June 10, 2017
Palm Grass Hotel Food Tasting
Venue: Palm Grass Hotel
Location: 68 General Junquera Street, Barangay Kalubihan, Cebu City, Philippines
Tel: +63942-948-0241 / +63916-485-6579
I made a web-pitch for a hotel ad campaign to Palm Grass Hotel. Instead, I received an invite to participate in their food tasting event which will grace their up-and-coming new menu. If I can't have a roof over my head, at least I'll have good food in my belly.
Palm Grass Hotel
Palm Grass is a relatively new hotel along Junquera St. in Colon. It looks upscale for the location with its weak and strong offerings. Weak because Junquera St. used to be the red light district of Cebu - but that is a thing of the past already. The area has since been gentrified. Strong because this hotel features the culture and history of Cebu - fact is, their slogan is 'Cebu Heritage Hotel'. In its latest campaign, it now wants to revise its menu - and that's where I come in (together with a whole host of food bloggers and food expert).
There were essentially 3 sets of food served in succession - local, international and bar food. Each genre would have about 10 food items. The bar food was served on the open roof-deck overlooking much of the city. If not for anything else but the view and alfresco air, it's worth the trip to Palm Hotel. Altogether, we're talking about a lot of food - as much as you might eat in a buffet. I'll let the pictures do much of the food talk.
Unlike most food tastings, this one had structure to it. We were each given rating sheets with all the food neatly organized into a chart with corresponding space for our ratings. We were to rate the food according to presentation, aroma, texture, taste and overall grade. This amounts to 30 food items with 5 ratings per item, or 150 comments. It was as much food to eat as it was to grade. Yes, eating good food could be a lot of hard work (tongue-in-cheek).
Nestor Alonso II
Of all the participants, one guy stood out - a professional food critic, Nestor Alonso II. He wears many hats - veterinarian, food critic and columnist for The Freeman. He is in his 60s, and from how he was accorded by the staff, I would surmise that he is a local celebrity. He was the life of the party with his anecdotal narratives about food, life and experience. We ended up chatting for the most part, him doing most of the talking and me doing most of the listening as I squeezed-in bite-fulls of the what was on the table. He was kind enough to give me a lift after the event to my next gig, the weekly Theosophical Society meeting at Persian Palate.
With a fulltime chef onboard, all facets of food preparation were addressed. Presentation was done to make it look as appetizing as possible without the pretension of haute cuisine. Taste generally hovered between good and very good. In fact, there was no bad food. Everything was good with a few that really stood out like the Sinuglaw dish (mix of grilled pork and raw fish in a creamy coconut milk soupy sauce) and the Sinugbang Dinagat, a kind of grilled seafood mini-platter.
Bottomline is, would I come back and pay for these dishes? To begin with, I'm not using a Michellin-star benchmark. I see myself as an unsuspecting guy walking down the sidewalk and got hungry and came up to eat. I don't know how much they'll price what was served, but if pricing is competitive, YES, I would definitely come back and be happy to part with my money for this kind of food. To give it more value, I would go up to the roofdeck and enjoy it there with a coldie and a view.
Cebu City, Philippines
More Information about Cebu City
Cebu City to Camotes Island
- via Consuelo - from Cebu City, take the northbound bus passing through Danao and get off at the Danao Port. At the Port, take a Jomalia Shipping boat for Consuelo (San Francisco, Camotes), P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only).
Camotes Islands to Cebu City
- Poro - Cebu City (fastest and most direct) - go to Poro and take the 8am or 5pm Ocean Jet to Pier One in Cebu City, P380/pax/aircon, 2 hours
- Consuelo - Danao - Cebu City - go to Consuelo (San Francisco) and take the Jomalia Shipping boat to Danao, P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only). From Danao, take the Ceres Bus to Cebu City
Cebu City to Dumaguete, Negros Oriental by Boat
- George and Peter Lines - Mon/Thur/Sat/Sun 10pm, (035)225.4337, 0922.557.1023
- Oceanjet - via Tagbilaran, daily 6am, email@example.com, 0918.898.2188
- Cokaliong - Mon/Tue/Wed/Thur/Fri/Sat 7pm, Sun 12pm, 6 hours, (035)225.3599
Cebu City to Dumaguete via Liloan
- Cebu City South Terminal - take the southbound Ceres bus to Liloan, P200, 5 hours
- Liloan - the bus drops you off at the Liloan Port where you board the Fastcraft to Sibulan, Negros Oriental, P62, 30 mins
- Sibulan - at the Sibulan Port, the jeeps wait for Fastcraft passengers to take them to the public market in Dumaguete, P12, 30 mins.
- Public Market - at the market, you can take any tricycle to your hotel, P8 for short trips
Cebu City to Tagbilaran, Bohol
- Weesam Express - Pier 4, departs 9:00 AM, 2:00 PM, 6:30 PM, 2 hours
one way: Economy (aircon) P500.00, Economy (non-aircon) P400.00, First Class P600.00
round trip promo (at least 2 days advance booking): Economy (aircon) P600, Economy(non-aircon) P500, First Class P1200
round trip promo (1 day or on the day booking): Economy (aircon) P800, Economy (non-aircon) P700, First Class P1200
- Ocean Jet - Pier 1, departs 6-7-8-9:20-10:40-11:40AM, 1-2-4:20-6:35PM, 2 hours
Open Air / Tourist Class P800, Business Class P1000
+63 932 8734 885 / +63 922 8572 300
- SuperCat (2GO) - Pier 1, departs 08:15-13:30-15:10-18:00-19:40
+63 32 233 7000
- Lite Ferries - Pier 1, departs daily 12:30pm, 10:00pm and 1:00pm (Mon, Wed, Sat)
Standard (Lying) Php 150, Tourist (Lying Aircon) Php 340
+63 977.822.5483 / +63 998.999.5483 / +63 925.347.5483 / (032)255-1721 to 26 / (032)414-9001 to 03
firstname.lastname@example.org / www.liteferries.com
Suggested Destinations in Cebu
- Camotes Islands - caves, beaches
- Cebu City - rich in culture and history, 2nd largest city in the Philippines
- Moalboal - amazing coral reef system, sardine bowl, deep drop-off for freediving
- Oslob - Butanding (whale shark) watching
- Bantayan Island - long stretch of fine white sand beach, Virgin Island for snorkeling
- Malapascua Island - divers' paradise for seeing the rare Thresher Shark
- Cantabaco Cave - Toledo
- Barile Waterfalls - Barile
- Whale Shark Tour - Oslob
- Carcar - chicharon and lechon in public market
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