Gift suggestions for busy executives
You executives are busy bees, I know, so if you or your secretary are not yet done with your Christmas list, here are a few more gift suggestions.
Lobster House Manila
The ultimate gift for the true gourmet is a couple of kilos of lobster from Lobster House Manila. Did you know that we have exceptionally sweet lobsters in Sorsogon? No need for hyperventilatingly expensive Maine lobsters, just give Lobster House a call.
Digs Ramos, the entrepreneur behind this venture, might even drop off the lobsters himself. The unique selling point of Lobster House Manila, aside from making it an advocacy to educate gourmets and gourmands on the amazing seafood selections in our own waters, is that it brings the crustaceans to your house alive. Nothing is frozen. So it’s as fresh as if you had it seaside.
It also offers variety: Rock lobsters, aswang, and my favorite is the slipper lobster, which doesn’t look like much but don’t judge this book because it’s mighty meaty inside. Call landline 5051474; mobile 0917-5032860 for orders. Three days notice required. And they may lend you an aquarium, subject to availability, for a minimum order of of 3.5 kilos.
Truffle Everything from Bettina Osmeña
Mrs. Serge Osmeña is not only drop dead gorgeous, she is also a true gourmet. In the past couple of years, she has been sharing flavors of Italy via Serabel Trading. Its products include flavored truffle salt, sunflower oil with white truffle aroma, truffle sauce, minced summer truffles, and truffle butter. How trufflelicious is that? If you want to truffle your world (or your client’s), call landline 8882563 for orders.
Bai’s Boneless Lechon Cebu
Speaking of Italy, here’s a marriage of Italian and Cebuano cuisines: Cebuano Dexter Ding creates a porchetta out of Cebu lechon. So you get a porchetta but with a lemongrass aroma, flavorful meat and the signature crunch and saltiness of Cebu lechon skin that Anthony Bourdain (who is in Batanes now, they say) fell in love with. Since it tastes just like Cebu lechon, there will be no need for lechon sauce or vinegar to go with it. Plus, it comes in a box so this will be easy to bring to parties instead of attempting to bring an entire pig on a spit. A box contains a porchetta good for 10 to 15 pax. Call 0917-5825333 for orders.
Claude 9 Heavenly Sauces
For the friend who needs to kind of eat healthy but does not want to scrimp on flavor, have no fear, artist-gourmet Claude Tayag and gorgeous wife Maryann have your back. For several years now (or has it been a decade?), Claude has been making condiments and sauces under the name Claude 9 (yes, that is how you pronounce his name). The healthy part about these products: There’s no MSG, no artificial flavoring, and no preservatives.
In terms of yumminess, the label offers both traditional Pampangeño condiments like fermented shrimp rice or burong hipon and crab fat or taba ng talangka. These are both like their maker: Full of joie de vivre! They are rich in bite and flavor. Aside from the ode to Pampanga, Claude 9 also offers universally loved sauces such as pesto sauce, XO sauce and even a barbecue marinade. These are available in leading markets or message 0917-5359198.
Full Back Fat Chicharon from Nana Meng’s Kitchen
I am hesitant to share this because this is my personal gift to a lot of friends and I give it by the sack. But if you want the best chicharon on the planet, call Nana Meng’s Kitchen at 0917-7962731 or 0917-8339539. This chicharon is made by old school nanas in Sta. Maria Bulacan. No airy, limp, kropek-like chicharon here, this is the real deal with what we from Bulacan call “full back fat.” Lipitor not provided, eat at your own risk, satisfaction guaranteed!
Cupcarons at Raffles Hotel
A few years ago, there were cronuts. This time, Cafe Macaron introduces the cupcaron: The marriage of cupcakes and macarons! Aside from being a visual delight that will have even the manliest boss lift his pinky finger for a bite, these are delightfully delicious as well. The cupcake is moist and large macaron on top that kind of acts like its hat isn’t too sweet. These are sold at just P95 each. A box of 12 to explore the various flavors—calamansi, orange chocolate ganache, ube queso, coconut, double chocolate, red velvet, salted caramel, roasted pistachio—would be a deliriously sweet gift. For orders, call Fairmont Makati’s Restaurant Reservations at 7951840.
Kouignette Tower by Brasserie Cicou
You might have already tried the Kouign Amann made popular in Manila by Brasserie Cicou, founded by Chef Cyrille Soenen. It is that buttery, flaky pastry roll that at the restaurant they top with salted caramel ice cream. Other outlets have started to serve this as well but nobody does it like Cicou. It used to offer only the classic version but last year, it expanded the product line to include other flavors such as ensaymada with queso de bola kouign amann, chocnut, even smores!
This year, it is offering something more visually arresting: A Kouignette Tower, inspired from the Croque en Bouche Tower which is served only on special occasions in France. This has 52 pieces of mini kouign amanns, painstakingly stacked to create a tower and costs only P1,500, the price of some cakes nowadays. This is sure to be a hit at any potluck or even on your Noche Buena table. Also, you might want to get your kouign amann fix now because Brasserie Cicou in Annapolis is closing by the end of the year as it looks for a new location. For orders, call landline 6619200 or 0917-8858841. For the tower, it requires two days notice.
Bundt cakes from Bundtwagon by Cara
Discovered this treat on the very delicious Instagram page of Agriculture Undersecretary Berna Romulo Puyat @bernsrp. I saw her post on bundt cakes, immediately ordered, and had no regrets! The bundt cakes come in three flavors—red velvet, carrot and banana—and are moist on top, beautifully toasted at the bottom, accented with a decadent cream cheese frosting. But what is more impressive is that these products are made by, would you believe, a 20-year-old! Cara Romulo Tantoco, daughter of Mons Romulo, is quite the entrepreneur with this successful first venture. Order at 0917-8687053 or visit their Instagram page @bundtwagon_mnl.
Pan de Coco at Taal Vista Hotel
Who isn’t going to Tagaytay over the holidays? It’s the nearest escape for that Christmas chill and the choices of restaurants has exponentially increased over the years. One of the places that have made a comeback is Taal Vista Hotel, with Chef Jayme Natividad impressing even the most discerning gourmets at the hotel restaurant Taza. On your way home, pick up a box of Pan de Coco. These are oven-fresh rolls stuffed with a coconut jam and topped with coconut shavings. They are sure to delight your balikbayan friends. For orders, call landline 9178225.
The Peninsula Card
For the executive or friend that already has too many food gifts, how about a Peninsula Card? This allows the beneficiary to dine in any of the Peninsula’s restaurants on a complimentary basis provided you are dining with another person (so just keep holding your meetings there and if your guest pays, your meal is free, hehe!) I would get this, invite friends to Champagne Brunch on Sundays, then gloriously announce that my buffet is free *evil laugh*. You also get 20 percent discount on food and beverage at The Bar (whiskey drinkers, take note). Plus room discounts and other perks. Call 5813355.
Hope this list helps you … and hope you survive the season’s traffic and the holidaze!
Ho ho ho!!!
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