Thursday, August 20, 2015

Food Trip Flashback | Chocolat Deep Dark Chocolate Cakes

2012 to 2014 weren't good years for me as far as blogging is concerned, and checking the archives of this blog, I realized there were food trips dating back to 2011 that I still haven't shared. I know, these food trips were already outdated, but more than "reviewing" the food and the dining experience, these food trips were about memories and history, and despite the time gap, I still would like to document them, so I have something to look back on when I am wrinkly and old.

Once, online friends and I together with my sister met up for a food trip. After eating a very heavy and hearty dinner at Pino Restobar, we still thought it wasn't enough to wrap up the food trip, so after chit-chats, it was decided that we would go for cakes at Chocolat in Sgt. Esguerra.

There were eight of us for this food trip, Andrew didn't order his share of desserts and two of us ordered the same cake, so here are the six cakes we ordered:

Kahlua Bailey's

Chocolate cake laced with Kahlua liqueur, topped with mini chocolate kisses. My choice of cake, just to add more variety to the cakes for that night. It was moist, not too dense and not too soft, but it was just too sweet for my liking.

Classic chocolate cake soaked in Bailey's liquor, topped with chocolate sprinkles. My sister ordered this one and I liked it better than my cake, because this had more body - both in texture and taste.

Chocolate Caramel Choco Hazelnut

Chocolate Caramel
Chocolate Cake with rich caramel swirls. Probably my second favorite cake; I loved the contrast between chocolate and caramel. Sweet, yes, but not too much.

Choco Hazelnut
Classic chocolate cake with hazelnut filling topped with hazelnut chocolate cube. It didn't really taste like Nutella, but it was good.

Death by Tablea NY Cheesecake

Death by Tablea
Chocolate cake with bittersweet icing made of native cacao and condensed milk. The best of all the cakes we tried. I guess there's something about the condensed milk and the tablea that added a different dimension to the cake. It was chocolatey and milky, something that reminded you of home and Christmastime.

NY Cheesecake
Melt-in-your-mouth baked cheesecake with graham cracker crust. After trying all the chocolate cakes while slowly consuming my sweet cake, my friend Halie suggested I try her cake, just to wash off the chocolate flavor in my mouth. I am not a fan of cheesecakes and I don't know what makes a good cheesecake, but I appreciated the change of flavor this cake brought.

Chocolate Drink

Chocolate Drink
All of us had a mug of this rich chocolate drink to go with our cakes. Normally, I prefer coffee with my cakes, but it was a pleasure sipping a warm chocolate drink in between bites of chocolate cake.

It was a good way to cap off a wonderful night.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Robinsons Townville Meycauayan is Now Open!

Robinson's Townville - Meycauayan

As a person who lives quite far from the heart of the Metro, I experienced how difficult it was to shop for goods, our family had to plan a time when to do grocery or clothes shopping. It is very fortunate that as time passed, things are slowly becoming within reach.

Such is what Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc. is aiming for, by opening community malls in different locations nationwide. At the moment they are operating nine malls - Cabanatuan (Nueva Ecija), Pulilan (Bulacan), BF Ruins, Davao, Laguna, Dumaguete, Imus, and Dasmarinas (Cavite). Branded as Robinsons Townville, these group of malls is not just about convenience, it also connotes a sense of belongingness, being family-friendly, fun, and friendly.

Last Friday, the 14th of August 2015, I was one of the blessed one who witnessed another milestone when they opened their 9th branch - the Robinsons Townville Meycauayan in Bulacan.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Merienda at Cafe Via Mare

Whenever I pass by Landmark Makati, I always get intrigued with Café Via Mare - not only because of its unusual location, but also because of how they managed to keep up with the times. It was a sad truth that despite the interest, I still haven't tried their food yet, but a few years ago, I personally got to attend a food demo by Ms. Glenda Barretto and Via Mare staff, and got to taste their food finally. At first taste, I knew then why Via Mare (the café and their catering service) has been that strong - their food definitely carried them all these years.

Literally meaning "the way of the sea," Via Mare started as a specialty seafood restaurant, and was known for their Oyster Bar. The business went through many changes, but one thing that never changed was their mission to innovate and upgrade the traditional Filipino cuisine. Although the company is very conservative and don't really compete head to head with other restaurants, Via Mare still wanted the younger generations to learn more about them and their food as has recently tied up with Kidzania Manila, a dedicate play and learning space for children.

There might not be a lot of Café Via Branches around Metro Manila, but they are very much well known in the catering business, having to serve six Philippine presidents and other big national events like the 1995 Miss Universe pageant in Manila, the papal visit of then Pope John Paul II, the gala of the Philippine-run West End’s Miss Saigon, and the 2007 ASEAN Summit in Cebu. Currently, they are working on dishes for the APEC Summit.

Merienda at Via Mare Merienda at Via Mare

Last week, I was with my fellow bloggers as we tried the merienda at Café Via Mare at Landmark TriNoma. It was my first time to visit this branch, and even if the café is somewhat hidden and difficult to find, it was really interesting to see the café full of people. Dishes we tried include...

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Food Shopping in Laguna

Last Saturday, we joined fellow parishioners in visiting four Catholic Churches - two in Rizal Province and two in Laguna. It was a very good way to visit something new at the same time spending time with people from our neighborhood. We visited...

St. Jerome Church
Morong, Rizal

St. Joseph Church
Baras. Rizal

St. Peter of Alcantara Parish Church
Pakil, Laguna

St. John the Baptist Church
Liliw, Laguna

Our breakfast, lunch, and dinner were served on the bus, so no food trips for this pilgrimage, but, when we arrived in Liliw, we were given ample time to explore the Gat Tayaw street. It was there that we spent a lot of time checking different shops, but we also got to buy a few food items in Pakil. Some of the foods we took home are:

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Recipe | Palitaw

Three memories involving Palitaw:

1. When we were kids (a time when our neighborhood is not yet fully developed), my brother and I would always mimick the woman selling this native delicacy. We would echo her "Paaa-liii-tttaaaawww!!!" and we would hide under the sofa so when she would check our windows she won't see anyone. One time, she got upset (well, who wouldn't) and shouted that we shouldn't make fun of her. Sorry po!

2. When I was in high school, my close friends and I decided to cook this, under Liza's mom's supervision. We didn't cook it like the typical Palitaw, her mom cooked the grated fresh coconut until it becomes latik, but even so, I consider that time one of the happiest moments I spent with my high school girl friends.

3. My dad used to buy this every day for his afternoon snacks.

It was reason number three that led us to try and cook Palitaw. Out of the blue, us three girls thought about Palitaw and how dad used to really like eating it, and we just decided to cook some for ourselves, because buying from kakanin peddler would be impractical (especially because the palitaw she was selling was so thin, we thought we don't get our money's worth), and we would be sure of its freshness. When it comes to native delicacies, it is oftentimes difficult to buy those with fresh coconuts because they spoil quickly.

Anyway, Palitaw is one of the easiest native delicacies to cook, but because we didn't know the exact ratio of rice flour to water, we decided to follow another one of Pinay Cooking Lessons's recipes. Click on the recipe title to view its video tutorial on YouTube.


  • 1 1/4 cups rice flour
  • 2/3 cup water
  • more water for boiling
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • freshly grated coconut
  • Pour water into a pot until half-full and allow it to boil under medium heat.
  • While waiting for the water to boil, heat a pan and toast sesame seeds until light brown in color. Mix in a bowl with the sugar and set aside.
  • In a medium sized bowl, combine rice flour and water until it is play-dough consistency - soft, but not sticky. If the dough is too dry, add more water (a little at a time).
  • Depending on the size you want, get some of the dough, shape them into a ball using your palms, and using your thumb, make an indentation in the middle so it will flatten a bit. Make it round or elongated in shape, but make sure your Palitaw pieces are not so thin so it won't easily break, or not so thick so it will cook easily.
  • Once you used up all the dough, drop them one at time in the pot of boiling water (don't crowd them because they might stick to each other) and wait for them to float. Once the dough floats totally, allow it to cook a few more minutes then fish them out using a slotted spoon. Place the cooked palitaw on a plate, without touching each other.
  • When ready to serve, roll each palitaw pieces on freshly grated coconut and transfer on the serving plate. You may now place the palitaw on top of each other because the grated coconut prevents them from sticking together.
  • Depending on your preference, you may top it with the sugar-sesame mix or serve them separately.

We decided to top our Palitaw with the sugar-sesame mix, but we didn't use all, because we have our own preference when it comes to the amount of sugar.

Just some points to consider... here in the Philippines, there are ready-made galapong being sold in public markets (where you usually buy your sago and gulaman). If you decide to use this, omit the 2/3 cup of water in the recipe. We used the ones sold in supermarkets, in case you want to know. Also, when you let the store owner / staff grate the coconut using a machine, specify that you will use this for Palitaw, because they tend to push the coconut into the machine too much, which causes the machine to grate parts of the coconut shell as well. You want your grated coconuts as white as possible. Lastly, buy the coconut the day you decide to make this recipe. Like I said, freshly grated coconut spoils fast, so when you buy them, make sure you make the recipe within the day as well. If you bought it early in the morning and you will make the Palitaw about noon time, place them in the fridge until you're ready to use them.

If you want something easy to cook for snack this weekend, I suggest you try this, too. Let the kids or your siblings and parents join the fun of shaping the palitaw dough, it makes eating more fun. Happy weekends!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Recipe | Cassava Cake

One time, my mom traveled to her hometown in Bolinao, Pangasinan and brought home some fresh cassava. That same time, I was quite into cooking videos on YouTube, and seeing the fresh cassava, it made me look for different videos for Cassava Cake. There are quite a few, but I decided to try Pinay Cooking Lessons's recipe instead.

Tes' Special Cassava Cake

Ingredients (cake):
  • 1 kilo grated cassava
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups thick coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (plus additional for greasing pans)
  • 2 eggs
  • egg yellow food color (optional)

Ingredients (topping):
  • 1 cup thin coconut milk
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Preheat oven at 340*F
  • Crack eggs in a bowl and beat lightly. Add melted butter (which has been cooled down to room temp), sugar, and thick coconut milk. Mix together and add food coloring if desired.
  • Once sugar is dissolved, add grated cassava and mix until thoroughly blended.
  • Prepare the pans by greasing the bottom and sides of the pans with melted butter. Pour cake batter on pans, giving enough space for expansion and topping. Bake until the batter firms up and the toothpick inserted in the middle of the pan comes out clean.
  • While the cake is baking, cook the topping. In a saucepan, place thin coconut milk and flour. Mix to dissolve flour, before adding condensed milk. Mix until well blended.
  • Turn on the stove, and under medium heat bring mixture to a boil while constantly stirring. Once it starts to boil, turn off the heat. The topping will thicken as it cools down.
  • When the cake is cooked, pour topping, making sure that you divide the topping equally to number of pans used. If it becomes too thick, just add water to thin it down.
  • Place back the pan(s) in the oven and bake until the topping firms up and has turned brown.
  • Allow the cake to cool down completely before taking out of the pan. Serve on a platter as is, or slice into squares if desired.
For my cassava cake, I also added cheese on the toping, as requested by my sister. Personally, we preferred to have cheese on our cassava cake because we liked the contrast between sweet and savory.

The recipe turned out good. My sister loved it a lot, and I am thinking of baking some again for mom's household members in the church org.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Divine Sweets Bakery and Cafe (Puerto Princesa, Palawan)

Today marks the first death anniversary of my cousin Gie, and because her real name is Divina and she married a man from Puerto Princesa, I decided to unearth these pictures from my files and make this post as my way of remembering her.

April last year, my mother attended a conference for Handmaids of the Lord, a branch of the Couples for Christ group of ministries. She is more active to her household in CFC, but she also wanted to attend this conference, and asked me to travel with her, so we both could set foot in Puerto Princesa. She attended the conference that entire weekend, so whole day of Saturday, I found myself alone in the inn. That afternoon, I decided to go out and check their museum, and after, I took a jeep going to Robinson's Place Palawan to check if they have a Booksale branch, as well as wait for my mom so we could eat dinner together.

I couldn't eat a meal or a heavy snack at 5 in the afternoon because it might ruin my appetite for dinner, so walking around the mall, I saw Divine Sweets Bakery and Café, and thought this would be a great place to try.

For some reason, I wasn't able to take pictures of the café. I guess I truly am not used to solitary dining, but the place had a good dining space - it promotes closeness without being crowded, and they set tables good for families, big groups, as well as for those who are couples, or alone (like me).

The café offers rice meals and sandwiches, but because I didn't see any bake shops or pastry shops nearby, I felt the need to try their pastries instead. After all, I only wanted a "light" snack, let me eat my desserts first, so to speak.

Amnesia Cake
Of all the cakes available that day, I chose their Amnesia Cake, based solely on the name of the cake. I am not sure why they call this "amnesia," but while it didn't really make me forget my name or where I was, it was definitely delicious! The cake itself was dense but moist - just the way I want my chocolate cake, and the caramel icing provided a contrasting yet complimenting flavor. I also liked the shaved nuts, but the most interesting about this cake was that it was so rich, it was quite addicting, but a mouthful was already enough. I know it was contradicting, but I do hope you get what I mean - this cake made me crave for more, but it was also able to satisfy me.

When I finally met my mom for dinner, I still couldn't get over this cake that I was hoping she could try it, too. Unfortunately, she told me the organizers of the conference gave them a take out dinner rice meal and that they were already full.

Iced Coffee Latte
As much as I love hot coffee with my pastries (at home), I am always drawn to ordering iced coffee drinks. In my years of food blogging, I truly believe that people eat with their eyes first, and with the age of social media, people would definitely get interested with a certain food place or food item if it looks good in pictures or videos. Eating with my eyes, I am very satisfied at the ombre look of my drink (I usually order hot coffee latte, so this was my first time to see that ombre latte look, my apologies for fangirling a little). The taste? Even better. It was rich, it was creamy, it had a good balance between sweetness and bitterness... that even if my tummy couldn't really tolerate a big amount of cold creamy/milky drinks, I drank up all my latte.

It was definitely unfortunate that this trip to Puerto Princesa was short and that my mom and I didn't really have the time to explore more of the city. My mom is the kind of person who doesn't really travel to a place twice (unless needed), but as soon as we got home from Puerto Princesa, she was already longing for that time for us to travel back - hoping that next time it will be us three girls traveling together.

*** Jenn ***

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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}