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If there’s a master’s degree in eating, blogger Jin Perez of Jin Loves to Eat would be summa cum laude. Her stamina and appetite are amazing.
Those who follow her on Instagram know that a day doesn’t go by without her checking out a new restaurant, snacking on imported goods or sharing her fruit box for the day.
There are days when she’d dine in all the restaurants in my list in a single day, and still have the iron guts to wipe off a plate of dessert after that. Even I can’t keep up with her eating escapades.
Apart from sampling the city’s finest food, her palette is seasoned and her journalistic reputation is credible. Coconuts Manila asked her what were the top dishes of 2014 that really left a good taste in her mouth.
“It was as difficult a decision, [it’s like asking] a parent to choose her favorite child. I have at the very least eight favorites and it is almost impossible to rank them in order of preference. So to make my life easier (it is Christmas, after all!), I created a 5-course menu including all my most-loved plates from appetizers to main course, down to dessert,” she says.
Appetizer: Journey from the Rizal Menu at The Goose Station
“Honestly, I am so tired of seeing eggs in every menu at every restaurant, but it is what it is – 2014 is the year when eggs are put on top of one out of every five dishes. I was, however, rather pleasantly surprised by Rob and Sunshine Pengson’s organic farm egg adorned with a crown of smoked sweet potato, baby atchara pickles, cured pork belly, chorizo, Davao goat cheese, root chips, micro greens, and a smear of pickled beetroot coulis. It did not only look like a beautiful painting, the gooey, creamy egg with all its tasty embellishments delivered so much more than what I expected in flavors and textures.” The Goose Station, G/F W Tower, 1117 39th St, Bonifacio Global City, Tagiug; +63 917 8546673
Seafood course: Steamed Crab Claw on Egg White from Lung Hin
“Chinese restaurants have been doing crab dishes forever. Whole crabs steamed or deep fried with salt and pepper or stir-fried with scallions and ginger. I almost never touch them at parties. Crabs are something I enjoy eating in the comforts of my home, where I can crack the shells with my teeth, dig into the deepest crevices with my fingers, and suck the fats out of their brains. I tell you, it is not a pretty sight. But newcomer Lung Hing changed the game and made enjoying the crustacean oh-so-easy. Peeled crab claw (with edible gold for special effect) resting on a bed of soft and smooth steamed egg white. So simple yet so masterfully done. And look, no mess!” Lung Hin, 44/F, Marco Polo Manila, Meralco Avenue, Ortigas, Pasig; +63 2 7207777 loc 6621
Palate Cleanser: Grape and Foie Gras Palate Cleanser from Mecha Uma
“Yes, I am so including a palate cleanser in my Top 5 list because this creation by Bruce Ricketts is just unbelievable. Imagine fresh grapes, grape granita, ginger crumble, frozen foie gras torchon shavings and guava syrup. It’s crazy, it’s unthinkable, and it got me wanting to ask for a bucket. This intermezzo (can you believe it?) destroyed me forever. I don’t think I can go back to calamansi sorbet ever again.” Mecha Uma, RCBC Savings Bank Tower, 25th Street cor 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig: +63 2 8012770
Main Course: Duck Napoleon from Masseto
“This is a huge shock even to myself as I am not the biggest fan of duck, but Tippi Tambunting’s new special made me a convert. Incredibly tender pieces of duck breast brushed with a slightly sweet sauce and layered with the finest, crispiest potato hay. Every forkful is a medley of sweet, salty, gamey, tender, juicy, starchy, crispy, stringy, I can’t help but smile with each bite. This is a dish I am not willing to share.” Masseto, 114 Valero St, Salcedo Village, Makati; +63 2 3380929
Dessert: Cassava from The Gallery at Vask
“Chunks of our local cassava cooked for three hours in carabao milk, then draped with torched milk skin, and topped with more milk skin speckled with dayap. The marriage of every element on this plate with the sweet and milky coconut ice cream brings me feelings of utter joy. Chele Gonzalez always manages to make the most humble ingredients into something amazing. I’ve never loved a Filipino dessert this much.” Vask, Clipp Center, 11th Avenue, BGC, Taguig; +63 2 2176563
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