Category Archives: Dessert Storm

Grub a Bite or Two @GrubHubPH

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1 Grub Hub Visayas Avenue

Being a Quezon City girl, it’s fun to see interesting food place popping in our locale. From food parks to expanding malls, QC is becoming a destination, and we’re not just talking Maginhawa here.

 

2 grub hub wall mural 2

Moving further up North, one of the new eye-catching fixtures is Grub Hub. More like a sprawling green food warehouse, it brings together the artsy vibe with refreshing murals and a happy mix of feasts. If you’re familiar with F.I.S.H. (47 Congressional cor. Visayas Ave.) it just sunk one day and next thing we knew, Grub Hub sprouted its awesome stalls and became a corner favorite of the locals.

4 grub hub mural 4

Open everyday from 11am to 11pm (until 1am on weekends), parking can get a little bit of a challenge. While you can park at the adjacent China Bank (outside office hours), best to visit while it’s early and you get your choice of seats.

5 grub hub junkyard

Seat choices? For real! Depending on your mood or #cotd (craving of the day), you have a range of seating locations to suit your fancy.

There’s the Junkyard that welcomes you with recycled décor, tire seats and artsy tables. By recycled, we mean the previous décor from FISH, reused for this new set-up. Organic art—my kind of place!

7 Grub hub the greenhouse

Then there’s the enclosed air-conditioned space called the Greenhouse. If you opt for a cooler place with plants and peace, this one’s for you.

Alternatively, there’s the Hippieyard, complete with nipa huts and lanterns and the only thing lacking is the sand on your feet. Doesn’t matter though because the Godzilla mural makes up for the trippy-tropical vibe.

10 Hobbit hole day

Not to be missed is the Hobbit Hall where all your food selections are lined up in the hobbit-fashion.

Hop from one stall to another and feel like Frodo going on a picnic. 

11 grub hub mural 3

Good grub

The hub has about 17 food stalls that cater to cravings of every hungry niche—Japanese, Mexican, sweet tooth, vegetarian, bacon, pulutan-questors, budget-watchers and of course, the barkada bundle.

We were not able to eat from all stalls, but here’s a quick glimpse of what Grub Hub has to offer and the top 3 interesting items I spotted from their menu.

Of course, let me start with the places where I bought from, ate and conquered.

12 noble comida stall

Noble Comida

Top Picks

  1. Nachos P195 (Reg), P245 fiesta – Nacho Chips with beef, salsa and cheese sauce
  2. Chicken Quesadillas P145
  3. El Coco Pollo 4 pcs 195, 8 pcs 375 – A unique union of chicken and coconut breading

The first thing I look for in any food park is Mexican food! Anything that rhymes with nacho, goes well salsa and just bursts with aroma calls out to me. So imagine my delight to find every Mexican fantasy I have under one roof – nachos, tacos, quesadillas and pollo dishes that you just have to try.

The cheese quesadilla was such a steal for P125—with a creamy filling and just perfect with salsa. On its own, it can already serve as an awesome meal. The Nachos are such a hit with the kids—I must have seen an order every time I passed the stall. Oozing with cheese and with the right crisp, this is the perfect choice for a grande group!

15 st micks wing bar facade

St. Mick’s Wing Bar

Top Picks

  1. Salted Egg with Curry leaves
  2. Teriyaki
  3. Sriracha Honey

If you’re in the mood for flavored wings, then St. Mick’s just wings it. While they boast of the naked chicken which is delectable enough, plain and unadulterated, they have interesting flavors that you may be interested to try, depending on your mood for the day.

16 st micks sriracha honey wings

We tried the Sriracha Honey wings (P180 / 8 pieces with dip) and got gigantic pieces that offered a delightful sweet crunch. A bit mild on the spiciness level though, so this would be enjoyed even by the kids. The creamy garlic dip that came on the side was a watered down version of the bleu cheese dip we’re used to, but manages to do the job of tempering the wing’s robust flavor.

17 Chillout cooks grub hub

Chillout Cooks

Top Picks:

  1. Anti Depression P229 – Deep fried chocolate hazelnut marshmallows pie + 2 magic brownies + 3 deep fried vanilla glazed cinnamon Oreos
  2. The Original Fried Pie P99 – Pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, Chillout cooks secret sauce, and special herbs
  3. Munchies P249 – The Original Fried Pie + 4 Cheese Fried Pie + Vanilla French Onion Rings

This is Bob Marley meets the deep fryer. Think One Love served in greasy pans. The fried pizza is their thang and their Chillax Menu ought to bring you happy trippy thoughts with the power of magic (seriously they have magic brownies).

Their signature Fried Pizza took longer to photograph, than the actual eating of less than 5 minutes.

The Cheesy Cheese Bombs, I painstakingly tried to preserve. However, the longer it took, the colder the cheese got and at the end of the meal, we were left with 90% dough and.. where’d the cheese go? Best to eat within 5 minutes of serving too!

Papa Beer

Top Picks

  1. Beer Battered Crispy Greens – P65 single, 125 bucket
  2. Chicken Poppers 120
  3. Grablets Crablets P160

The Papa has interestingly named dishes that just beckon you to go for a beer and order any tongue twisters. Grablets Crablets, Onion Rims, Pare Calamare. Glad to see beer battered greens—that’s something new in my list—and boy were they filling! The batter has that sweet-spicy flavor that could really go well with, the Italian Cremosa from Café Fratello (sorry, not a beer drinker).

 

The Pare Calamare was cooked just right, perfectly soft, that it could be eaten sans the sauce. The batter of the calamare was milder and toned down, which would be my preference since I had other flavorful dishes to eat this with.

23 aji sushi stall

Aji Sushi

Top Picks

  1. Cheetos Roll P139– Spicy tuna, cream cheese, bacon, crushed Cheetos mixed with Japanese mayo topped with Cheetos
  2. Golden Dragon Roll P159 – Eel, tuna, ebiko and cream cheese mixed with spicy mayo
  3. Ebi and Vegetable Tempura– P200

When you see Cheetos and Tonkatsu under one roof, you know you can’t possibly skip that place. Aji Sushi offers a not-so-usual take on the favorite Japanese goods. From Alaska Roll to a variety of tempura combos, you can get your Japanese fix here.

 

We ordered the California Maki, Crazy Maki and Fire Roll—all lined up and seamlessly handcrafted. The rice was freshly cooked, that lent to the fresh steaminess of the maki. The Fire Roll was tuna drizzled with chili oil, so no wasabi was needed to get you all fired up! In terms of flavor, a hint of citrus may have livened up the rolls a bit, but for their price, the taste is fairly reasonable.

Café Fratello

Top Picks:

  1. Horlicks Coffee Chocolate Malt Fratccino P120
  2. Oreo Pretzel Cream Frappe P150
  3. Matcha Creamy Milk Green Tea Fratccino P120

Café Fratello specializes in crafting frappes and their own concoction, the fratccino. If there is a brotherhood of creamy goodness, this would be it. I spotted Horlicks and Matcha in the menu, so count me in this… sisterhood. To top it all off, they also have a cookie frap (+cookie to any frap). Isn’t that just sweet?

26 Fratello Blueberry Italian Cremosa

The Italian Cremosa flavored with Blueberry was so large, it took 2 of us to finish that fruity cup! Very refreshing especially in the summer heat, the cream also doubled as a dessert!

27 brooks grub hub

Brook’s Burgers

Top Picks

  1. Chicken Chimichanga P180 – Deep fried burrito topped with chicken, garlic sauce and cilantro
  2. Beer Battered Fish and Chips P160- 1 whole deep fried beer battered cream dory, served with fries and your choice of dip
  3. Grilled Cheese Sandwich Burger P200 – 1/3 lbs pure beef patty with cheese sauce in between 2 grilled mozzarella and cheddar cheese sandwiches *served with our special marinara sauce

Cheese lovers, unite! With deep-fried varieties, fries and cheesy goodness overflowing from Brook’s, you ought to stop and just smell the cheese. My brother stopped and ate the cheese (with his grilled cheese sandwich burger) and fries, but sadly, failed to finish that one last bite. Maybe he was full or maybe… is there such a thing as cheesified?

28 Brooks Old Fashioned Cheeseburger

While typing the menu items, I wonder about that missing marinara from the photo. Looks like someone forgot about the sauce!

Hokkian Kitchen Co.

Top Picks:

  1. Siomai Platter P449
  2. Salted Egg Prawn P239
  3. Chicken Siomai P80

If you’re in the mood for Chinese food, then this place has that wide range of the usual favorites from Cereal Prawns to a Dimsum Platter!

Yang Chow rice is an available option and goes well with the Orange Chicken. The Pork Siomai serves as the rightful pairing for the sweetened chicken. The beef noodles my brother got though was lacking on the “heating” and flavor department, so best to stick with the unbeatable fried rice and dimsum combination.

 

32 Sub Zero gelato

Sub Zero Gelato

Top Picks

  1. NY Cheesecake
  2. Mint with chocolate chips
  3. Strawberry

The only thing that can top a gelato is brownie-topped gelato! From interesting flavors that range from cereal to matcha, the decision even gets more complex when deciding what to top it with.

Mang Larry’s Isawan

Top Picks:

  1. Isaw Manok
  2. Tenga
  3. Gizzard

If you’re from UP, you can relate to 2 things: the food and the queue! From the Hobbit Hall, you can already spy the line and that can only be for the P10 street food. From everyone’s go-to isaw to the adventurous gizzard, you can’t possibly leave Mang Larry’s with just a stick.

Yzzy Eats

Top Picks

  1. Bacon Fried Like Chicken – P165 regular / 85 solo
  2. Parmesan Chick Stick – P75
  3. Japanese Chick Stick – P75

If you keep on hearing BFLC, it’s not a secret code, it’s just their well-known “Bacon Fried Like Chicken”. Use the lingo and enjoy that specially seasoned bacon that gives off our favorite fried chicken feel. If bacon’s not your go-to comfort food, have a chick stick—flavored or plain—and this time the chicken’s the real deal.


Chica’s Chicharronia

Top Picks

  1. Chili Garlic Sisig Squid P175
  2. Crispy Pata with Chicha Flakes P495
  3. Chicharon Bulaklak Platter P150

So many C’s in the menu makes you c clearly that chicharon is the special-c! Everything is crisp and fried, and makes the perfect barkada destination. If you’ve got a pescatorian in the bunch (hint, hint) there’s c-food in the menu for you too!

Papa Natz Pizzeria

Top Picks

  1. Shrimp Parmigiana P319
  2. Margherita P239

The family was gung-ho to try out the Shrimp Parimigiana when we arrived at 11:45am. I was so excited to order the biggest pie the minute I stepped into the Hobbit Hole, so imagine the disdain when I was told that the oven would be ready in the afternoon (literally, in a matter of hours). And so to this day, I will wonder how the Shrimp Parmigiana pizza will taste like and photos in Instagram will always haunt me like a brokenhearted past. #ilovepizza #ireallydo

Porchetta MNL

Top Picks

  1. Chicken Chimichanga P180
  2. Meaty Lasagna Roll up P160
  3. Chef’s Porchetta in ciabatta bread, salsa verde, garlic mayo – P169

Take “porchetta” as the key word, and you know what to expect, a meat fest bathed with Italian flavors. Looking closely at the menu though, the pasta dishes cater to greens

Wicked Kitchen

Top Picks

  1. Gluttony – Soft and chewy freshly baked chocolate ship cookie, ice cream, whipped cream and choco syrup
  2. Greed – Skillet s’mores melted chocolate, puffed mallows, graham crackers P188
  3. Envy – Chocolate milk shake

The Wicked Kitchen whips up the 7 deadly sins in their most delicious form. If you cannot decide between lust or envy, it’s okay to let Gluttony to take over. Best when shared though, so that you can have a taste of more than one—and have greed for last

Joey’s Charcoal Grill

Top Picks

  1. Lamb Shoulder rubber with own blend of Garam Masala with Chimichurri Sauce + Rice P270
  2. Classic Porterhouse/T-Bone with Gravy + Rice P250
  3. Miso Marinated Salmon Belly with toyomansi + Rice P120

It’s a grill that specializes in steaks, so if you’re feeling extravagant and don’t feel like indulging in street food, this lamb’s for you.

Big Tummiez

Top Picks

  1. Churros Ice Cream Sandwich P125
  2. Churros with Ice cream P135
  3. Churros with Matcha Dip P99

Big Tummiez specializes in churroz, and makes any churro fantasy real! Seriously, if you’ve ever envisioned making sandwiches or flavored filling/dips, this place will just haunt you until you give in.

Mrs. Lumpia

Top Picks

  1. Taco Platter topped with mozzarella cheese and served with salsa P199
  2. Beef Shawarma with Shawarma Rice P139
  3. Chicken Shanghai with Sausage Rice P129

Lumpia is just one of the dishes that Mrs. Lumpia has up her sleeve. With kebab meals, beef shawarma, lasagna rolls and lots of other rolls (lumpia), this stall has a smorgasbord of affordable meals that the missus can boast of.

Miggy Piggy

Top Picks

  1. Bacon Belly in Chimichurri P150 – Deep fried bacon cut pork belly in chimchurri sauce topped with salsa
  2. Chori Friedwich – Deep fried buns with chorizo patty splashed with our BBQ sauce
  3. Lechon Kawali P150 – Our take on the classic Pinoy comfort food topped with salsa served with Mang Tommy

Take the 2nd name “Piggy” and you got yourself a mix and match of pork favorites that you can possibly imagine. The Chori Friedwich alone will trigger that impulse to order ASAP, but no worries since sharing seems to be the Grub Hub code.

6 grub hub junkyard2

 

Hub a Seat

All in all, the Grub Hub PH experience was insanely clouded with so many choices that no human—no matter how hungry you are—could find satiation with just one visit. As much as I felt that I still had room for chicken poppers or churros, the tummy simply turned its back on me

Some tips for those who wish to visit Grub Hub:

  1. The early bird doesn’t always get all the worms. By early, I mean opening time. The food park opens at 11am and we were there at 11:45 am on a Saturday. Papa Natz Pizzeria needed hours to pre-heat the oven, and Aji Sushi required an hour to steam the rice.
  2. Hate late. Arriving late also has the downside—not finding a parking spot. So if you live close to the area, we found that riding a bike (may not be an option for a lot) or taking an Uber may solve the parking dilemma.
  3. Bring change. Yes, just like the jeepney that displays “Barya lang sa umaga.” (Change only in the morning), that rule applies here as well. I had difficulty getting change to my P1,000 bill and it was absolutely troublesome for me and the sellers.

33 grub hub greenhouse

  1. No water, no problem. They have a beverage bar where it is actually recommended to buy drinks from. Bringing in other store-bought drinks is a no-no so just best to order their yummy iced tea in mason jars.

34 Hokkian kitchen flatlay

  1. Bring a friend or five! Seriously, going on a date is typical but bringing in the clan will be more beneficial since you will get the chance to try out more dishes from potentially all the stalls!3 grub hub mural
  2. Stop and Stare. While there’s a lot of the commotion in the food sector, find the time to admire the beauty of the place. The artistic murals, painted tables and fantastic lanterns are all IG-worthy as well and deserve a clap, a loving pat or just a camera click or two. I have a ton stored in my phone!
  3. Green minded? If looking for vegetarian or semi-healthy treats, don’t worry. I recommend the Crispy Greens from Papa Beer, the Margherita Pizza from Papa Natz Pizzeria, Mac and Cheese from Brook’s, and the Cheese Quesadilla from Noble Comida. Wicked Kitchen, Sub Zero Gelato and Café Fratello will solve your sweet tooth cravings, so this grub’s definitely for anyone and not just the meat eaters!

 

 

 

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Le-zy Black Cat goes to Le Petit Souffle

century city mall

What I liked about the Le Petit Souffle menu was that it was brimming and skipping with cats.

How do you like it meow?

century city mall restaurant

Admittedly out first visit to Le Petit Souffle (Century City Mall) was redeemed only by the catty menu.

It warranted a second visit because the parfait was not available (tsk, tsk) and it was my priority over the souffle. Hence, we had no choice but to settle with the (slightly delayed) souffle par-tay.

le petit souffle dessert

The Valrhona Guanaja Souffle (adorned by my cats), sank after a few minutes of photo ops. I never had the chance to dig in to its full-bodied souffle grandeur. It tasted like the lighter sister of the angry lava cake.

where to eat makati, dessert

The Matcha Valrhona Ivoire Souffle came heaps of minutes later. Either they whipped up a second batch or forgot all about our green order.

no no souffle

We were not much of a fan of the Frozen Souffle (Souffle Glace). The citrus hints just overpowered the Vanilla Bean, and the flowers did not help calm the raging palate.

where to eat restaurant century city mall

Luckily, visit #2 gave us a chance to sample the savory treats.

vegetarian food makati

My heart goes to the Vegetarian Soba Pasta which was the opposite of the overpowering vanilla bean-citron souffle. It was light yet hearty and still paved the way for dessert. And look at the mushrooms! Love it!

le petit souffle makati

The Squid Ink Rice was a carby feast for anyone who wanted an adequate balance of rice, seafood and egg. It was too filling for one, and a pleasant to-share dish since sharing the black teeth makes lunch even more spectacular. =P

le petit souffle dessert

Last but certainly not the least, finally, the Matcha Parfait makes it appearance after lunch!

This is what matcha desserts ought to be made of!  Perfectly creamy yet matcha-filled, this one was worth the wait. Those Pepero sticks were an added bonus too!

A bit on the pricey side, but this little cup is sure to make the trip to Le Petit Souffle worth the traffic, the wait and the 2nd chance.

 

 

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Bros and Ho-Bing Korean Dessert

philippines bingsu

It was never about the Korean craze or the way first timers can easily mistaken this as hoe-pen.

When in Megamall, the number 1 rule (or goal) is to find the spot with the least number of people, and if you do, don’t think twice, grab that seat and eat!

And so we found Hobing Korean Dessert somewhere in the Fashion Hall, overlooking the center area without much patrons.  It was a dead cold spot, made even more frostbite-worthy by our 1 bingsu each rule. 

The Choco Cookie Bingsu is sure to give you the chocolate high to last you till Christmas. The smooth bingsu is what keeps you shoving for that sweet sensation.

dessert megamall

The Strawberry Bingsu was so delicately presented, I ate with the same premeditated and patient pace.

dessert megamall

 

In between were more strawberries, you just have to give a bow of appreciation to the creator of this berry delightful ice masterpiece.

manila bingsu where

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Chido, Gringo!

sm the block restaurant

As criminal as it may sound, I craved for and gave in to Gringo 3 times in a span of a couple of months.

It was that Chido (“cool”), not to mention situated in SM North The Block, which is just way too cool for the QC denizens.

The menu of Gringo isn’t that lengthy, and one look at the place, you know you’ve got to have chicken. And Gringo Original Chicken I had on all visits: quarter, half and whole!

gringo sm north

As much as possible, I wanted the sidings to vary but it would seem that the Roasted Eggplant (left) is the crowd favorite. I had it 3x as well! I just love the way the eggplant makes the healthier replacement to the usual mashed potato.

half chicken with roasted eggplant

I also had the mashed camote (hmmkay), garlic mushrooms, roasted squash and french fries, but it was the eggplant that stunned me on the first bite.

sm north restaurants

The Original Chicken was the way to go because it was already ultra flavorful and succulent, made even more delectable with the in-house sauces. I just poured the sauces on my sidings, and everything became a house party on my plate.

where to eat QC

The Gringo Baby Back Ribs was soft till the last bite, and still goes well with the roasted eggplant.

where to eat sm north

I kid you not when I say the Nacho Grande was a feast of a tray, because the tray occupied the length of the table! Asked to place the meat on the side, it was still generously covered with cheese and what-not.

The nachos are pretty much the same as the chicken siding, but with this gigantic volume, you know you’ll have to walk home.

gringo sm north

The Spicy Tuna Street Taco and Truffle Queso Quesadilla completed the Mexican fiesta. Both rich, indulgent and just zesty, finally we have a second Mexican haven in the northern malls, next to Mexicali!

latin american restaurant manila

Never got the chance to try their desserts, but next time, we certainly will.

Having to go on a walk though, dessert was still pursued, so we ended up in the quaint Casa Italia, still at the GF of SM the Block. It was dark and only the gelato lights radiated and beckoned the dessert cravers.

I had the matcha green tea. One scoop was all I needed to call it a day.

sm the block gelato

 

 

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I Scream! #icecreamfordinner

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For a string of lonesome weeks, I had #dessertfordinner and #icecreamfordinner on Friday nights.

My night cap and stress killer and tear-catcher, the shoulder to cry on and the punching bag to abuse with my profanity—that was ice cream!

And so Ice Cream Nights was formed. Yes, I did scream for ice cream—scream so loud, getting a sore throat was imminent, but I do not care.

It was fattening and an act of gluttony, especially if I had dinner #2 at home, but #dessertfordinner was the Friday norm.

In St. Marc Café, two visits were warranted since I went through a “cone” phase. For some reason, I dreamt of waffle cones and detested plastic cups!

rikyu-st.-marc-cafe-sm-north.jpg.jpeg

The Rikyu was fine since it came with a side scoop of matcha ice cream. At the bottom of the cone was the excellent surprise of frosted flakes! Of course they were too sweet the first time around, so make sure you have access to water before you burst into chatter, laughter or near-death choking fits.

madonna-st.-marc-cafe-sm-north-edsa.jpg.jpeg

Madonna came next and was bathed in frozen chunks of strawberries and chocolate syrup. The strawberries were fine but my hangry side wanted more oomph and juice, and the chocolate syrup tasted like Hershey Brown Cow—making the cone really sticky that I felt like a 5-year old!

Not sure if I was more stressed than usual because I finished the cone even before we reached the end of the parking lot. This is the part where I eat at home again.

Oh Madonna, you small and sticky, girl!

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Rita’s Italian Ice is a Greenhills favorite, but I really am not fond of the “ice”. Love the custard, hate the ice. Hence, I had to order the custard swirl sundae cone.

Too embarrassed to walk around licking a large cone, I had it inverted on a cup “to go”. Lovely. Just look at it!

It took so long to finish in the car, we were nearly halfway through EDSA northbound. Worth every lick! Haha!

Last but not the least is the newly opened Honey Crème in Trinoma. Found at the GF near Gourdo’s, it’s so new, the aircon doesn’t even seem to be working yet (or not even installed? Haha).

I had it to-go but in reality, there’s no to-go plan or cover or paperbag, so it really seems that I was just talking to myself.

organic-multi-grain-honey-creme-trinoma.jpg.jpeg

The guy who concocted my Organic Multi Grain Cup did not seem like an enthusiastic creator and left me as I was asking about the “take out” method. Hmm.. I guess they want us to eat it in their Purgatory tables. I ate it while walking and tried not to finish it before reaching the parking lot again!

It was a tiny cup for P175! The grains were supposed to be a mixture of health seeds and nuts but all I could detect was polvoron-like sesame grains and honey.

It was okay, but it was too damn small for its price. When I got home, I ate a big bowl of salad with Doritos. Hunger not solved!

That’s it for Ice Cream Nights! My next target is BLK 513 at Megamall, which is likely to happen in 2017 given the traffic and mayhem. Anyway, there’s Rita’s Italian Ice in UP Town Center in case of emergency and Jamba Juice in Trinoma has a new peanut butter banana split—will do for now.

 

 

 

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Swensen’s Ice Cream Brings Summer High

opening swensens Sm the block

As implicitly outrageous as it sounds, Swensen’s Ice Cream brought me to an absolute #SummerHigh given its recent opening at SM North The Block.

SM the block ice cream

 

Ice cream sundae sm north

Imagine a hop away from home, and we get instant access to Swensen’s lovely and positively sinister sundaes and cones.

Right at the 2F, near Forever 21 *sigh* and the parking lot – logistically perfect!

philippines food blog

The Swensen’s stall at The Block was launched this May and was well attended by bloggers, shoppers, kids and all sorts of passers by.

Seriously, passers by were not only curious, they got their free cones (first 50) while others really dug in and savoured the various flavours that Swensen’s has to offer.

swensen's sm north line

ice cream flavors swensen's

When we say “flavours”, yes, I mean like loads of choices, you can’t possibly settle for with just one scoop! They have Green Tea, Cantaloupe, Strawberry Cheesecake, Reversible Chocolate, Cookies and Cream and a whole aisle more!

swensen's ice cream quezon city manila

Swensens ice cream flavors

 

swensen's review ice cream

Swensen's ice cream sm the block

Since the place was fairly new though, we had to christen the event with photos, face paint (for the kids) and the usual ribbon cutting ceremony.

I admit, this was my induction in the blogger event realm, and it couldn’t have been better!

Swensen's opens at Sm north the block

swensens old couple

Swensen's kids forever 21

What could be more exciting than having ice cream for lunch?! IKR.

Swensens Manila Philippines

swensens SM north ribbon cutting

The owners and manager were accommodating and just as excited as everyone around. I was tempted to run to Forever 21, but the cling of the ice cream was more intense.

Ice cream fever beats retail therapy. Anytime.

Swensen's launch manila

Swensen opening ice cream sundae

But the real scene stealers were the staff. They were enthusiastically gracious and cool under the pressure of simultaneous orders and inquiries.

SM Swensen parfait

Swensen's happy staff

No, they didn’t flip the whipped cream canister or juggle the Maltesers – although sometimes I wish they slammed the ice cream scooper to announce the next order – but they were efficient and prompt.

Managing crazy orders while prepping the sundaes, floats and what-not was an acquired skill, and they fairly succeeded, on their first day! Bravo!

Swensen's sundae on the spot

Swensens oreo sundae in the making

Swensens oreo waffle blast

The ice cream-bar-man was so used to the clicking and stop-right-there-let-me-Instagram-your-work-in-progress that this outside chaos did not hamper his cream-splashing, nut-sprinkling world of ice cream creation.

Seems like Willy Wonka’s protégé has found better employment at Swensen’s.

Swensens ice cream toppings

Agile and courteous, the sundaes were served fresh from the ice cream bar and still pristine in its frozen state.

Swensen's the earthquake sundae

The Earthquake was massive and everyone that it passed by literally fell off their seats.

When it reached its destination, it certainly caused quite the uproar—but I am happy to report that it left the table in still one piece. I believe the lady who ordered this was never the same, after having left the store, in a state of chocolate high.

Swensens menu 2

Other varieties cater to different flavor and size preferences. Swensen’s Ice Cream has the kiddie servings for the little ones who like their sundaes pink, adorned or just wee enough to carry around! With names like Little Prince and Sweet Princess, I had to stop myself from ordering one for myself.

Swensens the hurricane

The Hurricane is perhaps next to The Earthquake, in terms of size, but don’t underestimate the secondary tempest.

The usual faves Banana Split and Coit Tower are just as resplendent and offer alternatives to the massive sundae bundles.

Swensen's frozen choc malt fantasy ice cream sm

With the signature whipped cream and chocolate dipped cherry and Swensen’s wafer, each serving is sealed with the Swensen’s seal of superbness.

swensens ultimate sundae experience menu

Other creations are sure to haunt you, and first timers will have to go through the menu several times. We understand. I had to take photos to help me decide, remember, change my mind and finally decide!

Swensens menu 1

Imagine that there is one page devoted to Chocolate Fantasy! Decisions to be  made.. More on that later.

Swensen's ring a ding sundae

Swensen’s has the Supreme Sundae poised on supremely tall glasses, one of which is Ebony and Ivory Sundae (ice cream layered with toppings and syrup) which looks so magically glorious. That Ring-A-Ding at the top is neapolitan-inspired, can’t wait to get a taste of all those colours!

The Waffle Sundae offers a break from the usual fruits and nuts with its awesome waffle siding—perfect excuse for breakfast!

Swensen's waffle sundaes manila

Ice cream floats and sundaes are offered to traditionalists and prefer to chill on the “light” side, while there’s the Walk-away sundae for those on the go and need a quick ice cream fix!

Swensens menu 3

The Basket Sundaes are perfect for the basket case as myself—one who wanted a lot going on in her sundae! I went for my usual favorite companions in the world: Oreo and brownies = Oreo Brownie Basket Sundae.

On a bed of waffle cone, Oreo and chocolate ice cream aligned with chewy brownies and topped with Oreo bits. What a wonderfully crisp affair!

The brownies were just perfect and almost stole the act—until the ice cream merged everything into a flavorful creamy show.

Oreo waffle blast sundae swensens manila

Last but not the least comes the Chocolate Fantasy Sundaes, a whole page devoted to chocolate and other complementing toppings.

Enough with the Oreo, my other weakness seemed to be waving at me: Maltesers. Oh my Maltesers!

Swensen's Frosted Choc Malt Fantasy

 The Frosted Choc Malt Fantasy is chocolate everything and topped with Maltesers. Enough said.

Nothing beats chocolate except for chocolate with Maltesers. Chocolate lovers will go nuts (they have Chocolate Crunch, by the way) with the choices, and the creations will not disappoint. You will find yourself licking the spoon and wondering when your next visit will be. Why not next serving, while you’re still at it?!

Swensen's toppings ice cream review

Swensen restaurant blog review

The Swensen’s menu is certainly a dessert trove of delightful ice cream treats. One visit is never enough and like me, you will find yourself planning what to eat on the next visit which is probably tomorrow.

The place may be small—easy to locate though at The Block—but is big on serving sweet joy and creamy serenity. There’s something about a Swensen’s sundae, that finishing if off gives you a kind of high—the good kind though. Maybe it’s summer or my childhood memories. Or maybe it’s a Swensen’s Ice Cream secret.

In case you find out, do tell.

SM Swensens ice cream review

Swensen’s Ice Cream has branches at SM Mall of Asia and Eastwood Mall—so you know where to find me.

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Are You Mad? (Mad Mark’s Creamery & Good Eats)

glorietta makati dessert sweets

With all the uproar on gelato, froyo and cronuts, we have been neglecting the ultimate and basic comfort food of all time, the real scene stealer, the bad-day-turned-good BFF and the tearjerker flick’s best companion. Simpletons will agree, ice cream rules—what more with homemade ice cream!

Mad Mark’s Creamery and Good Eats nearly rendered me mad with that outrageous tunnel hike to Glorietta 5! But still, my hunger and curiosity prevailed. To name an ice cream joint Mad Mark’s must mean we have a bizarre one in our midst—or that other synonym—furious? Furious Mark is just getting heated up with his ice cream and I like it!

dessert makati 

I wanted to eat a proper lunch at Mad Mark’s (like salad or chicken or both)  but staring at the chalkboard menu, my EQ for propriety diminished, and I had 2 scoops of ice cream for lunch. Bad girl.

It took me long to deliberate what 2 flavors to select with the long and delectable menu—because I wanted to try ‘em all. Hunger made me crazy-desperate though, and I settled for Half Baked Madagascar (first on the list) and Strawberry Cheesecake (last). First and last. Yin and yang.

 Mad Mark's ice cream yummy dessert

Luckily I had with me a third flavor diner (that does not even make sense), so I had a taste of the Chocolate Half Baked as well! This is the part where parents tell their children that ice cream is not proper lunch and this girl is more than mad, I know, I’m just.. a vampire. LOL.

Madagascar refers to the country but it’s Madagascar because supposedly the vanilla beans are sourced from there and they’re like fresh and the real deal. Whatever explanation there was on the wall, I only got half of it because I was already hungry, without a doubt, and can only process the word vanilla, which by the way was really lusciously concocted tasted like premium vanilla beans in creamy form.

As for the half baked cookies, I would like to bring home a batch and eat them forever. They were chunky and blended well with the ice cream. I admit, I love cookies, which is why I chose this chunky flavor and now I associate Madagascar with Cookie Madness, in a supremely positive way. Beat that Mrs. Fields.

The Strawberry Cheesecake was another wonder because the smooth strawberry ice cream received hints of chunky cheesecake that was really a dessert on its own. Unlike the faker cheesecakes they blend in other creamy desserts (cough cough DQ, and red mango), the cheesecake here was the scene stealer. Cheesecake bits were rich and chewy and could compete with the Madagascar Half Baked babies.

The Chocolate Half Baked is a “variant” of the Madagascar , in chocolate form if you have a wilder sweet tooth. The cookie-ice cream interaction is still the bomb and sweetness overboard. Love it if you’re looking for a chocolate explosion.

Next time though, I will have a proper lunch—and still 2 scoops of any flavor my darts shoot at. Please be Banana Oreo or anything with half baked.

Ah yes Mark you are mad, and keep on doing it, because so am I.

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Bono Noche! (Bono Artisanal Gelato)

review bono jenina gonzales

A stranger once posted on my blog and called me stingy. Lucky guess. It’s just like saying “You’re smart, lazy black cat!” and yes, I won’t complain. Now if you call me a little bad thief, ah well, that depends.

Back to stingy. This penny-pinching side of me hasn’t gone away till now, the hangover from Christmas over spending and that mindless gluttonous spree.

 Dessert sweets SM Aura

Despite my hankering for premium gelato, I have not come close to getting a darn scoop of Bono Artisanal Gelato, because I always end up comparing it vis-à-vis other similarly priced items: Jamba Juice, Starbucks Chocolate Cake, 4 Hot Fudge Sundaes, a bag of Baked Doritos—catch my drift? And I always end up buying the others.

 milo dinosaur Bono gelato

Luckily the Year of the Horse galloped by with a generous heart and thrust a Bono Gelato-Valentine’s Promo to the unsuspecting crowd at SM Aura (I suppose the other branches as well). The rationale was to eat the gelato with your sweetheart, but with an appetite for dessert that can match a family’s, I took this promo as a calling to my penury stricken wallet. In short, all mine.

 food trip manila taguig

P180 for 2 scoops (originally P250), so long as a scoop was one of the 3 chocolate flavors mentioned. Okay, I don’t remember the other 2, except for the one I chose, Milo Dinosaur! Who can resist Milo Dinosaur in Bono Gelato form? I literally grew up draining Milo from the can and eating every crumble, bit and speck.

 Speculoos bono gelato

So it was Milo Dinosaur, and pardon the cliché, Speculoos. The reason why I chose Speculoos is, humbly speaking, we have not tasted “Speculoos” except for a Speculoos Cookie (from Belgium, I think). As for the Trader Joe’s spread and all its evolutions and imitations, nay! Loser. Dieting loser.

The Specu-Milo combination was a splash of old and new sweetness, and being the 80s kid that I am, Milo rules. Speculoos is overrated, with cookie butter bits as expected. It went well with the heart-shaped wafer though, but being the biased old-school patron, Milo made me think of home—when it was still home sweet home. However for Speculoos, it was sweet with a spicy kick, so it’s still something noteworthy and deserves an ooooh on the first bite.

You can just imagine how long it took for me to fall asleep right after. The hangover from the smooth richness of the gelato was invigorating and if any, made me do anything BUT sleep.

Bono Artisanal Gelato is the premium of all those who consider themselves on the same gelato pedestal, and with the way the creaminess just haunts you while awake is a testament to its superiority.

If given the chance, the money or the promo, I will go for a Red Velvet-something else combination. Maybe that Movie Night everyone is talking about.

And if you’re an insomniac like me, treat it like tea and have it earlier during the day. Bono noche!

 cronuts taguig SM aura

On the side, my bro had a box (of 3) of Bronuts, still at SM Aura Premiere. He just had his Amaretto from Bono Artisanal Gelato the other day so he was not as deprived as his stingy sister.

 

While enjoying my supreme scoops, he flicked a bug from that blueberry cronut. That’s one down. (Actually it went to our other brother). The other one was the floss that went to our maid (seriously, she’s a foodie), while he devoured the oreo right in front of me. Perhaps, it was hmmmm-kay but next time around, don’t ever question the gelato. Never.

 

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Piece of Cake

cake dessert manila

Of course we know that nothing in life is just a piece of cake. Either it’s a box, a giant slice, a mouthful – but never a wee bite!

Turns out I’ve been hoarding photos in my phone (you hoarder!), which have never seen the light of day. Oh those calories! They need to be let out, to tease and to torture others, not just me!

And so here’s the cake collection as of late, a bit of gelato, but mainly sweets and those treats that keep you up at night.

Starbucks Classic Chocolate Cake: Always a classic, decadent and available. The best pick-me-up for doomsday. Isn’t that everyday?

Manila philippines best desserts

Starbucks Toffee Nut Slice: Invented that holiday name since I forgot its ultra long name that even the barista cannot remember. Cheap and not too sweet, Starbucks’ budget friendly response to the hungry Scrooge–that was me!

lazy black cat manila blog

2nd’s Frozen Hazelnut Cheesecake: Topped with a Ferrero ball, it gets creamier and creamier after every bite. More foamy than hazelnutty, feed only to the underweight.

2nd's Bonifacio global City

Village Tavern Carrot Cake: Oozing with cream cheese, the cake is carrot comfort saviour. Moist and chunky, rabbits will go wild and die of OD – on sugar. Good thing I’m more of a cat, you know.

dessert bonifacio highstreet

New Orleans Bourbon Street Mudpie: Zero ice cream, 100% cake.The sweetness level goes overboard so either have the beer or the cake; make no mistake of having both, especially on date night!

fort bonifacio bar dessert

Starbucks Guilt Free Cheesecake: Looks bland but the amusing layers offer vanilla, chocolate and oreo. For a sugar free creation, that’s quite a spectrum and a let’s-pretend-I’m-on-a-diet treat!

Sugar free cake

Caffe Ti Amo Waffle and Gelato: For an often-overlooked joint Caffe Ti Amo has become a haven for the hiding, criminals and anti-socials who linger in Greenbelt 5. The gelato is spectacular, simply because they offer Green Tea. That’s it. Oh, and they have a rocking chair. Beat that.

Greenbelt 5 dessert

makati food

That’s it for my recent phone uploads. It’s been a blast and I look forward to more leviathan servings of cakes this year–starting tomorrow!

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Take a Lucca

UP Town Center Bread Pastry Dessert

My name is Lucca, and I live on the first floor of the U.P. Town Center – the busiest part of Quezon City.

Lucca is this newly sprouted bread-pastry place; call it a bakery or local pastry shop. Name it your sweet hang-out or whatnot, just don’t sing about Luka because she lives on the 2nd floor!

Since this name-calling business can be stressing, I will just let Lucca be Lucca. You can liken it to Bread Talk-meets-Slice-meets-French Baker. Go figure.

pizza food sweets lucca

Even if it serves all sorts of pastries, cookies, and cakes, Lucca is not just that dessert place. I believe there are other unsweet items in the menu, but those fail to register in my interest radar at the moment. I hear the pizza is so-so, so you can skip that.

cheesecake quezon city katipunan sweets

The cookies and brownies though (they have Oreo brownies–cool), for their price range, are reasonably worth it. Hefty enough for a meal and pretty enough as gifts, Lucca can be my new Mercato, if you know what I mean.

Up Town Center food restaurant

They have cakes too, and I bravely had a slice of the 5 Layer Chocolate Cake to-go. Being new, they packed up my slice in that plastic microwaveable container that makes me look like those moms who bring home left overs from friends’ parties.

And it sucks to look like the hoarding kind, so I ate my to-go slice outside of Lucca, as curious passers by stared at my ugly plastic box, probably wondering which home I stole that from. Cake thief!

Lucca 5 layer chocolate cake lazy black cat

The 5 layers of chocolate are all the SAME ganache-like creamy chocolate that was on the safe yet delectable side. It was crusted with what I first thought was Oreo bits, but turned out to be more like crisp cake crumbs. Still, the cake was moist and veered from the too-sweet-teeth-chattering episode, so buying a whole cake is something I may do when I get stressed, depressed or just plain bored.

Lucca does serve cheesecake, cupcakes and other cakes worth trying.

Cheap and lovely to look at, even if you drop them, you can very well afford them anyway! 

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