It’s panic time again. Everyone’s frantically thinking of what to give friends, relatives or business associates we have to “make palakas” to. Allow me to ease the tension a bit with my list of new and old reliables. Check them out!
1) Kris Ompaocao—best chicken empanada in town. Also has moist and soft bread stuffed with ham and cheese. Tel. 9207282, 09272341990, 09954853450.
2) Chef Bob and Ninay’s roast turkey and boneless crispy lechon belly. Tel. 9840065, 09189098850.
3) Baby Pat Breads and Pastries—moist and heavy-flavored ensaymadas. I love the ube and Nutella the most. Tel. 09175330443.
4) Giant Ensaymada—made by Melissa of Pampanga and sold in Manila. She’s usually at Legaspi Sunday market. Tel. 4046582, 09209478819.
5) Chef Jill Sandique—best crunchy and chewy macadamia or pistachio sans rival. Tel. 4978811, 09228262673.
6) Ginny de Guzman’s Gustare—out-of-this-world truffle cake and champurado cookies. Tel. 4030345, 09178350820.
7) Pastry chef Sheila Sumabat—moist chocolate cake with almonds, and chocolate truffle balls. Tel 0917-8191566
8) Mara de la Rama—gateau crepe, chocolate panna cotta, flourless truffle cake, all exceptional.Tels. 09178036272, 09178116272, 4052580.
9) Felicia’s Ensaymada from Bacolod—one of the best I’ve tried. They can send it to you overnight. Tel. (634) 4436586, 09185514638.
10) General’s Lechon—Negros Occidental style. It comes in four flavors: regular, garlic, curry and chili garlic. Free delivery. Tel. 09178975966.
11) Valrhona chocolate cake by Dolcelatte. Top of my list among the many. Moist, not too sweet. Tel. 09175563374.
12) Kitchen’s Best Chocolate Plaisir cake and turtle pie. Saraaap. Tel. 09178871988.
13) Stevie’s Hainanese Chicken Rice—complete with Hainan rice and three sauces. Tels. 09065084155, 09175783843.
14) Chef Sam’s peanut butter cake—made with Reese’s Pieces and Butterfinger candy bars. Fantastic. Tel. 09209207268.
15) Casa Medillano—Authentic Spanish paella. Winner. Tels. 09165568842 or 09178801469.
16) Crème brûlée cake—Different. Moist, crunchy on top and never ceases to get compliments. Reasonably priced, too. Tel. 09167457729.
17) Mac’s Deli—Polish Kielbasa, Oscar Mayer turkey bacon. Delicious American sausages by Marnie Cordova. Tel. 09989523902.
18) Margie de la Rama— Roasts a mean and delicious crispy cochinillo. Tel. 09178971017.
19) Queso de Bola Cheese Cake—Best version I’ve tried. Made by Cru Kitchen. Tel. 8284474, 09209278188.
26) Italian Porketta by porketta man Ram Jorge. Crunchy, flavorful pork belly with a green sauce. Yum! Tel. 09178102218.
27) Bottled Vodka Tinapa made by Jaq’s Kitchen. With Melba toast, it will be a great gift idea. Tel. 2167429, 09175296918.
28) Tinee de Guzman’s Cochinillo. Cut-with-a-platito tender. Also makes a baboy ramo version. Tel. 09175251025.
29) Shirley’s Botttled Tuyo. Convenient and sarap. Best gift idea for a huge group. Tel. 09998820635.
30) French chef JP Migne— delicious, festive chicken relleno and French pâté. Tel. 09778115680.
31) Estrel’s Caramel Cakes made by Gina Navarro. An all-time favorite since 1946. Sarap. Tel. 3722965, 3717938.
32) Sansrival by Guy Vasquez. Also a winner. Tel. 09173010615, 6310125.
33) Most awesome Angus beef belly from H Cuisine. It melts in your mouth. Tel. 09177771411, 4130347.
34) Czar’s Apple Pie—winner of Great American Cookfest best apple pie. Perfect with sliced queso de bola. Tel. 09175411167, 6220830.
35) Delicious Chocolate Cake and flavored eclairs by chef Sunshine Pengson. Tel. 09177047118.
36) Ben’s Lechon Baka— His son, Dondon Mejia, now runs it with the exact same recipe. Sarap! Tel. 09175224386.
37) Rico’s Cebu lechon—best of Cebu. Deposit payment, he sends the lechon by freight, pick up and it’s still crispy. Tell him the time of your party and he’ll send it two hours before. Very affordable, too. Tel. 09174072033.
38) Chocolate Velvet Cake by Sylvia Cancio. This was the cake that shot my standards way up high. Tel. 09178352102.
39) Mama Ting’s Rellenong Bangus—best of Marikina. Tel. 09175110208.
40) Pastelleria Mallorca— half pound of butter per giant ensaymada. So fattening but all worth it. Tel. 3732789, 09053704433.
41) Tatang’s Boneless Cebu Lechon. Eight branches all over Metro Manila. Tel. 09189677437.
42) Hector’s Chicharon Bituka—a must try. Tel. 0902661564.
43) Catering by Match Point. If you want a stress-free Christmas party, call 09175225450.
44) Catering by Peachy. Delicious spread of well-balanced dishes. Tel. 09176261006.
45) Wooden Spoon Catering. Pretty good, if I may say so. Tel. 5321383, 09178364998.
46) Expensive but most effective health gift: Kangen Alkaline water machine. Tel. 09173100958.
With that, I hope you find something interesting enough to give!