April Rama

Max Urbanite

RECENTLY, I had a talk with myself. Parts of the conversation can be unabashedly shared with you since I feel I had the upper hand in the monologue, which went this way:

“APPETITE, one day, you will realize it’s OK to have different feelings. Give yourself a break; don’t go through this alone.

Share your feelings, your thoughts, and your dreams. Rice is never the answer. Don’t take the gravy train out, nor wallow in ‘humba.’ Know that desserts are just desserts. When you’re ready to move on, cultivate new relationships. My bikini body is dying to meet you.”

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There are a few undeniably difficult things in life and saying “no” to good food, coupled with any reason to throw a party, rank very high on that list; so good luck to that self-pep talk. Enter the Valentine and Chinese New Year week with their wall-to-wall parties and events.

Hilton Cebu Resort and Spa opted to combine the two events. A welcome drink (pink mimosa) at the lobby started off the evening’s merriment. Hilton general manager Markus Kraus, along with some guests of the resort, marked the start of the program with the dotting of the lion’s eyes.

After the dragon dancers’ performance around the lobby and pre-dinner cocktails, the dragon made its way around the hotel including the restaurants, Vanilla Beach Café, Seas Restaurant and Manny O’s Wine and Tapas, and the back of the house offices.

Finally, guests were led to beach front to partake of the International Chinese Buffet specially prepared for by the chef.

The menu featured a dimsum station, a station of Beijing duck and stir-fried noodles. Dinner was hopping with the performance of a live band.

Privacy can be obtained. Some preferred the exclusivity and romantic ambience of Seas Restaurant, which served a five-course dinner for the night. The enticing menu included flash-seared scallops with mango and tomato salsa for amuse bouche, seared tuna with Sichuan pepper crust, avocado-papaya ratatouille, ginger soy emulsion

as the entrée; the soup was consommé enhanced with sherry, tomato concasse, spinach and cheese tortellini.

The main course was a choice of Australian beef fillet, sun-dried tomato crustred wine sauce, garden vegetables and château potato or herb-dusted seared sea bass with saffron foam, parmesan mash and caramelized bok choy.

For dessert, it was St. Valentine creme brulee with strawberry salsa, pineapple samosa, and lemon mint ice cream. Ah, the food! The violinists serenaded the couples that night, thus setting the mood for that all-important loving feeling.

At Manny O’s Wine and Tapas a different kind of buffet was set; it was a selection of chocolates and strawberries, and bubbly wine. It definitely struck a sweet chord among the sweethearts on a date, as the sound of the sea waves made perfect ambient effect for a night cap and mellowing out.

Now I sigh with relief that two celebrations, falling on the same day, happens only so often and I will continue to occupy my time with more self-pep talks, like: “Down, appetite, down!”