Wednesday, February 24, 2016

#LMPCEats: Makati Diamond Residences' Champagne Everyday Brunch

When you are unofficially dubbed as “The Girl Who Can Eat Anything,” lavish buffet spreads tend to be your jam.  Standing in the middle of a myriad of culinary stations, each one enticing all of your senses to devour morsel after morsel of what it offers, gives you a thrill that usually comes when in a candy store.  Or a bookstore, in my case.  In fact, buffets have become your thing that planning to eat your way through one is something you have down to science – which explains the X number of plates you have had to ask to be dished out.  And at times, you resist the urge to smirk and shout “Hell, no!” when people say there is no way one can eat each and every dish in a buffet spread.

Anyway, when I sat down to plan on refocusing the purpose and intention of this blog, I decided to do away with food posts because 1) I wasn’t a food blogger; and 2) I wasn’t a food blogger.  But last weekend, I conquered yet another buffet that is too good not to write about.

I admit that while I have tried a good number of buffet spreads in the metro, it hardly makes me an expert but Makati Diamond Residences’ Champagne Everyday Brunch is truly one for the books.  While the spread is comparatively small, it offers all the good stuff in a brunch buffet.  And when I say, all the good stuff, think US Angus Rib Eye Steak, Rack of Lamb, Conchinillo, Raclette… And overflowing champagne!

The brunch has an inviting array of starters:  quiches, fried eggplant with a tartare-like topping, and creamy shrimp balls are just some of them.  There is a small salad station with fix-ins to dress up your greens but the salad is amazingly flavorful because the greens are tossed with the Caesar dressing in a hollowed out Parmesan wheel.  The cheese is scraped as the greens are tossed.

After that, I got to the good parts:

US Angus Rib Eye Steak with all its accoutrements:  roasted vegetables, roasted heads of garlic (great for spreading onto the steak!).  There is a creamy sauce for drowning all these greatness in!

Australian rack of lamb cooked superbly it rids itself of the funny aftertaste lamb is known for.

Grilled prawns.  Which I couldn’t stop myself from having seconds.

I had a "surf" plate with the prawn and crusted baked fish.

Smoothest mashed potatoes.  Ever.

Bagnet Paella.  Who would’ve thought?!?!  It was yummy!

Conchinillo.  It’s like pork bliss.

Fresh ravioli 

A true blue cheese enthusiast, I went weak in my knees at the Raclette Station.  Devouring the gooey melted cheese sprinkled with fresh black pepper, I thought I’d died and gone to cheese heaven.

And then in between bites, there are the drinks.  Apart from the bubbles, one can knock himself/herself out with coffee (they brew Toby’s Estate coffee) , soda, juice, red and white wine, and cocktails.

Raclette and caprinha

For dessert, their options include Limoncello Tiramisu, Bouchon, and homemade ice cream.  I am not big on desserts but I chose to try their ice cream.  Asked to choose among Super Moist Chocolate, Raspberry, and Cheesecake, my husband went “All three,” so I followed suit.  I was thankful I did because they were all creamy and tasty.  If freshness was a taste, I’d say it was so because one can really tell it was freshly made and tastes unlike commercially-made frozen treats.

It’s true that not all buffets are created equal (ly).  The Makati Diamond Residences’ Champagne Everyday Brunch is a relative David among the bigger and well-known buffets in the city.  The enticing spread, however, along with the intimate ambience and soothing piano melodies, manages to slay the Goliaths and it’s largely credited to its premium and inspired selections that were prepared JUST.  DARN.  WELL.   As far as my appetite’s concerned, it has emerged gastronomically victorious.  The old adage “Less is more” cannot be truer.

Same with “The early bird catches the worm” because this delightful brunch offering won’t last long!

And if that doesn’t convince you yet, we were also served foie gras macarons (which I did not manage to take a picture of) which tasted a lot like heaven so if you’re still reading this, run!  Don’t walk!  Or think.  Just eat.  And toast.  And thank me afterward. :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The One About the Raspberry-Glazed Chicken Meatballs

Think chicken.  Think meatballs.  Think greaseless.  Think raspberry.  Now think of all these in moist (yes, even though it’s chicken!) morsels of heaven.

Who doesn’t love meatballs?  Those juicy meat mouthfuls have never disappointed anyone and I, for one, can munch on them for days on end.  In its simplicity, I dip them in sweet-spicy sauce.  Or I drown them in a creamy thick sea of mushrooms.  Other times, I place them in a hotdog bun and then slather them with marinara sauce and top with cheese for an easy meatball sub.  Meatballs are nothing short of versatile and appetizing. 

A few months ago, I came across a recipe for glazed Asian meatballs.  With a few tweaks, I came up with my own version using ground chicken.  And no, the meatballs do not come out dry at all.  I baked them just long enough for the outside to be golden brown but still moist on the inside.

They are unbelievably easy to make and yet when you serve them, you’ll look like you slaved yourself in the kitchen making them.  

Raspberry-Glazed Chicken Meatballs


¼ cup milk
¼ cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
¼ cup scallions, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons ginger, grated
1 ½ lbs (0.68 kg) ground chicken
½ cup hoisin sauce
¼ cup raspberry preserves


In a bowl, mix milk, breadcrumbs, garlic, scallions, ginger, and egg.

 Add the ground chicken.  Do not overmix; this will make the meatballs dry.

 Shape the meat mixture into balls and place the meatballs in a muffin pan.

 Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes at 400F or until the meatballs are golden brown and
juicy when pricked with a toothpick or fork.

 To make the sauce, whisk the hoisin sauce and raspberry preserves in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Red pepper flakes can also be added if you prefer a spiced glaze.

 After baking, brush each meatball with glaze or toss them in the saucepan to coat with sauce.

I served them on lettuce leaves and sprinkled sesame seeds for garnish, making them a lovely feast for the eyes – and tummy.