Pieces Of A Wunderkind's Mind

Snippets of Life, Love, Food, Travels, Discoveries, and Whatnot

My Sweetest Downfall

How can you not drool over the mere thought of cherry-flavored ice cream with luscious chunks of Bing cherries and nuggets of rich dark chocolate all swirled with fudge?


Let me introduce to you what/who I consider the sweetest taboo. Meet Cherry Garcia.


“Oh Cherry Garcia, you could be the death of me, for all I care, but knowing that I got my hands on you gives me the highest form of satisfaction and joy!”


Ben & Jerry’s euphorically edible tribute to guitarist Jerry Garcia & Grateful Dead fans, Cherry Garcia is the first ice cream named after a rock legend, which also happens to be the most famous in the line of fan-suggested flavors.



PMSing and slobbering over the sight of B&J’s ice cream on the newspaper led me to call Francis and coerce him to accompany me to the nearest Rustan’s supermarket. In 15 minutes, he appeared at our front door and we were ready to go.


The nearest would’ve been Rustan’s Fresh! in Paseo de Magallanes but since Francis was in the mood for some gyudon and gyoza before having dessert, he decided on Rustan’s Supermarket in Ayala Center, instead. I, on the other hand, couldn’t care less. I was just all for my B&J’s.


Such a sight to behold!



Ben & Jerry’s has more than a hundred eclectic flavors to suffice every craving but unfortunately Rustan’s carries only a limited number. The minute I saw that THE flavor was available, I was suddenly filled with ecstasy I cannot seem to contain. I was so caught up in my rapture that I wanted to cry. Seriously. That’s how much my beloved Cherry Garcia affects me.


Since there was no place in the supermarket where we can stay to eat, we just asked for wooden ice cream spoons and hurried to the car. We spent the entire drive home eating and cursing. Note: No matter how many times you have this and how many ways you tackle a pint, the same reactions prevail.



Had the Greek gods sampled this Ben and Jerry favorite, there would have been no talk of ambrosia nor nectar on Mount Olympus. Instead, an ice cream parlor would have been opened. It is that good! To describe the ice cream itself and/or the whole experience [of reveling in it] would be comparable to seeing Atlantis… or a unicorn. It is plainly impossible. Well, you’ll think you probably can but you actually cannot. You need to experience it yourself to know. Cherry Garcia, in general, is just too beautiful for words to express. Smiley


It’s saddening to see that, in a flash, all that heavenly goodness could slip away. 😦

 


The B&J pints were on sale at the time so we got it for P341. A pint is originally priced at P380. Steep, yes, but don’t you think you deserve such indulgence from time to time? Well, I do.


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For the Extremely Anal/OC

I have been known to be a persnickety individual, a neat-freak. Meticulousness and precision are things that make up my comfort zone. I pay such attention to detail that this obsession becomes an annoyance to some. Control is my middle name.



I cannot live without a planner or organizer or even just a blank journal where I jot down appointments and events. That is because I’ve made it a point to “organize’ my daily living by writing down the things to do each day the night before. First, I just list down everything I can think of [errands, birthdays, notes, etc.] on any piece of paper. Then I try to figure out how long it will take me to do each thing on my list. I also write the time beside the event, and add it all up. [I’m OC like that.] The part I get the most satisfaction in is copying my list into my day planner. I make sure to change/update the list whenever needed as new errands are thrown at me. And like I’ve said, I make it a point to prepare my list the night before, so I’ll be ready to get up and go in the morning.


my current planner


It is almost the end of the year and I am on the prowl for a nifty planner for 2011. I have no plans of risking on death by caffeine for the sole purpose of collecting the much-needed 17 stickers to redeem a planner. Nor will I want to spend between P679 to P1,349 for a Moleskine diary. Though it would’ve been lovely to own one, I find it impractical to shell out that much.


I was running out of choices until I stumbled upon an article by Tatin Yang while reading the Lifestyle section of the morning papers. In her entry was the solution to my predicament — Planner People.


Friends Regina Silva, Kris Icasas, and Mela Sogono have teamed together to form Planner People and came up with decent 2011 planners with yearly, monthly, and weekly views, which they consider “basic and no-frills”. Their planners are made with imported book paper, are lightweight and small enough to fit into any bag or purse [but definitely big enough for all your agenda]. There are nine cover designs to choose from, ranging from cute to classic.


Click to enlarge


What makes these planners stand out is the fact that they’re really affordable. Each planner comes at P200 only. *enter Cherubim Song No.7* 😛 Also, aside from being proudly Pinoy-made, the designs are unique as they are hand-drawn and originally illustrated by Reg. Smiley Planner People’s planners come with a ribbon marker for added convenience.


You might be wondering how the insides look like so here, let me show you.



For those who want details, just like me, these information might be useful:

Size: 5″ x 7″
Weight: 0.26 kilograms
Pages: 160
Full Cover: pasteboard no. 22 with Matt 120
Binding: stitched


What’s even more amazing with Planner People is the fact that they will sponsor my blog’s year-end giveaway. Stay tuned for that and keep visiting this site. 😉 Here’s a teaser:



So this Christmas, give yourself [or your friends] the gift of organized thought with simple, usable planners by Planner People. They have a Multiply site that serves as their official online store where you can just fill out an order form and pay via Paypal, Globe Gcash, or bank deposit to have your planners shipped to your address. You can also catch Planner People at the World Trade Center Bazaar on December 19-23, 2010.



Planner People
Email: plannerpeople@gmail.com
Contact Number: 0917-4905875 (for inquiries)
Click here for their official website
Click here for their Multiply page


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Mugged

Yes, I was… but don’t worry. It was not the type of mugging you’re thinking of. I’m talking about the pleasant type. [There is, in truth, such a type. ;-)]


[image grabbed from Ana]


A couple of days ago, I received a package wherein a number of awesome stuff is enclosed. The package included a bottle containing what appeared to be sand and salt and other grainy things arranged in layers. There was a cork stopper plugged into the bottle’s mouth and slim gold-trimmed silk ribbons tied around the bottle’s neck. A few seconds of wondering and inspecting led me to the label plastered on the bottle’s body.



“Mugshots”, it said. SmileyOh so it’s a premix for cake, er, cupcake [or, mug-cake?!]! That explains the grainy layer… brown sugar, flour, leavening agents, coffee [mine came in this flavor], and chocolate chips. How brilliant!!! Now all I need is an egg, some oil and milk, a microwave, and, of course, a mug where I can bake my cake in.


The brains behind this unique idea is Ana of Cupcake Conspiracy. Aside from the wide selection of luscious cupcakes and cookies, Mugshots, a recent addition to her creations, is becoming her bestseller.


I wasted no time in preparing my Mugshot. Anyone can do it and you’ll have your cake in a matter of minutes! Talk about instant gratification. Smiley



As per package [or bottle] directions, I poured the contents in a mug.



I, then, added the egg and tried beating it together with the rest of the ingredients.



When I thought that the egg was well-incorporated already, I added 2 tablespoons of oil and 3 of milk.



After mixing thoroughly, I jammed my mug in the microwave, adjusted the settings [two minutes on high], and waited.



Viola! There’s my coffee-flavored [mug] cake. You could always eat it straight from your mug or choose to turn it over on a plate, like I did. I wanted to add some flair so I topped my Mugshot with a scoop of my favorite Mantecado ice cream.



Mugshots come in six flavors: chocolate, coffee, orange, cinnamon, strawberry, and choco-peppermint. You can get a bottle of Mugshots for P90 only or opt for a Solo Pack consisting of a bottle of Mugshots of your preferred flavor and a coffee mug. Additionally, Cupcake Conspiracy has this timely offering — Mugshots Christmas Gift Pack — comprised of four bottles of Mugshots and a coffee mug bundled in a lovely Christmas-themed box.


Solo Pack [P140]


Christmas Gift Pack [P390]


[last two images c/o Cupcake Conspiracy]


These bottled treats make the perfect gifts for Christmas or any occasion. Not only are they delightfully different and far-from-ordinary but also toothsome and fun to make. Mugshots are convenient to have at home for sudden dessert cravings, or for serving to your unannounced visitors.


Isn’t Mugshots a work of genius? Thoughts?



Mugshots by Cupcake Conspiracy
Website: http://cupcakeconspiracy.multiply.com/
Contact Number: 0917-5362711


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A Weekend Fete of Food and Organic Goods

FINALLY!!!



Last Saturday, I was able to shop and dine at Mercato Centrale, the newest weekend market in town. Inspired by the outdoor markets of Mercato Centrale in Florence and the Boroughs Market in London, Mercato Centrale at Bonifacio Global City is an innovative weekend lifestyle market that offers unique food finds [bagnet sandwich, vegetarian sausages, etc], fresh and organic produce [fruits, herbs, vegetables, etc], a myriad of irresistible sweet treats [frozen merengue pies, ice-cream filled mochi, etc], and a whole lot more.


I arrived a little too early. [My parents went jogging around 6:30.] Most of the concessionaires were just setting up. So I took up this chance to take photos of the booths and stalls that are already open. Note: Mercato Centrale @ BGC is divided into four tents, two of which are air-conditioned.


organic produce by Herbana Farms


more fresh goods


Messy Bessy — clean and green line of household cleaning products


Tent 1 is where the organic fresh produce, healthy vegetarian choices, and other organic products can be found.


bags of organic brown/mountain rice


Don’t you just love its name? 😉


Spring’s chilled taho can be topped with your choice of fruits


artisanal chocolates that are proudly Pinoy-made [my favorite is the chocolate & siling labuyo variant]


Leyende is an emerging Filipino brand of handmade, natural and organic bath and body products


Ritual Shop is a natural store that carries different brands of organic household items, skin care products, and clothing


I loved the tomato-flavored baby food by Oh Baby! [yes, I ate baby food! it’s surprisingly good.]


here’s a fun way to let your kids take in fruits and veggies c/o The Honest Juice


Concessionaires of dessert items such as cakes/cupcakes, cookies, pies, breads, and other pastries are gathered in Tent 2. There are others selling jams, dips, dressings, and drinks as well.



The Russian Cookie House’s unique selection of cookies


PvZ cupcakes at P100 each by Little Miss OC’s Kitchen


the return of the much-loved macaron cake by Empire Macarons


Chile Vitas for dipping & dunking


Gold Leaf chilled tea can be enjoyed even before it hits the supermarkets


various homemade dips and spreads


decadent chocolate macadamia cake by Pothole


I was ecstatic to learn that my favorite apple pie shop [which I thought was gone] is still in operation. The Apple Tree Company [now called Tres Amores] used to be in Glorietta 4.


unforgettable, indeed! I’ma get some more of these.


molten brownie bites, chocolate crunchies, and cinnamon-apple tarts from Park Avenue Desserts



Baked by Anita — this line of mini cupcakes is reason enough to visit Mercato [come early to get some of those saffron w/ black salt and/or the bacon flavored ones]


gourmet jams that are homemade and all-natural courtesy of The Fruit Garden


these yummies will keep you giddy the whole day… rich, creamy ice-cream wrapped in sticky, chewy rice paste


Tent 3, non-airconditioned, is situated beside Tent 2. Under this tent are stalls and booths offering home-cooked meals, pasta, snacks, and deli items.



Inn Café’s creamy cheesy beef & eggplant lasagna comes at P95/slice only


scrumptious Euro-Mediterranean fare [Isn’t that lamb navarin simply drool-worthy?]


choose from original, spicy, cheesy, and hot&cheesy — Z’s sausages


baked beef lasagna and garlic parsley potatoes, anyone?


Tinapate [mini pandesal with tinapa paté spread], spoonfuls of Cocido and Beef Steak from Lola Maria’s restaurant in Mandaluyong


pad thai, bagoong rice, and ginataan


seafood paella Smiley


a cute gingerbread house and some gingerbread men


If you want grilled dishes, ribs, burgers, and hotdogs then Tent 4 is your best bet. This is the other open-air tent which accommodates most of the diners for arranged in its centermost area are tables and chairs.

[image grabbed from Anton]

Tent 4 aka “the grillery”

[image grabbed from Anton]

gourmet burgers Smiley


baked potatoes, whole chicken, slab of baby back ribs, all beef burger patties, bacon-wrapped stuffed sausages c/o of Flamed Smiley


franks + pies


More dining space can be located behind the tents. There is also a colonnade connecting Tents 1 and 2 where cooking demonstrations are held and live bands play. Around this area, more stalls selling food, drinks, and other goods are stationed.


If you are tired of the conventional fare in weekend markets, Mercato Centrale can be a breath of fresh air. It’s a one-stop shop where you can enjoy notable meals with family, friends, and fellow foodies, with constant celebrity sightings to boot. 😛 It’s also a place for discovering unique food finds at bargain prices and re-discovering old loves that you thought were gone [take my re-acquaintance with the Apple Tree Company, for instance]. Note: Most of the concessionaires were participants in previous Ultimate Taste Tests [organized by Our Awesome Planet author Anton Diaz and his team], which are regularly held foodie events where brand new recipes and one-of-a-kind food items by emerging culinary masters around the Philippines are showcased.


This market is open every Saturday and Sunday, from 6am till 12pm. It’s overwhelming, at the same time, exciting to see a good many of the brands/businesses I’ve previously encountered in the UTTs. Though, I personally think that it’s impossible to purchase something from every booth, the free samples/taste are of great help as they provide the shoppers the chance to gauge if what they’re about to purchase are worth buying. There are certain concessionaires that join only on Sundays, so I kind of missed several. But to look at it at a bright note, it means I’ve to go back… and yes, definitely on a Sunday this time! I have yet to sample those that weren’t around last time. [Tina Raines, if you’re reading this, I have been yearning for your strawberries and chocolate chips frozen pie since UTT4.0!!! I’ll make sure to get some on Sunday.] 😉


Mercato Centrale at the Bonifacio Global City is a joint venture of Our Awesome Planet, Mommy Mundo, and RJ and Vanessa Ledesma.


Care to join me this Sunday? 😀



Mercato Centale at BGC
30th Street corner 9th Street
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig


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Sweet Surrender

Early last month, I got two invites for Sweet Surrender, a dessert expo organized by Goodfellas Production. Most of the event’s participants were food bloggers, photographers, media, and dessert enthusiasts. There were even some VIP guests. [Chef Jackie Laudico of Bistro Filipino, just to name one, was present to judge the dessert creations.] It was actually an intimate event as there were less than ten exhibitors who joined. These ten showcased their decadent treats and shared them through the unlimited bite-sized pieces made available to everyone.



The Sweet Surrender Dessert Expo was held last November 13, at the Sitio Elena Events Place in Taytay, Rizal, a few meters past Valley Golf and Country Club. [Yes, a rather long drive from Parañaque.] The invites I got [for free] included a buffet dinner and free-flowing drinks [alcoholic and non-alcoholic] courtesy of Bardeli’s Deli-Liquor Mart plus all access to the sweets. For those without invites, regular tickets were sold at P1,200 complete with buffet dinner and drinks.



The venue was lovely. The music, lighting, and entire arrangement made the elegant garden setting even more beautiful. The hosts started the program by welcoming everyone. Immediately after, the exhibitors were introduced and recognized. A band named Coffee Club serenaded us with jazzy hits from the 80s and 90s as we all roam the place for dinner, drinks, and, of course, desserts. Photographers were the first ones to flock the infinity table where the desserts were displayed.



Here’s a peek into the buffet scene. Notice that Sunrise Buckets also took part in the event by providing mouth-watering Buffalo wings. Were you able to see the liquor station at the far corner?


[To view and control the photo slideshows you need to have Flash Player 9 or newer installed.]


Now let’s move on to the stars of the show! 🙂 First ones on display were from Dragonfly Desserts. I was particularly delighted with their Chocodamia [chocolate + macadamia] Cookies and Almond-Cappuccino Bars, which I practically “taste-tested” 5 times. Haha! Their specialty, however, was the Wicked Bites — mini chocolate-chili cupcakes. Upon learning what those were, Francis and I grabbed two ‘bites’ each. It was super moist and rich. The only thing was, I found it a tad spicy. Francis, on the other hand, loved it. Dragonfly Desserts sells them at P265 for a box of 18. Other interesting creations were the Tomato Kesong Puti Tart and the Apple-Cheese Tart.



Chef Laudico also shared some of her dessert offerings.


Flourless Belgian Chocolate Cake [P98]


Gigi Gaerlan of Gigi’s Custaroons was more than willing to let every participant have a taste of her creations. A custaroon [custard + macaroon] is a deliciously unique combination of smooth and creamy flan topped with a chewy, buttery crust. The sweet scent of her goodies wafted through the air she opened a boxful and handed some to us. She also makes poppers. These are balls of the same coconut-y flan coated with cocoa powder. On first sight, you might think they’re truffles. Gigi’s poppers come in various flavors which include cheese and green tea.



Desserts Avenue owns the booth next to Gigi’s. It prides itself in producing quality customized cakes and other pastries. I really thought that the Spongebob burger cake was too cute! 🙂 What do you think? The revel bars and the blueberry cheesecake satisfied my sweet tooth. Francis was partial to the choco-chip cookies and the cupcakes.



Next is a stall of boxed-goodies-for-a-cause. The High School Cook Book aims to generate funds in order to provide education opportunities to the youth who cannot afford to pay for school. For sale were macaroons, tarts, pastillas, and other homemade treats.



Ernaline’s Food Haven is a venture of Chef Ernaline Go after having been inspired to create the diverse dessert favorites of her family. Included in the expo were her crinkles, fudge brownies, leche flan, and revel bars.



Muffins by Doris presented its cakes, custards, rolls, and special cookies like the lengua de gato. Since Francis and I weren’t able to sample the items, there’s no way I could describe how they tasted like. The packaging was well thought out, though, making the sweets seemingly enticing.



Last, but not the least, was MedChef by Chef Hasset Go. His creations, for me, were the most interesting among the bunch. The mere sight of the Banana Cream Pie and Flourless White Chocolate Mango Torte tugged at my tummy, simultaneously putting my salivary glands to work mode all of a sudden. We were given plastic spoons and the freedom to scoop out chunks from all his goodies. I especially adored the Bread Pudding Creme Brulee, freshly torched by the chef. Francis favored the Coffee Kahlua Gateau more. There were lots of others that we didn’t get to try like the Cream Puffs, the Molten Chocolate Decadence, the White Chocolate Fondue Cheesecake with Snickers, and those cupcakes. People crowded in as soon as he started giving out his baked goods. We didn’t want to worm through the throng so we just settled on taking pictures.



I’m hoping for a similar event that could be made better by featuring more exhibitors and treats. It would also be a plus if foodie events such as this would be held somewhere in the Metro. From what I heard, a number of people missed the expo because of the venue. Taytay is just too far. 😦


the boxes that said, “Thank you for coming!”


The desserts featured in the expo may be the perfect Yuletide gifts. For inquiries and orders, just please click on the exhibitors’ names above and you will be directed to their official sites/online stores.


The whole trip to Taytay all the way from the South was, in all honesty, a major hassle. [I forgot to state that the event required a dress code and we were in semi-formal. :-|] But what I had was a night of saccharine overload, free food, and overflowing booze spent with my better half so I have to say it was all worth it in the end. Smiley I want to wrap-up this post with a quote from Erma Bombeck, one of my favorite American humorists: “Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.”


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