by Carlo Fornier
As the holidays are just around the corner, groups from all circles squeeze in their merry little gathering with the annual kris kringle, the laughing at one’s attempt to hit that high note during the karaoke sessions, the presentation of the prize for the most creative get-up with relation to the party theme, and of course, the indulgence of what everyone will be feasting on with the food selection on the table.
Whilst many think that they should leave all the planning to the restaurants who quote exorbitant rates just to close out a corner for your little shindig, more people are taking things to a more practical level by inviting everyone to their little abode for some merry-making. It doesn’t take a professional chef who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu to prepare your menu for the evening; in fact, you have a beautiful assortment of choices from these handy homemakers whose specialties would keep those faces (and if a tummy had a face) grinning with glee all the way until the fireworks of Chinese New Year. Start calling your friends to do a potluck contribution and provide them with these suggestions:
It’s all about the finger foods as you still wait for your “kumares” to arrive so do yourself a favor and already lay out some Whisk Jams on the living room table. From Roasted Garlic, Strawberry and Basil, Spinach and Artichoke, Tomato and Lemon and so much more choices from their pantry, this combination along with the supplemental Melba toast will keep your early-birds from getting anxious as your other guests trickle in through the front door one by one. Take that Metro Manila carmageddon traffic!
By Order: +63 917 877 1948; price ranges from Php240 to Php280 per Jam; follow them on facebook here
Judith Roda’s Caviar Pie
Everyone knows that the fanciest ingredient for any appetizer is Caviar, and instead of pairing it immediately with that unopened bottle of Moet, unless you really want to get your guests drunk, try the simpler yet delectable alternative of Judith Roda’s Caviar Pie. You’d be surprised that other than the very generous spread of caviar on top, the contents are simply cream cheese, eggs, and onions, a trifecta combination that can even challenge the three kings this holiday season. Judith also throws in a complimentary bag of tortilla chips which are perfect for scooping the contents of the pie with, but if you’re like some people who scrapes every little morsel, then buy a nice baguette at your nearest bakery, drizzle it with some olive oil and bake it in the toaster oven for a few minutes. Spread that goodness on top and you can start forgetting your name.
By Order: +63 917 817 7632, pick-up in Fort Bonifacio Global City; Php1,400 for a 6” diameter pie
Of course, you have that one friend who thinks the appetizers shouldn’t just be limited to crackers and toasts but rather you need to start heavy as things later will get heavier. Soothe his soul by bringing out a fresh batch of Mama’s Empanadas and if fish eggs or fruit jams aren’t his things, then a perfectly crusted empanada with the choice of either Tuna, Chicken, Pork or Beef should tide him over. This is starting to be a real feast, and we haven’t even started with the main dishes yet! Yum!
By order: +63 915 863 3156; box of 8s is Php280 and box of 12s is Php420
The Butchery’s Sausages
Finally, the guests come in and you begin the evening with a toast to good times and spreading the joy amongst yourselves and for those who couldn’t make it. Start the grill flaming as you lay on the burner your vast choices of The Butchery’s Sausages. These perfectly spiced schlongs will make any mouth drool even as their scent fill the air straight from the griddle. No salt and pepper needed here as you already have a vast selection to choose from such as Jalapeno, Saffron, Buffalo and Celery, Red Wine and Rosemary, Parmesan and Parsley or even Caramelized Onion and Mozzarella. Mama mia!
By Order: +63 917 795 5005; like them on facebook here
Pio’s Paella Of course, it ain’t a feast without the carbs being packed in and what better way to feed a throng of hungry guests than to present at the center a beautiful pan of Pio’s Paella. A lot of restaurants boast of Authentic Paella by either having a chef from Spain or ingredients flown in from all over but you don’t need to fret as the Paella from Pio’s Kitchen is enough to make you go “Arriba!” even when you are supposed to be singing “Silent Night”. By order +63 917 532 2892 (must order 7 days in advance)
Lechon Degustacion by Pepita’s Kitchen
Now the star of the evening has entered. With his glistening tan skin which will make every girl swoon whilst we all know he has both beauty on the outside and most definitely the inside, Lechon Degustacion by Pepita’s Kitchen . Who hasn’t heard of this potluck must-have!? Imagine, a beautifully roasted suckling pig with truffle (yes, T-R-U-F-F-L-E) rice inside. Best to have those cholesterol medicines handy beside each plate, it’s going to be an ugly battle.
Baby Yulo’s Strawberry Shortcake
The night is never over until dessert comes into play. Fans of Baby Yulo’s Strawberry Shortcake will definitely tell you that this crowd pleaser never disappoints. As you slowly place that moist yet spongey cake goodness into your mouth, the world just stops as you watch your guests have a tear drop fall from their eyes. It may look intimidatingly big, but the cake itself is so light, you’ll probably go back for a second, or third, or 10th slice. Keep an eye on it, someone might just take it all home.
By order +63 2 810 8078; pick-up at 19 Kawayan St., North Forbes, Makati City
Of course, you want to keep the story telling going and dive into the more intriguing parts. What better way to keep the ball rolling than with a little help from Cake Shots.With these sinfully encouraging treats such as Spike Chocolate, Coconut Daiquiri, Irish Crème Red Velvet or Cosmopolitan, better get your ears ready for someone to spill the beans on who did that office prank last week or who had a crush on who 10 years ago. Don’t worry, these little devils aren’t enough for us to confiscate your car keys just yet but best not to mix it with the open bar all evening.
By Order +63 906 326 9209
Whether you are a titas of Manila who hasn’t seen her classmates after 40 years or the office charmer who can also be a hostess with the mostess, you can never run out of options when it comes to ordering unique yet mouthwatering dishes for your holiday gathering. Be prepared, because after an evening like this, you will be tagged to prepare a similar gathering for whatever other occasions your friends can come up with. Happy Holidays!