Unconventional reds for Valentine’s Day–burger, butter cake, Japanese ‘uni,’ Greek spoon sweetsBy Reggie Aspiras
Philippine Daily Inquirer
In celebration of Valentine’s Day, I am featuring my favorite finds in various shades of red.
Chef Quito Jose’s Valentine Burger. Imagine a freshly grilled, juicy Angus beef patty sandwiched between an earthy, toasted beetroot sesame seed bun, refreshed with crisp lettuce, ripe tomatoes and sharp cheddar, and served with criss-cut fries that stay nice and crunchy long after they’ve been cooked. The meal is a unique play of tastes and flavors. These gourmet burgers are available at all Brother’s Burgers outlets until March 8 only.
Fete d’ Fleur. Gigi Gaerlan’s (of Custaroons fame) moist, dense, butter cake iced with butter cream is so pretty, like a bouquet of red roses in cake form. Gigi says she can make it in any color you wish. If you ask me, her butter cake is a standout even without frosting. For orders, call 0918-8282929.
Red Velvet Fettuccine with Raspberry Coulis and White Chocolate Crumbs. When I asked my dear friend chef Ed Quimson for something red, he entered his kitchen and came up with red velvet crepe “fettuccine” with a subtle hint of red ruby cherry, plus cream cheese frosting flavored with fresh raspberries and finished with grated Belgian white chocolate. Chef Ed is now with M Catering and you can rely on him to personally cook for your events. His food is clean and tasty, with neatly styled tables to match. He even works within your budget. To order chef Ed’s Red Velvet Fettuccine or for catering inquiries, call 4704812 or 6619544.
Japanese pastry chef Masako’s Strawberry Shortcake. Soft, delicate and laden with pure cream. According to the chef’s daughter, Kana Kimura, this shortcake uses absolutely no preservatives, coloring or artificial additives. “What sets us apart is that our breads and cakes are made only from real fresh eggs, our flour comes from Japan, our cream from France and butter from Australia and New Zealand,” she says. The red-bean miyabi (premium Japanese loaf bread) is my other favorite. Call Patisserie Kyo at 0917-8889837.
Tsukiji’s Uni. Though not fiery red but red-orange, these delectable sea urchins melt in your mouth like butter, with hints of the sea. What it lacks in color, it makes up by being an aphrodisiac—or so it’s said. According to chef J Gamboa, “Tsukiji serves the freshest uni or Japanese sea urchin flown in from Tokyo twice weekly. Our expert buyer at Tsukiji market selects only the best quality seafood for our diners. It’s the closest thing to eating in Tokyo minus the plane fare!” Tsukiji is at 3/F Milky Way Building, 900 Arnaiz Avenue (Pasay Road) cor. Paseo de Roxas, Makati City.
Pair the uni with Gyotaku from Domaine Mittnacht, a wine born out of a love story, the union of a French winemaker and a Japanese chef. Gyotaku is described by wine specialist Thomas Bonhomme “as coming from the cold and mountainous region of Alsace, land of the wonderful French Rieslings, Gewürztraminer, Pinot blanc and Pinot Gris. Christophe Mittnacht and his Japanese chef-wife decided to unify their passions to create the best wine for Japanese sushis and sashimis—pale yellow in color, a fresh and clean white wine with scent of lychee and apple.” It is phenomenal and keeps its identity even with soy sauce and wasabi, and even stands up to our kilawin. Call Sommelier Selections at 8404211.
Rose Petals Sarantis (Greek spoon sweets). According to chef Anthony Kouroutsavouris, the roses are grown in the island of Chios, particularly for spoon sweets. Other sarantis variants: Sour Cherry, Cherry, Grapes, Quince, Bitter Orange and Pistachio all preserved in syrup. I like these best over a scoop of chef Anthony’s delectable Greek-style yogurt. Call El Greco at 6618240 or 5143278.
From me to you, Happy Valentine’s!