Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Magnum Choco-Cappuccino

I was craving for ice cream last night. After eating at Chic-boy I felt like I needed to eat some sweets. Unfortunately I wasn't able to buy one. And to make it worse, while looking at some pictures on my phone, I saw some pictures of Magnum I took a few weeks back. Waaa......

This is Magnum's Choco-Cappuccino. Super like.I like the chocolate coating. The ice cream itself is also smooth. And I love cappuccino 'streaks' inside. The crunchy bits also add excitement.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ilocos Empanada - Farinas Ilocos Empanada

I like empanada. I've loved empanada since I was a child. I remember my mother bringing home empanada every time the person in-charge of the retail store where she works would bake some. That empanada was the first empanada I have had so that's my peg of how empanada should be. Through the years I have tasted different kinds of empanada but nothing could match what I call the 'original'. The only other version perhaps that I equally like is the Ilocos empanada. I always buy one every time I would see a store selling them.

One restaurant I know here in Manila is the Farinas Ilocos Empanada. You can find the store along Tomas Morato in Quezon City. It is near cor. Roces St.

Their Ilocos empanada is very tasty. It tastes real. I mean it tastes like the ones you can get in Vigan. They have various versions of it. There's one filled with bagnet. There's also one filled with Vigan longganisa. If you want both, do not worry. You do not need to buy two. They actually have a version with both bagnet and Vigan longganisa.

Farinas Ilocos Empanada has affordable empanadas. You can already have one for less than a hundred pesos.  

The store is small. They only have a few tables. You actually eat 'al fresco'.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gift Ideas for Christmas - Food. Food. More Food.

We are already in the Christmas season so I'm sure many of you are already of thinking of what gifts to give to  your loved ones, friends, employees, teachers, neighbors, etc. I'm not going to suggest here material gifts but what you can find them in my other blog (click here). What I'm going to list down for you are food and food related items that you can give as gifts this Christmas. From time to time I'll include places and stores where you can find the best deals.

Let's start!


Fruits are safe gifts. No need to worry  about sizes or colors. No need to worry if 'they have it already'. Fruits are almost always welcome. You do not have to worry about recipients who are price-conscious. They cannot check the price of your gift.

So what fruits are you going to include in your gift. You must have the 'basics' like apples -- red and green, oranges and pears. If it's available now, you can also add avocado to add color. Then add a few not-so-common fruits like dragon fruit, mangoosteen, marang or kiwi. Pineapple can be added because it's big which is good if you can only buy a limited number of fruits.

The challenge in giving fruits is how you are going to wrap/present it. The most basic way is to put the fruits in a nicely woven basket then cover it with cellophane with ribbon as accent. If you are giving it to a 'very special' person like a boss, you can include a small bouquet of flowers tucked on one side of the basket. The downside to giving fruits in a basket is that sometimes baskets are expensive.

A cheaper version would be to give it in one of those eco bags. Eco bags are 'in' now so you can find a lot of cheap yet nice ones.

You can buy fruits in Divisoria, Libertad (Pasay), San Andres (Malate), NEPA QMart (Quezon City) and in other public markets.


A vegetable basket is a very unique gift idea. You can include vegetables like talong, squash, ampalaya, puso ng saging, sweet potato, carrots, string beans, etc. Choose vegetables of different colors so your basket would look nice.

This is also a safe gift.The only thing that you really have to make sure of before you decide to give this as a gift is if the recipient does not eat vegetables at all. 

You can buy vegetables in the same places mentioned above.


As early as October I already saw bakeshops selling fruitcakes. The nice thing about fruitcakes is that they don't easily spoil. You can buy them as soon as you get your Christmas Bonus this November and give them during your party in December. As an addition, you do not have to worry about wrapping your gift. They come in presentable boxes already. Many of them even have ribbons.

The only issue here is that not everyone likes fruitcakes. You can find out by casually asking them if they received one last year and what they did with it. I  know a lot of people who 'recycled' their fruitcakes. That means they give what they got away.


Cakes, pastries and other baked goodies are nice gifts for a lot of good reasons. First, they are easy to find. There are so many cake shops now offering fancy cakes. They come in good packaging already. You can buy them in bulk -- order them ahead of time if you want. The only problem is if you do not have a car, it may be difficult to bring your gifts to  the school or to the office or wherever.

There are a lot of places where you can buy good cakes. Some of them are Cheesecake Melissa (Kamagong St., Makati), Classic Confections (Greenbelt 5), Becky's Kitchen (P. Ocampo St., Manila), Chocolate Kiss (UP Diliman), Conti's, etc. You can also try those sold in bazaars and weekend markets. I saw great choices at the Mercato Centrale, The Fort.

(Gourmet Sardines, Gourmet Atchara, Gourmet Spreads)

You can also give bottles of gourmet sardines, atchara and spreads. They are nice to give because they look 'classy'. You can usually find them in bazaars. They are reasonably priced and they also come in ready  to  give bottles. Some are placed in native bags or baskets.

You can also give specialty vinegars. Last year I received a bottle of vinegar with red chili and garlic. I loved it. You can also buy them in bazaars.

6. HAM

Pinoys love ham -- whatever flavor or form. This is practical because everybody wants to have ham for their Noche Buena. If you give them ham as a gift then they would not have to spend time (and effort) buying their own so they'll appreciate you for it. Just make sure that you give it at least a week before Christmas so they can change their Christmas shopping list.

You can find hams in malls. There are local and imported hams. You can also try your neighborhood meat shops. They may have their own homemade hams.


I know! Jars shouldn't be here. But then if  you are on a tight budget, you can try looking for nice, inexpensive jars to give as gifts. You can just fill  these jars with colorful chewing gums or candies.

I've seen nice jars at Landmark and SM -- home section.

I'll be adding other gift ideas for Christmas -- food -- in the coming days.