganda for the foreign invasions? 
      Bacolod Chicken Inasal, one of the country's well known Filipino restaurants, in a joint project with the Department of Tourism's Kulinarya Kalayaan and together with the Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines invites all Filipinos to celebrate and EAT LIKE A HERO.  Eat Like A Hero is the newest meal offering at all Bacolod Chicken Inasal restaurants nationwide that features the favorite meals of our national hero Jose Rizal as  inspired by his letters to his family while he was in Paris and in exile in Dapitan.
      "Ulam ni Rizal sa Paris", the title of the first meal offering, is inspired by excerpts from Rizal's letter to his family while in Paris on May 16, 1869 where he wrote, "We were thinking of eating in the karihan, all of us Filipinos who are in Paris, with wives, young ladies and children. For the occasion we shall have sinigang and bagoong..." Touched by Rizal's longing for his native sinigang and bagoong while being far away in Paris, "Ulam ni Rizal sa Paris" features a choice of Sinigang na Baboy or Sinigang sa Batwan Bangus Belly served with a side dish of grilled eggplant, tomato and onions with bagoong, plain rice and iced tea, a feast for two persons for only P379. Purchase of this meal will provide diners with "Bayani Savings" of P41. Both Sinigang na Baboy and Sinigang sa Batwan Bangus Belly are bestsellers of the restaurant chain. BCI's big bowl of classic Sinigang na Baboy guarantees tender soft bite cuts of pork belly soured by a tamarind based broth with native vegetables. The chain's Sinigang sa Batwan Bangus Belly provides diners with something unique and extra special as the soup broth is soured by the rare Visayan souring agent called "batwan" that grows wild and found only in the countryside of the Visayas. "Batwan" gives the premium cut bangus belly sinigang broth a special delicate flavor truly a rare treat available only at BCI branches.
      Who would not succumb to the sour tamarind soup based ultimate "Pinoy Ulam" (Philippine viand)?   Cut pork bellies are slow cooked till tender and the liquid base made salivatingly sour with tamarind paste, with all the Pinoy veegies that is indigenous to our country, like kangkong, eggplant, long green chilly, and tomatoes.

The batwan, the souring agent for the Sinigang na Bangus.

Inspired by a letter of Rizal to his sister while on  exile in Dapitan, the other EAT LIKE A HERO  meal offers diners a chance to experience a merienda that we imagine Rizal would have been served as his typical snack by his lady companion whom he calls "Ms B" in Dapitan. Rizal wrote to Trinidad Rizal from Dapitan on October 23, 1895 in Filipino "Natanggap ko ang tatlong sako ng bigas at dalawa pang kahon: isa ay naglalaman ng tsokolate... Dito labis kaming nagkakasundo ni Ms. B na gumagawa ng suman." BCI's meal coined as "Merienda ni Rizal" offers a traditional Filipino snack of specially made delicious suman  served with organic muscovado sugar and with one of the best tasting native "tsokolate" served bottomless for only P107. From Rizal's letter, it is easy to imagine Ms. Josephine Bracken, the lady that Rizal calls as "Ms B", painstakingly preparing for our hero the most delicious tasting suman and Rizal enjoying that with a cup of real cacao-made chocolate – a snack truly fit for a hero!

    Today, the Filipino people that Rizal loved and died for, can share the same love for good Filipino food and for our country by dining like a true Filipino hero with Bacolod Chicken Inasal's Eat Like A Hero meals.  Thanks to the sisters behind it!

For any questions, please feel free to contact Ms. Rose Meim at 09178927262. Salamat gid!