My foodie wish list
LOVE LUCY () - December 19, 2007 - 12:00am

(Editor’s note: Why are we publishing Lucy Torres-Gomez’s foodie list today, which is Fashion & Beauty day? Truth is, it should have come out last Sunday but due to some weird circumstances, her column didn’t reach us. We decided to put it out tomorrow, which is Food & Leisure day. But then the phones kept ringing, and readers kept asking for Lucy’s annual Christmas list. The major complaint came from Kris Aquino, who insisted it should come out soonest, to give her time to place her Christmas orders. So there.)

For such wonderful things as milk and sugar and butter and eggs,  the age-old recipes that gently pass from family to family, and the gift of family and friends to share them with, we thank you, dear God. May we all find it in ourselves to celebrate the season with joy in our eyes, love in our hearts and, of course, food on the table and in the stomach.

Happy holidays, everyone! Here’s my Christmas (and all-year-round) list of favorite food items. You’ll find your old favorites, plus some new ones that you will soon find are definitely for keeps, too.  I’ve categorized them in the hope that it will not overwhelm you as it did me while I was working on it, as you skip from name to name, flavor to flavor, dream to dream. These are treats sure to delight everyone on your Christmas list. If any of these needs to be frozen or refrigerated, please remember to put a note and post it conspicuously on the package.

Bon appetit!

Chocolate anything!

Chocolate Couture by Marissa. Delicious homemade Belgian chocolates. Choose from Dark Truffle, Milk Truffle, Dark Ganache, Milk Pralines, or Truffle Truffle.

Any combination for a box of four (P125), box of nine (P275), box of 15 (P450) and box of 24 (P720).

For orders call 0920-9608390.

Chocnut Valrhona Cake from M Café (757-6000) and Chelsea (909-7011). I tried a spoonful and I could not stop, even if I was so full after having eaten way too much lechon for dinner. It literally melts in your mouth and as my gay friends said that night, “It literally makes the black orbs in your eyes disappear.” Bring this to a gathering and even the hostess will say “there is no need to bring dessert” because she “already has everything.” Watch. I bet it will be the first to disappear from the dessert table.

I phoned Chelsea and the lady who answered said it sells for P1,092. Like I mentioned earlier, the same cake is available at M Café. This is really divine. A must-try. While you’re there, why not indulge in Chelsea’s Cookie Dough Cheesecake? I always run out of words when trying to describe this cheesecake.

Xocolat. I was very impressed when I saw the beautiful rectangular artisan box with brownie squares individually wrapped and labeled. It was Xocolat’s sampler box of gourmet brownies and you can choose from a box of three (P255), six (P500) or singles (P85 apiece). The three-inch-square brownies come in delectable flavors with names like Original Sin, Citrus, Java Buzz, Peanut Butter, Breakfast Blondie and Adult. There are also seasonal flavors available such as Toblerone Yin Yang Fudge, Hazelnut Fudge, and L’Orange.

Xocolat also has Premium Cacao: hot chocolate drinks that come packaged in very stylish cans. There are three flavors to chose from: Old Fashioned (they call it The Ultimate Hot Chocolate), Wicked (Spiced Dark Cocoa) and Organic (Light and All-Natural, harvested from organically grown cacao trees). Aside from hot chocolate, you can also use the cacao mix to prepare iced chocolate or chocolate smoothies. The can comes with instructions and is priced at P295.

Xocolat is available at Serendra Bonifacio High Street (856-2146), Greenhills Promenade (723-1863).

The Ultimate Chocolate Cake. My chocoholic husband and daughter love this almost as much as they love me! The four layers of chocolate cake are filled and frosted with a Belgian chocolate ganache and raspberry jam. Enough said. Also from Symphony Sweets: Durian Overload Cake (P900) and Arabian Holiday Cake (P600).

For orders call 823-5235 and 0922-8085639.

Roshan. She who makes those delightful choco chip cookies also makes one of the best, if not the best, chocolate cupcakes. Her version comes with a surprise filling. Again, my chocoholic husband and daughter and all my chocoholic friends love it and can’t get enough of it. She also makes an unpretentious chocolate cake that is wonderfully moist and simply delicious. Roshan, for more reasons than just chocolate, is on my speed dial. You must try her biscotti, too! That is another of the many treats that come out of her kitchen that I can never say no to.

Roshan, in my book, is the brownie and chocolate chip queen. I have yet to try a brownie or chocolate chip variant (and, boy, does she have many!) that I do not love.  

Call Roshan at 0917-8336286, 631-7786 or 408-6886. She always has excellent packaging year round, more so at Christmas.

Cioco Delice. Dangerously delicious hot chocolate mix flown in from Italy, available only at Galileo Enoteca. I enjoy cups of this the whole year through!

Call Galileo at 532-0482.

Max Brenner. Who would not want to receive a box of Max Brenner Chocolates? The chocolates taste great and the packaging is always whimsical, always excellent. If I as much as hold a box in my hand, already my heart skips in excitement and anticipation. And because they are like little pieces of art, eating it is just half the fun.

Call Max Brenner at 728-8801 and 901-8184.

Pawsitively Purrfect. Try the Dark Chocolate-Covered Almonds and the Irish Fruit Cake Cookies — the Food for the Gods, too. Delicious. I love her Oatmeal cookies but those are not available for this Christmas season (order them some other time of year, though). They’re really, really good.

For orders, call 381-3472 or 0916-3115900.

Gaster Deli. I found wonderful sugar-free chocolate in this cozy place one late December night. For the chocoholics on my Christmas list who cannot fully indulge due to dietary constraints I got The King’s Cupboard Chocolate Chunk Hot Chocolate Mix in Dark Chocolate and Mocha. They also have The King’s Cupboard Sugar Free Dark Chocolate Sauce, perfect for drizzling over ice cream and all sorts of other desserts. I know they will be happy to get these; it’s indulgence minus the guilt. Also from Gaster Deli, salad dressing oil in Grapeseed, Hazelnut and Walnut. Perfect for the health-conscious.

Gaster Deli is at the G/F 6750 Ayala Avenue, Makati City. Call 813-6750 and 867-3945.

Polly’s. Her chocolate cake is award-wining (literally!) and the bread pudding with Spanish cream sauce is lovely, lovely, lovely. Try her apple pie, too!

Call 824-7612

Belgian Lace Cookies. Comes in White, Dark, Semi Sweet and Mint Chocolate. Excellent for gifts and keeps well in the freezer so you can really stock up! Plus, it is really delicious and is quite different from the other desserts flooding the market now.

Call Arlyne for orders at 0917-8820807. Please place orders in advance.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. There is something homey about these chewy chocolate chip cookies that makes me crave more and more after every bite. It is not so rich, not so sweet but it is delicious, in a quite special way, and I love it with a glass of warm or very cold full-cream milk. Call Malu at 843-9713, 0917-8370534 or 0922-7981354.

Elaine’s Chocolate Chip Cookies. Rich in chips, not on dough, thinner than most chocolate chip cookies out there. Also very good. Call 0922-4874565.

Frozen Brazo. Call 8438086. I do not know who is behind this divine dessert but after my first spoonful during a TVC shoot I just had to have the number. It is indulgent yet refreshing; I could not help but want more, more and more. Everyone will love this. It is priced at P550 for a 9x9-inch size.

Decadent Chocolate Cake. Goodies and Sweets still has the best.

Perfect Cupcakes

Marta’s and Sonja’s. Both at Serendra at Bonifacio High Street. For the former I’d say you must try the pound cake (yes, it comes in the cupcake version) and for the latter, try the Red Velvet. Of course, they both have all these other delightful variants that all my friends swear by, but being a creature of habit, I buy (or ask someone to buy for me) the same variant each and every time. Unexciting purchasing power, maybe, but it guarantees my satisfaction. Although I suspect there will really be no room for disappointments here, not with cupcakes this good.

Piece of Cake Gourmet Cupcakes. It is not like Sonja’s or Marta’s but it is delicious in its own special way. They are very pretty too. Each variant (ranging from P25 to P35 each and with such fun names as The Elvis, Princess Di, Scarlett O’ Hara and The Jessica Rabbit).

Call 0917-8054063.

Orange you glad?

Orange Cake from Bellini’s. Classic and always delicious. With fresh orange rind generously scattered on top in fragrant swirls. Call 913-2550

Fig Orange Cake. Rich and delicious. Call Arya at 727-5062. It is wonderful with tea. Please place orders in advance.

Other Sweet Treats

Saltine. For the best lemon squares (P230) and the greatest toffee cookies ever (P230 for a dozen and P400 for two dozen — this one is to die for!). Try, too, her patties, the chicken liver pâté and the salad dressing packaging. Stock up on her roasted tomato sauce with fresh pasta (P400). She roasts it for hours and hours and it is nothing short of perfection. Tippi, the lady behind it, is a CIA-trained chef so it is no wonder, really, that she does what she does so well.

Call 0918-8118088 or 898-2541 or visit her table at the Rockwell Power Plant Mall.

Delize. Choose from Pistachio Sans Rival, Cashew Sans Rival and Macadamia Sans Rival. Great Pavlova and Concorde, too! Oh, and you must try Jill Sandique’s cheesecake. It is so soft, so luscious, so perfect. And the surface is flawless, the sight of which perhaps is a portent of things to come.

Call 721-7022.

Margaret’s Torta Espanol. Since I found her, I’ve met and tasted many versions of this old-time favorite but Margaret’s is still the best. It is light, spongy, buttery and it tastes better a week after it is baked. In the olden days it was, in fact, meant to be eaten days after baking but I really doubt (both then and now) that people can wait that long before devouring the whole lot.

Call 0918-9082576.

Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream Cakes. Never fails to delight the senses. A Häagen-Dazs cake is veritably foolproof. Call 757-7570.

Krispy Kreme. Who doesn’t love Krispy Kreme? And their donuts with Christmas colors and designs on them are just adorable! Juliana loves hanging KK donuts, safely nestled in a Ziploc bag, on our tree for when Santa drops by. And Santa always eats them!

Creative Caterers

Carina Guevarra. With a CIA-trained chef, you are guaranteed to have a meal to remember. Her food is delicious, the servings generous. She will be an excellent choice for your holiday gatherings. Call 0920-9065650 or 920-8514 for orders.

Her menu:

I. Garlic Roasted Angus Beef

  Cabernet Gravy

  Horseradish Cream

  Good for 15 persons

II. Traditional Roasted Turkey with Herb Bread Stuffing

   Cranberry Sauce

   Giblet Gravy

   Good for 12 persons

III. Whole Roasted Salmon with pesto and caramelized onion stuffing

   Proseco Beurre Blanc

   Good for 15 persons

All the above comes with pumpkin soup, mixed green salad with herb vinaigrette, mashed potato and mashed sweet potato.

Florabel. You will never go wrong with Florabel. The quality of her food is consistently good and she makes wonderful sugar-free desserts, too! Call 667-3320 or 638-7527.

Peppermill. Great, great food at great, great prices. Need I say more? To ask for their menu, call 633-0329 or 0920-9202956.

Marilen. For perhaps the best adobo in this part of town (it has castanas!), delicious beef caldereta, excellent fresh lumpia. She is not a caterer, really, just a very busy woman who loves to cook. Her culinary talent is perhaps instinctive, considering she has had no formal schooling in the kitchen department whatsoever. Orders are for pick-up only, call in advance because she makes everything fresh and from scratch. Like my gay friends say, “Kanin lang ang katapat nito!” Really good comfort food.

Call 0918-8881229. Remember to order in advance.

Park Café. Another great source of comfort food. Must-trys are the laing and the kare-kare, and the prawns in lemon butter sauce. Her menu is extensive and will not disappoint.

Call Sonia at 0917-8931164. 

Funky Chicken

Lydia’s Chicken Relleno. Still unrivalled, she’s a hall-of-famer as far as chicken relleno is concerned. Call 0917-4405106.

Kulob na Manok. When you are just too tired to cook and all you want is great chicken, order this yummy, yummy chicken dish. The meat is tender and very tasty; there are whole heads of garlic cooked inside, the flesh of which you can scoop out and mash on both the chicken and/or your rice, and the sauce is fantastic. You must order and try this. Warning: you will eat lots of it with lots of rice! But there will be no regrets.

Call 911-7483 or 0917-8831705.

Indulge Me

Le Canard D’Or. Farah’s culinary skills, coupled with superior-quality fattened duck livers flown in from Perigord, France, results in perhaps the finest tasting foie gras in this part of the world. This velvety delight is wonderfully indulgent. Call 722-4234 or 0918-9264671.

Caviar Pie. From a new source and one of the best that I have tried! Call 722-2234.

Spoon. Huge, fresh oysters flown in every day! Call 929-9965.

Salted Eggs. Call Doc Larry at 0916-7990787. 

Super Steaks

The Steak Lady. She has great quality USDA Certified Beef, Australian Beef and Wagyu Beef. She can also ship orders to provincial destinations for a minimum order of 10 kilos. Please place orders two days in advance for Metro Manila, three days in advance for provincial orders.

Call Sandy or Joy at 806-9537 or 0920-5222898.

Since we are on the subject of great steak, if you want to eat excellent Wagyu steak go to Malcolm’s at 108 HV dela Costa St. corner Tordesillas (Call 844-0000). It will not disappoint and I guarantee that you will keep going back for more. The Wagyu burgers are delicious, and the Wagyu steaks, especially the rib-eye, are fantastic. Servings are very generous, too. The steak is perfect each and every time we are there and I have yet to try anything on the menu, steak or otherwise, that I did not like. More about this great steak place in the next couple of weeks.

Lust For Lechon

Ulcing. This being lechon country, we Filipinos have tasted lots of good ones, and just a few forgettable ones. But this one is, in my opinion, the best of the best. A true-blue Cebu original, the party table will not be complete without it.

Call 810-6408 or 0919-3613291.

Ham It Up

My top three favorites:

• Adelina’s Ham (call 531-6833)

• Bone-In Baked Virginia Ham from Mt. Malarayat Golf & Country Club (call 814-0743 and 893-16010).

• The Plaza Premium Baked Ham (call 729-0003). Comes with a selection of sauces such as Premium Glaze, Wasabe Mayo, Sweet Mustard and Gutsy Garlic.

Party Emergencies

Items you must have in your kitchen cupboard or your freezer always! Because, especially during the holidays, you never quite know when you will have company!

Gyoza. Buy it fresh from Emerald and just fry or steam as needed.

For orders, call 523-8510, ask for Rosana.

Carmel’s Tuyo and Daing Flakes. Irresistible over pasta or rice. My guests always want to take home a couple of bottles from our cupboard after trying this.

Call 911-3443 and ask for a complete listing of her other products, such as French Coconut Pie, bottled Pinoy Caviar and delicious Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

Alaska Condensada. Immerse an unopened can in water and cook over very low heat for three to four hours and you’ll have excellent caramel sauce to drizzle over cakes and ice cream. Richard, Juliana and I shamelessly eat it with bread!

Purefoods German Franks. Richard had a baseball game and there was a generic stall with two guys selling great hotdog sandwiches. After my second sandwich I befriended them to ask where they bought the hotdogs. They showed me the empty packs — it was Purefoods German Franks. I should have known. I have been buying them ever since that Sunday ballgame three months ago.

Claude’9 Sauces. The Inasal BBQ marinade is excellent, convenient and practical to use. Once the BBQ is ready, you can dip it in vinegar spiced with Claude’9 Xtra Ordinary Chili Sauce, made with Chinese ham and hibi. Yum, yum!

Available in all leading supermarkets or call (045)888 5163 or 0917-5359198 for special packaging. All Claude’9 sauces (Pure Crab fat, Pesto, Burong Hipon, XO Chili Sauce, Oriental Sauce — they make any Asian dish even more delicious) and Inasal BBQ are made of superior-quality ingredients. Also, no preservatives and no MSG.

Tapa And Tocino Treats

Dolor. Tapa that is thin and almost like bacon, but with a Pinoy taste. Call 0920-9184898.

Picadeli. Entirely different from the one I described above but just as excellent. Made from tender beef sirloin and bathed in a special, secret marinade. Call 0917-5306558.

Pampanga’s Best Tocino. The best tocino ever! Nothing comes close to it.

Beyond Flowers

Roberto Antonio’s. They have the most beautiful Ecuadorian Roses! And for the Christmas season you must check out their beautiful packages that combine lovely flowers with food items like books, fruits, chocolates, arranged beautifully on wooden crates and trays, baskets, etc. You can personalize the gift. The products from Roberto Antonio’s give credence to the saying, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” Check out the photos somewhere on this page. Order now. The recipient will really feel special upon receiving an arrangement from Roberto Antonio’s.

Call Dale at 0917-8879210.

Inexpensive Delights

Goldilocks. Everybody’s all-time favorite stop. Apart from the polvoron and the mocha roll that we all love, they have Christmas specials. My favorite has to be the Rainbow Cake because it has all my favorite flavors — ube, strawberry and vanilla. Plus it is so pretty! A steal at only P394. Other Christmas specials include Hazelnut Mousse Desire (P480 — I love the Meringue shell at the bottom), Choco Sansrival (P300 for six pieces), Honey Caramel Brownies (P168) and Choco Crunch Polvoron (P140 — kids love this!)

And from Red Ribbon, Mango Cream Pie — a sweet treat that I have loved since I was a college freshman. It saw me and many of my classmates through a lot of drawn-out group study nights. It is a sentimental favorite.

Tea Lovers

Tea and Therapy. They have elegant gift packs and the widest selection of tea this part of town. Check it out. Call 856-0111. They make great presents.

CALL CHOCOLATE GASTER DELI PLACE
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