You Can't Celebrate Christmas Without the "MA"*
for Mama, Mom, Mommy, Mother
Such fine BED WEATHER
we're having this 26th of December;
I woke up to a cold, rainy morning,
the exact opposite of the hot, sunny Christmas day.
It's just as well,
it's the perfect excuse to just laze around
and reflect on yesterday's excellent gatherings
with my family and loved ones,
and to digest all the food that we ate yesterday,
a whole day, wall-to-wall,
of a Christmas Celebration!
Lunch at Oroquieta was with the ENRIQUEZ CLAN, and
Dinner was with the HIZON FAMILY and the LIEMPO GANG,
and it was non-stop eating and drinking all the way!!!
Our Yuletide Soundtrack
was provided by the wonderful Christmas albums of
Frank Sinatra, Ray Conniff, Doris Day, Johnny Mathis,
The Core Group's "Puto at Suman", Charlie Brown & Friends,
Vanessa Williams, Kenny Loggins, Sarah McLachlan,
Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, and Lea Salonga.
Ageless and sentimental Carols,
made more so because this collection
of CDs and Cassettes (!) nurtured for 30 years now,
includes the favorite Christmas music
of my beloved Lola Sally and my dear old Dad.
And speaking of my late father,
I'm sure that he would have loooved the booze:
V.S.O.P. Cognac from Courvoisier,
Chivas Regal, Johnnie Walker Gold,
that rare Chocolate Vodka,
Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon,
and lots of Heineken and San Miguel Beer!
And of course,
A Ham and Cheese Platter
with Hoc Shiu Ham direct from Mainland China,
Quezo de Bola, and a couple of soft cheeses from Canada;
Almejas en Salsa Verde,
a clam and garlic broth
that's actually a dip for toasted baguettes.
A family favorite invented by my brother Joey,
thin slices of premium Quezo de Bola
zapped in the microwave until soft and gooey;
in my opinion,
even better than the Raclette at the Old Swiss Inn!
never absent from the Enriquez and Hizon buffets;
the classic Pinoy Kiddie Spaghetti
that even the oldies love and line up for,
chockfull with chunks of hotdogs and ground pork,
and sweetened by the secret sauce:
UFC Banana Ketchup!
another Pinoy Christmas staple,
Hawaiian Style Ham;
everyone's favorite and most requested dish,
the melt-in-your-mouth Lengua;
Baked Norweigan Salmon,
topped with French Onion Soup mix
for that extra-special zing!
The Fixins' for the Butterball Turkey,
roasted at Hizon's Bakeshop/Za's Cafe
by Tita Mila and Tita Gina:
the sweet kamote soaking in the buttery syrup,
the rich brown gravy,
the dried cranberries,
and the cranberry sauce,
all complementing the dark and white slices
of the best Turkey Platter in Manila!
But the star of our Christmas Dinner
was undoubtedly the Garlic Roasted Leg of Lamb!
Check out the garlic slivers...
and the perfectly pink slices;
the meat was roasted so perfectly,
everyone forgot about the mint sauce
and just went straight for the lamb!!!
Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake,
topped with a thick cacao-condensada icing
and peppermint candy canes;
tastes like a solidified version of Starbucks' Peppermint Mocha!
Buttery Bundt Cake,
blessed with a glaze infused with Tanduay Rhum!
And an exotic treat,
the rosewater-fragrant sweet known
in the cradle of civilization the as "lokum",
the Turkish Delight!
A truly amazing spread,
the best we've had in Oroquieta in years.
And the truly amazing thing?
There was but a single chef working non-stop
in the days leading up to Christmas,
ensuring that the hungry hordes would be fed,
and fed most memorably on the best day of the year:
Meet my mother,
Chef Elsie Hizon Enriquez!!!
You run DaBest restaurant in Manila!