19 Mar2011

A Dinner Outdoors…

by Marketman

Good friends and serious foodies (and wine specialists, literally) were coming to dinner in Cebu. They had flown in from Manila, had guests from Hong Kong in tow, plus another visiting American couple (she a food, wine and travel writer and he a photographer) were joining us as well. All in all, we were twelve at the massive mahogany picnic table I had built specially for such occasions. The friends own and manage the wine merchant Bacchus, and the food store Bacchus Epicerie, and we have known them for decades. So while it was to be a special dinner, it was also going to be a fairly relaxed one. We were putting on the meal (a lechon feast, what else?) and they were bringing the wine. The setting was in the yard under a huge kapok tree, the table simply set with white plates and country style tumblers (no wine glasses at the office) and lots of votive candles, and the shrubs and foliage nearby lit with spotlights and kerosene sulu lamps…

Just before dusk, we placed three tall glass vases on the table; each holding 2-3 dozen yellow roses arranged at sharp angles. The flowers would later disappear into the evening darkness, as the votive candles weren’t enough to illuminate their small blooms. But at least the light in the vases reflected nicely, and guests could still see and converse with everyone around and in front of them.

The menu was anchored by a classic Zubuchon lechon, the largest we make for retail sale. It was, as you can clearly see here, served and consumed while steam was still coming out of its butt, the best way I know how to enjoy a lechon. We had a second experimental lechon de leche that was cooked butterflied and spread out, basted simply with herbs and butter, that the guests all thought was a hit. Fresh kinilaw, a five pork fried rice, salads, and desserts rounded off the typical lechon feast a la Marketman. And the surprise of the evening? The wine that guests brought to pair up with the lechon. It was a nice revelation, a perfect match for the richness of the lechon skin and meat. I have always wondered what wine might go nicely with lechons, and now I have the answer. You may wish to guess what that wine was in the comments below, the answer up in the next post… :)

 

COMMENTS:

  1. bearhug0127 says:

    That is one elegant table. Fantastic arrangement! Wish I were a fly on the wall or a cicada on the tree!

    Mar 19, 2011 | 10:46 am

     
  2. Botchok says:

    The same place as in the No Reservation shoot? When will i ever get to taste that Zubuchon, arrgh!

    Mar 19, 2011 | 10:48 am

     
  3. meekerz says:

    I love nature and the outdoors, but alas, I cannot stand insects. How do you deal with mosquitoes and those little insects that buzzes around lights?

    Mar 19, 2011 | 10:54 am

     
  4. Mich_NanaYanna says:

    WOW, I’m the first one to comment on this post! Hardly happens since you have lots of followers eagerly waiting for your new dishes and adventures. I think I’m rewarded since I came here to actually let you know that I was inspired by your baked salmon in parchment paper on your weight loss post. I usually cook Haddock Fillets in parchment but not Salmon, so after reading your post, I tried it for the first time and I enjoyed it very much.

    Your table setting above looks simple yet elegant. The use of kerosene “sulu” lamps is rare nowadays but I bet it enhanced the rustic ambiance. Just a perfect background for the delicious offerings you mentioned. Btw, how I wish I had tried your Zubuchon lechon when my hubby & I were home in Cebu last month. Unfortunately, everytime we go, it was all gone. My guess is “Syrah/Shiraz” on the wine.

    Mar 19, 2011 | 11:03 am

     
  5. Laura says:

    interesting question by meekerz…would also like to know the secret to a bug & mosquito-free al fresco dining :-) thanks…your dinner setting was very elegant.

    Mar 19, 2011 | 11:08 am

     
  6. Junb says:

    There are Plants that are supposed to be anti Mosquitos and bugs such as lemon grass, Citronella grass, Rosemary, marigold and other herbs.

    I like the settings perfect for a lechon feast!

    Mar 19, 2011 | 11:36 am

     
  7. lee says:

    zubuchon, lechon de leche, fresh kinilaw and five pork fried rice. Five pork fried rice. I like the way it rolls off my tongue when I say it. Five pork fried rice.

    Mar 19, 2011 | 11:48 am

     
  8. Marketman says:

    Lee, homemade lard from tampalen, tampalen bits, cubed lechon meat, drippings from a previously cooked lechon, topped with chicharon. Bagoong and green mango in there as well. Five pork rice. I dedicate it to you and you should be there if it ever makes a public debut. :)

    Mar 19, 2011 | 11:51 am

     
  9. natie says:

    what a feast! will the Food-Travel writer feature you in an article, MM? 5 pork fried rice sounds like an MM diet-breaker.

    Mar 19, 2011 | 12:11 pm

     
  10. aleeh says:

    Hi Mr. Marketman, your dinner setting is wonderful! I wish I’d have the chance to taste Zubuchon fresh off the coals.

    We were in Cebu last week and we brought home a kilo of frozen Zubuchon last weekend. On a Saturday midnight, we were eating the reheated lechon, yum!

    But if I may say so, the herbs may not have permeated so well in the flesh of the lechon. We were somehow chasing for the herbed taste. Nonetheless, it was great to finally bite on the blistered Zubuchon skin ;D

    Next time, I will try the lechon sisig!

    Mar 19, 2011 | 12:34 pm

     
  11. Eden says:

    Looks like the setting for Bourdain’s Cebu visit! Cabarnet Sauvignon? Bordeaux? I am curious because I have been thinking of doing a Filipino dinner /wine pairing but unsure what goes with what.

    Hints much appreciated!

    Mar 19, 2011 | 12:47 pm

     
  12. fried-neurons says:

    I’m VERY curious about the wine. If I had to guess, especially since you said surprise, I’d think that it was either a fruit-forward pinot noir (burgundy), or a white – something acidic to cut through the lechon fattiness, like a German riesling or a pinot gris… Or maybe even a demi-sec champagne!

    Mar 19, 2011 | 12:55 pm

     
  13. Marketman says:

    fried neurons, wine pairing up in the next post. Let’s just say I hadn’t even heard of the grape before that evening… Eden, yes same setting as Bourdain’s visit. Aleeh, bummer, you must have gotten thigh meat, where the herbs penetrate the least. Next time, search for the ribs, that’s where the herbs will be most noticeable, though you should taste it in most parts of the lechon… natie, not sure, maybe they will write about the lechon… :)

    Mar 19, 2011 | 1:01 pm

     
  14. fried-neurons says:

    Mmmm…. obscure varietal? Zweigelt’s smokiness pairs well with smoky pork like lechon… carignane is nicely acidic…

    Mar 19, 2011 | 1:06 pm

     
  15. Marketman says:

    f-n, egads, I haven’t heard of either of the grapes you mentioned! I need to drink more when I finally get off my diet!

    Mar 19, 2011 | 1:35 pm

     
  16. aleeh says:

    could be… but still very different from our lechon in Nueva Ecija. Now I know why Zubuchon is the “best pig ever”. I am a “paksiw” rather than a fresh lechon fan, but I’d like to taste Zubuchon off the coals.

    On another matter, I’d like to share I’ve been using your fruit and nut bar recipe except that I substitute dried mangoes and cashew nuts for the dates and walnuts. Who would ever say it was so easy to make? I have freshly baked fruit and nut bars in just about 30 minutes.

    Pass on the wine discussion, though… I really have no bright idea to share… ;D

    Mar 19, 2011 | 3:02 pm

     
  17. Marketman says:

    aleeh, cashews and dried mangoes, yum. Have to try that version, it’s so local because you can get the ingredients here…but I bet it tastes great!

    Mar 19, 2011 | 3:20 pm

     
  18. Connie C says:

    MM, the bottom picture, gives a nice chiaroscuro effect with the different shadings of dark in the background and the steam coming from the pig’s posterior and the zubuchon skin casting a glow reflecting the light…..looks like a Renaisssance painting, a virtual feast for the eyes and the mouth as well…..worthy of a Rembrandt work of art!

    I am clutching my cheeks….lest my salivary glands go on hyperdrive!

    Mar 19, 2011 | 4:32 pm

     
  19. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    MM, you and the Mrs. should seriously consider openning that part of the garden to the public. The place is just magical!!

    Mar 19, 2011 | 5:27 pm

     
  20. kAi says:

    I so miss lechon cebu! haven’t tried zubuchon though. tempted to follow your posted recipes but we don’t have a lechon roasting pit. my parents would probably think i’m crazy trying to cook lechon. :D

    hmm… i’ve read somewhere that when pairing with heavy meats/dishes (i guess like lechon), best do with red wine? barbaresco or barolo made from nebbiolo grapes from the piedmont region. since these are pretty rich in tannin and robust.

    i’m just guessing though… i’m not an expert, but i read food & travel books here and there. daydreaming someday me and my fiancee could backpack through europe and go wine tasting and food tripping. :D

    Mar 19, 2011 | 6:19 pm

     
  21. Bijin says:

    Are you hosting the Eating Asia blogger and her husband?

    Mar 19, 2011 | 7:11 pm

     
  22. lee says:

    lechon drippings on rice. drrrripppings on rrrrice…

    Mar 19, 2011 | 7:54 pm

     
  23. Marketman says:

    Bijin, no, but I have met Robyn and her husband by chance at the Salcedo market before…

    Mar 19, 2011 | 7:54 pm

     
  24. jb says:

    whheew… i love the set up! and the food is superb i’m sure…hope i can also try that cozy dinner haha :) keep it up!

    Mar 19, 2011 | 9:25 pm

     
  25. Marketman says:

    meekerz and Laura, around the area where the table is set, there are hundreds of lemongrass plants growing (we use them in our lechons) so I hope those are a mosquito deterrent, though not quite citronella. We also do put out citronella candles, and from 3-4 hours before the meal, katol mosquito coils. We didn’t have too many bugs flying around the table, but an occasional bat did swoop through the branches above our heads. Kerosene sulu lamps probably also set off fumes that distract bugs… Eating outdoors is wonderful in pleasant weather, a few bugs shouldn’t prevent one from enjoying the experience…

    Mar 19, 2011 | 9:51 pm

     
  26. F says:

    Can’t imagine red with litson. White, however i can. Gewurz?

    Mar 19, 2011 | 10:06 pm

     
  27. meekerz says:

    Thanks MM! Junb, we do have potted lemongrass and rosemary plants at home, as well as local oregano which our yaya swears by. But mosquitoes just keep on coming. Will probably try searching for citronella candles and hunt for some other plants.

    Mar 19, 2011 | 10:30 pm

     
  28. rain says:

    Hi MM, this comment is unrelated to your post, but I am definitely a fan and your blog is the ultimate stress reliever for my final exams in law school. Eating out with my classmates after a harassing day at school became a regular thing. Through your posts, we were able to spot places around Makati and Rockwell area where we can indulge to our heart’s content and bitch on how much cases we have to finish while binging on delightful food.

    Mar 20, 2011 | 12:32 am

     
  29. bong fadrilan says:

    Five pork rice!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Mar 20, 2011 | 12:58 am

     
  30. Eden says:

    MM, is there a Bacchus branch in Cebu City? Food shopping while in Cebu City is kind of limited, to put it mildly. :)

    Mar 20, 2011 | 1:13 am

     
  31. Marketman says:

    Eden, I know Bacchus used to have an outlet at the Shangrila Mactan, but I don’t think they have one in the city. rain, I hope your exams go well. I presume you have found the no-name Hunanese restaurant on Camia Street just a five minute walk from the Ateneo campus in Rockwell? It’s superb value for money.

    Mar 20, 2011 | 5:43 am

     
  32. ariel says:

    Very classy dinner setting under the stars, good idea on how to prevent the mosquitoes from making dinner out of the guests..

    Mar 20, 2011 | 6:03 am

     
  33. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Malbec and Riesling

    Mar 20, 2011 | 7:36 am

     
  34. Wisdom tooth says:

    What a wonderful table setting in a beatiful garden, MM. And we have to be content in entertaining indoors since not only is it winter still, it has been raining a lot in northern California.

    Btw, MM, is it possible for you to share a copy of the award-winning chocolate cake recipe of Ms Betty q? I tried to email her but I guess she was having problems with her account and I read in her past responses that she gave you a copy to keep. It’s our wedding anniversary next weekemd and i would like that for our dessert (with Paella a la MM as main:)). Maraming salamat muli. My email is miotitat@yahoo.com

    Mar 20, 2011 | 8:20 am

     
  35. Sands says:

    Beautiful setting MM. I dream of having a yard just like yours where I could share memorable meals with my family and friends. =)

    Mar 20, 2011 | 12:35 pm

     
  36. millet says:

    very romantic setting!

    Mar 20, 2011 | 1:41 pm

     
  37. nina says:

    lovely table setting!

    Off topic, MM, where can i find the post / recipe to the fruit and nut bar mentioned by aleeh? Searched your site but could not find the post.

    Mar 20, 2011 | 3:40 pm

     
  38. deirdregurl says:

    hi nina…google search “granola bar marketmanila” it will show you the post you wanted..fyi.

    Mar 20, 2011 | 9:37 pm

     
  39. anonymous paul says:

    Robyn and Dave of Eating Asia? I’m a big fan of their work.

    Mar 20, 2011 | 10:56 pm

     
  40. aleeh co says:

    Hi Nina, here it is:

    http://www.marketmanila.com/archives/date-nut-bars-aka-food-for-the-gods

    It’s mango season already I am thinking if I can substitute some fresh mango pulp to the batter, say half a cup to 1/4 cup of sugar for added moisture. Will try next weekend and let you know.

    Mar 21, 2011 | 8:36 am

     
  41. Garlicky says:

    Wonderful setting! Can’t help myself —imagining how the lechon and other dishes were consumed!

    Btw, I tried many times to plant lemongrass at my backyard but failed. Any tips to share on how to make it grow? Thank you!

    Mar 21, 2011 | 11:13 am

     
  42. nina says:

    thanks for the link aleeh!

    Mar 21, 2011 | 2:46 pm

     
  43. aleeh says:

    You are most welcome, nina!

    Mar 21, 2011 | 11:03 pm

     
 

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