Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:05 AM March 02, 2014
There’s another way to enjoy “authentic” Spanish food without having to bust US$2,000 on a trip to Barcelona. Led by chef Myrna Segismundo, chefs Robbie Goco, Manny Torrejon and Penk Ching went on a food tour of Spain last year to learn the flavors and cooking techniques involved in Spanish cuisine. They all came home with a piece of Spain in their hearts, and the love shows when they cook.
I witnessed this myself when I joined a group called Lamonation (yes, they love to “lamon” or gorge themselves) for dinner at Torrejon’s kitchen, a private dining and “by reservation” only kind of place, called Manolo’s in Parañaque.
We were lucky because it was the first time that Torrejon displayed his newly-acquired pintxos-making skills from the trip. We were spoiled silly with 12 plates of pintxos before the moriscos and mains of callos, porchetta and paella were served.
Pintxos are Basque appetizers characterized by a skewer or a toothpick sticking it to a piece of bread (pincho is Spanish for spike). At Manolo’s, we were literally served a dozen pintxos: a stick of quail eggs, anchovies and olives; sardines; tawilis given a Spanish flavor with pureed pimiento and aoili; squid stuffed with chorizo and rice; eggplant that was fried and served with parmesan; eggs with morcilla (blood sausage), among others.
The pintxos in themselves are enough to fill your stomach for dinner. But at Manolo’s, they are just the beginning. Make sure to save room for the paella. Torrejon’s paellera allows him to cook two kinds of paella in one go so you can have the best of both worlds. During our trip, it was seafood paella on one end and paella negra on the other.
If Torrejon likes you, he might be willing to cook in your own home. Otherwise, you can book his private kitchen. But try to bring a driver because (1) it’s deep in the confusing jungles of Parañaque, and (2) you might go home drunk. But definitely, you will go home stuffed silly. Ole!