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Culinary Gems at Taal Vista Hotel: Experience the Best of Bulacan by Chef Edwin Santos

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Experience the Best of Bulacan Cuisine by Chef Edwin Santos

As part of the celebration of Taal Vista Hotel’s 75th anniversary this year and as a tribute to the country’s rich cultural heritage, Culinary Gems: A Festival of Filipino Flavors Buffet will be conducted on select weekends which started last September 6 and will end on November 23, 2014 at Café Veranda. Every weekend, Cafe Veranda will let you experience the artistic flavor of some known Filipino cuisines and indulge in its sumptuous buffet as interpreted by its celebrity guest chefs namely Fernando Aracama, Sau del Rosario, Babes Austria, Edwin Santos, Bruce Lim, and celebrity chefs couple Rolando and Jackie Laudico.

Taal Vista's Culinary Gems
Taal Vista’s Culinary Gems

Catering their artistic skills for this event are celebrity guest chefs, including Chef Edwin Santos, the finest of Bulacan, who will be taking over the Café Veranda kitchen to present their own twist of some of the known Filipino cuisines. Each chef is scheduled with their own appearances showcasing years and years of earned talent, with the exception of chefs Rolando and Jackie Laudico which will appear as a duo and a couple for their meals.


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Chef Edwin at the Carving Station
Chef Edwin at the Carving Station

Lunch buffets throughout the duration of the event are conducted every Saturday and Sunday starting at 11:30 AM up until 3:00 PM while dinner buffets are only available every Saturday starting from 6:00 PM up until 10:00 PM.

Valencianang Tagalog
Valencianang Tagalog

Previously holding the position as Executive Chef at Trader’s Hotel in Male, Maldives, he brings with him an at least 30 years of exceptional culinary experience and culture as a chef from leading local and international hotels and resorts like Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, Peninsula Hotels and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel group, Chef Edwin Santos, a current executive of Taal Vista Hotel, will showcase his flair of Filipino fusion cuisine on the 4th to 5th of October and 11th to 12th of the same month.

Taal Vista's Parade of Chefs
Taal Vista’s Parade of Chefs

Hailing from Bulacan and having his mother as his mentor in the art of cooking, Chef Edwin Santos’ fondest memories as a child includes his mother preparing his favorite home-cooked dishes such as Arroz Caldong Tagalog (Rice Porridge, Tagalog version) and Batchoy, known to be one of the many soupy meals common to Filipino dishes.

Assorted Dessert
Assorted Dessert

Although it takes one to get to the place of Bulacan to know its dishes especially for those who may be far from its area and influence, Bulacan is known for their dishes deemed exotic for some, namely Batute (grilled edible frog), Aligasin at Dumuko sa Tuba (seafood dish cooked with coconut wine), Adobong Palaka (cooked marinated edible frog), Lumpiya ng Kalayaan (dumpling), Asado de Carajay, Hamon Bulakenya (Bulacan ham), Bringhe ng Tagumpay, Alimango ng Hagonoy (boiled crabs), Nilasing na Hipon (deep fried shrimps), and Alimango sa Misua (crabs in miso soup).

Crème Brulee de Aguinaldo
Crème Brulee de Aguinaldo

To present us with his version of the heritage cuisine that makes Café Veranda a popular destination for dining in Tagaytay, Chef Edwin Santos is proud to cater the following dishes to its diners at the event:

Crispy Battered Lambanog Crablets
Crispy Battered Lambanog Crablets

In the appetizers section, Chef prepared Kape Barako Tapa at Kesong Puti ng Laguna, Tri-Color Sweet Potato Taguntong Fritter, Fried Crispy Sweet Potato, Kilawing Dilis, Adobo Flakes ni Tatang sa Tubo na Wrapped in Iceberg Lettuce, Crispy Battered Lambanog Crablets, Dinakdakan Croquettes, Papaya and Kalabasa Atchara Aspic Terrine, Caramelized Onion and Salted Egg Brulee, Dalandan Habanero Marinated Buffalo Wings, Nilasing na Hipon Triangles, Tinapa Paté and Glazed Green Mango Mille Feuile, Water Spinach and Lechon Quiche, Pomelo and Calamari Salad with Smoke Grated Coconut.

Dinakdakan Croquettes
Dinakdakan Croquettes

Among the appetizers, my favorite would be Chef Edwin’s Crispy Battered Lambanog Crablets, Dinakdakan Croquettes, Nilasing na Hipon triangles and Caramelized Onion and Salted Egg Brulee. These simple yet appetizing samplers only proves that Pinoy recipes are one of the best in Asia.

Guisadong Monggo na may Chicharon, Tinapa at Talbos ng Ampalaya
Guisadong Monggo na may Chicharon, Tinapa at Talbos ng Ampalaya

For Soup, he served my favorite Guisadong Monggo na may Chicharon, Tinapa at Talbos ng Ampalaya and Ginulay na Mais Tagalog na may Dahon ng Sili na Sariwa. I love his Guisandong Monggo since you can actually make your own version by putting your preferred amount of Tinapa, Chicharon and ampalaya leaves. If you are vegetarian, you really dont have to worry since Chicharon is not really pre-mixed with the Monggo soup.

Inasal na Manok
Inasal na Manok

Some of the Hot dishes included in their menu include Adobado na Tadyang ng Baka, Inasal na Manok, Crispy Fried Kare – Kare in Creamy Peanut Sauce, Adobong Pusit sa Tinta, Sinanglay na Danggit sa Dahon ng Mustasa, Patalbog, Brown Rice, Binalot Rice.

Adobado na Tadyang ng Baka
Adobado na Tadyang ng Baka

These hot dishes are usually the recipes you normally see in each Filipino Dining table but Chef Edwin prepared it with a unique twist. His version of Inasal na Manok is actually my favorite, the infusion of other herbs and spices are noticeable but the authentic taste of Bacolod’s famous Inasal was not overpowered.

Barbecue Street Food Ihaw-ihaw
Barbecue Street Food Ihaw-ihaw

Theres also a special section that serves Barbecue Street Food Ihaw-ihaw and Arroz Caldong Tagalog while the Carving station offers Chef Edwin’s specialties like Litson Baboy Stuffed with Alibangbang, Pinaputok na Bisugo sa Saha ng Saging, Valencianang Tagalog and Native Roast Beef.

Crispy Fried Kare - Kare in Creamy Peanut Sauce
Crispy Fried Kare – Kare in Creamy Peanut Sauce

There are also regional dishes available like Iloilo’s famous Batchoy, and Luzon’s Puto Ube/Puto Puti with Itlog na Maalat and Ginataang Sitaw at Kalabasa sa Talangkang Bato.

Fruits in Chocolate Cup
Fruits in Chocolate Cup

For dessert, Chef Edwin prepared various types of desserts that will truly tantalise every single diners taste buds. As one of the famous “panghimagas” options in provinces, he included Maruya in his Menu. Maruya is a deep fried banana using Baklang Saba variety. Some of the items in the dessert section include Sapin – sapin Roulade, Crème Brulee de Aguinaldo, Panacotta Guyabano Filipino, Taro Pudding with Kesong Puti at Itlog na Maalat, Bayabas Gelato, Assorted Pastries, Crepes Delight and Bibingkang Malagkit.

Panna Cotta Guyabano Filipino
Panna Cotta Guyabano Filipino

Among the desserts prepared by Chef Edwin Santos, I like his Sapin-Sapin roulade – its simple but truly a world class dessert. I swear, I will try to copy his recipe (please dont tell Chef Edwin haha). Another favorite would be his Panna cotta Guyabano Filipino, I like how he incorporated a Pinoy tropical fruit in his version of Italian cooked cream that is popularly known as Panna Cotta.

Adobong Pusit sa Tinta
Adobong Pusit sa Tinta

Those are quite a list especially for a 4-day appearances. If you are so fond of Chef Edwin Santos’ dishes and would like to try all of these in its special occasion, there is no better time to do so than during his appearances from the event on October 4, 5, 11, and 12, respectively.

Chef Edwin Santos with Media and Taal Vista Team
Chef Edwin Santos with Media and Taal Vista Team

Melo Villareal with Chef Edwin Santos of Cafe Veranda
Melo Villareal with Chef Edwin Santos of Cafe Veranda of Taal Vista Hotel

This will be a very exciting experience among food lovers, alone, with company, or with the family. As a travel writers ourselves, we can’t but not passed up the chance of going to this place. More than just for food with its commitment to serve excellent cuisines of varying Filipino and Continental dishes, the place also is known for panoramic view of the Taal Volcano and a place of relaxation while dining at the place.

Taal Vista Hotel (check rates)
Kilometer 60 Aguinaldo Highway
Tagaytay City 4120
(63 46) 413-1000
http://www.taalvistahotel.com/

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