Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Seven days, seven reasons to Visit Cucina at Marco Polo Ortigas, Manila

My dinner at Cucina, Marco Polo’s prime restaurant exceeded all my expectations!  I was  pleasantly surprised at the array of dishes spread out on the buffet.  I commented to Francis de Leon, Director of Communications, that my dinner was truly a gustatory experience.  I could site countless reasons why I should go back to Cucina for another gourmet feast  but here are the top 7 reasons on my list.
Let the taste buds witness a spectacle of gourmet fares, seven days a week, as it highlights signature dishes along with Cucina’s comprehensive spread of Continental and Asian cuisine.

Start the week with a rich, buttery, delicate and classic French recipe that is Pan-fried Duck Liver with spring salad, sautéed apple cider dressing and calvados glaze for Monday.

Have a fresh and healthy Tuesday fix by having a Warm Thai Beef Salad topped with grilled tender filets of US beef mixed with traditional Thai dressing and chili. 

A home-grown treat is on its way every Wednesday with the Filipino Barbecue Pork and Chicken marinated with lemon, garlic and soya served with atchara.

Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s award-winning Hong Kong chefs will take over the kitchen every Thursday to serve-up artfully handcrafted dim sum and specialty Chili Crabs prepared Cantonese style.

There is always a reason to celebrate every Friday with French Mussels and French Fries. This Friday treat will showcase the finest imported mussels prepared in the age old tradition of Moules Mariniere exquisitely braised in Chablis wine, herbs, garlic, dairy butter and beer to give the dish an extra kick.
Saturdays will be made more special with the home-cooked goodness of Warm Rock Lobster Thermidor. These are half rock lobsters sautéed with shallots, brandy, white wine and tarragon served in a mustard flavoured cheese sauce.

Savor on an exquisite dish every Sunday by having a slice or two of the Filet of Beef Wellington (Boeuf en Croute).  Relish on a Prime US Beef Tenderloin coated with pâté and duxelles, which is then wrapped in puff pastry then baked to perfection.  This family dish is complemented with potato gratin and madeira sauce.

Marco Polo Hotels' Hans Hauri the Big Boss with a bigger heart and myself.

Well loved Director of communications Francis de Leon surrounded by his friends Andoni Albert,  Len Olbes, Hera Geriene, Carlo Buenaflor, Ann Ong, Mayenne Carmona, Suzette Lopez, Linda Ley, Jojo Zabarte & Richard Tiu

Cucina is open daily for lunch from 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM and dinner from 6:30 PM to 11:00 PM. Buffet price starts at 1,400++ per person while an ongoing promotion of 3+1 buffet is being offered to diners until May 31, 2014.

About the restaurant
Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s all-day dining restaurant located at the 24th floor of the hotel tower features live open kitchen with specialties from the world’s culinary capitals. The refined and fashionable Cucina lets its diners experience bespoke buffets and an original a la carte menu in a stylish setting where attention to every detail is supreme.  It is a well curated showcase of international smorgasbord that impresses in flavors and not in size.

About the chef
Benjamin Roy Rendell or Chef Ben takes over the entire kitchen operations and food promotion for Marco Polo Ortigas Manila and brings with him over 36 years of experience in top international hotels.
Chef Ben’s exposure to different cultures from countries around the globe has added to his culinary style. He believes in showcasing the purity of the product through simply prepared classic dishes presented with a modern day approach. His management skills and creativity in the culinary arts have been recognized within the industry. He won Gold from The Salon Culinary Bahrain, Bangkok’s Best Brunch, and Best Buffet and Grill in Thailand for five consecutive years. This award-winning chef has cooked for the likes of Queen Elizabeth II, presidents and prime ministers around the world at state dinners.

For more information contact (632) 720 7777 or book online via or email:  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dr. Eugene Mende's Charity Birthday for Children with Cancer at Tahan-Tahanan

As I was looking through the photos of Dr. Eugene's birthday celebration in collaboration with the ASK (Angels to Street Kids) members in Tahan, Tahanan at East Avenue Medical Center. I could not help but shed some tears.  Seeing the joy in the faces of the children (afflicted with the dreaded disease of Cancer) while being entertained by a Master of ceremonies, a magician and the Jollibee Mascot was priceless. Even for just a few hours, these children who have been dealing with pain and sadness for some years now while fighting for their life, were given joy by some entertainers.  Because of the the good heart and generosity of Dr. Eugene, who always spends his birthday with the marginalized and the sick, these kids had a  momentary escape from the reality of their circumstances.
The gifts for the children and the mothers were bought from Top man, Top Guy and Zara. The children were given clothes and toys.  

Our first foray to Tahan Tahanan was on March 1, 2014, when fellow ASK members, Len Olbes and Emma Pante, decided to spend their birthday celebration there.  We got introduced to the mothers of the children with cancer who described to us their child's condition. There were a number of young kids afflicted with eye cancer. It was sad to see one 6 year old girl, Marien de Jesus, whose eye cancer metastasized to her cheek. During this visit with Dr. Eugene, what saddened us the most was the way her retinoblastoma cancer took a bad turn. In just 25 days, her face was deformed beyond recognition. The hospital's pedia-oncologist Dr. Victoria Abesamis described her cancer as a very aggressive form.  We raised the 52,000PHP that was needed for her 35 radiation and we are keeping our fingers crossed that she survives the treatments.

This Holy Week, as we contemplate on Jesus' Passion and Death on the Cross, we should remember the words of the Bible:  John 3,16: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 

IF we believe in Jesus, we should follow in His footsteps and help His poor children.  He blessed us abundantly so we could share our blessings with the marginalized.  God bless Dr. Eugene and our friends who have helped us, Angels to Street Kids,  in our advocacy of sharing and feeding the hungry, the sick,the aged and the poor in spirit. 

For those who wish to contribute to our feeding program, contact: Pretzel: 0917 7910725.

Dr. Eugene, our celebrant with MaryAnn Widjaja,
and ASK members, Mayenne Carmona,
Rachel de Guzman, Ann Ong, Hera Geriene
and Linda Ley 
Dr. Eugene giving a pep talk to the kids.
The two kids in wheelchairs are amputees
because of bone cancer. 
the gifts of Dr. Eugene for the children and mothers 
the magician wowed the kids.
our first time to visit Tahan-Tahanan was
during Len Olbes and Emma Pante's birthday celebration.
Ask Members: Suzette Lopez, Ann Ong, Jemellie Gonzalez,
rachel de Guzman, Len Olbes, Emma Pante,
Linda Ley, Francis de Leon and Mayenne Carmona
ASK members dance with the mothers of the sick kids. 
we asked the mothers to describe
to us the condition of their child
Jollibee Mascot entertains the kids
Pretzel Legaspi shows Mr. Jollibee
6 year old Marilen Nunez, whose cancer
deformed her face and needs radiation badly. 
Dr. Eugene strikes a pose with his well wishers.
Jun Parreno, CEO of Discovery Leisure Group(2nd from rt)
donated blankets and pillows. Maggie Bilgos
to his left is the GM of the center.