A Spanish feast
Dr. Nestor Alonso ll (The Freeman) - October 19, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines – October 12 is such a big day. It is the day when Christopher Columbus reached America in 1492. Columbus, however, thought that he had arrived in the East Indies and it’s the reason why he called the indigenous Americans as “Indians.”

Readers who have studied History know that it was Amérigo Vespucci who made the correction and so the Americas were named after him. They also know that Apolinario Mabini was a paralytic – “The Sublime Paralytic” – unlike some college students who complained, excuse me, that Mabini seemed lazy because he was always sitting down in the movie “Heneral Luna.”

Another celebration on October 12 is the National Day of Spain. On this occasion, select members of the Cebu media were invited to the festivities of “El Dia de la Hispanidad” at the Waterfront Airport Hotel and Casino Mactan. I went early in order to avoid the traffic between the bridge cities. Marcomm officer Ms. Hanski Garcia introduced me to the new Rooms Manager Mr. Ali Banting as I had a glimpse of the wonderful spread of Spanish dishes at the Café Uno.

There was a long selection of Appetizers. The problem was that I had to mentally translate the dish names to English to know what I was eating: Huevos Rellenos, Camarones y Ticono Bruschetta (tocino?), Ceviche en el Pincho, Aguacate y Atun Bruschetta (avocado and tuna), Sardinas Españolas de Pizza, Jamon y Croquetas, Croquetas de Paella de Mariscos (shellfish) and the Empanada de Cerdo.

Having 12 units of Spanish back in school, I had forgotten that “huevos” means eggs, “cerdo” is pork and “atun” is tuna. It was only when I tasted the deliciousness of the croquetas and the empanadas that I remembered. The TV show “Bizarre Foods, Delicious Destination, Buenos Aires” has the recipe for the perfect empanada.

The soup Sopa de Ajo Español was a vampire slayer’s delight, with loads of garlic; while potatoes dominated the salad list with three dishes: Enselada Patatas de Español, Octopus y Ensalada de Patata, Tortilla de Patatas served with the Arrojó Ensalada Verde (tossed).

Main dishes on one side were Rellenas de Chorizo de Pollo Asado (chicken stuffed with sausages), Costillas Asadas (Grilled Ribs), Mezcla de Venturas a la Plancha con Aceiti de Oliva (mixed bounty land?), Pasta de Mariscos (shellfish), Callos and Lengua Financiera (these last two dishes were truly excellent).

Set on the other side were Paella Negra, Adobo Atun (tuna), Español Estofado de Cerdo (pork), Albondigas de Pollo (chicken meatballs). I intentionally lessened the portions I took in order to leave some room for the desserts.

And there were lots of postres to taste: Canonigo, Bizcochos,  Arros con Leche, Creama Catalana, Mini Torta Cebuana and Churros and the Marzipan. The churro appears like the Chinese “youtiao” because the Portuguese modified it using a star-shaped die; Cebuanos replicated it into the siakoy going with sikwate today.

Patrons of Spanish cuisine may enjoy these delicacies every Friday and Saturday for the whole month of October at the Café Uno, Waterfront Mactan. There’s a special promo:  a group of six guests pays only for five. The discount should be appealing enough to Cebuano diners!

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