The Christmas tree lights up!

Dr. Nestor Alonso II (The Freeman) - November 22, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — These days we hear Christmas songs played in the radio, news anchors announcing the countdown to Christmas Day, solicitations trickling in at the office, employees in the malls wearing Santa outfits, and the better hotels and malls lighting up their Christmas trees. Well, the Christmas season has officially begun!

Waterfront Airport Hotel and Casino at Mactan unveiled the hotel’s glittering centerpiece with this year’s theme: Golden Glare of Christmas. Mainline and online media personalities were invited, as well as the candidates of Ms. Lapu-Lapu 2019. Lapu-Lapu City Congresswoman Paz Radaza joined Waterfront Airport GM Rex Benhur Caballes in lighting the Christmas tree last November 8.

A lavish dinner followed the tree-lighting, with two types of food service: plated for special guests and buffet for the rest. The feast was prepared by Executive Chef Tristan Encarnacion and the kitchen brigade. Gatchalian’s Lechon was the centerpiece of the buffet table, and immediately I began my task.

The first course was Salad, Mixed Organic Greens, Homemade Caesar Dressing and Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette. It was arranged as part of the table decorations and I really thought it was an integral part of the décor. This was followed by the service of a delicious soup, made with local Sweet Potatoes, Carrot and Ginger Cream. I was thankful that pumpkin was not used because there had been an overload of this vegetable in many dinners and I eat this at home twice a week, as well. Excess carotenoids intake, excuse me, might lead to nutritional jaundice.

The third course was Pan Roasted Salmon, Green Organic Puree with Micro Botanic Garden. The salmon was delicious and the plating was quite lovely with all the mini greens including the attractive blue butterfly pea flower (Clitoria ternatea) all lined up.

Sous Vide Short Plate, Three Peppercorn Gravy, Chimichurri, Pumpkin & Potato Mash was the fourth dish. The beef plate is a portion of the belly near the ribs, while the chimchichurri is a sauce (parsley, garlic, oregano, olive oil) used in Argentina for cooking grilled meats. Nice dish; however, evading pumpkin was not possible with pumpkin-potato mash.

This was followed by the Gatchalian’s Lechon with Native Soy Sauce, Liver Balsamic Dressing & Steamed Rice. The pusô rice plating with soy sauce ampule was innovative and the Gatchalian’s Lechon was as tasty as ever. My favorite dish was the Oven Roasted Herb Spiced Chicken Thigh, Tzatziki, Singaporean Chili & Hummus. I loved the taste of roast chicken boosted by mild chili flavors.

The lovely dinner closed with an edible sculpture called Gold Dusted Chili Malagos Chocolate Dome, Ormoc Tablea, Mango Cebu Tart, Sangig Lemoncito, Durian Cheesecake, Dehydrated Pineapple and Cacao Nibs. Eating these was like watching a movie marathon with five blockbusters and two short films.

Advance Merry Christmas to all!

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