Toc de Mar Barcelona review

Many come to Spain to try authentic paella. Barcelona is one giant food trip with rows of tapas bars and food establishments. Our foodie guide Victor Manuel brought us to the area of Barceloneta. Close to the ocean was a restaurant called Toc del Mar, the food was great and reasonably priced compared to touristy La Rambla or Plaça Reial. Their set menu offered a choice of primers (starter), segons a escollir (main course), and postre (dessert). We sampled three different kinds of paella: paella mixta (meat and seafood), negra (squid ink) and Fideua (paella noodles). We even had authentic crema Catalana (local version of creme brûlée) for dessert and a pitcher of sangria to complete the experience!

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La Boqueria Market Barcelona

La Boqueria market along La Rambla street is pure bliss! I came in search of pimenton de la vera for making my paella. How could I resist a cone of Jamon Serrano and Manchego cheese in Barcelona? The best kind is Jamón Ibérico de Bellota Cinco Jotas. It is special free-range ‘pata negra’ black pigs that feed on sweet acorns and are aged for over two years. There are so many things to taste and buy in this wonderful market. Spices, chocolates, candied nuts, bacalao, and many kinds of tapas. This is a must and true gourmet experience !

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Foie Gras Sous Vide Method

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At the beginning of class, our teacher Dr. Philippe Pouillart offered a minute of silence for the passing of his friend and collaborator Georges Pralus. French chef Georges Pralus is the inventor of vacuum cooking popularly known as sous-vide cooking. In honor of Chef Pralus, Dr. Pouillart showed us how to prepare foie gras using this method. Sous vide keeps the quality, original appearance and optimizes weight loss of the duck liver.

Is foie gras unhealthy? According to Dr. Pouillart of the Institut Polytechnique LaSalle Beauvais, it contains the good kind of monosaturated (omega 9) that protects the heart. The French paradox is low incidents of cardiovascular disease despite their love for this gourmet product.

Foie Sous Vide method:
Season foie gras with salt and pepper, vacuum seal and cook in a water bath at 58°C for 47 minutes. Then blast freeze or cold shock. Quickly sear before serving.

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French Cheese at the Beauvais Market

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The French word for cheese is “fromage”. Cheese and dairy products are a novelty for us living in Asia. There was a vendor selling different types of cheese at the Beauvais market. He had a wonderful range of artisan and regional cheese. I wish I could have tried them all! The market is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Beauvais is known for their iconic Gothic Cathedral with an astronomical clock. It is an hour away from Paris. Low cost carriers like Rayaniar use the Paris-Beauvais airport. From the airport take Corolis Bus #12 to Gare SNFC train station in town, then take a connecting train to Paris Nord.

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About Beauvais

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Beauvais marché

The Beauvais market in Picardy France happens every Wednesdays and Saturdays. Spring time vegetables are are real treat. Beautiful are the fresh asparagus of all shapes and sizes. Nice to steam and serve with Hollandaise sauce.
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Miguel Pacheco’s Open Kitchen by 48 Concepts at Kapitolyo

Carlos Miguel Pacheco is definitely an up-and-coming chef. His restaurant in Kapitolyo Pasig is called Open Kitchen by 48 Concepts. open kitchen

I remember Miguel at DLS-CSB SHRIM as a culinary student who loved to rap and sing. I mean he would perform hip hop and do the beatbox!! After his international kitchen stints, he returned to Manila as a very serious and passionate chef. wpid-20140504_124000.jpgmiguel

Miguel still likes to rap, but his rhythm is now expressed in the kitchen. It is as if he is dancing when he cooks. Like a true artist, his unconstrained creativity allows him to constantly change his menu. He likes to play with flavors and textures. Like a song, the components of a dish are meticulously planned to create balance and harmony.

wpid-20140504_125747.jpgFood is also pretty and very affordable. It’s so easy to order a full course meal without worrying about the price. He even uses fresh herbs found in his very own garden.

I keep on coming back for the anise pulled pork belly. Another favorite is the grilled fish wahoo.  And the pumpkin soup with vanilla ice cream should not be missed!

Open Kitchen by 48 Concepts 71-B East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo Pasig City
Contact no: (02)738-0102

 

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A Wine Story

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My wine story is about having to taste 41 different bottles of wine and 6 distilled spirits in a span of 3 days. I was not training to be an alcoholic, it was for the international course WSET Wines & Spirit Education Trust Level 2 Award. During classes our teacher Carla Santos instructed us to spit out the wine, but it was such a pity to waste the good ones.

The WSET certification program is offered at the Wine Story Academy in Manila. The systematic wine tasting approach is not intimidating and much simpler. I would recommend the course to aspiring sommeliers, industry professionals, or to wine enthusiasts. Now time to study for the big exam!

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Wine Story

WSET Certification Classes

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