Healthy, tasty cuisine at Terazzas de Barako

Confession: I only began to seriously consider eating healthy when I became pregnant. Pre-baby, my gastronomic philosophy was simple: eat or cook whatever will make me ‘happy’.

The food I have served friends and family is a testament to this: from my ‘sinful’ stuffed chicken, the lasagna, the chip and dips, etc, etc. While I was never really a big fan of pork (I was raised in a household where egg, chicken and tofu were protein staples – Mom is half Japanese and grew up with our Adventist grand aunt), I fell in love with cheese, pasta, potato, and bread.  This whole ‘mom rarely served pork, beef OR hotdogs’ growing up backfired when I moved out…I discovered I could have bacon, bagnet, bulalo, lechon kawali, cake — glorious cheesecake, etc. WHENEVER I LIKED.

Anyways, when I became pregnant, EVERYONE kept bullying reminding me to eat healthy (insert annoying well-meaning reminders like: Don’t eat cake, the baby will become an obese diabetic…No sushi for you, think mercury poisoning). To my credit, I really took the doc’s (and the husband’s) advice to heart. I began to eat more fruits and veggies and less to no bacon (sniff! I miss you, old friend). Also, I began my ‘slow food’ journey (meaning, I did not visit Mcdo, KFC, Jolibee, Taco Bell, et al for most of my pregnancy).

While I am still not a health nut, I can confidently say: I have OK eating habits…I rarely have fast food.

This is why I did not even bat an eyelash when I visited Terazzas de Barako. Located inside Hacienda San Benito, a farm estate in Lipa, Batangas that produces organic vegetables, fruits, and even honey; the restaurant is billed as a fine dining restaurant with a healthy menu.

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Asian Flavours at Lima Park Hotel Celebrates 1st Year

There are few things that can get me out of bed before 9 in the morning. Among those things is the promise of free food (and the requisite sacking I’d get if I persisted in showing up late for various work-related events).

To get to the first anniversary lunch buffet of Asian Flavours at Lima Park Hotel in Malvar, Batangas; I woke up at 5 in the morning and braved heavy EDSA traffic with barely a drop of caffeine in my system. But all that effort was not for naught. The buffet was more than rewarding.

Asian Flavours is headed by Chef Paul Poblador, a graduate of California Culinary Academy and the maverick behind Salud Bistro in Baguio and Kusina Salud in Laguna.

“The buffet and the ala carte menu showcases the best of Batangas,” shared Poblador. “People may not be aware of it, but Batangas has a thriving agriculture industry.” Poblador explained that not only do all of the ingredients used at Asian Flavours come from Batangas, these are organic and free range as well.

The buffet had four kinds of ensaladas – Ensaladang Labanos with Tinapa, Ensaladang Mangga, Ensaladang Sayote and Ensalada Filipina of Poached Vegetables and Bagoong Dressing, Southern Chicken Binakol Broth, Tanglad Roasted Chicken, Inihaw na Liempo, Crispy Lumpiang Gulay and Kalderetang Bakang Batangas.  Turon Con Latik and Saging Con Leche rounded up the meal.

Ensaladang Labanos with Tinapa
Ensalada SGB - Arugula greens topped with salted duck egg shavings and adobo flakes.

The ala-carte menu was interesting too. Fusion dishes often make the mistake of having one element dominate a dish and cancelling out the “fusion” part. The flavor differentiation in the Chicken Teriyaki Caesar Salad and Our Poh Piah Tod (Thai Spring Rolls) was amazing while the variety of texture in the Ensalada SGB and Beef and Prawn Salad left me wishing I wasn’t allergic to seafood.  The Calamansi Lime Pie, which was just the right mix of tangy and creamy, is something I’ll definitely be back for. Of course, I had to have Barako Coffee Jelly too!

If I could marry a cake, I'd marry this one: the Calamansi Lime Pie. 🙂

You can visit Asian Flavours at Lima Park Hotel, Lima Technology Center, Malvar, Batangas. You can contact them at (043)9811555/ (0917)504238 or via email asianflavourrestaurant@yahoo.com.