The best meals I’ve had are the ones where you don’t really know what to expect—but which turn out to be winners, from appetizer all the way to dessert.
I have aspired to this approach even in the menu we offer at our restaurant Wooden Spoon. The key word is surprise—always surprise the diner.
I realized this thinking is one of the reasons our Paris restaurant was such a hit with our French patrons. From appetizer to main dish to dessert and after-drink, everything was new to them.
An example of the appetizer was Crab Pancit (we also serve this at Wooden Spoon); main, Prawns with Taba ng Talangka sauce (Crispy Shrimp version at Wooden Spoon); dessert, Sans Rival; and after-drink, Lambanog with Langka. A great majority had never experienced what they were trying. Everyone left with a thumbs-up and became regulars at the restaurant. As a Pinoy, I was so proud.
Delicate to make
Sans rival is one of my favorite desserts. It’s extremely fattening, but I love the combination of the creaminess, the crunch, the mildly salty taste, and the nuts in this Pinoy classic. I also remember preparing this at school for my Filipino Night event as a Hotel and Restaurant Management student at Cornell.
It was so delicate to make. I had to do it four times before I got it right. You have to work on the meringue while still warm, otherwise it hardens and is hard to assemble. In the my mom’s cookbook, “Let’s Cook With Nora,” there is a delicious recipe of sans rival. Just remember my tip on how to handle it.
Not all sans rivals are good. But I have discovered a few good ones. One that I used to keep for myself was made by Anna Barreto Legaspi, a friend in Canada.
Another one made well here is created by chef Jill Sandique. She calls it Macadamia Sans Rival, with an advice: “You want it chewy, keep it in the fridge. Want it crunchy, keep it in the freezer.” (Jill’s Macadamia Sans Rival: tel. 4978811, 0922-8262673.)
Every Wednesday, I play this game of “Will I or Will I Not.” I start that day with Bible study; not only do I look forward to spiritual feeding, but also the game.
After playing badminton, I head to our D group and I’m faced with an array of delicious dishes and desserts. A few times, I have been able to control not having dinner, but when it comes to dessert, I am a miserable failure. I await the surprise dessert that one couple brings.
Allen and Bib are the encyclopedias of the best desserts in Manila. You don’t know what to expect but one thing is sure: Your diet is ruined.
One of the many desserts they bring is a creamy and chewy Macadamia sans rival. This is a dollop of chilled cream covered with whole macadamia surrounding crunchy and chewy goodness inside. This is a sweet tooth’s dream and a dieter’s nightmare. Ang sarap!
Of course, I can’t resist it. This is something that makes you think of your loved one right after the first bite. It’s a must-try!
I also remember once when they brought the Silvanas of Bread Papa. Also very masarap—one of the best sans rivals I have ever come across. Check it out!
Macadamia Sans Rival: Gay Vazquez, tel. 0917-3010615; 6310125
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