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A simple table setting of white linens, plates and small flower arrangements allow food to become the centerpiece

The lights are dim inside La Cabrera restaurant in Makati. People-person and frequent entertainer Carlo Lorenzana is ready for an evening of sharing the best of Argentinean steak and wine to a close-knit circle of friends. “I like it a punto or medium in Argentina – just to the point of being fully cooked,” he describes his preferred way of having his steak.

La Cabrera, the venue for dinner is the brainchild with fellow restaurateur Bobby Tenchavez. Friends since boyhood, they thought of bringing the famous Buenos Aires hot spot to Manila after realizing that both the Philippines and Argentina share the same similar colonial background and flavor profiles. Loving the grilled steaks and Argentinean way of cooking it, was merely coincidental.

Guests at the dinner love a good steak and know that three-hour dinners with Carlo will be a treat. There is an abundance of food paired with wine from La Garde set against a simple set up. Metal flatware, a candle or two, one pot of blooms and ceramic plates are laid atop white linens and a crispy piece of paper. It is done in the likeness of fine dining outlets, allowing the food to become the focal point.

Carlo goes from table to table, ensuring that his guests are comfortable and never without a glass of alcohol. Dinner begins with a number of entradas that range from the classic La Cabrera empanada to exotic crispy sweetbreads (organ meat from the thymus gland and pancreas of either lamb or pork)! It is followed by two different salads. All this takes place while sipping on fine vino from his cellar.

Although starters are filling, the entrees are hard to resist. Fresh from the kitchen, servers emerge with four different types of steak. The meats are served with numerous side dishes placed on a long wooden platter. Steaks at La Cabrera are grilled to a black char on the outside, and pink and tender inside. It is the Argentinian way of cooking meat, something Carlo and Bobby take pride in being able to achieve. Always eager to share his knowledge and passion for prime steaks, Carlo is generous in shedding light on differences among steaks. He concludes by asking, “So which one is your favorite?”

Just as the night begins to wind down, guests agree that they are about to fall into some kind of food coma. But the evening is not quite over yet. Carlo signals to the wait staff and exclaims, “Bring out the dessert!”

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Steak fresh off the grill
Steak fresh off the grill
Choco Torta, otherwise known as the traditional Argentinian birthday cake
Choco Torta, otherwise known as the traditional Argentinian birthday cake

SEE MORE PHOTOS FROM CARLO LORENZANA’S ARGENTINIAN WINE NIGHT… 

MENU FOR A SINFUL ARGENTINIAN-THEMED DINNER

Entradas (Starters)

Empanada de Carne “La Cabrera”
Minced beef pastry

Mollejas Crocantes Con Manteca, Vino Blanca y Verdeo
Crispy sweetbreads with ancienne mustard, potatoes honey and apples

Provoleta Con Jamon Crudo, Tomates Secos y Albahaca
Grilled Provolone cheese with parma ham, sundried tomatoes and basil

Ensaladas (Salads)

Ensalada de Chicharrones y Huevo a Baja Temperatura
Chicharrones
salad with poached egg

Ensalada Capresse Tomate, Mozarella, Albahaca
Capresse
salad of tomato, mozzarella and basil

Grillados (From the Grill)

Cuadril
500 grams Coulettes/Picana Steak

Chulleton
1000 grams Rib Eye Bone-In (Dry Aged)

Bife de Chorizo
500 grams Striploin

Asado Del Centro
500 grams Beef Shortribes

Postres (Desserts)

Rogel de Dulce de Leche

Layers of biscuit and Argentinian dulce de leche topped with meringue

Chocotorta

Argentinian Birthday cake, creamed dulce de leche layered between a chocolate cookie crust 

Flan
Argentinian-style flan

Alefajores

Buttery cookie sandwich with dulce de leche

GUIDE TO PAIRING ARGENTINIAN WINES

Bodega Lagarde from Mendoza, Argentina showcases a fine selection of Malbecs and broad variety of wines to suit a variety of palates. 

1. Lagarde Primeras Vinas Malbec is also known as the “Sexy Malbec. Unlike the typically robust red varietal, Primeras Vinas is distinguished by a smooth, velvety finish that goes well with steaks.

2. Lagarde Guarda Cabernet Franc may be kept for as long as eight years. This rare single varietal wine is known for its peppery bite. It is recommend when serving lamb and well-aged cheeses.

3. An odd but delicious pairing would be the Lagarde Viognier and local bulalo. The rich flavors of the compliments the good acidity and texture of this French grape.

4. Lagarde Blanc de Noir is a unique blend of Malbec and Pinot Noir. Pair with is gamey dishes like as duck or foie gras. Its clean, neutral flavors paves way for the richness of the dish.

5. Altas Cumbres Torrontes is the emblematic flagship white wine of Argentina. It is characterized by a distinct sweet flavor which goes well with spicy Asian dishes. 

6. Altas Cumbres Extra Brut is Lagarde’s own prosecco type of sparkling wine. Serve with robust cheeses and heavy deli meats.

READ OTHER ENTERTAINING RELATED STORIES…

  1. Champagne Showers at the Home of Ito Curata 
  2. Lunch at the Lanai: Bianca Zobel Warns, Natalia Zobel and Maria Parsons’ Outdoor Tablescapes 
  3. Maureen Disini’s Elegant Dinner in Her Atelier 
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