Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dinner for a Cause...

The owner of Mango Tree Bistro invited our editor-in-chief to attend the newly founded organization named Chefs and Food Service Community of the Philippines. The organization aims to gather food suppliers, manufacturers and restaurateurs to promote the local food industry and to support its projects such as soup kitchen and several other outreaches.
Anyway, the fourth dinner (our first was the third leg) was held at The Loop, operated by the Institute of Culinary Arts and Food Service of Far Eastern University. I was quite thrilled since I’ve never been there. This time, I went with some other colleagues. The dishes I will show in this blog are not from the restaurant though.
The first dish that was served to us was toasted bread with cream cheese from S & L Fine Foods, Inc. (I heard that they have a store at Yakal and their line is similar to Santi’s Deli but cheaper. Tempting!)
The cream cheese was not overpowering. Quite pleasant and simple dish for an appetizer.
After finishing our plate of bread, they served some blood sausage. It was my first time to eat blood sausage so I don’t really know what to expect. There was a bit of white sauce over the sausages that tasted like cream garlic. The sausages on the other hand were extremely dry. Hope they placed more of that white sauce.
The next dish served was made by one of the chefs during the dinner. First dish served was Dinakdakan with Dilis and Adobo Salad.
The Dinakdakan was quite very flavorful and crunchy but it was a bit too heavy for me. I left like I was consuming a 1000 calorie dish and it was just a 4 tablespoon serving. The Adobo Salad had bits of adobo but it was a bit too hard. The Dilis Salad on the other hand tasted like laing but I enjoyed it the most.
I was starting to feel full (since I had a heavy lunch at New World Hotel and snack at Blue Leaf… yes, it was one eating galore day) when they served the Soft Shell Crab in Sinigang Soup. It was my first time to try soft shelled crab and I LOVED IT. It was quite chewy because of the shell but it was not hard at all.
The soup made it a bit tangy but I love sour dishes so it made me smile. I was not very fond of the breading being soaked though. (I was never a fan of soaked cereal and this is a similar case.)
To cap the meal, they served halo-halo shots. It was not your typical halo-halo served with shaved ice. Instead, it was just some beans, coconut (nata), and sweetened milk. It was served with a thin peanut brittle.
Surprisingly, despite the small serving, I find it still too much. It was really flavorful… and too sweet. Half of the shot was more than enough.
Aside from these, there was also a buffet that includes kare-kare, steamed fish, and some pastries (chocolates from Bakersfield).
Since we wanted to have something else to drink, we ordered margarita. I had one of The Loop’s bestsellers… Loop Margarita (PHP180). It was a bit icy thus less alcohol (I think). Nonetheless, it was pretty good.
I love attending this monthly dinner because I get to meet great chefs and food store owners and discover great dishes. Just last month I got the chance to try Pampanga’s Best bacon ice cream!

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