The second installment of my Best Food Forward gastonomic journey...
I'm really not one to have a penchant for paella. I haven't really thought about why that is so. I do have an aversion towards sticky rice, so that may be one reason. As I neared this particular booth however, the lady (I'm thinking she's the owner though I didn't get to ask) offered a bite of the Paella Valenciana, which is one of the most popular varieties. It's a mix of meat and seafood so there's pork, shrimps, chicken, clams and chorizo. Yes, it's sticky still, albeit there was so much flavor that after trying out so many saccharine sweet desserts that afternoon, I pined for a few more spoonfuls of this savory dish. She eagerly handed me another serving, this time of the Paella Negra. As the name implies, it was painted in deep black ink and was more of a seafood type with shrimps, mussels and squid. I also liked the abundance of flavors but if I were to choose, I'd still get the former. That's not to say that I'd reject any more offers of the latter, the two were really so good, it's best to just have both.
0917.537.1000 / 840.5240
At first glance, the bars of chocolate draped in various patriotic prints were reminiscent of Theo and Philo's artisan chocolates. After sampling different variants, I decided I like these better. Theo's have that dark cacao taste that I'm not fond of, while these have a milder dark version that's more amiable to my palate. Apparently the Pinoy pride clad ones are made of local chocolates while those that are infused with different flavors are made of imported ones. My favorite would have to be the Sea Salt with its tantalizing sweet-salty taste. Biting into the bar gifts me with tiny salt crystals that lend texture as well. It was redolent of the Crisostomo chocolate bar that I enjoyed so much. I also love the Peppermint simply because I love chocolates with -you guessed it- mint (but you already know that). And the Cappuccino has that coffee undertone that's just right and not at all cloying.
Unit 16 Sweets
0919.404.8265 / 0917.569.5854 / 895.9180
I primarily thought these were gonna be one of those sickeningly sweet tarts and cakes so it took me longer than a couple of seconds to accept the samples being handed out. I popped a bite of the Louise inside my mouth and I was surprised to find that it wasn't as treacly as I feared it would be. Moreover, the lovely pecans gave a complementing texture that enhanced the overall balance of the tart. The Aurore was equally divine. A crush of macadamia nuts topped by a layer of caramel with an overlay of generous, velvety-smooth dark chocolate constitute this heavenly dessert.
Cinq Dessert Boutique
244 Amapola St. Palm Village, Makati City
I love nuts! Pistachios, cashews, almonds, macadamias; I just love munching on these. My only complaint is that it's not easy breaking open pistachio shells one by one just to get the marred yellow green nut inside it. After a while, my thumbs and forefingers start to sore. Hence, I always light up when I see shelled ones in a pack.
0922.898.4537 (Jenny Delos Reyes)
347.1014 / 245.0151 / 245.5437 / 254.5142
There was a time when we had no cook, for about three years we lived on dining out or ordering in (I don't cook, I just eat). The problem was, these types of dishes were usually the fast food types -- unhealthy and redundant. I love how Our Kitchen offers frozen home cooked meals which you can pick up from their branches or have them deliver right to your own doorstep. You can heat them in the microwave or in a pan if your prefer. The nice part is, these dishes look way better than your usual fast food fare, and they sound awfully better too -- Callos, Seafood Kare-Kare, Blackened Dory, Chicken Cordon Bleu, etc.
47 Examiner St. West Triangle, Quezon City
With flavors such as Cherry Pistachio, Banana Caramel, Almond Cointreau, Blueberry Cheesecake and Manchego Cheese, who in their right minds wouldn't be drawn to buy from this artisan chocolates booth? I got myself the Danish Blue Cheese with that sharp bold flavor curbed by the dulcet trait of the silky cocoa. The Green Tea Black Sesame had that light popular flavor splattered with black sesame seeds. Word of advice, don't leave it somewhere slightly warmer than room temperature, it does melt easily, but the richness of taste does retain. I look forward to devouring more of their special variants.
I've been hearing about this savory pastry for a long time from Mercato Centrale frequenters and other food bloggers so I was excited to see their booth set up in the event. I looked over to the side where the panzarotti pastries were filed. It was larger than an empanada and was similar to a calzone. I didn't get the name of the sample I tried but it was uber soft and delightfully cheesy. You can dip it in pesto sauce or tomato salsa but my favorite would have to be the blue cheese, albeit this giant pastry is flavorful enough to be eaten on its own. And since I love pizza rolled with arugula leaves and alfalfa sprouts, having these atop the panzarotti easily made me smile and love it even more.
Mama Lou's Italian Kitchen
0917.834.6262 / 519.1977
B1 L36 Tropical Ave. cor Tropical Palace BF International, Las Pinas City
Mercato Centrale, Bonifacio Global City
This Crunchy Belly should be banned. Something so sinfully good that warrants a trip to the doctor shouldn't be allowed to be seen, much less eaten, well at least by my dad. Thin slices of pork belly seasoned then deep fried are gathered in a heap with that come hither look and saporous aroma, inviting, luring, tempting. If you're on a diet, I'd recommend not even tasting it, for one tiny bite would just lead you to another, then another, and then all traces of resistance will surreptitiously melt into nonexistence.
It's interesting to see lots of ice cream makers nowadays churning out unique flavors which definitely give the commercialized ones a run for their money. Pint offers flavors such as Red Velvet which I found too sweet, and Strawberry Lemonade which is a tad sour for my taste. There's also the Lindt Dark Chocolate, a brand that I love only it doesn't translate well when in ice cream form - at least for me. It's too rich and it needs something to cut through the chocolatey taste. I love their Banoffee variant though. The refreshingly cold ice cream hit my tongue with such lightness only to be interrupted by bits of sweet banana and a faint hint of toffee swirls.
0917.535.5691 / 964.1428
I first tasted these differently flavored cream puffs in Trinoma. Of all the available varieties, my favorite was the Mango Almond which unfortunately they didn't have at the booth. The Chocolate Almond was so-so and I abhorred the cheesecake variant -- New York Cheesecake if I'm not mistaken. I couldn't describe it accurately except that it left an unpalatable taste in the mouth; definitely a far cry from the real cake counterpart. But the Mango Almond I definitely liked. The pale yellow mango cream blanketed the top of the chewy bread, dotted by slivers of almonds. Its subtle sweetness blended seamlessly with the rush of cream inside. The bread being chewy and cream-filled made eating it a challenge, but one that I welcomed evident by the stares my cousins were giving me as I licked the last residue of mango cream off my fingers.
2nd Level Trinoma Mall, Quezon City
3rd Level Greenbelt 3, Makati City
It's not hard to notice the cute little cupcakes in this booth, with those designer bags and Angry Birds characters as toppers. But my daughter was already calling me to say that she was hungry and wanted some doughnuts or just something sweet to munch on. I decided on the cake balls on sticks since I figured they were easier and more convenient to eat while malling. Little did I know, I should have bought more than a couple. The Red Velvet flavor was moist and delicious, not at all cloying which is a plus for me. The Chocolate Mint on the other hand had the same moist chocolate cake center, with a minty chocolate cover. Have I ever mentioned how I love mint in my chocolates? It became a heated game of tug of war as I fought for my alternating bites against my daughter.
Little Miss OC's Kitchen
0917.812.6833 / 0917.812.6844
853.1321 / 852.6767
109 Magallanes Ave. Magallanes Village, Makati City
I liked their Milk Tea for its no-nonsense taste. Definitely a classic like the ones before bubble teas came sprouting all over the metro, this milk tea had a clean, refreshing taste. What kept it more interesting is the option to add Bailey's -- an Irish coffee cream that I absolutely adore. I usually infuse a shot into my coffee, I hadn't thought about mixing it in milk tea. Smart!
Yet another lollicakes slash cakepops slash cakes on sticks were these Popcakes. I didn't get to taste them but variants such as Red Bull, Bailey's and Milo sounded so intriguingly good. Did I mention how I love Bailey's?
653B Col. A. Buenaventura St. Brgy. Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City
So we come to the end of my afternoon food adventure. There were a whole lot more at the event, but alas, it was improbable for me to feature them all. Until next year then!