What’s been attracting our attention the past few weeks can only be described as a barrage of friendly flavors barreling down malls and markets that many Filipinos have demanded for consciously (or not). Partly owing to the regained sense of freedom after a very long indoor season, this selection of food choices are at the intersection of nostalgia (Filipino desserts done well) and luxury (a more sustainable caviar). But hey, we’re not complaining.
Sweet Ecstasy collaborates with Type A coffee
There’s not enough talk about the versatility of iced coffee as a drink that can match any dish. And I mean any. The latest collaboration between Sweet Ecstasy, known mostly for their burgers, and neighborhood coffee bar Type A is proof of this coffee-food pairing.
Type A has already done their fair share of collaborations with food brands over the years, and for this newest partnership with Sweet Ecstasy, they are offering two exclusive blends. The Sweet Latte is exactly as it says on the label: a saccharine concoction that mixes Type A’s specialty cold brew with homemade dulce de leche and milk, making it a decent caffeinated alternative to the sweet milkshakes that often pair well with burgers.
Meanwhile, the Long Black is a more straightforward cold brew—strong but not too intimidating even for first-time drinkers. What’s more? The coffees come in Type A’s signature 250ml glass bottles, too.—Pau Miranda
Is Kaluga Queen your next royal treat?
Caviar, in two words, is completely enchanting. While considered a luxurious delicacy for its rarity, Kaluga Queen caviar might just make the consumption of these rich, buttery beads available to a wider market. Not that these olive pellets from the “river beluga” are a step down from its Beluga sturgeon cousins (which by the way are critically endangered due to overfishing): These farm-raised products from Kaluga Queen are reared in a way that considers the current “biodiversity crisis.”
The good thing too is that the taste and quality remain high. A small bite from a teaspoon straight out of the tin provokes contrasts—a firmness in the eggs and a melt-in-your-mouth delicacy with nary a fishy aftertaste; instead, you essentially get buttery satisfaction. Simple in presentation but nevertheless demands attention.—Eric Nicole Salta
Let us all eat Guevarra’s nostalgia-inducing cakes
The Laudicos specialize in modern and traditional Filipino flavors and it’s this spirit that the chefs behind Guevarra’s take their cue from. The restaurant has created a collection of beautiful cakes that capture nostalgia meant to captivate loyal and new customers alike.
“The flavor combinations are actually what we can call as tried-and-tested pairings like ube and macapuno, yema and chocolate,” says chef and chocolatier Jac Laudico. “Cakes are usually enjoyed during celebrations so we want flavors that are very relatable and memorable.”
The sweet lineup doesn’t reinvent the dessert wheel but neither does it dwell on the backburner. These cakes brim with promise and purpose. Need to get through a bad day? You’ll be charmed by the Brigaderos Cake, a dark chocolate cake that is frosted and filled with truffle ganache and creamy dulce de leche. Expanding your quiet quitting habits to your merienda? Make a run for the light, fluffy, and liberally frosted Ube Macapuno Cake.
The pleasantly citrusy Brazo de Calamansi is satisfying both for the zest you get from each bite (thanks to the calamansi curd) and the torched wildflower-like meringue frosting that wouldn’t look out of place along winding paths, quiet valleys, and dense thickets in Wonka land.—Eric Nicole Salta
A new Greek leaf for salad days
Even with the pandemic waning (hopefully), don’t ditch those better eating patterns you’ve started. Or if you haven’t, now is as good as any time to incorporate more wholesome habits into your weekly menu rotation. What the last two years have made clearer is that good food can seriously work wonders for our health. Nutritious food doesn’t equate to blandness as many preconceived notions would have us believe, and SaladStop’s Greek-inspired seasonal Yasou! Salad is proof.
Derived from an informal Greek greeting for hello, goodbye, or cheers, the word literally translates to “good health.” Indeed it encapsulates its very meaning with a variety of healthful ingredients—from Romaine lettuce and sun-dried tomatoes to walnuts and grapes—topped with feta and parmesan cheese. It’s wonderful in its simplicity and a pleasure to digest.—Eric Nicole Salta
Olive Garden finally springs forth down south
The goal at the first-ever Olive Garden in the Philippines is clear: to make you savor Italian-American cuisine like you’ve never had it before. As if to offer an olive branch for taking its sweet time to land in the country, Olive Garden made sure it’s making up for lost time by opening a 300-seater outpost in SM Mall of Asia in collaboration with The Bistro Group.
“We are excited to partner with The Bistro Group in expanding Olive Garden by opening its first Olive Garden restaurant in the Philippines. We know that The Bistro Group’s deep experience in the restaurant industry will help us successfully serve our guests in The Philippines,” says Bradley Smith, senior vice president of franchising at Darden Restaurants, the group behind Olive Garden.
What can Filipinos expect from the largest US restaurant chain’s menu? A lot, actually, that even those who have savored Olive Garden’s food from any of its more than 900 restaurants in the US will have reasons to return: one-plate culinary tours (chicken parmigiana, lasagna classico, and fettuccine alfredo marketed as a Tour of Italy); the signature unlimited garlic breadsticks, salads, and soups; saucy pastas with lots of cheese (chicken alfredo), and elegant alcoholic and non-alcoholic refreshers (try the Hibiscus-oh! that boasts a tableside blast of dry ice for social media clout).—Eric Nicole Salta