Tasting Menu at Sala

My husband and I went on a double date over the holidays and since it has been a longstanding favorite of many, Sala was an easy choice. I will admit, I really allow myself to indulge as the year comes to a close, and this dinner was no different. I sampled their 5-course tasting menu, which ended with one of my favorite desserts in Manila. I hope you enjoy this photo entry of the evening’s meal.

Sugar Cured Tasmanian Salmon Gravlax on a Buckwheat Blini with Dill Mustard and Sour Cream

Crab and Salted Cod Cake with Green Pea Puree and Fennel and Caper Remoulade

Truffled Risotto of Jerusalem Artichokes, Blue Swimmer Crab, and Sweet Shrimps, Topped with a Crisp Lobster Tail

Juniper and Thyme Roast Duck Breast, Roast Pears and Parsnips, Carrot Puree and Cranberry Jus

Passionfruit Pavlova

 

Yolanda Aftermath…

After every bad storm has hit the Philippines, I wonder what is worse, nature’s wrath or the aftermath? In this case I have no words… My heart is broken. I cannot even comprehend how the survivors are coping. Our brothers and sisters have lost everything. It wasn’t just the houses, but their homes. It wasn’t just jobs, but their livelihood. It wasn’t just their city, but hospitals, schools, orphanages. It wasn’t just a an acquaintance, it was their mother, their husband and in the worst cases, their children…

I am trying my best to not ask ‘why’ or where God was on that day because my beliefs tell me to have faith. But I need to put it out there that my country did not, could not have deserved this type of destruction… Please Lord, take extra special care of these victims at this time of immeasurable need. Please Guardian Angels, do not leave their side.

At this point I would also like to break my silence about all the finger pointing and the small ‘wars’ that this mess left in its wake. Let us stop with the negativity. In an already devastating situation, let us not focus on what people should have done or could have done, especially if we are not in a position to make those decisions and trust those we have put in power. Though I know it is frustrating because of the countless donations, whether it is P5 or 5 million and the time and energy we have all put into relief, we have to believe no matter how hard our patience is being tested, that they will go to those in need in the soonest time possible. TO THOSE WE HAVE PUT IN POWER, I trust that you see the desperation. I know many of you are doing everything you can but I have also been jaded by the years of corruption I have witnessed. If you can, please make sure that all the donations in cash and kind go STRAIGHT TO THOSE IN NEED. No playing favorites, no red tape, no biases. And dare I say it, NO TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE SITUATION OR THE HELP COMING IN.

I am but a citizen who may not see or understand what is truly going on but my tears have not stopped for days. Like everyone else, I am doing the little I can and clinging on to prayer, wanting to see a change.

I will not use this to post my chosen benefactors or relief operations because by this time, I have seen EVERYONE doing their part. I am so proud of my relatives, friends, acquaintances and even strangers I see making a difference on the news and on social media. We have truly come together as one. I am also so humbled by the international assistance we have received. It gives me faith in humanity. A special thanks to all the international journalists who brought us the world’s attention and to all the military forces, both Philippine and international. Your tireless efforts from the ground truly brought immediate assistance. You are ALL heroes.

My heart goes out to everyone who was affected by Yolanda, directly or indirectly. If there is one thing I am positive of, it is that the Philippine spirit is truly waterproof.

Sunshine Kitchen

Nestled in the heart of The Fort @ BGC (previously known as The Fort Strip) is Sunshine Kitchen, the brainchild of a group of friends who share a passion for good comfort food. The menu, created by chef and part owner Tanya Chua, has familiar dishes but with her own unique spin such as the Cabanatuan Longanizza Paella, Pizza al Nero (made with squid ink) and the Porkichoos Sandwich (their version of pulled pork). The interiors are fun and relaxed with a big space, open kitchen and chalkboard to showcase the day’s specials. The contrast of the simple wooden tables and yellow chairs with the brick walls and pillars give a minimalist yet rustic vibe. You walk in and know there has got to be pizza on the menu. And in deed there is, with a special oven only used for their thin crust pies!  The place will definitely capture all your senses and captivate your taste buds.

Imported beer selection

Before I begin my meal, I chug on Bayani Brew, a recent favorite of mine. This locally made iced tea comes in various flavors and uses indigenous ingredients such as pandan, sweet potato and lemongrass. Formulated by the elderly women of the Gawad Kalinga community, this is one Filipino product (and organization) I fully support.

Bayani Brew Iced Tea – a project of Gawad Kalinga

When I finally have a look at the menu, there are so many dishes that interest me so I decide to sample 3 appetizers. I started with something that seemed to be a fun twist on a classic favorite. Many restaurants have the mozzarella cheese stick staple, but this place serves up some Fried Manchego, which I promise you, does not disappoint. These bite-sized morsels are full of flavor and are surprisingly, not that heavy. Next was the Crispy Soft Shell Crab with Lemon Alioli. I am a huge fan of soft shell crab and this one was spot on. The crab was very fresh and fried to a perfect crisp. The lemon alioli had a strong garlic flavor, which did not overpower the acid from the lemon.  It complimented the crab nicely.  Lastly, I went for a best seller, the Creamy Crab and Shrimp Dip with Artichokes, which was very hearty. The flavors of the seafood, artichoke and cheese worked so well together. This was served with a wonderful homemade bread which is comparable to a soft roll but with a nice bite to it and with salty notes rather than sweet.

Fried Manchego Cheese

Crispy Soft Shell Crab with Lemon Alioli

Creamy Crab and Shrimp Dip with Artichokes

Moving on to the mains, I began with the Artichoke and Mushroom Pizza.  This had a nice crust and though the toppings were generous, I found it a tad heavy. But I have to say the roasted garlic was a nice (and very scrumptious) touch. My second main dish, the Beer Braised Beef Shortribs, I found very comforting and homey. Though the beer flavor did not shine through, the meat was tender. It paired quite well with the chunky mashed potatoes and the crisp French beans. Last but definitely not the least, I had to sample the 6-Hour Slow Roast Porchetta, which is one of their bestsellers. This was delicious, tender and flavorful meat but with a very crisp (almost chicharon like) skin on top. I was curious and part owner John Hernandez explained that the pork is soaked in herbs and spices then cooked in a brick oven for six hours. It is deboned right before serving and skin is fried to a perfect crisp.

Artichoke and Mushroom Pizza

Beer Braised Shortribs

6-Hour Slow Roast Porchetta

A closer look at the pork

We ended on a sweet note, sampling their Key Lime Pie Ice Cream and Cheesecake.  I enjoyed the ice cream because it was different and had sweet, sour and bitter tastes that you would expect from a key lime pie. Simply served with crushed graham crackers, this was the perfect finish to our meal.

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

Cheesecake

Sunshine kitchen has a hip vibe and serves modernized comfort food. You will keep you coming back for the homelike atmosphere, good service and enjoyable dishes.

Dinner dates – My husband Armand, brother in law Niko, and his girlfriend Erin

Sunshine Kitchen is located  at the 2nd Level, Fort Pointe 1 Bldg., The Fort Strip, 
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Call (02) 813-9775 for reservations.