Food and Leisure

Lenten bites

FOOD FOR THOUGHT - Millie & Karla Reyes - The Philippine Star

MILLIE: In observance of Lent, I try to abstain from meat on Fridays and offer the deed as a sacrifice for a special intention. As the Lenten season approached, I was looking for new eating places that served fresh seafood so that I could observe meatless Fridays.

My friend Dr. Larry Mallari has a knack for discovering new eateries and gets so excited when he has a new find. He takes pictures of food and sends it through Viber or posts on Facebook for friends to see. One would think this is all he ever does.

A few years ago, he took us to this place called Urameshi-ya Yakiniku Restaurant in Little Tokyo on Don Chino Roces Avenue in Makati, where we dined al fresco. For some reason, we never had a chance to go back until recently when we revisited this popular place. We came early, at 5:30 p.m., as Larry says the place gets filled beyond that time and is one of those places that does not accept reservations.

For P500 per person, one gets to “eat all you can” yakiniku style: extra-large fresh oysters, huge scallops, prawns flown in from Japan with a choice of assorted meats like pork belly, beef, chicken, sausages, and the like. The catch? You have to cook and eat all you can in 45 minutes.

KARLA: We came up with several tricks while waiting for our food to cook. First is, as soon as you sit down, order already everything you want. We only had a couple of orders of the scallop and oysters and when we re-ordered, they said it was already out of stock. Some items come in frozen, meaning you still have to wait for it to be thawed out. To think that you are only given 45 minutes to eat, it can be quite frustrating, especially if you’re hungry already. So the next tip is to order the meats — they’re usually thawed out and ready to cook — while waiting for the other items to defrost. For the oysters, Tito Larry turned them upside down to heat up the oyster itself and that makes it easier to remove from the shell and it will therefore cook faster.

Next, it would probably be wise to start cooking the meats first. Fire needs both fuel and oxygen and when the fat or juices drip from the meat, it helps the fire keep going. Tito Rene also would fan the grill and we tried to not overcrowd the grill, since fire needs oxygen as well. Overall experience was exciting, from the time you see all the raw ingredients up front until the time you finish eating, but it would be best not to come hungry as one needs patience before you can actually eat.

MILLIE: When planning to eat in to avoid the Friday traffic, Karla and I would buy a pack of smoked Norwegian salmon from Santi’s or The Plaza’s smoked tanguingue and eat it with a bowl of fresh salad greens or make a lovely sandwich with freshly baked croissants or baguettes. 

I remember my dad used to look for Portuguese or Spanish sardines in the old-fashioned tin cans with the key on top and reserve it for Good Friday lunch. He would eat it with freshly baked ciabatta or toasted bread. His other favorite was tinapa or smoked milkfish and he would eat it with salted red eggs and tomato chunks and a heap of garlic fried rice.

KARLA: One of my seafood finds this season is CDP’s prawn and scallop risotto at Rockwell Power Plant Mall. The creamy and mild curry risotto is perfect with the seafood. I do wish they had more scallops or maybe a few chunks of salmon in there but it is still good. Mom and I were also able to try the Shrimp Bucket at the Fort and sometimes crave for it. We only order the shrimps and usually get the French-y lemon pepper and the one cooked with chorizo.

Our family favorite is and always will be Chef Jessie’s bouillabaisse, which my Lolo absolutely loved. We still order it every time we dine at chef Jessie’s, and order an extra basket of ciabatta as it goes perfectly well with the seafood stew.

On the other hand, some other Lenten specials I look forward to are Jollibee’s tuna pie and McDonald’s double fillet o’ fish, which mom and I grab if we’re in a hurry and don’t have time to sit down for lunch. Most times, we wait up until 12 midnight and have a good snack.

Ever since I was a kid, I have had a hard time completing my Lenten sacrifice. As mom was going through her stuff, she found this note I wrote for her when I was seven years old. Haha!





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Urameshi-ya Yakiniku Restaurant is located at Little Tokyo, 2277 Chino Roces Avenue, Legazpi Village, Makati City. Call 813-2210 for reservations and inquiries. 

For Chef Jessie’s at Rockwell Club, call 450-2993 or 450-2995.

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Send e-mail to milliereyes.foodforthought@gmail.com and quichethecook.ph@gmail.com. Find us on Facebook: Food for Thought by Millie & Karla Reyes.

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