This September is LJC Group’s month, that’s because it was Larry J. Cruz’ birth month and to celebrate it, as a tribute, they will release two new dishes on all their 9 brands for us to try. This celebration features the LJC Festival of Flavors, which is their annual LJC Good to Dine Campaign and also, Larry’s treat.
The Good to Dine Campaign which is now in its 8th year, is a fundraising project for the benefit of the Cancer Institute of the Philippine General Hospital, through the Andres Soriano Foundation Inc. This campaign will start on the day of Larry’s birthday, September 17 and will end on December 31, 2018. They will donate Php10 of the price of every featured dish or drinks ordered within the campaign period.
The LJC Festival of Flavors is a tribute to LJC’s passion for good food. The festival features the new creations of LJC Chef’s, keeping in mind how Larry would have appreciated these dishes according to the LJC brands they were created for.
We’re lucky enough to be the first few to try it and here’s my take on each dishes that was served:
Pork Chops Cafe Havana – Served with sautéed black beans, buttered quinoa and mango relish. Another hit dish of Cafe Havana. This might be a new dish but I kind of compare it to their Habanera, which was my favorite dish here. The Pork was thick in cut but was tender. It was flavorful, too. The Mango Relish was refreshing, too.
Flores de Guava – Stewed Guavas stuffed with Cream Cheese on a bed of rich guava syrups. I never thought I’d love guava this much. The sour-sweetness of this dessert was on point. The guava was chewy and sweet yet the cream cheese added a bit of sourness to it making it truly addicting.
Pork Estufada Bisaya – stewed Pork Ribs with sweet potato, carrots, saba bananas, and Chinese sausage. It reminded me of Mechado but this tasted way different. Different in a good way. I liked the sweet potato and Saba bananas as it added a bit of sweetness to it.
Sotanghon sa Sugpo – glass Noodles with prawns and shiitake mushrooms. Soft yet firm noodles with prawns cut in between. This was really flavorsome. Every spoonful tasted brand new. You will keep on wanting more.
Pininyahang Manok – Chicken stewed in coconut milk with pineapple and vegetables. The flavor of the curry and creaminess of the coconut milk was heavenly. It tasted so good that you will definitely be wanting more rice in it.
Klassic Tortang Talong – traditional eggplant omelette with minced pork. This is how we use to make our Torta back home. It just felt like really at home. I was able to enjoy the simplicity of this dish. It is simple yet very memorable for me.
Ginataang Langka at Laman Dagat – stewed jackfruit with seafood in coconut milk. Langka was cottony-soft and the flavor got absorbed by it and it tasted so amazing. I love the generous amount of seafood in it too.
Paksiw na Pata sa Sukang Puti – a simple provincial dish of pork leg with vegetables stewed in white vinegar and spices. It tasted like Sinigang yet it is Paksiw na Pata. It has that sourness to it that’s just perfect with rice.
Espresso Panna Cotta – chilled coffee dessert with espresso syrup, whipped cream and coffee jelly. This was so delectable. It was soft and succulent and every bit was just heavenly.
Larry’s Cafe and Bar
Mahi-Mahi Fillet Pacifica– fillet of dorado fish on a bed of squid ink spaghetti with red bell pepper cream sauce. This is by far my favorite dish of all the new dishes. The firm pasta and its squid ink was on point.
Salad Santé – roasted beetroot and pumpkin, feta cheese, assorted greens; served with a light vinaigrette sauce. The roasted beetroot and pumpkin were really tasty. There’s this smoky flavor in it that makes it really interesting. I also like the vinaigrette sauce as it was not too acidic.
Fillet of Mahi- Mahi á la Provençale – Mahi á la Provençale – served on a bed of mashed potatoes with tomato caper sauce and sautéed shiitake mushrooms. Tomato sauce was on point. The Mahi-Mahi was cooked perfectly.
Pochero Especial – a dish of Spanish roots with a Filipino twist; served with chorizo, saba bananas, and vegetables. My own version was that I used tomato sauce that’s why I’m used to it being deep red in color. This Pochero does not have too much tomato sauce but the taste was still in tact. You can taste all the ingredients in one sip. Definitely a winner to me.
Cafe Adriatico Express
Fish N’ Chips – Breaded fish fillet with French fried potatoes and tartar sauce. This is a great appetizer. I enjoyed the perfectly fried fish and fries too. Dip it in the tartar sauce because it’s the star.
Strawberry Shortcake – strawberry compote on white sponge with creamy icing; available in small size for only P105. Love the soft and fluffy sponge cake. What’s great was it’s not that sweet and I enjoyed the strawberry jam on top of it, too.
The Polkadot Bakeshop
Have you tried Polka Dot Bakeshop’s Ensaymada? It’s not the ones that we’re used to that’s sweet and has full of butter. In fact, it has little amount of butter and sugar but loads of cheese. They used Queso de Bola which makes it more delicious. It’s on the salty side which I adore so much! It is now my favorite Ensaymada to date.
Larry’s Treat is a fun way to celebrate his birthday. On September 17, diners get to enjoy gifts from pick-a-price bowl. Prized includes free dishes, discounts, free Cafe Havana buffets, overnight stay at Abe’s Farm, and even a dine-for-free surprise.
“A good meal is one that satisfies all the senses… More than just looking good, it has to taste good… match the setting… More important for me, it should be enjoyed with someone.” – Larry J. Cruz.