Wednesday, February 27, 2013

ABC Wednesdays | Goldilocks Muffins

Goldilocks Muffins
Goldilocks Muffins

It was a very long day for me, and I was feeling famished and tired. Thinking I'd be traveling for three hours going home, I decided to enter the Goldilocks Bake Shop branch near the Ayala MRT to grab some snacks. Thinking what to buy, these muffins caught my eye and  bought three of the four flavors available (I didn't get the Dark Chocolate Chip Muffin as I am not really into chocolate).

Packaging was okay, and opening the packs was a pleasure to do because the aroma of these muffins were so inviting! The size was a plus point, too!

Goldilocks | Banana Muffin
Goldilocks | Banana Muffin

Banana Muffin 
It tasted good... but I guess I've been steaming (as we don't have an oven) and eating a lot of banana cakes lately that this didn't appeal to me much anymore. But in case you wanna know, this has a good banana flavor, the sweetness was okay and the nuts gave a good contrast. If you love banana cakes, you will love this, too!

Goldilocks | Blueberry Muffin
Goldilocks | Blueberry Muffin

Blueberry Muffin
When I opened the pack, I made this closed-eyes remark, "Hmmmm.... blueberry." It does have a great blueberry smell, but when I cut it in half, I was a bit dismayed that it didn't have any hints of blueberries inside. The only blueberries it had was the swirl at the top, which wasn't much.

This morning, while editing these pictures, I made a web search if there are other blogs that talked about these muffins, and I came across Pinakbet.Net's post about the Blueberry Muffin and I was more dismayed when I saw that his/her muffin had blueberries inside. Awwww....

Goldilocks | Calamansi Orange Muffin
Goldilocks | Calamansi Orange Muffin

Calamansi Orange Muffin
My favorite of the three, because it was quite unique (there aren't a lot of citrusy muffins that I know of), and the one that's most flavorful as well. It had chunks of candied orange peels, which was a pleasure to eat because it didn't have hints of bitterness. Of the three, this was also the most moist.

Each of the muffins were less than 30 pesos each (Calamansi Orange and Banana were 26 each, Blueberry was 28). That alone makes it a very good buy because the muffins were big, the cake was compact and eating just the half of it can make one feel satisfied.

For sure I'd buy the Calamansi Orange Muffin again and maybe try the Dark Chocolate Chip Muffin next time, but the Blueberry, I don't know. Yes, it does taste good... but getting the muffin without the blueberries inside was a turn off and I feel afraid I might get a muffin that doesn't have any fillings again.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Culinary Dialogue with Ms. Glenda Barretto at the Maya Kitchen

Ms. Glenda Barretto
Via Mare

Ms. Glenda Barretto has always been interested with food. She practically grew up in the kitchen, helping her mother prepare dishes, and by age 8 or 9 she already knew how to cook Caldereta (but of course the grown ups cut up the ingredients for her and they supervised her while she cooked). Her culinary expertise made her travel around the world, cooking and serving food to some of the very important people.

Last Saturday (23 Feb 2013), the Maya Kitchen hosted its first ever Culinary Dialogue with Ms. Glenda Barretto, and I was there to be a part of it.

Culinary Dialogue at the Maya Kitchen
Nancy Reyes-Lumen
Ms. Nancy Reyes-Lumen at the Dialogue
The biggest lesson I learned from her was to "continue innovate Filipino cuisine." Personally, I do feel one of the reasons why Filipino dishes aren't that much known worldwide was because colors tend to look bland (Kare-Kare is super brown, Dinuguan is super black...), but Ms. Glenda stated that our lutong bahay doesn't have to be served in typical ways, we can always elevate it to make it look presentable and taste better.

Other things I learned: slow cooking is always the best way to cook food because it doesn't shock and stress the ingredients... and that temperature affects the texture of the ingredients; garnishes has to be related to the main dish you're serving; and that when you serve plated meals, starch (rice, mashed potatoes, etc) has to be at the right side (1 o'clock) and the vegetables at the left (11o'clock).

Participants asked questions, Ms. Glenda shared memorable stories... but it wasn't all talk, there were food presentations as well, and in each dish prepared by her trusted and longtime chefs at Via Mare, she shared more cooking tips as well as plating techniques.

Banana Hearts with Vinaigrette

Banana Hearts with Vinaigrette
First dish of the day. This one uses the Butuan type of banana hearts (the whitish elongated one) because it doesn't darken compared to the deep red/purple almond-shaped ones. This also has the texture of artichokes, so it was like serving expensive dish at a fraction of the cost.

The vinaigrette consist mainly of salad oil and mustard, and did go well with the chopped banana hearts. Although the mustard gave its distinct sour flavor, the sugar gave it balance.

Eggplant Salad

Eggplant Salad
Typically, we do Ensaladang Talong at home as simple as grilling the eggplants and adding chopped tomatoes and onions seasoned with bagoong balayan. This uses coconut cream and was topped with either toasted dilis, sundried tapang baka, and kalgag (dried baby shrimps).

I did love the combination of the smokey flavored grilled eggplants and the coconut cream, but I found the cream too rich and a little bland. Maybe my share of the salad didn't have much dilis to give its salty flavor, but should I cook this at home, I'd definitely add chopped green mangoes to cut in the richness of the coconut cream.

Ensaladang Pako

Ensaladang Pako (Fiddlehead Fern Salad)
This particular Pako Salad gave me a reason to love Kesong Puti, and made me realize that olive oil, lemon juice and bagoong balayan make a very good vinaigrette. The next time the family goes to Sidcor Weekend Market, I'd definitely buy a bunch of pako to re-create this.

Tinola Flan

Tinola Flan
This is a very good example of innovating Filipino dishes. Tinola may be a good viand at home, but serving it at special occasions may not be a good thing to do, because it would make guests take the meat out of the bones (quite messy) and serving this using chicken breast may not be as tasty.

Presenting the Tinola Flan. The success of this dish lies on how strong your broth is, because eggs will be added to the broth. To make it "real" tinola, flakes of boiled chicken breast, julienned cut of young papaya, as well as chili leaves were added, too. Ms. Glenda said that cutting the ingredients into small pieces makes it easier to eat, thus making it more pleasant to eat.

All of us at the dialogue loved this dish! True enough, the stronger the broth is, the better it would be because this one tasted a lot like the Tinola we Filipinos have grown to love. Texture wise, it's like taho and just like taho, there are some broth under the dish that separated to the egg curd (but the eggs were added directly to the broth prior to steaming). This may not be soupy, but it can pass up as a good soup / appetizer during parties.

Adobong Baka with Ube Rice

Adobong Baka
Ingredients for this was the typical adobo ingredients, but the secret lies to the cooking technique - slow cooking. This particular adobo was steamed - the whole chunk of beef belly double wrapped in aluminum foil and placed inside the steamer - for about 4 hours. This was my first time to taste Adobong Baka and I was really pleased at how tender it was.

As garnish, a piece of cherry tomato was cut in half and skewered with a piece of hard boiled quail egg. Not only did it add the much needed color, it also went well with the dish, as we usually add hard boiled egg and serve chopped tomatoes with our adobo.

Ube Rice
At first (checking the recipe guide prior to the start of the class) I thought it will be like suman, but it was not. Ms. Glenda said the adobo didn't have much color (apart from the garnish) and serving it with plain rice doesn't really appeal to the eyes, hence the addition of chopped ube. It was surprisingly good!

Pitsi-Pitsi with Coco Chantilly

Pitsi-Pitsi with Coconut Chantilly
This is similar, yet quite different from the pitsi-pitsi (or pichi-pichi) I have tasted in the past. I personally don't know how to cook this native delicacy, but people at the class were surprised that adding oil to the mixture works well. Typical Pitsi-Pitsi uses grated coconut, but this one uses Coconut Chantilly dispensed using a whipper. I think using the whipper Via Mare's way of innovating this food - by embracing "foreign" methods.

Despite the innovations, all of the dishes were fairly easy to do and I can see myself recreating one or two (perhaps not the pitsi-pitsi because I found it tricky to do, even without the Chantilly) in the future.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Figaro Fort Pointe Now Open to Serve You!


Figaro (Fort Pointe)

For most of us, coffee is very important. I am not much of a coffee drinker, but I do love welcoming a new day with a hot cup of coffee with cream. That being said, there sure are a lot of coffee shops around, that even if one is close to another, it is still expected for these coffee shops to be full. I think having more to offer other than coffee and other drinks make these coffee shops to be a one-stop place to eat meal, enjoy coffee, and be with companions. Just in the Bonifacio Global City, there are already two Figaro shops - one in High Street, the other in Market! Market! - but the demand for more shops was high that another opens in Fort Pointe, along 28th Street in BGC last Monday, the 18th of February, 2013.

Figaro (Fort Pointe)
Figaro (Fort Pointe) Paper Bag | Wall Design

This quaint little shop might be a bit smaller compared to the other Figaro shops I've dined at, but what I loved about this branch is how well lighted the place is. The high ceiling also provides more air circulation. One thing I found cute - decorating the walls with the design that can be seen on Figaro's paper bags. :)

Figaro (Fort Pointe)

About lunch time during the opening day, diners were asked to pick a rolled piece of paper from a bowl, but were asked not to unroll it yet. When everyone had their own paper, unrolling it became a surprise for some as there were written prizes into it. I drew a blank paper, so I didn't get to win any of the Figaro mugs and pastries given off that day. As an added treat, the first 100 customers that day were also given a free cup of brewed coffee.

Seafood Pasta

Figaro offers three new pasta dishes, including this one - Seafood Pomarola.

Pasta a la Carlo

Pasta a la Carlo
I wanted to try something "new" that day, and went for this pasta. It wasn't really new as this has been a well-known and well-loved pasta by Figaro, but I still haven't tasted it, so it was new for me. A very healthy alternative to the meaty pasta because it uses tuna chunks and is like pasta puttanesca. It was spicy, but has a nice hint of sweetness that I truly loved! This one's a little heavy on the sauce and tuna chunks, so there were a lot of leftover sauce on my plate, which makes it a good topping to the bread that came with the pasta.


Figaro Meaty Lasagna
My brother opted to go for the Figaro Meaty Lasagna for his meal. It was super meaty, but I think it needed more bechamel sauce.

Coffee Jelly Float Mocha Java Oreo


Butterscotch Vanilla with Coffee Jelly was my choice of drink. I was told by the store manager that this one's slightly more richer and bitter than the other cold coffee drinks, but I still went to order this because of the coffee jelly and the vanilla ice cream on top. Sure it was bitter, but mixing the ice cream into the drink made it creamier and mellowed down the rich coffee flavor.

My brother went for Choco Chips Java Frappe. I wasn't able to take a sip, but he told me it tasted like the usual cold coffee drinks with choco chips.

Our pal FPJ chose Figaroccino Cookie Crumble. I was a little shy to ask him to allow me to this drink so I had no clue how it tasted.

Ham and Cheese

Ham and Cheese Bakes
A friend asked us to taste this because it is her personal favorite. The Figaro Bakes consist of four baguette slices topped with cheese and/or other toppings. Aside from the Ham and Cheese, there's also the Mushroom and Cheese, Cheese Pimiento, and simply Cheese.

Seeing that mound of toppings, I feared it might be salty, but it wasn't. It is such a simple food, yet very comforting. I consider it as a good snack and a good meal as well.

Figaro Club

Figaro Club
Capping off the bread overload, we had this. I have tasted quite a lot of Clubhouse, but what made me love this was the light mustard dressing that went very well with the ingredients. I wasn't able to photograph the stacks of ingredients, but it had: lettuce, chicken fillet, ham, cucumbers, tomatoes, and egg salad. It reminded me of my ever favorite clubhouse (Whistlestop).

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake
The cake was moist, it is lightly sweet, but I didn't like that much because of the pineapple tidbits.

Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake
Oh my gosh... what a great serving of oh-so-good cake! I do love the Red Velvet Cake and this one satisfied me a lot! I was told that this used to be served only during Christmastime, but because a lot of people loved it, they made it part of their wide array of pastries.

Figaro Fort Pointe is open daily from 7am - 10pm. For those not familiar with the area, it is located at the old location of Pier One.

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Jenn, the Foodie

I come from a family who loves cooking and eating. I never had any formal training in cooking and that I taught myself how to cook based on the handed down recipes, but I could say that I can cook good food. In 2008, I started documenting my food trips for my travel blog, and since I have quite enough to start a food blog, might as well put all those food trips in one location. Thus, a food blog is born - thanks to the new Friendster Blogs. However, due to several problems, I was left with no choice but to pack bags again and move here instead. Here's the permanent address, promise! Enough talk, let the food trippin' begin! {Know More About Me}