White chocolate crème brulee at Bistro Manuel
There’s a slightly scandalous ecstasy at dining in this hushed, elegant space; the food is always on point and the service is impeccable. I like the tables far from the entrance and I sit facing away from the other patrons. I do this so that I can swoon shamelessly over my meal and then unabashedly devour the white chocolate crème brulee. This is a dessert that’s so sweet it makes my temples throb, and yet, I can’t resist ordering it whenever I’m here.
Sitting where no one can watch, agape, at my big mouth and bigger appetite, I spoon my way through a bowlful of this cool custard. Baked ‘til just shy of a shimmy, I savor the thick lick of eggs and cream. Caressed with cocoa butter from the white chocolate, the sweet is enhanced with a whiff of vanilla and that crackly, torched top.
Peanut Dulce de Leche Bubble Waffle at Yo! Panda
It’s easy to find Yo! Panda in Megamall – the intoxicating smell of flour and butter leads the way. I know they serve meals here but frankly, I’m not interested; those egg waffles have my name written all over their bubble bodies.
The spherical sweet that originated in Hong Kong and Macau is an egg-leavened batter cooked between two gridded plates. It’s fascinating to watch the batter being poured in and cooked for a few minutes before the pan is flipped over to cook the other side.
Yo! Panda is my daughter Boo’s and my special place. Whenever we’re here, she orders the Tres Leches Bubble Waffle, while I love the Peanut Dulce de Leche Bubble Waffle: a mouthful to say and a mouthful to meander through. The Italian gelato soft serve is pocked with chopped peanuts and showered with a trail of peanut meringue. Surprisingly creamy and not too sweet, the gelato provides relief from the crunch and chew of the crispy egg waffles that beg to be pulled, dipped, nibbled. And right in the center of this icy encounter is a single slab of ChocNut for that home run flavor of peanut that rings through loud and clear.
Cartel Coffee + Deli
This is my Bin’s favorite coffee shop. It gets super hectic here on Saturdays because of the market so we only come here on Sundays. A multi-hyphenate of a place, the coffee is by Yardstick, and the deli purveyors include Holy Carabao, Belge & Co., Txanton, etc.
I like the curated feel of Cartel, the signs attesting to their “made in small batches” philosophy, and the capable service staff who explain the difference between the Black Magic and the Espresso Pop. But I always get the Flat White anyway and my Bin adores their Vanilla Latte due to its ultra-creamy foam. As we sip and savor the strong brews, we often share a raspberry white chocolate muffin; another time, it was a chocolate sticky bun, and last week, it was a butter scone. One day, we’ll try their sandwiches and then I’ll pick up a baguette to take home.
The churros at La Maripili are even better than the ones I have in Spain. Quite a sweeping statement that, but I appreciate that these fluted fritters are cooked to order. Arriving in a paper cone awash in amber and heat, a chorus of crispness resounds at first bite. Chewy-crunchy-hot, the chocolate dip garnished with a squirt of whipped cream adds an element of luxe to this elemental little treat, and it’s only a matter of time now before I fight with you over the last churro.
2/F Six Axis Center
4347 B. Valdez St., Poblacion, Makati
02 871 8566 / +63926 734 1067
Unit 426 C2 (A) 4th Floor SM Megamall Bldg A, J. Vargas Ave., Mandaluyong, 1550 Metro Manila
02 246 9069 ext. 522
119 L.P. Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati
02 772 8270
ATC Corporate Center, Alabang Town Center, Alabang Zapote Road, Alabang, Muntinlupa
0905 518 7422