There was a time when everyone in my little Team Yap family got so engrossed in TOP CHEF that whatever we do, wherever we go, we would be speaking and breathing TOP CHEF:
Mati, besides wanting to be a Chef, would seriously say things in restaurants such as "This fish was cooked perfectly and goes well with my Coke zero...". It's the cutest thing I swear.
Andrei had sudden hankering to cut up vegetables (garnishes) from his plate and would even try to saw a table. It's such a destructive thing I swear (he he he!).
Yub would always have the TOP CHEF dvd in the player before I even uttered a word. It would have given him plus hubby points if I did not hear him say "Look at what Padma is wearing!" or drool when there was really no food onscreen yet.
As for me, besides wanting to eat every dish they plate from Season 1 to All Stars and admiring my favorite Chefs from each show, of course I have to admit that I loved Padma! She is like the hottest thing on the planet who won't stop eating but still maintained that voluptuous figure. I wanted to be like her and have that same sophistication when eating a degustation dinner.
So when Yub and I received an invite for HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION (an ultra extraordinary 12 course dinner introducing the newest lechon offerings from Pepita's Kitchen and muchos more), I did not only thank the heavens because I will finally have a taste of the special dinner almost every blogger is raving about but I also programmed myself to relive the elegance of Padma at this momentous event.
And of course, true to EricJaz Foodie form, the HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION just unleashed the primitiveness in both of us at every course! Oh we were so embarassing!
Egad! I think I even remembered teaching the Editor in Chief of Breakfast Magazine how to speak JEJEMON! Ha ha ha!
Oh well... Food really does that to the best of us.
Our HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION menu!
There was really no description as to what each dish is actually like but it certainly made everyone in Ms. Dedet dela Fuente's house, owner of Pepita's Kitchen, to be more beast-like in hunger!
If you're thinking that it is ERICJAZ FOODIES who were pathetically drooling and starving, DING! DING! DING! You're right again!
We arrived on the dot and upon entering Ms. Dedet dela Fuente's home you are immediately greeted by this elegant long table with this simple but "ooh-aaah worthy" setting.
I immediately saw my husband's face light up. I guess my countless raves and daydreaming of HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION dinner has finally sinked in and he became excited as well.
Either that or the ginormous mirror occupying the side wall brought back naughty memories.
Tsk tsk tsk.... Ha ha ha ha ha!
While waiting for the HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION dinner to begin, we were served an assortment of Filipino pick me ups...
My husband's favorite of course was the Choc Nut! And while he was unwrapping his fifth piece of the delectable chocolate, it was time for a JAZMIN-TERVENTION and remind him of the massive meal ahead of us!
Upon sitting down I marveled at the simple setting that shouted awesome chic to me.
I was so excited to see my Sampaguita lei! At least, that's what I thought it was.
When I tried it on, I guess my forehead was too big that it would only serve as a "head band". I had such a guffaw after that.
He he he he!
I promised dear Spanky Enriquez then, who was sitting at the head of the table, that we will tone it down.
Looking at the center, there were romantic lights illuminating the beauty of the HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION table....
Looking up, there was a very stylish and unique take on a ceiling lamp which silently glows from above...
Looking around, ladies and a few gentlemen were chatting up in eager anticipation of the dinner ahead while sipping wine.
Looking in front of me, my handsome model and date for the HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION was giggling like a little school girl....
Looking at my left I was told that it is time to start dinner and to stop looking around with my big eyes and mouth wide open.
Har de har har!
But yes it is time to start dinner.
HAYOP! We are so excited!
Let the devouring begin!
Ms. Dedet dela Fuente, who heads Pepita's Kitchen, was our lovely and gracious host for the night. I loved how she would get everyone's attention by ringing a bell before introducing each course. I thought for 5 seconds though that she was asking the couples in the dinner to kiss.... Yihiiii!
Ha ha ha ha!
She made a mini introduction of the LECHON DEGUSTACION which started last year. Afters the success of that foodie feat, she was thinking of what other Degustacion dinners to offer and even contemplated on having a (que horror) all vegetarian one. (I mean I don't really have anything against vegetarians but thank you for letting us have a taste of this tantalizing dinner first! He he he he!! :) Later on, the LECHON DIVA decided to do a 360 degree turn and just give hungry diners a taste of a variety of meats. And in September 2013 when she formally introduced HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION.
OHMIGURD thank you dear Dedet!
She named the degustation dinner as HAYOP (in english: ANIMAL) because she used different types of meats which any carnivorous loving human would wolf down.
Personally, I think she used the name HAYOP because after every course your first words would always be "HAYOP ANG SARAP!"
... and your face would go like this.
I bet Padma would never do that!
But I'm getting ahead of myself... Moving on.
Ms. Dedet's older daughter Lileya introduced the first course for us. Last year she created the Butter Beer drink (based from the Harry Potter movies) so I was very curious what she has concocted for this dinner.
Lileya officially started of the HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION dinner by serving Pepita's Magic Potion. It was cotton candy in a martini glass.
But wait, you are also given a shot of lambanog mixed with pineapple juice to pour atop the fluffy cotton candy.
Oh it's MELTING!!!!! IT'S MELTING!!!!!
Afterwards you have with you a martini glass with a delightful hue of pink to drink. Oooh so Sex and the City-ish!
... which tickled my hubby more to drink it! H aha ha ha ha!
But really, one sip and I was in love. I never thought a non-alcoholic person like me would appreciate this tart yet sweet drink with a kick! You could request it without alcohol though. But still, I loved the cotton candy flavor in my lambanog! This was a combination never thought of before but it definitely worked for everyone in the table if I may say so boldly!
It was at this time when former FOOD editor-in-chief and MY idol Ms. Norma Chikiamco walked in and I was deliriously ecstatic! She was like the jolt which catapulted me to become MORE of a foodie and cook! I could barely contain my excitement! I never expected her to be here! Otherwise I would've brought all her issues of Food Magazines I still keep under my bed to get her autograph and that is A LOT!
It was a relief that the Pepita's Magic Potion, though very delicious with lambanog, did not get me drunk at all. Otherwise I would've walked over to Ms. Chikiamco and have her sign on my big forehead.
2nd course for the HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION were some Beef Tendon Chips with Dip.
The tendon chips were these crunchy and airy chicharon bites that were not cloying at all. The dip was a teaspoon of gabi paste with a very familiar taste. Think the gabi that is leftover from your Sinigang na Baboy which soaked up all the flavors pork and tamarind flavors. Mash it and you've got this winner of a dipper!
You give your Tendon chips a good slather of the gabi dip and the mild sourness of it perfectly complements the crunchy beef bites. DELICIOUS!
Yub put the whole thing in his mouth. Next thing you know, he has an empty sea shell plate.
It also went so well with Pepita's Magic Potion. It was definitely bottoms up for me afterwards!
3rd course for the HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION was a heaping tablespoon of Hiplog!
Hiplog is a big piece of shrimp swimming in this wonderful red egg (itlog na maalat sauce).
This was such a winner in the table!! It was SO good! The red egg sauce is not as salty as you would imagine. It was very creamy with that light briny fortune at the end. Y.U.M!
I was tempted to put the big thing in my mouth but I cannot stretch it as wide as it required me to (I'm a lady that's why! HA!). So I just cut up the shrimps into 3 chunks and spooned the sauce afterwards.
... and in no time....
This winner of a Hiplog is also available in their to-go menu. Believe me, this Hiplog will surely illicit the same happy groans as it did in our group when you bring it to your next potluck!
4th course in HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION is the Bone Marrow with Oxtail Marmalade and Special "Salt".
Loved the plating!
The bone was still warm and gave out that wonderful aroma for a cholesterol lover like me!
To amp up the heart level of this dish (pun sorta intended even if it was not clear) the "special salt" was really crushed chicharon bits which you would sprinkle atop your warm bone marrow!
I took in half teaspoonfuls of the bone marrow with chicharon not because I was afraid a vein would pop out but it was SO delicious and rich, that I did not want to finish it yet. The saltiness from the chicharon would take out any strong satiation from all that marrow, making each helping a lip smacking experience.
Add to the heavenly marrow is the Oxtail Marmalade chaser (in the shot glass). Don't be grossed out thinking that you get a fat jam. It tastes more like a refined patatim sauce which cleanses your tongue after each teaspoon of your marrow with chicharon.
Believe me, 2 fats could be corrected by another one! Tee hee!
5th Course in the HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION is what gave my hub these big eyes... the Salad Surprise!
The Salad Surprise however is not really to shock the shiznit of any non- vegetarians out there (like my hub who has an aversion to anything growing on trees and is under the V group) but because it consists of ingredients you would never think goes together in a salad!
And yes, those are pop rocks! When was the last time you had them?
My poor hubby tried his best to get a taste of what everybody in the table was going agaga after...
... and I don't blame him for forgetting his ideals of not eating any vegetables because who could resist the sound of homemade yoghurt cheese packed with herbs served with pop rock? You cannot be in the foodie hobby if you're not at least curious to try that!
Don't forget there is also chestnut dressing with crunchy arugula!!
I mixed everything and put a little of each in my fork...
Yes... it is just utterly delightful as it sounds! And hey, while your chewing, the pop rock works at it inside your mouth!
Even my hub was surprised that he finished about half of it! Coming from Mr. NO WAY I'M NOT GONNA EAT THAT guy, this is a phenomenon!
6th course in HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION is Sipit Sarap!
... and everything was just a blur for my Yub... Life was now perfect!!! Ha ha ha ha!
What we each got was a very meaty Crab Claw covered in aligue (crab fat)....
....and it was SWIMMING, no, ENJOYING it's submersion in butter!!!
Don't worry you have sticky rice to soak up all that fatty goodness!
Yub's early happy meal at HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION!
And like I promised the fatty kid inside me, I let my rice soak up all that butter and crab fat. I wiped this out in no time.
There is no need to explain how rich and succulent this course is. I think the magic words are CRAB FAT and BUTTER. You could NEVER go wrong with those stuffs on... whatever! H ah aha ha!
Except on your face because that would be a gross facial mask... Unless... Hmmmm....
7th course in HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION was a simple sotanghon dish named Lucky You!
But don't let the simple noodle with garlic and basil herb fool you. What you will get is a good 2 bites of a sotanghon dish similar to the taste of Pasta Aglio Y Olio!
Everyone in the table raved over it. We all thought that palate cleansers were supposed to be bland and ugh. But the Lucky You was indeed a light delight for our tongues. Another popular dish in HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION!!!
The 8th Course in HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION was the Lambada!
The Lambada was made of, yes, LAMB, in a hearty tomato based stew which was hot enough for that pleasurable excitement in the end!
Again, I know I am not a wine drinker but Ms. Dedet's red highlighted further the rich spicy meat!
The Lamb was very tender and not gamey at all! The dish would be so perfect with Garlic Rice or a big piece of crusty bread to mop all the thick sauce.
The 9th course in the HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION was a lovely cold delectation peeking out from its enchanting plate!
Yes yub, it's the Cheers Palate Cleanser!
The Cheers Palate Cleanser was a shot of Sampaloc Sorbet and yes, it did clear up my taste of all the rich and fatty dishes I gobbled up for the night! Ha ha ha ha!
But... not for long.....
Dedet calls in her charming daughter Liyora...
Liyora is Ms. Dedet's youngest daughter and yes, she's the one who loved the Madeleine cartoons. Here she is showing my husband her Hunger Games picture with an autograph from Jennifer Lawrence!!
We thought Liyora was just going to join us for dinner but we were all pleasantly surprised to learn that she was going to cut up OUR dinner!!!
Out comes the 10th course of the HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION, the Than Long de Leche!
The perfectly roasted lechon de leche sits quietly on the table with the skin glistening ever so brightly! All of us were drooling at the thought of biting into it's seemingly crispy skin....
Then Liyora began her thing...
She sliced, she cut, she gutted up the lechon de leche!!!
She was so fast you would think she was a little "Wolverina"!
With her every chop and slice, steam would escape from the roasted lechon and we were captured by the enticing crab and garlic aroma!
... and we were all surpised.....
Garlic noodles in a lechon!!!!
By that time everything went quiet around me as I got hypnotized with the lovely sight of oily noodles making it's way out from the tasty cavities of the pig....
I think I was like this for a good 2 minutes....
My Yub was suffering more though... He cannot wait to tear off some crispy skin straight to his mouth!
Ms. Dedet explained that a good lechon does not need any sauce if the meat is already seasoned well. The Than Long De Leche was served with Butter for the Garlic noodles and it made for a very good plus oily slurp!
I was already too full here but I was still excited to take a jab at this pork!
You would think that the HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION would not fill you up since it consisted more of mini taste servings with rice only for the Sipit Sarap. But NOOOOH! We were all delightfully satisfied and a majority was already sporting bulging tummies at this point.
My plate! My wonderful plate!!!!
I was already groaning with gluttony when the next lechon was wheeled out from the kitchens.
The HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION by the way only includes 1 lechon de leche for its 12 course dinner. If you opt for 2 lechons, you would need to pay extra. However do take note that you cannot take home leftover food from the degustation :)
Why hello there Ham Lechon de Leche!!!
Looking at this beautiful lechon from behind makes me want to give it a loooong lick (like what that dirty hospital staff did to Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2). Of course, I just controlled myself since I'm a lady and all.
I'll do it in private though. Ha ha ha ha! Kidding!
This time cutie pie Liyora asked for Philippine Daily Inquirer's Vangie Baga-Reyes and taught her how to slice up this baby (pun sorta intended).
And like the Than Long de Leche, opening up the lechon just enveloped all of us in a wonderful holiday aroma!
The Lechon de Leche has a sweet Christmas ham inside that made all of us squeal in excitement! Now we know what to bring for our next Christmas party!
The sweet meat inside did give us a flash of what Noche Buena should be like. It was just so delicious along with the crunchy lechon skin!
I was too full to even lift a finger by this time but I took in one more forkful of the tender lechon with the honeyed drippings.
I am so tempted to reach out for a hot pandesal if it weren't for my belt already popping out extra holes!
While we were savoring the HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION lechons, little Liyora was giving everyone massages! My husband was impressed at how she worked at his back....
I was curious however that she focused on my big head....
Won't that make my forehead a bit bigger?
Ha ha ha ha! Kidding!
The 11th course for the HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION was a shot glass of Cholesterol sweeper!
Yup! Some creamy oatmeal smothered in white Ghirardelli chocolate!! I hope my breakfast oatmeal would be served like this too!
Hmmm... getting another glance at what's left of the lechon and remembering the other rich dishes before that, I would like another serving of that cholesterol sweeper please! He he he he!
The last course for the HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION was a small tub of Guinataan Brulee!
The creamy dessert consisted of Carabao Milk Flan with Guinataan fruits and sweets underneath.
I seem to remember hearing my husband exclaim that he was about to explode from all that food but he was able to finish this last course...
Yes it is THAT good too!
The wonderful 12 course HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION dinner was finished! A toast to ERICJAZ FOODIES who maintained a bit of their composure throughout the meal.
Note that I said A BIT?
It's okay. That dinner was so good, I don't mind going animalistic over and over again!
What I love about wonderful dinners like this is being able to catch up with my favorite bloggers/writers and meeting new talented individuals!
I loved my seatmate, Ms. Ria Ramirez, the owner of Rastro restaurant. We exchanged tales of how much we love food and our sons. She was also impressed with the food served at HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION that she savored aloud everything with me!
Like I shamelessly admitted up there, I am such a fan of Ms. Norma Chikiamco! It was such a delight to finally meet and chat with her. She was as motherly as I envisioned her to be. It just made me miss her hold on Food Magazine even more!
I really hate it when I get all excited and smile so wide that this tiny vein seem to pop out from my eye to my nose. Tsk tsk tsk....
Had extra puffs of fun with the top ladies of Breakfast Magazine and of course, the Mommist herself!!!
It was such an amazing 12 course dinner!
Thank you so much to Ms. Dedet dela Fuente and daughters for having ERICJAZ FOODIES for your 12 course HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION night! It was truly an unforgettable experience for us! I could feel my biceps and abs bulging but I don't care! I would want me another round of everything!!!
... and of course, Super thanks to the moon and back to dear Spanky Enriquez (JUICE.PH) for inviting ERICJAZ FOODIES! You are really THE chosen one! We will not forget this experience as long we live!!! Even if we get reincarnated as pigs.... H ah aha ha ha!
Seriously, I look like Padma here.....
Check out HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION by Pepita's Kitchen!!!
The HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION is priced at P2,250/pax for lunch and P2,500/pax for dinner with a minimum of 15 diners.
If you want to indulge your carnivorous self or treat balikbayans to a dinner so special, unique, and downright exhiliarating (well that's what we felt for every dish), then do try out the HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION!
And if you do, ahem... Please invite EricJaz Foodies! We'll behave... we promise! KIDDING! Har de har har!