By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City – There is more to GMA news stringer Boyet Loverita than his sharp, well-defined photographs of the events that transpire in the Filipino communities here. Last Sunday April 2, the first lovely Sunday of Spring, he and better-half Lindy Rosales accorded a select set of friends to an extraordinary fine dining at their La Salle residence in the Bronx.
It was to be my first ultimate experience of Boyet’s prowess in culinary arts. There were only eight of us enjoying the eight-course dinner, a fusion of Filipino and Italian cuisine. It was a week-long invitation that sent us all in giddy-up mood and salivating in anticipation: Grace and Ron Labaguis, Vivian and Frank Cruz, Ave Pimo, Amb. Mario de Leon’s better half, Mrs. Eleanor de Leon and myself.
Our excitement definitely prompted us to be early birds that we reached Pelham 30 minutes before the invitation hour. Hence, the magnificent five (Grace, Ron, Vivian, Frank, and I) decided to sit down for coffee so as not to distract our host from his gargantuan tasks of meal preparation. We found a posh café and bakeshop called Pelham Café and Bakery and started our gastronomic journey backwards – starting with the irresistible sweet, colorful cookies first, with hot coffee.
After a quick conversation on vacation plans, we were set to finally drive to Boyet’s house. Ave Pimo and Mrs. De Leon were already by the door when we arrived. Busy Boyet ushered us in, donning his white apron which says #thefatcook. That’s him for that moment, true to form and substance.
It was Ambassador De Leon and Mdm. Eleanor who first experienced the heavenly, mouth-watering dishes that Boyet has masterfully whipped up. It took about two years when he finally had the time to invite us to a really gastronomic experience.
There was one unfortunate soul who could not come, the editor and founder of FilAm.net, Cristina Pastor who had to be with NY State Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand that evening. We truly missed her and understood how awfully she must have felt to be doing journalistic work instead of pigging out in the finest manner possible.
Ave Pimo led a prayer, said and sang, that were truly heartwarming. We began with crispy shrimp head for appetizer, which got everyone’s uhhs and thumbs up. Frank Cruz opened the Sauvignon blanc alongside. I was glad, for I always preferred white to red.
Then came the Ahi Tuna ceviche, which was to die for. It received Grace’s first OMG remark. It was followed by exquisite Shrimp risotto encased in red tomato. More wine, more laughter ensued as the Spaghetti ala Vongole was served, more OMGs from among us.
#Thefatcook said we were a joy to feed. We were drum-beating when the main course came in: tender and sticky Adobo with champignon mushrooms. That was the time we all wailed for Adobo’s eternal partner, rice. We were beginning to slow down after the main course. I felt that I could already stop eating and just chat.
But there was to be the next – the Chicken wrapped in laing, which we all begged to skip and take home. So Lindy began to wrap our laing to go. I had my chicken wrapped in laing for lunch today and I was saying OMG yummy all the time.
Boyet jumped to serve our dessert which was Red wine and cinnamon pear in Zabaglione cream. Boy oh boy, it was the perfect balance of natural sweetness immersed in tangy cream. Dessert no. two was crème brulee topped with thin caramel, another taste of heaven.
And so Lindy’s Café was born that night, and Grace appointed herself to be the booking officer for future fine dining treats.
The night passed without us noticing it through our vibrant chatter of large and small truths about us, others, and the community which were cerebral, celebratory, and funny. While we all felt our bellies tightened, our hearts were joyful. We could not thank our gracious hosts enough that lovely evening.
(Photos by Boyet Loverita and Grace Labaguis)