7. Potato chips at Sergio’s Pizza in SM Baguio
This restaurant is the result of my hunting for a place to have my last meal in Baguio. It couldn’t be just any place, and Sergio’s looked like just the right thing for a hearty, bye-to-Baguio meal.
Though I ate there almost six months ago, it’s the potato chips that I remember up to now. “Psst, we gotta order those,” my Bin whispers excitedly to me. A couple was working on a gargantuan plate of what looked to be homemade potato chips, a far cry from the stuff that’s poured out of a bag.
The people at Sergio’s make these chips from scratch. Baguio potatoes are washed, peeled, sliced, and cooked twice in hot oil ”“ once to cook, and another for crunch. They’re served by the plateful with mayonnaise and salt (my preference), or with ketchup if you so please. Hardly greasy and full of gratifying crunch, I wish that Sergio would package these chips and make them more available to us people here in Manila.
And if you’re wondering about the food, let the photos do the talking. Food here is served the Italian family-style way ”“ also known as l-a-r-g-e. Check out the lasagna.
8. Chef Tony’s Popcorn
Chef Tony is Tony ElepaÃ±o, the 30ish owner of Cajun Burger, which had a stall at Glorietta’s Food Choices until just recently. Popcorn has knocked off burgers, at least where Tony is concerned, and it looks like a smart move. His little stall at PriceSmart in Fort Bonifacio has already increased in space, and sales are buoyed by the generous samples that the attendants give out.
The popcorn comes in three flavors: cinnamon-sugar, pesto, and the bestselling original, which is actually caramel popcorn (as seen in photo). Two sizes are available: small (P45), and the large (P100/tub, P120 for the cinnamon-sugar), seen here.
Every tub of Chef Tony’s popcorn touts itself to be low in fat and cholesterol as well as a great source of fiber. I believe all of it except for the ”˜low fat’ part ”“ anything that’s this good can’t be low fat — life just isn’t that fair. The original is my favorite variant: an irresistibly sweet-salty love affair fragrant with butter (see, it just can’t be low fat!). I tend to eat these in big handfuls, stuffing it into my mouth almost as fast as I can chew. It’s embarrassing, I tell ya.
My only complaint is that this popcorn tends to get stale almost too easily ”“ leave it uncovered or at room temperature for more than half a hour, and it gets gummy (makunat). There’s a reminder on the tub to keep any leftover popcorn in the refrigerator, and it works. But in my house, popcorn doesn’t even make it that far.
Chef Tony’s Popcorn Company
9. Ricky’s pulled pork sandwiches
Ricky’s family makes the best mango torte in Manila, that we know. What most people don’t know is that Ricky is a smoked food god. This guy makes a pulled pork sandwich so mean that it brings me to my knees.
Smoking meats gives it a most pleasant flavor and also aids in preserving the food. Ricky smokes various cuts of pork using wood chips, most often hickory. Smoked for at least 15 hours, the point where the fat has melted away and the tough connective tissue called collagen has broken down, the meat is tender enough to be pulled apart by hand.
Ricky serves the meat with sticky-sweet caramelized onions, sautéed just until their natural sugars are released. Pairing with the onions is a one of a kind BBQ sauce that Ricky makes: vermilion red and speckled with spices, it’s so good it’s hard to stop licking my fingers. No utensils are required to eat this pulled pork sandwich: fingers and mouth will do. I like to eat this sandwich while bent over my kitchen counter, BBQ sauce dripping down my forearms, while I try my best to not let my overstuffed sandwich fall to pieces. It’s a losing, yet most delicious battle.
PS: This is a photo of the pulled pork sandwich that I ate at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. In terms of taste and appearance, it doesn’t even compare to the one that Ricky makes.
What the people at Nestle have done is to combine gata (coconut milk) and evaporated milk. The resulting mixture is slightly thicker than the latter, with a distinctive coconut taste. This product is actually a good substitute for coconut milk or cream.
Thinking about what to do with the Coco Evap aside from drinking it straight up (!), I’m inspired to make coconut pot de crÃ¨mes. Using a mixture of Coco Evap and canned coconut cream, this is what I made to celebrate Dessert Comes First’s 1st birthday.
It turned out beautifully, lush and silken, like all good custards should be. Making these pot de crÃ¨mes was also a good way to put my new custard cups and demitasses to use. Aren’t they lovely?
11. Roshan’s “surprise” cupcakes
Roshan’s lemon torte was a runaway success at the tea party, but my heart beats for her cupcakes. Diminutive and dark as night, these little things hold a sweet surprise: a custard center.
Having tasted enough cupcakes while in the States, I’ve made up my mind that I don’t really like the chocolate ones. But Roshan’s cupcakes are decidedly different ”“ that they’re moist is a given, but I also like how the icing isn’t tooth-achingly sweet and the custard center contributes a contrast in flavor. Of course anything with sprinkles on it ups the irresistible factor more than just a few notches for me.
I am often loathe to share my dessert with anyone, which is why the cupcake is particularly appealing to me ”“ it eliminates any and all reason to share. It’s easy enough to say, “Hey, get your own, dude!” without a whit of guilt on my part.
Homemade by Roshan
Specialty Cakes and Desserts
6317786 or 0917.8336286
12.Hot chocolate at Galileo
Galileo is where I met Marketman, as well as Mila and Katrina, who’ve become my food buddies. Ever since that meeting in November, I’ve probably been back to Galileo more times than I care to count: it’s where I took my family for my birthday dinner last February, and I even featured the restaurant for a local glossy.
I love everything about Galileo, most especially the antipasti platter. But what I love best is their Italian hot chocolate. Called Cioco Delice, (P100-hot/P130-cold) it’s a light brown powder that is dissolved in hot milk. It goes down thickly, sensuously, think of velvet touching skin. As it sits, or if you decide to take it cold, it’s more like pudding, possibly the best chocolate pudding you will ever taste.
80 Calbayog Street corner Malinao Street,