Of award winners, sugar rush and overkill (Classic Confections)

Eye. Candy.

An infographic has been making the rounds lately of a map that showcases the awesome food spots that dot Kapitolyo. It had been shared so much that just a few days ago the creators already made an updated map! I guess, one, a lot of people really appreciate good, relate-able infographics, and two, that’s a testament of how the area’s being recognized as a real urban foodie destination. :P Totally cool.

It’s a bittersweet reminder, now that I think about it. Bitter, because I will be moving from Ortigas to Makati soon, which means I lose the advantage of proximity I currently hold. Sweet because I get to recall  the four restos the Wednesday group has covered so far (Poco Deli, Milky and Sunny, Charlie’s Grind and Grill, and Longganisa Sorpresa), and the many options we can still tick off while I’m still near the area. This post is dedicated to the fifth: Classic Confections.

To be honest, I would’ve wanted to end our Kapitolyo exploration initiative with this dessert place, because, well, you end good meals with sweet treats, right? However, plans changed because a local deal site offered a sweet discount by way of coupons. Oh my. Two (not so good) puns in one paragraph. I’m so baaaaad. >.<

They have a Greenbelt store as well, but I’d pick the Kapitolyo branch over that one anytime. :-)

Anyway, the first thing I appreciated about Classic Confections is the airy feel of the resto. It was spacious, very well-lit, had really cute and interesting accents, and imbibed a “happy place” feel about it. It’s very conducive for those days where you just want to chill and share some time with your good friends. When we went there, we almost had the place to ourselves. Talk about the perks of going to a destination that’s a bit out-of-the-way. :-P

Sweets. Sweets, everywhere. :-P The small packages you see at the table and the display areas are creatively designed (and cute!) sugar cookies.

Easy and breezy. Such a chillax spot, this one. As a diner, I always try to appreciate these details. I loved this display.

We originally thought of getting just desserts but because of the value of the coupons we bought (and because it was lunch time anyway), we got a couple of sandwiches and a plate of pasta as well. I was pleasantly surprised that for a place that specializes on sweets, the said dishes weren’t shabby at all. Both the sandwiches were satiating, with more than sufficient fillings and above average bread quality (one was ciabatta, I think, while the other, wheat), and even the penne was al dente. The bolognese sauce was also not skimped on and wasn’t overly sweet too.

Ham and cheese, and tuna sandwiches, and a plate of penne with bolognese sauce.

So were the sweets equally as good?

I had really high expectations because of the hype Wena had for the place (she had tried the signature cake before) and because, uhm, it’s a dessert place, so they should be great at what their niche is, yes?

Well, it was a mixed bag of reactions from the group.

Tiramisu: a take on the classic Italian dessert.

Chocolate Creme Brulee: More mousse-y than brulee’d.

First off, let me say, we all agreed that what were brought before us were all pretty. :-D Just look at the first photo above. Our appetites were whet when we laid eyes on those beauties. Even the plates were cute! Unfortunately, flavor- and texture-wise, there were some hits and misses.

The Tiramisu, had bold coffee hints that I adored, but I thought the ladyfingers were just too wet. The Chocolate Creme Brulee, was chocolate-y enough, however I found the custard a bit too mousse-y in texture and was missing the characteristic surface a genuine brulee would have. The Lemon Torte had a delightfully chewy meringue coupled with a texturally curious (in a good way) curd. I just wished the citrus notes popped out a bit more. All that being said, of all those we tried, what I loved the most was the Coconut Cake. It was pillowy, light, delicate, yet that fragrant whiff and flavor of coconut was definitely present. Subtlety at its best. :-)

Coconut Cake: two layers of sponge cake filled with coconut custard iced and topped with whipped cream and toasted coconut bits.


Lemon Torte: four layers of cashew nut meringue and lemon curd, frosted with fresh whipped cream.

As for their pièce de résistance, the award-winning Nono’s Chocolate Oblivion, I understand now why this is a consistent favorite among top chocolate cakes. First, it really is a chocolate lover’s dream. It’s chocolate, on chocolate, on chocolate, and then some. Second, the play on texture is truly captivating. The contrast of cream, cake, praline and powder all in one spoonful does wonders to the tongue. It’s an experience one rarely gets, especially with the prevalence of the ganache-y mouthfeel we’ve all come to expect and love from classic chocolate cakes. On a personal note, I found it a bit too much and too sweet for my liking. A couple of spoons of the treat was enough for me.

Nono’s Chocolate Oblivion: two layers of chocolate cake, filled & iced with whipped chocolate cream and finished off with walnut praline bits & cocoa powder.

I could imagine someone with a real affinity to sugar would fall head over heels over Classic Confections what with beautiful creations housed in a beautiful setting. While their bestselling chocolate cake will not replace the one on top of my list (ahem*Miss Polly’s*ahem), Classic Confections still surely is worth a visit.

Definitely not for diabetics. :-P

***

Classic Confections
#3 Brixton Street, Barangay Kapitolyo,
Pasig City, Philippines, 1603
Telephone: +632 696 7342, +63917 546 2773
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Classic-Confections-Inc/147561775301802

Of Christmas, hipsters and imperfections (Queso de Bola Cheesecake, Indulgence by Irene)

I know a couple of friends who hate the Ehead’s classic, Huling El Bimbo. These guys and I generally have similar tastes in music, and I happen to appreciate the said song so I asked them why they didn’t. The response? Too many people like it.

So hipster and anti-mainstream ‘no?

I kinda get them though. Sometimes, something gets so popular so quick, it loses its appeal. I can think of a whole lot of things where this observation is applicable, but from experience, I believe that’s what happened to me with Apple and Canon products. (Yey to Android and Nikon! :D)

That was the reason why I was  doubtful when Mr. Tales from the Tummy, one of the best food photographers I’ve met, approached me and asked me to sample his wife’s creation, Indulgence by Irene’s  Queso de Bola Cheesecake. See I’ve known (and read) that this dessert has made the rounds and has been the talk of the foodie town for some time now. Every food blogger I personally know (except maybe for busy bee Smarla. Hey, have you tried this?) has raved about it. It was recently even featured in Spot.ph. All the popularity was beginning to make me go “Meh.“. This post is my thank you note to Richard for giving me the chance to change my mind.

Spoiler alert: the cheesecake was fandabidozi!

(not so) Peek-a-boo.

To be frank, Irene’s cheesecake had all things going against it, at least for me as a taste tester.

First off,  I prefer creamy cheeses, and I’m not a fan of Edam. I don’t even pay attention to it during Christmas season. Second, the packaging of the four-and-a-half inch in diameter portion I got instantly revealed a bump and bubble riddled surface. Every classically-trained baker will tell you that’s never a good sign for a cheesecake. Third, a whiff of the characteristic queso de bola smell, only more pronounced, presented itself when I first opened the box. I didn’t mind but non-foodies may find this not so appealing.

And oh. Did I mention I favor ref cheesecakes over baked ones?

Breakfast time. We ate it with spam. :-P

A bite was all that was needed for me to disregard all those factors. It was that good. It was rich, dense and creamy all at the same time. The queso de bola taste one gets more from the smell but you’ll definitely know it’s there without it overpowering the cream cheese component of the dessert. It wasn’t too saccharine (the crust was but it was cut by the sharpness of the cheese) and doesn’t leave you suya or umay. What it leaves you though is that very familiar guilty feeling you get afterwards every time you eat something that sinful. :-P

The crust was just slightly thicker than what I expected. I suppose that ratio suited the nine-inch one better.

Word of warning: this may not be for everyone, for all the reasons earlier stated. However, if you dare try, you will be rewarded with a filling and satisfying food find. Thanks Richard and Irene. Really awesome job on this one. :-D

The slice I shared with Mama and Erika. The rest I ate by myself. Haha!

***

Indulgence by Irene
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/IndulgencebyIrene
Mobile numbers: 0922-8303900, 0917-622-5800
Orders taken at least 2 days in advance

Of being cheesy, coincidences and “I’m really happy someone thought of making that flavor of ice cream” moments

It’s literally like eating cold blue cheese, the not too sharp kind. I’m not sure how that fares with other folks, but for me, that’s a definite win.

Ish, Alex, remember our burgis days? LOL!

*****

Now I’m not really big on ice cream. Seriously. I almost always snub the cold treat. I’m more of a cheesecake type of guy, than an ice cream type of guy. Now, if it’s Sebastian’s, that’s a totally different story. I love Sebastian’s. It IS the best ice cream brand around. I got introduced to the brand a year ago (I know, right? Me lives under a rock.) when H and I stumbled upon its stall at Glorietta a year ago. I had the Blueberry Cheesecake variant then, after which I became an instant fan. I prefer that flavor the most; closely followed by Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (a classic!) and Up All Night (caffeine junkies would definitely love this one).

That is, until last Sunday.

We just had dinner with Alen and Bryan at Terry’s Selection (that dinner merits a dedicated post, by the way) and were looking for sneakers at the Podium this past weekend. We didn’t find any so we decided to transfer to Megamall, to continue the shoe hunt and to watch Paranormal Activity 2. Lo and behold, after a turn on the way down from Podium’s 4th floor, I saw this:

My jaw dropped. Blue cheese? Walnuts? Sebastian’s? Anyone who knows me that well would tell you this dessert was made for me. :)

(Coincidentally, I was with H too that fateful day at Glorietta when I had that first taste. We just finished watching the first Paranormal Activity movie. Don’t believe me? Read this. :))

For PHP 125, one gets a sizeable serving with one topping. One can choose between walnuts and Palawan honey. For ten pesos more, you can get the two. I opted to have the walnuts (I’m not sure if it would have been better with Palawan honey. Palawan honey, by the way, is better than your average honey; Van Gogh is Bipolar taught me that. :) I was afraid it’d be too sweet so I didn’t try. Let me know how it goes shall you try it, ok?), and it did not disappoint. As always, the ice cream was just the perfect consistency – not too watery, yet not too thick. The sharpness of the blue cheese complements the aptly sweetened base perfectly. The blue cheese, you ask? Sebastian’s did not skimp on it. I discovered generous chunks of blue cheese with every bite I took. H. E. A. V. E. N.

Clever play on words, too, as Once in a Blue Moon is available for a limited time only. On hindsight, I should’ve asked until when this will be available. In any case, blue cheese (and walnuts and Sebastian’s, for that matter) fans, you know what to do.

Dear Sebastian’s, thank you for this creation. You’re awesome.

Next up: FroYa! (Frozen Yakult, for the win!) :)

***

Once in a Blue Moon Premium Ice Cream
Single scoop, one topping: PHP 125
Single scoop, two toppings: PHP 135
Topping options: Walnuts, Palawan honey
Sebastian’s Ice Cream Studio – The Podium
4/F The Podium, Ortigas Center, Pasig City

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