Only within a five-kilometer radius of the Inquirer office, it’s surprising to find many restaurants and stores that espouse a healthier lifestyle.
The weekend markets in Salcedo Park and Legaspi Village are wider in scope, and started the trend in bulk orders for organic produce on weekdays. These establishments are providing the convenience of having these products available all week.
They are welcome relief for those who want to try “real food” as a departure from their normal eating habits. You can also find home care and personal products using organic ingredients.
More than 20 years ago, entrepreneur Mara Pardo de Tavera established the Legaspi Market on Sundays to promote organic farmers and other entrepreneurs with unique ideas. It has introduced such brands as Messy Bessy.
Followers of the Legaspi Market on Sundays can enjoy its products every day of the week. Pardo de Tavera has opened M.O.M. at the Gallery Building. It delivers produce from certified organic farmers.
Built with an efficient kitchen, M.O.M. showcases its vegetables and meats on nutritious plates. It aims to make Filipinos aware that acidity is one of the main causes of modern disease.
M.O.M.’s dishes are inspired by the Indo-Dutch rijjistafel or rice table, a meal which consists of rice with many side dishes. M.O.M.’s plate is divided into four portions for organic rice, meat or beef or beans, a raw vegetable and cooked vegetable.
The plate costs P550 for a lamb dish, P450 for organic beef or chicken, and P350 for a vegetarian plate. The plate for sharing costs P450 but includes rice and eight other side dishes.
M.O.M. promotes rice from Kalinga and Sagada. Quinoa is offered as rice substitute.
For office workers, a comforting bowl of organic ramen with vegetarian broth is affordable at P120.
Minerals in some water prevent the body from properly absorbing the digested food, which leads to weakness or ailment. Hence, M.O.M. serves alkaline water and uses it in cooking for easier digestion.
One of M.O.M.’s unique selling points is the Japanese corner, which is for people on a macrobiotic diet. It includes seaweeds and the umeboshi plum.
This Japanese salt plum is said to balance a hyperacidic stomach after a meal, and protects the intestines.
The corner also sells other products such as locally-made tatami slippers.
Pardo de Tavera herself screens all the personal care and home care products to ensure the purity of the ingredients.
M.O.M. also sells books from the Ateneo Press and handmade Django leather products such as bags, footwear and handlebars.
(Unit 6, Gallery Building, Amorsolo St., Makati)
An advocate of the healthy lifestyle, Sugarleaf restaurant and store invites people to learn about detox juices after the holiday bingeing. You can also order the detox juices or smoothies with the powerhouse broccoli salad, apple pumpkin soup and a wholesome dessert.
This year, Sugarleaf is adding new items to its menu. Skizzas are personal-sized pizzas made of wheat crust and organic basil pesto.
Cooling fruit-based soups will complement the hot organic soups. Moreover, it will be tweaking its pitas and paninis, made of artisanal wheat bread with free-range chicken filling. Then there will be gluten-free waffles and pancakes using banana flour.
Sugarleaf has been organizing lectures and workshops. On Feb. 7, chocolate lovers can learn to make chocolate without milk but using raw cacao and savory dishes with cacao.
Sugarleaf has always been strong with its organic produce and meats and items made with love by its partner merchants. Spokesperson Angelo Songco waxes proud of their new products. For diabetics who can’t give up their sweet tooth, Cruffles (P200 for a box of six) is a brand of homemade chocolate truffles made with organic cacao from Davao.
For spreads, the new almond butter (P320 a jar) is also sweetened with coco sugar and comes in three flavors: chocolate made from raw cacao; vanilla from beans; and toasted macaroons from dessicated coconut. It will also produce its own natural ice cream.
Harlika Fusion is raw honey infused with either ginger, garlic or cinnamon. Made in Bulacan, it can be used as a sweetener or a health supplement. While most herbal teas are strong or bland, Tsaang Laya artisanal teas are soothing and pleasant-tasting.
Sugarleaf can also customize gift baskets according to your budget.
(G-2F MEDICard Lifestyle Center, 51 Paseo de Roxas cor. Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City)
This quaint restaurant at the corner of Chino Roces Avenue and Kamagong has become a place to chill or hang out. In a neighborhood of fastfood joints and junk food, Igorot entrepreneur Satinka Felipe bravely opened a restaurant and shop that offers balanced meals and organic home care products.
Satinka started out with anti-cockroach sprays, multipurpose coconut cleansers for the body and home, gugo shampoo, aromatic reed sticks and mosquito repellants, to name a few.
People go there for the smoothies and snacks. The Sagada yogurt is the local version of the thick Greek yogurt, topped with berries from the Cordilleras or banana and oats.
The café highlights coffees such as the strong Benguet blend or the milder Kalinga and Sagada versions.
The plates are prepared a la minute. One of its new items is the black bean burger mixed with several types of mushrooms, served with flaxseed, green bean fries, raw pasta and kale chips. The vegan meatballs are prepared with beet root and quinoa.
There are alternative plates for meat lovers and pastas such as carbonara with grass-fed bacon or the chicken on a bed of mashed potatoes, topped with grass-fed bacon and flavored with cranberry apple cinnamon sauce that goes with mulled wine from the Cordilleras.
You can also buy produce from Satinka’s circle of organic farmers from the north.
Occasionally, the café hosts special events, poetry reading and mini concerts.
(1137 Kamagong St., San Antonio Village, Makati)
If you don’t want to brave the traffic to EchoStore at Serendra in Bonifacio Global City, the Echo Deli on Salcedo Village has made itself more accessible. Located in front of Salcedo Park, Echo Deli is a welcome destination for the Saturday organic market crowd.
While Salcedo Market has an extensive range of plants, taho and gourmet foods aside from its organic vegetables, Echo Deli has its unique merchandise.
This modest space sells ready-to-cook deli items using grass-fed beef cuts, free-range chicken, pastured meats, organic vegetables and organic eggs from well-known suppliers in the organic farming community.
Healthy sandwiches filled with banana heart and mushroom, coffees and food-to-go serve the office crowd. Freshly made juices include a malunggay blend with carrots, cucumber and sweetened with pineapple, and a Ginger Boost with anti-inflammatory ginger, tomato, pineapple and carrot.
As a deli, it has daily specials such as creamy tomato pasta, chicken longganisa and pasta a la trio, made of three sauces such as malunggay pesto, sun-dried tomato and tuna, and interesting salads such as pechay with bagnet.
Most of the store consist of personal care and home care products. The top seller, Spa in a Bottle, is calming, can ease a headache or dizziness and is a great waker-upper.
(G/F, NDC Building, 116 Tordesillas St., Salcedo Village, Makati City)