Cebu Eats! 2022

I finally got the courage to travel again and am writing this from beautiful Cebu, where the 2nd National Mission Congress and the closing mass for the celebrations of 500 Years of Christianity — with Papal Nuncio Archbishop Charles John Brown; Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines; and Archbishop Jose Palma of the Archdiocese of Cebu — are taking place.

Margaux Salcedo, Msgr Joseph Tan, 500 Years of Christianity, Cebu, Closing Ceremonies, Archbishop Charles Brown, Fr Mhar Balili, Archbishop Jose Palma
Hosted the Closing Ceremonies for 500 YOC before the Eucharistic Celebration began. April 24, 2022 at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. With me is Msgr. Joseph Tan, Media Liaison Officer of the Archdiocese of Cebu. Photo: Msgr Ting Ancajas

I am happy to share that it looks like we really can start doing food trips again and now is the time, while fares are down. We flew via Cebu Pacific and a round-trip ticket was just P3,000 (without the add-ons)! Your health is your own lookout, though, as the crowds are back as well, so just make sure you wear the proper mask and that it is sealed correctly around your nose and mouth. Also make sure you are fully vaccinated so that even if the COVID-19 virus hits you, it will just be like the flu.

Here are few new foodie finds on this trip:

Maribago Bluewater’s ‘Sinudlan na Manok ‘

Maribago Bluewater is paradise. The 7-hectare beachfront property with gorgeous Balete trees is perfect for a relaxing getaway. It is just one hour from the city center so it’s also an ideal location if you have to meet friends in the city. I say paradise because it really is, especially if you get a bungalow—literally a two-bedroom, one story “house”—right on the beach.

It’s also safer for meals because the setup is al fresco. Even if you will not sleep over, have a meal at Allegro restaurant. They have a really delicious chicken stuffed with chorizo called Sinudlan na Manok. It does not come as a whole chicken but like a roll, similar to morcon, and sliced beautifully on the plate. The chorizo used is Cebuano chorizo hubad. Another unique dish is their ube sinigang. The fish in itself is sumptuous, a pan-seared snapper. But what makes the dish unique is that it’s purple, even the broth! In place of rice, the fish is laid atop a chunk of sweet potato, taro and halaya. Make sure to squeeze the lemon onto the mash as this does wonders in bringing the flavors together; otherwise it’s like an odd combination of fish and ube jam. But with the lemon, it’s like they are wed in holy matrimony and becomes really enjoyable!

Of course, the best option is to sleep over and have fresh oysters with champagne by the beach! Live the life!

‘Bibingka de Mandaue’

Every town has its version of kakanin. Mandaue in Cebu also has its own version of bibingka and Bishop Midyphil “Dodong” Billones, auxiliary bishop of Cebu and rector of the National Shrine of St. Joseph in Mandaue, says that Bibingka de Mandaue is the best. Count on a bishop to choose something that is very austere but spirit-filled! This rice cake is plain and almost looks like pita bread but its beauty is inside! No salted duck egg, no cheese on top but it is very flavorful!

Another must-try in Mandaue is Didang’s masa real. This is a bar of finely-ground boiled peanuts and coconut syrup. It’s a great pasalubong, too!

Part’ebelle Seafood Restaurant

This is a “karinderya “that I am sure Anthony Bourdain would have loved for a true taste of local flavors. The specialty of this al fresco resto is a seafood soup called Tinolang Isda (or tinowa) that has a clear broth. They use blue marlin and I learned from a local culinary expert to ask for fish roe instead of just plain fish meat for a first class treat in a casual atmosphere.

Tinolang Isda at Partebelle

Another specialty here is the sinugba or grilled fish. There is a huge grillery just outside the restaurant where they cook the liempo and blue marlin. It is very tasty and fresh! Served with a huge mound of rice per person, even if you just get your utensils from a communal container with hot water (don’t be maarte!), this is one of the best meals I’ve had on this trip!

Matias BBQ

For a great hole-in-the-wall experience, Enrico Monsanto of Bluewater in Maribago highly recommends Matias BBQ in Mandaue. This is on A.S. Fortuna Street in Mandaue. The must-trys are the pork barbecue, chorizo and balbacua.

Carcar ‘chicharon’

Carcar Chicharon beside the St Catherine of Alexandria historical church in Carcar

For chicharon, the place to visit is Carcar. While you are there, make a trip to the Shrine of Archbishop Teofilo Camomot, former Archbishop of Cebu and now Servant of God. On May 3, the Vatican will determine if he qualifies to be called Venerable, which is the next step to sainthood. So please pray for Archbishop Camomot and hopefully, we will have another Filipino saint!

‘Tagaktak’

Also make sure to try Tagaktak. In Cebuano, this means “to drop.” It looks like fried noodles presented in the shape of a triangle and is enjoyed as a snack. It earned its name from the process by which it is cooked: rice batter is poured into a perforated coconut shell and the batter then falls through the holes while the one cooking sways the shell to force the batter to fall “taktak” into boiling oil. You can find this from vendors just outside the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu.

World travel and tourism

Back in Manila, Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo Puyat just opened the 21st Global Summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council. She said: “A new age of travel and tourism is upon us, and it is up to us to drive the change towards a better and more hopeful future.”

This is so true. I confess I only agreed to fly to Cebu because Fr. Mhar Balili, chair of the 500 Years of Christianity celebrations in Cebu, promised that I would be hosting the 2nd National Mission Congress right in front of the original image of the Sto. Niño that was given by Ferdinand Magellan to Reyna Juan 500 years ago—a promise he fulfilled. But now that I have traveled, I would love to encourage everyone to welcome this new normal and fly!

Incidentally, Catholics call this day Divine Mercy Sunday and we are truly so grateful for this mercy. Now we can really get out of our caves and live life to the fullest again! Hallelujah!

Kaon ta!

Cebu Eats! 2022

First Class by Margaux Salcedo | Philippine Daily Inquirer | April 24, 2022 Sunday

Panagbenga Power at The Manor with Alden Richards, Maine Mendoza, Enchong Dee and Bea Alonzo

I always knew that PANAGBENGA was a flower festival. But I never imagined that it would be this elaborate!

It was my first time to attend and I was swept off my feet! It wasn’t so much the variety of flowers as the presentation of the floats that displayed them. Was pleasantly surprised to see floats as big as jeepneys with every last inch of the float covered in flowers or greens!

Here are a few of my favorites:

This one with polar bears complete with sound!

The City of Baguio’s Float

It’s More Fun in the Philippines – The DOT Float 

The Everlasting Monkeys.

Note that the entire monkey is made of Everlasting flowers!

The Green Elephant

The SM Prince and Princess Float

I was also blown away by the costumes of those who walked in the parade depicting flowers! Some of the girls walked the entire stretch of the parade from the Supreme Court compound all the way to past Session Road in heels!

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Naaliw din ako sa headdress ng babaeng ito. I’m sure Gina Lopez would approve of her environmentally conscious hat!

The DILG also gave its all-out support to the City of Baguio with no less than DILG Sec. Ismael Sueño and “PNP Dir. Gen. Bato” present:

And the women of the PNP showed full support wearing these native Igorot skirts

The highlight of the parade for residents, though, was the float that carried the love team of Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza and for ABS CBN the float that carried Bea Alonzo and Enchong Dee. Bea was amazing in engaging the Baguio audience. The Aldub team was more reserved, just smiling and talking between themselves inside their float.

All the VIPs – Alden, Maine, Bea – stayed at the luxurious hotel The Manor in Camp John Hay where my family also happened to be staying at and guess who got a photo op with “that girl” … my mom got her attention by telling her that we are neighbors in Sta. Maria, Bulacan …

"That girl" - Aldub's Maine Mendoza and my gorgeous Mother, Wonder Woman Carmelita "Baby" Salcedo at The Manor at Camp John Hay
“That girl” – Aldub’s Maine Mendoza and my gorgeous Mother, Wonder Woman Carmelita “Baby” Salcedo at The Manor at Camp John Hay

… we also got to meet the charming General Manager of The Manor, Mr Ramon Cabrera (right). If you want a discount at The Manor, look for him, hehe! But if you are a Smart Infinity user – like me since 2008 – you may not need to make sipsip to Mr Cabrera because The Manor and SMART Infinity have tied up for a special program exclusively for their members. According to Ms Marites Pamintuan, Manor’s Marketing Director: Room rates can get anywhere between a 30% to 50% discount.  Smart Infinity members can redeem and use this promotion for the month of March. They can contact their Concierge directly for their room accommodation.”

The men behind the success of Panagbenga (L-R): Freddie Alquiroz, Co-Chairman; Anthony de Leon, Chairman of the Flower Festival Foundation; Ramon Cabrera, General Manager of The Manor at Camp John Hay
The men behind the success of Panagbenga (L-R): Freddie Alquiroz, Co-Chairman; Anthony de Leon, Chairman of the Flower Festival Foundation; Ramon Cabrera, General Manager of The Manor at Camp John Hay

I am definitely coming back next year!

The Manor at Camp John Hay
Camp John Hay, Loakan Road, Baguio City
campjohnhay.ph
Baguio: +6374 424 0931 to 43
Manila: +632 584 4892, +632 584 4911
Email: sales@campjohnhay.ph

 

Baguio Diaries 2016: Camp John Hay Turns 25

Margaux Salcedo with her Jack Russel farm dog Stardust

Camp John Hay celebrated its 25th Anniversary since the turnover from the Americans.

While we wax patriotic and are obviously ecstatic about the Philippines taking over, we must admit that there are things about the old John Hay that are sorely missed.

So this September, The Manor and The Forest Lodge at Camp John Hay, in memory of those good ol’ days of the Star Spangled Banner’s presence, threw a retro party, with music from yesteryears, a vintage car, and, best of all, the old John Hay menu including its steak and burgers!

Camp John Hay Anniversary hosted by Bob Sobrepena and the US AmbassadorChef Billy King of The Manor and Forest Lodge whipped up a spectacular buffet that included a steamship steak, the best chili and the famous John Hay burger.

Camp John Hay Billy King Steamship Steak
Steamship steak that could double as hand carry luggage – that’s how big it was!

Camp John Hay Burger. Photo by Margaux Salcedo.
Can you taste it? Best burger in the country. Chef Billy King’s John Hay burger.

Camp John Hay 25th Year Anniversary. Forest Lodge, Manor, Baguio.
Vintage Menu from the old John Hay.

The highlight of the night, though, was the presence of the US Ambassador, an inevitable guest since John Hay was the 37th Secretary of State of the United States who was responsible for the Treaty of Paris.

US Ambassador Philip Goldberg at Camp John HayOf course I had to find out who in revered history is John Hay that an entire US Camp would be named after him. Apparently he was responsible for the Treaty of Paris of 1898!

John Hay was sworn in as Secretary of State on September 30, 1898. He needed little introduction to Cabinet meetings, and sat at the President’s right hand. Meetings were held in the Cabinet Room of the White House, where he found his old office and bedroom each occupied by several clerks. Now responsible for 1,300 federal employees, he leaned heavily for administrative help on his old friend Alvey Adee, the second assistant.]

By the time Hay took office, the war was effectively over and it had been decided to strip Spain of her overseas empire and transfer at least part of it to the United States. At the time of Hay’s swearing-in, McKinley was still undecided whether to take the Philippines, but in October finally decided to do so, and Hay sent instructions to Day and the other peace commissioners to insist on it. Spain yielded, and the result was the Treaty of Paris, narrowly ratified by the Senate in February 1899 over the objections of anti-imperialists.[x]

And the Treaty of Paris paved the way for Philippine Independence!

The Treaty of Paris of 1898 was an agreement made in 1898 that involved Spain relinquishing nearly all of the remaining Spanish Empire, especially Cuba, and ceding Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States. The cession of the Philippines involved a payment of $20 million from the United States to Spain.[1] The treaty was signed on December 10, 1898, and ended the Spanish–American War. The Treaty of Paris came into effect on April 11, 1899, when the documents of ratification were exchanged.[2]

Fabulous party! Props to the Sobrepeñas for maintaining Camp John Hay and keeping it gorgeous even after 25 years!

***

Margaux Salcedo with her Jack Russel farm dog Stardust
Vintage car at the Forest Lodge in Baguio with Stardust

Marites Pamintuan and finance guru/musician William Russel Sobrepeña. Camp John Hay, Forest Lodge, Baguio.
Marites Pamintuan and finance guru/musician William Russel Sobrepeña

Camp John Hay 25 Years, Dino Datu of Cook Magazine, Rica Palomo Espiritu of ManilaSpeak
Dino Datu of Cook Magazine, Rica Palomo Espiritu of ManilaSpeak at the Forest Lodge

Camp John Hay 25 Years Anniversary with Cong. Mark Go, Berg Go, Marbee Shing Go
My relatives (?!) – Cong. Mark Go, Berg Go and lovely wife Marbee Shing Go – and me (!) MarGAUX :))

CAMP JOHN HAY 25 Years. Vicky Perez de Tagle and Peng de Tagle
Top executive and jazz patron Peng de Tagle with lovely wife PR queen Vicky Perez de Tagle.

Camp John Hay Us Ambassador Philip Goldberg Baguio
Having a great laugh with the Ambassador. We were trying to decipher the etymology of words like “bayot” and “p*tang*ina” LOL

 

Summer at Eve’s Garden, La Trinidad

I had to submit an article on healthy food to Inquirer Red and just had to include this memorable healthy meal that included not only greens but also flowers right from Eve’s Garden up in the mountains of La Trinidad, Benguet.

Yes, we have treasures like this here in the Philippines if you know where to look.

Here’s a flashback to September 2012 when I visited Eve’s Garden with my favorite couple in the universe – my parents 🙂

It was a looooong drive. The lady on the phone told us that it would take only fifteen minutes to reach Eve’s Garden from the Manor at Camp John Hay. But it took us a whole hour.

Continue reading “Summer at Eve’s Garden, La Trinidad”

Sunset Cruise in Puerto Galera

  
So I am guilty of not visiting as often but so happy to find that Puerto Galera is no longer just for backpacker adventurists used to roughing it but you can now also cruise in style on these yancas – a banca base with the body of a yacht. 

Got to piggyback on a get-together of my dad Ephraim Salcedo with his brotherhood The Shepherds (an organization he founded in 2012) and join a sunset cruise aboard Big Beth, an 82 foot yanca! 

 
Check out my story on this gorgeous boat here: in my column First Class in the Philippine Daily Inquirer

The boat has a lower deck that is big enough to house a buffet station and can even become a makeshift dance floor! 

  
There is also an upper deck that gives you a clear view of the sunset. 

   
Hope to come back with some of my favorite chefs in tow for some hard core sunset fine dining!!! 

Visit MarcoVincent.com for dive resort details. 

Craving Adobo in Rome

Sarap Filipino Restaurant, Filipino Food in Rome, Vatican, Margaux Salcedo for Margauxlicious.

 

After over a week in Europe, in spite of all the great food, I was really looking for Filipino dishes!

So I was delighted when my friend Mother Superior Regina Ate brought me to Sarap at the Vatican.

It is conveniently located just a couple of blocks from St. Peter’s Square. So after hearing mass with the Pope or sightseeing, you can head over here for your fill of RICE!

Was so happy to find classic Pinoy dishes like adobo – though it is all pork here, no chicken – and sinigang. They also offer pancit! But my fave on the menu was the dinuguan. Was jumping for joy, haha.

Here’s the full menu. Interestingly, the guy at the cashier is NOT Filipino but the rest of the staff are. Plus they have a pretty decent loo!

With Mother Superior Regina Ate who guided me as I visited the Holy Doors.

SARAP
Viale Giulio Cesare, 113, Roma, Italy
+39 06 321 0345
Open daily 11 am to 10 pm
https://www.google.com/maps/dir/”/sarap+vatican/@41.9095177,12.3894101,12z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m8!4m7!1m0!1m5!1m1!1s0x132f60603e4639a5:0x66d861f9d345c468!2m2!1d12.45945!2d41.909539

Billy King at Prince Albert: One More for the Road

Chef Billy King, Prince Albert, Hotel Intercontinental closes

Chef Billy King returned to The Prince Albert at The Intercon for a one night only special dinner to bid the iconic restaurant adieu.

Chef Billy King, Prince Albert, Hotel Intercontinental closesThe new generation might not be familiar with Billy King but he is an exceptional chef who made a real dent in the Philippine culinary industry back in the ’80s. He was THE chef of Prince Albert who started the pan seared foie gras craze in the Philippines. Although Irish, he was THE authority when it came to French nouvelle cuisine in Manila.

Last December 9, it was great to see the King back in his element, reminding us all how to put the fine in dining. (Billy King lives a quiet life now as executive chef of The Manor in Camp John Hay and runs a luxury catering business. “Please don’t write about it, we don’t want to advertise,” he said.)

With his starters of carpaccio, terrine and escargot, King reminded old diners (and gave new ones a lesson) of his true mastery of the art of balance. The carpaccio, given dimension with the addition of scallops and shaved parmigiano, was perfect in serving its purpose of simply tickling the palate for what was to come. The escargot was light yet with bite. The duck liver terrine had the perfect balance of salty and sweet, the flavors delicate yet definite.

Billy King at Prince Albert Intercontinental Manila
Saumon et coquilles Saint-Jacques crues au poivre rose / Salmon and scallops with Pink Pepper Corn.

But the most memorable dish of the night for me was the seabass. I think it was with this dish that Billy King proved that he remains the King. This is the best seabass I have had all year. It was so beautifully soft. Think rose petals falling or a 3,000 thread count sheet. For all the new “fine dining” restos with molecular crap and visual deceptions going on in the industry, this one was a simple reminder that hey, fine dining has to be about the food. That you can eat. That is delicious.

Billy King, Prince Albert, Hotel Intercon
Loup de mer et jus d’homard au safron / Seabass and Lobster Stock with Saffron

Like the seabass, this lamb was also an ode to tenderness. It was also great to see truffles not stuffed in your face for display but serving the purpose of aroma and flavor.

Billy King, Prince Albert, Intercon
Carre d’agneau aux truffles noires / Rack of Lamb with Black Truffes

Dinner was capped with this chocolate mousse that was again beautifully balanced – not too sweet, decadently chocolately.

Billy King, Intercon Prince AlbertI have to admit, this King reigns supreme. Now if he would only come to Manila more often …

Billy King, Prince Albert, InterconPS. The Intercon will close its doors for good at the end of the year. (Related in the Inquirer: Goodbye, Intercon.). Chef Cyrille Soenen who was executive chef of Prince Albert in 2000 will also have a one-night only dinner tribute. However, this is now fully booked / now closed for reservations. Prince Albert, though, will remain open til the end of the year if you still have one last fix of that famous prime rib. Look for Rod. Call +632 793 7000 for inquiries.

PPS They have a room sale too!

 

Margarita Fores’ Italy: Rome

Ristoranti Al 34, Rome. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.com.

Who else to call for tips when going to Rome but the lady who introduced Filipinos to al dente pasta, Margarita Fores.

My first time in Rome a few years ago for the canonization of St. Pedro Calungsod, I asked for tips on where to eat and hunted down her recommendations. They were all delish!

Ristorante Al 34

After visiting the tourist must-see of the Spanish Steps, you can walk to via dei Condotti and just around the corner on Mario de Fiori is Ristorante 34. If you come in the spring or summer you may be lucky enough to eat al fresco and one of those musicians with accordions might just pass by and play on the street. A real Italian experience!

Ristoranti Al 34, Rome. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.com.It is also beautiful inside, though, with a rustic charm about the restaurant. Their website says this restaurant was founded in 1968 (!) and is now a second generation restaurant, run by son Nicola and wife Maria Luisa of founder Walter Casalini.

Ristoranti Al 34, Rome. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.com.They serve classic Roman cuisine. I was pleasantly surprised by how they incorporate arugula into their pasta!

Ristoranti Al 34, Rome. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.com. Ristoranti Al 34, Rome. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.com.Of course we could not leave without having authentic Italian tiramisu and it was the perfect sweet ending.

Ristoranti Al 34, Rome. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.com.

Gelateria San Crispino

You can’t go to Rome and not have gelato. I mean, even Audrey Hepburn recommended it in Roman Holiday. Remember?

Roman Holiday. Audrey Hepburn.In fact, there are gelato stores almost around every corner near the Trevi Fountain.

But Margarita Fores’ recommendation was nearer Campo dei Fiori. It’s a gelato store called San Crispino.

Incidentally, this is also the gelateria recommended in the book (and movie) Eat Pray Love starring Julia Roberts.

Gelato San Crispino, Trevi, Rome. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.com.

This is what the Telegraph UK had to say about this gelateria: “Rome’s original gourmet gelateria – as featured in the book Eat Pray Love – is still one of the best. It’s pricey by local standards but the most you’ll pay for a large tub is around £5. Don’t miss the zabaione flavour. Branches at Piazza della Maddalena 3 (Pantheon) and Via della Panetteria 42 (Trevi Fountain).”

Since it was supposedly the best gelato in Rome AND because there was a Filipino behind the counter, I had not only one flavor but THREE.

Gelato San Crispino, Trevi, Rome. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.com.I loved it and immediately understood why it is considered the best. But if you have time only for the Vatican, I also loved the Old Bridge Gelatria near St. Peter’s Square.

Forno, Campo dei Fiori

So apparently if you want pizza in Italy, you have to go all the way to Naples. Instead, you can have Roman pizza bianca which is essentially toasted bread LOL.

Margarita recommended Forno at Campo dei Fiori. It must be very popular because we met a girl from Turino on our walk to Campo dei Fiori and she was also looking for this place!

Pizza Bianca, Campo di Fiori, Rome. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.com.There was also a long line when we arrived and people were calling out their orders to the “bakers” behind the counter.

Pizza Bianco, Forno, Campo dei Fiori, Rome. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.com.All for THIS:

Pizza Bianca, Campo di Fiori, Rome. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.com.No cheese, no tomato sauce, nothing that you would expect from a pizza. LOL. But it was cooked in a brick oven and it was a really tasty flat bread! My mom and I and our new friend ate it right by the statue of Giordano Bruno. (We had originally joked it was Darth Vader!)

Giordano Bruno, Campo dei Fiori, Rome. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.com. Pizza Bianca, Campo di Fiori, Rome. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.com. Filetti Baccala, Campo dei Fiori

Another great place at Campo dei Fiori (down the alley) is a place that serves Italy’s response to Britain’s fish n chips: Filetti Baccala. They serve bacalau but fish n chips style .We happened to be beside these two guys (the seats are really close to each other) and they laughed at us when we asked for tartar sauce LOL. Italians are purists, apparently. And you just have the fillets as is or with just a bit of salt. Anyway, it’s alread yperfect as it is!

Filetti Baccala, Rome. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.com. margauxlicious rome bacallet 3 margauxlicious rome bacallet 2Buon appetito!

 

Precioza Farms: A Botanical Farm & Luxury Camp near Tagaytay

I had the privilege of being invited by Dr. Preciosa Soliven, founder of OB Montessori and wife of the late great publisher and writer Max Soliven, to her farm in Tagaytay. It’s a beautiful farm that was borne out of Dr. Soliven’s vision of putting up a self-sufficient farm that would be used for the education of OB Montessori students especially in the fields of agriculture, science, horticulture, and related fields.

It’s a truly educational tour that shows the guest varieties of trees and plants such as these mahogany trees.

Or this row of Dragon Fruit trees. Did you know that it first grows a flower that wilts before the pink Dragon Fruit shows itself.

I was also fascinated by the following plants:

Lemongrass …

Ginger …   Peanuts … Tobacco …

… and corn!!! “If you build it, they will come!” they whispered. IMG_0440

In 2012, they added Asian-themed villas. We got a peek into the villas themed Japan and Thailand …

They now have 12 villas (some with jacuzzi pools!) open to the public. There is also a camp site with a zip line, wall climbing and mini-ampitheater facilities. They are also currently working on building a 1,000 square meter chapel.

But the piece de resistance of the 16.5 hectare property is the Pavilion. There is a sprawling garden leading to it.

IMG_0490

The lanai is designed with wood with intricate craftsmanship (look at those doors!) and some works from the personal art collection of Dr. Soliven. 

 

The second floor offers this serene view.

Our lunch comprised of Tagaytay popular dishes like bulalo and tawilis cooked by OB Montessori’s chef.

Especially loved the fruits fresh from their farm. Their durian and rambutan were so sweet!

IMG_0501IMG_0500

The trip was capped with loads of lovely “family pictures”. Especially love this one of Dr. Preciosa Soliven with her golden-haired dog Goldie.

IMG_0498

Hope to hold a party here one of these days!

Precioza Botanic Park & Farm Resort
Call 723 9067 for inquiries
Wedding Package P60,000 – P66,000 + P6,000 in excess of 5 hours
Villa rates P4,800 (up to 4 pax) + P600/extra person

Preziosa Farm Map

Coriander Leaf at Chijmes, Singapore

Coriander Leaf, Chijmes, Singapore. Chef Iskander Latiff. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.com.

I first tried Coriander Leaf ten years ago, in 2005, when it was still located in Clarke Quay. We even took a cooking lesson with its founder, Samia Ahad.

Margaux Salcedo taking a cooking lesson at Coriander Leaf at Clarke Quay * Samia Ahad, founder of Coriander Leaf. Circa 2005. Photos from Kris Alcantara.
Margaux Salcedo taking a cooking lesson at Coriander Leaf at Clarke Quay * Samia Ahad, founder of Coriander Leaf. Circa 2005. Photos from Kris Alcantara.

Which is why I was happy to find her again ten years later at the new location of Coriander Leaf at Chijmes.

Samia Ahad, Coriander Leaf at Chijmes. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.com.
With Samia Ahad, founder of Coriander Leaf

I was quite surprised with the Chijmes location. I was a bit overdressed in a long dress. The attire here is skin, more skin and more skin! Ironically, even if the centrepiece of the compound is a beautiful church!

Chijmes, Singapore. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for Margauxlicious.

Chijmes Singapore. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.com.Beyond the church are several restaurants and on top of El Mero Mero is Coriander Leaf.

Coriander Leaf, Chijmes, Singapore. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.com.They stuck to the Bengal tiger theme. They also kept some items in the old menu such as the lamb cooked in their tandoor oven, brought in from the old restaurant. There were many new items but this one was the one that I gravitated to the most. The baby lamb (from Australia) was so tender. But it was the flavours, the earthiness that captured my heart … and tongue.

Coriander Leaf at Chijmes. Lamb by Samia Ahad. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for Margauxlicious.From India, you can hop to Nepal with these chicken dumplings. I thought they were just being creative. It turns out they had done their research. The chicken dumplings are a common Nepalese fare called chicken momo dumplings.

Coriander Leaf, Chijmes, Singapore. Nepalese chicken momo dumplings. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.com.My lovely, posh and 90-pound seatmate loves this coconut salad. “It’s light but filling,” she observed. I did love the crunchy texture of the coconut.

Coriander Leaf, Singapore. Grated coconut and marinated prawns. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for Margauxlicious.Then there was this obscene display of sea urchin. The time that I had fresh sea urchin delivered to my house and I consumed half a box in one sitting, I thought I was going to get a stroke so I proceeded with caution on this one, although it is irresistible.
Coriander Leaf, Chijmes, Singapore. Sea urchin. Photo by margaux salcedo for margauxlicious. Another irresistible dish is the soft shell crabs with a salted duck egg sauce. What’s not to love?! Coriander Leaf, Chijmes, Singapore. Soft shell crabs with salted duck egg. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.com.The Chef de Cuisine is Iskander Latiff. He is married to a Filipina!

Coriander Leaf, Chijmes, Singapore. Chef Iskander Latiff. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.com.So guess what. He makes a very sosyal sinigang! On the menu it just itemises the ingredients of clam, tamarind, coconut water and calamansi. But Filipinos will recognise that beautiful sourness of tamarind soup (sinampalukan) and undoubtedly recognise this as sinigang.

Coriander Leaf, Chijmes, Singapore. Clam, tamarind, coconut water, calamansi sinigang. Photo by margaux salcedo for margauxlicious.And for Filipinos in Singapore looking for Halo Halo, you MUST try the version of Chef Isk. He uses a White Rabbit ice cream in place of ice cream and evap (evaporated milk). It is just brilliant. No need for Milky Way halo halo!

Coriander Leaf, Chijmes, Singapore. Iskander Latiff's Halo Halo. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.com.

He also makes the very popular almost classic molten chocolate cake. It is good … but I am biased in favour of the halo halo!Coriander Leaf, Chijmes, Singapore. Molten chocolate cake. Photo by Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.com.

If you find yourself in Singapore, make your way to Coriander Leaf! The ambiance is casual but definitely chic. The food is for the well-traveled gourmet. The drinks are also excellent – their sake and whiskey collection is impressive. Wish they would open in Manila!

Coriander Leaf, Singapore
#02-01 Chijmes 30 Victoria Street.
Tel. +65 6837 0142
Email: reservations@corianderleaf.com