Special Visayan Lechon at Purple Yam for Noche Buena
If you are feeling homesick this Christmas, come to Purple Yam — your home away from home. Bring your friends and enjoy Perry Mamaril’s special lechon. Perry is our bamboo master who mastered the art of the spit-roasted pig on the roof of his building in Williamsburg during the summer. This Christmas, we will finally do our own lechon in the Purple Yam backyard.
Noche Buena (Christmas Eve Dinner) Friday, December 24, 2010
First seating: 7 / 7:30 pm; Second seating: 9 / 9:30 pm
$ 65 prix fixe (does not include drinks, tax or gratuity) $ 45 at the bar for both seatings
Holiday music by Mary Ann McSweeney (bass)
and Sheryl Bailey (classical guitar)
Chicken tinola (broth) with ginger, green papaya and watercress
Bibingka (rice cake) with salted quail egg
Fresh lumpia with Dungeness crab, bamboo shoot & fresh water chestnuts
Corned Piedmontese beef in pan de sal with miso-mustard-horseradish dressing
Pickled cucumber & heirloom apple
Served with mushroom turmeric rice & potato celery root & taro leaves gratin
(stuffed with lemongrass & tamarind leaves)
By our bamboo master Perry Mamaril
Chocolate turrones Alicante (nougats from Barcelona) ice cream
Clementine- kumquat- kaffir lime ice cream
Bibingka is a rice cake traditionally baked in a makeshift oven with heat below and above it (topped with a metal pan with hot coals piled on it). In the Philippines, this rice cake takes on a greater significance during the Christmas season because it is usually sold outside churches waiting for hordes of hungry Mass goers coming out of their Simbang Gabi (late night or early morning masses to celebrate Advent). As a teen-ager in Manila, I looked forward to going to my favorite Bibingkahan in Manila (Juanchito’s on UN Avenue) to get a midnight snack after parties. One can have several choices of topping for the bibingka: kesong puti (carabao milk cheese), queso de bola (Dutch hard cheese) or itlog na maalat (salted duck egg). For our Noche Buena, we will top the bibingka with salted quail egg along with the French feta and Gouda cheese we normally put on it. The bibingka is served regularly during Sat and Sun brunch.
Turrones de alicante or almendras (almond nougats) are also traditional sweets for the holidays. We get our regular supply from our friend Debby Corper who lives in Barcelona. Everytime she visits NYC, we are sure to get both the regular and the chocolate turrones which you can be sure are the best that can be found in Barcelona.
Romy experimented with the turrones several years ago at Cendrillon adding them to a crema Catalana which was unforgettable. This year we are putting them in our ice cream.
I should not forget to mention that we are doing our home cured Piedmontese corned beef again at Purple Yam. We get our beef from Heritage Foods USA (thanks to Patrick Martins). Filipinos celebrate Christmas in a very universal way — taking all the good things they love and putting them all on the table for Noche Buena (the good night). For us at Purple Yam, we celebrate the goodness of American food: the heritage breeds that ranchers and farmers are now bringing back to us. We will serve with it the heirloom apples that we buy at the Cortelyou Rd. farmers market every Sunday: the Keepsake and Baldwin varieties.
Merry Christmas to all of our old friends from Cendrillon and now from Ditmas Park.
Amy and Romy