Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Renault Winery Resort

On the final leg of our 2010 US visit, our friends from the Garden State of New Jersey took us to this well-kept estate that sits on 1,400 acres in the small town of Egg Harbor City (a 20-minute drive from Atlantic City's casinos). Founded more than 140 years ago, Renault Winery Resort is a winery, a vineyard, a 7,000-yard golf course, and  most of all a place that serves award-winning gourmet creations.

After touring the estate and sampling their wine specialties, we ascended a ramp through a giant redwood wine barrel and proceeded to their main restaurant (The Renault Gourmet) specializing in a 6-course gustatory menu.

Two main courses were highlighted and sampled that evening:

First was the Grilled Fillet Mignon With Wild Mushroom Ragout, served with Buttered Asparagus and Truffled Whipped Potatoes. The thick cut of meat was expertly executed,  posing no resistance and intermitting with slight fat and full flavor. Best of all, it fuses harmoniously with its sidings.

Second was the Italian Marinated Chicken Breast Stuffed with Broccoli Rabe, Sharp Asiago Cheese and Fire Roasted Peppers. The Chef's marvelous plating makes it hard for us to mess-up this dish. But once we got our "hands and feet wet" we first appreciated how moist and tender the meat was. Consuming the dish further, we marvelled at how it is sufficiently stuffed,  thus enabling it to burst with full-flavor.

This is arguably the gastronomic highlight of  our trip! At they say, "it pays to have friends in the right places." Many many thanks!

72 North Bremen Avenue, Egg Harbor City, New Jersey

Monday, December 13, 2010

Subic Barista Training

Was in Subic for the first time (would you believe?!) in my entire existence to train the baristas and crew of an up and coming coffee shop across the Royal Duty Free Shop. Owned and managed by a dynamic entrepreneur by the name of Des Ignacio, SCHATZY will open its doors to caffein-craving javaholics on December 17, 2011.

The crew was enthusiastic and fun to work with -- no bragging rights (I used to be from Starbucks...we did it this way and not that...), no excess baggage and best of all, no fat egos to deal with and/or shoot down!  As such the training went smoothly and lasted no more than 3 hours.  Heck, the entire drive was even longer... Good for me since I had more than enough time to scour the Duty Free Shops nearby!

The first order of buisness was to train them how to PROPERLY extract espresso using a semi-automatic machine... This is an essential step since almost all of the recipes require espresso shots. Furthermore,  it  helps big time that the espresso machine used, this one an ASTORIA, is of good make and easy to operate.
Once the crew got the hang of it, now comes the easiest part -- blending together all the ingredients to make a great Frappe! As shown in my previous post, even a 6-year old can do this with his eyes closed, hence it was smooth sailing from hereon...

Watch out for the opening... Best wishes to Des and her new venture!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Raspberry-Mocha Frappe

With a new toy to play with, a heavy-duty/fully automatic Bartec Blender, what better way to "test drive" the machine by making my all-time fave drink RASPBERRY-MOCHA FRAPPE.

Some folks frown at the thought of Raspberry, it reminding them of their staple cough syrup. But personally, there's something about the fusion of mocha (coffee plus chocolate) and raspberry syrup that warms my heart and calms my soul.... Call it genetics, my 6-year old son is a huge fan as well...

Here's a simple recipe my son and I prepared in less than 5minutes.

What we used:  Raspberry-Mocha Frappe (16-ounce serving)

3 tablespoons Stasero Mocha Frappe Base
Double-shot Far Skyes espresso blend
1-tablespoon Stasero Dark Chocolate Sauce
20ml Stasero Raspberry Syrup

Step 1: In a blender, combine Mocha Frappe Base, espresso, dark chocolate sauce and raspberry syrup.
Blend for 10 seconds.

Step 2: Using your desired 16-ounce cup, fill with cube/tube or crushed ice; pour into blender together with the mix and reblend for 15 seconds.


The drink was prepared under 5 minutes and consumed in less than a minute... By the way, the Bartec Blender was phenomenal!