Thank you to all who have made inquiries for orders of Mr. D’s Artisnal Philippine Wagyu Corned Beef. My next batch is unfortunately sold out but for the last minute shoppers I will have a batch ready the week before Christmas. Please email at firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries. Have a wonderful Holiday Season and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do (that pretty much leaves it wide open).
As an American living away from home, Thanksgiving dinner is a perennial matter of great concern. I spent my first Thanksgiving abroad in Nice, France. We decided to cook a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for a mixed group of American, French and other nationalities. We scoured the entire region along the southeast of France looking for ingredients like fresh cranberries and molasses.
Most non-Americans do not fully understand how important a holiday it is for us. For many of us (myself included) we would put it above Christmas. This being said I have had many a sub-standard Thanksgiving dinner living around the world. The worst though was in Las Vegas. Without any prior plans we ended up at the Rio Hotel’s buffet for a dining experience that literally made my soul ache.
This is why I made sure to blaze this trail this year. I set out to create the closest facsimile of the real thing that I could possibly create here. Also I had the good fortune of timing being on my side with my newly constructed brick smoker/oven to roast the turkey.
Mr. Delicious Thanksgiving Menu 2012
Apple Wood Smoked Turkey
Traditional Stuffing with Bacon and Dark Stock
Oyster Mushroom Stuffing
Green Bean Casserole with Creamy Mushroom Sauce and Fried Onions
Sweet Potato Casserole with Oat Crumble
1950′s Style Cranberry Salad
Cajun Dirty Rice
Lots of Gravy
Pumpkin Pie with Créme Anglaise
Starting with the turkey, I had about a 6kg (12lb.) bird that I brined for 12 hours. The brine consisted of 1 cup of salt and 1 tablespoon of curing salt for 1 gallon of water. I then added sugar, apple cider vinegar, peppercorns, dried chili flakes and parsley stems. I dropped the turkey into a large bucket I use just for brining and pickling and poured the brine over it. Then I weighted it down with a stack of plates. Since there was not enough room in the fridge I kept it iced down for 12 hours. Then remove and rinse.
Once it was cured, I placed it in front of a fan for about two hours to dry and warm up before smoking. I used a combination of charcoal and apple wood, maintaining a temperature of about 235f (110c). It smoked for about 3 hours until an internal probe reads about 160f (70c). I would later finish it in a hot oven before serving.
Stuffing is a very misunderstood side dish but one of my absolute favorites every Thanksgiving. I was raised on oyster stuffing, but unfortunately I could not find oysters in time (at least I had bacon). There are a couple tricks to making good stuffing. First cook your mirepoix thoroughly before folding it into the bread. Use a good brown poultry stock and season it well. Finally add lots of the stock. Keep ladling more until it can take no more. Then just bake until it’s hot in the center and slather with gravy.
Also unavailable were fresh cranberries. However I was able to substitute dried with some success. I decided to mold the cranberry salad like you might see in cookbooks from the 50′s and 60′s. This was actually quite simple. I gelled some cranberry juice with sugar and garnished it with slices of orange, persimmon and chopped walnuts. I molded it in a cake pan and just warmed it in water to release it from the mold.
My sweet potato casserole sucked in a big way. I need to find a way to better adapt the local sweet potatoes into this dish. The local camote is much starchier than what I’m used to in the States. The result was a really dry texture that I think could be remedied by puréeing it.
My wife (who is also responsible for my conspicuously better photos), prepared two different types of pumpkin pie, both made from the local pumpkin. One was a classic variety and the other was finished with caramel and chopped walnuts.
Though I have cut back on the number of private events in to focus on Mr. D’s, I do still enjoy an occasional event like this. I like to keep it very casual and unassuming. Thank you to all who attended. It sure as hell beat the Rio…
It has been a busy time chez Mr. D of late. Mr. D’s Artisanal is a finalist in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Next Food Entrepreneur contest. Our group just finished our second weekend at Midnight Mercato in BGC. I would like to congratulate all of my fellow concessionaires competing in the contest for bringing their creative food concepts to bear. That being said, I hope I win…
I stopped in Salcedo Market yesterday and spoke to Marco Lobregat of Ministry of Mushrooms. He handed me a paper bag with a new variety of mushroom that he is growing called Milky Mushrooms (Calocybe Indica). With his assurances they would not make me see things he told me to take them and experiment with them. Challenge accepted.
These mushrooms are very plump and firm, sharing some characteristics of a portabella or button mushroom. They really need to be roasted pretty well, or next time I might try to grill them. They retain a pretty firm texture even after cooking and are really meaty.
One produce vendor had some really fresh camote tops (sweet potato leaves) and mustard greens and also some free range eggs. When you have really fresh greens for cooking the next day, I think it’s best to wilt or blanch them when their still freshest. These were simply wilted in a pan, covered with no oil or seasoning. Then I cooled it and put it in the fridge for the next day.
This afternoon, rolling out of bed after a long weekend of Midnight Mercato, this was the perfect ensemble to restore some of my energy.
Pan Roasted Milky Mushrooms, Wilted Greens, Poached Egg and Aged Balsamic
10-12 milky mushrooms, sliced in half
1 bunch mustard greens
1 bunch comote tops
2-3 good eggs
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shit ton of butter
oil for sautéing
1 tbsp cheap vinegar
1 drizzle aged balsamic vinegar
Set one large sauté pan on medium high heat and set up a second pan for poaching eggs. In a shallow high-walled pan put water halfway up and add the cheap vinegar. Turn heat to medium.
When the sauté pan is hot add oil and mushrooms with the flat side down. Allow them to caramelize mostly undisturbed until they develop a nice brown color and become aromatic. Move and rotate them as needed to even out the cooking. Once caramelized, add a shit ton of butter and most of the garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Flip all of the mushrooms and baste them with the hot butter until they are cooked through. Remove the mushrooms and drain them on a plate lined with paper towel.
Add your greens to the same pan to pick up flavor from the mushrooms. Either wilt them or reheat them if they’re already wilted. Add the remainder of the garlic and season with salt and pepper.
Next poach your eggs, making sure the poaching liquid is at a low simmer. Carefully drop each cracked egg into the water and gently poach until the white is just opaque.
Gently lift the poached eggs out with a slotted spoon and drain off any water before plating. Season with salt and pepper.
Next just plate them all together. The greens make a nice bed for the poached egg and also, placing the poached eggs on the hot greens helps keep the egg warm. Drizzle some good aged balsamic around the plate to garnish. The runny yolk makes a delicious sauce for the plate.
Mr. D’s Artisanal is at Podium on the second floor atrium right now along with a number of other food vendors for Pinoy Eats World, World Eats. I’ll be slingin’ sammiches here made from my Philippine Wagyu Corned Beef. I will be making a classic reuben and a killer slider with horseradish mayo, pickled red onion and a corned beef jus for dipping.
Also here today:
- Da.u.de Tea
- Spring by Ha Yuan-Hong Kong specialties
- Cafe de Bonifacio
- Pinkerton Ice Cream by Alexandra Rocha
- The Fruit Garden Luxury Jams
- Angus Beef Tapa Lady
- Turkish Express Kabab
If you don’t follow me on Twitter now would be the time because today I will be announcing a secret code word worth a free slider. I’ll be here tonight, tomorrow and Sunday all day long. I will also be in Soderno Weekend Market tomorrow and Sunday (that’s right, two places at once). Come out and check it out. Get your food trip on!
I finally made it to the Collective on Malugay last week. If you haven’t been already it’s worth checking out if for no other reason than the cool urban art on the walls inside.
Essentially the Collective is a large warehouse space subdivided into smaller units which serve as an incubator for small, independent businesses. Up front there are a number of restaurants. Toward the back on the right side of the is Ritual. This is where I found my take away souvenir, Katipunan Craft Indio Pale Ale.
I have been wanting this for some time, an alternative to the perfectly mediocre San Miguel dominance of the Filipino beer scene. I don’t particularly dislike San Miguel, and do consume my weight in it on a fair regular basis. But there hasn’t been an active micro-brewer to represent the Philippines.
It’s a well-crafted beer. Balanced, a little hoppy and full-flavored. It made me want for a steaming pot of mussels and fries… might need to make this happen.
I don’t think they produce a huge amount of this beer, but now I’ve discovered it. I can only hope there’s enough left for the rest of you.
As a foreigner observing this for the first time from within, it was fascinating and encouraging to see what the people of the Philippines could do when confronted by a difficult situation. With Ondoy still fresh on their minds, people sprung into action and started helping wherever they could. Donations and volunteers flowed in. In many countries people are prone to inaction, waiting for a government response, but here there was little time for such bullshit.
With each passing day, the donations increased and the deployments became larger and more organized. All that I joined were night time, so I don’t have many pictures to show. They were focused on the areas around Quezon City. I didn’t actually see much flooding but there were some areas of EDSA that were impassable. The narrow low-lying streets in some of the neighborhoods were still caked with several inches of mud with trash strewn about and a smell of raw sewage.
I would love to hear feedback and personal experiences from last week. It would be a bit optimistic to assume that this won’t happen again. With so many people involved surely there are just as many observations to offer. What can be done differently in the event of another large-scale flood or other disaster?
One issue that was on the minds of many of the volunteers was the fate of all of the plastic bags used to pack relief goods. Is there a better solution that we could prepare for now?
The floods are certain to have a lasting impact on people throughout the affected areas and Filipino farmers will be some of the hardest hit. What relief operations are still ongoing?
Your thoughts and input please!
Most people come to this website because they are passionate about food, much like me. We can debate about the best ramen or the best pizza in town or share secrets for making a perfect paella. But then sometimes nature comes along, slaps us around and puts us back in our place. It reminds us that before we can eat for indulgence we must first eat to survive.
During the most difficult times the Philippines always shows its indomitable strength and spirit by pulling together and helping those in need. The torrential rains caused by Typhoon Gener have inundated much of Metro Manila especially in areas such as Quezon City and Marikina. There are reports of families stranded on roof tops in Roxas District and thousands of people have been displaced across the region.
Countless concerned people on Facebook and Twitter are asking how to help. There are numerous locations around Metro Manila accepting donations. Parish San Antonio in Forbes is currently accepting, sorting and distributing donations. Ready to eat foods are preferred because many affected people do not have access to stoves. However any donations of canned goods, drinking water, rice, bedding and clothing would be appreciated.
The Philippine Red Cross is already mobilized to respond to the disaster. Those that cannot make it out can donate directly to them here. To those reading this from outside of the Philippines that would like to help, this would be a great way to do so.
Also for information on Gawad Kalinga’s Operation Walang Iwanan follow this link.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to help mitigate this disaster but more is needed. Check with your local church but keep yourself safe first.
Update: Ukokkei Ramen Ron has reopened!
What’s this? Ukokkei closed by the Makati government?
The notice couldn’t be worded any more cryptically but it smells fishy to me. We had our issues, but this makes me sad. Anybody have some information on this?
I want answers!
2nd Level, Bonifacio High Street Central
They were indeed fond memories brought back to my mind entering Nolita. 3 a.m., wandering the streets if Manhattan after visiting three or four bars, the hunger begins to hit. It’s time to make some bad decisions. That’s when it appears, a glowing mirage of reddish-orange grease and semi-coagulated cheese, incubated under high-voltage lights to perfect danger zone deliciousness. This is New York style pizza and I’m drunk. I’ll take two please.
This time around was a little different. In the newer portion of High Street in the Fort, the location has more resemblance to Disney Land than New York. Also I was sober.
Nolita offers seven different varieties of pizza, all by the slice. The slices are huge and loaded with toppings, just like it should be. There’s an efficiency to there ordering system that I would love to see in more Manila eateries. You simply line up, order and sit down and wait for your food. Casual joints like this don’t need waiters to complicate and screw things up.
We had three different kinds of pizza, two of which were nothing short of deadly. The Chicken Parmesan Pizza is a brilliant idea. Chicken on a pizza is just boring, unless you bread it and fry it first! Then there was the Cheeseburger Pizza. Another great idea, but it would have been better with bacon (do I have to think of everything?) We rounded out our third choice with the more sophisticated mushroom, goat cheese sort of thing so we could pretend for a moment that we weren’t disgusting gluttons, and of course onion rings.
Despite interesting toppings, it’s the crust that makes or breaks pizza and they nailed it. It’s a great NY style, a little bit chewy, a little bit crispy and perhaps most importantly, foldable. In true New York fashion you fold the slice lengthwise to contain all of the toppings when eating it.
The Chicken Parmesan was awesome and that will bring me back. The onion rings were also done perfectly. They were crispy and the batter adhered properly to the onions.
The menu also includes burgers, sandwiches and “grub” but I don’t see ever gong for anything but the pizza. Drinks include imported sodas and craft beers.
If the only competition in town is to be the like of Shakey’s and Yellow Cab, Nolita will firmly secure its niche in the Manila food scene for a long time to come, and rightfully so. So far this is my number one.
I generally avoid fine dining perhaps because I’ve been around it so much. It kind of reminds me of work, I spend more money and quite often leave disappointed. There are plenty of casual spots in town I would much rather go to.
Too often they will capture the look of a fine dining restaurant but not the substance, the meat of it. Manila in particular still has a long way to go to start opening true fine dining restaurants. Too often they capture the look of a fine dining restaurant (and the price) but when it comes to the substance, the meat of it, they ring hollow.
Lusso was opened Margarita Fores in Greenbelt 5 in 2009. The name is Italian but the menu reflected more of French or even American slant with a number of classic brasserie foods and sandwiches.
The interior is really well done by Jorge Yulo in beige and amber tones, featuring a large chandelier from the ballroom of the Peninsula Manila. There are nice cushiony chairs and the waiters and the napkins are both starched and pressed.
The service was well-meaning. They clearly had some training and had the best of intentions (which really is the most important thing). However from a technical (timing, communication, service technique) standpoint they were a bit awkward.
I actually got a little bit excited when I saw some of the items on the menu. Foie gras everywhere, bone marrow, confit de canard (duck confit), what’s not to love? First to arrive were the Truffle Chips. It’s an old trick but a good one. Even with the fake truffle oil they just taste good.
Someone at our table ordered the Bone Marrow Vol-au-vent. It really seemed more like a passed hors d’oeuvre than a plated appetizer. I also stole a bite of the Demi Pound Burger (foie gras, cambozola bath, prosecco onions) that Lusso is known for. The burger was good but the foie was also not really detectable. I’m starting to notice an alarming trend develop here.
Of the two dishes I ordered both were disappointing. I began with the Foie Gras Brûlée. Maybe I was expecting something different and maybe I should have asked first, but it was really just a crème brûlée with the addition of a barely detectable quantity of foie gras. The foie was in small pieces in the center of what was otherwise a dessert. It was served with toast points but did not go well with bread. This dish suffers from a clear identity crisis.
So, a swing and a miss. Fine, let’s move on. I was still quite excited for my Confit de Canard. It looked really nice when it arrived and just as I was about to ask for Dijon the waiter brought some French whole grain mustard. Galing! The salad greens were very fresh and dressed perfectly with a nice pungent vinaigrette but the potato purée was completely unseasoned and had a bit of a gloppy texture.
But then I cut into the confit. The skin peeled off in one limp swath. Grrr! Now it’s personal! Clearly the skin had been fried, but then something else must have occurred. Either it was covered and allowed to steam soggy or it was microwaved. Either way I don’t care because they’re both amateur mistakes. The meat was also quite salty.
All mistakes were forgivable up to this point but now they’ve ruined my favorite bistro dish. I guess now I should get to work on a confit de canard to redeem this experience.
In conclusion Lusso might be a nice place to go for a glass of wine in the afternoon with some light snacks. The ambiance is nice and they do have some good small dishes to have with drinks. I would not order the more expensive dishes on the menu because they make big promises they can’t keep. In keeping with the name, Lusso’s menu showcases a number of luxury ingredients. Unfortunately these luxury ingredients don’t really carry a presence to the plate.