It’s both fascinating and annoying how time literally zips by the moment you enter the -ber months. Yesterday it was just September, and suddenly we’re less than 30 days away from the end of another year. But oh what a year it has been, am I right? This intro is more suited to my year-end wrap-up, but I can’t help but lament how 2020 has been both so short and so long at the same time.
November was quite a busy month for me in terms of creating content, even though it was perhaps one of my worst months in terms of publishing said content lol. I don’t want to complain because I was able to cook and bake a lot of yummy stuff. Anyway, the point is I became so busy I didn’t have much time to think about buying anything other than ingredients to cook and bake with. Luckily, I got sent some stuff and got to discover some new things! Let me now share my November gems, in no particular order:
1. Lasagna from Hangry Monster Kitchen
Hangry Monster Kitchen is a home business based in Antipolo, Rizal. Currently their menu consists of three things, and they sent me two of those to try.
First let’s talk about their lasagna, which just might be one of my personal favorite lasagnas to date. It’s got just enough of everything to make it enjoyable– just enough meatiness, just enough creaminess, and just enough cheesiness. It’s not overwhelming nor is it too salty or too wet like some other lasagnas I’ve tried. My mom feels that they were a bit too heavy-handed with the rosemary though. For me, I like how this lasagna is well-spiced, but I will agree the rosemary is very prominent. Nonetheless, I think this is a delicious lasagna.
Oh, and I love that the lasagna noodles are not soggy! I hate that.
They also sent me their Tuna Cheese Croquettes, which frankly I can’t properly review because I wasn’t able to eat these as they were meant to be eaten, aka freshly fried. The reheated version is just not the same. However I do love the size of these things! They’re packed with tuna and a cheesy center, and the crust/skin is nice and thin.
Is it just me or has lasagna been making a major comeback lately? I seem to be seeing more and more lasagna sellers with each passing day as I get back to checking my SNS. Anyway, give this one a try!
2. Truffle Steak Baked Sushi from Quisine
I’ve been adding this brand to my favorites list each month in the past three months, so I guess by now it’s safe to say Quisine is one of those rare purveyors that have all hits and no misses. They not only know how to stand out in a crowd of sushi bakers, they do it with style. Truffle Steak style, I might add.
Their latest flavor is this Truffle Steak Aburi creation, bursting with flavor thanks to shiitake mushrooms, kani, sweet potato, and homemade potato chips, slathered in their special secret sauce. The hanger steak itself is deliciously executed, and it works so well in this kind of dish. I am impressed! If you’re wondering whether the truffle flavor is strong, I think the scent is stronger than the actual flavor, if that makes sense. The truffle taste is prominent but not overdone.
For the record, despite how it may appear, Quisine does not send these sushi bakes to me. It just so happens we have a family friend who has been very supportive of Quisine from the beginning. She’s responsible for introducing Quisine’s yummy sushi bakes to me and my family. Thank you once again, Auntie Grace!
Quisine currently have three sushi bakes in their lineup, and all of them are LEGIT. Literally ALL of them. You won’t go wrong with whatever choice you make; just follow your heart lol. Well, I bet you know the drill by now! Check out Quisine’s Facebook or Instagram page to order!
3. Earl Grey Midnight Cake from 22Grams Patisserie
I don’t actively order cakes because in case you haven’t noticed, I like to make stuff like these myself. So whenever I do buy cakes, I make sure I pick out something that seems extra special. Also, I can’t help but have high expectations. It is the way it is. And let me tell you, this cake delivered!
A good chocolate cake is one thing, but when you add in balanced elements of earl grey, caramel, and even lemon, the cake becomes truly memorable. This Earl Grey Midnight Cake by 22Grams Patisseries has a lot of different elements and textures, but taken as a whole it simply works! When you eat it, all the layers melt into each other quite nicely.
Interestingly enough, the thing that really makes me appreciate this cake is that little layer of lemon curd. It provides a tartness that gives your palate a bit of a reset from all the chocolate. You won’t feel overwhelmed at all, so you’ll probably want another slice. (Whether that’s good or bad, I leave up to you!) I also loved the fact that they stuck cacao nibs all over this cake, because having that crunch and that roasted flavor adds an extra something to the eating experience.
At Php 895 for a 6 inch cake, it’s not a cheap cake. But as someone who knows how time-consuming it is to build a cake with so many different components (and all that require different baking techniques at that) I will say it’s definitely worth it. Not to mention, you can immediately tell from the first bite that the ingredients used here are good quality. A combination of Philippine chocolates, I hear.
My brother commented that this cake belongs to posh places like TWG, and I agree that this feels like something you should be served during Afternoon Tea. It’s super elegant and classy in appearance, but the taste is just as luxurious. There was obviously a lot of thought put into this cake. By the way, 22Grams Patisserie is based in Quezon City, so North peeps, get to it! This will make a great holiday centerpiece. You can reach 22Grams Patisserie through their Facebook or Instagram page.
4. Theo & Philo’s Dark Chocolate with Black Sesame & Nuts
It’s been a minute since I last had some Theo & Philo chocolates. I can’t remember where I bought this from, but I think I was ordering some ingredients from an online site of Filipino products and this particular flavor caught my attention. I love chocolate but I can’t seem to resist when I see interesting flavors added in.
Unsurprisingly, black sesame goes really well with dark chocolate, and eating this reminds me of why Theo & Philo used to be my favorite local artisan chocolate brand. I love their creativity in coming up with their flavors. I used to really love the one with the chili, and with the green mango. Ugh now I want to buy a sampler set to treat myself.
And the packaging of this brand is just superb. The design of the outside wrapper is so pretty you can turn it into a bookmark or something. I am not a fan of how the chocolate is “patterned” though. It’s so hard to get a clean break with all those uneven shapes. If you eat the entire bar in one go this probably won’t be an issue, but I don’t. That’s such a minor complaint though lol.
You can check out the complete chocolate bar lineup on Theo & Philo’s website and order from there too. I think they have a bunch of other new (to me) stuff now. I’ll have to go and take a good look myself.
5. Cravewell’s Potato Root & Banana Crisps
Premium-quality and healthy are the two main words I can use to describe Cravewell’s snack lineup. I love how the lovely and colorful packaging reflects the kind of quality you can expect from the contents inside the bag. Priced at Php 84+ per bag (depending on where you buy them), these crisps are definitely not cheap, but in my opinion they are worth buying every once in a while.
I’ve been a fan of veggie chips for a while now, not particularly because I’m a health buff or anything like that. (Though opting for the healthier thing is always good!) It simply appeals to me for some reason. When I saw this new brand on the market I was extremely curious so I already bought and tried out some of these products a few months before Cravewell sent me a box of goodies.
Back then, majority of what I bought was their Mixed Veggie Crisps. I only tried two out of three flavors (Crab Curry & Kimchi) and enjoyed them well enough. I loved how crunchy they were! Each bag contains a mix of okra, purple sweet potato, string beans, carrot, pumpkin and sweet potato, with some flavoring added in for pizazz. (Not to worry, the flavorings are not salty.)
Funnily enough, even though my main goal in ordering from Cravewell was to get my veggie chip fix, I ended up with the Purple Root Crisps and Banana Crisps as favorites. I only tried one flavor each back then, and I instantly regretted it after the first bite. My new order has been sitting in my Shopee cart for a while now because I want to wait for a sale lol. (It’s still there!)
Anyway, I really love both the Purple Root and Banana Crisps. They are so thinly sliced they get this nice addictive crunch to them. They also have this natural sweetness that complements the flavorings. I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious the Sriracha-flavored Banana Crisps were! I never thought to intersect banana and Sriracha before lol. The Banana Crisps are also available in Hickory Barbecue and Tom Yum flavors, while the Purple Root Crisps are available in Sour Cream & Onion, Sweet & Salty, and Nori Wasabi. (I like all the flavors of these two crisps.)
You can buy these chips from Shopee, Lazada, FoodPanda, and other online sites like Platinum Food Source, WeNourish, and VPharma. Just type in Cravewell on the search box. By the way, they have an ongoing contest right now called the 100 #CRAVERS Campaign for frontliners and typhoon victims. The mechanics are over here. You can also visit their website, Facebook page, and Instagram page for more information and their complete product lineup!
6. Type A Coffee Marivic Beans
The moment I read the tasting notes of this coffee, I knew I had to get my hands on it. Green Mango? Tinge of chili? YES PLEASE. I was so intrigued! Well guess what, this coffee literally had those flavors on full display. The chili begins to make itself known the moment you start grinding the beans. The aroma that gets released from the beans has that spicy tinge to it that reminded me of ground chili.
When you drink the coffee, it really has that acidic sour punch to it that really makes you think about green mangoes. It tastes weird with milk because of that so I recommend drinking this black. (If you don’t like “sour” coffees, like my mom, you might not appreciate this.)
If you’re curious why this coffee is named ‘Marivic’, it’s actually named after the woman who organizes the lots of coffee in her corner of Davao. You can check out Type A Coffee’s website for ‘Marivic’ and their other coffees.
7. Gold Delight’s Cocoflan Ice Cream
In the year 2020, my family has consumed more ice cream than we have in the last 2 years combined. The good news is, we’ve also been trying a lot of different brands of ice creams this year, and we’ve been discovering SO MANY local gems, including this one from Gold Delight. This literally came out of nowhere for me. I did not know about this brand until CAT PR sent these to me (thank you!) and now I can’t get enough!
I received two different flavors of Gold Delight Ice Cream and the clear standout was the Cocoflan. IT’S SO GOOD! The base of the ice cream is a creamy coconut that has a lovely delicate flavor and is not too sweet. Most of the sweetness comes from the flan that is generously distributed within the ice cream base.
Yes, you get these flan strips without even trying too hard:
They also sent me their Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream, and while it was delicious, I felt that the artificial strawberry syrup taste was too much for me. I did really enjoy the graham and frozen strawberry elements. It just has a more umay effect for me compared to the Cocoflan. Personal tastes aside, you can clearly see the quality of these ice creams. I’m actually really impressed, considering these cost less than Php250 per 1.9L. It’s 1000x better than the more popular commercial ice creams in the supermarket that cost more.
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.
Enjoyed this post? Follow me on social media for more! I’m on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. See you around! All images and videos on this blog are owned by The Tummy Train and Clarisse Panuelos. Unauthorized use of content, removal of watermark, or edit and reupload is prohibited and will constitute theft.