Chef Stevie’s Vietnamese menu

 

 

 

During our trip to India, my food friend was Steven Villacin. He’s so adventurous, ofcourse, being a foodie and all. Our first meal was breakfast. I was seated beside him and we tried everything. I was surprised that I liked the salty masala buttermilk. He said it was an “acquired taste.” The salty milk was just all wrong to him. It had herbs floating on top too, like a mojito. For me, it neutralized my tongue. It had been burning from all the curry and chutneys I was trying.

Stevie, as everyone fondly calls him, used to work in the financial industry. He ended his high-powered and fast-paced career and went for what he truly loved doing. Cooking. He put up a food order/catering business called Chef Stevie’s and made a name for himself with his specialty, Hainanese chicken rice. This has been my never-fail pot luck contribution at most parties.

Last Saturday, Stevie and his cousin Claudette CV Travel, the travel agency that put together our fabulous India tour, treated us to Chef Stevie’s new menu. We had an awesome lunch at home. Patrick is now expecting something like this every weekend. Good thing I have Chef Stevie’s number on my fave list. Haha.

Warning, viewing food photos past midnight can make you hungry.

 


Fried Shrimp Lumpia with Bacon served with Sweet Chili Sauce – Php1,200 for 50 pcs. (minimum).

 


The kids loved this!!! And so did I.

 


Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce. One order consists of 15 pieces for Php1,050. Additional pieces are charged at Php70 per piece

 


I felt healthy eating this. I kept getting reminded that everyone I met in Vietnam was slim.

 


Oriental Chicken Salad with Hoisin Dressing. One order consists of 2 half size deep pans (11 3/4 in. x 9 3/8 in. x 2 9/16 in.) for Php1,700. Chef Stevie currently does not accept half orders since not a lot of people order this. It’s perfect for a big lunch. Ours lasted three days! It also comes with crispy noodles for sprinkling on top.

 

To order Chef Stevie’s Vietnamese menu or his famous Hainanese Chicken Rice, +63906-508-4155

 

Casa Roces

 

 

 

A couple of weeks ago, we shot Urban Zone at this “new” restaurant called Casa Roces. My producers told me it was near Malacanang. They said it was an old Legarda house. I had to double check to ask if they were referring to Cocina de Tita Moning, which is known as the Legarda mansion. I’ve eaten there too many times. It’s a place you have to go fasting for before eating there.

Well, it was a pleasant surprise to see another house, also within the Malacanang neighbourhood. This one has a view of the Palace gates. It is literally across the street from the palace. The entire house was recently renovated to be converted into a restaurant and cafe. I interviewed the architect of the renovation, Tina Bonoan. It’s amazing that they respected the integrity of the structure but gave the place all the comforts of contemporary living.

The cafe is named Cape Chino after Don Chino Roces. Everywhere in the house there are reminders of the family’s heritage – prints of La Vanguardia and the old Manila Times news papers, photos and memorabilia from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. I ran into Peachy Prieto who runs the business and she told me the story of the house, which her great aunt lived in. I forget the details of how the Prietos, Legardas, Roceses and all are related. Basta they are. Peachy pointed out that this wasn’t a mansion. It was just a regular house built in Commonwealth style. I thought it was gorgeous.

The restaurant is run and managed by the Cravings group. I enjoyed my meal. But please do not expect a full blown food review. You know me and food.

This post is picture-heavy so I split it. Please click on “Read more” to read more…

 


The gate of Casa Roces is right across the gate of Malacanang.

 


Interviewing the architect of the renovation/restoration Tina Bonoan. It is a perfect example of adaptive re-use. The main entrance of the house used to be off to the side (left photo). This is now the valet drop-off. Pedestrian guests can enter through the garden side, which Tina opened up to give a more dramatic entrance. They also knocked down walls in exchange for tempered glass picture windows. There’s a big Impy Pilapil sculpture and water feature out front.

 


The old foyer of the old entrance. Tina barely touched the layout of the great hallway. She just painted the walls and lined parts of the ceiling with pages from the old newspapers of Chino Roces.

 


The garden-side of the house, which faces Malacanang, has been opened up with sliding doors and a beautiful wooden deck.

 


Furniture came from the personal collection of the Legardas, Roces and Prietos. I love the mishmash of styles and periods.

 


The door to the cafe may look familiar to those who’ve been to Morita’s years ago. Morita is also a member of the clan.

 


The cafe reception is actually an extension from the original structure. It also opens up to a cozy outdoor bar with stone tables. Tina displayed memorabilia from the family. I love how un-stuffy the antiques look. Credit that to the chic/contemporary shelves painted in sunny yellow.

 


Everything here is original. The wood was just refinished. I love long curtains that drape and gather over the floor. It’s the only way to do drapes. I’m loving the light that comes through in this stairwell. The upper floor has private function rooms.

 


This is the terrace over the driveway of the old main entrance. Most old homes kept this as an outdoor balcony or smoking area. It was like a sunroom for the old family. Tina converted it to a private dining hall.

 


Original machuca tiles. This was one of my favourite rooms.

 


I loved that old homes had generous windows and huge eaves. Lots of natural light came in but no direct sunlight to make the rooms a living hell. I hope new architects never forget how our old homes were built. There’s so much wisdom in the bahay kubo, bahay na bato and their types.

 
Theres more…

Click to see the rest of the story

Esquire UK features Filipino food

 

 

I very rarely write about food. It’s not my favourite topic. Don’t get me wrong. I love to eat. I eat everything except innards and exotic stuff. I enjoy expensive meals and good wine. But I just don’t like writing about it for the simple reason that I don’t have enough words in me to describe food. This coming from someone who hosted a TV show that was 1/3 about food. I used to dread doing food reviews for F. So whenever I get invited to restaurants now, 95% of the time I decline. I am not a food blogger.

So when Charisse Chuidian and Erika Aquino of the Mandarin Oriental Manila emailed me scans of the August 2011 of Esquire UK, with a heading that included “Filipino food” I shelved it for a few days. I told Erika I’d read it after the hullaballoo about Lily’s birthday had passed. I read it last night, and whoa! I was floored. Amazing article about Filipino food written by Tom Parker-Bowles, who happens to be the son of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

I sent it to my brother, a major foodie, and this is what he sent back, ” ‘I swallow it down and bite into the egg. It’s beautiful, regally rich and pungent. A soft-boiled egg in a mink cape, packing a gold-plated AK-47.’ — Food porn… Even Tony Bourdain did not describe balut this way!”

Everyone must read this. Click on the photo, then click again for a readable size.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love how Tom described Gaita Fores as “small and sexy.” How wonderful! And Imelda as “part Dame Edna, part Liz Taylor with a hint of Cleopatra and your granny too.” So true. I have shared a few meals with her. This is such a great article, I will stop writing about it because… I don’t have enough words. Everything he wrote was so true. From the gut.

 

 

Source: Mandarin Oriental Manila with permission from the author. And Esquire UK.

All pages are readable, just click on the photo scan and click again.

 

 

Daphne cupcakes!!

 

 

I always say… sometimes the sweetest people are those you haven’t met yet. No offence to the lovely people who I’ve already met. But this morning I got a surprise on Twitter. Aikko, a blogger, created these adorable cupcakes inspired by the Daphne chairs.

 

From bakehappy.blogspot.com

 

IMG_8643

 

From bakehappy.blogspot.com

 

Check out her awesome blog bakehappy. Its filled with amazing photos, recipes and tutorials for cute yummy cupcakes. Thank you Aikko. I hope I can order these Daphne cupcakes one day.

 

 

More National Book Store goodies

 

 

National Bookstore
My summer reading from National Book Store (two books for me and five books for Sophia which I didn’t order, but they sent as a present. They must have read this).

 

The other day I received the best summer loot from National Book Store. I had ordered Katie Couric’s book “The Best Advice I Ever Got” as soon as Katie and her friends tweeted about it – the likes of Maria Shriver, Ellen De Generes and Ryan Seacrest. It got me curious. So I ordered from National Book Store right away. They have a very efficient system. Just ask customer service and they can order any book for you. Or better yet, join their Facebook page.

 

Before ordering Katie Couric’s book, I had already placed an order for Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook, “My Father’s Daughter.” Yes she cooks. She did a series with Mario Batali about cooking. She did a travel show. And her website Goop.com gives some of the easiest recipes. I was excited about the cookbook because, well it’s no secret I love everything Gwyneth. Shoot me.

 

National Bookstore
The book was inspired by meals she had with her father. But the recipes include her own finds and contributions from friends and family.

 

National Bookstore
It has snippets of her domestic life. And lots of resource info on eating healthier.

 

National Bookstore
Lots of anecdotes about meals she’s shared with her dad. I love this about her. You know how much I adore my parents and family.

 

National Bookstore
The recipes are easy and very doable. But I’m forced to buy fancy vegetables like artichoke – which I like eating but don’t know how to cook. She also recommends vegenaise, a no-cholesterol vegan mayonaise. She’s not vegan but she prefers this over mayo. I also noticed a lot of granola and oatmeal dishes for the kids.

 

You don’t have to be a Gwyneth fan to like this book. Like I said, the recipes range from fun and easy to scary like duck confit. It’ll be a blogpost if I get to that level. I’ve never liked cooking before. I wish my parents allowed me to be in the kitchen as a child. My brother was daring enough to cook eggs at a young age. Now he hosts dinners with really complicated and sophisticated food. I love his cooking and he loves doing it. It took me forever to appreciate the kitchen. The past couple of years though – with maids and cooks coming and going – I decided to take control, once in a while. And the few times I’ve cooked in our kitchen have turned out to be really pleasant treats for my family. And I’ve even surprised myself that I love the process of cooking. Maybe it’s because I drink while I cook. Patrick eats “too much” when I cook. And the kids rave about the stuff I make – Lily loves “green pasta” which is pesto-based, Sophia loves my shepherd’s pie and potato au gratin, Stella goes nuts over my macaroni and Patrick loves my risotto (I make it the Jamie Oliver way). Lily, who is my most expressive child, said to me the other day, “You are the best Mummy in the world because you cook the food that I love.” (She says Mummy when she’s emphatic, otherwise it’s just Mom or Mommy).

Back to Gwyneth’s cookbook, I’m excited to try her Seafood Paella (Spanish Mama Style), Sole a la Grenobloise (which seems simple enough as it just has butter and lemon), Whole Roasted Fish with Salsa Verde, Sweet Potato Ravioli (I don’t know about making my own fresh pasta but I’ll try), Vietnamese Prawn Sandwiches and Cheesy Stuffed Burgers. This could be the start of a new me. A new mama.

 

National Bookstore
Another good read, Katie Couric’s “The Best Advice I Ever Got”

 

Now Katie Couric’s book was a surprise. I’m not a fan of self-help and inspirational books. I don’t have the time and I just cringe at all that. So when I opened it and saw that it was a compilation of notes and essays from her famous friends, I initially thought, “What a rip off. This isn’t a book.” But when I started reading it, I got hooked. I loved reading about how people with extraordinary lives got to where they were, and about how they love what they’re doing. It was a big surprise when I found out that all profits of this book will go to fund Scholarship America – to help kids pay for college. I wish we could do something like that here!

Here are some excerpts from Katie’s book:

Life Is Not a Recipe:
“Whatever you choose to do with your life—whether it’s running a company or cooking dinner—stand for something you know is true. If there’s a recipe for success, it’s staying real and true. Which reminds me: Life is not a recipe. Recipes are just descriptions of one person’s take on one moment in time. They’re not rules. People think they are. They look as if they are. The say, ‘Do this, not this. Add this, not that.’ But, really, recipes are just suggestions that got written down.”
—Mario Batali, chef and restaurateur

Life Is a Series of Happy Accidents:
“Sometimes you just have to learn to get out of your own way. I know there are a lot of folks out there who are hoping for some words of wisdom or keys to the kingdom or that I might let them in on the Big Secret. So I will defer to Carol Brady, who in her infinite wisdom once said, “Find out what you do best and do your best with it.”
—Jane Lynch, Emmy Award-winning actress and comedian

Say Yes:
“Find a way to say yes to things. Say yes to invitations to a new country, say yes to meet new friends, say yes to learn something new. Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job, and your spouse, and even your kids.”
—Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google

Patrick and I are consciously going back to reading books – real books. Our iPads are full of so much reading material. I must have more than 20 Zinio annual subscriptions. But reading from the iPad and reading magazines on it have sort of turned me a little impatient and distracted. I wasn’t appreciating or retaining information. So now we are buying real books again. And over breakfast instead of swiping our iPads we are turning pages. It feels good.

I highly recommend these two books. And check them out in National Book Store because they almost always have lower prices than the other bookstores.

Feel free to share your summer reading here… I’m curious to know what you’re reading now.

(Re-published from http://daphneosena.livejournal.com)