One-night food trip in Cebu
FOOD FOR THOUGHT - Millie & Karla Reyes (The Philippine Star) - November 4, 2015 - 9:00am

MILLIE: We spent a weekend in Cebu courtesy of Jun and Larry Cochangco of Fly Ace to familiarize ourselves with Jolly products. But as it turned out, all I could think of was Cebu lechon. My friends Ramon Tan and Dr. Larry Mallari were also in Cebu at that time to inspect the jobsite of the latest classic Savory outlet. Larry kept sending text messages about Rico’s lechon and Zubuchon that really whetted my appetite and got me so curious.

So, on our second night, Karla and I took the shuttle and went to check out the newly opened fabulous Rustan’s Department Store in Ayala. There, we met up with Karla’s friend Jharvis Ong, who drove us to Rico’s lechon in Acacia so we could finally have a taste of it.

Rico’s lechon is spicy and cooked with garlic and leeks, unlike the typical lechon of Cebu that is known to be prepared stuffed with tanglad (lemongrass) leaves and other spices and served without the usual liver sauce. We ordered just enough to try and satisfy our curiosity. Naturally, we could not help but eat it with rice as it was really hot and spicy.

KARLA: We only shared a small portion of Rico’s  as we were scheduled to have dinner with one of my good friends, Edward Mac Dy, who is also based in Cebu.  Jharvis, Mac and I were block mates in De La Salle University–Manila.

Some people go crazy over lechon. I can have a few pieces and don’t have a hard time controlling how much of it I eat. My fondest memory of lechon was when Lolo Joe was still around. We would visit Bohol Beach Club in Panglao Island, Bohol, every summer but there was one year that we did a side trip to Cebu as well. I immediately called Mac Dy to let him know we were coming. Unfortunately, Mac Dy and his dad couldn’t meet us there due to a business trip. We got the surprise of our lives the following day as we spotted a bangka heading towards the shore with a lechon. Yup, you got it. Mac Dy and his dad sent over a whole Cebu lechon to Bohol for us to enjoy. So that day the staff at Bohol Beach Club set up a picnic by the beach for us with a carver to chop the lechon on the spot. Of course, Lolo was the first one to hover over the lechon and wait for the first few pieces.

After our Rico’s Lechon appetizer, we decided to go to Tavolata upon Jharvis’ recommendation. It is an Italian restaurant by the Abaca Group. Mae Tan, a friend of Jharvis’ who happened to move to Cebu that month, joined us. We ordered a refreshing tomato basil bruschetta, which had fresh, big chunks of tomato. Then we devoured the prosciutto pizza with arugula and used the crust to dip into our next dish, the braised lamb shank. It was fork-tender and had a good braising sauce. I didn’t want all that to go to waste so I ended up dipping the crust into the sauce. Another one of their specialties is the veal argue with pappardelle.  Considering we already had lechon earlier that evening, this was like our second dinner.

MILLIE:  All throughout the dinner at Tavolata with Karla’s friends, we were talking about the chicken barbecue of Matias. Mac proposed to swing by after dinner just so we could have a bite. But sadly, it did not happen. Instead we went to Tymad, a French bistro owned by chef Philippe. He serves everything French, from escargots to quiches, sole Meuniere to tournedos Rossini. We came for dessert and ordered what Mac Dy had recommended, the pear tart with roasted almond. Karla and Jharvis wanted to try the cappuccino crepes and I wanted to taste the tarte au citron because I am fond of tarts and that lemony taste.

One night in Cebu and we experienced so many pleasures that we forgot we were on a diet. Imagine what foodie stories we could have covered if we had stayed longer. We were in a hurry to leave Cebu as we had to meet up with cousin Pol Chavez from Los Angeles and took a ferry to in Panglao Island to spend the weekend.





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