Global City restaurant offers favorite food with taste of home (Filipino Star News – Michigan)

(This feature was published in Filipino Star News – Michigan edition last September 26, 2011)

GLOBAL CITY — Home-style cooked food evokes sweet memories. For some of us, it conjures images from childhood when our grandmother used to do everything from scratch and cook with a hot stove all day.

For others, it simply brings back good memories of being together with their family and loved ones.

There’s nothing like a plateful of Filipino flavors to give a taste of home. The food in Abè (pronounced as ah-beh), a fine restaurant in Global City, Taguig, Philippine, offers an experience of savoring delicious traditional Filipino cuisine, mostly inspired by food favorites that originated from Pampanga.

Abè is part of The LJC Restaurant Group, with the initials stand for Larry J. Cruz, who was the founder and president of the chain of restaurants that include Café Adriatico, Larry’s Café and Bar and Lorenzo’s Way.

Abè is, in fact, dedicated to the father of Larry J. Cruz, who was a writer, artist and food lover. Some of the dishes in the restaurant’s menu came from fellow artists and writers who shared recipes of their own home-cooked food.

One of my favorites is Lumpiang Pica-Pica, which consists of spring rolls filled with mashed garbanzos. It has a somewhat creamy texture with some crunchy feel from the bits of chickpeas, and it tastes better when dipped in the garlic-vinegar sauce. This simple dish is a nice way to whet your appetite.

The Paco Fern and Tomato Salad is a healthy alternative to start your meal. It has young rainforest fern (pac-paco) with sliced tomatoes, onions and salted egg, and drizzled with some light salad dressing. Better leave some room for the main course though, as Abè offers a lot of delectable Filipino favorites.

One of the restaurant’s specialties is Abè’s Morcon, which is slowly cooked meal roll filled with slices of chorizo, egg and paprika.

This makes me reminisce about the holiday season, when my mother used to make her own version of morcon.

Another “must order” is the Knockout Knuckles — the restaurant’s version of the traditional crispy pata (pork knuckles), which meat lovers enjoy. Abè’s Chicken Supreme is worth sampling as well. This mouth-watering spring chicken dish is stuffed with galapong (ground rice), chestnuts and raisins.

No doubt, each diner would delight in sampling the various food choices in Abè while dining in a nice and comfortable setting, and remembering the good old days.

 

Abè’s Address: Serendra, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines

Sustainable eats available at Makati’s Le Bistro Vert (Filipino Star News – Michigan)

(This feature was published in Filipino Star News – Michigan edition last September 24, 2011)

MAKATI CITY — While most Filipino restaurants are simply happy to serve traditional Filipino fare, Le Bistro Vert in Makati City, Philippines took it a notch higher by offering more than merely local cuisine, but sustainable food as well.

The restaurant is a collaboration among Chit Juan, Jeannie Javelosa and Reena Francisco, all food lovers, who thought of bringing the produce of the farmers directly to the plate, and in a comfortable atmosphere that would inspire people to live and eat sustainably.

Le Bistro Vert, which translates to “the green bistro,” supports the advocacy of locavorism.

According to the Merriam-Website Dictionary, a “locavore” is one who eats foods grown locally whenever possible. A prime example of the restaurant’s advocacy is its one of its bestselling dishes— Palawan Cashew and Herb Crusted Sole Fillet.

It uses native cashews from the province of Palawan, and is made tastier with some edamame puree and burnt lemon butter sauce. The crunch from the cashew and herb crust is a good complement to the tender fish fillet, which is served on a bed of diced potatoes.

Feast on other standout main courses such as the mouthwatering inch-thick grilled pork chop that is dished up with mango salsa and some garlic bok choy, as well as the chicken mango asparagus roulade that comes with organic brown rice. For the vegetarians, sample the savory organic vegetable and tofu minestrone soup that has some malunggay (moringa) pesto and garlic bread on the side.

It was Chef Sau del Rosario who conceptualized the inaugural menu of Le Bistro Vert and set the trend for the kind of food served in the restaurant. His culinary influences from his professional experiences in France and in other Asian countries were apparent in his food offerings. Now, some of Reena Francisco’s comfort food and Chef Jam Melchor’s specialties have been included in the menu.

“There is a special sustainable food menu which ensures that food products support earth-friendly initiatives and help sustain local farmers,” shares Jeannie Javelosa. “We try to source most of our ingredients from local farmers and producers, community groups, small organic farms or those which do not use any chemicals that are toxic to the environment.”