Want home-made tasting polvoron? Just HOP over

House of Polvoron Assorted Box of 20s
House of Polvoron Assorted Box of 20's

After years of hankering for food that bears the imprint of commercial kitchens, there really comes a time when one starts looking for home-made flavors. Such is the case for polvoron, one of the Philippines’ most popular sweets. This shortbread is relatively simple to make with the most basic of ingredients being flour, butter, powdered milk and nuts.  But consistently getting the  taste right is another thing.  This is where House of Polvoron (or to be more hip, HOP in short) leverages itself, focusing on just this product and nothing but. We’ve tasted a lot of polvorons before so will this be another one of those commercial-tasting ones? That’s what we’d like to find out.

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Two desserts in one Custaroon

Regular and Cheese Custaroons
Regular and Cheese Custaroons

Two-in-one coffee mix. Two-in-one toothpaste and mouthwash. Two-in-one shampoo and conditioner. Two-in-one mobile phone and organizer. We live in a curious age when consumer products are marketed to be better because they’re essentially two products in one. But how about desserts? Sure, we’ve got cake a la mode but that’s about it. That is, until we heard of Custaroons.

Just what on earth is a custaroon? Well, it’s a mix of custard (or leche flan in more familiar terms) and macaroons (dessicated coconut and milk confection). Custaroon is a term coined by its creator, Gigi Gaerlan, a self-confessed sweet tooth and leche flan fanatic. Hailing from a family of restaurateurs, getting into a hobby of baking sweet treats came naturally to Gigi. In a very competitive marketplace, she felt the need for a unique product she can call her original. So she mixed her liking for custard with her mom’s recipe for macaroons. At first, she just baked batches for giving away to relatives and friends. But soon, orders started trickling in. That was way back in 2000. At present, Gigi’s Custaroons are still home-baked in her kitchen in Sta Mesa. Happyfoodies samples custaroons and shares the experience.

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Healthful coolers at FYI

FYI Frozen Yogurt Indulgence
FYI Frozen Yogurt Indulgence (Regular Php 80, Large Php 110)

When the mercury constantly hit 36 degrees or higher even on days when the rains play games with the sun, it’s just instinctive to reach for something to cool with. On an assignment in the Quezon City area, our eyes got caught by a very colorful signage and a witty name for a yogurt outlet – FYI. The acronym stands for “Frozen Yogurt Indulgence,” and one look at the items on offers suggested this can be a nice place to cool down on a hot and humid afternoon.

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Bigby’s is for big groups and bigger appetites

Bigbys Rack-a-bye-Ribs (Php 365)
Bigby's Rack-a-bye-Ribs (Php 365)

For the foodie with a bigger than average appetite, there is a constant battle waged against small portions. Should I place two orders instead of just one? Should I place an additional order after the first one comes? Such is the perennial dilemma of the hearty eater. Count us happyfoodies in that category.

Happily, there’s no such dilemma at Bigby’s Café and Restaurant. With roots in Cagayan de Oro City, Bigby’s makes its way to Manila, opening its newest branch at the atrium of SM Megamall recently. True to its name, the food we were served came in big, nay, humongous portions. But how does the food taste? Follow us as we navigate our way to the Bigby’s food trip menu.

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Turning Japanese at Banzai

Banzai Chicken Yakitori Bento (Php 95)
Banzai Chicken Yakitori Bento (Php 95)

The food court of a mall is normally NOT the place to look for decent Japanese food.  Almost always, the “food court pricing” automatically means that the food outlet would scrimp on ingredients or cut corners, ergo less satisfying Japanese fare.  But happily, we found an exception and it was literally right under our noses – Banzai Japanese Kitchen in the food court of Cash & Carry Mall.

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