Best Food Forward 2012- NBC Tent, Bonifacio Global City

Finally the most anticipated food event has taken place! I was present on the first day of the food fair to taste the best gastronomic creations in town. The NBC Tent was fully packed with foodies, families, and friends.

My friend Malou and I arrived around 2pm and decided to have lunch first before scouting for what might interest us.

I had Pork Liempo and Malou had Pork Sisig, both from Cuisiniers. The meals are affordable and grilled on the spot. The serving of the liempo is good for 2 but the sisig seems sort of bitin. We didn’t like the way the pork was minced to small that we missed the crunch and small chunks of pork to chew.

Just like the previous BFF event, tables are provided outside for guests who like dining alfresco. Just right after having lunch, we went to the stage area for some cooking demo. Chefs Dino Guingona and Raymar Reyes of Moderne Culinaire Academy showed their cooking skills and shared some tips to the audience while preparing a fish dish. I missed to take note of the name of the dish; those who tried it said it was delicious.

They have a wide variety of items lined up; we made sure we strolled through every aisle. Here are some noteworthy items that we’ve tried.

From L-R: Sugar Cakes by Anna’s Kitchen, thumbs up for their Red Velvet and Banana Walnut. Yum!!!, Bale Dutung’s Pan de Bagnet is incredible. The crunchy bagnet on ciabatta with kamatis, bagoong, onion and mustasa doused with sukang Iloko. Kate Bakes’ premium cookies are the best. They use only the finest ingredients like pure belgian chocolates, premium nuts, and organic sea salt. Mama Lou’s Panzarotti is a must-try. Panzarotti is a mini calzone or closed pizza. Sweet Vanilla’s cupcakes with unique flavors such as blueberry bacon pancake, mojito, rootbeer float, wasabi white chocolate mango, and more! Casa San Luis Pastries will make you ask for more. We tried their Butter Crisps which are thin butter cookies with walnuts and pecans. I’d like to try the Cookie Surprise next time, that is a huge chocolate chip cookie stuffed with an oreo cookie. Exciting!

I noticed that there’s more cake and pastries being offered on this year’s BFF, majority of them are CAKE POPS. The ones that caught my eyes were The Lollicake Factory and Blue Sugar. I like how the cake pops are creatively crafted and can even be customized to your own design.

Here are my some of my favorites for this year’s BFF:

1.Crunchy Belly by Carlos Kitchen – 399-2715 /  0916-4033495

email: mychefdad@gmail.com

This is the bomb! Though it looks like it’s easy to make, I can’t get over this thin sliced liempo. I even ordered 1 pack to go so that my brother and sis-in-law can try ’em. I like it because of its crunchiness and its flavor and because it is NOT oily.

2. Chicago Popcorn Shops- 556-6625

Almond Caramel Crisp and Chicago Mix surely hit the spot. Taste this delicious and one of a kind air crisp popcorn.

3. Little Miss OC’s Kitchen853-1321/ 0917-8126833

109 Magallanes Avenue, Magallanes Village, Makati City

I’m impressed with the exquisite designs of these moist and flavorful cupcakes from Little Miss OCs Kitchen. Too beautiful it may take a while before one take a bite of it.

4. Mio Gelati- 0917-5827124/ 3536675/ 9643023

email: miogelati@yahoo.com

If you are the adventurous type in trying out ice cream flavors, try Mio Gelati’s Italian ice cream. They have tequila, baileys, and chili chocolate for some kick.

5. Smoochies – 0947-2215458

email: smoochiesph@yahoo.com

Malou and I tried Smoochies’ best-sellers, the Mango Smooch and the Buko-Lychee Smoochies. You may think that it’s just a simple fruit drink but mind you, there’s something special about this drink… these smoochies come with basil seeds that give it a twist. Basil seeds are antioxidants which makes each fruit drink more healthy. Aside from that, what I like about this unique drink is the texture of the basil seeds; once mixed with the drink, the basil seeds swell as the size of a mini “sago”. I like how the frozen basil seeds at the bottom of the cup melts in the mouth.

SEE YOU AGAIN ON THE NEXT BEST FOOD FORWARD EVENT!!!

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Banapple – Katipunan too (Blue Ridge)

Last Sunday, after hearing mass, my friend and I went to Banapple for lunch. It was our first time to dine at Banapple since the last few times we’ve been there, we ordered our cakes for carry out.

I made sure I brought along my camera. I knew I would be taking photos of the unique thematic interior of the restaurant. The soft-soothing tones of the walls and curtains give its customers a wonderful cozy feeling of home.   The decorations, porcelain figures, and colorful glass marbled tables are pleasant to the eyes and truly inviting.

Known for their cheesecakes and pies, Banapple also serves sandwiches, pasta, and rice meals. I already had in mind what to order… I’ve been craving for bbq ribs for the past few days. Nonetheless, we still asked the waitstaff for their best-sellers.

On the table:

Caesar Salad is one of our favorite salads and is a usual request when we dine out. Though there are a number of variations on preparing it, we like the simple, traditional way of making it. Banapple serves Super Caesar Salad (Php 120) and the menu described it as “an all time favorite salad made more scrumptious with pecan praline bits”. Quite intriguing. I haven’t tried Caesar salad with pecan. Well, it tasted good! It gave a sweet caramelized nutty taste to the dish. YUMMY!

One of the best-sellers for sandwiches is the Migs Gallabergher (Php 170) sandwich served with potato chips. Right in between those buns is a juicy and herby all beef patty with lettuce, onion rings, melted cheese, and a special sauce. The garlic-sour cream- barbecue sauce gives a sweet and tangy combination of flavors that somewhat overpowered the meat.

There’s just so many things going on in the mouth for every bite; a burst of flavors coming from the herb, meat, cheese and the sauce somewhat like a “complete chaos”.  The sauce was just too much for the palate.

A closer look at the patty. Herby and peppery taste. -not so happy about it.

I was excited to order the Hickory smoked barbecued country ribs (Php 185). Description on the menu says “extra tender country ribs grilled in hickory smoke, glazed with our hickory barbecue sauce”

There are about 3-4 big chunks of meat slathered with barbecue sauce on the platter which I was delighted about. What made me disappointed with this dish is that the barbecue sauce was too tangy. Barbecue sauce should be smoky, sweet, and tangy but not too tangy. I ate some salad in between and drank water to wash down my palate.

The first chunk I sliced was tender and easy to bite. Sad to say, some parts of the meat were tough. They gave my jaw muscles some exercise.

The Fudge Banana Smoothie (Php 105) is sweet and chocolatey. It’s good and a perfect match to wash down our palate from the tangy sauces of the meals we had.

This is the Cadbury Old Gold Oreo Cheesecake (P135). A cheesecake with thick Oreo crust, creamy filling, and  a layer of Cadbury chocolate is truly golden! Just like what a cheesecake should be, Banapple’s Cadbury old gold oreo cheesecake is mild-tasting and it has the  right amount of sweetness and creaminess. Each bite tickles the taste buds with its sweet chocolatey taste.

It may not be a perfect lunch but it doesn’t mean we can’t have a perfect dinner. Heheheh…

Overall, I give Banapple two claps… for the ambiance, cleanliness, and friendly staff who readily refilled our glasses with water, for the good food (salad and dessert) and size of servings. I have yet to try other items on the menu.  And I promise to give you a feedback on that. ‘Til next time!

Banapple Pies & Cheesecakes

Blue Ridge, 206 Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City +63 2 438 2675

225 Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City  +63 2 439 2675

2/L Il Terrazzo Tomas Morato Avenue, Quezon City 1103  +63 2 413 2675

Ayala Triangle Gardens, Paseo de Roxas, Makati City  +64 2 756 2675

 47 Connecticut St., 2nd level, Northeast Square, Northeast Greenhills  +63 2 477 2675

Little Store on the Hill – Little Baguio, San Juan City

Good things come in small packages. That’s exactly what Little Store on the Hill proves itself to be- a hole in the wall restaurant that offers filling and satisfying budget friendly meals.

I’d like to thank my friend Malou for giving me a birthday treat and for bringing me to Little Store. Every moment was wonderful – it’s like finding a hidden gem in the busy streets of San Juan.

 

Never underestimate this tiny store for it sells almost everything. One part of the store looks like a mini grocery where fresh fruits and vegetables, canned goods, candies, seasonings, and spices are displayed. The food display and counter is located at the center; a wide variety of viands can be seen here as well as lots of take-home products to choose from. The rightmost part is the dining area where more or less 8 tables are situated. I like the green painted walls and dimmed lights that give a warm and cozy ambiance. Condiments and free drinking water are readily available at one side of the dining area. Feel free to mix your own concoction to your liking.

 

 

 

On the table:

50/50 Rice (Php 100) is composed of soy chicken, kikiam, and adobo egg on top of a cup of plain rice. The chicken meat is tender, fall off the bones, and well-seasoned. The kikiam is also delectable; I like how chunky and well-spiced the meat is.

 

Lomah Rice (Php 100) is made up of rice topped with adobo pork, kiamchay, and adobo egg. The adobo pork is tender and well-spiced. The vegetable dish matches perfectly with the meat.

 

Maki (Php85) is another store best-seller. Maki consists of coated pork slices in thick brown soup and topped with spring onion. The pork is seasoned with spices, tenderized, and coated with starch then deep fried. I enjoyed the warm soup as it is… though some say it tastes better with black vinegar. I should try that next time.

 

And now, here’s what my friend kept telling me to try… the famous Lumpia (Php 75). I was surprised how big and tightly packed their lumpia is.  We had it split into two for sharing. The mixture of chopped meat and veggies gave a nice texture to the lumpia. The lumpia sauce has the right consistency and flavor. Add crushed garlic for some  extra kick!

 

I must be lucky that day as I was able to meet and talk with Ms. Mona Chua. She recalled how both her parents Bartolome and Rosalinda Chua shared their passion for cooking that later on bloomed and led to the birth of the Little Store. The mix of Taiwanese street and home-cooked Hokkien dishes were designed to appeal everyone.

When asked about the ingredients of the lumpia, Ms. Mona explained that they only use authentic ingredients of a Hokkien lumpia. It’s the store’s best-seller…they sell about 600 pieces of fresh lumpia per day. Definitely a must-try!!!

With the great service, friendly staff, generous owner, and great food, I give Little Store a clap, clap, clap!!!

 

 

 

Little Store on the Hill

Address:  2 Jose Abad Santos St., Little Baguio, San Juan

Contact Numbers:  7219174/ 7236881/ 4113324/ 7212359.

Lolo Nonoy’s Food Station- Coron, Palawan

Looking for a place to eat in Coron shouldn’t be hard. There are a lot of restaurants to choose from: budget friendly, fine dining, American, Japanese, Italian, fast food, or carinderia. For travelers with a limited budget, this place should be on your list.

Lolo Nonoy’s Food Station tops my list of the most affordable resto in town. They serve good food that doesn’t hurt your pocket. It’s something I look for everytime I travel.

A stoned pathway leads you to a row of  nipa huts adorned with summer decors. Plants, trees, and a water fountain surround the place which is perfect for that alfresco dining.

You can have your food ordered thru a food display, the same way you order in a cafeteria where readily available viands can be selected. Another way is thru the menu where food is prepared only upon order.

On the table:

We had lomi soup on a hot day…can you believe that? Weird but true, hot food on a hot day wasn’t that bad. The thick soup filled with noodles and chunks of chicken meat, carrots, and pechay. The aroma and pungent taste of garlic made this dish extra delicious.

I love meat and I couldn’t resist this dish. Pork Binagoongan. It is pork belly sauteed in shrimp paste and coconut milk with veggies, usually eggplant. I immediately told the lady in the counter to give me a serving of this dish upon seeing it in the display. The meat could be swimming in oil and not visually inviting but tasted great.  Get ready to order some extra rice as this dish is salty (deliciously salty).

Chicken Cordon Bleu. Yes, it’s a french dish and it’s in the menu. Beat that.  🙂  This chicken wrapped around ham and cheese and coated with breading was served warm which gives a crunchy coating and a creamy filling. It is served on a sizzling plate with fried egg and a cup of rice.

Feel the breeze and gaze at the stars while enjoying your dinner.

When in Coron, don’t miss to drop by and dine in Lolo Nonoy’s Food Station. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Lolo Nonoy’s Food Station

Location: Near St. Augustine Church and the Municipal Hall