A Midsummer Dinner Party
Dr. Nestor Alonso II (The Freeman) - June 15, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The summer of 2018 is over, the school year has begun, and we’ve posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Reddit the fun and bonding we had with family and friends. Cebuanos were basking in the sun with 45 SPF lotions on their skin while friends in Europe and the USA tweeted about the inches of snow on their streets. Many companies held their annual family day at beach resorts.

While all those were happening, a fellowship dinner was also being organized by the La Chaines des Rotisseurs. The venue was the Jpark Island Resort & Waterpark, Cebu. The theme for the beach party was “Tropical Nights at the Havana.”

There were seven Food Stations: Antipasti, Grilled Items, Soups, Salads & Seafood Dishes, Carving Stall, Fresh Fruits and Desserts. Displayed at the Antipasti Station were Assorted Cold Cuts, Cheeses, Roasted Bell Peppers, Marinated Olives & Artichokes, Parma Ham, Tomato Caprese, Guacamole and Moutabel.

Tomato Caprese is an Italian salad made with sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil with balsamic vinegar. Guacamole is a kind of dip made with ripe avocados and salt mashed together. Other ingredients may be added like onions, tomatoes, garlic and cayenne peppers.  Moutabel is an eggplant dip made with tahini and yoghurt.

The Soup Station served Seafood Chowder and Clear Mussel Soup while the Salads and Seafood Dishes had Coral Seafood Salad, Fresh Shrimp Roll, Chilled Spicy Abalone, Greek Salad, Prawn & Tangigue Ceviche and Salmon Gravlax.

Fragrant smoke emanated from the Grill station, a subtle signal that dinner was ready. Grilled Lobster Tail, Tiger Prawn, Lamb Chops, Beef Short Ribs and Sausages were very popular among the partygoers. The Chicken Kebabs, Pork Belly, Tuna, Salmon, Mussels, Squid and Potatoes were secondary choices. Ingredients were very fresh!

I’ve learned that charcoal made from soft wood produces lower heat and excess smoke compared to that made with hardwood. Lechon makers then preferred hardwood charcoal and you could differentiate it from softwood because it made a sound like broken glass when shaken inside a container.

Back at the party, there were three roasted items at the Carving Stall: Suckling Pig (Chinese style with sauce & condiments), Prime Ribs (red wine jus, horseradish cream, mustards) and Whole Fish (Indonesian style). The roast ribs were a beautiful sight but I was patient to wait until it had been sliced at the middle because that portion is cooked medium rare. It was, excuse me, super delicious!

There was a Fresh Fruits Station with grapes, kiwi, mango and watermelon while the Dessert Station showed Sapin-sapin, Chocolate Cake, Fruit Flames’, Cheese Cake – and, my favorite, the Ube Maja.

All the dishes were expertly prepared by Jpark Island Resort GM Jonathan Nowell and F&B Manager Christopher Shim and their culinary team led by four international chefs: Ki Bum Park, Mattia Pierluigi Stroppa, Yong Tze Hin and Andrew Bacani. Jpark president & chairman Justin Uy and CEO Jason Uy spared no expense to make the midsummer dinner party a truly successful and memorable event.

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