Janine Ramirez and her partner, Basque chef Mikel Martija, lovingly built Cocinalo, a Basque kitchen that’s specializes in Belarria Saltsan (slow-cooked chorizo and pork oreja stew).
For the first time in Manila, this hearty stew is now available. People who love callos will surely be enamored with Belarria Saltzan’s deep, multilayered flavors.
The melt-in-your-mouth, collagen-packed pig’s ears and chunks of chorizo are bathed in a thick, smoky, paprika-laced sauce, seasoned with a hint of spice. Its taste is achieved only through hours of slow cooking.
It hits the spot either with freshly baked bread or rice. I drizzled mine with Gallo Moonlight Harvest Olive Oil and it was spectacular. I still dream of it, as my mouth waters.
Also masterfully put together by Cocinalo are ready-to-fry Croquetas de Jamon and Pollo. Made from silky bechamel, its rendition is delicate and refined. There’s also a chocolate variant.
Cocinalo means “cook it” in Spanish. “Back home, people wait for the food,” says chef Mikel. “The food will not wait for the people.”
Immerse yourself in the flavors of Donostia, San Sebastian, one of the culinary capitals of the world. Thanks to Cristalle Belo Pitt for this discovery. (Mikel’s specialties are delivered to your doorstep; tel. 0927-5975498; [email protected] on Facebook.)
I’ve had the pleasure of sampling the sous-vide kits at Mirèio Brasserie in Raffles Makati.
For starters, I had a generous slice of its foie gras and Chocolate Terrine with Hazelnuts and a drizzling of passion fruit gel, a favorite at the Mirèio Sunday brunch buffet.
For my entrée, I took delight in the fork-tender Australian beef cheeks braised over low temperature for six hours. The flavorful beef cut absorbed the velvety rich, red wine sauce. It came with a side of oregano-steamed potato discs.
When you order delivery either from Raffles or Fairmont, prepare to be pleasantly surprised and to feel nothing short of special (MireioAtRaffles.com). At 11 a.m., I received a text message that my food was on its way and to expect its arrival at 12 noon.
At the appointed time, Jay Zafra of Raffles (assigned to deliver my food package) waltzed into my lanai. He graciously handed to me the brown bags while giving specific instructions. Attached to each dish was a QR code for the young ones to scan with their phones for heating instructions. For the older folks, printed step-by-step instructions were also provided.
I had a guest on the day I partook of Mirèio’s specialties. Together we read the instructions, reheated and plated the food.
It was great fun! With micro greens from Luntian Farms, I garnished the beef cheeks, and the dish was as beautiful as it was delicious.
When Wildflour makes a dish, expect it to be good. Its Bibingka Cheesecake is no exception.
It is draped on the sides with banana leaves and topped with lots of grated cheese and salted eggs.
When sliced, it is smooth. On the palate, it is light, mellow and refined. Taste-wise, it is eggy, buttery, cheesy, with mildly charred hints of the banana leaf. It is all that a bibingka is, and should be.
Another newfound personal favorite is the Wildflour biscocho paired with spicy honey cheese pimiento with Calabrian chili—a creamy blend of mixed cheeses and smoky roasted peppers. Together, the sensation of crunchy, sweet, salty and spicy, all in one bite, is addicting.
Also worth trying is the Foie Gras and Duck Liver Mousse capped with Red Wine Gelée. Enjoy it with Cranberry Walnut Bread, or even with the Wildflour biscocho (tel. 0917-8520950, @wildflourtogo on Instagram, wildflourtogo.com). Delish!
Follow @iamreggieaspiras on Instagram and Facebook; visit www.reggieaspiras.com.