All Things Pinoy,  Monthly round-up,  Product Reviews

#SupportLocal Round-Up & Favorites for July 2020

July has felt like the longest month this year for me. I think it’s because it was the most exhausting month I’ve had to go through so far. I was swamped with so much work and I couldn’t seem to figure out how to balance things, so my solution was to attempt to take it easy on the last week of July. Interestingly, I think the high stress level also caused me to engage in a bit more online shopping of food. I am REALLY quite surprised by how long this month’s list is. 16 items! I had to force a cut off, so I already have some favorites for next month lol.

I feel like this month’s favorites list is the most variety-filled yet. I was lucky enough to have received some delicious goods, but I did still buy most of the things in this list. Thankfully most of my purchases delivered.

Here’s a list of the #SupportLocal products I enjoyed this month, in no particular order:

1. Go Brew PH Single Origin Coffees

Lately I’ve been coming across a lot of new-to-me Philippine coffee roasters, and I’m having a grand old time trying out their products. There’s just so much thrill in tasting new coffees and finding new favorites! One brand that really made a mark on me this month is GoBrew. This brand focuses on Philippine single origin coffees and they’re based in nearby Quezon City. I totally, unexpectedly, fell head over heels for their La Trinidad coffee. It starts out with a playful tartness and ends with sweet muscovado notes. It might be my favorite Philippine single origin coffee so far. I also really liked their sweet Mt. Matutum though!

I don’t remember when or how I came across GoBrew but it was an easy decision for me to purchase from them when I saw they offered a Sampler Set. (I’m a sucker for those.) You can pick 3 different coffees, and they’ll send you 100-gram packs of each. The prices range from Php 500 to 650 depending on how premium your coffees of choice are. Check out GoBrew’s offerings on Facebook & Instagram.

2. The Yellow Turtle Coffee Co’s Galapagos Blend

Also based in Quezon City, I bought this brand due to the recommendation of others. I usually prefer single origin coffees, not because I’m being a snob or anything. It’s just easier for me to make mental notes of how unique a coffee tastes using their origin as an identifier. But the feedback for Yellow Turtle is very good so I tried it.

It took almost a week for my beans to get shipped out, but when it did, the beans were newly roasted. I received a message to remind me to wait another week to allow the beans to develop their flavors before brewing. Made with Yellow Turtle’s 100% signature arabica blend from Colombia and Brazil, these beans are quite lovely. It’s lightly acidic but mostly gives a balanced cup, with a nice aroma and chocolate undertones. I actually made a lot of coffee-based drinks using the Galapagos blend for a project and each cup tasted so good!

I wasn’t super fond of their Amihan Blend though. It was a bit too sour in the mouth for me. Still, it would be interesting to try their other blends. Check out Yellow Turtle Coffee Co’s offerings on Facebook & Instagram.

3. Fill.Phil

This brand has been doing the rounds on social media, and it has popped up on my feed so much I caved and actually scheduled to order from them at the end of July. But a week before, they messaged me to say they wanted to send me some goodies. I was totally psyched about it, but at the same time, my expectations were high.

Aside from being photogenic, Fill.Phil’s products are delicious. Admittedly, some of the food items are a bit on the expensive side, but the quality is there. The entire concept, from the packaging to the products themselves, are well thought-out and well executed.

The star of the show is the Rose Pistachio Latte. It’s lightly sweetened, and the flavors are balanced. You get a bit of espresso, a bit of rose and pistachio as well. I was expecting this to be more on the floral side, but it’s not. The Dirty Chai tastes very authentic. It tastes like it was brewed from real spices, which means it’s got quite a strong chai taste. (The espresso feels like something in the background. The chai is a scene-stealer!) I get all the different spices on my tongue, and even a bit of heat down the throat from what I assume is ginger. This drink is not for everyone, but if you want a LEGIT chai experience, try this drink with honey.

For the food, I love all the desserts in the lineup, however the Alchee Pudding is the standout. It’s got large chunks of almond jelly with bits of lychee in a super creamy, just-sweet pudding base. At Php 350 per pint, it’s like artisanal ice cream in price. (May kamahalan.) I also really enjoyed the Brown Al deconstructed polvoron because of the sweet milky nutty taste of well-toasted flour. The add-on’s help too. As for the banana pudding, it’s reminiscent of Magnolia Bakery’s version, just a little less sweet and maybe a little less creamy too. It’s good though! Check out Fill Phil’s offerings on Facebook and Instagram.

4. Otter Breads

Otter Breads is a bakery based in the South specializing on sourdough breads. Before anything else, I just want to say, their sourdough bread is my personal favorite among the ones I’ve had so far. It’s very flavorful, plus the crumb doesn’t turn into a tough puck the moment it starts to cool down.

You guys know it’s virtually impossible to polish off a whole slice of sourdough bread (with toppings no less) in the same amount of time you would polish off a piece of normal toast. Which means, your sourdough slice WILL start to cool down at some point even if you start eating it off the pan. I’ve had previous experiences of struggling with my sourdough toast when I’m only halfway done and it has started to cool down. (I refuse to namedrop lol.) And that’s despite the fact that I eat relatively fast. Some sourdough breads are just too dry. That’s the reality!

Otter Breads’ sourdough stays magically soft—soft enough to munch on in fact. I can choose not to use a knife, and I don’t need to pull and tear with my teeth like an animal lol. When it’s hot, it has that signature crunchy outside and a deliciously fluffy crumb. You can literally make ANYTHING with this bread. Of course, slicing the loaf to begin with will require some work, though it is relatively easier to saw compared to others. I recommend you purchase their sourdough loaf with their House Cream Cheese with Smokey Mango Wood Bacon. This spread is SO GOOD. Slather it on everything.

They also offer Sagada coffee-infused sourdough pandesal, with cheese in the center. I personally think this one is just okay, because I expected a stronger coffee flavor. I loved their Sourdough Pancakes though. They prepare the batter for you and you cook it yourself. It’s got that familiar sour kick, and when you add something sweet on top, it’ll give you a very unique pancake experience. I slathered on some peanut butter and bananas. Oh my. SO GOOD.

I wish it didn’t need to cost to so much to have their products delivered to me. I live so far! Check out Otter Breads on Facebook and Instagram, especially for you Southerners! Lucky you!

5. Cocinalo’s Ready-To-Cook Offerings

Fun fact: I was supposed to finally visit Europe this August after saving up for years, but with the current situation, I obviously had to throw all my travel plans out the window. When I think about this little tidbit I start feeling somber, then along came Cocinalo, sending me their authentic ready-to-cook Spanish dishes at a moment when I needed some cheering up of the European kind. It helped also that they sent me fried food and chocolate and stew… A very effective combo of comfort foods, methinks!

Cocinalo is a food delivery business that launched in May, focused on satisfying those craving for a taste of Spain. Their menu is currently composed of their croquetas and their Belarria Saltsan, but with a Basque chef at the helm I’m pretty confident they will be churning out a lot more great Spanish food in the future. To be fair, despite the small menu, it’s easy to tell they have given a lot of careful attention to all the dishes they are offering so far.

The dishes are all easy to cook on your own, with clear instructions on the packaging. I actually appreciate ready-to-cook meals or cook-it-yourself meal kits a lot more because you can eat the dishes a little closer to their peak, compared to something you reheat. I love that I got to eat the croquetas golden, crunchy, and hot, because that’s the only way to give justice to these little balls of joy!

Actually, I never thought much about croquetas before, probably because I never ate anything that particularly impressed me. After eating Cocinola’s croquetas however, I gained a new appreciation for them! The breading/crust is just thin enough to be crunchy and delicate at the same time, easily giving way to that creamy filling when you bite into the croqueta. The béchamel inside is deliciously melt-in-the-mouth, and the contrasting textures between crust and filling only highlights this fact. The savory croquetas come in Pollo and Jamon flavors. I like both, but I think I enjoyed the pollo one just a tiny bit more because of the bits of juicy chicken I could bite into.

They did a fun and sweet spin on the croquetas by making a Choco-queta version, filled with local South Cotabato chocolate. It’s both novel and delicious, and I bet kids will be able to gobble up an entire container of these with no problems. (Save some for the adults before you serve this to kids!)

The really memorable offering from Cocinalo is their super intense Belarria Saltsan. And I say intense because the flavor is incredibly rich, but the mouthfeel of this dish is another level. This is a stew made with a combo of chorizo and pork ears, and apparently the collagen-filled pork ears is responsible for the texture of the stew. This dish came out of the Tupperware as a whole block, like molded jello! Once heated, it does break down, although it remains extra thick or lapot. The smoky and rich flavors are quite striking!

I recommend to eat this with rice or bread, or on its own with wine— anything to break down the very rich sensations this dish gives.

If you want a very authentic Spanish eating experience, order from Cocinalo through their Facebook or Instagram. As for me, I shall patiently await what Chef Mikel Martija will come up with next!

6. Napoleon’s Chicken Karaage

A lot of different food businesses have been cropping up lately, but I always take a second look at those that offer frozen or ready-to-cook meals. Much as I appreciate ready-to-eat or cooked dishes delivered to your doorstep, it’s never the same as the newly cooked versions meant to be eaten inside the restaurant straight from the kitchen. The dishes always lose their peak quality during transport. This is not true for frozen DIY meal kits though. 

The reason why I appreciate this DIY chicken karaage from Napoleon’s is because I’ve had a lot of opportunity to compare their freshly cooked version to, say, cooked chicken chops ordered from a popular source outside. Aside from the fact that you get to eat Napoleon’s home-cooked version hot and crunchy, I also love the fact that the chicken is juicy and fresh. You can immediately see the moment you open the package. And frankly it’s a lot more inexpensive.

The instructions are super easy to follow. I like that you just dredge the chicken lightly in flour and you don’t get any overly coated or soggy chicken pieces. The kit comes with a seasoning, which you can add as much or as little of as you please. Make sure to toss well so it isn’t too salty. This makes for a great ulam or just as a standalone snack, especially when fried with basil leaves. It works in an airfryer too! You can order this chicken delight from Napoleon’s Facebook or Instagram.

7. Feed Me, Pepe

I’m not adding this to my list because Pepe is my friend. I’m adding it because I legit think he’s doing a really amazing job with Feed Me, Pepe. I haven’t been ordering as much as I’d like from him because we always have a lot of food in the house, but I have never been disappointed by anything I’ve tried. He’s really good at picking/curating his dishes and crafting them to perfection.

When he told me that he wanted to try selling his food, I had no doubt it was going to click. The fact that I know Pepe makes it a point to attend cooking classes whenever he travels is just a plus in all this. Mostly though, it’s simply because HE MAKES GOOD FOOD. Right now, he has mostly Thai offerings, and I honestly think it can rival many of the local Thai restaurants in taste, quality, and price. I love his Thai Green Curry, but his latest dish, his Dry Tom Yum, has been getting rave reviews! Pepe announces his weekly menu on his Instagram, and offers limited slots (which gets filled fast!) for weekend delivery. Do yourself a favor and make your weekends better by ordering from Feed Me, Pepe!

8. House of Puto Bao

I came across House of Puto Bao on Facebook at a time I was badly craving puto bumbong. I had no idea if this was going to be any good, but the reviews were very positive.

Funnily enough, I had some issues with the seller’s responsiveness. I didn’t get an actual order confirmation and didn’t get an “invoice” with the total I was supposed to pay. Anyway, it wasn’t a very good first impression, but once we got it sorted out and I received the goods, the first bite of the puto bao made me completely forget about my misgivings. THIS PUTO BAO IS DA BOMB. Seriously. It’s a puto bumbong made into a puto shape, then filled with sweetened coconut or bucayo. I love a good puto bumbong to be honest, and this has become one of my favorite versions.

They also offer some pretty delicious Black Kutsinta with a Yema dip. It’s good with the dip but I like it with just the toasted coconut bits because I can enjoy the kutsinta flavor in full this way. The kutsinta is priced the same as the puto bao (Php 180 at the time of my purchase) and both are good choices but if I had to pick, the puto bao is really the highlight for me.

They offer a handful of other products, and I have actually reordered the puto bao recently, also trying out their moron (flown straight from Samar in vacuum-sealed packs), as well as their Batangas bibingka (freshly cooked and available only on certain days). Everything has been pretty good! They seem to be more active in answering messages now too. You can order through their Facebook or Instagram.

9. Polar Bear’s Palitaw Kit

I enjoy kakanin but I’m not a super kakanin fan in the sense that there are only specific kakanin things I enjoy, but it just so happens I had my fill of two of them this month. It was a timely thing that Polar Bear sent me this DIY palitaw kit when I had been missing this treat. I haven’t seen our suki in a while now.

This kit is a very basic one considering palitaw has some fairly basic ingredients, but the fact that it comes complete with all the things you need to make the palitaw in a nice box is incredibly convenient. For Php 120, you skip the entire process of having to search out each individual ingredient yourself. Polar Bear’s product in this kit is actually the glutinous rice flour only, but it’s a clever move on their part to put this together. Three people in my office have ordered this kit since I introduced this to them.

I really like the quality of Polar Bear’s rice flour. The resulting palitaw is not soggy and neither is it hard/rubbery. It has a nice bite to it that’s more of a soft kunat. Soooo satisfying! You can order this palitaw kit from their Shopee official store.

10. The Basics Peanut Butters

Peanut butter is one of my favorite things but I am incredibly picky about it. I’ve had my fair share of disappointments when it comes to both local and international brands, so to be honest I was a bit nervous about opening my first jar of The Basics Peanut Butter. I remember trying this a LONG time ago, but I could not remember if I liked it or not. Well the fears were unfounded because this peanut butter is delish!

The consistency of this peanut butter is fairly liquid, which most natural peanut butters are. With this one however, the oil doesn’t separate as much. It’s definitely not as thick as Skippy but it’s not exactly wet either. It’s just spreadable enough but also perfect for pouring over pancakes! I am in love with the cacao nib variant because I love crunchy peanut butter, and the fact that this is not too sweet makes it perfect for eating off the spoon. (Sometimes I slather it on a banana or make a peanut butter-banana sandwich. YUM!!!!) I’ll make a peanut noodle out of the original variant soon. You can order these delicious The Basic Peanut Butters HERE.

11. 1st Colonial Creamery

If you’re looking for the best ice cream ever, this is not it. In fact, I found that the artificial flavoring becomes really strong once you get to the bottom of the pint. HOWEVER, if you’re looking for good ice cream with unusual flavors, this is a good one to try.

1st Colonial’s ice cream is expensive. At Php 375 per pint, I expected it to be super creamy, which it was. With the exception of the artificial taste at the bottom, I actually quite liked how they translated the flavors into ice cream. The Sili Ice Cream is their most popular. It’s also the most novel and unique in their lineup. The base tastes of coconut milk, with a decidedly sili undertone. It’s not spicy exactly, but it packs a heat that will surprise you when you swallow. The Pili Ice Cream has a light flavor that becomes more obvious as days pass, but my surprise fave is the Malunggay Ice Cream. It has a floral, veggie undertone that I cannot explain, but it’s sweet as well. (We ordered their pinangat also and while it’s good, I’ve had better.) Order through their Facebook or Instagram and they will deliver to your door.

12. Carmela’s Banana Breads

We always used to pass by Carmela’s when in Tagaytay but for some reason we never thought to stop and take a look. When a friend asked if we wanted to join her pasabuy for Carmela’s banana breads, my mom decided to try.

To say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. Often enough when we buy banana breads from outside, there’s rarely enough banana flavor in them. (Which is why I prefer making my own, because I take the time to overripen my bananas.) This was not the case for Carmela’s. The banana flavor was very obvious with every bite, even with the flavored banana breads. In the photo is their Banana Carrot Cake, but my fave is their Coffee-Cream Cheese Banana Cake. Check out their Facebook and Instagram pages for more banana bread goodness!

13. Qwarto.Co’s Gorgeous Coasters

When my friend Yza launched her Qwarto.Co store of pretty handcrafted things, I didn’t hesitate for a second to line up! She offered her handmade coasters first and they sold out really quickly, but I was lucky I managed to snatch some up! I am in love with these coasters!

Aside from their actual use, I’ve also been using them for photos (see Fill.Phil above) and they look SO GOOD. The actual pieces are very sturdy and well made. They have padding underneath to prevent scratching, and I just super love the designs. The yellow one is very simple but it’s my favorite hue of yellow so I love staring at it lol.

The Luna Phase coasters have this mystical vibe to them. If you get to see them up-close and in person, they look even better than in photos. I love running my fingers over the uneven surface. The artisan feel is strong in these!

The Luna Phase coasters are Php 400 while the yellow ones are Php 300. Not bad right? I am so lucky to have talented friends, because I get to enjoy not just delicious but also pretty things. Order through the order form on Qwarto.Co’s Instagram page! If you like pretty AND functional things you will not regret it!

And now, for my other favorites:

14. Breville Precision Brewer Thermal Coffee Machine

I never thought I’d fall this hard for a coffee machine, but I guess when you love coffee it’s not hard to geek out over coffee gear. I’ve actually been building my collection of pour over gear, but this coffee machine completes my coffee nook. I can’t even express in words how happy it makes me.

I never expected to receive this but my coffee loving heart is SUPER GRATEFUL. Thank you, Breville Philippines and Nadine!

15. Coffee Bean Cookies Recipe 

And of course, getting that lovely machine lit a fire in me to make a video all about coffee. I wanted to make a “tribute to coffee” video, featuring the Breville brewer and something that highlights one of my favorite things in the world. I came up with this:

These Coffee Bean Cookies are adorably shaped butter cookies loaded with coffee and chocolate flavors. One is never enough!

16. Cafict YouTube Channel

I told you I was addicted to collecting coffee gear right? This channel has not been helping in my impulses, but it’s just too pretty not to watch! Not only have I been learning some tips and tricks about coffee, I’ve also been learning about what to look for when it comes to gear.


Full disclosure: This post is not sponsored. All items were purchased on my own unless otherwise stated. I received no compensation for writing this post. All opinions are my own.

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