If there’s any good to come of this quarantine, it’s the slew of yummy creations.
Cristina Santiago Rivera, without a flight out of San Francisco to Manila, finally had time on her hands to think and restrategize Sweet Bella’s (tel. 0915-3772040; @sweetbelladesserts on Instagram) direction.
“As you know, my cakes are like babies. They need a lot of tender love and care in shipping, so that was out of the question since we now use delivery services like motorcycles,“ she said.
Wanting to create something new, different and unique to wow recipients, Cristina went to work and cleverly concocted croissant tarts. She recounted how she fell in love with croissant tarts when she had them in Europe a few years back.
Her very own croissant tarts are layers of croissant crust, light pastry cream filling and a generous heaping of berries. She also has a Chocolate Croissant Tart variant. Both come in mini single servings or as an impressive Grand Tart.
Add to her quarantine creations are her laminated croissants. The pretty Red Velvet oozes with a light, creamy cream cheese frosting with a hint of lemon. The Nutella Croissant is generously filled with Nutella, with a dough that’s crisp to the bite. Her Pain au Chocolat is filled with velvety smooth melt-in-your-mouth dark chocolate.
Cristina’s baked goods will bring a festive feel to any table. Her packaging for gifting is so impressive.
Umami Kitchen’s roast beef
I was gifted with a beautiful box filled with slices of roast beef. I recall it to be tender and tasty, served with a truffle sauce that is seasoned right and with just the right amount of truffle to enhance the beef. The beef is dry-rubbed, marinated, then pugon-roasted for eight to 12 hours.
Umami Kitchen’s (tel. 0998-5357327, 0916-7445400; @_umamikitchen on Instagram) Roast Beef makes a most comforting meal and the perfect potluck dish, as it gets to you warm. The box that holds the beef is a hot box that contains heat pads beneath the aluminum food tray, activated by the pulling of a string. Eight to 10 minutes later, once you see steam rise from the box and steam becomes visible, the beef is ready to be enjoyed!
Umami’s roast beef is available in three sizes; 1 kg, ½ kg and a promo size, which is a single serving of roast beef with a side of mash and corn.
Other items on the menu that I look forward to trying are the Umami Roast Chicken, Heirloom Chicken Galantina, Umami Escargot and Ooey-gooey Truffle Mac & Cheese.
Ever since I tried it, I could not have enough of Patty Pineda’s Green Chili Achara (tel. 0917-5225838; @homemadeby22x and @sevenpantry on Instagram). It is so good paired with practically anything grilled or fried and your breakfast meats. Another add-on to my favorites from 22X that include their cheese sticks and salsa. Keep cooking, Patty! Who would have thought that the lady who never entered the kitchen till the pandemic now makes all these delectable goodies?
One of the best banoffee pies I’ve tried is made by three girls: Margaux Catibayan, Carmen Catibayan and Gianna Morales (tel. 0917-7990483; @pieceofpie.ph on Instagram). Childhood friends stuck together during quarantine, the trio baked sourdough bread, cookies and even cakes. Practice makes perfect, and after many attempts, they now have one of the most delicious pies—rich enough, sweet enough, with the right amount of perfectly ripe bananas. Truly a must try. INQVisit reggieaspiras.com; follow @iamreggieaspiras on Facebook and Instagram.