Miko Aspiras and Kristine Lotilla: Touched by Inspiring Persons of the World Part 3

For a few seconds, I forgot I was with Lillian.  That was when our orders at Le Petit Souffle arrived.  Though we only ordered the Corn Potage,  Squid Ink Rice, Crispy Mixed Mushroom Kinoko Fritters with Tonkotso Dip, and the Dark Chocolate Souffle, they were so prettily laid out like a huge feast amidst this charming garden-themed interiors with hanging rolling pins and sunny yellow surroundings, I was transported to a little giggle bubble.  It was just me and this gorgeous food.  Hmmm!!! Yumm!!!  The delicious flavors, the details in presentation were my personal petite banquet to indulge in alone, all senses excitedly engaged.

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This is Lillian, the pretty companion I forgot I had as soon as I started experiencing the food.

As we took spoonfuls of the Corn Potage, Lillian and I were back together again.  “Ang sarap!” We both agreed!

I’ve always loved eating and cooking corn potage.  I mourned when Jipan took it off their menu. I’ve bought them canned from the Sannomiya, Japan train station vending machine. But here it was different… we were so enamored by the bright, cheerful, cup-sized yellow casseroles, the husk with charred corn section on a cutting board, and the floating popcorn with smidgens of corn kernels that we didn’t notice we were eating shoestring potato fries with sesame seeds and nori that we didn’t order.  Almost automatically, the server seamlessly told us that was fine because someone mistakenly delivered it to our table. Great service training!

The Squid Ink Rice was flavorful with lots of seafood surprises.  The fried mushrooms are real mushrooms, not essence of mushrooms or mushroom-flavored batter.  The Dark Chocolate Souffle with Creme Anglaise was divine.  But Lillian and I agreed we absolutely can NOT share. We each had to have our own Creme Anglaise.  Glad we ordered a separate one which averted the headline of “Two ‘Mature’ Women Pulling Each Other’s Hair in a French Japanese Restaurant.”

This delicious spread is edible art on the table and I am in the painting. I love the experience. [Reminds me a little bit of my shop heeheehee.]

It was our third stop that day at Century Mall savoring the creative, innovative output of power Team MIKRIS, Chefs Miko Aspiras and Kristine Lotilla.

It was like the Sesame Street entrance theme song, Project Wheelchair Reunion version, as I picked up Lillian at Rockwell then we ran into Chef Jam Melchor right at the bottom of the upbound escalator at Century City Mall then on the fourth floor we ran into Spanky Enriquez and then Patrice de Guzman who went to fetch Pearl, Manny and Patrick until we finally got into the already-bustling team groove of Miko Aspiras, Kristine Lotilla, and their partner Noel Mauricio at the newly opened, GARDE MANGER, which means “Guardian of the Food” in French, Kristine explained.  We are just missing the beloved lady whose FB profile pic is Miss Piggy. Oops wrong children’s show.

Kristine and Noel talked to us about the food and concept.  Miko, in his apron and baseball-cap-in-reverse, was the one serving the food and drinks on trays all the way to the dining area.  All of them warmly welcomed us as we enjoyed the #healthyNotsoHealthy tasting at GardeMangerPH with their refreshing Tropical Fruit Iced Brewed Tea with Peach, the spring rolls with shrimp and tofu, and the Sisig Rillette Salad, which Miko says, “perfectly embodies GardeMangerPh… it is Healthy with all the choice greens, radish, Pili nuts and Not so healthy 😈😈😈 but super delicious with the addition of the Pampanga Sisig Rillete and the thick sour cream dressing.”

After enjoying the relaxed afternoon tasting, Lillian and I then strolled just around the corner of Hole in the Wall to Scout’s Honor Cookies and I was giggling to myself at the well thought out names of the cookies: Cereal Killer (cookie with cereals),

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Cookie Inception (a cookie within a cookie within a cookie…. that’s “Oreo + Double Chocolate Fudge + Chocolate Chip).

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This is a sweet note from the employers’ hearts:

IMG_2997Miko and Kristine’s work team is the perfect synergy of creativity and control with the right blend of innovation and brilliance, hard work, humility, and hands-on approach.

I first met them at Vangie Baga Reyes’s  Philippine Daily Inquirer Best Desserts  Book 2 launch last month where they shared about their passion and craft, how they met, their teamwork, their future plans, their vision of upgrading the dessert industry, how they manage their staff, what they look for in team members, what drives them, what feeds their creativity, where they trained, and their messages for aspiring bakers and entrepreneurs:

Thank You Lord for inspiring people in the food industry like Miko and Kristine who are oozing with talent and creativity but also with humility, who are willing to work hard, and are generous to share their insights and experience with others! May You continue to bless the work of their hands and bless them inside and out in Jesus’s name amen.

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