Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bob's Red Mill: Grainy Goodness

Whole grains and muesli are uncommon breakfast choices in the Philippines where fried rice, fried egg and fried beef rule the tables, menus and everyone's wish list. Lately the cereal market has been booming, owning an entire aisle in supermarkets which is a great improvement, compared to yesteryear when I practically had to kneel to get a sight of a cereal box. Catered mainly to kids though, the market is fraught with cartoon characters, free toys and sugar.

Where'd the whole grains go? Most of you don't but I do.

Meandering through S&R, I came across these 2 whole grain cereals that were promising in their see-through bags and well, were definitely inexpensive! Okay, I admit it was the cheap part that caught my attention.

Meet Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal and Old Country Style Muesli

Do not be fooled by the 10 Grain Hot Cereal's mini pellets that might resemble poultry feed. Let's just refer to them as crushed oats - sounds better, right? The entire mix is composed mainly of Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Rye, Whole Grain Triticale, Whole Grain Oats, Oat Bran, and loads more of Whole Grain ingredients, including heart friendly Flaxseed. There is definitely no whole wheat deprivation in this package and thus the underlying feature we all love: rich in fiber! A serving boasts of 5g of fiber (25% daily value) that surely tops the fiber content of boxed cereals. A serving (1/4 cup dry) also imparts only 140 calories, 1g Total Fat and no sugar. 

Don't expect the porridge to taste like chocolate pudding though. It took me several attempts to microwave it properly to achieve a smoother blend and at times, mixed it with banana and soy milk to greatly improve the texture and flavor.

And this brings me to Old Country Style Muesli. Again, another whole wheat bonanza with Whole Grain Wheat, Date Crumbles, Sunflower seeds, Raisins Whole Grain Rye and Whole Grain Barley topping the ingredient list. A serving (1/4 cup) provides 5g of sugar, inevitably contributed by the dried fruits. It's so good and heartwarming though, it beats other muesli brands with its nutritional content: 110 calories, 3g Total Fat and 4g Fiber

There is of course a reason why they were bought and featured at the same time: I mix the two cereals for breakfast! Thus, sugar is limited, the flavor is shared and I get the perfect texture - a combination of almond crunch, fruity smoothness, a bit of chewy from the flaxseed and tender bites from the oats. This comforting meal does not even call for milk, banana or my favorite cinnamon. It tastes great on its own and with the Omega-3 and Fiber filling every meal, it makes the perfect breakfast.

Oh, and dinner too, if you're as weird as me.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Late July Organic Multigrain Chips

Healthy Options is infamous for selling organic food items, some of which do not cater to everyone's taste buds. I've had my share of chips and sauces that did not warrant any repeat purchase. Whoever said organic was synonymous to delectable anyway? Most of us have associated "going green" to "lowering one's food expectations", but that should not be the case.

Good thing this addiction to Healthy Options can be uncontrollable at times. Randomly snatching a bag of chips that suggested Latin American food fiesta, it was hard not to buy Late July Organic Multigrain Chips, Sea Salt Flavor.

Don't expect to memorize the lengthy name in one sitting, but do keep in mind its fabulous Nutritional facts per serving (13 chips): 120 calories, 2% saturated fat, 70mg sodium, 8% fiber and 0g sugar. With that much grains packed in a hefty chip, one serving already accounts for a satisfying snack. No kidding, you'd spend some time munching on a chip that you'll be full in no time. As for the taste, the sea salt is adequately sprinkled and brings out the heartwarming multigrain-oaty taste I've learned to love.

A sigh of relief for this Healthy Options jackpot! Finally found a less sinful alternative to Sun Chips and Nova!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

As a child, I've had this sworn aversion towards anything spicy, as it made me drink a lot and thus, pee more often than usual.

As an adult though, I have greatly welcomed this biological function, warmly embraced the goodness of spicy food, and regarded chili as the household staple even more useful than salt. With its powers of increasing metabolism a hundredfold, chili ought to be the new pepper-and-digestive-cookie crammed in that magical speck.

A lot of Filipinos, though, never outgrew the sensitivity to spice. Hence we’ve got the chili haters and those who can’t help but pinch their noses at the aroma of curry or turmeric—which I find very rude to our Asian comrades who invented Yoga. Words like tikka masala, vegetarian or even chapati are enough to bring goosebumps, and many would rather feast on Jolly Jeep than be subjected to a decent Indian meal. And no, shawarma does not count.

That leaves my family as an outlier, friend to the Middle Eastern culture and proponents of Indian cuisine. New Bombay started it all with its remarkable palak paneer, chicken tikka masala and cheese and garlic naan, but it was Legend of India that blasted us to Namaste Land with its Indian Lunch Buffet.

Legend of India is this quaint little Indian restaurant along Jupiter St. in Makati, easily missed with its cursive signage, especially if you’re driving at moderate speed. On Sundays though, you should worry less about traffic and more on the Bollywood blasting on the TV screen. It can be very distracting (bellydancers are not a common sight in our home; come to think of it, so are a hundred harems) but once the food started coming, even Gandhi himself couldn’t tear me away from my plate.

Breakthrough buffet awards goes to Legend of India’s weekend buffet for the simple reason that: I ate everything! No, it’s not that the selection was minimal but rather, it was vegetarian friendly—a rare find in Manila and worth a jumping Jai Ho from yours truly. For once, I can actually write an extensive food review. Oh my Shiva.


Hara Bara Kebab (Vegetable Cutlets) – Fried, green and packed with spinach and spice, it was a tasty little kebab that went well with its partner sauce. Others, though, skipped this green baby and went for the mainstream samosas. Typical. I found the kebabs uniquely prepared and while many are put off by the bright green shade, it is my hope that this suggests a plethora of Vitamin K in every chewy bite, not to mention peas, potato, coriander and a whole lot of chili love.

Chicken Samosa – Curried chicken strips fill the center of every samosa and bring out that Indian delight in every bite. Being the “meatiest” in the bunch, the crowd favorite award goes to this one—the most refilled tray and the only dish people would fight over to the last crumb. Reminds me of Tempura in other buffets—grab the first or last samosa, never mind if it's burnt or got a bite in it, and prepare for battle.

Aloo Bonda (Potato Balls) – This spiced up potato ball is another outlier in the pack, being outshined by the chicken samosa. It is tender, filling and very fascinating to eat. (Try saying Aloo Bonda with a mouthful of spuds and see what I mean.) I must have consumed two, as it reminds me of a very tangy curried croquette, which I would choose over that beat up, overrated samosa anytime.

Naan – The “real” naan is wide, chewy and the best complement for anything with sauce in it—which is practically everything. There were instances when they must have served pitas, while the naan was being grilled and I must say, away with the pitas! It’s naan or nothing!

Manchow Soup – The Manchow Soup is a pleasant change from the cream based and curry laden dishes, as this focused more on light tomato soup. With wee tofu and onion bits to provide that crunch and zest, matched with a slightly sour soup—this one is a perfect breather for those who’ve had too much turmeric.

Palak Paneer – I finally had my fill of Palak Paneer, which must’ve been more than 50% of my total buffet consumption. Spinach and cottage cheese make the best combination, and topped on naan, create an indefatigable combo. The spinach is mildly prepared and the spices are not as overpowering, making the cheese the central element. Lean and green.

Dal Tarka – After Googling it out of curiosity several times, I have come to the conclusion that Dal Tarka is quite renowned in India since it highlights the vegetarian favorite, chick pea—making it a warm, thick and healthy dish for the family. At first glance it actually appears like squash soup with corn kernels, which put me off for a second, not being a fan of corn. This suspicious looking corn though, turned out chick  peas—much better! With their grainy texture bathed in turmeric-garam masala flavored sauce (too thick to be christened as soup) it was a delightfully filling serving—good enough for one hefty meal. Not really an expert in Indian cuisine, I’m willing to make a bet that the Dal Tarka makes it to the top comfort foods in India. Despite its murky and squashy appearance, this is something crave-worthy in the future—never mind if it’s summer here all year round.

Vegetable Jalfrezi – This dish ought to be an effortless choice for the vegetarian, with loads of vegetables swimming in the usual spicy sauce. The vegetables seemed to have been floating in the sauce for quite some time now—either that or this dish was made for the senior folks. Finding the cauliflower close to puree, it did not bode well with my palate. The meal enough was too saucy, I needed a chance to exercise my jaw muscles and the Vegetable Jalfrezi gave me Gerber instead.

Fish Masala – Another no-brainer, as the name alone properly describes what to expect from the dish, unlike the Dal Tarka or Aloo Bonda which require an interpreter. The masala sauce was rich and just right, as expected. The fish, on the other hand, must be related to the Vegetable Jalfrezi cauliflower, being overly soft and tender. Melt-in-your-mouth fish isn’t exactly my kind of seafood fix, and this one had the fish swimming in too long and needed saving.

Chicken Curry – With the Palak Paneer and Dal Tarka colorful enough to grab my attention, signature Indian dish Chicken Curry easily made it to the sideline of my plate. Earlier summoning the yogi mode, vegetarian was the order of the day, so I merely “sampled” the chicken, which tasted, well, like chicken curry. Thank Shiva, it was not the Filipino version of diluted curry that tasted more like coconut. This one had the air of authenticity without trying too hard to confuse us with a myriad of spices.

Okay, I lied about eating everything. One thing I couldn’t bring myself to try was that sinister orange dessert that seemed more like a tooth killer than sweet serenity. Hence, we ditched dessert and headed straight to Serenitea. My Indian gastronomic high was not about to be ruined by this orange threat that looked like a pretzel version of Maxx candy. It was Jai Ho all the way and nothing should spoil this newfound legend.

For those craving for authentic Indian cuisine, complete with the vegetarian fares and a fill of the spices our grandmas wouldn’t normally have in their cupboards, the Legend of India buffet brings a satiating answer to that. It was an atypical choice and unusual adventure for my outlandish palate, and for some, a bit over the spicy edge. While it was “Namaste!” for me, red meat deprivation may have tortured some of the hard-core Pinoy carnivores.  But you guys always have the fun, so why can’t I just this once?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

While Asians may find it difficult to unite under one deity, hair color or even traffic orientation, at least we collectively share something of greater importance—the passion for noodles. There’s no denying that we would readily renounce our siblings or pierce our tongue, twice, just to gain possession of the last cup noodle in the cupboard. And that’s true love.

 This gluttonous love affair has gotten me as far as nearly posing a fire hazard to our home in my lame attempts to create vegetarian chap chae and tikka masala curry noodles from scratch. Nothing good ever came out of this experience—except for a house still intact, which I tell others as a form of consolation. And this constant longing for pristine noodles—I have painfully learned, must be sourced elsewhere. My dreams of slurping down Shirataki and the succulent udon or catching a whiff of the tangy aroma of seafood hofan—all these are to be fulfilled by travel or local restaurants, in an effort to preserve the sanity of our home and finally allow our neighbors to enjoy a good night’s sleep, sans the fear of dying from suffocation.

Scouring the restaurants in Manila can be quite arduous and disappointing—I have miserably discovered. The metro hosts a multitude of Chinese restaurants that serve the usual fares, which are nothing spectacular and satiating and are nonetheless oil-laden and spell mediocrity with their un-al dente noodles—pancit canton, guisado, birthday noodles, the bedridden misua and liver-spattered lomi. Vegetarians are meant to suffer from this repertoire of meaty mayhem, while those seeking to live long can do so with cholesterol attacks until eternity. Some local restaurants do serve nearly palatable noodle dishes but are nothing boast-worthy.  Previously visited Oody's dishes out mediocrity in small amounts and falls secondary in my top places for dining pleasure. North Park serves noodles with what I suppose is beef soup base that just makes my inner PETA flare up in angst. Pho Hoa is priced a bit steep, for a bowl that is anything but big and hefty, and Mann Hann has got to be the noisiest place in the planet.

Spying Banana Leaf at the Trinoma 4F seemed like a gift form the collective deities of the Asian heavens. It did not matter that were were about to partake our meal on a leaf with questionable hygiene; my noodle fantasy was about to become a reality, and that's all my stomach cared about.

Banana Leaf showcases popular dishes from neighboring Asian countries; hence, a menu populated with words like curry, lemograss, laksa, roti, tom, phad and of course, stir-fried. Even the tempting vegetable samosas and chicken satay could not sidetrack my goal. I came for noodles and intended to stick with the plan. Based on the descriptions and a bit of visual analysis (okay, staring at the photos) we ended up ordering the following based on my noodles choices for the day:  Penang Char Kway Teow, Seafood Fried Rice Noodle and Vermicelli with Malay Sauce and Phad Thai - Thai Style.

The Penang Char Kway Teow, literally translated as stir-fried ricecake strips, is better recognized in Penang, Malaysia as a hawker street food. Unlike Filipino street foods that are more functional than palatable, the Char Kway Teow beckons people blocks away with its zesty aroma. Banana Leaf glorifies this street food by adding plump shrimps for that protein-rich, upper class appeal. Flat rice noodles, bean sprouts and egg make up the bulk of the textures—mainly soft and chewy. The soy sauce blend is made more appetizing once heated up, making it slightly sweet, spicy and thick. There is no surfeit of salt or any overpowering seasoning that can imbalance the sense of taste, which makes the dish mellow in flavor yet greatly appealing. The irresistible aroma alone takes me back to the side streets of Penang—quite the exaggeration because I haven’t been to Malaysia—but somehow, the noodles leave a feeling of Malay authenticity, I might as well pretend to have been there.


The Fried Rice Noodle and Vermicelli provides the continental counterpart of the Chinese crispy noodles. The fried vermicelli rests at the bottom of a viscuous sauce made primarily with egg, and I wonder if this to compensate for using non egg noodles in an otherwise, egg noodle-rich dish. The fried vermicelli mimics the egg noodles and imparts the same crisp-alternated-with-chewy bits of noodles. Adding to the drama and texture are the hefty rice noodle squares that double as toppings and go well with the gigantic shrimps, squid and vegetable slices that grace the sauce. It’s a filling seafood catch, and coincidentally tastes just like the sea—complete with intense saltiness that seems to go straight to my kidneys. Seriously, who would’ve thought that this egg-based and pallid sauce would reap all the salt in Asia? Salty, cream-heavy, and not too photogenic as well, I’m thinking of pursuing another vermicelli dish in the future, should the craving re-arise. Blame it on the Penang Char Kway Teow—it got all the credit.

Signature Thai noodle dish Phad Thai - Thai Style ("Fried Thai style") ought to be a no-brainer for Banana Leaf’s master chef. Rice noodles and egg stir-fried with the popular sweet-sour-salty-and-semi-spicy sauce garnished with peanuts and chives offer that exquisite tang that only the Thai noodles could create. With the Filipinos’ penchant for similarly diverse flavors (fish sauce + sugar) the Pad Thai is an easy crowd pleaser. Unfortunately for the Thais, I thrive on bland food and ban fish sauce in our household so at first glance, I knew that my mortal enemy has been born - but I gave it a chance. One bite told me that it was not the fish sauce to fear, but rather, the overly sweetened sauce that dares to compete with the Filipino super-sweet spaghetti mix that kids love. This kid certainly didn't love the syrupy concoction and wished for a more mellow sauce to go with the firm noodles that otherwise would've been perfect. Filipinos would find delight in this semi sweet noodle dish that veers away from the curry laden and spiced up dishes in the menu. If I want a real Phad Thai though, I'd have to wait every Sunday for our Legaspi  Market picnic.

Appetizers abound, the Vietnamese Vermicelli Spring Roll and Chicken with Sticky Rice were immediate choices for their promising names and well, noodle associations. Both carry the same sweet and sour sauce on the side and were perhaps fried on the same pan - just a hunch. The spring roll was nothing extraordinary and was rendered tasteless without the sauce. The vermicelli at the center did not burst with chewy glutinous goodness (which I was expecting) and were on the dry side, in contrast to the greased up, crisp wrapper. The chicken wings were just as ordinary and like the Fried Rice Noodle and Vermicelli, pretended to be camera-shy. For P128 per serving though, the price range for appetizers is rather friendly on the pocket and allows us to experiment, binge and not cry over unsavory choices. And most of them look fantastic on the photo, I'm certain on our next visit, we'd hit the appetizer jackpot! (Thai Vermicelli Salad, would that be you?)

Leafing through the Banana Leaf menu will shower you with more pictures and noodle offerings, there’s a huge chance you’ll be planning to spend your next birthday there. Noodles though aren’t the only tempting fares on the roster. With soups, vegetables, seafood and even appetizers in abundance, it seems that we’ll be 4F Trinoma denizens for some time, unless some kind Malaysian or Singaporean family decides to adopt me, and I can have all the noodles, even for breakfast -  for the rest of my life. And that's what I call living the Asian dream!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Thai Will Be Done (@Oody's)

Thai food is best described as vibrant, diversely flavored and patron-choosy—which is why I’ve never been too fond of it, being one of the patrons forced to face its spite. The spicy part, I can endure, but the liberal flavor of fish sauce and peanuts has not been too friendly to my salt-averse sense of taste. The Legaspi Market’s Pad Thai though, drastically improved my assessment on this dish and presented an opportunity of, possibly, craving Thai food in the future.

And crave I did.

 Oody’s Greenbelt was a mindless choice, logistically advantageous and appealing to the Makati walkers. That, and for some odd reason, my peers did not consider Banana Leaf an option. Pity—and so Oody’s it was!


My quest for Pad Thai was thwarted though, by the flaunting photo of the Pad Siew. Less pallid, fortified with greens and devoid of peanuts—it seemed to reach out to me, and so I ditched the Pad Thai fancy. It was a choice not to regret. Pad Siew literally means “fried with soy sauce” and its rice noodles were chewy yet tender, just the way I imagined them for weeks. The chunks of chicken and scrambled egg were generously incorporated in the dish and not placed as a measly siding. While a bit on the oily side—what can you expect from stir fried noodles?—I suspect a cup of tea would assuage the risk of a shortened lifespan. Nonetheless, the tea never emerged, but rather, a hefty crepe with ice cream. I suppose there’s always room for dessert.

The Pad Thai and Noodle Soup with Chicken were not mine to begin with, but let me provide snippets of the comments from my equally hungry and opinionated mates:


“I suppose it’s okay.”

“I’m only eating soup because I have gastro-something. I sure hope it’s not spicy!”

“I’m paying this much for this soup? Hmmm.”

When asked for comparisons, “Of course Pho Hoa serves much better soup. This doesn’t even come close.”

Pad Thai:

“Wow, that’s a lot! But your Pad Siew looks way better!”

“You can have some of my Pad Thai, you know.” To which I nearly screamed, “No, thank you!”

I rest my case.


House appetizers – The spicy peanuts and fried wanton made lovely centerpieces and to our delight, were rather tasty. “Refillable” was another key to securing our economical enjoyment. As for hygiene, well that’s another story.

Service – Undertaking the challenge to serve us water in small, decorative glasses, Oody’s waiters nearly regret their insensible decision. While tall glasses graced other tables (I wonder why), they opted to serve us, human camels and giant gulpers, the beakers amongst their dishes. Concession was made by leaving a pitcher instead, but that was after about 3 rounds of Water, please. Your free peanuts are choking us!”

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

That Warm Feeling of Dulcelation

It is soothing to think that mine is a rather extensive food vocabulary, having grown up with books on cooking, cutlery and chocolates and studying in an HE-oriented school that constantly puts Goldilocks’ prints to shame. Words like blanch, vermicelli, gourmet, sear, decadent, and julienne bear crystal clear definitions in my head, but are rarely used in real life, having no opportunity for proper articulation given Manila’s modest and mainstream selections.

That was until we spied the royal blue box laced with the signature orange ribbon lounging in my cousin’s freezer.

That was the day we came across Dulcelin’s Mango Torte and forgot that hoi polloi was ever a word.

At first sight, the Mango Torte can be quite the temptress – dotted with dollops of whipped cream that seem to wave to the eager crowd. With mango slices generously plunging into the torte and a nougatine crust that packs in that butterscotch crunch—there can only be sweet bliss in every bite. While some people prefer the crust—peanut brittle lovers, rejoice—and others enjoy the massive mango flavor—yours truly—it’s the torrent of flavors and textures that makes Mango Torte, the premium buy. It does away with the watered down cream or mango preserves that commercially baked goods erroneously flaunt as first-class. The torte is supremely rich and naturally sweetened with select fruit that you wouldn’t find on any other cake. A staple in family gatherings, the Mango Torte is delectable as it is visually superb.

It is, perhaps, the only dessert I have observed that has a 100% guest consumption rate. Why, it even fares better than ice cream, fresh fruits and well, beer!

Fruit and cream isn’t the only combination that Dulcelin can whip up with flair though. They also have the Callebaut Chocolate Ganache Cake, perhaps the supreme being for those in pursuit of the decadent and luxuriously creamy variety. Moist, rich, and  infused with copious amounts of Belgian chocolate, this delicacy offers layers of chocolate ganache, mousse and cake—topped with slivers of almonds. The ganache glistens with Belgian pride, finished off with a velvety smooth taste to match its sheen. The almonds and slightly nutty core provide the pleasant crunch that goes brilliantly well with the swirl of chocolate flavors. Each bite promises a merry mix of almonds, smooth ganache and moist cake.


The proliferation of bakeshops, cafes and cake stalls in Manila is undeniable, but their cakes and pastries—mainly shoddy, airy and oftentimes clich├ęd. Though ubiquitous in scope, they rarely provide gastronomic sustenance and, are oftentimes, selected for their logistical convenience and cost. Hence, the rise of the generic custard, the unartistic chocolate icing, the porous chiffon, the crumbling cake and the tritely used cookies and cream—all these reflect Manila’s disappointing food choices. All these show how commonplace our taste buds have become. All these make me want to go to sleep instead.

When the sleeping gourmand awakens though and all else fails, Dulcelin can appease that longing for comfort food—and that’s what I call sweet elation!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Going, Going, Gong Cha!

Perhaps by its musically inspired name—in which I find no appeal being lyrically incapacitated—Gong Cha has never tempted me with its lavishly named tea drinks. That was until I saw the gleaming queue at Glorietta (milk tea at an Ayala Mall, a rare find!) did I realize that well, maybe there’s hope despite its taunting name.

The milk tea listing can be quite exhausting—the long line something to be grateful for having given us ample time to think,brainstorm and analyze the potential taste of every green tea combination.

The “premium” milk teas start with the signature name Gong Cha, and I initially considered it an endeavor to create brand impact. The guess was a tad too academic, as explained by the cheery cashier. Gong Cha milk tea = with cream on top. Oh my, did you say cream? Good thing there was a second option.

Going for the Large Milk Green Tea (30% sugar) with pudding (P105 total) was perhaps the wisest decision. Not really a fan of pearls, which seemed to create a choking feeling after every sip, the pudding provided a smooth sweet treat that didn’t interfere with the drink or clog the straw. The green tea was identifiable but rather overpowered by the supposed tinge of Jasmine. If I were to rename the drink, it would be more like Milky Jasmine with Green Tea (in the proper order of flavors). The 30% sweetness was tolerable yet compared with the 30% of other brands (Serenitea and Cha Time) this was one big, SWEET 30%. I cringe at the thought of 100% sweetness—a surefire nightmare for my dentist and weighing scale!

Why many people would opt for Gong Cha can be no question with its massive list of exuberant flavors, tea selections, shakes, and price. Even tea cynics will find interest in their menu with their shakes (coffee, chocolate or milk flavor), creative mixes (like Yakult Green Tea) and ice cream specials

Still pondering over the origin of the name Gong Cha, I was looking forward to seeing a real gong be used to call out the orders, or a gong being used to lull the workers to their tea making rhythm. Wrong again. At least they didn’t have to sing out my name when they called out my order or it would’ve been Gone Cha for me.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ciao Gelato

Show me another frozen yogurt stand, and get ready for a barrage of not-too-pleasant banter, with resonating words like uncreative, mainstream, and so yesterday. Indeed, froyo is so 2010. It’s time to revert and find folly in the good ol’ classics, in ice cream and more specifically, gelato.

Before any verbal insurgency starts to label me as old-fashioned, bear in mind that the gelato I’m talking about isn’t the usual fat laden and tooth-decay-sweet that once kept our hippies plump. Today’s gelato is almost fat free, comes in more exotic and adventurous flavors and is available in sugar or dairy free versions. Our generation brings bliss to those harboring the unquenchable sweet tooth, and gelato can easily kick froyo out of the top spot in the almost-healthy dessert list.

A fact deliberately ignored: frozen yogurt comes with sugar and cream and almost always, the toppings are an inevitable companion to ward off the sourness that most Filipinos hate, and will never learn to love. But gelato is au natural delight—tastes superb on its own, with no need for extra toppings, cones or that repulsive whipped cream.

Gelatissimo, for example, offers 90 to 97% fat free creations, sorbet, sugar free and dairy flavors and a rotating assortment that includes quite an interesting number such as Pannacotta, Pineapple, Rum and Raisin, Apple Pie, Truffle, Hazelnut, Green Tea and Lemon Cheesecake. The list is endless, and for a scoop (P110) or two (P160), a gastronomic feeling of astonishment and sweet fill can make us forget frozen yogurt was ever born. PETA-approved dairy-free dark chocolate is a universal favorite, while flavors with a hint of liquor can surely draw in the mature crowd. Mind you, my dad went for the Rum and Raisin and ordered that ever since. Not even the lure of Hazelnut could change his mind.

Italian favorite Affogato makes a heartening treat, complete with the lush tray, while fruity flavors (lemon, lime, strawberry, raspberry, etc) will make a dieter’s best friend with their low calorie content. I can probably go on about every flavor, but there’s just one thing I want to say: Why go on a monotonous froyo binge when you can enjoy an adventurous feast with gelato flavors? If you’re going to be spending the same amount anyway and ingest the same amount of calories/sugar, just go for the real thing.

Once spotted in its corner spot in Greenbelt 5, Gelatissimo has found (not so) new homes in Serendra and TriNoma (just fabulous). Now, we northern folks can expand our territorial choices, which were once composed of just Cara Mia, Stick House, Sebastian’s and of course, the ubiquitous froyo stands.