Monday, October 31, 2011

Sugar Wonderland at Enderun

Louis XV
Decadent Valrhona melt'n'crisp chocolate bar 
Exclusive signature dish from the 3-Michelin-star restaurant Louis XV by Alain Ducasse in Monaco
"The world of pastry is a world of chocolate, cakes, cookies, ice creams, and confections. A pastry chef does more than just bake, he creates masterpieces because pastries and desserts must be more than just delicious, they must be artistic, creative, and pleasing to the eye. A dessert does not just end a meal, it is a person’s last memory of a meal, and so it must be something that inspires happy thoughts.

A pastry chef is an artist who combines vivid colors and textures, an architect who balances a swirl of crystallized sugar atop a shiny mirror of mango gelĂ©e, a scientist who grasps the chemical properties that turn flour, water, butter, and yeast into a flaky croissant, a long distance athlete who can withstand hours of meticulous, delicate work, and perhaps even a psychologist who understands just why we need to have buttery, chocolatey, sugary treats in our lives." 

--The Art of Pastry Press Release

I cannot think of a more apt post than one about loads and loads of sweets to celebrate Halloween...

Pastry Chef Franck Geuffroy
A couple of weeks ago, I was back in Enderun Colleges to attend a pastry demo entitled, L'Art de la Patisserie (The Art of Pastry). The live pastry demonstration was executed by top Pastry Chef Franck Geuffroy, who regaled the audience with his mesmerizing skills in creating spellbinding pastries.

After the demo, lunch was held at the famed Restaurant 101. What made this lunch even more special was the fact that Restaurant 101's executive chef is Iron Chef America victor, Chef Nicolas Cantrel. As expected, I really enjoyed that lunch. After all, how many opportunities does one get to sample a meal prepared by an Iron Chef?

For dessert, of course, is a wonderland of pastries prepared by Enderun's expert pastry chefs. From entremets to brownies, that dessert spread was definitely something one had to see to believe.

Citrus Entremet
Enderun Entremet
Citrus Marshmallow
Saint Honore
Intense Raspberry Chocolate Brownie
The exquisite Louis XV was pretty hard to beat as a crowd favorite, but the citrus marshmallow was a very close second. Unbelievably fluffy, the freshly made citrus marshmallow is unlike any marshmallow available in the market.

Eye candy courtesy of ADF + Enderun and  My Food Noteboook for all you trick or treaters. 


Enderun offers a Three-month Pastry Arts Certificate class which aims to provide the student "the sufficient foundation to start a career in pastry, baking and confectionery." A full time course is also being offered, the ADF+Enderun fifteen-month program, which "covers the basics of Culinary Arts in fifteen months, including the opportunity for an internship in France." 

Applications for both programs are currently open for November 2011 intake.

For more information, contact:

Lou Molina
External Relations Manager
Mobile: +63917 8038617

Mark Tan
External Relations Associate
Mobile: +63917 5933398

Enderun Colleges is located at:
1100 Campus Avenue,
McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio
Taguig City 1634 Philippines
Telephone: +632 8565000
Fax: +632 8564656

Visit their website at:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Awesomeness is a dish served hot at H Cuisine

Chef Hannah Herrera
I do not have one favorite food, I think. There are quite a number of kinds of food that I would not mind eating every single day of my life. And if I am asked to list down 10 of them, depending on when I am asked the question, the items on that list may vary. It will however, always have roast beef in there somewhere. So give me a restaurant that offers roast beef on their menu, and I will happily trudge on over there just to satisfy a perpetual craving. Yes, even if that restaurant were on the other side of the map from where I am (in Cavite). Say, H Cuisine (in Quezon City).

Most Awesome Angus Beef Belly
Slow roasted fork tender Angus beef belly with demiglace gravy
Single with Rice- Php288; Sharing (serves 2 to 3) without rice Php428
Chicken Relleno with Gravy
The promise of roast beef drove me to go the extra mile, in awful payday weekend traffic and rather stormy weather no less, to bear witness to the official launch of H Cuisine a couple of weeks ago. The event was marked by a cooking demo by Chef Hannah Herrera (the charmer of a chef behind H Cuisine) and a buffet dinner that allowed the attendees to taste some of the items on H Cuisine's menu (among them of course, H Cuisine's Most Awesome Angus Beef Belly) and even some that are not (yet?), like Chicken Relleno, Salad with Berry Dressing, Canonigo with Pistachio Creme Anglaise, and Nutella Chocolate Cake.

The cooking demo showcased the versatility of H Cuisine's Most Awesome Angus Beef Belly, which I happily learned, I can take home and keep in the fridge for a rainy day. Chef Hannah demonstrated how easy it is to heat up ample servings of the Angus beef belly to be enjoyed in the comfort of your own home. She also showed us how- and this is my favorite part- easy it is to shred the oh-so-tender beef and use them in every way you can possibly imagine, starting with roast beef fried rice and Angus Beef Flakes panini sandwiches.

Fish Trafalgar on Linguine
Truffled cream sauce, fish fillet
O and the Fish Trafalgar! I can still remember how the lovely flavors of this dish lingered in my mouth when I tasted it and how it made me close my eyes in delight for a fleeting moment as I did. I love cream, I think it is one of the most wonderful edible thing ever created, and this wonderful-ness exponentially increases for me when it is truffled.

Clams with Roasted Vegetables in Garlic Infused EVOO Linguine
A lighter option in the buffet, although no less delicious than the rest, was the Clams with Roasted Vegetables in Garlic Infused EVOO Linguine (the version found in the menu, has basil instead of roasted vegetables, and is priced at Php218). Since I happen to like clams, I piled a lot of this onto my plate (Although, on hindsight, the amount I ate of that pasta did kind of defeat the purpose of it being the lighter option).

Lime Cooler
Lime juice, mint leaves
(Add a shot of tequila +Php55)
Another item on the menu that left a mark on me was a beverage- the Lime Cooler. If ever there were any threat of experiencing cloy from all that food I ate, the piquant citrus taste of the Lime Cooler took care of that with guns blazing. If only I weren't driving that night, I would have had that drink with a shot of tequila. Oh yeah.

Lately, I've been dreaming about the Angus Beef Belly. (I still do. I am not kidding.) And so rabid I am about this that I promised myself I would go back to H Cuisine this Sunday. I don't know what happened these past few days but I started recalling how tender that Angus Beef Belly was and how it melted in my mouth so quickly I hardly ever noticed it was there. (I think that's why I ate more of it than I should have in one sitting.) I suppose that's just how cravings are. It hits you all of a sudden and it doesn't go away until it's satisfied.

I vaguely remember some people saying that the "H" in H Cuisine stands for "happy". Well, whoever those people are, I think they're right.

I am so looking forward to Sunday.

H Cuisine is located at #64 Scout Rallos St. cor. Tomas Morato, Quezon City.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Parisienne for a day at l'Entrecote Manila

L'Entrecote Steak
choice of L'Entrecote Menu (Php880) or Menu "Geneva" (Php1,190)
L'Entrecote means "love" in my book. For the French, it means "sirloin steak" or "rib steak." Yes it does. I suppose at this point, you will wonder why a girl like me would find steak romantic. It definitely is not something most ladies would order on a first date. The gentleman probably would, but not the lady. The lady orders a salad and a glass of water. Maybe a bit of wine if the date goes really well, but nothing more. We don't want to risk grease and gravy finding their way to that expensive dress, now do we? Or worse, that unflattering extra pound to that waist whittled down to its narrowest especially for that night.

House Salad with Walnuts
But I am not most ladies. I'm the kind of girl that appreciates a lavish piece of grilled meat- faultless in its done-ness, draped in  a mysterious opulent herb butter sauce, and made nonetheless oddly approachable almost pedestrian by a siding of slender cut Pomme Frites- and l'Entrecote is my Nirvana.

Pink Martini's "Je Ne Veux Pas Travailler" started playing in my head the minute I stepped into Chef Martin Kaspar's charming restaurant. Come to think of it, maybe it started playing even before that. I have never set foot outside the territorial jurisdiction of this country, but the facade of l'Entrecote looks exactly how I imagined a Paris cafe would look like. The restaurant embraces one corner of the Forbes Town Center Building with crimson awnings offering refuge to diners who choose to enjoy their meal al fresco. Inside, cheerfully colored paintings depicting typical French settings and scenes adorn the walls. And while the food at l'Entrecote may carry the hallmarks of fine dining, the comfortable chairs and laid back yet artful interior of the restaurant stages a welcome that only a good casual dining restaurant could.

Geneva Fondue Cheese Bites (6 pcs.)
For the appetizer course, Chef Martin started us on Geneva Fondue Cheese Bites followed by 2 varieties of the Pissaladiere- one with Onions, Anchovy and Black Olive, the other with Tomato Confit and Camembert, and, finally, Foie Gras with Apricot Sauce and Melba Toast. The Geneva Fondue Cheese Bites are wickedly delicious. I thought it would be hard and dry like a crouton, but the melange of cheese, bread, and gentle hints of wine practically melted in my mouth following the shattering of the gossamer layer of crust when I bit into one.

Pissaladiere with Onions, Anchovy, and Black Olive
Pissaladiere with Tomato Confit and Camembert
The Pissaladiere I believe is the French's take on the pizza. Rather than your usual yeast and flour pizza crust, the Pissaladiere uses puff pastry for its crust. It's a welcome change to the all too common pizza that I am used to. The Pissaladiere is much lighter on the tummy and the puff pastry crust gives the whole package a more refined flavor. Between the two, the Pissaladiere with tomato confit and camembert is my favorite.

Foie Gras with Apricot Sauce and Melba Toast
The Foie Gras was lovely. It glided smoothly on the crusty surface of my melba toast. With one swipe, I got a tiny bit of apricot jam and fresh cracked pepper on the tip of my bread knife and gingerly (with quite a bit of skepticism I admit) dabbed it on the Foie Gras. (One thing I learned about eating out, sometimes, sometimes, you just have to trust the chef.) The combination of the Foie Gras which possesses a gentle undercurrent of bitterness and the sweet and spicy duet of apricot jam with black pepper was eye-openingly delightful.

Fine, flat noodles in spinach-herb cream sauce
with Lobster Tail
From the grill, we had Grilled Lobster Tails and Lapu Lapu Fillet. You can order these beautifully seared seafood selections together with a choice of siding and sauce. In our case, we had them with fine, flat noodles in spinach-herb cream sauce (for the lobster) and in tomato-chili-lime sauce (for the Lapu Lapu). The lobster, as expected, was decandent. It was tender- which meant it was cooked perfectly because otherwise you end up with a tough rubbery piece of seafood- and seasoned lightly enough to allow the flavor of the lobster shine through. 

Fine, flat noodles in tomato-chili-lime sauce
with grilled Lapu Lapu
The same with the Lapu Lapu, which was a thick cut of fillet. No pungent herbs or spices that could possibly mask the flavor of the Lapu Lapu, all you taste and appreciate is the freshness of the fish. Like the lobster, the Lapu Lapu fillet is seared just enough to cook the fish through. Any longer than that and you have a dry grainy piece of fish, which is unfortunately not an uncommon transgression. The Lapu Lapu at l'Entrecote, quite impressively, was succulent and played out almost like butter in the mouth.

All that amazing food, may seem to be a tough act to follow. Not when the main event though is US choice Entrecote steak. At l'Entrecote, this steak is offered in two sets. The l'Entrecote Menu, includes together with the steak, a salad and unlimited fries. The Menu "Geneva" on the other hand, has in addition to the salad and fries, a dessert and a glass of house wine.

Now I am not one who likes a lot of stuff on my steak. Especially when it's USDA prime grade steak, I prefer only a salt and pepper rub, and hardly make any exceptions. I've made a rare exception though for l'Entrecote's herb butter sauce. I do not know what is in it (and Chef Martin makes sure of that) but, oh my, it is butter goodness magnified a hundredfold. It was a good thing that I had a glass of wine to back up my iced tea because I don't think the latter could stand up to the butter-laced steak. But the accompanying wine, personally chosen by Chef Martin, was a good complement to the richness of the meal. (The choice of wine for me makes another case for what I said earlier about trusting the chef.)

Crepes Suzette with Vanilla Ice Cream

L'entrecote's Rasberry and Walnut Iced Vacherin Cake
The desserts are a different love story all together. We had Crepes Suzette, Raspberry and Walnut Iced Vacherin Cake and, the-- wait for it-- l'Entrecote Tower.

l'Entrecote Tower
The l'Entrecote Tower is a show-stopper. I sat with bated breath as our French-maid outfit clad waitress set this stunning dessert on our table. It looked like an amazing work of art. And it tasted like it was created by a true artist, too. There was chocolate sauce, meringue, ice cream, whipped cream, and a spattering of shaved almonds for good measure, and everything worked together to purposefully make me... happy. I could not imagine anything better than this to cap that epicurean lunch. It's love and happiness served l'Entrecote style, thanks to Chef Martin.

House Iced Tea
(I will take that siesta now, thank you.)

Walking out of l'Entrecote after lunch, Chef Martin notices the Eiffel Tower charm attached to the nape of my blouse. He asks me if I've been to Paris, gesturing to the charm. I almost forgot about that. (Actually, I've never even thought about it when I put that shirt on. It's an amusing case of serendipity, now that I think about it.) "No," I tell Chef Martin. "I've never been to Paris. I hope to go there someday though." Until then, I'll have my slice of Paris at l'Entrecote.

L'Entrecote is located at Forbes Town Center, Unit A Bellagio 2, Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, Metro Manila. 

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