So many things happened in January 2020. It’s almost enough for half a year’s worth of newsworthy events! Adding all the personal family issues I have been dealing with lately, the old me probably would’ve had a nervous breakdown. But thanks to all the emotional beating I got from 2019, I seem to have toughened up some. Psychologically, I am doing a lot better than I expected. I am not as affected emotionally as I used to be. I am managing to see the silver lining a lot more clearly than I expected as well. But a little boost in endorphins always help in most situations, so this “happy list” of mine is making a return trip to the blog.
I’ve never been consistent with these favorites lists, but I figured this is a really good way for me to sit down and look back on the food-related things that kept my spirits up the past month. This is kind of like that daily exercise where you write down 3 things that made you happy for that particular day, except it’s a monthly thing so I have some time to sift through my thoughts. (I feel like I would totally fail at the daily thing!) I always think writing this kind of post is nice, because you realize there are more things that make you smile than you initially thought. Anyway, enough with the drama, let’s move on to my favorites for January 2020!
1. Needletail’s Sourdoughnuts
The beginning of this story is simple. I had a craving for doughnuts one day and while I was scrolling along my Instagram timeline, a photo of these doughnuts popped up. Needletail has such perfect timing, because the last time I ordered from them was also on an impulse, when I was craving cold brew and cookies.
Needletail only entertains a certain number of orders every week for their special doughnuts, and these slots always get filled, so I was very happy when they gave me a slot. To be clear, I paid for these doughnuts. This review is pretty much unsolicited, but because these doughnuts hit the spot for me, they are here in the round-up for January 2020.
What makes these doughnuts special is the fact that rather than a normal enriched yeast dough that is done in a few hours, the dough is left to slowly ferment with a sourdough starter, such that it acquires a soft and fluffy crumb. I am going to guess this was left to ferment overnight, however it doesn’t have too strong a sourdough-y flavor. What it does have is a FANTASTIC crumb, especially when warm. As pillowy as it looks in the photos. I also really love the contrast of that golden top and bottom versus that white ring in the middle.
Needletail sell these doughnuts by boxes of 4 or 6 only, and you are free to choose among their 4 flavors. Their Peach Mango Filled Doughnuts (Php 75) are my favorite, followed by the Strawberry Filled (Php 75). My issue is that the doughnuts aren’t filled with enough of these fruity jams, and even though I love the texture of the sourdough bread base, I’m the kind of person who wants the filling to reach almost to the other side of the doughnut.
Meanwhile, their Chocolate Hazelnut Filled Doughnuts (Php 85) are a little too sweet for me. Although I think the filling is Nutella, I find it to be a bit overwhelming especially since the doughnuts are also coated in sugar. My brothers really devoured these doughnuts though. Needletail have another doughnut variant called Cinnamon Sugar Raised Doughnut (Php 70), and I imagine this is perfect for those who don’t like filled doughnuts. All in all, not perfect, but you can tell a lot of effort was put into these doughnuts.
2. Lola Cafe’s Pasta Negra
I have been contemplating whether I should write about Lola Cafe on the blog, mostly because I wasn’t really impressed with the service, but I was actually really impressed with this Pasta Negra (Php 540 for the Sharing size) of theirs. Possibly one of the best versions I have eaten so far! What sets it apart is that the squid ink sauce is almost buttery, and the flavor isn’t exactly what I’d call understated, but it’s the sort where you feel like you keep wanting to have more.
Of course, remember not to crack a smile whilst eating this. You might shock a passerby. 😀
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3. Ferrero Pocket Coffee
I love black coffee and bittersweet chocolate, so I had some mighty high expectations for these babies. I was NOT disappointed! I think anybody who shares the same tastes as me will find a lot to love with these seasonal chocolates from Italy. They come out only during the colder months of the year, and I was lucky enough to have a friend who managed to buy me some during her trip. (Thanks, Keena!) It’s 5 euros for a box of 18. The chocolates themselves are actually quite big, almost as big as a piece of domino but over an inch thick.
When you bite into the chocolate, you get a grainy sugary sensation in your mouth along with the coffee. It’s a bit similar to having a slightly sweet cup of brewed coffee without any milk, but with a touch of bittersweet chocolate instead. I didn’t expect the filling to be this runny. I thought it would be a bit more syrupy but I guess this is part of the effort in making the filling as close to coffee as possible while giving it a longer shelf life.
More info here.
4. Bravetart’s Super Thick Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe
This month I wrote about these gigantic rounds of heaven. They are super substantial and super awesome and absolutely delicious. Literally my favorite thick-style chocolate chip cookie recipe. One commenter on my Instagram mentioned, “When you eat a chocolate chip cookie, you either go big or go home.” Couldn’t have said it any better! Make the recipe and see what we’re all yapping about!
5. Circe by Madeleine Miller
I love reading, so I figured it would be nice to write about them here sometimes to find a bit of common ground with you guys. (We can be Goodreads friends!) I’m going to start mentioning some non-food favorites every once in a while from now on. So, Circe by Madeleine Miller. This was my first favorite book of the year! Out of the 4 books I read in January 2020, this book not only stood out but really made me feel SO MANY things.
“I thought once that gods are the opposite of death, but I see now they are more dead than anything, for they are unchanging, and can hold nothing in their hands.”
It’s a beautifully written book that uses a unique point of view to tell a familiar story about Greek gods and their cruel, scheming ways. Circe has always been depicted as that witch that turns men into pigs, but with this retelling, we get to see the layers to Circe in a way that makes sense. Miller manages to fit Circe’s story within the already existing timeline of the Greek myth, and effectively so. With Miller’s writing, I felt Circe’s every loneliness and heartache, as well as her pleasure every time she discovered something new about herself. It’s a good book, especially for those fascinated with Greek myth like myself!
Full disclosure: This post is not sponsored. All items were purchased on my own. I received no compensation for writing this post. All opinions are my own.