Where to go when you’re in the mood for French

Published February 4, 2021, 11:17 AM

by Sandy Daza

The Tourism Department is slowly easing up restrictions on travel destinations and dining places. It’s a delicate balance of allowing businesses to open as long as safety protocols are met. They have started encouraging local tourism to various provinces as long as all requirements are met before travel. Out of town provinces that are reachable by car are the ones they suggest we visit first.

Just last week, one of my Japan Food groups made a trip to Angeles, Pampanga, where we had lunch in an open area of Mila’s Tokwa’t Baboy! We started with something healthy, paco salad. Then came the unhealthy stuff: tocino BBQ, tokwa’t baboy, chicharon bulaklak, and the most delicious sisig! It was the first time I had sisig with rice. Patay! Every single dish was worth the two-hour drive.

Our Food show “Foodprints” will be doing a culinary tourism series. We will be featuring places I have chosen and what dishes to select in these dining places. We will start with Metro Manila then move toward Region 1. I missed my work so much that I started to diet in anticipation of all the good food I’ll be exposed to. 

During this isolation, I also got a chance to taste a lot of homecooked as well as baked items. We will show what I have chosen among the many and share my suggestions with all my fellow foodies. 

The first day of shoot, my director Iggy Bilbao, who is also my guardian angel, reminds me, “pare, alalay lang (Take it easy).” We did four delicious restaurants starting at 10 a.m. until almost midnight. Non-stop eating outstanding food. We went to Feta Turkish/ Mediterranean restaurant along Annapolis, Shiok Shiok, a Singaporean/Chinese place in Banawe, Ca Phe Saigon in Antipolo, and finally, at 10 p.m., Shawarma Center in the Mabini area. By the end of the day, I was already seated sideways. I missed my work and my team so much. It was nice to laugh and eat again with them.

My next shoot will be a taco place, a fine dining Chinese restaurant, and a Swiss-French restaurant in BGC. That’s exciting!

Foie gras

Just last week, my cousin Joey De Los Santos asked me for a suggestion on where he could take his birthday brother to dinner. I suggested L’Entrecôte. I had not been to this place in over a year but remember experiencing great meals here. Once, Martin Gaspar, the owner/chef, did a foie gras festival. He offered foie gras in 10 to 12 ways. Another time, he served us his fondue with his own combination of various cheeses. Those are my memories of this place. I also know he has a good selection of wines, which he handpicks. 

Martin Gaspar, owner/chef at L’Entrecôte, did a foie gras festival, where he offered foie gras in 10 to 12 ways.

I joined Joey and his guests that night. I started with an appetizer of sautéed octopus, with only garlic, onions, chili, olive oil, and the tender morsels of octopus. The other guests liked it so much we had to order another serving. I took a bite of his pan-seared foie gras, which was, of course, delicious. I also suggested the moules frites, simple mussels cooked in white wine and served with French fries on the side, which is usually how it is served in Belgium, where it is most popular. Everyone loved that, too.

For the main course, we had a crispy, tender lamb shank, duck confit, and of course the L’Entrecôte steak. The lamb came with gravy. It had a crispy crust but was super tender. I like it without the gravy for this way I can taste more of the lamb. The duck confit was, as I expected, also outstanding—crispy, sticky, and flavorful. This has to be one of my favorite French dishes. I also love the steak with its herb butter sauce. This herb butter has become so popular there is a restaurant in Paris that specializes in L’Entrecôte steak topped with this butter. What an outstanding meal! 

Octopus appetizer
L’Entercote steak

Joey and his companions enjoyed the dinner so much he is inviting me again this week. Oh my! I should take him to a lousy restaurant, so I can lose some of the weight he’s put on me. 

Lamb shank
Duck confit

I’m excited to share the places I’ll be showing on “Foodprints” with you! Meanwhile, I look forward to my next visit to L’Entrecôte to again try Chef Martin’s delicious cooking!
Happy eating!

L’Entrecôte Manila is at Bellagio 2, Forbes Town Center, Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig | (02) 8856 4858.