Potato Fun Facts & Dishes from the US Potato Safari

Here are some potato fun facts! This is an ode to the vegetable that you’ve probably consumed the most so far in your life!  Yes, I’m staring at you, you potato chip lover…also the type who can’t say no to French fries! 😉

Potato Fun Facts

A lot of us simply overlook the humble potato. Here are some quick facts, this time serious, about potatoes. For the longest time, I thought a potato is all carb and nothing else. I bet many share this idea as well.  Apparently, it has a lot of Vitamins and Minerals.

A potato the size of a computer mouse contains approximately 110 calories and 0 fat! Take note 0 fat! It contains 45% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C.  A lot of us thought that bananas contain a lot of potassium, apparently, a potato has more potassium! Bananas have around 422mg vs a potato’s 620mg! If I knew this before, I would be eating more French fries before playing golf since my leg always cramps up. :p There are a lot more benefits a potato has but I won’t discuss all of them anymore since I bet, you would like to see the food now.

First of all, I would like to thank the US Potato Board for inviting us to what they call the first US Potato Safari. What was this event all about? You guessed it right… potatoes! 😉  In this Potato Safari, 4 chefs from Cebu will have to create masterpieces via a 5-course meal wherein every dish should feature the US frozen potatoes. I think some of you are wondering, why frozen potatoes and not use the fresh ones? To break everyone’s misconception, fresh is the only option when it comes to vegetables. These frozen potatoes go through the blast freezing process where it gets frozen in a matter of seconds.  All the freshness and nutrients are locked in. It goes through a rigorous quality check so definitely, you get the best quality potatoes and they are as good or even better than the fresh ones. One more thing, if you cook, the preparation part takes up a lot of time. So this is an easy solution everything is pre-cut to what you need it to be. To those in the food service industry, this is a deal breaker! So now… to the food!!!

What are the best dishes for me in this potato safari? Here they are in no particular order:Lamb Chops at Marco Polo

Above: Lamb cutlet on Stir fried three cabbages with roasted and crushed potatoes with horseradish, honey, mint jelly and red wine jus by Chef Stefano Verillo of Café Marco, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

 Being a meat lover, this dish was something that I was looking forward to when I saw the menu of Chef Stefano. The meat was cooked to a medium-well doneness. The flavor of the herbs and spices were infused in the meat. The horseradish and red wine jus was a perfect complement to the gamey taste of the meat. The potatoes were a nice side dish since it did not overpower the flavor of the meat. If I had the chance again and go back to Cebu in the next few weeks, I would definitely have this on the menu again. Oh by the way, I think I forgot to mention, they served freshly fried potato chips as well with three different sauces to choose from!

Next on the list are the creations of Chef Marco Anzani of ANZANI New Mediterranean Restaurant. Potato Raviolo US Potato Safari

Above: This is what Chef Marco Anzani calls the Italia che Passione: Homemade Raviolo, Fork Mushed Hashbrown and Peas on Truffle Cream.

I think it is not a secret that if I had a choice, I would not eat vegetables unless they’re raw & crispy.  However, while this dish was being served, the whiff from the truffle sauce perked up my appetite. The truffle sauce blended well with the raviolo. Let’s just say, I forgot that I was eating vegetables.

Potatoes in your dessert? Who would think that this would work?!? Apparently Chef Marco’s Dolce Finale is a good way of showing that you can use Potatoes in your dessert. What is the Dolce Finale? It is a potato puff with caramelized crinkle-cut potatoes and custard with Avocado Ice Cream. Anzani Potato Puff

How would I describe it? The sweetness of the caramelized potato puff, the milky goodness of the avocado ice cream and the bitterness of the dark chocolate sheet on top, all these flavors will definitely amuse your palate!

Another reason for you to visit Anzani is the wine selection and the overall ambiance of the place.  It will make you want to go there and enjoy a nice meal. Anzani Cebu US Potato Safari

The next dish that I really liked during the trip was the grilled selection by Chef Dennis Uy at the Cove Live Seafood Restaurant of Bluewater Maribago. The first question that one would ask when you are eating seafood is that if it is fresh. This one is definitely fresh! The lobsters come straight out of the aquariums and they prepared it on the spot. I doubt if it could get fresher than that. 🙂 For the side dish of this meal, we had hash brown kimchi, definitely a creative way of using potatoes in a dish. The spiciness was a great addition to the taste of the freshly grilled seafood. To those who love mashed potatoes, Chef Dennis has his own rendition of it and calls it mashed guguma! Guguma is the Korean word for potatoes 🙂

Bluewater Maribago Cebu US Potato Safari

Also, I loved the place! Eating lunch by the beach is simply fabulous. 99% of my life is spent in the city so this was a welcome break. It was very relaxing to see the ocean as your backdrop while the fresh breeze from the sea is blowing. Finally! Pollution free wind!! 😉

These dishes will be available in the menu of the respective restaurants from March 2014 to May 2014 so if you have time, go to Cebu, tour the place and start eating! 😉

As the culminating activity of the US Potato Safari, we had a 6-course meal prepared by the celebrity Chef Sau del Rosario. On the menu was:

Salmon Rillette with Potato Brioche
Egg en Cocotte with US Potato Ranch, Foie Gras and Bacon
Creamy Onion and Garlic Soup with US Potato Croutons and Gruyere
Pan-roasted Seabass Brandade with US Potato Mash
Morel Mushrooms, Green Pea Puree and Lime Truffle Foam
Confit de Canard
Pumpkin Puree, Apple and Onion Marmalade, US Potato Gratin
Potato Butter Pudding with Potato Orange Ice Cream

Every dish was good but the one that stood out was the Confit de Canard.

Chef Sau del Rosario Confit de Canard

It was simply awesome. The duck was perfectly cooked. The crust on top of the duck was very flavorful. The vegetables were cooked flawlessly! One of my requirements when I eat vegetables is that they have to be crunchy otherwise I won’t eat them at all.

This meal was a great ending to the 3 days of the US Potato Safari! Again, I would like to thank the US Potato Board for this wonderful experience. ‘Til the next food trip! 🙂

P.S. More stuff about food? 🙂
Pretty Food
Why I’ll Never Be a Food Blogger
Our Favorite Dessert Quotes
Fact of the Day #101: Food makes you feel…
Fact of the Day #56 » Dieting: The art of fooling oneself.
The Croissant-Doughnut Recipe


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