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danny
02-09-2014, 01:28 AM
I have been hearing abiut this Ramen craze in Manila. What gives?

Matagal na Japayuki, ngayon pa lang naloka mga "foodies" sa Ramen?

Several decades late naman ito. Ke lapit lang ng Japan, ngayon lang nagustuhan.

Pho? 10 years ago may Pho craze na. Tapus na yun sa Pinoy.

danny
02-09-2014, 01:52 AM
Ma Mon Luk Beef Mami please.

admiral thrawn
02-10-2014, 07:07 AM
Kasabay ng ramen craze yung rediscovery ng pinoy ng chinese cuisine..ynug ma mun luk sa banawe laging puno...yung anak o apo ata..nag tayo na rin ng sarili..masuki..serving the same kind of noodle soup and siopao. Ramen or mami..sagot sa taong naghihikahos dahil sa hangover! :)

Joescoundrel
02-10-2014, 09:40 AM
I have been hearing abiut this Ramen craze in Manila. What gives?

Matagal na Japayuki, ngayon pa lang naloka mga "foodies" sa Ramen?

Several decades late naman ito. Ke lapit lang ng Japan, ngayon lang nagustuhan.

Pho? 10 years ago may Pho craze na. Tapus na yun sa Pinoy.

In Japan ramen is what you have after to chase down the night's drinking. So essentially it is like our gotohan or bulaluhan sa mga kalye-kalye. I am constantly amazed as to its elevation into pricey dining in this country.

MrM
02-10-2014, 12:05 PM
From Butch Dalisay's blog (http://penmanila.ph)

Penman No. 83: A Bag of Bread
Posted on January 27, 2014

ONE OF the most delightful gifts that Beng and I got a couple of weeks ago for my 60th birthday and our 40th wedding anniversary was a bag of oven-fresh bread, accompanied by a handwritten letter. I found the bread so literally warm, and the letter and its contents so unique, that I secured the permission of the sender to reproduce it for this column. It’s a testament to the persistence of good things and good intentions—and, of course, of good people in a world too often and too crassly ruled by the bottom line.

In part, the letter said: “I’m sending traditional pan de suelo breads which are pugon-baked on the suelo or floor of the 75-year-old wood-fired oven of Kamuning Bakery. The crust is crunchier and it should be reheated with a toaster and not with a microwave oven. Nick Joaquin, NVM Gonzalez, and others of past generations have written about this pan de suelo bread of the Philippines.

“I bought Kamuning Bakery just before Christmas, and have kept the old owners as minority shareholders so they can continue the traditions and tastes of this bakery. I also bought the land and old building. I invested here because I believe in the old owners, the pugon bakers who are artists and the staff with their unique commitment to their craft and vocation. I want to support this independent pugon bakery with their traditional no-preservative and no-additive Filipino breads, despite the huge challenges of this era of big multinationals, bakery chains and supermarkets and their mass-produced factory or industrial breads.”

The sender of the bread and the letter was none other than my fellow STAR columnist Wilson Lee Flores, business chronicler extraordinaire and confidant of Filipino taipans. Wilson may move in those lofty circles, but his feet remain solidly on the ground—in this case, Kamuning and the oven floor on which pan de suelo is baked, unlike the more familiar pan de sal, which comes to life on metal trays. (Incidentally, many young Filipinos probably don’t know that kamuning—like the kamias that lends its name to the same street across EDSA—is a plant, Murraya paniculata, with tiny and fragrant white flowers.)

The Kamuning district is one of Quezon City’s oldest—in fact, the bakery was put up in its present location in 1939, when the city itself was established—and while modernization has inexorably overtaken many other parts of the city, Kamuning has managed to retain some of its 1940s charm and character, an effect assisted by the proliferation of antique and resale shops and even a vintage-car restoration outfit in the neighborhood.

You can’t get more original than Kamuning Bakery, which has stayed pretty much as it was when it opened. It’s been kept alive by the seventy-ish Ted Javier and his sister Beth Javier Africa, the son and daughter of the late Atty. Leticia “Letty” Bonifacio Javier, who co-founded the bakery with her husband Lt. Marcelo Javier. Wilson tells the rest of the story: “It was President Quezon’s close ally Alejandro Roces, Sr. who suggested to the Bonifacio family of Los Baños Bakery that they open the new city’s first bakery. So they sent their newly-married daughter Atty. Leticia Bonifacio Javier and her husband Marcelo, who founded Kamuning Bakery.” Sadly, however, Marcelo, his father-in-law Major Miguel Bonifacio, and another of Ted’s uncles were killed by the Japanese during the Second World War.

So it fell to Letty to keep the bakery going with the help, in time, of her three young children, producing pan de suelo, described by Wilson as the “fist-sized version of pan de sal with a hard and crisp crust,” and of which Nick Joaquin wrote “colegialas got their gums toughened on their segundo almuerzo in the morning and, with hot chocolate, their meriendas in the afternoon.”

Indeed it was all the crunchy goodness that Wilson and Mang Nick promised, but don’t take it just from me. Just last month, a blogger named Tummy Traveler reported, after receiving her own gift bag of the bread, that “The pan de suelo was toasted just right. Just the right amount of crunch on the outside yet the bread still had that delicious moistness and softness on the inside. It had a faint hint of sweetness that went well with the salty corned beef together with my freshly brewed coffee and sausage.”

If all this sounds like a shameless plug, it is. Let’s help Wilson Lee Flores help keep a family and Pinoy tradition alive. I’m already planning a sortie there this weekend with Beng to stock up on the good stuff, and to visit an antique shop or two while we’re in the area. Kamuning Bakery can be found on 43 Judge Jimenez corner K-1st Street, one street inward on the left somewhere between EDSA and Tomas Morato, telephone 929-2216. They also have a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/kamuningbakery1939.

Sam Miguel
02-13-2014, 08:52 AM
Jade Garden: Abloom with culinary delights

By Ching M. Alano

(The Philippine Star) | Updated February 13, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Back in the ’80s when Makati was not yet the commercial behemoth it is today, I remember dining at Jade Garden, a gem of a resto tucked away beside Automat and Makati Supermarket. It closed down in 1990 due to some Ayala renovation and reopened in 1991 in the old Greenbelt 1. Again, because of some developments in the area, it closed again in 2006. And the good news is, the Jade Garden is back!

And I’m back here at the Jade Garden, welcoming back an old friend who went into hibernation for eight long years and smelling the roses — I mean, the roast laid down on our table. The roasted suckling pig comes with wrappers (pancakes) so you can eat it like you would your favorite Peking duck dish. But its skin is temptingly crispy you want to just bite into it sans the wrapper. This dish may have taken 12 hours to cook, but it took only 12 minutes for us to devour it.

Today’s Jade Garden, which reopened last January 17 at the new Glorietta 2, is abloom with old and new culinary delights. After the good old suckling pig, we swoop down on our little bowls of soup full of prawns and dried scallop with bean curd.

For the first time, I’m trying the Mini Fortune Poon Choi. I have the good fortune to discover this big bowl feast, which consists of various meats, assorted seafood, various mushrooms, tofu, and radish served in nine to 12 layers good enough to satisfy 10 hungry people.

“Poon Choi is a communal dish from the New Territory that’s usually served for weddings,” says restaurant manager Archie Au.

PR guy Mario Tan adds, “It’s usually a mix of seafood and meats served layer by layer in a big bowl and put on the floor for everybody to enjoy.”

I dig into my bowl of Poon Choi and unearth the following culinary finds: honey glazed barbecued pork, soy sauce marinated chicken, black mushroom, vegetables, fresh suaje, and sea cucumber. That mini feast is filling enough, but when you’re at Jade Garden, fill up or ship out!

I love scallops and I love taro so this next dish is a double treat for me — deep-fried scallops stuffed with mashed taro and deep-fried milk balls. I go ball-istic over the milk balls, too, oozing with sweet milky goodness.

Bean there, done that? You may have tried lapu-lapu in most other Chinese restos, but have you tried it with tender, slender French beans? Oui, east means west, it’s a match made in culinary heaven.

To continue our “steamy” love affair with Cantonese cuisine (the most famous Chinese cuisine worldwide) at Jade Garden, we’re served steamed diced chicken in egg white wraps “Chiu Chow.” So flavorful, so light, so right!

Does that wrap up our fine feast at Jade Garden? No way! We still have the Foo Kien seafood rice with abalone sauce in casserole and the sautéed zucchini with fresh crabmeat and sotanghon to demolish.

To repeat an old perennial question: Why is the rice always served last in Chinese feasts?

“That’s to make sure you’re full, in case the foregoing dishes were not enough to fill your stomach,” explains Mario.

The Chinese surely are the hosts with the mostest!

View all
Get your own

To cap this feast on a sweet note, we have hot sweetened almond puree with dumpling.

For a little foodnote: An affiliate of the giant food conglomerate Maxim’s Caterers Limited, Jade Garden traces its roots to early ’70s Hong Kong with its trailblazing East-meets-West approach to cooking. Steeped in rich culinary history, Jade Garden speaks of the pure essence of Cantonese culture in all its nuances and subtleties.

“Cantonese cooking is characterized primarily by its freshness,” says restaurant manager Raymond Ho. “Traditionally, dishes that we serve have a light taste and are not oily. We also make sure our ingredients are of premium quality. If you don’t have good ingredients to start with, you can’t make a good dish.”

To cater to its legion of Filipino customers, executive chef Ho Chi Kwong explains, “Filipinos like their food with more sauce and salt, so I tweaked the recipes a bit to better suit the local palate.”

You’re guaranteed to get the full authentic experience when you dine at Jade Garden. “Filipinos love their dipping sauces (think patis and toyo), so much so that they forego tasting the dishes we serve in their original form,” Raymond notes. “So we encourage them to eat the food the way it’s eaten in Cantonese culture, which is taking it as it is, without any additional flavorings. This opens up a different experience and they get to enjoy the food in more ways that they’re used to.”

New delicious surprises await Jade Garden’s Pinoy clients. “About 60 percent of our current offerings haven’t been introduced yet,” says executive chef Ho Chi Kwong. “Like the prawns and dried scallop with bean curd soup, braised chicken with basil leaves in hot casserole, and pan-fried sliced beef in lingnan sauce.”

To come up with all these new dishes, which are bound to become bestsellers, Ho Chi Kwong had to go back to where it all started. “I made sure to visit Hong Kong’s best restaurants to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and techniques,” he asserts.

Jade Garden is bound to be a vegetarian haven, too, with its healthy veggies menu: To name some dishes, Sichuan bean curd, sizzling eggplant with tausi sauce, stewed bean curd with abalone mushroom, fried crispy noodles with lo hon vegetables, fried rice with pineapple and lettuce, stewed e-fu noodles with lo hon veggies.

For budgetarians, Jade Garden has reasonably priced set menus — from P7,000 plus to P24,000 plus for 12 persons. The simplest one (at P7,080/12 persons) would have, for instance, a roasted meat combination, sweet corn and bamboo pith with vegetables soup, fish fillet cutlet with salad sauce, sweet and sour pork, roasted garlic flavor chicken, sautéed sliced beef and zucchini with XO sauce, fried rice Yeung Chow style, and purple rice with sago in coconut milk for dessert. On the other hand, the most elaborate set (at P24,880/12 persons) would have roasted suckling pig, shark’s fin soup with fresh crab roe, roasted Peking duck, fresh scallops and sea whelk with XO sauce, braised sliced abalone with sea cucumber, stir-fried lapu-lapu fillet with vegetable, baked king prawns with cheese and udon, fried rice with conpoy and egg white, and seasonal fruit platter.

Go ahead and walk through the menu of Jade Garden, smell and enjoy fine Chinese cuisine. And find out why after all these years Jade Garden still rocks!

* * *

Jade Garden is located at the 2nd level of Glorietta 2, Palm Drive corner West Drive, Ayala Center, Makati. For details and reservations, call 843-1361 and 955-1808.

Joescoundrel
03-31-2014, 02:37 PM
Can Anyone Save French Food?

By MICHAEL STEINBERGER

MARCH 28, 2014

Last year, outraged headlines worldwide announced that as many as 70 percent of the restaurants in France were using ready-made meals produced offsite at large industrial kitchens. The real surprise was that anyone was surprised. France’s culinary tradition has been withering for decades, the decline reflected in any number of data points — from the disappearance of raw-milk cheeses (less than 10 percent of all French cheeses are lait cru now) to the fall in French wine consumption (down by more than 50 percent since the 1960s) to the fact that France has become McDonald’s’ second-most-profitable market in the world. Since the late 1990s, Paris has come to be regarded as a dull, predictable food city. The real excitement is in London, Tokyo, New York, Copenhagen, San Sebastian.

Suddenly, though, Paris is showing signs of renewed vigor, much of it coming from an unexpected source: Young foreign chefs. The city’s most-sought-after tables now are at places like Spring, whose chef, Daniel Rose, is American, and Bones, whose chef, James Henry, is Australian. These are not restaurants serving foreign dishes; they are restaurants serving French fare that happens to be produced by non-French chefs. At the same time, the most talked-about French chef in Paris these days, Gregory Marchand, did much of his training in New York and London and brings a distinctly Anglo-American sensibility to cooking and hospitality. As a group, these chefs are reviving an artisanal spirit that had largely vanished from French food culture, composing menus based entirely on what’s available in the market on a given day and cultivating relationships with individual vendors. (“I have 16 different suppliers for the four dishes on the menu,” Rose says. “It’s kind of crazy.”)

Twenty years ago, the idea of an American or an Australian cooking French food worthy of discerning Parisians would have been dismissed as laughable. But diners in Paris are yearning for the sense of adventurousness and fun that prevails in other international cities. As Simone Tondo, the young Italian chef behind Roseval, puts it: “They want Paris to be New York.” This openness expresses itself in the embrace of foreign wines (which were rarely found on wine lists in Paris a decade ago), in the long lines for the gourmet hamburgers that the American Kristin Frederick serves from her food truck (another phenomenon that has now reached Paris) and in the acceptance of the idea that an Illinois native like Rose can make French food every bit as authentic, sophisticated and delicious as a chef from Lyon.

The stirrings of insurrection began in the late ‘90s, with the advent of the bistronomie movement, during which some of the city’s most talented young French chefs eschewed the quest for Michelin stars in favor of opening no-frills bistros serving upscale fare at modest prices. (For generations of French chefs, it has been an article of faith that the more sumptuous the setting, the more likely a restaurant is to win Michelin’s approbation.) But the food they were serving was, on the whole, pretty conservative — classic French bistro fare made in a lighter style. Moreover, bistronomie was as much a reaction to economic circumstance — a weak French economy was a powerful disincentive to open luxury restaurants — as it was about remaking French cuisine.
Continue reading the main story

Today diners are flocking to restaurants acclaimed by publications like Omnivore and Le Fooding, which focus on “young” cuisine and are at the forefront of the love of the new that is sweeping Paris. “The food scene is the strongest cultural movement in France right now,” Luc Dubanchet, Omnivore’s founder, told me recently. “For this generation, it’s what music was in the ‘60s and ‘70s.” In his view, this is now a watershed moment in French food history. The nouvelle-cuisine movement, which made French cooking lighter and more seasonal in orientation, was the last time French cuisine underwent a major overhaul. But that was primarily a revolt by a new generation of French chefs who, caught up in the revolutionary fervor of the late 1960s, wanted to liberate themselves from Escoffier classicism. What’s different today is that change is being led not from the kitchen but from the dining room. For the first time, Dubanchet says, young restaurantgoers are seizing control of France’s culinary tradition and making it their own.

In embracing expat chefs like Henry, these patrons are also signaling that French cuisine no longer belongs exclusively to the French. In 2010, the French food establishment succeeded in getting Unesco to designate what was termed “the gastronomic meal of the French” as part of the world’s cultural patrimony. The effort to win Unesco recognition generated some criticism in France, both because it was viewed as consecrating the idea that French cuisine had become an artifact, a museum piece, and because it was seen as an expression of French chauvinism. Regardless of the judgment of world bodies, what matters is what’s happening in the kitchens and dining rooms of the most exciting restaurants in Paris. The food there, for the first time in a long time, is very much alive.

BONES

The son of an Australian foreign-affairs official, James Henry lived as a child in Canberra, Paris, Riyadh and San Francisco before ultimately settling in Brisbane. He moved to Paris in 2010 and opened Bones to instant praise in January 2013. His menu changes daily and is based on seasonality and relationships with individual purveyors, like the farmer from the Ardèche who drives to Paris each week to drop off fruits and vegetables at Bones and a few other restaurants. Henry also makes his own charcuterie and churns his own butter. He demurs when asked if Bones serves French cuisine — “We use French product, but I don’t know how to describe it” — while suggesting that his ultra-artisanal approach has been instrumental in winning over French critics and diners. “It’s a way of touching a French person’s heart.”

ROSEVAL

When you talk to expatriate French chefs in London and New York, the constant refrain is it is too expensive to open a restaurant in France and there is too much red tape. The regulatory hurdles are steep, but the actual start-up cost of a restaurant in Paris is not particularly high if you are willing to open in out-of-the-way districts like Belleville, where a Sardinian cook named Simone Tondo and an Anglo-American cook named Michael Greenwold opened Roseval in 2012. The avant-garde wine list created by their Colombian-born sommelier, Erika Biswell, put Roseval at the forefront of the natural-wine craze in Paris. She says she has learned to be diplomatic dealing with Frenchmen intent on proving that they know more about wine than a woman. “I have patience,” Biswell says. “But I am also Latin.”

Joescoundrel
03-31-2014, 02:37 PM
^ (Continued)

ALBION

In late 2011, two colleagues from the highly regarded Left Bank restaurant Fish La Boissonnerie — Hayden Clout, a New Zealander, and Matt Ong, a Brit — opened Albion, its name a nod to the latter’s British roots. Clout oversees wine service (including the small wine shop at the front of the restaurant), while Ong runs the kitchen. The fact that Ong is British doesn’t appear to be an issue for Paris restaurantgoers: When I had lunch at Albion recently, much of the conversation around me was in French, and Ong and Clout told me that dinner draws a heavily local crowd. One thing they have come to appreciate about Paris is that its restaurant culture moves at a slower pace than other cities’. “In London, you can be a hit for a year, then it’s over,” Clout says. “It takes a long time to fail in Paris. It is a bit of a breather — you get more of a chance to get it right.”

LES ENFANTS ROUGES

Like French cooking, Japanese cuisine emphasizes seasonality and terroir, which surely goes some way toward explaining why the Japanese have proved to be so adept at French cooking. There are said to be around two dozen French restaurants in Paris with Japanese chefs at the helm. One of the most talked-about is Les Enfants Rouges, which the 35-year-old Dai Shinozuka took over last fall. A Tokyo native, Shinozuka moved to France in his early 20s, and after half a dozen years working in the kitchen of Yves Camdeborde, widely regarded as the father of the bistronomie movement, he is now serving terrific neo-bistro fare in his own charmingly dilapidated space. A recent lunch there — crab meat and celery rémoulade in lobster broth; roasted veal with winter vegetables; Baba au rhum with a big bowl of whipped cream — was homey, totally satisfying French cooking.

ABRI

Abri has become one of the toughest reservations in Paris. It’s also quite possibly the craziest restaurant in Paris, just slightly larger than a shoe box, and the open kitchen, set on a raised platform to one side of the narrow space, looks as if it belongs in a diner. The staff is all Japanese, none of them speak English and their French is pretty spotty, too. (Not that it matters; they almost never pick up the phone or respond to emails. I got in only because I stopped by one afternoon, put myself on the waiting list and received a call at 11 in the morning two days later saying I could have a table at 1:30 that afternoon.) The enigmatic man behind Abri, Katsuaki Okiyama, trained with the celebrated French chef Joël Robuchon and also worked at Taillevent, one of the great old-guard Paris restaurants, before setting out on his own. He said he had no interest in opening a restaurant back in Japan; he wanted to “cook French for the French.”

FRENCHIE

Gregory Marchand is perhaps the most American chef in Paris — despite having been born and raised in France. After graduating from cooking school in Brittany, he went to work first in Scotland, then at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London. In 2003, he was hired by the British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver at his renowned London restaurant 15. The experience, says Marchand, who rose to head chef, “freed me from all this French-based cooking.” What’s more, the atmosphere there — “this notion of team, of let’s make it nice” — stood in marked contrast to the rap-the-kid-on-the-knuckles approach prevalent in many French kitchens. After three years with Oliver, Marchand decided to move to New York. Though he had a job offer from Daniel Boulud, he chose to work at Danny Meyer’s Gramercy Tavern instead; he had no interest in crossing the Atlantic to cook French fare: “What was the point of going to New York to do French-style food?” When Marchand and his pregnant wife returned to Paris in 2008, he had no idea it was on the cusp of a food revolution. He knew only that he wanted to serve upscale fare at prices affordable to younger diners in a casual setting. Frenchie, from Oliver’s nickname for him, opened in April 2009. Following its success, Marchand opened a wine bar across the street and then, in 2013, Frenchie to Go, an all-day cafe and carryout shop that is the most unabashedly American of his ventures, with offerings like doughnuts and pastrami sandwiches.

VERJUS

The opening of Verjus at the end of 2012 was the next step for a young American expat couple, Braden Perkins and Laura Adrian, after several years of holding first a monthly dinner party and then a more frequent supper club in their apartment. Expat food writers and bloggers immediately embraced Verjus, but the French magazine L’Express gave it a blistering review. Perkins says that people in the neighborhood would chide him, too. “I was definitely hurt,” Perkins says. “I thought we would win over the French immediately. Greg [Marchand] was cooking modern American food, I cook modern American food. But because I was American, they closed me out.” Ultimately the many French who patronized the wine bar in the basement began to give the dining room a try. Suddenly, two years after opening, Verjus is drawing a substantial number of local diners. But hardly any French cooks. “The system in France is that you spend your first nine months washing lettuce in the basement,” Perkins says, comparing that to the autonomy he gives his staff. “I get these guys cooking right away, and the French just can’t take that freedom.”

SPRING

Daniel Rose is American by birth — and considered the forerunner of the expat invasion — but he is perhaps the most French chef in Paris. He moved to France to study the language in 1998 after earning a joint degree in philosophy and the history of mathematics from St John’s College in New Mexico. But he was quickly seduced by the flavors of the food, the elaborate rituals of the French restaurant experience and the fact that the French culinary tradition was an intellectual as well as aesthetic one. Rose attended Paul Bocuse’s cooking school in Lyon, then worked in restaurants in Brittany and Avignon; he opened Spring in 2006. Although the Michelin Guide has yet to award Spring even one star (a snub that says more about Michelin’s unreliability than it does about the quality of Rose’s cooking), Rose believes he’s answering to a higher authority: Escoffier. “I think Escoffier would understand what I’m doing,” he says. “He might even like it.” Validation comes in other ways. Last fall, Gilles Chesneau, who worked for nearly 20 years for the three-star chef Guy Savoy and is one of the most respected veterans of the high-end Paris food scene, left Savoy to become chef de cuisine at Spring. Rose says: “I spent about five minutes feeling flattered when Gilles agreed to come to Spring, and 25 minutes feeling anxiety about whether I was up to the task.”

LE CAMION QUI FUME

Introducing the French to two American phenomena — quality hamburgers and gourmet food trucks — isn’t exactly the future that the Los Angeles native Kristin Frederick saw for herself when she left a job as a traveling-nurse recruiter in 2009 to attend cooking school in Paris. The French didn’t see it, either. Acquaintances, she says, “told me that the French don’t like to eat in the street and don’t like to eat with their hands.” But she had noticed that burgers were the most popular items on the menu at the few restaurants in Paris that served decent ones. Once she got permission to bring her truck, which she named Le Camion Qui Fume (the Smoking Truck), to two outdoor markets in Paris in November 2011, it was immediately written up by Le Fooding; the next day, 200 customers showed up. Frédérick now has two trucks crisscrossing Paris, and recently opened both a sandwich shop called Freddie’s Deli — which serves pastrami sandwiches, Philly cheesesteaks and Brooklyn Brewery beer — and a popcorn bar at a multiplex cinema on the outskirts of Paris. She’s also creating a Chinese restaurant, having noticed on moving to Paris that there wasn’t much Chinese takeout there. Along with things like fried rice and noodles, she’s going to do to pork buns — “People here have been staring at pictures of Momofuku for years,” she says.

Sam Miguel
08-28-2014, 09:48 AM
The rock-star Duck!

By Bum D. Tenorio Jr. (The Philippine Star) |

Updated August 28, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - If you find yourself at Duck & Buvette, a French bistro on the second level of the main wing of Shangri-La Plaza Mall in Mandaluyong City, you are in trouble.

No snooty, hard-to-pronounce entrées here. Only casual cooking. And the trouble with casual French cooking, if it’s done the right way, is it gives you a generous amount of gustatory satisfaction that your pouch cannot handle all in one sitting.

The almost tattered temporary menu of Duck & Buvette, considering the restaurant only soft-opened last June, is perhaps a witness to many satisfied foodies. You don’t need to ask the restaurant’s cordial servers about their bestsellers; all you have to do is observe what’s on the table of other guests and what constantly comes out of the kitchen. And voila, you can draw your own conclusions.

My own observation hints at the D&B Crispy Half Duck Confit, which is present on every table inhabited by guests who are already salivating with just the mere sight of this dish flying out of the kitchen. This duck dish gets some sort of rock-star treatment that it is almost a sin not to order this house specialty of golden brown half-duck served piping-hot on a slate slab with wholegrain mustard, reduced balsamic sauce, ratatouille duck rice and cranberry carrot dishes. It’s cured and cooked in its own fat for two days before it is slowly roasted, says Bryan Chua, an owner of the restaurant. Bryan discloses that Duck & Buvette serves around 50 orders of the duck confit every single day. This crispy creation melts in the mouth. It’s salted just right. If you don’t know what heaven tastes like, the D&B Crispy Half Duck Confit will give you gustatory exultation. Non-duck eaters should start with this dish at D&B — they will become instant converts.

My excitement gets the better of me — blame it on the duck confit. I should have begun with the salad and starters. Duck & Buvette chef Jacq Tan, also a part owner, recommends the Grilled Romaine Salad, the Maple-Candied Bacon and Lemon, Crispy Potato Pave and Salty Duck Egg and Bandade de Bacalao Dip. Refreshing is the romaine salad that is charred a bit, giving the sweet tang of the greens that marries well with the saltiness of the Parmesan and anchovy garlic dressing. Divine is a slate of the candied bacon, which is made more appetizing with a gentle squeeze of lemon. The potato pave is a sumptuous work of art where thinly sliced potatoes are formed into cubes and topped with salted egg and crème fraiche. Creamy and salty — and to die for — is the Bandade de Bacalao dip, which is actually a puree of salt cod and potatoes served with grilled “wild” bread.

Get your own

“Breads at Duck & Buvette are called ‘wild’ because we cultivate our own yeast,” adds Bryan, who was also part owner of the former Café Provencal, which used to occupy the spot where Duck & Buvette is now. The bakery section of the restaurant prepares from scratch the breads, pizzas and sandwiches it serves. Try the Bikini Sandwich and your palate will joyfully discover the mouthwatering Catalan-style grilled cheese sandwich with slivers of Parma ham and black truffle spread.

Because French cooking is slow cooking, expect other sumptuous dishes at the restaurant that are prepared days before. The 8-Hour Angus Brisket defies the tedious preparation it underwent with its simple presentation. Its flavors burst in the mouth and tickle the palate to savor some more. This tasty dish of slow-roasted Black Angus beef is served with roast garlic mashed potato and roasted mushrooms. Its being saucy also lends to its being soulful food.

Saucy and comforting, too, is the Slow-Braised Beef Burgundy cooked in a Dutch oven for six hours. The meat, a combination of beef ribs and pork belly, is tender and flavored with the best red wine — the perfect explanation for the dish’s aromatic burgundy sauce. To have this dish is to have a delectable feast. In this dish can also be found tender tendons that literally melt in the mouth. Oops, it’s very hard to resist!

Also lip-smacking are the restaurant’s grilled Salsa Verde Lamb Neck (drizzled with pesto and fried chili) and slow-roasted Veal Shank (served on a yummy bed of creamy smacked corn and bacon glaze sauce). Also tops is the pasta dish called Duck Ragu Pappardelle. It’s a stew of Spanish onions, fresh mushrooms, duck confit, tomato and red wine on thick, freshly made pasta.

And, yes, there’s French bagnet, too — Confit of Pork Belly. Its seasoned crispy skin has that gelatinous texture that is both sinful and savory. The belly is actually prepared and cured for two days. It is so delicate the juicy meat just yields to the command of your fork and knife. If you are a meat lover, here is another dish at Duck & Buvette that will probably drive you crazy!

Now for the sweet ending, there’s Chocolate Sourdough Pudding or Dark Chocolate Clouds or Creme Bru-tart (a combination of creme brulée and lemon tart). Caffeine lovers will delight to find out that Duck & Buvette serves Intelligentsia Coffee.

Now bring back that rock-star duck confit again.

Sam Miguel
08-28-2014, 09:48 AM
The rock-star Duck!

By Bum D. Tenorio Jr. (The Philippine Star) |

Updated August 28, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - If you find yourself at Duck & Buvette, a French bistro on the second level of the main wing of Shangri-La Plaza Mall in Mandaluyong City, you are in trouble.

No snooty, hard-to-pronounce entrées here. Only casual cooking. And the trouble with casual French cooking, if it’s done the right way, is it gives you a generous amount of gustatory satisfaction that your pouch cannot handle all in one sitting.

The almost tattered temporary menu of Duck & Buvette, considering the restaurant only soft-opened last June, is perhaps a witness to many satisfied foodies. You don’t need to ask the restaurant’s cordial servers about their bestsellers; all you have to do is observe what’s on the table of other guests and what constantly comes out of the kitchen. And voila, you can draw your own conclusions.

My own observation hints at the D&B Crispy Half Duck Confit, which is present on every table inhabited by guests who are already salivating with just the mere sight of this dish flying out of the kitchen. This duck dish gets some sort of rock-star treatment that it is almost a sin not to order this house specialty of golden brown half-duck served piping-hot on a slate slab with wholegrain mustard, reduced balsamic sauce, ratatouille duck rice and cranberry carrot dishes. It’s cured and cooked in its own fat for two days before it is slowly roasted, says Bryan Chua, an owner of the restaurant. Bryan discloses that Duck & Buvette serves around 50 orders of the duck confit every single day. This crispy creation melts in the mouth. It’s salted just right. If you don’t know what heaven tastes like, the D&B Crispy Half Duck Confit will give you gustatory exultation. Non-duck eaters should start with this dish at D&B — they will become instant converts.

My excitement gets the better of me — blame it on the duck confit. I should have begun with the salad and starters. Duck & Buvette chef Jacq Tan, also a part owner, recommends the Grilled Romaine Salad, the Maple-Candied Bacon and Lemon, Crispy Potato Pave and Salty Duck Egg and Bandade de Bacalao Dip. Refreshing is the romaine salad that is charred a bit, giving the sweet tang of the greens that marries well with the saltiness of the Parmesan and anchovy garlic dressing. Divine is a slate of the candied bacon, which is made more appetizing with a gentle squeeze of lemon. The potato pave is a sumptuous work of art where thinly sliced potatoes are formed into cubes and topped with salted egg and crème fraiche. Creamy and salty — and to die for — is the Bandade de Bacalao dip, which is actually a puree of salt cod and potatoes served with grilled “wild” bread.

Get your own

“Breads at Duck & Buvette are called ‘wild’ because we cultivate our own yeast,” adds Bryan, who was also part owner of the former Café Provencal, which used to occupy the spot where Duck & Buvette is now. The bakery section of the restaurant prepares from scratch the breads, pizzas and sandwiches it serves. Try the Bikini Sandwich and your palate will joyfully discover the mouthwatering Catalan-style grilled cheese sandwich with slivers of Parma ham and black truffle spread.

Because French cooking is slow cooking, expect other sumptuous dishes at the restaurant that are prepared days before. The 8-Hour Angus Brisket defies the tedious preparation it underwent with its simple presentation. Its flavors burst in the mouth and tickle the palate to savor some more. This tasty dish of slow-roasted Black Angus beef is served with roast garlic mashed potato and roasted mushrooms. Its being saucy also lends to its being soulful food.

Saucy and comforting, too, is the Slow-Braised Beef Burgundy cooked in a Dutch oven for six hours. The meat, a combination of beef ribs and pork belly, is tender and flavored with the best red wine — the perfect explanation for the dish’s aromatic burgundy sauce. To have this dish is to have a delectable feast. In this dish can also be found tender tendons that literally melt in the mouth. Oops, it’s very hard to resist!

Also lip-smacking are the restaurant’s grilled Salsa Verde Lamb Neck (drizzled with pesto and fried chili) and slow-roasted Veal Shank (served on a yummy bed of creamy smacked corn and bacon glaze sauce). Also tops is the pasta dish called Duck Ragu Pappardelle. It’s a stew of Spanish onions, fresh mushrooms, duck confit, tomato and red wine on thick, freshly made pasta.

And, yes, there’s French bagnet, too — Confit of Pork Belly. Its seasoned crispy skin has that gelatinous texture that is both sinful and savory. The belly is actually prepared and cured for two days. It is so delicate the juicy meat just yields to the command of your fork and knife. If you are a meat lover, here is another dish at Duck & Buvette that will probably drive you crazy!

Now for the sweet ending, there’s Chocolate Sourdough Pudding or Dark Chocolate Clouds or Creme Bru-tart (a combination of creme brulée and lemon tart). Caffeine lovers will delight to find out that Duck & Buvette serves Intelligentsia Coffee.

Now bring back that rock-star duck confit again.

Sam Miguel
08-28-2014, 10:08 AM
Great new find: Ninak is delicious spelled backwards

By Clinton Palanca |

Philippine Daily Inquirer 9:00 am |

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

For years the patis bought off supermarket shelves was fairly homogenous: various brands of dark-brown liquor that was quite salty and packed a polite punch. My generation, at least, grew up thinking that this was the only taste possible for fish sauce.

When the baht fell in the late 1990s and it suddenly became ridiculously cheap to vacation in Thailand, people went in droves and discovered Thai fish sauce (nampla), which was more fragrant yet somehow less pungent and less salty. Thai cooks are obsessive about their fish sauce and do regular tasting. I have a mental image of them standing around and swirling it in cognac glasses and making notes in oenological notebooks.

A decade since, the market for our commercial patis has changed. The shelves have not just one or two brands, but are groaning with a wide range of brands and types. They’re mostly terrible, especially some of the cheaper “Thai-style” patis brews which are essentially tea-colored water with salt mixed into it.

I used to have a supplier who brought me homemade patis from Pangasinan. In Benguet you can get the kind of inky dark liquor whose smell punches you in the face when you open the bottle, not unlike the kind from Laos and Cambodia.

Metaphorically speaking, the Philippines is something of an island when it comes to the rest of Southeast Asian food. This is only partly due to the fact that we are geographically an archipelago. Our food culture is more tied to Southern China and Taiwan than it is to Indonesia—by which I don’t mean that the Chinese influenced our food, but that they developed with a strong interrelation. (Northern Chinese find the food of the southeast intolerably sweet, a habit they picked up after centuries of trading, and after falling under the spell of sweet spaghetti after Jollibee opened branches in Xiamen.)

This is quite a pity, because air travel should have connected us to peninsular Southeast Asia. But there are more flights to San Francisco than there are to Saigon.

And for those in search of food similar enough to ours to gorge ourselves on but still different to be interesting and dissimilar to what could be whipped up at home, the lure of nearby cuisines is difficult to dismiss.

Borrows from others

Ninak, which, spelled backwards, is “kanin” or rice in Tagalog, is not so much a Southeast Asian restaurant as it is a Filipino dining place which uses tropes from other countries in the region to make food that brims with flavor.

It borrows the best of neighboring cuisines and dishes out a Filipino version of it. It has Filipino food as well, and true to Pinoys’ love of anything imported, the nilaga is made from Angus beef, as is the crispy beef belly, which in itself is worth the price of admission.

I recommend that, as well as the beef sinigang (though not both, unless you feel like eating an entire cow in one go).

I also enjoyed a very well-executed laing, lamb Massaman curry and tamarind seabass.

What I do not recommend is getting nasigoreng and bagoong rice to go with your meal (my mistake), because everything is bursting with flavor and needs steaming white rice to go with it—not another blast of new flavor.

The only dish with which I have a bone to pick is the laksa, which was overly heavy and rich, and lacked the smear of stinky bagoong that makes the Singaporean Katong version so good.

The chef is a dab hand at blending spices and serving up bold flavors, though everything is at full volume all the time.

I’ve heard that the menu has changed a few times, so this might be a good sign that he is experimenting and, perhaps, modulating. But then with enough ninak, spelled backwards, everything can be doused.

The only dessert I was able to try, a turon filled with halo-halo sweetmeats, felt like an accident rather than an invention. The inventiveness with pan-Asian fragrances and flavors does not extend to dessert, for which I feel cleaner, lighter tastes are in order, though there is something truly Filipino about following a huge, rice-laden meal with something filled with glutinous rice which can glue everything together.

I was hoping to be the first to discover this restaurant. But the mother of all endorsers, Kris Aquino, has already put her imprimatur on this place, so I can only add my voice to hers. (The original branch is in Kapitolyo, Pasig.—Ed.)

Serious eaters should make space in their schedules and stomachs, because Ninak is delicious spelled backwards.

Sam Miguel
08-28-2014, 10:08 AM
Great new find: Ninak is delicious spelled backwards

By Clinton Palanca |

Philippine Daily Inquirer 9:00 am |

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

For years the patis bought off supermarket shelves was fairly homogenous: various brands of dark-brown liquor that was quite salty and packed a polite punch. My generation, at least, grew up thinking that this was the only taste possible for fish sauce.

When the baht fell in the late 1990s and it suddenly became ridiculously cheap to vacation in Thailand, people went in droves and discovered Thai fish sauce (nampla), which was more fragrant yet somehow less pungent and less salty. Thai cooks are obsessive about their fish sauce and do regular tasting. I have a mental image of them standing around and swirling it in cognac glasses and making notes in oenological notebooks.

A decade since, the market for our commercial patis has changed. The shelves have not just one or two brands, but are groaning with a wide range of brands and types. They’re mostly terrible, especially some of the cheaper “Thai-style” patis brews which are essentially tea-colored water with salt mixed into it.

I used to have a supplier who brought me homemade patis from Pangasinan. In Benguet you can get the kind of inky dark liquor whose smell punches you in the face when you open the bottle, not unlike the kind from Laos and Cambodia.

Metaphorically speaking, the Philippines is something of an island when it comes to the rest of Southeast Asian food. This is only partly due to the fact that we are geographically an archipelago. Our food culture is more tied to Southern China and Taiwan than it is to Indonesia—by which I don’t mean that the Chinese influenced our food, but that they developed with a strong interrelation. (Northern Chinese find the food of the southeast intolerably sweet, a habit they picked up after centuries of trading, and after falling under the spell of sweet spaghetti after Jollibee opened branches in Xiamen.)

This is quite a pity, because air travel should have connected us to peninsular Southeast Asia. But there are more flights to San Francisco than there are to Saigon.

And for those in search of food similar enough to ours to gorge ourselves on but still different to be interesting and dissimilar to what could be whipped up at home, the lure of nearby cuisines is difficult to dismiss.

Borrows from others

Ninak, which, spelled backwards, is “kanin” or rice in Tagalog, is not so much a Southeast Asian restaurant as it is a Filipino dining place which uses tropes from other countries in the region to make food that brims with flavor.

It borrows the best of neighboring cuisines and dishes out a Filipino version of it. It has Filipino food as well, and true to Pinoys’ love of anything imported, the nilaga is made from Angus beef, as is the crispy beef belly, which in itself is worth the price of admission.

I recommend that, as well as the beef sinigang (though not both, unless you feel like eating an entire cow in one go).

I also enjoyed a very well-executed laing, lamb Massaman curry and tamarind seabass.

What I do not recommend is getting nasigoreng and bagoong rice to go with your meal (my mistake), because everything is bursting with flavor and needs steaming white rice to go with it—not another blast of new flavor.

The only dish with which I have a bone to pick is the laksa, which was overly heavy and rich, and lacked the smear of stinky bagoong that makes the Singaporean Katong version so good.

The chef is a dab hand at blending spices and serving up bold flavors, though everything is at full volume all the time.

I’ve heard that the menu has changed a few times, so this might be a good sign that he is experimenting and, perhaps, modulating. But then with enough ninak, spelled backwards, everything can be doused.

The only dessert I was able to try, a turon filled with halo-halo sweetmeats, felt like an accident rather than an invention. The inventiveness with pan-Asian fragrances and flavors does not extend to dessert, for which I feel cleaner, lighter tastes are in order, though there is something truly Filipino about following a huge, rice-laden meal with something filled with glutinous rice which can glue everything together.

I was hoping to be the first to discover this restaurant. But the mother of all endorsers, Kris Aquino, has already put her imprimatur on this place, so I can only add my voice to hers. (The original branch is in Kapitolyo, Pasig.—Ed.)

Serious eaters should make space in their schedules and stomachs, because Ninak is delicious spelled backwards.

Sam Miguel
10-23-2014, 08:26 AM
Argentine resto a good find–no need to compare to La Cabrera

By Clinton Palanca |

Philippine Daily Inquirer 4:08 am |

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

There is surely something nefarious afoot, with the recent string of good reviews from this often cantankerous reviewer. Is he on medication? Is he on the take? Is he being muzzled?

The answer to all three is no. I’ve just had a string of good luck eating out recently, although that winning streak came to a screeching halt last weekend.

This week I explored two regional cuisines I know very little about and would like to investigate in greater depth.

Earlier in the week I found myself north of Metro Manila, which is always exciting because I’m convinced that the Quezon City food scene is more exciting than Makati’s, and the rate of restaurants opening in Bonifacio Global City is finally slowing down.

Well-recommended

I was particularly interested to check out a place that had been well-recommended but didn’t seem to be getting much press—Gaucho at Robinsons Magnolia.

The restaurant is tucked away at the back of the mall, among restaurants that looked out onto a courtyard where children were playing on the grass, and a miniature locomotive barreled down the cement pathways.

The restaurant itself has something of an eccentric design—table and chairs ranged neatly around a somewhat disturbing display of small dead pigs and half a haunch of beef strung up inside a glass case.

Gaucho is an Argentine restaurant, though not exclusively a steakhouse, as La Cabrera is. Both establishments have to endure the indignity of being compared to one another for a little while, even if they are very different, because there aren’t many Argentine restaurants in town.

I don’t think it would be insulting to La Cabrera to suggest that it is primarily a steak place, and should be considered in the same specialist’s breath as Elbert’s and Mamou; whereas Gaucho is a regional restaurant, with quite a lot on the menu.

I get nervous when restaurants open with a very extensive list of dishes, because unless the place is packed, a lot of the food will either go to waste or end up being reheated.

But almost everything we had was more than competent, from the scallop ceviche appetizer to the morcilla (less squishy, more familiar than its counterpart at La Cabrera).

The bell peppers stuffed with ground lamb was very redolent indeed, and more mutton in texture than lamb.

For the main course, the tomahawk steak which, at 1.5 kilograms (some of it bone), was more than enough meat for our table of five.

The side dishes were not as bountiful as La Cabrera’s banchan-style deluge of choice, but the ones that did come were well-thought-out and more than adequate.

There was so much else on the menu I wanted to try, including the baby pigs which emerged from their slow roast on long poles.

Not so good

And now for the not so good. I had eaten at Swagat before, years ago with a vegetarian friend. I had attributed my lack of enthusiasm for the food to the lack of meat in our meal.

My friends and I had been craving Indian food for some time, and having struck off New Bombay and Queens from our list, we had high hopes for the well-reviewed Swagat.

My experiences of eating Indian food outside of the subcontinent have not been positive; even London’s subcontinental fare is better than most, but still a faded palimpsest.

But the food at Swagat really takes the cake, or the barfi. It took half an hour for our orders to be served; they were tiny portions of swill, gloop and slop, in various shades of orange and brown, all of which tasted like nothing at all.

I myself am no expert in the grinding, roasting and judicious combination of spices that make up Indian stews; but let’s take dal, which is a fairly basic dish, and which should not taste like dishwater. I can make dal, after a fashion; a mummyji would probably not approve, but it does taste like something.

We were served dish after dish of thick sauce with small slivers of meat or vegetable that were completely devoid of flavor, and which the Indian family at the table next to ours (probably hired actors in makeup) seemed to be consuming with delight.

Argentine cuisine seems something we would take to naturally, as fellow post-colonials of Spain, and I look forward to delving more into the exotic yet familiar dishes at Gaucho.

Indian food in Manila, at least in commercial restaurants, is simply a travesty. The city has a sizable community of Indian migrants, and if its cuisine could be replicated with a modicum of authenticity, I don’t see why it shouldn’t be more popular.

Still, for a country that had only a handful of fine dining restaurants about 30 years ago, I guess we’re not doing too badly.

Sam Miguel
10-23-2014, 08:27 AM
Argentine resto a good find–no need to compare to La Cabrera

By Clinton Palanca |

Philippine Daily Inquirer 4:08 am |

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

There is surely something nefarious afoot, with the recent string of good reviews from this often cantankerous reviewer. Is he on medication? Is he on the take? Is he being muzzled?

The answer to all three is no. I’ve just had a string of good luck eating out recently, although that winning streak came to a screeching halt last weekend.

This week I explored two regional cuisines I know very little about and would like to investigate in greater depth.

Earlier in the week I found myself north of Metro Manila, which is always exciting because I’m convinced that the Quezon City food scene is more exciting than Makati’s, and the rate of restaurants opening in Bonifacio Global City is finally slowing down.

Well-recommended

I was particularly interested to check out a place that had been well-recommended but didn’t seem to be getting much press—Gaucho at Robinsons Magnolia.

The restaurant is tucked away at the back of the mall, among restaurants that looked out onto a courtyard where children were playing on the grass, and a miniature locomotive barreled down the cement pathways.

The restaurant itself has something of an eccentric design—table and chairs ranged neatly around a somewhat disturbing display of small dead pigs and half a haunch of beef strung up inside a glass case.

Gaucho is an Argentine restaurant, though not exclusively a steakhouse, as La Cabrera is. Both establishments have to endure the indignity of being compared to one another for a little while, even if they are very different, because there aren’t many Argentine restaurants in town.

I don’t think it would be insulting to La Cabrera to suggest that it is primarily a steak place, and should be considered in the same specialist’s breath as Elbert’s and Mamou; whereas Gaucho is a regional restaurant, with quite a lot on the menu.

I get nervous when restaurants open with a very extensive list of dishes, because unless the place is packed, a lot of the food will either go to waste or end up being reheated.

But almost everything we had was more than competent, from the scallop ceviche appetizer to the morcilla (less squishy, more familiar than its counterpart at La Cabrera).

The bell peppers stuffed with ground lamb was very redolent indeed, and more mutton in texture than lamb.

For the main course, the tomahawk steak which, at 1.5 kilograms (some of it bone), was more than enough meat for our table of five.

The side dishes were not as bountiful as La Cabrera’s banchan-style deluge of choice, but the ones that did come were well-thought-out and more than adequate.

There was so much else on the menu I wanted to try, including the baby pigs which emerged from their slow roast on long poles.

Not so good

And now for the not so good. I had eaten at Swagat before, years ago with a vegetarian friend. I had attributed my lack of enthusiasm for the food to the lack of meat in our meal.

My friends and I had been craving Indian food for some time, and having struck off New Bombay and Queens from our list, we had high hopes for the well-reviewed Swagat.

My experiences of eating Indian food outside of the subcontinent have not been positive; even London’s subcontinental fare is better than most, but still a faded palimpsest.

But the food at Swagat really takes the cake, or the barfi. It took half an hour for our orders to be served; they were tiny portions of swill, gloop and slop, in various shades of orange and brown, all of which tasted like nothing at all.

I myself am no expert in the grinding, roasting and judicious combination of spices that make up Indian stews; but let’s take dal, which is a fairly basic dish, and which should not taste like dishwater. I can make dal, after a fashion; a mummyji would probably not approve, but it does taste like something.

We were served dish after dish of thick sauce with small slivers of meat or vegetable that were completely devoid of flavor, and which the Indian family at the table next to ours (probably hired actors in makeup) seemed to be consuming with delight.

Argentine cuisine seems something we would take to naturally, as fellow post-colonials of Spain, and I look forward to delving more into the exotic yet familiar dishes at Gaucho.

Indian food in Manila, at least in commercial restaurants, is simply a travesty. The city has a sizable community of Indian migrants, and if its cuisine could be replicated with a modicum of authenticity, I don’t see why it shouldn’t be more popular.

Still, for a country that had only a handful of fine dining restaurants about 30 years ago, I guess we’re not doing too badly.

Joescoundrel
10-29-2014, 10:27 AM
The Globalization of Caviar

FOOD, TRAVEL BY ELAINE SCIOLINO

OCTOBER 28, 2014 1:25 PM

Caviar has lost its national identity.

Over the years, caviar-producing wild sturgeon in the Caspian Sea have been poached, smuggled and overfished to the brink of extinction. Sturgeon fishing fell under a series of strict international quotas and in 2008 was subjected to a global ban by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. The only caviar on the market since then comes from tame varieties farmed in concrete basins and cages. The result is a global free-for-all in which caviar’s country of origin has no meaning, and only the best eggs win.

“Once upon a time, great caviar meant the Caspian,” says Armen Petrossian, owner of the Petrossian restaurant and boutique in the Seventh Arrondissement in Paris. Now, he says, “geography and nationality do not count.” Yet business is so good that sturgeon are raised on about 90 farms in more than 20 countries, in places as varied as Israel, the United States, China, Uruguay and just about every country in Europe.

To prove that caviar is stateless, Petrossian arranged an ambitious tasting for T and another writer — the French food author Jean-Claude Ribaut — over lunch. Twelve different caviars on four silver ice stands were laid out. Each stand held three grades — from the lowly “royal” to the midgrade “imperial” and the superior “special reserve” — of each species. He told his guests to try one at a time in the order he chose. Using a small mother-of-pearl spoon for each variety, they loaded gobs of caviar onto blinis and washed them down with vintage Deutz Champagne served in tall, narrow flutes. By the second round, they were spooning the caviar like jam into their mouths.

Petrossian is probably the best-known caviar merchant in the world. His father and uncle opened the Paris boutique 94 years ago. But at the tasting, when asked the origin of the caviars, he knew only some of them. He had to peek at the labels glued to the bottom of the tins to identify the rest. The Beluga was Bulgarian, he said; the Baeri French; the Osetra Italian. Transmontanus, which comes from white sturgeon, is his best-selling caviar, produced in the tiny town of Elverta in the Sacramento Valley in California. “The only guide we use to judge quality is our senses,” Petrossian says. “Only taste, smell, color, brilliance and texture of each species count.”

The search for the best caviar requires dogged investigation and years of experience. The same farm can produce caviar of different qualities, depending on variables like the temperature and purity of the water and the season of the year. A caviar that tastes like earth comes from sturgeon raised in water that isn’t crystal clear, for example. Sturgeon eggs from Bulgaria are best in the spring, when the mountain air and water is still cold. Petrossian likens the selection task to choosing gemstones. “You buy a diamond because of its beauty, not the country where it was mined.”

At Kaviari, a Paris-based wholesale supplier to hotels, restaurants and fine gourmet shops, the approach is more single-minded. There is no beautiful restaurant, only an antiseptic, white-walled, refrigerated room for serious tastings with a stainless steel table and no place to sit. (Since this is France, Champagne is served, even in the morning).

Even starred chefs like Yannick Alléno, Guy Savoy and Jean-François Piège are required to wear plasticized paper coats, hairnets and shoe coverings when they visit. They come to taste and choose their caviar from Bruno Higos, a master taster with more than three decades’ experience. One morning, Higos opened four 1.8-kilo tins of caviar for an informal tasting: a Transmontanus and a Baeri from Italy, an Osetra from Bulgaria and a Schrenki from China.

Caviar has long stood for seductive luxury. So Kaviari, Petrossian and other caviar dealers have come up with creative ways to promote their products now that they can no longer sell the luscious caviar fished from the Iranian and Russian borders of the Caspian Sea.

Kaviari offers individual caviar servings in a slim “line” of 15 grams of caviar and a plastic spoon in a narrow, colorful tin that starts at 25 euros. Bars serve it along with a glass of Champagne or a shot of vodka; private companies can order personalized versions of it for special events like New Year’s Eve.

Petrossian, meanwhile, has begun processing and marketing tiny black lobster eggs under the name “Bijou de la Mer” — jewel of the sea. The eggs release the taste of iodine and salt when their hard skins are crushed between the teeth. “Papierusse,” a thin sheet of vacuum-packed pressed caviar, and its tinned, pressed caviar with the consistency of thick jam, work well with soft-boiled eggs, boiled baby potatoes or in a caviar sandwich. Petrossian also markets a host of unrelated products under the label: pomegranate juice, smoked scallops, royal crab claws, herbal teas, borscht, vodka and even chocolates, honey, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Its pièce de resistance this season is an artisan-crafted, limited-edition metal tin that measures 18 inches in diameter and resembles an oversize hat box. It is large and sturdy enough to be used as a coffee table. It costs 1,000 euros even when empty; if filled to the brim with caviar, smoked fish, vodka and other delicacies, the price can rise to 10,000.

Despite merchants’ clever attempts to deflect attention from caviar’s origins, there are ways to identify and rank caviar by region and country. France, where sturgeon are farmed in manmade basins in the Sologne, Aquitaine and Charente regions, was a pioneer in sturgeon farming. But it is not making the best caviar. That’s because French farmers raise mostly Baeri — a small sturgeon species which produces small eggs — to be farmed. The eggs can lack firmness and the taste does not linger long on the palate.

China, meanwhile, is moving forward rapidly in caviar farming, and eventually could come to dominate it, thanks in part to freshwater Lake Hangzhou. The water of this 221-square-mile lake is pure, its currents strong. Sturgeon are housed in huge cages that can be raised and lowered to a depth of 164 feet to keep them cold. “It’s a great beginning, and it’s approaching what you used to find in the Osetra or the Caspian,” says Raphaël Bouchez, Kaviari’s president.

The unknown is whether sturgeon, which take 10 or more years to mature, will ever again be fished from the Caspian. But one can dream. Indeed, the Chinese Schrenki looks exactly like the translucent golden-grey Osetra of the deep waters of the Caspian. The firm, fatty texture of the eggs is the same. Its taste is nutty and stays long on the tongue. Perhaps because it is also so beautiful, it is the choice of France’s great chefs. But Higos, the taster at Kaviari, still remembers fine Iranian Beluga and Osetra from the days when he went to Iran to buy. “When the first box arrived, I said to myself, ‘Ah, Iran,’” Higos says of the Schrenki. “Alas, it’s not the taste of the golden caviar of the Caspian. I was very disappointed.”

Additional reporting by Assia Labbas.

Sam Miguel
10-30-2014, 09:00 AM
‘Pancit,’ chicken ‘adobo’ and ‘atchara’ delight guests at food fair in Italy

Angelo Comsti

@inquirerdotnet

2:18 AM | Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Alice Waters weren’t the only ones people made a beeline for recently at Turin, Italy. They also queued for our kalderetang baka, pansit guisado and lechon kawali.

Filipino cuisine drew crowds at the recent Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre, thanks to Margarita Fores who represented the country with dishes that had palates intrigued and mouths watering. Not only did guests sample food like adobong manok at baboy, atchara and kamote’t saging at the Savour 7107 booth, they also took their time learning more about the ingredients that went into each dish.

At one instance, a group of Italians placed an order of the Cordillera rice after tasting Fores’ heirloom rice guinataan, consequently proving that the world’s largest food and wine fair is truly successful in its purpose.

Started in 1996, Salone del Gusto is organized by Slow Food, a nonprofit organization aimed at preserving food cultures and traditions in a world penetrated by fast food and convenience stores. Now on its 10th installment, the event, which is held every other year, gathered more than 1,000 exhibitors from over 100 countries to showcase what each food community has to offer.

In 2012, Terra Madre joined the festivities, further reinforcing Slow Food’s intention to gather the producers and consumers under one roof, have a healthy discussion about the global food state, and exchange knowledge about every country’s food and traditions. Each booth had an assortment of unique products laid out, including small-scale items that run the risk of extinction.

Representing the country were Vicky Garcia of RICE Inc.; Vicky Padilla of Agtalon Inc.; Chit Juan of ECHOStore; Rob and Bea Crisostomo of Ritual; Nico and Paula Aberasturi of Down To Earth; Ramon Uy Jr. of Fresh Start; Fannie Guanzon of Herbs Best; and a group of farmers from the Mountain Province, Kalinga and Benguet. They brought local produce like Visayan white corn also known as tinigib, heirloom rice varieties such as Chong-Ak from Kalinga and Imbuucan from Ifugao, sour fruits batwan and kamias, barako coffee, sinarapan and tawilis fish, and kadyos beans to the forefront.

Seasoned restaurateur Margarita Fores, along with chef Mariel Bustamante, chief of staff of Cibo di M Catering company Anthony Prudencio, New York-based volunteer chef Noel de la Rama, and volunteer chef Carla Brigliadori of Casa Artusi, then featured these products by turning them into delicious fare including bulalo, pansit guisado and adobong manok sa gata.

“It’s a cycle of people trying and liking our food then buying the ingredients. As a result, it will support our farmers as well as keep traditions and food items intact,” said Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Berna Romulo-Puyat who led the delegation and brought Fores and her team to Turin. “Hopefully, this will help the farmers preserve our culinary heritage.”

One of the memorable highlights for the Philippine contingent was when Carlo Petrini, the founder of Slow Food, and American chef and activist Alice Waters, who famously set up an edible schoolyard program in California to educate kids, dropped by the booth and had a serving of kadyos. They were enamored by its aroma and taste and, given their empty bowls, seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed it, much like the rest of the crowd.

Sam Miguel
10-30-2014, 09:00 AM
‘Pancit,’ chicken ‘adobo’ and ‘atchara’ delight guests at food fair in Italy

Angelo Comsti

@inquirerdotnet

2:18 AM | Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Alice Waters weren’t the only ones people made a beeline for recently at Turin, Italy. They also queued for our kalderetang baka, pansit guisado and lechon kawali.

Filipino cuisine drew crowds at the recent Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre, thanks to Margarita Fores who represented the country with dishes that had palates intrigued and mouths watering. Not only did guests sample food like adobong manok at baboy, atchara and kamote’t saging at the Savour 7107 booth, they also took their time learning more about the ingredients that went into each dish.

At one instance, a group of Italians placed an order of the Cordillera rice after tasting Fores’ heirloom rice guinataan, consequently proving that the world’s largest food and wine fair is truly successful in its purpose.

Started in 1996, Salone del Gusto is organized by Slow Food, a nonprofit organization aimed at preserving food cultures and traditions in a world penetrated by fast food and convenience stores. Now on its 10th installment, the event, which is held every other year, gathered more than 1,000 exhibitors from over 100 countries to showcase what each food community has to offer.

In 2012, Terra Madre joined the festivities, further reinforcing Slow Food’s intention to gather the producers and consumers under one roof, have a healthy discussion about the global food state, and exchange knowledge about every country’s food and traditions. Each booth had an assortment of unique products laid out, including small-scale items that run the risk of extinction.

Representing the country were Vicky Garcia of RICE Inc.; Vicky Padilla of Agtalon Inc.; Chit Juan of ECHOStore; Rob and Bea Crisostomo of Ritual; Nico and Paula Aberasturi of Down To Earth; Ramon Uy Jr. of Fresh Start; Fannie Guanzon of Herbs Best; and a group of farmers from the Mountain Province, Kalinga and Benguet. They brought local produce like Visayan white corn also known as tinigib, heirloom rice varieties such as Chong-Ak from Kalinga and Imbuucan from Ifugao, sour fruits batwan and kamias, barako coffee, sinarapan and tawilis fish, and kadyos beans to the forefront.

Seasoned restaurateur Margarita Fores, along with chef Mariel Bustamante, chief of staff of Cibo di M Catering company Anthony Prudencio, New York-based volunteer chef Noel de la Rama, and volunteer chef Carla Brigliadori of Casa Artusi, then featured these products by turning them into delicious fare including bulalo, pansit guisado and adobong manok sa gata.

“It’s a cycle of people trying and liking our food then buying the ingredients. As a result, it will support our farmers as well as keep traditions and food items intact,” said Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Berna Romulo-Puyat who led the delegation and brought Fores and her team to Turin. “Hopefully, this will help the farmers preserve our culinary heritage.”

One of the memorable highlights for the Philippine contingent was when Carlo Petrini, the founder of Slow Food, and American chef and activist Alice Waters, who famously set up an edible schoolyard program in California to educate kids, dropped by the booth and had a serving of kadyos. They were enamored by its aroma and taste and, given their empty bowls, seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed it, much like the rest of the crowd.

Sam Miguel
11-04-2014, 07:57 AM
21 Foods That Naturally Unclog Arteries

September 1, 2014 by admin

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If your goal is to restore or maintain a healthy heart, there are a variety of foods that can help to unclog arteries of plaque build-up, lower your blood pressure, and reduce inflammation – the main culprits of cardiovascular illness.

Many of the foods on this list contain healthy fats, antioxidants, and soluble fiber which are great not only for your heart, but also to promote healthy skin, hair, hormone production, and nutrient absorption. You can feel better, have more energy, and improve your heart health without the use of toxic chemicals.

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1. Asparagus
One of the best vegetables for clearing arteries, asparagus is full of fiber and minerals, as well as a long list of vitamins including K, B1, B2, C, and E. Asparagus can help to lower blood pressure and prevent blood clots that can cause serious cardiovascular illness. Try steaming raw asparagus for maximum vitamin potential!

2. Avocado
The next time you make a sandwich or salad, consider adding a few slices of avocado in lieu of mayonnaise or heavy salad dressing. Studies have shown that the daily consumption of avocado result in improved blood cholesterol with a decrease in triglycerides and LDL of around 22% and an 11% increase in HDL – the “good” cholesterol that helps to keep arteries clear of obstructions. Not only can this delicious fruit help to keep your blood flowing smoothly, the average avocado also contains around 4 grams protein and 11 grams of fiber, not to mention an impressive list of vitamins and antioxidants.

3. Broccoli
Broccoli is another vegetable that is loaded with vitamin K which helps to prevent calcification or hardening of arteries. Eating vitamin- and antioxidant-packed broccoli can also help to prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol which can lead to serious heart conditions. This super healthy veggie also offers a heart-healthy dose of fiber which helps to normalize blood-pressure and reduce stress that may cause tears (and eventually plaque build-up) in arterial walls.

4. Chia Seeds
When included daily as part of a heart-healthy diet, the fiber and alpha-linolenic acid contained in just two ounces of Chia seeds can help to keep arteries clear by regulating blood pressure, reducing LDL cholesterol, lowering triglycerides, and increasing HDL cholesterol. Also, because daily cardiovascular exercise is another excellent way to improve heart health and keep arteries clear, Chia seeds are doubly effective. The boost of protein and nutrients offered by this tiny superfood can help to make any workout feel just a little bit easier.

5. Cinnamon
You’ve probably heard that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. But did you know that a spoonful of cinnamon makes your risk of heart disease go down? Just one tablespoon of ground cinnamon per day can work to reduce cholesterol levels while at the same time clearing and preventing plaque build-up. Cinnamon is also full of antioxidants which further improve cardiovascular health by protecting blood from damaging oxidation. So put down the sugar and start enjoying cinnamon. Try this fragrant spice in a cup of tea or sprinkled on top of coffee. Or check out these recipes on EatingWell with cinnamon.

6. Coconut Oil
21 Foods That Naturally Unclog ArteriesDisregard the old myth that all saturated fats are bad and the leading cause of cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis. Regular consumption of coconut oil – about 2 or 3 tablespoons per day – can help to reduce plaque build-up in the arteries by aiding the conversion of cholesterol in the blood stream into a form that our bodies can use. The high concentration of medium-chain triglyceride, lauric acid present in coconut oil is also thought to improve blood coagulation as well as to perform antioxidant functions in the blood stream, further diminishing the risk of heart disease.

7. Coffee
Also contrary to popular belief, coffee is not bad for your health. Studies have found that drinking between 8 and 16 oz of coffee per day can reduce your risk of heart disease by around 20%. Just remember to take all things in moderation, including caffeine. Over-consumption of any stimulant has the potential to increase your blood pressure and heart rate, which can lead to some serious health problems.

8. Cranberries
Cranberries are another antioxidant-rich food which can help to improve cardiovascular health by reducing LDL and raising HDL cholesterol levels. In fact, cranberry juice has more antioxidant power than all but one other fruit juice (100% red or black grape being the exception.) Enjoy two servings of 100% pure organic cranberry juice daily to protect your heart and improve your health.

9. Cold-water “Fatty” Fish
Also rich in healthy fats, cold-water fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna can help to clear arteries. Try to eat fish twice per week to reduce plaque build-up and inflammation that can lead to heart disease. Also, eating cold-water fish can help to improve your overall cholesterol – lowering triglyceride levels and increasing HDL cholesterol in the blood-stream.

10. Flaxseeds
One of the best sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), flaxseeds are known for their ability to reduce blood-pressure and inflammation, helping to keep arteries clear of obstructions and improve overall heart health. Enjoy a serving of 100% organic golden flaxseed added to a delicious smoothie or in one of these heart-healthy recipes by EatingWell!

11. Green Tea
21 Foods That Naturally Unclog ArteriesGreen tea – especially nutrient-rich Matcha green tea – contains high levels of catechins, antioxidant plant phenols which hinder the absorption of cholesterol during digestion. Enjoy a cup or two of green tea every day to improve your blood-lipid levels and help reduce arterial blockage. Green tea also provides a natural boost to the metabolism which can help you to lose weight, further bolstering your cardiovascular health.

Sam Miguel
11-04-2014, 07:58 AM
^^^ (Cont'd)

12. Nuts
A heart healthy snack alternative to prepackaged and processed foods, raw nuts are a delicious way to clear arteries with many auxiliary benefits, to boot! Almonds are by far the best option, being very high in monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, fiber, and protein. Walnuts are another great choice. As an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) – the same EFA that gives flaxseeds their favorable reputation – eating a serving of walnuts every day can help to improve blood-pressure, reduce inflammation, and keep arteries clear of obstructions.

13. Olive Oil
Rich in monounsaturated oleic acid – an essential fatty acid (EFA) known for its positive effects on cholesterol levels and oxidative stress in the blood stream – olive oil is widely considered to be one of the healthiest oils for cooking and dressing food. According to a recent study, use of olive oil for these purposes can actually reduce the risk of serious cardiovascular illnesses by up to 41%.

A word of caution: When shopping for olive oil, avoid buying the lowest-priced option on the shelf. These products are inexpensive for a good reason. Low-cost olive oils are often cut with cheaper, less-healthy oils or have been damaged by heat during the extraction process. Instead, go with a certified 100% organic virgin olive oil.

14. Orange Juice
Drinking just two cups of 100% orange juice (no sugar added) every day can help to improve blood pressure and reduce inflammation of arteries. Also, orange juice is full of antioxidant vitamin C which helps to keep arteries clear by preventing oxidative damage in the blood stream. For more information about how orange juice improves circulatory function, read this article by the Bastyr Center for Natural Health.

15. Persimmon
Persimmons are loaded with antioxidants and polyphenols, both of which work to decrease LDL and triglycerides in the blood-stream. Persimmons are also a great source of fiber which helps to regulate blood pressure, keep your heart healthy, and your arteries clear.

16. Pomegranate
Antioxidant phytochemicals naturally present in pomegranates do an excellent job of protecting the circulatory system from damaging oxidation which can cause plaque build-up and dangerous blood clots. Pomegranate also naturally stimulates production of nitric oxide in the blood which helps to open arteries and regulate blood pressure. Try eating fresh pomegranate or enjoy some organic pomegranate juice!

17. Spinach
One of the famed dark leafy greens, spinach is loaded with fiber, potassium, and folate – all of which help to lower blood pressure and keep arteries clear. According to recent studies, just one serving per day of folate-rich greens like spinach can lower homocysteine levels – a known risk factor for cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis. Why not mix it up a little? Enjoy your spinach sautéed, in a salad, or as part of a heart-smart smoothie!

18. Spirulina
Spirulina is a cytobacteria (or blue-green algae as they are often called) which not only helps to regulate lipid levels in the blood, it is also a complete protein. Unlike other plant sources of protein, Spirulina contains all of the essential amino acids needed by the human body to maintain optimum health. Spirulina is also packed with EFAs, including alpha-linolenic acid – the essential omega-3 fatty acid found in chia and flaxseeds that has been researched extensively for its ability to reduce arterial inflammation and improve cardiovascular health. Take Spirulina daily as a supplement or try it in powder form in some of these delicious recipes.

19. Turmeric
Curcumin, the main component of Turmeric, is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Adding turmeric to your diet can seriously reduce inflammation and damage to arterial walls which are leading causes of plaque build-up and blood clots. Furthermore, studies have shown us that the high levels of curcumin in Turmeric can aid in the reduction of fatty deposits in the arteries by up to 26%. Try some of these excellent recipes using all-natural organic turmeric.

20. Watermelon
Not only is it delicious, watermelon is another fruit that is great for your heart. As an excellent natural source of the amino acid L-citrulline, watermelon can help to keep arteries clear by lowering blood pressure and decreasing inflammation. In much the same way as pomegranate, watermelon naturally stimulates production of nitric oxide, which further improves artery health and blood pressure. Try some of these Best Watermelon Recipes by Southern Living!

21. Whole Grains
Trade out your bleached carbohydrates for their whole grain alternatives to give your heart health a boost. Foods like whole grain breads, whole wheat pastas, brown rice, quinoa, barley, and oatmeal have long been celebrated for their role in improving blood-cholesterol levels, keeping arteries clear, and reducing the risk of serious heart disease.

Sam Miguel
11-04-2014, 07:58 AM
^^^ (Cont'd)

12. Nuts
A heart healthy snack alternative to prepackaged and processed foods, raw nuts are a delicious way to clear arteries with many auxiliary benefits, to boot! Almonds are by far the best option, being very high in monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, fiber, and protein. Walnuts are another great choice. As an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) – the same EFA that gives flaxseeds their favorable reputation – eating a serving of walnuts every day can help to improve blood-pressure, reduce inflammation, and keep arteries clear of obstructions.

13. Olive Oil
Rich in monounsaturated oleic acid – an essential fatty acid (EFA) known for its positive effects on cholesterol levels and oxidative stress in the blood stream – olive oil is widely considered to be one of the healthiest oils for cooking and dressing food. According to a recent study, use of olive oil for these purposes can actually reduce the risk of serious cardiovascular illnesses by up to 41%.

A word of caution: When shopping for olive oil, avoid buying the lowest-priced option on the shelf. These products are inexpensive for a good reason. Low-cost olive oils are often cut with cheaper, less-healthy oils or have been damaged by heat during the extraction process. Instead, go with a certified 100% organic virgin olive oil.

14. Orange Juice
Drinking just two cups of 100% orange juice (no sugar added) every day can help to improve blood pressure and reduce inflammation of arteries. Also, orange juice is full of antioxidant vitamin C which helps to keep arteries clear by preventing oxidative damage in the blood stream. For more information about how orange juice improves circulatory function, read this article by the Bastyr Center for Natural Health.

15. Persimmon
Persimmons are loaded with antioxidants and polyphenols, both of which work to decrease LDL and triglycerides in the blood-stream. Persimmons are also a great source of fiber which helps to regulate blood pressure, keep your heart healthy, and your arteries clear.

16. Pomegranate
Antioxidant phytochemicals naturally present in pomegranates do an excellent job of protecting the circulatory system from damaging oxidation which can cause plaque build-up and dangerous blood clots. Pomegranate also naturally stimulates production of nitric oxide in the blood which helps to open arteries and regulate blood pressure. Try eating fresh pomegranate or enjoy some organic pomegranate juice!

17. Spinach
One of the famed dark leafy greens, spinach is loaded with fiber, potassium, and folate – all of which help to lower blood pressure and keep arteries clear. According to recent studies, just one serving per day of folate-rich greens like spinach can lower homocysteine levels – a known risk factor for cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis. Why not mix it up a little? Enjoy your spinach sautéed, in a salad, or as part of a heart-smart smoothie!

18. Spirulina
Spirulina is a cytobacteria (or blue-green algae as they are often called) which not only helps to regulate lipid levels in the blood, it is also a complete protein. Unlike other plant sources of protein, Spirulina contains all of the essential amino acids needed by the human body to maintain optimum health. Spirulina is also packed with EFAs, including alpha-linolenic acid – the essential omega-3 fatty acid found in chia and flaxseeds that has been researched extensively for its ability to reduce arterial inflammation and improve cardiovascular health. Take Spirulina daily as a supplement or try it in powder form in some of these delicious recipes.

19. Turmeric
Curcumin, the main component of Turmeric, is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Adding turmeric to your diet can seriously reduce inflammation and damage to arterial walls which are leading causes of plaque build-up and blood clots. Furthermore, studies have shown us that the high levels of curcumin in Turmeric can aid in the reduction of fatty deposits in the arteries by up to 26%. Try some of these excellent recipes using all-natural organic turmeric.

20. Watermelon
Not only is it delicious, watermelon is another fruit that is great for your heart. As an excellent natural source of the amino acid L-citrulline, watermelon can help to keep arteries clear by lowering blood pressure and decreasing inflammation. In much the same way as pomegranate, watermelon naturally stimulates production of nitric oxide, which further improves artery health and blood pressure. Try some of these Best Watermelon Recipes by Southern Living!

21. Whole Grains
Trade out your bleached carbohydrates for their whole grain alternatives to give your heart health a boost. Foods like whole grain breads, whole wheat pastas, brown rice, quinoa, barley, and oatmeal have long been celebrated for their role in improving blood-cholesterol levels, keeping arteries clear, and reducing the risk of serious heart disease.

Sam Miguel
11-07-2014, 11:30 AM
STEAK: THE MANLY MEAT

And steakhouses!

By Jim Gaffigan on October 22, 2014 0 0 0

Reprinted from the book Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan. Copyright © 2014 by Jim Gaffigan. Published by Crown Archetype, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.

As a child I was confused by my father’s love of steak. I remem*ber being eight and my dad ceremoniously announcing to the family, “We’re having steak tonight!” as if Abe Lincoln were coming over for dinner. My siblings and I would politely act excited as we watched TV. “That’s great, Dad!” I remember thinking, Big deal. Why can’t we just have McDonald’s? To me, my father just had this weird thing with steak. I thought, Dads obsess about steak the way kids obsess about candy. Well, my dad did. I’d watch him trudge out behind our house in all types of weather to the propane grill after me or one of my brothers barely averted death by lighting it for him. He would happily take his post out there, chain-smoking his Merit Ultra Light cigarettes and drinking his Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch alone in the darkness of Northwest Indiana. He’d stare into the flame like it was an ancient oracle relaying a prophecy that solved the mysteries of life.

Given the sheer joy that standing at the grill gave my father, I was always amazed by how bad he was at cooking a steak. Maybe it was the grilling in virtual darkness, or maybe it was the Scotch, but his steaks were usually really burnt and often had the flavor of cigarette ashes. At the table he would try to justify the charred meat in front of the family: “You like it well done, right?” Again, my siblings and I would politely lie. “It’s great, Dad. Thanks.” I think I actually grew to enjoy the taste of A.1. Steak Sauce mixed with cigarette ash. A.1. was always on the table when my dad would grill steaks. It seems everyone I knew had that same thin bottle of A.1. It always felt like it was empty right before it flooded your steak. Ironically, the empty-feeling bottle never seemed to run out. I think most people still have the same bottle of A.1. that they had in 1989. Once I looked at the back of a bottle of A.1. and was not sur*prised to find that one of the ingredients was “magic.”

By the time I became a teenager, I generally understood that steak was something unique. It had some kind of a deeper meaning. I still preferred McDonald’s, but I realized steak was certainly not something my father would’ve been able to eat growing up as the son of a denture maker in Springfield, Il*linois, in the 1940s. I remember thinking that maybe eating steak was actually my father’s measure of success. He wasn’t poor anymore. He and his children could afford to eat burnt steak. Even in my twenties, when I would go home to visit my father after my mother passed away, he and I would always eat a cigarette-ash-infused steak that he had overcooked on the grill. Many years later I realized that following my mother’s death, my father pretty much ate steak every night. Probably because my mother was not around anymore to say, “Well, obviously you shouldn’t eat steak every night!” When I think back to my father eating steak day after day, year after year, I can only come to one conclusion: my father was a genius.

I don’t know what happened, but steak makes perfect sense to me now. I was really overanalyzing it as a teenager. My fa*ther was not cooking steak on the grill to get away from his family or eating it daily to prove to himself that he wasn’t poor; my father was eating steak because consuming a steak is one of the great pleasures we get to experience during our short time on this planet. This was probably one of my most profound coming-of-age realizations. Steak is really that amazing. Steak is so delicious, I’m sure the first person to go on a stakeout was eventually disappointed: “Been sitting in this car all night and still no steak! Not even a basket of bread.”

I’m actually relieved I inherited my father’s love of steak. Where I was raised in the Midwest, all the men around me seemed to love three things: fixing stuff, cars, and steak. I learned that a real man loves fixing stuff, cars, and steak. Well, at least I’ve got one of those three. If eating steak is manly, it is the only manly attribute I possess. I’m not handy. I can’t fix things. Whenever something breaks in our apartment, I just look at my wife sheepishly and say, “We should call someone.” I don’t even call. My wife calls. I can barely figure out the phone. When the handyman comes over, I just kind of silently watch him work. I don’t know what to say. “You want some brownies? My wife could bake us some brownies. I’d bake them, but I don’t know how to turn the oven on.” I try to act like I’m working on something more important. “Yeah, I’m more of a tech guy. I’m really good at computer stuff . . . like checking e-mail.”

I’m just not manly. I don’t know what happened. The men in my family are manly. My dad and my brothers loved cars. I mean LOVED cars in a manly way. They’d talk about cars, go to car shows, and even stop and look at other people’s cars in a parking lot. I barely have an opinion on cars. I do know that trucks are manlier than cars. The most manly form of trans*portation is, of course, the pickup truck. My brother Mike has a pickup because he’s a MAN. Pickup commercials just give me anxiety. There’s always a voice-over bellowing, “You can pull one ton! Two tons! You can pull an aircraft carrier!” I always think, Why? Why do you need that? I only see people taking their pickup trucks to Cracker Barrel. My brother Mike, like many other pickup owners, never seems to be picking anything up in his pickup. I find this confusing. It’s like walking around with a big empty piece of luggage. “Are you about to travel somewhere?” “No, but I’m the type of guy who would.” To be fair, I really can’t judge. I don’t own a pickup—or even a car, for that matter. Whenever I go back home to Indiana to visit my brother Mitch, who is car obsessed, I rent a car and drive to his house from Chicago. We usually have the same conversation.

MITCH: What kind of car did you rent?
ME: I think it’s blue.
MITCH: Is that four or six cylinders?
ME: (pause) It has four wheels. I think. Wait, cylinders aren’t wheels, right?

But steak . . . steak I get. If eating steak is manly, then I’m all man. I’m like a man and a half. I love steak so much, it’s actually the way I show affection for other men. “You’re such a good guy, I’m going to buy you a steak.” Men bond over steak. “We’ll sit and eat meat together and not talk about our families.” I recently toured for two weeks with my friend Tom. When I returned home, Jeannie asked, “How’s Tom’s family?” I don’t know. I only spent like twelve hours a day with the guy. I know he likes a medium-rare rib eye. What else is there to know?

Sam Miguel
11-07-2014, 11:32 AM
^^^ (Cont'd)

I order steaks from Omaha Steaks. Yes, I order my meat over the Internet, which I’m pretty sure is a sign of a problem. I guess I don’t want my steak shopping to cut into my steak-eating time. Ordering Omaha Steaks is very simple. It’s like Amazon.com for beef. A couple of days after I place my order, a Styrofoam cooler shows up. It’s the same type of cooler that I imagine they will deliver my replacement heart in. Omaha Steaks is nice enough to provide dry ice in case I’d like to make a bomb or something. Occasionally, when I grab my Omaha Steaks cooler out of the hallway I’ll make eye contact with a neighbor, who I’m sure will later tell his spouse, “Jim got an*other box of meat today. That apartment will be available in a couple weeks.” The only problem with Omaha Steaks as a company is that you can’t get rid of them. Once you order from them, they are like Jehovah’s Witnesses calling all the time.

OMAHA STEAKS REP: Hey, you want some more steaks?
ME: I just got a delivery yesterday.
OMAHA STEAKS REP: How about some rib eyes?
ME: I don’t need any more steak, thank you.
OMAHA STEAKS REP: How about some filets? You want some filets?
ME: Really. I’m fine with steaks.
OMAHA STEAKS REP: Okay, I’ll call tomorrow.
ME: Um . . .
OMAHA STEAKS REP: Hey, you want some turkey? Ham?
ME: I thought you were Omaha Steaks?
OMAHA STEAKS REP: You want some drywall?
ME: Aren’t you Omaha Steaks?
OMAHA STEAKS REP: I’m right outside your window. I’m so lonely.

I could never be a vegetarian for many reasons, but the main one is steak. Sure, bacon, bratwurst, and pastrami are pretty amazing, but steak is the soul of all carnivores. Steak is the embodiment of premium meat eating. I’m a meat lover, and steak is the tuxedo of meat. The priciest dish on most menus is the “surf and turf,” the steak and lobster. Who are they kid*ding? The steak is clearly driving the steak-and-lobster entrée. The steak is the headliner. There are way more people going for the steak and the lobster than people going for the lobster and the steak. The people who want the lobster are just order*ing the lobster. Lobster’s appeal is all perception, and steak is truly extraordinary. Steak has its own knives. There aren’t steak restaurants. There are steakhouses. Steak gets a house. There’s no tunahouse. Tuna gets a can. I love a steakhouse. It’s really the perfect environment for eating a steak. They always seem like throwbacks to another era. A time when kale was just a weed in your backyard. All steakhouses seem to be dimly lit and covered in dark wood. They are usually decorated with a combination of red leather and red leather. You know there is a huge locker full of hanging carcasses, like five feet away. The waiters are no-nonsense pros. They approach in a gruff manner:

WAITER: (deep, scratchy voice) Welcome. Let’s not beat around the bush. You getting a steak? We serve meat here. Want some meat?
ME: Yes, ma’am.
At Peter Luger’s in Brooklyn, the waiter usually won’t even let you order. “You’re all getting porterhouse.” Um, okay.

Some steakhouses show you the meat raw. At places like Smith & Wollensky, a tray will be wheeled out with different cuts on it. One by one the waiter will pick up a glob of raw meat and thrust it at the table. “You can get this. You can get this.” Men are such visual animals that they’ll point at the fat-swirled hunk of flesh and grunt, “That one.” It’s all very simple and primal. At other restaurants, fancy non-steak items are prepared in a code of complexity: “Al dente.” “Braised.” “Flambéed.” But the way steak is cooked is understandable even to a monosyllabic caveman: “Rare.” “Medium.” “Well.” You barely even have to know how to talk. Of course, vegetables are also served at steakhouses, but they are called “side dishes.” Like their presence there is only justified by the existence of steak. They’re the entourage of the steak. And you can take them or leave them. The sides are not included with the purchase of steak. They are à la carte in steakhouses, like napkins on Spirit Airlines.

Sides are never called “vegetables,” because what is done to vegetables in steakhouses makes them no longer qualify as vegetables.

GRUFF WAITER: We have spinach cooked in ice cream. We also have a bowl of marshmallows with a dollop of yam. And our house specialty is a baked potato that we somehow stuffed with five sticks of butter. We also have a “diet potato” that is stuffed with only four sticks of butter.

Everything about a steakhouse is manly, so it’s no surprise that sports heroes own steakhouses. I’ve been to Ditka’s, El*way’s, and Shula’s, which all had great steaks, but I’m pretty sure those NFL greats didn’t cook my steak. “Hey, you were good at football. Why don’t you open a meat restaurant? They have nothing to do with each other.” Nothing except the same demographic: manly men. Like me.

My love of steakhouses is sincere. When I die, I would like to be buried in a steakhouse. Well, not buried. Just my casket on display in the dining room. That way people can come in, eat, and stare at me lying in state. Maybe someone will say, “Jim died too soon, but this steak was aged perfectly!” I don’t think people in steakhouses would mind that much about my casket. People are in steakhouses for steak.

PATRON: Why is there a casket in the middle of the room?
WAITER: Oh, that is a comedian, Jim Gaffigan. His only wish was to . . .
PATRON: I’ll have the rib eye, baked potato, and can I get blue cheese on the side?
WAITER: I’ll bring that right away, Mrs. Gaffigan.

I love steakhouses, but I realize there is something barbaric about the whole experience. Going to a place to eat cow hind parts. Eventually, eating steak won’t be socially acceptable. In two hundred years I’m sure the following conversation will take place:

PERSON 1: Did you know that in 2014 people would sit in dark rooms and eat sliced-up cow by candlelight?
PERSON 2: Not my ancestors! My ancestors have been vegan since they came over on the Mayflower. I read that on Ancestry.com.

Sam Miguel
11-07-2014, 11:32 AM
^^^ (Cont'd)

I order steaks from Omaha Steaks. Yes, I order my meat over the Internet, which I’m pretty sure is a sign of a problem. I guess I don’t want my steak shopping to cut into my steak-eating time. Ordering Omaha Steaks is very simple. It’s like Amazon.com for beef. A couple of days after I place my order, a Styrofoam cooler shows up. It’s the same type of cooler that I imagine they will deliver my replacement heart in. Omaha Steaks is nice enough to provide dry ice in case I’d like to make a bomb or something. Occasionally, when I grab my Omaha Steaks cooler out of the hallway I’ll make eye contact with a neighbor, who I’m sure will later tell his spouse, “Jim got an*other box of meat today. That apartment will be available in a couple weeks.” The only problem with Omaha Steaks as a company is that you can’t get rid of them. Once you order from them, they are like Jehovah’s Witnesses calling all the time.

OMAHA STEAKS REP: Hey, you want some more steaks?
ME: I just got a delivery yesterday.
OMAHA STEAKS REP: How about some rib eyes?
ME: I don’t need any more steak, thank you.
OMAHA STEAKS REP: How about some filets? You want some filets?
ME: Really. I’m fine with steaks.
OMAHA STEAKS REP: Okay, I’ll call tomorrow.
ME: Um . . .
OMAHA STEAKS REP: Hey, you want some turkey? Ham?
ME: I thought you were Omaha Steaks?
OMAHA STEAKS REP: You want some drywall?
ME: Aren’t you Omaha Steaks?
OMAHA STEAKS REP: I’m right outside your window. I’m so lonely.

I could never be a vegetarian for many reasons, but the main one is steak. Sure, bacon, bratwurst, and pastrami are pretty amazing, but steak is the soul of all carnivores. Steak is the embodiment of premium meat eating. I’m a meat lover, and steak is the tuxedo of meat. The priciest dish on most menus is the “surf and turf,” the steak and lobster. Who are they kid*ding? The steak is clearly driving the steak-and-lobster entrée. The steak is the headliner. There are way more people going for the steak and the lobster than people going for the lobster and the steak. The people who want the lobster are just order*ing the lobster. Lobster’s appeal is all perception, and steak is truly extraordinary. Steak has its own knives. There aren’t steak restaurants. There are steakhouses. Steak gets a house. There’s no tunahouse. Tuna gets a can. I love a steakhouse. It’s really the perfect environment for eating a steak. They always seem like throwbacks to another era. A time when kale was just a weed in your backyard. All steakhouses seem to be dimly lit and covered in dark wood. They are usually decorated with a combination of red leather and red leather. You know there is a huge locker full of hanging carcasses, like five feet away. The waiters are no-nonsense pros. They approach in a gruff manner:

WAITER: (deep, scratchy voice) Welcome. Let’s not beat around the bush. You getting a steak? We serve meat here. Want some meat?
ME: Yes, ma’am.
At Peter Luger’s in Brooklyn, the waiter usually won’t even let you order. “You’re all getting porterhouse.” Um, okay.

Some steakhouses show you the meat raw. At places like Smith & Wollensky, a tray will be wheeled out with different cuts on it. One by one the waiter will pick up a glob of raw meat and thrust it at the table. “You can get this. You can get this.” Men are such visual animals that they’ll point at the fat-swirled hunk of flesh and grunt, “That one.” It’s all very simple and primal. At other restaurants, fancy non-steak items are prepared in a code of complexity: “Al dente.” “Braised.” “Flambéed.” But the way steak is cooked is understandable even to a monosyllabic caveman: “Rare.” “Medium.” “Well.” You barely even have to know how to talk. Of course, vegetables are also served at steakhouses, but they are called “side dishes.” Like their presence there is only justified by the existence of steak. They’re the entourage of the steak. And you can take them or leave them. The sides are not included with the purchase of steak. They are à la carte in steakhouses, like napkins on Spirit Airlines.

Sides are never called “vegetables,” because what is done to vegetables in steakhouses makes them no longer qualify as vegetables.

GRUFF WAITER: We have spinach cooked in ice cream. We also have a bowl of marshmallows with a dollop of yam. And our house specialty is a baked potato that we somehow stuffed with five sticks of butter. We also have a “diet potato” that is stuffed with only four sticks of butter.

Everything about a steakhouse is manly, so it’s no surprise that sports heroes own steakhouses. I’ve been to Ditka’s, El*way’s, and Shula’s, which all had great steaks, but I’m pretty sure those NFL greats didn’t cook my steak. “Hey, you were good at football. Why don’t you open a meat restaurant? They have nothing to do with each other.” Nothing except the same demographic: manly men. Like me.

My love of steakhouses is sincere. When I die, I would like to be buried in a steakhouse. Well, not buried. Just my casket on display in the dining room. That way people can come in, eat, and stare at me lying in state. Maybe someone will say, “Jim died too soon, but this steak was aged perfectly!” I don’t think people in steakhouses would mind that much about my casket. People are in steakhouses for steak.

PATRON: Why is there a casket in the middle of the room?
WAITER: Oh, that is a comedian, Jim Gaffigan. His only wish was to . . .
PATRON: I’ll have the rib eye, baked potato, and can I get blue cheese on the side?
WAITER: I’ll bring that right away, Mrs. Gaffigan.

I love steakhouses, but I realize there is something barbaric about the whole experience. Going to a place to eat cow hind parts. Eventually, eating steak won’t be socially acceptable. In two hundred years I’m sure the following conversation will take place:

PERSON 1: Did you know that in 2014 people would sit in dark rooms and eat sliced-up cow by candlelight?
PERSON 2: Not my ancestors! My ancestors have been vegan since they came over on the Mayflower. I read that on Ancestry.com.

Sam Miguel
11-07-2014, 11:39 AM
EVEN TODAY, THE FRESHNESS OF YOUR FISH IS STILL A MYSTERY

Plus: Something we can learn from the Japanese about their fish

By Joe Conte on October 18, 2014 0 0 0

Old timers on Pier 45 in San Francisco can recall when our local King Salmon was split, salted, and packed in barrels, much of it sold exclusively to smokehouses because it was too old to eat fresh. Boats on 9-14 day trips out to sea were the norm and the word day boat was a term only used for scallops.

The fresh local salmon fillets we see on today’s restaurant menus are a relatively new development. In the 1980s, with the introduction of farmed fish, purveyors started taking greater care to get fresh fish to the consumer. Fish farms were able to process a live product into a beautiful fillet and bring it to market within a day or two. And in order to compete, the big fisherman co-ops implemented standards dictating shorter trips, chilling and icing procedures, and other criteria that kept the fish fresh and visually appealing.

But even with these improvements, fisherman and fishing boats are essentially unregulated entities, and jurisdiction for food safety usually starts only when the fish reaches land, when in fact, the process should start the moment the fish is caught. Fish receivers in the ports, wholesalers, and distributors often continue to wonder where, when, and who caught the fish. For centuries, the fishmonger in the street stall declared, “It was caught yesterday”—the automatic response from anyone trying to quickly move a highly perishable product. But we can never really know unless we buy it from the fisherman ourselves.

As a fish buyer who sources directly from fisherman, I’ve eliminated these ambiguities. I watch the fishermen head out to sea with ice that I provide them, and I see them come back. Where the fish was caught is no mystery. As for freshness, it’s determined by the eyes. Is the fish colorful, vibrant, shiny, and firm? You can tell freshness just by looking at the fish.

Some say that the direct sourcing system is an innovative business model, but it’s just a move back in time to when picking up fish from a fisherman and delivering it to a local eatery was common; one of the oldest professions on earth in the same way that organic farming was just normal farming before the advent of large scale industrial produce production. And just as this generation of chefs has driven the farm-to-table movement, they’re demanding the same standards from their seafood suppliers—though they don’t always recognize it. I once got an angry call from a chef after I dropped off a delivery. He told me never to sell him frozen fish again. I had to explain that the fish was actually still in rigor. He had never handled fish that fresh before.

Which just goes to show, until we implement system-wide procedures and government regulations that insure the freshest fish traced from water to table, the kind of product that consumers are just now starting to demand, fish and its freshness will remain a mystery—even to most professionals.

Something We Could Learn From The Japanese

The Japanese have perfected the art of catching, killing, storing, and delivering fish that can be eaten raw up to a week after it was caught. A popular Japanese technique, ikejime, is a method in which the fish is quickly and simultaneously killed and bled, preventing the fish's natural, slower process of dying. Immediately after it's killed, a wire is used to slide up the fish's spinal cord, from its head to its tail, preventing any reflex movements from happening. Those postmortem muscle movements release the fish's naturally occurring acids that sour the flesh. Ikejime is the fastest and most humane way of killing fish and ultimately results in a much better quality product.

Sam Miguel
11-07-2014, 11:40 AM
EVEN TODAY, THE FRESHNESS OF YOUR FISH IS STILL A MYSTERY

Plus: Something we can learn from the Japanese about their fish

By Joe Conte on October 18, 2014 0 0 0

Old timers on Pier 45 in San Francisco can recall when our local King Salmon was split, salted, and packed in barrels, much of it sold exclusively to smokehouses because it was too old to eat fresh. Boats on 9-14 day trips out to sea were the norm and the word day boat was a term only used for scallops.

The fresh local salmon fillets we see on today’s restaurant menus are a relatively new development. In the 1980s, with the introduction of farmed fish, purveyors started taking greater care to get fresh fish to the consumer. Fish farms were able to process a live product into a beautiful fillet and bring it to market within a day or two. And in order to compete, the big fisherman co-ops implemented standards dictating shorter trips, chilling and icing procedures, and other criteria that kept the fish fresh and visually appealing.

But even with these improvements, fisherman and fishing boats are essentially unregulated entities, and jurisdiction for food safety usually starts only when the fish reaches land, when in fact, the process should start the moment the fish is caught. Fish receivers in the ports, wholesalers, and distributors often continue to wonder where, when, and who caught the fish. For centuries, the fishmonger in the street stall declared, “It was caught yesterday”—the automatic response from anyone trying to quickly move a highly perishable product. But we can never really know unless we buy it from the fisherman ourselves.

As a fish buyer who sources directly from fisherman, I’ve eliminated these ambiguities. I watch the fishermen head out to sea with ice that I provide them, and I see them come back. Where the fish was caught is no mystery. As for freshness, it’s determined by the eyes. Is the fish colorful, vibrant, shiny, and firm? You can tell freshness just by looking at the fish.

Some say that the direct sourcing system is an innovative business model, but it’s just a move back in time to when picking up fish from a fisherman and delivering it to a local eatery was common; one of the oldest professions on earth in the same way that organic farming was just normal farming before the advent of large scale industrial produce production. And just as this generation of chefs has driven the farm-to-table movement, they’re demanding the same standards from their seafood suppliers—though they don’t always recognize it. I once got an angry call from a chef after I dropped off a delivery. He told me never to sell him frozen fish again. I had to explain that the fish was actually still in rigor. He had never handled fish that fresh before.

Which just goes to show, until we implement system-wide procedures and government regulations that insure the freshest fish traced from water to table, the kind of product that consumers are just now starting to demand, fish and its freshness will remain a mystery—even to most professionals.

Something We Could Learn From The Japanese

The Japanese have perfected the art of catching, killing, storing, and delivering fish that can be eaten raw up to a week after it was caught. A popular Japanese technique, ikejime, is a method in which the fish is quickly and simultaneously killed and bled, preventing the fish's natural, slower process of dying. Immediately after it's killed, a wire is used to slide up the fish's spinal cord, from its head to its tail, preventing any reflex movements from happening. Those postmortem muscle movements release the fish's naturally occurring acids that sour the flesh. Ikejime is the fastest and most humane way of killing fish and ultimately results in a much better quality product.

Joescoundrel
11-26-2014, 11:05 AM
New restaurant is small in scale but big on eclectic charm

Clinton Palanca

@inquirerdotnet

Philippine Daily Inquirer

9:00 AM | Thursday, November 20th, 2014

A recent visit to the cardiologist has redirected my everyday diet into the contentment of ritual virtue: grilled fish, fresh vegetables and only water to drink. I became more alert, like a goldfish in a tank of murky water that had been replaced after a month. This state of Zen-like righteousness lasted for about a week, when I realized, staring out through the newly crystalline water, that I felt, well, rather like a goldfish. Life was not worth living without fat.

This dispatch comes to you amid a slick of lipidinous haze, after indulging in a dinner of fried strips of battered pig’s ear (I mean the strips of pork were dipped in batter; the pig, I hope, suffered no physical abuse).

This was followed by French onion soup, and then a pig’s leg, also deep-fried, served with a rich mustard sauce and preserved cabbage.

My right temple is throbbing and I have lost hearing in one ear, but this is nothing that a good digestif can’t fix.

The last time, incidentally, that I ate French onion soup followed by a pork trotter was at a brasserie in France, and it was terrible. The soup was brown stodge with yellow rubber on top; while the pork leg oozed lard and cooking oil as I tried to saw through the leathery crackling with a knife, then a sharper knife, then, finally, my teeth.

The death of the brasserie is one of the most lamentable damages of the current recession on France, because they were wonderful places: brash, garlanded palaces of great social theater.

Tiny brasserie

CDP, the new restaurant on the exterior side of Rockwell’s Power Plant Mall, has some of the trappings of a brasserie: a dramatic bar, ornate candelabra, and what almost looks like a pressed tin ceiling that could have come from Montparnasse. It’s a tribute to the excellent interior design of the place that it doesn’t overwhelm, but makes the space look bigger. Because it really is a very, very tiny space.

Wedged into the tiny gap between Mamou and Kuretake, it feels like an extension of Mamou, which in a way it is. Malou Fores is one of the partners; the others are Kristine del Gallego (formerly of Lu), and Katrina Alcantara (of Mesclun, a restaurant that never did get the chance to come into its own).

One might reasonably wonder, given that three disparate personalities are involved, whether the menu would be a disjointed mashup of cooking styles and influences. To a certain extent, this is true, but it comes off as eclectic rather than muddled.

I’ve eaten at all three of their previous restaurants and can guess who is responsible for what: Malou for the steaks, given her expertise in the area at the Balthazar-inspired (another great brasserie that happens to be located in New York) restaurant next door; the small plates of intense Mediterranean flavors such as the black stew of baby squid in ink are in the style of Lu; while the neglected and lamented Provençal-style dishes like bagna cauda, vegetables with an anchovy dip, hark to Mesclun.

Ample portions, tiny plates

Although the menu managed to be a coherent selection of dishes to choose from, one problem I’ve encountered is the modulation in size. Some things come very, very large, while others are dainty bites. There is no advance warning as to what you’re going to get, unless you ask the waiter beforehand.

This doesn’t present that much of a problem if you’re sharing, but if individuals at the same table are getting separate meals, you might find yourself with too much on your plate.

Actually, whatever you get, you will have too much on your plate, because the plates are small; which is necessitated because the tables are small, too. But I’d rather have big portions on small plates, than tiny mounds on enormous slate slabs mostly taken up by drizzles and splotches, which seems to be the style these days.

Dessert is another weak point; it’s a tremendous missed opportunity because there are only three choices, all of which are a bit mundane, a bit mushy, a bit expensive. Since it’s in a mall, you can always move on somewhere else for sweets, but it would have been nice to keep our bums in our seats and progress slowly through an interesting dessert, onto Yardstick coffee and then, for those who are so inclined, segue into drinks at the bar.

A posh restaurant with good desserts is also an oasis for those who are on a budget, so that (as I did during my student days) you can have dinner at a cheap restaurant in the basement and then come upstairs to linger.

CDP, despite having the trimming of a brasserie, actually has more of the scale and friendliness of a bistro, and every neighborhood should have one. Part of every bistro’s job is to keep you coming back for its friendly staff and unpretentious food, as well as to stuff you in a way that will keep you fortified to face another week of slow-burning carbohydrates and boiled chicken breasts. In this task, the restaurant succeeds with a flourish.

Sam Miguel
12-29-2014, 01:09 PM
Nobu Manila opens

IT HAS THE WORLD-FAMOUS SIGNATURE DISHES INCLUDING THE BLACK COD MISO TOPPED WITH RED GINGER, AND BONE-IN RIB EYE STEAK. SUSHI IS SERVED LAST

Raoul J. Chee Kee

@inquirerdotnet

Philippine Daily Inquirer

3:30 AM | Thursday, December 25th, 2014

Just in time for the holiday season, Nobu Manila opened Dec. 14 with very little fanfare. But the restaurant was full last Sunday evening with families and couples eager to try out the Japanese food with a Latin-American twist pioneered by chef Nobu Matsuhisa 20 years ago.

In 1994, he partnered with restaurateur Drew Nieporent, Hollywood producer Meir Teper and award-winning actor Robert de Niro to open the first Nobu in Tribeca, New York.

Instead of sticking to a strictly Japanese menu, Matsuhisa drew from

his experience working in Tokyo sushi bars, and stints in Peru and Argentina.

His light-handed approach to this fusing of cultures succeeded where many others had failed; the flagship restaurant received three stars from the New York Times and a Michelin star.

At Nobu Manila, guests can now sample some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, including the meltingly soft Black Cod Miso topped with a stalk of ajikame or red ginger. After this rich dish, one is advised to bite into the pleasantly tart ginger root to refresh the palate.

There’s the Bone-in Rib Eye Steak served with three sauces, although with steak as good as the one served us, there’s really no need for added flavors.

Complete Nobu experience

Sunday night, we went through the complete Nobu experience that started with small plates of thinly sliced raw seafood—scallops, golden eye snapper—arranged in starburst pattern and topped with yuzu, cilantro and miso.

My favorite was the chutoro (medium fatty tuna) dotted with freshly grated wasabi—the holiday hues of red tuna and t1225raoul nobu_feat1_4green wasabi made it even more festive.

This was followed by such hot items as the signature Rock Shrimp Tempura (P990) and the King Crab Tempura with Amazu Ponzu (P1,850).

The crab was a revelation. Strips of crab meat were lightly coated with tempura batter, fried, and then topped with thinly sliced shallots and cilantro. The secret was in the sweet and tart ponzu sauce that gave the dish its kick, serving almost like a vinaigrette to this pricey crab salad.

An oven-roasted spiny lobster with uni (sea urchin) and peppery shichimi togarashi butter was rich, flavorful and surprisingly easy to tease out of its shell.

Turned out the lobster was halved lengthwise, removed from its shell, flavored and roasted. This made it more “chopstick friendly”—no need for fork and knife.

Family-style dining

It’s a good thing the food at Nobu is meant to be shared. Dishes are placed at the center so everyone gets a chance to try each item.

Once the dish is empty, the waitstaff is trained to clear the table with a friendly, “May I get this out of your way?”

Succeeding dishes are briefly explained, followed by, “Please do enjoy.”

At Nobu, the sushi is served last. That evening we sampled several, including soft shell crab rolls (futomaki) bound in strips of daikon; uni topped with miso, garlic chips and scallions; lightly seared chutoro; ocean trout with spicy jelly; and golden eye snapper with fresh shiso (Japanese mint).

If you prefer to drink sake (Japanese rice wine) with your meal, the restaurant has a bar manager who can suggest several with varying strengths and alcohol content.

There is also a multicourse Omakase menu priced at P6,160 (Chef’s Daily Creations) and P4,480 (Nobu Signature) where guests can sample “the essence of chef Matsuhisa’s cuisine.”

The formal launch of Nobu Manila and the 321-room Nobu Hotel—the first in Asia and only the second in the world—is set for early next year.

The Eden Roc Miami hotel will be relaunched next year as the Nobu Hotel at Eden Roc Miami Beach.

Nobu Manila is at Aseana Boulevard corner Macapagal Avenue, Parañaque City; tel. nos. 6912882 and 6912885. The property is part of City of Dreams Manila, an integrated resort-casino on a 6.2-hectare site.

Sam Miguel
12-29-2014, 01:09 PM
Nobu Manila opens

IT HAS THE WORLD-FAMOUS SIGNATURE DISHES INCLUDING THE BLACK COD MISO TOPPED WITH RED GINGER, AND BONE-IN RIB EYE STEAK. SUSHI IS SERVED LAST

Raoul J. Chee Kee

@inquirerdotnet

Philippine Daily Inquirer

3:30 AM | Thursday, December 25th, 2014

Just in time for the holiday season, Nobu Manila opened Dec. 14 with very little fanfare. But the restaurant was full last Sunday evening with families and couples eager to try out the Japanese food with a Latin-American twist pioneered by chef Nobu Matsuhisa 20 years ago.

In 1994, he partnered with restaurateur Drew Nieporent, Hollywood producer Meir Teper and award-winning actor Robert de Niro to open the first Nobu in Tribeca, New York.

Instead of sticking to a strictly Japanese menu, Matsuhisa drew from

his experience working in Tokyo sushi bars, and stints in Peru and Argentina.

His light-handed approach to this fusing of cultures succeeded where many others had failed; the flagship restaurant received three stars from the New York Times and a Michelin star.

At Nobu Manila, guests can now sample some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, including the meltingly soft Black Cod Miso topped with a stalk of ajikame or red ginger. After this rich dish, one is advised to bite into the pleasantly tart ginger root to refresh the palate.

There’s the Bone-in Rib Eye Steak served with three sauces, although with steak as good as the one served us, there’s really no need for added flavors.

Complete Nobu experience

Sunday night, we went through the complete Nobu experience that started with small plates of thinly sliced raw seafood—scallops, golden eye snapper—arranged in starburst pattern and topped with yuzu, cilantro and miso.

My favorite was the chutoro (medium fatty tuna) dotted with freshly grated wasabi—the holiday hues of red tuna and t1225raoul nobu_feat1_4green wasabi made it even more festive.

This was followed by such hot items as the signature Rock Shrimp Tempura (P990) and the King Crab Tempura with Amazu Ponzu (P1,850).

The crab was a revelation. Strips of crab meat were lightly coated with tempura batter, fried, and then topped with thinly sliced shallots and cilantro. The secret was in the sweet and tart ponzu sauce that gave the dish its kick, serving almost like a vinaigrette to this pricey crab salad.

An oven-roasted spiny lobster with uni (sea urchin) and peppery shichimi togarashi butter was rich, flavorful and surprisingly easy to tease out of its shell.

Turned out the lobster was halved lengthwise, removed from its shell, flavored and roasted. This made it more “chopstick friendly”—no need for fork and knife.

Family-style dining

It’s a good thing the food at Nobu is meant to be shared. Dishes are placed at the center so everyone gets a chance to try each item.

Once the dish is empty, the waitstaff is trained to clear the table with a friendly, “May I get this out of your way?”

Succeeding dishes are briefly explained, followed by, “Please do enjoy.”

At Nobu, the sushi is served last. That evening we sampled several, including soft shell crab rolls (futomaki) bound in strips of daikon; uni topped with miso, garlic chips and scallions; lightly seared chutoro; ocean trout with spicy jelly; and golden eye snapper with fresh shiso (Japanese mint).

If you prefer to drink sake (Japanese rice wine) with your meal, the restaurant has a bar manager who can suggest several with varying strengths and alcohol content.

There is also a multicourse Omakase menu priced at P6,160 (Chef’s Daily Creations) and P4,480 (Nobu Signature) where guests can sample “the essence of chef Matsuhisa’s cuisine.”

The formal launch of Nobu Manila and the 321-room Nobu Hotel—the first in Asia and only the second in the world—is set for early next year.

The Eden Roc Miami hotel will be relaunched next year as the Nobu Hotel at Eden Roc Miami Beach.

Nobu Manila is at Aseana Boulevard corner Macapagal Avenue, Parañaque City; tel. nos. 6912882 and 6912885. The property is part of City of Dreams Manila, an integrated resort-casino on a 6.2-hectare site.

Sam Miguel
01-06-2015, 09:57 AM
David Chang's Kitchen: Your Idea of Bologna is Total Baloney

In this first installment of his new GQ column, Momofuku founder David Chang sends a sweet and salty valentine to the least appreciated, most irresistible meat in America

BY DAVID CHANG

March 2014

"So what's the next big thing?"

When you're a chef, you spend a lot of time mumbling and guessing when people ask you that question, because no one really knows. But I think about it constantly anyway, at least when I'm not losing at fantasy sports, because that's just what I do. And right now, if I had to wager on what might be the next pork belly or kale salad, I'd put my chips on bologna.

I know, I know. It doesn't sound promising. Or maybe even appetizing. But that's just because no one's doing it right—at least not in America.

The case for great bologna starts with mortadella, the mother of all fatty whipped-pork sausages. It's from the Italian city of Bologna, which is why we use (or actually misuse) that name for all its bastard stepchildren. Mortadella has many uses—as a filling for tortellini, as an indispensable soldier on the salumi plate. My old chef Marco Canora, of Hearth and Terroir in N.Y.C., even adds it to his bolognese sauce. (You should, too.) At Bar do Mané in São Paulo, Brazil, they pile hot sliced mortadella on a crusty roll with cheese, and it's one of the best things I've ever eaten.

The thing is, the adulation and exclusivity that make mortadella so unique are also what put a ceiling on it. Mortadella is one of those sacred Italian traditions that the Italians will never mess with, and American chefs who make mortadella tend to pay homage to the traditional style.

But lowercased bologna? It's a blank canvas of pureed meat, ready for inspiration to take hold. You can make it from duck, veal, chicken, pork, beef, and a variety of game. You can smoke it, use different spices, change just about anything about it. At an Auburn tailgate last season, I ate venison-and-pork bologna. At Momofuku Ssäm Bar, our Duck on Rice dish uses a duck bologna made with Chinese five-spice powder.

Fried Bologna (or Mortadella) Sandwich

Serves four to six
1 kaiser roll
1 Tbsp. butter
1/4 lb. bologna, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, or mortadella, sliced thin
2 slices American cheese

Directions

1. Slice the roll in half and lightly butter the insides. In a medium-size pan, over medium heat, toast the roll butter side down. Remove and set aside.

2. In the same pan, fry the bologna until brown on each side. Remove from heat and drain excess fat.

3. Layer the cheese and bologna between the roll halves. Place the sandwich in the pan and return to heat. Press on both sides to toast the bun and melt the cheese.

4. Slice in half and serve.

The main reason people dislike bologna is its texture. That childhood bologna—you know, the kind in the yellow package—is cut way too thick. Believe me, even the best mortadella sliced like supermarket bologna would be gross cold, too. The basic rule when serving bologna cold is: Slice it as thin as possible.

The opposite is true for bologna served hot. At Wilensky's Light Lunch in Montreal, the "special" is a pressed kaiser-like roll, mustard, and a few thick slices of beef bologna and salami that have been lightly warmed through. It's a high point of gastronomy, as vexing in its deliciousness as a Zen koan. See, when you take a nice quarter-inch-thick piece of bologna and put it on the griddle, you're going somewhere good. With all the natural sugars in bologna, you get a wonderful Maillard reaction (that's what happens when meat sugars turn brown and delicious), and the resulting texture—the interplay between the crisp exterior and the warm, creamy interior—is irresistible.

The problem right now is that there is no such thing as artisanal bologna. This blows my mind—we have craft doughnuts, beet pickles, beef jerky...but no bologna? This needs to change. In the meantime, make yourself the sandwich shown at left with a kosher bologna like Hebrew National or, though it saddens my patriot heart to say it, mortadella. And the next time you visit your favorite restaurant, tell the chef to stop making tiny batches of that Italian stuff and start experimenting with great American bologna. Do that and it's only a matter of time till bologna starts bumping pork belly off menus all over town.

Sam Miguel
01-06-2015, 10:01 AM
David Chang’s Kitchen: Don’t Get All “Fresh” with Me

Now more than ever, we fetishize that word—fresh. Fresh market vegetables! Fresh fish! It’s imbued with moral goodness. But as Chef Chang explains, rot is where it’s at

BY DAVID CHANG

April 2014

I take a seat at one of the finest sushi counters in the world and marvel at the exquisite craft of the chef. He slices an ever-so-slightly concave peel of tuna, smears a dab of wasabi onto the fish, shapes a handful of warm sushi rice in his hand, lays the tuna on top, brushes it with an aged soy sauce, and places the piece of nigiri in front of me. I chew a sliver of pickled ginger to refresh my palate and happily accept the perfectly constructed bite. The chef watches for my reaction before deciding that what I should have next is a cylinder of toasted nori, filled with cured ikura.

No dining experience is more associated with the concept of freshness than sushi: If the notoriously squeamish American diner is to consider eating raw fish, that fish had better be fresh. But the truth is, sushi’s not great because it’s fresh. It’s great because it’s actually sort of rotten.

That rice the chef presented to me was stored for a year or two before being cooked with sugar and rice-wine vinegar. The pickled ginger was probably made three months ago. The artisanal soy sauce could be four years old. The ikura has been cured in wet brine and stored for who knows how long. The nori hasn’t seen the ocean in ages. And the star of the show? Truthfully, unless you’re Tom Hanks in Cast Away or the kids from The Blue Lagoon, you don’t want to eat fresh fish. Once a fish has been dead for more than a few minutes, the flesh goes into rigor mortis, and it can take four or five days to relax and reach its apex of deliciousness.

We reflexively recoil from the word “rot” when it comes to food, and we shouldn’t. We pay a premium for dry-aged beef because we know the older the steak, the more tender it is and the more umami it develops. That beef is rotting (okay, “aging”), but under our terms and to our benefit. Many foods are rotted to make them edible at all: olives, chocolate, coffee. And there are those that we rot to improve: pickles, cheese, wine. I find it hilarious that even the freshest foods are seasoned with rot. We dress salads with vinegar, a.k.a. rotten wine. I can’t even come up with a list of foods that I enjoy fresh more than aged—it basically stops after orange juice.

Wait, I just thought of one more: peas. With spring approaching, I would be a fool not to put green peas on the menus at my restaurants. Peas are one of the rare foods where fresh truly is much better. But fresh peas begin to degrade in quality immediately and are in short supply even at the height of their season. So I tend to supplement fresh peas with frozen ones. I’d wager that the next time you eat a vibrant sweet-pea soup, it was made with a little fresh peas and a lot of frozen.

Still, I’m looking forward to all those fresh spring vegetables: I’m anxious to start preserving them in all kinds of ways, making them unfresh and a whole lot tastier. Technology and modernity have done away with the necessity of preservation, but those techniques—pickling, curing, drying, fermenting—remain the root of almost everything that’s good to eat. So let’s stop fixating on “fresh” and embrace things that are old and rotting. Even if it takes some time to get used to the idea.

Vinegar Pickles

Makes one jar

1 c. water, piping hot from the tap
1/2 c. rice-wine vinegar
6 Tbsp. sugar
2 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 lbs. vegetables, consisting of any or all of the following:
baby carrots, scrubbed, peeled, and trimmed ramps, scrubbed, whiskers trimmed beets, preferably smallish ones, peeled, halved, and cut into half-moons, cauliflower, florets removed from the head and cut into bite-size pieces

Directions

1. Combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves.

2. Pack the prepared vegetables into a quart container. Pour the brine over the vegetables, cover, and refrigerate. You can eat the pickles immediately, but they will taste better after they’ve had time to sit—three to four days at a minimum, a week for optimum flavor. Most of these pickles will keep for at least a month.

Joescoundrel
02-26-2015, 03:27 PM
The ice cream that pleased the Pope

CARMEN’S BEST IS TO ICE CREAM WHAT KOBE BEEF IS TO STEAK– THE HIGHEST GRADE, THE MOST LUXURIOUS, THE MOST COVETED

Norma Chikiamco

@inquirerdotnet

Philippine Daily Inquirer

4:51 AM | Thursday, February 26th, 2015

When Philippine Airlines asked him last December if he could supply Carmen’s Best Ice Cream, Paco Magsaysay thought, why not? After all, he had previously provided the airline with ice cream for chartered flights when President Benigno Aquino III would be onboard. Carmen’s Best was by then a brand that PAL was familiar with.

In early January, Magsaysay received another call from PAL, this time asking him to supply 280 packs of single-serve ice cream. He then prepared 140 single serves of malted milk flavor and 140 of brown butter almond brittle. Feeling generous, he rounded up the order to 300, adding 20 packs of pistachio ice cream.

Little did he know that his ice cream would be brought onboard the plane that would fly Pope Francis back to Rome after his papal visit to the Philippines—and actually be served to His Holiness. When Magsaysay found out that the Pope had tasted, in fact, finished two servings of Carmen’s Best Ice Cream, Magsaysay was floored.

“Just the idea of the Pope touching the cup of ice cream and eating it!” Magsaysay exclaimed.

High honor

But even before Carmen’s Best went onboard the papal plane, some members of the Vatican had already tasted it. A few days earlier, Magsaysay’s cousin, Brother Michael Valenzuela, FSC—who’s on the board of some La Salle schools and is institutional animator at College of St. Benilde—had asked him to supply ice cream to the papal entourage and the Swiss guards who were billeted in Hotel Benilde (owned and operated by De La Salle).

Paco obliged with 30 free pints of his most popular flavors; reports have it that the papal entourage loved the ice cream.

Perhaps no other ice cream deserves such a high honor as to be served to His Holiness. Carmen’s Best, after all, is to ice cream what Kobe beef is to steak—the highest grade, the most luxurious, the most coveted.

Where other brands use UHT processed milk, Carmen’s Best is made only from pure fresh cow’s milk and cream sourced directly from the family’s dairy farm. There’s also no air pumped into it, and no water and chemicals added.

The word tipid (scrimp) is alien to the makers of Carmen’s Best. For vanilla, only the finest vanilla beans from Madagascar are used. The pistachios come from Sicily, the malted milk from England, the chocolate from Switzerland. If the flavor includes almonds, there is sure to be an abundance of almonds in every tub.

The result is ice cream that’s dense and creamy, with no rough edges. Every spoonful has a roundness, like a fluid, well-rehearsed symphony that starts and ends seamlessly.

Humble beginnings

The brand has certainly come a long way from its humble beginnings in 2011, when Magsaysay first dabbled in ice-cream-making. At first he only wanted to maximize the milk production in the dairy farm of his father, former Senator Jun Magsaysay (son of the late, beloved President Ramon Magsaysay). Using a small ice cream machine, he began with three basic flavors: vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. When the ice cream turned out good, he realized he could do something more and began expanding his production and experimenting with other flavors.

Magsaysay’s first customers were his neighbors in Alabang. But word soon spread about this artisanal ice cream that was so lush and velvety it was unlike any other ice cream in the market. To fill customers’ needs, he established pickup points in Alabang and Makati, aside from making customized ice cream for special orders.

To update his skills, in 2013 he took the Ice Cream Short Course in Penn State University—and finished with the top prize, the Keeney Award.

Today, Paco continues to raise the bar in ice cream production. Strict food safety measures are observed, and fresh milk and cream continue to be the prime components that give the ice cream an incredibly rich texture and mouth feel.

Magsaysay says he even monitors the food the cows eat because it affects their milk production. And though he knows he has sufficient milk supply because of his father’s farm, he is honorable enough to pay the proper market rate and keep his payments updated.

40 flavors

From the three basic flavors, Carmen’s Best now comes in 40 flavors that include both the traditional and unconventional: from pistachio almond fudge to baklava; from salted caramel to Brazilian coffee; from cookie dough to Nuts About You, a maple-based ice cream with pecans, walnuts and almonds.

Likewise, from two pickup points, the distribution has expanded to include major supermarkets such as Rustan’s and Puregold. He’s also thinking of exporting to Southeast Asian countries soon.

Not surprisingly, Carmen’s Best has won a number of awards. It has been given Best Choice Artisanal Ice Cream Brand; was overall winner in Our Awesome Planet’s Ultimate Taste Test; and cited in the Manila Survival Guide’s Five Best Artisanal Ice Cream Brands.

Awards and recognition aside, Paco uses Carmen’s Best not just to make the best ice cream in the market but also to continue the Magsaysay legacy of giving to the community and helping others. Since starting operations in 2011, the company has been donating part of its proceeds to the PGH Medical Foundation. Today, its contribution has reached P100,000.

Pope Francis will surely be pleased.

Sam Miguel
03-31-2015, 08:49 AM
Red Meat Is Not the Enemy

MARCH 30, 2015

There are people in this country eating too much red meat. They should cut back. There are people eating too many carbs. They should cut back on those. There are also people eating too much fat, and the same advice applies to them, too.

What’s getting harder to justify, though, is a focus on any one nutrient as a culprit for everyone.

I’ve written Upshot articles on how the strong warnings against salt and cholesterol are not well supported by evidence. But it’s possible that no food has been attacked as widely or as loudly in the past few decades as red meat.

As with other bad guys in the food wars, the warnings against red meat are louder and more forceful than they need to be.

Americans are more overweight and obese than they pretty much have ever been. There’s also no question that we are eating more meat than in previous eras. But we’ve actually been reducing our red meat consumption for the last decade or so. This hasn’t resulted in a huge decrease in obesity rates or deaths from cardiovascular disease.

The same reports also show that we eat significantly more fruits and vegetables today than we did decades ago. We also eat more grains and sweeteners.

This is the real problem: We eat more calories than we need. But in much of our discussion about diet, we seek a singular nutritional guilty party. We also tend to cast everyone in the same light as “eating too much.”

I have seen many people point to a study from last year that found that increased protein intake was associated with large increases in mortality rates from all diseases, with high increases in the chance of death from cancer or diabetes. A close examination of the manuscript, though, tells a different story.

This was a cohort study of people followed through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or Nhanes. It found that there were no associations between protein consumption and death from all causes or cardiovascular disease or cancer individually when all participants over age 50 were considered. It did detect a statistically significant association between the consumption of protein and diabetes mortality, but the researchers cautioned that the number of people in the analysis was so small that any results should be taken with caution.

The scary findings from two paragraphs up are from a subanalysis that looked at people only 50 to 65. But if you look at people over 65, the opposite was true. High protein was associated with lower levels of all-cause and cancer-specific mortality. If you truly believe that this study proves what people say, then we should advise people over the age of 65 to eat more meat. No one advises that.

Further, this study defined people in the “high protein” group as those eating 20 percent or more of their calories from protein. When the Department of Agriculture recommends that Americans get 10 to 35 percent of their calories from protein, 20 percent should not be considered high.

If I wanted to cherry-pick studies myself, I might point you to this 2013 study that used the same Nhanes data to conclude that meat consumption is not associated with mortality at all.

Let’s avoid cherry-picking, though. A 2013 meta-analysis of meat-diet studies, including those above, found that people in the highest consumption group of all red meat had a 29 percent relative increase in all-cause mortality compared with those in the lowest consumption group. But most of this was driven by processed red meats, like bacon, sausage or salami.

Epidemiologic evidence can take us only so far. As I’ve written before, those types of studies can be flawed. Nothing illustrates this better than a classic 2012 systematic review that pretty much showed that everything we eat is associated with both higher and lower rates of cancer.

We really do need randomized controlled trials to answer these questions. They do exist, but with respect to effects on lipid levels such as cholesterol and triglycerides. A meta-analysis examining eight trials found that beef versus poultry and fish consumption didn’t change cholesterol or triglyceride levels significantly.

All of this misses the bigger point, though. It’s important to understand what “too much” really is. People in the highest consumption group of red meat had one to two servings a day. The people in the lowest group had about two servings per week. If you’re eating multiple servings of red meat a day, then, yes, you might want to cut back. I would wager that most people reading this aren’t eating that much. If you eat a couple of servings a week, then you’re most likely doing fine.

All the warnings appear to have made a difference in our eating habits. Americans are eating less red meat today than any time since the 1970s. Doctors’ recommendations haven’t been ignored. We’re also doing a bit better in our consumption of vegetables. Our consumption of carbohydrates, like grains and sugar, however, has been on the rise. This is, in part, a result of our obsession with avoiding fats and red meat.

Over the last few decades, Americans have changed their eating habits. The consumption of red meat has decreased as the consumption of grains has sharply increased.

Consumption per capita, in ounces per day. Sweeteners include sugar, corn sweeteners, honey and syrup. Other meat includes poultry, fish and shellfish.
We’re eating too many calories, but not necessarily in the same way. Reducing what we’re eating too much of in a balanced manner would seem like the most sensible approach.

Last fall, a meta-analysis of brand-name diet programs was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study compared the results from both the individual diets themselves and three classes, which included low-carbohydrate (like Atkins), moderate macronutrient (Weight Watchers) and low-fat (Ornish). All of the diets led to reduced caloric intake, and all of them led to weight loss at six months and, to a lesser extent, at 12 months. There was no clear winner, nor any clear loser.

Where does that leave us? It’s hard to find a take-home message better than this: The best diet is the one that you’re likely to keep. What isn’t helpful is picking a nutritional culprit of bad health and proclaiming that everyone else is eating wrong. There’s remarkably little evidence that that’s true anytime anyone does it.

Aaron E. Carroll is a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine. He blogs on health research and policy at The Incidental Economist, and you can follow him on Twitter at @aaronecarroll.

Joescoundrel
01-20-2017, 09:31 AM
http://www.esquiremag.ph/culture/food-and-drink/food-critic-manila-a1597-20170119-lfrm?ref=article_feed_1

I?ll just go and say it: Our local restaurant scene has grown to ginormous proportions over the last few years. And while there are those who scratch their heads at why this is so, it's also no surprise, really, seeing that we?re a nation of voracious eaters. While we are deeply in love with mom?s cooking, restaurants are where the game is at these days, and for many reasons. It transports us to another continent, and we can pretend our passport accumulates stamps as we munch on chili-flecked Asian street food, or rich, hand-cranked pasta from Roma. It gives us opportunity to try what the new breed of chefs are up to?stuff we can?t or won?t make at home. Or it simply fills our belly with food we crave. Like graphic design was back in the day, the food scene is where all the buzz is. It?s both a skill AND an art, practiced by many.

Joescoundrel
04-07-2017, 08:51 AM
Margarine troubles continue

Associated Press / 07:44 AM April 07, 2017

NEW YORK, United States ? Margarine's fortunes seem to be taking another sad turn, with the owner of Country Crock and I Can't Believe It?s Not Butter looking for someone to take the brands off its hands.

Consumer products heavyweight Unilever said Thursday it's seeking to unload its spreads business that has suffered from soft sales in the United States and other developed markets.

It's just the latest blow for butter alternatives, which most think of as "margarine," even if some don't technically conform to the federal definition of the word.

Margarine enjoyed popularity for decades before research emerged in the 1990s about the harms of the trans fats. Many manufacturers have since reformulated their spreads sold in tubs to remove trans fats, but the bad health associations have persisted.

In the meantime, butter has benefited from the trend toward foods people see as "real" and consumers' greater willingness to accept more fat in diets. McDonald?s has even switched from margarine to butter across its breakfast menu as part of a push to improve perception of its food.

"Butter has a more natural image. I think people have always been a bit suspicious about margarine," said Bonnie Liebman, director of nutrition at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Liebman noted butter still has more saturated fat than many alternative spreads, and that the American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fats to no more than 5 to 6 percent of daily calories.

The decision by Unilever, whose products include Dove soaps and Ben & Jerry's ice cream, to get rid of its spreads is just the latest chapter in margarine's history.

In the 1880s, a federal tax was passed on margarine, which was dinged as being "counterfeit butter" by a lawmaker at the time. Some states even prohibited it being dyed yellow, a move intended to prevent people mistaking it for butter.

It's not yet known who will snap up Unilever's spreads, but others already in the business include ConAgra, which owns Blue Bonnet and Parkay. Even though margarine?s image has been suffering for years, overall U.S. sales of margarines and spreads still came to $1.81 billion last year, according to industry tracker Euromonitor International.

Per capita consumption of butter, meanwhile, surpassed margarine in 2005 and has inched up since, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. CBB

Joescoundrel
11-23-2017, 10:08 AM
The 3 names to remember as the founders of modern cuisine

By: Micky Fenix - Columnist / @Inq_Lifestyle

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 07:00 AM November 23, 2017

"Of the trinity said to have founded modern cuisine in post-Revolutionary Paris - Brillat-Savarin, De la Reyniere and Careme - only one cooked," wrote Ian Kelly in "Cooking for Kings: The Life of the First Celebrity Chef" (2003, Walker Publishing Co.)

That was the line I used in my talk on food writing, at the Philippine Readers and Writers Festival of National Book Store held recently at the Fairmont Hotel, to highlight the value of food writers. Because, while Careme cooked, Brillat-Savarin and De la Reyniere were food writers. And all three were important in documenting French cuisine during that 19th-century period.

First celebrity chef

In the 21st century, are food writers as relevant as those who work in the kitchens?

If you are a serious student of culinary arts, then Marie-Antonin Careme should be someone you have heard of, read about or studied. Kelly, who wrote Careme?s biography, enumerated what French cuisine and even world cookery owes to this man who rose from cook helper to become the "first celebrity chef."

He reduced the hundreds of French sauces into four basic ones?veloute, bechamel, alamande and espagnol. Kelly wrote that Careme "introduced into the mainstream? the souffle, the vol-au-vent and the piped meringue." He established order in the kitchen to give military precision to service, and advocated hygiene. He always used the freshest ingredients and seasonal produce.

Chefs still wear the toque, a cap he originally designed. He was the master of "grande cuisine" or, as we know it now, haute cuisine, having cooked for royalty such as France?s Louis XVI and XVIII, the British Prince Regent George, Napoleon Bonaparte, the Russian tsar and famous personalities of the time like the diplomat Charles Maurice de Talleyrand and the wealthy banker James Mayer Rothschild.

Elaborate centerpieces

When we talk of haute cuisine, that includes the table settings that Careme created, like his elaborate centerpieces of fruits, pastries and pulled sugar sculptures. His pastry creations were what attracted many of the famous men he worked for to seek him out and offer him to be head chef in their kitchens.

And unlike Francois Vatel, a 17th-century majordomo who was known for orchestrating extravagant banquets using theatrical methods and who killed himself when he thought his order of fish didn?t arrive, Careme was less dramatic about disappointments. He died of an ailment due to years of inhaling charcoal fumes in old kitchens with bad ventilation systems.

A chef's cooking lasts only while his food is being consumed. But why does Careme's work live on? Because of his writings. Careme documented not only recipes, but also his menus and table settings in books like "Le P?tissier Royal Parisien," "Le Ma?tre d'H?tel Fran?ais" and "L'Art de la Cuisine Fran?aise." The latter was supposed to have been five volumes, but Careme finished just four though the series was eventually completed by one of Careme's chef friends from his notes.

His books contain his own drawings of his table settings and centerpieces; he studied architectural art and even published books about the subject with his renderings. Chefs today have detailed examples in words and visuals of 19th-century French cuisine from a chef extraordinaire, allowing them to reproduce recipes from the era.

Gastronomic writing

Jeanne Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, meanwhile, was a lawyer by profession and a practitioner of what was then known as gastronomic writing. His writings were on the pleasures of the table, and he appreciated simple cooking if executed with artistry. He is said to be an early advocate of low-carb eating.

Very few people have read his "Physiologie du Go?t (The Physiology of Taste)," myself included, even if it was translated to English by the eminent American food writer M.F.K. Fisher, who said it was an honor to do that work.

Most of us know only of one or two of his quotes, such as "Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are" and "A dessert without cheese is like a beautiful woman with only one eye."

A vocational and technical school in Berlin is named after the writer Brillat-Savarin Schule, where the Kulinarya team head, chef Myrna Segismundo, gave a talk on Filipino cooking to would-be chefs.

Food critic

Alexandre Grimod de la Reyniere, on the other hand, can be described in today's terms as a food and restaurant critic. His "L'Almanach des Gourmands" in eight volumes was really a restaurant guide book.

Dining places would send food to his house, nicknamed Hotel Grimod by his friends, so he could critique the dishes. His monthly Journal des Gourmandes et des Belles was considered food literature; here, the reader gets a sense of the state of eating and dining at the time.

So even if "only one cooked" among the three names mentioned by author Ian Kelly, all three were writers. In today's world, however, more importance is given to cooks.

"A culture where the chef, not the writer or the critic, becomes a celebrity, is a culture where food, too, is in revolution," Kelly wrote.

Joescoundrel
11-23-2017, 02:57 PM
How to Order Wagyu Beef Like a Master Chef

Raise your meat IQ with SW Steakhouse's Chef David Walzog.

By NATE ERICKSON | A day ago

Chef David Walzog knows more about steak than you. Before he became the executive chef at SW Steakhouse at Wynn Las Vegas, Walzog ran kitchens at New York?s Monkey Bar, Michael Jordan?s Steak House in NYC, and three Strip House restaurants, earning him local and national acclaim for his ability to put meat over flame. Twelve years ago, when hotel mogul Steve Wynn needed a chef to helm his namesake steakhouse at his namesake Vegas hotel, it's no surprise that Walzog got the call.

Besides enjoying endless summer in Nevada and life on a literal resort, being the man in charge at SW Steakhouse comes with a culinary perk: the opportunity to put authentic wagyu beef on the menu. Forget your happy hour spot with the ?Kobe sliders." Real wagyu?of which Kobe is only one form?comes straight from Japan, goes through an authentication process as intense as its marbling, and can only be found at a handful of restaurants in the entire United States.

"We couldn't be prouder of that," says Walzog. "It only happens a few places in the world, and thankfully this is one of them."

Esquire reached out to Chef Walzog to dispel the Kobe confusion and teach us the right way to order wagyu.

Wagyu is cooked low and slow.
Cooking well-marbled meat is all about melting it internally. We try and cut it into about 4 inches square, 3/4 of an inch high. You want to go low and slow to help it melt, render, and redistribute that fat through the beef, which gives it flavor. It?s about getting that internal part of the muscle sort of melted out. You have a much better product than cooking it hard and fast.

Omi is a great entry-level wagyu.
For a western palate, Omi tells the tale of Japanese wagyu without becoming unrecognizable. It's by no means tough or even like domestic beef, but it has a little tooth to it, compared to some of the other opulent, silky stuff that we offer.

Expect to spend.
We have guests who come in and just want to try wagyu?which is great?but we had to put something on the menu for people to recognize that it?s a big ticket item. We sell it in 4-ounce increments?that starts at $220, and it goes up incrementally from there, $55 per ounce. As an individual, you really don't need much more than that. The richness and decadence of a 4-ounce piece of wagyu is quite sufficient to experience.

Order it medium.
They ask me all the time, "What does the chef prefer?" I say order it however you want, but I happen to think it?s a medium. You want to get good heat in it and have that rose color as opposed to red, and it just eats a lot better. It's more robust, the flavor is just crazy?it almost blooms.

No ketchup.
If you really want to taste the quality of the meat, you want it to lay on its own. We do serve a little whiskey-barrel aged shoyu that's kind of a nice dipping sauce, but salt, pepper, and you're done.

Pair it with a Cabernet or Bordeaux.
You're looking for the rich tannins and some sort of acid to compliment the richness and fattiness of the steak.

Kobe burgers are a lie.
It doesn't work! It wouldn't eat like a burger, it would be more like a piece of foie gras. If you were to grind authentic Japanese beef, you would have to put things in it to absorb some of that fat. There's this loose verbiage of "Kobe"?whether it's hot dogs or beef?that people are kind of throwing around as a recognizable name, like Kleenex. Don't believe the hype.

For your Wagyu steak fix in Manila, try Wagyu BGC.

Joescoundrel
01-04-2018, 10:26 AM
Cheesed off: Italian regions highly strung over mozzarella

Agence France-Presse / 11:02 PM January 02, 2018

Defenders of buffalo mozzarella in the Campania region of southern Italy have vowed to fight a decision made this week by the farming ministry which allows a cow mozzarella from neighboring Puglia to be given special status.

Even before Brussels has given its opinion over the DOP (protected designation of origin) label, the defence consortium of buffalo mozzarella announced an appeal at the administrative court.

"The cheese products of Puglia are delicious, but for the typical character of the local productions and the full interest of the value of the resources of all regions, the only DOP mozzarella is, and must remain, ours, exclusively made with buffalo milk," warned the Campania region in September.

Buffalo mozzarella was awarded the DOP label in 1996, and following a difficult start in trading has had a record decade. Some 44,000 tons were produced in 2016, up 31 percent in 10 years, of which 14,000 tons were exported. That's up 168 percent in the same period.

Buffalo milk costs three times more than cow?s milk, and even though the taste of both products is different and the ministry has set constraints for dairies in Puglia to clearly display that it is cow mozzarella, Campania fears confusion.

"The game is not over," said Domenico Raimondo, president of the defence consortium of buffalo mozzarella. "We will go to the end and we will use all the means at our disposal to avoid what appears to us clearly an own goal for Italy, that both the markets and consumers will understand."