22 Aug2007


Mrs. MM and The Kid apparently wracked their brains to come up with a birthday present for Marketman and when they drew a blank, they apparently decided to bring in professional assistance… So imagine my surprise when I found out that the dinner was going to be catered by Margarita Fores of Cibo and Pepato fame. Mrs. MM had met her at a dinner a few weeks ago and later decided she should ask Ms. Fores to craft a surprise dinner for just 9 guests for my birthday!!! So here is the special meal that evening; hold onto your belts, it is really rather amazing… But before I continue with this post, and before anyone rapidly shoots off a comment about misplaced extravagance, let me just say we don’t do this often…in fact, in our 10 years back home, we have only had 2 meals in our home catered, and that includes this one. We typically cook most of our own meals, so this was a special treat indeed… If you have read this blog over the years, you would know that a special meal a la Marketman sometimes starts with foie gras and that is exactly where we begin… up top, superb foie gras (duck or goose liver) “lollipops” with chestnut honey, szechuan peppercorns, pili and pistachios. These were a dream come true, cool, soft silky foie gras with a spicy, textured and sweet counterpoint. Excellent, but EXCELLENT.


While guests were arriving and having a drink or two, a couple of other appetizers besides the foie lollipops made their rounds. First, some kalabasa (squash flowers) and oyster mushroom fritters with dinalian creamed bagna sauce. This was also superb. This is an interesting take on a classic Italian dish of vegetables with an anchovy spiked creamy sauce. Here, dinalian or a shrimp paste of sorts is used instead and the salty, briny tanginess of the sauce worked very well with the deep fried squash flowers. The key to this dish? Serving it just seconds after the fritters came out of the hot fat. Platters of barquillos with chive mousse topped with either salmon roe or parma ham crisps were another clever appetizer. Sweet, savory, creamy, salty and crisp all in one little mouthful. Yum. No photo of this third appetizer, and increasingly no or poor photos of the rest of the meal as I concentrated on the food instead of the photography…


After the three appetizers, we moved to the dining table and decided to start the meal with these incredibly spectacular Cross crabs or humongous alimasag-like crabs that must have been nearly a foot across! Flown up alive and kicking from Bacolod, earlier in the day, these were just steamed and chilled. The meat was succulent, sweet and less firm than alimango (mud crab) meat. Because the crabs were so humongous, the pieces of meat were fantastic and perfect for dipping in one of three sauces… a saffron and mayonnaise sauce, a granita which was a wonderful cold pairing with the cold crab meat, and a classic vinegar and garlic dip. How incredibly confident is that? Steamed chilled crabs with suka… a situation only serious foodies from all walks of life would totally appreciate in the midst of an incredible dinner menu!


We then moved onto two different pastas and a clever green salad. The first pasta was hand-made garganelli (the pasta shape) with salted red egg, asparagus spears, truffle paste and truffle oil. If I had read this dish description in a restaurant menu, I would probably steer clear of it, but the pasta was excellent. The saltiness and unique flavor of red egg paired with the distinct flavor of truffle was a palate shocker, but in a nice way. I enjoyed this dish a lot. I also had a large serving of mixed greens with ubad (young banana trunk, not banana heart nor ubod, the young coconut trunk), sagada oranges and an acacia honey vinaigrette. It is rare that one gets ubad in Manila and this cooked version was subtle and delicious. Next up, a spectacularly good red sauced linguine with cross-crab meat, huge farm-raised ulang (fresh water shrimp) and bottarga di muggine. Bottarga is dried salted and pressed fish roe, typically served thinly shaved or grated on pasta…it was sublime. This red pasta dish had all of the comfort of a plain tomato pasta that we all eat frequently, but with the sophistication of added crabmeat, freshwater shrimp, chilli flakes and the bottarga. Sorry Margarita, but I am going to attempt re-doing this at home sometime soon, it was just THAT good. Two large servings of that dish, please. And no, this was not a formal dinner at all… guests attacked their crabs with their hands and sucked giant ulang heads with abandon…


It would seem difficult to press on with everything we had already consumed, but the next course was a whole 8 kilo “Roast baby abbacchio (lamb) with rosemary, guava jelly and black peppercorns.” This was delicious as well. Not gamey at all with the characteristic flavor that only good young lamb possesses. This was served with several sauces including an English mint-style sauce, a santol and other local fruit compote and a western dried fruit compote. The meat was served with a side dish of cambozola potato torte with fried sage. This potato dish was a total home run, I liked it almost more than the lamb! And a second side dish was sautéed sigarilyas/sigadillas (winged beans) with a “ginger perfume,” a clever green with the lamb and potatoes.


For dessert, Margarita brought three ice creams to be enjoyed with the desserts I had made that morning. She had originally planned to bring a deconstructed mascarpone foam millefogue and poached plums and mangoes but cancelled the sweets when Mrs. MM texted to say the house was overflowing with sweets… First there was an olive oil flavored ice cream, a black pepper flavored ice cream and finally, the cerveza negra flavor that was my favorite of them all. The cerveza negra flavor with the chocolate tart, and the olive oil ice cream with the lemon tart were inspired pairings indeed. Guests obviously knew more about this dinner than I did because they arrived armed with fantastic wine as well. My roommate from college entered our home brandishing a bottle of red wine with the comment “Hey, it isn’t often I buy a bottle of wine for more than $5!!!” – a particularly amusing comment when you realize we used to flip hamburgers together for $3 an hour in the college cafeteria. We also used to enjoy chicken wings and other cheaper cuts of meat when our food budgets were stretched; so it is nice to enjoy an extravagant dinner with folks who go back to times when we were surviving on more modest budgets! My roommate’s bottle of Chateau Haut-Montil 2000 was a powerful wine that we had with our appetizers. From a small 7 hectare vineyard in St. Emilion that produces just 30,000+ of bottles of wine each year, I was thrilled to be the recipient of his “greater than $5” selection. With the crabs and other pastas we had several bottles of incredibly light Pouilly Fuisse that is perfect with seafood. And with the main course and red pasta a double bottle of brilliant Chateau Siran was poured and enjoyed. I could wax poetic about the Chateau Siran, but I did an earlier post on it here. Eight adults, of which only 6 were having wine, consumed the equivalent of 5 bottles of wine. Yes, it was a nice meal indeed.


And to end it all, besides the desserts and ice creams, this absolutely stunning cake made an appearance. Mrs. MM had conspired with Marta Matute to replicate the Marketmanila logo on a 3D cake! It was amazing, but even more impressive than the visuals was the moistness of the underlying chocolate cake…it was very, very good! This was one of the best meals we have had in the past five years that wasn’t home cooked. The staff that Cibo sent were fantastic and for this dinner they arrived with a cook who made all of the critical dishes just seconds before we ate them. She had an assistant and there were two waiters as well. I have to say that Margarita really outdid herself with this dinner and along with the several other dinners I have had the opportunity to attend where she and her crew have catered, I will say without a doubt that they are the best caterers in Manila, bar none. Such inspired menu choices, fantastic staff, beautiful serving and buffet set-ups and a genuine passion for food that shines through. It amazes me no end that Margarita is not a chef and doesn’t want to be called one. She has just had a near life long affair with spectacular food. Brava! And the 9th and surprise guest that evening, was…


You got it. It doesn’t get much better than this. Life is good. Thank you Mrs. MM and The Kid for arranging this spectacular dinner. Thank you to friends who showed up for the surprise. And thanks again to Margarita Fores for agreeing to cater such a small but utterly spectacular dinner!

cibo di M
Signature Caterer
Telephone 913-3965
Facsimile 439-5884



  1. Doddie from Korea says:

    Dear MM,

    A truly wonderful birthday feast. If I was presented with the feast, I’d settle for one (or two) of the crabs and would happily feast on it for the rest of the evening. And maybe a slice of the wonderful lamb if I’m still hungry.

    Maligayang kaarawan!


    Aug 22, 2007 | 12:07 pm


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  3. Joni says:

    Wow, that is definitely awesome.

    We’re glad you had a terrific birthday dinner MarketMan. :)

    We live vicariously through your dinners/lunches/market trips/etc. :)

    I can’t imagine what the different flavors of ice cream would taste like. I mean, I never was a fan of Cerveza…but I’m a huge fan of ice cream. So, that part really got me curious.

    Hmm…have you ever done homemade ice cream before? Looking through your posts now.. :) hehehe Now that would be a nice read. :P


    Aug 22, 2007 | 12:09 pm

  4. MegaMom says:

    MM, happy birthday! Hubby and I wish you more to come. What a superb present! Am drooling uncontrollably :) Your family really knows what you will appreciate.

    Aug 22, 2007 | 12:15 pm

  5. flip4ever says:

    The cake looked amazing !!! Impressive too, how Ms. Fores is able to use local ingredients in Italian-style dishes — so creative. Glad you had a great birthday!

    Aug 22, 2007 | 12:17 pm

  6. Bengski says:

    Wow, what a spectacular birthday dinner, MM.
    You deserve the best.
    More power!

    Aug 22, 2007 | 12:17 pm

  7. ichabod says:

    wouldnt it be wonderful to get Ms Fores to cater to the next Market Manila EB?

    Aug 22, 2007 | 12:23 pm

  8. consol says:

    Much is given to those who have given much, too. Dear MM, you who have shared so SO much with us your readers and unabashed fans, truly and utterly deserve all the blessings that life has given you and is continuing to give you — starting with your beloved family Mrs. MM and The Kid. Life is indeed good when YOU have been good.

    More power and more birthdays, celebrations of life and love and friendship to come!

    Aug 22, 2007 | 12:46 pm

  9. thebee says:

    Hey Happy Bday, MM!

    That’s one awesome dinner. I miss the “kurusan” crabs, those are really good ones, steamed with sawsawan na sinamak and garlic. Nice ilonggo touches there–the kurusan, ubad saging(waaah I’m homesick), barquillos, and the bihod or bottarga. Even the Cerveza Negra ice cream, wow that sounds yum yum. Living vicariously is making me hungry!

    I can’t wait for Lee to see all this. :)

    Aug 22, 2007 | 1:09 pm

  10. bluegirl says:

    Wow! Heaven on Earth!

    Aug 22, 2007 | 1:12 pm

  11. titashi says:

    wow! what can i say MM but WOW talaga! You truly deserve a spectacular dinner and kudos to Mrs. MM and the Kid, they really wanted you to have a memorable birthday.

    this will be a part of my wish list before i reach the age of 40, to have a dinner party catered by Ms.Fores!

    happy birthday again MM!

    Aug 22, 2007 | 1:13 pm

  12. CecileJ says:

    Green, green, green with envy! But it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person, so am tempering the green with a sunshine yellow smile and a rainbow-hued HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

    What a treat to be visited by THE Gaita Fores!!!…and to partake of such a visual and gustatory feast! The crabs looks positively alive that I would feel pity and not eat them! And just reading your descriptions added several pounds to my weight!

    Mrs. MM and the Kid, congrats!

    Aug 22, 2007 | 1:20 pm

  13. Candygirl says:

    Wow, what a birthday celebration! I know it was a happy occasion for you :-)

    Aug 22, 2007 | 1:31 pm

  14. thebee says:

    MM, a question pls: where does one get bottarga here in Manila? Btw, I googled and saw these lovely bottarga pics: http://www.restaurantwidow.com/2007/04/ingredient_stud.html

    Aug 22, 2007 | 1:37 pm

  15. Blaise says:

    So finally, Ms. Margarita Fores knows who you are already.. this is just so interesting.. ;)

    Aug 22, 2007 | 1:57 pm

  16. lee says:

    Hello thebee… Di bala the “tigulangs” would not eat these crabs “sang una nga tion sang buhi pa si Magellan” because of the cross? Holy Crab! Bihod of course is a favorite add-on to kalo-kalo.
    The foie gras lollipops served on a mirror is cool. Guests can take a little peek and check on their make-up, or wrinkles. With Cerveza Negra ice cream the beer will never be served warm again.
    To thebee… Kun maka pa Manila ko mas malawig makaon gid ta sa Cibo or sa Pepato ha?

    Aug 22, 2007 | 2:02 pm

  17. ykmd says:

    Brava indeed! That spread looks awesome and your descriptions made me hungry even more! Glad you had such a nice bday :)

    Aug 22, 2007 | 2:05 pm

  18. joey says:

    MM: Fantastic dinner! And those foie lollipops sounds to-die-for!!! Glad you had such an amazing birthday surprise :)

    Mrs. MM and the Kid: You guys rock!!! This was truly inspired!

    Aug 22, 2007 | 2:11 pm

  19. marco says:

    A casual dinner with GOOD food and GREAT friends!
    I envy you!
    Happy Birthday!

    Aug 22, 2007 | 2:48 pm

  20. Carlo says:

    That is certainly one unforgettable dinner! MM, I was wondering if you could provide us with an estimate of how much a dinner like that would cost per head.

    Aug 22, 2007 | 2:56 pm

  21. Marketman says:

    Carlo, I didn’t see the bill, but I have to say Ms. Fores is on the higher end of the spectrum but for good reason and for excellent quality and value. I suspect a brilliant catered meal could be had in the PHP2,000 per head range and above. That excludes wine. But usually they cater parties that are significantly larger, say 30+ people or more I would guess… An excellent meal at Anotnio’s in Tagaytay would run you close to P2K a head too.

    Aug 22, 2007 | 3:01 pm

  22. thebee says:

    LOL yes, that’s true Lee, about the holy crabs. Balik sa dagat!

    Aug 22, 2007 | 3:10 pm

  23. Lei says:

    MM, happy bday once again. What are you planning to do with the leftover roasted lamb if any?

    Aug 22, 2007 | 3:14 pm

  24. Mangaranon says:

    MM — please do not apologize for anything. Nothing is that extravagant for you. You have made our lives happier with our posts. Keep it up!

    Aug 22, 2007 | 3:23 pm

  25. Marketman says:

    Mangaranon, thank you. These are sensitive times, and most of the readers of this blog are far more fortunate than others, but I do appreciate your comment. And I am frankly amazed that so many folks keep coming back to the blog for more… Lei, you are reading my mind. Leftover lamb recipe tomorrow, I promise! thebee and Lee, are these cross crabs raised in fishponds or caught in the sea? These were so big I had to assume they were farm raised… they were delicious though…

    Aug 22, 2007 | 3:50 pm

  26. lee says:

    Holy crabs from the sea. I dunno yet if crabs are farmed in pens or ponds will have to ask around.

    Aug 22, 2007 | 4:08 pm

  27. DADD-F says:

    Right on MM. I can’t relate. But that is not to say that you do not deserve your good fortune. Besides, it was your birthday and everyone deserves an excellent birthday. And I quite agree with the others. You make us happy with your blog. The way you write…feel na feel, ‘ika nga. And you sharing your recipes! Sus, salamat siempre at muli, maligayang kaarawan.

    P.S. You should try the BIG, BIG, BIG kasag (alimasag)and alimango in Samar. Some of them weigh approximately 2 kg each! Fresh…tasty…yum yum. And you said once that you try to sample and buy from producers/sellers the best products in our country. I do the same exactly–but within budget, of course. Have you tried Queseo?

    Alam mo, apart from your b-day baked goodies and the seafood, what I really found interesting in your birthday menu is the fois gras lollipops and your cerveza negra ice cream. This ice cream, I would very much like to make. Pwede ba itong homemade?

    Aug 22, 2007 | 4:20 pm

  28. Marketman says:

    DADD-F, sa palagay ko, kayang kaya ang cerveza negra sorbetes sa bahay… but I don’t have a recipe. If you have an ice cream maker, that would make all the difference. I suspect the beer just has to be flat, that means you opened the bottle and let is de-bubble in a bowl. Then mix with sugar and cream and continue as you would with regular ice cream. Or perhaps the beer is cooked with the cream custard before cooling then made into ice cream.

    Aug 22, 2007 | 4:32 pm

  29. Mila says:

    2 kg crabs? That sounds like a monster crustacean Dadd-f.

    I was waiting to see if you were formally introduced to Ms. Fores, you sound so “kilig to the bones” (heehee); did she know she was catering for MM?

    Aug 22, 2007 | 4:35 pm

  30. Marketman says:

    Mila, yup, it was apparently mutual “stress” up front… she wanted to make sure the food was at its finest and I knew she knew who I was…but it was a brilliant meal…and ever so relaxed. A passion for food is a wonderful thing to have in common with any guest!

    Aug 22, 2007 | 4:39 pm

  31. The Steak Lady says:

    I’m having goose bumps reading your post MM. More than the great food, wine and the surprise guest, it was the thought, effort and much love that made this dinner special. What a beautiful, beautiful birthday present! All the best to you and your family MM! =)

    Aug 22, 2007 | 4:49 pm

  32. edee says:

    all i can say is WOW!!!! …..what a brilliant meal! ….

    Aug 22, 2007 | 4:58 pm

  33. bernadette says:

    Fantastic! I do not for one frown on enjoying a very good meal or banquet just because there are so many “poor” people out there. You deserve all the abundance and joy that you and your family have. That is what God really wants of all of us, really. To be poor for me is a frame of mind and not merely a financial situation.

    Aug 22, 2007 | 5:13 pm

  34. Cumin says:

    Splendid! I’m so glad you got the birthday feast that you deserve, surrounded by loved ones and friends, the old and the new.

    Aug 22, 2007 | 5:25 pm

  35. ENYA says:

    Happy, happy birthday, MM!

    We’re happy when you’re happy. You deserve only the best.

    Kudos to the Kid and most especially to Mrs. MM for giving you this memorable birthday celebration.

    Aug 22, 2007 | 5:37 pm

  36. Mandy says:

    hay kainggit! i wish my darling husband would get ms. fores to cater for my birthday! you are much loved MM!

    Aug 22, 2007 | 6:12 pm

  37. DADD-F says:

    Sige. I’ll try it. Either way. Basta, I’ll try this cerveza negra ice cream of yours. I used to drink 1 cerveza negra everyday in order to survive CAT in high school especially a few weeks before, during and immediately after comptetitions. Since tuba-lalo na good quality tuba cannot be readily had in Manila, we made do with cerveza negra. Magkaharap kami ni Nanay when we drank our tonic.

    Ms. Mila, monstrous crustacean it might be to you but I swear, they’re simply delicioso! Admittedly, they’re farm grown. We have this everytime I visited my site at work together with various freshly caught (coastal/offshore) fishes and shells. I don’t really go for lobsters and prawns. I find them bland compared with other shellfishes/shrimp species. And since I have been close to the sea eversince, I naturally am drawn to those simply prepared rather than made chowder (thermidor??)style–basta fancy–and the like. In Zamboanga naman, fresh curacha and fishes! Hmm…am getting hungry. Hahaha…I’ll see if I can get my fill by re-reading this post instead of going on and on about food not necessarily covered in this post. Pasensiya na po MM. Cheers!

    Aug 22, 2007 | 6:24 pm

  38. Socky says:

    I”m a great fan of Margarita Fores. I feel like running to Pepato right now. But first, I must congratulate Mrs. MM and the Kid for such a superb, creative, elegant surprise dinner. You’re so blessed! Oh, and your friend! From a -$5 bottles to a Chateau Siran… And didn’t someone else gift you with a 41-year old wine? I certainly don’t mind having friends like them!

    Aug 22, 2007 | 6:59 pm

  39. Papa Ethan says:

    Enya was right. Your birthday really made all of us happy!

    Thanks for sharing your ecstasy, MM! Vicariously, we could experience it too. Although I admit I’m still trying to comprehend the spectacular play of unexpected flavor combinations. Ms. Fores is truly a great artist.

    Congratulations to Mrs MM and The Kid. Orchestrating this event was a masterstroke!

    Wish you the best always, MM! You deserve to enjoy God’s bounty because you constantly share it with all of us.

    Aug 22, 2007 | 7:02 pm

  40. Apicio says:

    Sitting down at table to do justice to this progression of offerings would probably maim me at this stage as much as allowing myself free reign to my wilder fantacies but I imagine that I can be perfectly content on the giant alimasag alone (don’t fly them to me, I shall fly over to them and meet them where they molt and in all good conscience refrain from referring to them as mere crabs since that carries an unsavoury connotation here) or the butterflied lamb and mint jelly with if not from all three, particularly just the last of those wine domaines.

    Aug 22, 2007 | 7:43 pm

  41. tei says:

    happy birthday MM! cheers to you!

    im curious, what type of table centerpiece did you prepare for your birthday? :-) i always look forward to seeing your centerpieces on each of your posts.

    Aug 22, 2007 | 8:23 pm

  42. tei says:

    ooopsss… sorry.. i didn’t get to see the previous post. hihihi.

    Aug 22, 2007 | 8:25 pm

  43. kulasa says:


    Congrats to Mrs. MM and the Kid for puling this off. With Margarita behind the menu, what could go wrong?

    Happy Birthday again MM. You deserve this… and more

    Aug 22, 2007 | 8:25 pm

  44. ctl says:

    So happy you had a wonderful celebration! The food looked AMAZING and props to the missus and the kid for pulling off a wonderful surprise.

    I hope you have a wonderful year ahead of you. Keep up the excellent work and bask in the knowledge that you truly have inspired so many people.


    Aug 22, 2007 | 9:16 pm

  45. Teresa says:

    Wow MM! what a wonderful and special birthday celebration. It felt like a novel reading through the menu. I enjoyed every bit of your narrative. Whereas the photos offered us “fans” a peek at the awesome visuals that night, I bet the taste and smell of what’s offered throughout the night is 100 times over. Thank you for sharing your spectacular birthday dinner. Now I’m hungry for gourmet food :-)

    Aug 22, 2007 | 9:32 pm

  46. macpower says:

    you’re so blessed, marketman!

    Aug 22, 2007 | 9:37 pm

  47. negrosdude says:

    wonderful, WONDERFUL birthday dinner! fabulous! i’ve sat down to at least four or five dinners catered by Gaita in the past and I must say, she IS the best caterer in this country non pareil! what a terrific birthday present, Market Man and no one is more deserving than you! i wish you a belated Happy Birthday and many many more Birthdays in the years to come!

    Aug 22, 2007 | 9:48 pm

  48. millet says:

    WOW! WOW! WOW!….and whoever comments about extravagance needs to be bopped on the head with a fish pan!

    in manila, i’ve seen these crabs for sale (only medium-size ones) at the sunday market near the lung center, and at the dampa market in libis. i’ve seen huge ones at the markets in palawan.

    Aug 22, 2007 | 10:32 pm

  49. buckythetarayslayer says:

    Hi MM, I’m glad that you had a great time at your dinner and I thank you for sharing the experience with us Marketman fans. I agree with what Mangaranon said, you have made our lives richer just by sharing your recipes and experiences with us. I even showed your blog to my mom, who’s now a fan. Ignore na lang those people who can’t be happy for some people. You deserve the best! Kudos to Mrs. MM and The Kid for pulling it off splendidly! Your guests, whoever they are are sooo lucky to be there!

    Aug 22, 2007 | 10:37 pm

  50. Markee says:

    Happy Birthday MM!!! You truly deserve this dinner!

    Aug 22, 2007 | 10:47 pm

  51. suzette says:

    What a very pleasant surprise indeed!!! congratulations to mrs.mm and the kid for planning this fabulous birthday dinner!

    Aug 22, 2007 | 10:48 pm

  52. MRJP says:

    What a wonderful surprise!

    Aug 22, 2007 | 11:00 pm

  53. mardie says:

    to sum it all in one word…. COOL! im glad you had a blast on your birthday. you deserve it all, and more, so no need to apologize.

    Aug 23, 2007 | 12:10 am

  54. The Knittymommy says:

    Congratulations and Happy Birthday. Such a wonderful dinner for your birthday. It’s wonderful to see that you enjoyed your special day. What Gaita put forth was nothing short of amazing. Excellent.

    To put it quite frankly, nakakainggit.

    Aug 23, 2007 | 12:31 am

  55. Naz says:

    Now that’s what they call MOTHER of ALL FEAST. A much deserved one of course! I don’t think the White House meal could even come close. This of course would propel you, MM, to blog even more and that’s great news for all us drolling-eyes-wide-open readers!!!!!

    Aug 23, 2007 | 12:51 am

  56. Ange says:

    A very happy birthday, indeed! What a magnificent dinner, Marketman! Don’t worry; the way you described all the food that night most certainly made up for the pictures. You and Margarita Fores both share a burning passion for food, and it is most evident in this particular post! Mrs. MM and The Kid did an extraordinary job :)

    My friends and I are frequent diners at Cibo and Cafe Bola, and each restaurant has never fallen short of our expectations. Simple as it may be, we all enjoy the Telefono and Alfonso pasta dishes at Cibo..and who can forget the Tiramisu? Reading about your amazing dinner menu makes me want to schedule my own Cibo-catered impromptu party! Ms.Fores is truly a remarkable woman.

    Keep the very appetizing posts going! We are all enjoying your blog immensely.

    Aug 23, 2007 | 1:11 am

  57. eej says:

    Quite a spectacular spread, indeed! By reading your post alone, I experienced a bit of heartburn :)

    Leaving for PI tonight for a family emergency. Holding my breath and looking forward to enjoying the abundance of native fruits and local flavors.

    Aug 23, 2007 | 1:55 am

  58. DadOfThreeCuteKids says:

    MM, maligayang bati – happy birthday!

    Aug 23, 2007 | 2:11 am

  59. mikelinparis says:

    bon anniversaire MM! fantastic dinner menu..here’s a simple bottarga recipe i first had in forte dei marmi in tuscany. sauté garlic cloves in virgin olive oil, add spaghetti cooked al denté and some of the pasta cooking water, shave some bottarga, mix, serve on a bowl and add more bottarga and eat with chile peppers. simple & sublime.

    was in portofino for a week this august and had an appetizer of fried zucchini flowers..is that same as what you had? it was served with a creamy suka/garlic dip. sooooo good.

    Aug 23, 2007 | 2:20 am

  60. brenda says:

    That was great, MM. I just came in for work, took my first call, and was starting to read the post while the customer complains on how bad our product is. Once I started reading it I knew that I have to finish the entire post without interruption so I put the customer on hold for a good 5mins.

    It was wonderful, I was touched by what Mrs. MM and The Kid did for your birthday. And you don’t have to apologive for the extravagance, everybody deserves it if one can afford. I may not be able to experience this kind of extravagance and I cannot relate either but the way you describe the whole event, knowing that you are so happy and enjoyed it tremendously, makes us all happy as well.

    Okay, I have to get back to my customer….

    Aug 23, 2007 | 2:51 am

  61. thess says:

    Happy Birthday, MM! May you have more wonderful and blessed years to come!!

    Kudos to your loving family for arranging this and I must agree with Brenda, you shouldn’t apologize for the ‘extravagance’ ;)

    Aug 23, 2007 | 4:23 am

  62. zoi says:

    that was one hell, err, heaven of a birthday dinner you had!!! happy birthday!!! been reading your blog for more than a year now and the only thing i could say is thank you for all the posts and the inspiration.

    mrs. mm and the kid really did a good job on that one!!


    Aug 23, 2007 | 5:25 am

  63. dhayL says:

    I knew it! I was thinking of catered meal, because when you said that there was nothing or very little action going on in your kitchen on the day of your birthday, I thought perhaps it must be catered! I’d never heard of olive oil and black peppered ice cream before? Im sure you guys had a wonderful time that evening, excellent meal by no other than Margarita Fores!!! Very well executed Mrs.MM and The Kid. So, MM. did you have to do a speach or something? Did you get teay eyed (tears of joy)? ehehe

    Happy Birthday again!!!

    Aug 23, 2007 | 7:45 am

  64. Blaise says:

    MarketMan, there’s really no need to apologize for this.. We’re just very very thankful that your sharing this with us, because more than the amount spent, it’s really the experience we’re looking forward to.. So really, thanks for sharing your experience with us. God bless.. ;)

    Aug 23, 2007 | 9:42 am

  65. dee bee says:

    What a wonderful evening! This is not misplaced extravagance, rather, it is a celebration… of life, of love, of friendships and of food!

    Congratulations to Ms. Fores, that menu is absolutely creative.

    Thanks, MM, for sharing with us and giving us a peek into your dining room. It is much appreciated.

    Aug 23, 2007 | 10:35 am

  66. erleen says:

    Even the vastness of blogosphere cannot hide the fact of your family’s love and caring for each other. I do not know why but I was teary-eyed when reading this post.

    This is not extravagance! Such spread is an offering of love and you deserve every bit of it. Much more so when with the company of loved ones to also enjoy it with you.

    You are a very lucky man MM!

    Cheers to another year of great blogging!!!

    Aug 23, 2007 | 11:32 am

  67. MarketFan says:

    Whenever you feel a tinge of guilt about extravagance, chalk it up as research cost for this blog. We understand. :-)

    Aug 23, 2007 | 12:40 pm

  68. angela says:

    ohmigod. just reading your post made my mouth water. what a fantastic dinner it must have been! worth the pounds you gained, i’m sure :)

    God bless you, marketman! Have a healthier & happier year ahead.

    Aug 23, 2007 | 12:49 pm

  69. skyemermaid says:

    Happy Birthday, Marketman!


    Aug 23, 2007 | 12:52 pm

  70. awimd says:

    Spectacular dinner, MM, i’m sooooo inggit ;-)

    Must add ‘birthday dinner catered by Gaite Fores’ to my birthday wishlist… Maybe something for my 40th, which is seven-and-a-half years away pa, but hey, you have to plan for these things well in advance, right? ;-)

    Happy birthday, MM! Here’s to many more years of love, laughter, great blogging, and superb eating! (Big hug)

    Aug 23, 2007 | 5:04 pm

  71. zeph says:

    Amazing birthday dinner MM! I too, have been viewing things in an astral tube and predicted a Gaita Fores catered meal, when you said that there was very little hubbub in the kitchen when you woke up. I guess you’re doing some form of clairvoyance yourself when you posted an entry about her a couple of days back. Buon compleanno! Salute!

    Aug 23, 2007 | 9:31 pm

  72. bethp says:

    Better late than never daw, so Happy Birthday MarketMan! I’m salivating while reading all your birthday posts.Since I’m from Belgium and where there’s an overflow of beer,I think a good ole Stella Artois pils or a trappist ale would just be appropriate for a toast, cheers!

    Aug 23, 2007 | 11:43 pm

  73. ccb says:

    This dinner menu shows both you and your famous caterer have an easy, relaxed sophistication that is uncommon even in your neighborhood. Bravo to you, Mrs. MM and to Ms. Fores for this elegant dinner!

    Aug 24, 2007 | 2:04 am

  74. trishlovesbread says:

    I’m a big fan of Gaita Fores’ too! She IS the best caterer back home! :-)

    Aug 24, 2007 | 3:02 am

  75. Issh says:

    Happy Birthday Marketman! Cheers to you for sharing your wonderful experiences with food to us all. Sigh, it is my dream to have an event catered by Ms. Fores. I wish I could’ve afforded her for my wedding ;)

    Aug 24, 2007 | 1:51 pm

  76. Anna Banana says:

    Happy Birthday!

    Hay, allergic to seafood. Will just dream about the lollipops, the lamb and the dessert!

    Aug 24, 2007 | 11:09 pm

  77. ces says:

    belated happy birthday MM! great spread! you are so lucky to have a such a thoughtful wifey!

    Aug 25, 2007 | 12:50 am

  78. Marketman says:

    Thank you, thank you everyone for all those kind greetings… I really appreciate it. Salamat!

    Aug 25, 2007 | 7:51 am

  79. Mona_C says:

    Happy birthday, Marketman! I’d like you to know that reading your blog teaches me new things and makes me happy. Along the way my family and I have tried some of your recipes and restaurants you’ve recommended, and there’s always something to look forward to. I still haven’t bought myself a fishpan, but maybe when I get married I will, hahaha. Cheers, and may you always be surrounded by great food, great company, laughter and music!

    And for my next birthday, maybe I’ll pay a visit to Pepato…

    Aug 25, 2007 | 11:58 pm

  80. petitefleur says:

    belated happy birthday, MM! i just love the table setting and the food on your birtday. haaaay! i need a lot of time so i can catch up sa mga posts mo as i was out for a while. mapupuyat ata ako ngayon. hehe! again, happy birthday!!! :)

    Aug 26, 2007 | 12:21 am

  81. Katrina says:

    What an incredible meal, WOW!!! Now there’s a dinner worthy of you, Marketman. Kudos to Mrs. MM and The Kid for planning it! It couldn’t have been more perfect — dinner by Cibo di M, fine wine from friends, desserts by you, and birthday cake by Marta! And having Margarita Fores as a guest, to boot, must’ve made this a most unforgettable birthday for you. And I have to say, you deserve no less. :-)

    Aug 26, 2007 | 9:16 pm

  82. stef says:

    Wow. Amazing dish after amazing dish. You are one lucky guy. And love that cake! Belated happy birthday!!

    Aug 26, 2007 | 11:00 pm

  83. crizaly says:

    Belated happy bithday!

    I was impressed with the set of menu and it was really fantastic!

    The food looks appetizing and very yummy! Your wife did a very good job in choosing CIBO to do the catering for your birthday.

    Aug 27, 2007 | 9:32 am

  84. Richelle Joson-Ligot says:

    Hi, Marketman! Belated Blessed Birthday! In behalf of my mom, Vilma Joson of Masigla Products, I would like to appreciate your kind words and generous review of our tomato sweets and jelly. It is such a lift to discover people like you who care enough (and do it so joyfully) to document your market experiences for the benefit of others. I enjoy your blog and recognize the good taste you put into it as well as graciously share! Maybe someday, we can send you more samples specially the new products we are developing?

    We hope you can make it to the “Likha ng Central Luzon” Food Fair early October also to be held at the 5th floor of Mega Mall. We intend to present our dried oyster mushrooms (also in powdered form!), soy-mushroom coffee and sesame brittle. We have used the mushrooms for pasta, tempura and to flavor mixed vegetables. The sesame brittle is a hit specially among kids! These are thin caramelized sesame cookies. I also tried sprinkling the sesame brittle bits as substitute for nuts/cereals in giving my fruits and ice cream preparations some crunch.

    May the Lord abundantly nourish you with His love, joy and peace!

    Aug 27, 2007 | 10:54 am

  85. sometime_lurker says:

    happy birthday!

    that was superb!
    goosebumps through and through…

    made me jump outta my lurker shell!

    Aug 28, 2007 | 1:21 pm

  86. Marghi says:

    i have only gotten the guts to read through this now…..speechless,,,,and in awe….cringing under the table…m

    Oct 22, 2007 | 1:54 am


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