Utzurrum: Food and dessert

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014


WAY back in the 90s or some 20 years ago, Aristocrat Restaurant – Manila’s Clarita Reyes-Lapus arrived in Cebu with good friend and writer, Chona Trinidad, to promote her mother, Teresita “Mama Sita” Reyes’ food mixes, called Mama Sita’s.

Chona called me, and in a matter of 48 hours, we had mobilized our local food and lifestyle columnists to a press con and cooking demo. This was held at the now extremely successful and popular restaurant, Cafe Laguna. Assisting Clarita was none other than proprietress, Julita Urbina. The rest is history.

Fast track to 2014, I was in Manila last month and met with Clarita and Chona at the former’s Mandaluyong residence, where she set up a mini-store of Mama Sita’s food products. It has certainly grown by leaps and bounds (see photo). Of course, helping Mama out in her various tasks is talented culinary-arts trained daughter, Joyce L. Sandoval.

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By the way, Mama Sita’s products do not contain additives, which could be one reason, among many, why they are so popular and in demand locally and even abroad. Clarita, also known as Mrs. L, travels regularly to meet her clients, whether they are in the Middle East or Latin America or elsewhere! That’s how far her products have reached!

Some of her top sellers are tinola, pochero, Bacolod’s inasal, spaghetti sauce, kaldereta, menudo, etc. The list is endless! And so is Clarita’s success story!

***

While in the metropolis, the doors of Hotel H2O opened for us, courtesy of director of sales Tonette Mischiener and PR consultant, Celia Soliman.

Located ideally along Roxas Blvd., a stone’s throw from the US Embassy, the hotel is part of the humongous Manila Ocean Park Complex, a marine themed park. Reason for our room facing the tranquil waters of Manila Bay and its famed sunset.

Attractions here are as varied as amenities. To name some: Jellies-Dancing Sea Fairies, the one-in-a-million Oceanarium with its collection of sea creatures, and the Fish Spa Massage. Try it!

For delicious, nutritious and easy-on-the-pocket meals, its Makan Asian Village Restaurant for you!

***

Talking about meals, try this for dessert.

We’re now back in Cebu, and just attended the launching of Carmen’s Best Ice Cream, described so appropriately as “Pure Indulgence.”

Seated at the function room at The Tinder Box, venue for the affair, we were served sample scoops of these sought-after-flavors: chocolate chip cookie dough, coffee frozen yoghurt, peppermint stick, strawberry, eggnog, etc., and a special—no sugar added vanilla.

Gracious hosts were The Tinder Box owner Marlene Mondoñedo and daughter Aziza, who were enthusiastically downing every morsel of the sinful dessert!

We asked Francisco “Paco” Magsaysay, founder and proprietor of the two-year-old brand, Carmen’s best: “Why the name Carmen?”

“It’s named after my daughter,” He replied. Paco had just attended the Pennsylvania State University College of Agriculture Sciences ice cream short course, a must-attend program.

In addition to learning the latest scientific development in ice cream-making, he also came back with the program’s coveted Kenney Award.

Named after Phil Kenney, professor emeritus in food science at Penn State, the annual award is given to one student in the course with the most potential to succeed in this highly-competitive industry.

As Paco says, “Our ice cream is perfectly-balanced product.” And you’d better believe it!

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 31, 2014.

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