Peanut Butter Aplenty

I find that Filipinos either love or hate peanut butter. I’m in the first camp.

I grew up on peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwiches and though my mom wasn’t – and still isn’t – a fan of the stuff, she’d make homemade peanut butter for me and my two sisters. I still remember coming home from school to see her laboring over a large wok-like pan stirring the peanutt-y paste into submission. As an adult, I’ve graduated (or is regressed?) to peanut butter-banana sandwiches drizzled with honey and cinnamon and I bake peanut butter pies during my unguarded moments of unspeakable indulgence. (See below for the rest of my posts on peanut butter).

Peanut Butter Company (PBCo.) is a tremendous, courageous concept that fulfills the desires of people like myself whose hearts pitter-patter for peanut butter. I say tremendous and courageous because it’s a ballsy move to open a single concept store. Filipinos adore variety even though most of us end up choosing the same thing over and over again. Think back to all of the one-food kiosks/establishments of the past (caramel apples?, cupcakes?, sugar free café?), the subsequent copycats and the withdrawal into obscurity or demise of the weaker ones. Interestingly enough, single-concept establishments like Chocolat and Bibingcrepe are thriving. I hope that PBCo. gets the chance to follow their example.

PBCo., whose tagline “Spreading life’s simple comforts” (clever!) is the first peanut butter restaurant in the Philippines. A fun, little store its menu offers sandwiches – hot ones and riffs on the classic pb&j -, pastas, and specials. I admire the ingenuity of those who developed the food; they obviously did their homework when it came to utilizing peanut butter as more than just a spread. At PBCo., peanut butter is an enhancement instead of a distraction. To wit: a smear is spread with a sparing hand of the Chili peanut butter, an accent to the Chili Fried Chicken Sandwich (P160). The ensuing heat and sweet is a foil to the super crunchy chicken breast fillet.”It’s like the best McChicken of my life!” My friend exclaims. Who knew peanut butter got along with poultry?

Aside from the chili variation, there are 11 more different peanut butter incarnations: creamy, crunchy, curry, dark chocolate, green tea, cinnamon, white chocolate, sun-dried tomato, butter, cardamom, and sesame. Ask for a taste (or two or three) of the butters you like. Costing approximately P210 per 590-gram bottle, they’re the stars of PBCo.’s playful inventiveness.

The Cold Asian Noodles has the sesame peanut butter as its base coating a tumble of toothsome noodles. A refreshing summer dish, it’s something I want to keep on going back for. But there are other dishes that require some stretches of the imagination. The Crunchy Sardine Jelly Sandwich is a mishmash of crunchy peanut butter, sardines, and grape (!) jelly – only for the gutsy. On the other hand, peanut butter is neither a star nor a support but a garnish as in the BBQ Wings (chili peanut butter glaze) or the Fish n’ Chips (peanut-cucumber dip).

I appreciate the heft of the sandwiches here that are as large as those served at Oliver’s Super Sandwiches. I drool at the possibility of the Fluffer Nutter, marshmallow cream and peanut butter, a copyrighted term so it’s called Marshmallow Peanut Butter Sandwich. The Cinnamon Apple Sandwich is promising and the straightforward PB&J is goofproof, but it’s the Elvis, The King sandwich that I zero in on. A favorite of the legendary rock ‘n’ roller, the peanut butter- banana on white fried in butter has inspired countless interpretations. PBCo.’s take on it involves bacon and bananas on a smear of peanut butter. Though this sandwich requires no brain power to make, it disappoints on a few counts. PBCo. uses Cavendish bananas, a hardy variant that’s unfortunately one-dimensional in flavor. Cut too thickly, they’re the size of fingerling potatoes. I believe that lacatan bananas would be a definite improvement here. In addition, the bacon is a surprising, pleasing ingredient but the entire sandwich would benefit from some sweetness – honey perhaps, to round out the sandwich’s components.

Peanut Butter Company
SM North Edsa Main Mall near the IMAX theater.
Another branch at SM Clark.

Other peanut butter posts:
Nutter About Peanut Butter
Peanut Butter “Larva” Cakes
A Peanut Butter Lover And Her Pie

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