Tag Archives: sweet

Bathroom Buddy: Fiber Plus

A sucker for anything Fiber – without any hint of hesitation – Kellogg’s Fiber Plus Antioxidants (Dark Chocolate Almond) found itself in my shopping cart and straight to my office drawer. Without even having the time to acquaint itself with my stapler, it became morning snack #1.

Chewy and studded with chocolate and almonds in every bite, Fiber Plus is a delightful diet snack with 130 calories, 5g saturated fat and, 9g fiber and 7g sugar per bar. I must have eaten mine in 4 bites – quite a record for someone who prefers tiny, slow nibbling over the ravenous mastication. Promising 35% of our daily fiber, it also makes the pledge to make us full longer.

Promise fulfilled. Plus it tasted more like a dessert bar.

In my haste to gobble it down before Willy Wonka could snatch it from me, I forgot to check the ingredient list, which I managed to do only post meal. Ingredient number 1 is Chicory Root Fiber, to be followed by Rolled Oats and Crisp Rice – the carby bunch.

Does Chicory Root Fiber ring a bell? It does to me, being a proponent of teas, and this one makes it to the “diet” tea bunch. You know, where diet is synonymous to digestive.

How funny it was to learn about this relevant piece of dietary information after finishing a bar in the office. Googling it further, I uncovered numerous bathroom jokes on Fiber Plus and Chicory Root. You do know where I’m getting at – well certainly not the bathroom. While Fiber Plus may have spawned quite a bathroom population in certain gluttonous regions – no, I’m not part of it – this should be met with good news as to its fiber-rific claim. At least here’s one granola bar doing its job on promoting health and cleansing our system.

As to the bathroom jokes, best to snack on this when you’re at your fiber low. One bar at a time. Nice and easy.

Tissues might come in handy as well. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Starbucks Finds

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Fancy Cakes

When I peeked at Fancy Cakes (Magiting St.) with the best that my mundane eyesight could do, I spotted no Angry Birds or Plants vs Zombies cakes in the chiller. No Twilight-themed cakes either or I would’ve dashed so fast even Edward couldn’t catch up. It was just cheesecakes and chocolate cakes staring back at us. I knew the coast was clear. 

The cakes were less than frilly, as one would expect, but with delectable-sounding cheesecake and chocolate cake variants staring back at you, this is fancy enough for me!

The chocolate cakes I spotted came in 3 variants: Decadent, S’mores and Romeo and Juliet, all priced reasonably at P70 a slice, while the cheesecakes at P80 per slice were just as mouth-watering: Nutella, Blueberry, and Oreo.

Romeo and Juliet (Black and White)

Romeo and Juliet was the black and white cake, with dark and white chocolate filling the layers, making a really pretty picture. The taste wasn’t all that fancy (or maybe I’m not much of a white chocolate person) but all right for its price range.  Of the chocolate cakes <P100 per slice, this one makes it to the top list. Competitors within range offer spongy, chiffon-like cakes or overly sugary batters that are heavily commercialized and far from satisfying.  At least at Fancy Cakes, there’s a “comfort food” vibe to the place, especially with neighboring Moonleaf Teahouse, so nearby residents may consider this for their next tea time.

Nutella Cheesecake

The Nutella Cheesecake had mini swirls of nutella, but the hazelnut flavor was barely discernible. The cheesecake was about an inch and a half high, firm and on the cheesy side (vs creamy which I hate). Despite its seemingly minute serving, it was rather compact and filling. The cheesecake base was great because it didn’t get all oozy or crumbly. The crust was thin but at least not bathed with sugar, which made the cheesecake the central part of well, the cheesecake – which ought to be the case.

If I ever get lost in the Magiting-Maginhawa area, which is very likely to happen, I’d most probably try the Oreo Cheesecake, and of course cross over to Moonleaf for an Oolong fix. Now that’ll be one cheap, fancy treat!

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Another Parvati Cheesecake

I never thought Cebu Pacific’s delayed antics would ever get to me, but maybe it’s the awful November heat so today, I wasn’t very forgiving. Spiteful perhaps, having seen a shoeprint on my checked-in backpack. Come on, my backpack is probably the lightest item that ever rode the conveyor belt, what could possibly be the reason for kicking or stepping on it? It’s pure black, so don’t tell me it resembles a soccer ball, a weighing scale or even someone’s face. Cebu Pacific, you owe me laundry!

Oh, and add the chirpy cabbie who just had to pretend to be a human taxi meter with an inaccurate sense of distance, and I wonder, “Since when did Wednesday the 9th become the new Friday the 13th?”

I needed cheesecake.

I ran to Parvati and bought whatever I saw first. It was a wee slice priced at P140, but the Triple Decker Chocolate Cheesecake by Kusina Torre seemed to calm the raging storm and I suppose that ought to do the trick.

The decks include: fudge brownie – cheesecake – butterscotch brownie.

The fudge brownie and cheesecake were all right – what you’d typically expect from their “traditional” flavor. The layers weren’t extraordinarily spectacular but are great enough to be comfort food variety. The brownie though is compact but not dry, which makes a perfect partner for tea.

The bottom brownie seems like a repetition of the fudge brownie, but this one was topped with something nutty-butterscotch. At first glance, I thought it was oats (like revel bars) so I instantly shoved a giant mouthful, but had to cry out when I detected nuts. Not really a “nut” fan, the cheesecake could do without this nutty layer, but I suppose for those looking for a sweet crunchy center, this ought to do it. (I scraped out mine, sorry!)

This lengthy critiquing has got to end, since I did finish the cheesecake in one sitting. It’s really filling, so good thing someone decided to invent caffeine-free green tea or I’ll be up all night blogging about Cebu Pacific.

And I’m not even a travel blogger. Yet.  LazyBlackBackpackCat.wordpress no way! Too lazy for that.

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That Warm Feeling of Dulcelation

It is soothing to think that mine is a rather extensive food vocabulary, having grown up with books on cooking, cutlery and chocolates and studying in an HE-oriented school that constantly puts Goldilocks’ prints to shame. Words like blanch, vermicelli, gourmet, sear, decadent, and julienne bear crystal clear definitions in my head, but are rarely used in real life, having no opportunity for proper articulation given Manila’s modest and mainstream selections.

That was until we spied the royal blue box laced with the signature orange ribbon lounging in my cousin’s freezer.

That was the day we came across Dulcelin’s Mango Torte and forgot that hoi polloi was ever a word.

At first sight, the Mango Torte can be quite the temptress – dotted with dollops of whipped cream that seem to wave to the eager crowd. With mango slices generously plunging into the torte and a nougatine crust that packs in that butterscotch crunch—there can only be sweet bliss in every bite. While some people prefer the crust—peanut brittle lovers, rejoice—and others enjoy the massive mango flavor—yours truly—it’s the torrent of flavors and textures that makes Mango Torte, the premium buy. It does away with the watered down cream or mango preserves that commercially baked goods erroneously flaunt as first-class. The torte is supremely rich and naturally sweetened with select fruit that you wouldn’t find on any other cake. A staple in family gatherings, the Mango Torte is delectable as it is visually superb.

It is, perhaps, the only dessert I have observed that has a 100% guest consumption rate. Why, it even fares better than ice cream, fresh fruits and well, beer!

Fruit and cream isn’t the only combination that Dulcelin can whip up with flair though. They also have the Callebaut Chocolate Ganache Cake, perhaps the supreme being for those in pursuit of the decadent and luxuriously creamy variety. Moist, rich, and  infused with copious amounts of Belgian chocolate, this delicacy offers layers of chocolate ganache, mousse and cake—topped with slivers of almonds. The ganache glistens with Belgian pride, finished off with a velvety smooth taste to match its sheen. The almonds and slightly nutty core provide the pleasant crunch that goes brilliantly well with the swirl of chocolate flavors. Each bite promises a merry mix of almonds, smooth ganache and moist cake.

MANILA, AT A GLANCE

The proliferation of bakeshops, cafes and cake stalls in Manila is undeniable, but their cakes and pastries—mainly shoddy, airy and oftentimes clichéd. Though ubiquitous in scope, they rarely provide gastronomic sustenance and, are oftentimes, selected for their logistical convenience and cost. Hence, the rise of the generic custard, the unartistic chocolate icing, the porous chiffon, the crumbling cake and the tritely used cookies and cream—all these reflect Manila’s disappointing food choices. All these show how commonplace our taste buds have become. All these make me want to go to sleep instead.

When the sleeping gourmand awakens though and all else fails, Dulcelin can appease that longing for comfort food—and that’s what I call sweet elation!

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Going, Going, Gong Cha!

Perhaps by its musically inspired name—in which I find no appeal being lyrically incapacitated—Gong Cha has never tempted me with its lavishly named tea drinks. That was until I saw the gleaming queue at Glorietta (milk tea at an Ayala Mall, a rare find!) did I realize that well, maybe there’s hope despite its taunting name.

The milk tea listing can be quite exhausting—the long line something to be grateful for having given us ample time to think,brainstorm and analyze the potential taste of every green tea combination.

The “premium” milk teas start with the signature name Gong Cha, and I initially considered it an endeavor to create brand impact. The guess was a tad too academic, as explained by the cheery cashier. Gong Cha milk tea = with cream on top. Oh my, did you say cream? Good thing there was a second option.

Going for the Large Milk Green Tea (30% sugar) with pudding (P105 total) was perhaps the wisest decision. Not really a fan of pearls, which seemed to create a choking feeling after every sip, the pudding provided a smooth sweet treat that didn’t interfere with the drink or clog the straw. The green tea was identifiable but rather overpowered by the supposed tinge of Jasmine. If I were to rename the drink, it would be more like Milky Jasmine with Green Tea (in the proper order of flavors). The 30% sweetness was tolerable yet compared with the 30% of other brands (Serenitea and Cha Time) this was one big, SWEET 30%. I cringe at the thought of 100% sweetness—a surefire nightmare for my dentist and weighing scale!

Why many people would opt for Gong Cha can be no question with its massive list of exuberant flavors, tea selections, shakes, and price. Even tea cynics will find interest in their menu with their shakes (coffee, chocolate or milk flavor), creative mixes (like Yakult Green Tea) and ice cream specials

Still pondering over the origin of the name Gong Cha, I was looking forward to seeing a real gong be used to call out the orders, or a gong being used to lull the workers to their tea making rhythm. Wrong again. At least they didn’t have to sing out my name when they called out my order or it would’ve been Gone Cha for me.

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Ciao Gelato

Show me another frozen yogurt stand, and get ready for a barrage of not-too-pleasant banter, with resonating words like uncreative, mainstream, and so yesterday. Indeed, froyo is so 2010. It’s time to revert and find folly in the good ol’ classics, in ice cream and more specifically, gelato.

Before any verbal insurgency starts to label me as old-fashioned, bear in mind that the gelato I’m talking about isn’t the usual fat laden and tooth-decay-sweet that once kept our hippies plump. Today’s gelato is almost fat free, comes in more exotic and adventurous flavors and is available in sugar or dairy free versions. Our generation brings bliss to those harboring the unquenchable sweet tooth, and gelato can easily kick froyo out of the top spot in the almost-healthy dessert list.

A fact deliberately ignored: frozen yogurt comes with sugar and cream and almost always, the toppings are an inevitable companion to ward off the sourness that most Filipinos hate, and will never learn to love. But gelato is au natural delight—tastes superb on its own, with no need for extra toppings, cones or that repulsive whipped cream.

Gelatissimo, for example, offers 90 to 97% fat free creations, sorbet, sugar free and dairy flavors and a rotating assortment that includes quite an interesting number such as Pannacotta, Pineapple, Rum and Raisin, Apple Pie, Truffle, Hazelnut, Green Tea and Lemon Cheesecake. The list is endless, and for a scoop (P110) or two (P160), a gastronomic feeling of astonishment and sweet fill can make us forget frozen yogurt was ever born. PETA-approved dairy-free dark chocolate is a universal favorite, while flavors with a hint of liquor can surely draw in the mature crowd. Mind you, my dad went for the Rum and Raisin and ordered that ever since. Not even the lure of Hazelnut could change his mind.

Italian favorite Affogato makes a heartening treat, complete with the lush tray, while fruity flavors (lemon, lime, strawberry, raspberry, etc) will make a dieter’s best friend with their low calorie content. I can probably go on about every flavor, but there’s just one thing I want to say: Why go on a monotonous froyo binge when you can enjoy an adventurous feast with gelato flavors? If you’re going to be spending the same amount anyway and ingest the same amount of calories/sugar, just go for the real thing.

Once spotted in its corner spot in Greenbelt 5, Gelatissimo has found (not so) new homes in Serendra and TriNoma (just fabulous). Now, we northern folks can expand our territorial choices, which were once composed of just Cara Mia, Stick House, Sebastian’s and of course, the ubiquitous froyo stands.

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Starry-Eyed at Starbucks

When gluttony kicks in, it doesn’t matter where you are or whose birthday it is. It’s all about what we want to eat. And make it now.

Caught in Starbucks, the only natural reaction is to hoard the most breathtaking cakes. Forget the fruits or the oatmeal cookies, it’s all about creamy chocolate bliss. Unfortunately for my brother’s wallet, there were 3. What the hell, it’s our dad’s birthday!

 


Heaven on Earth (P130) 5 layers of chocolate, mousse and cream—made more divine by its glossy chocolate top that sheens with the floral overlay. The celestial aura makes it the perfect gift, but a bite will make you decide otherwise. The chocolate cake base is light and fluffy, which complements the overly creamy middle layers and the fudgy peak. A gift from the gods indeed!

Concorde (P120) Embodying its aviation namesake, the Concorde inspires action, marvel and French style. Each bite embraces an assortment of textures and chocolate intensity, you’ll be in awe until the very last bite. Chewy and toasty on the outside, the meringue provides the protective and addictive crust. Finding our way inside, the chocolate mousse is just as luscious and satisfying. This is one delirious flight I’d ride all over again.

 

Sugar-Free Trio (P160) You’ll never settle for the regular chocolate mousse again, after indulging in this sugar-free delicacy. You wouldn’t even know it was sugar-free, unless you read the label (or I blabbed about it). The cream and mousse are mildly sweet yet decadent enough to satisfy those sweet urges. The chocolate base is a remarkable surprise, as it strays from the conventionally boring cake and delves into something more sinister—a firm, semi sweet cookie crust. It’s a surprising sugar-free triple threat that I’d keep all for myself!                                                              

Best part of all, no need to travel far for this chocolate fix. Trinoma alone hosts 3 Starbucks, not to mention the Landmark branch. Plus there are a couple more spotted on the way home. Ah yes, the stars have aligned indeed. 

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Revel Yell (Revel Bars at Parvati)

Entirely an accidental aftermath of eating a gigantic cheese omelet for lunch, I considered it imperative to pay another trip to Parvati at Trinoma to look for something randomly sweet.

Cheesecake was the first that came to mind but strangely enough, the ones I pointed to were all out of stock. Those available were puny and blueberry – not quite a match for my post work leviathan appetite.

Hence, I reverted to my original favorite: revel bars. Parvati’s selection, baked by Sweet Beginnings Patisserie, made it impossible to ignore. Temptingly named Dark Chocolate Walnut Revel Bars (P90 for 4 bars), no further introductions are necessary to identify what these glistening bars are made of. Immediately captivated by the flowing silky carpet of brown, the revel bar is mostly dark chocolate – a welcoming improvement to other local competitors. Each bite is interspersed with chewy oats and walnuts, so despite its miniature size, it takes a while to finish the entire box. Chewy, semi sweet and erratically crunchy – there is no overwhelming sweetness or nuttiness that seeks to dominate the overall flavor. 

Small but sinfully blissful. This one’s definitely worth a revel yell: More, please!

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Who’s Afraid of the Big Bread Monster?

Not me. I’m actually rather fond of it, and I bet you would too, if you give it a pet, errr… taste.

First spotted in the Ateneo de Manila University cafeteria, Bread Monster roared into existence as a school-based kiosk that specializes in cookies, cupcakes and pastries. Famous for its Blue Eagle Brownies and other thematic goodies, Bread Monster has clawed its way to the mainstream trade, finally showering its treats outside the Eagles’ lair.

A mainstay stall at the TriNoma Ground Floor (near Mercury Drugstore), Bread Monster offers the same set of sweet treats, sans the penchant for blue. Bestseller S’mores Cookies (P130 per pack) dishes out everyone’s favorite in a chewy cookie form, made more gooey with its marshmallow infused batter. Other cookies in the fare are just as luscious and chewy—from chocolate chip cookies to the traditional oatmeal cookies.

Not to be outdone, the Chocolate Cupcake is just as divine—not the best way to describe a monster but taste it and lash out words such as heavenly, blissful and indulgent. The chocolate cupcakes are moist and rich but without the excessive sweetness that would make you reach out for your toothbrush. It may not be leviathan in size, but it’s monstrously packed with chocolate goodness; even just one can take you straight to Cloud Nine.

Last but not the least are the best tasting bars the Bread Monster has hatched for our snacking revelry. Seek no more, Bread Monster’s Revel Bars (P160 for 8 pieces) are guaranteed to unleash our predatory instincts, no matter how hidden they stay, no matter what diet you think you’ve pledged yourself to. Rich in chocolate and oats with its delicate sweet base, each bite is sure to bring you to a delectable high. Watch one box sink into a mouthful abyss. Heat it up and pair with ice cream and get that dessert kick. Unlike other commercial revel bars that crumble even before they’re halfway near your mouth, this is one monster you’d want into keep in your pantry, fridge and bedside.

Don’t be afraid of the Bread Monster. It’s cheap, conveniently located and bellowing with baked goodness.

And best of all, it’s wicked!

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