“A good meal is one that satisfies all the senses. More than just looking good, it has to taste good…match the setting. More important for me, it should be enjoyed with someone.” — Larry J. Cruz
In 1979, Larry J.Cruz, a journalist and information man, made a career change and opened his first restaurant, a small café in a modest corner of the Remedios Circle in Malate. Inspired by Parisian cafés, Larry wanted a place where he and his friends could meet, enjoy good coffee, tasty food and drink while chatting about the day’s news. He named the restaurant, Café Adriatico, after the street it was on. And since it opened its doors, Café Adriatico became the most talked-about restaurant in town.
From that initial venture, he pressed on, redefining casual dining, opening one restaurant after another that offered his vision of the good life. As he built restaurants around the Remedios Circle, he also transformed it from a genteel promenade, into a throbbing section of charming Malate, with unforgettable street parties.
Today, the LJC Restaurant Group, which bears his initials, continue to manage theme restaurants which he has set up:
Café Adriatico Premiere, serving a full menu of Filipino, Spanish, and Mediterranean inspired dishes; Café Havana, a Cuban bar where guests can enjoy tapas, hearty meals and mojito, Hemingway’s favorite cocktail; Bistro Remedioswhich serves country cooking in a bistro setting; Larry’s Cafe and Bar, a coffee lounge concept beyond the hard stuff which serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and in-between snacking; Abé, a tribute to the memory of Larry’s dad, Emilio “Abé” Aguilar Cruz, serves a Filipino Cuisine with a strong Capampangan accent; Fely J’s Kitchen honors the memory of Larry’s mom, Felicidad De Jesus-Cruz. It’s an experience of Asian and home cooking; Lorenzo’s Way, a tribute to Larry J. Cruz featuring dishes that Larry himself conceptualized and that became favorites in the LJC restaurants. It also features Larry’s favorites such as baklava, paellas and tapas; Abé’s Farm in Magalang, Pampanga, a complete lifestyle destination nestled on the foothills of Mt. Arayat; a restaurant, resort and accommodations and spa, and the LJC Group Catering Service that brings the LJC kitchens to your doorstep.
Many things have been written and said about Larry J. Cruz’s legacy and his life’s work but always “style” and “taste”are two words that come to mind when describing his way of doing things. He was a gentleman of great wit who loved the good life which meant living well, always within ones’s means with things one loved most.
On November 29, 2014, Saturday, 9:00AM to 1:00PM, LJC Group Corporate Executive Chef George Lizares will prepare a unique Christmas dinner selection that Larry would truly love:
Cheerful Feta and Watermelon Salad
Shrimp and Kingfish Curry in Coconut
Roast Beef with Three Mushrooms
Couscous with Seven Vegetables
Baklava with Ice Cream
Chef George was a part of the golden years of Café Adriatico, Bistro Remedios, Bistro Lorenzo, Café Havana, Larry’s Bar, and closely collaborated with Mr. Larry Cruz in shaping the existing culinary repertoire of the LJC group.
Chef George is a specialist in dynamic multi-restaurant concept kitchen operations. An experienced caterer with 14 years in Palace Catering, he is a Food Stylist with strong credentials in managing F and B operations including service, kitchen, wine and bar operations, butler services, etc. He speaks French and Arabic, some Japanese and Spanish,Ilongo and Tagalog, which is a result of his international culinary background in French, American, Italian, North African, European-Mediterranean, Filipino, Middle Eastern, Indian / Pakistani and South East Asian cuisine.
The fee for “A Christmas Dinner Larry Would Love” is P1500.