Tag Archives: food

a blueberry kind of morning


020715 blueberry cheesecake

“Are these baked?” I asked the lady at the counter as I pointed at the mini blueberry cheesecakes in the fridge.

She nodded and I almost let out a whoop. I had been lamenting the fact that other than Coffeeworks (which sells too-tangy-for-my-taste cheesecake), cakeshops and coffeeshops in my hometown only have no-bake cheesecake on their menus. So imagine how elated I was to find that Sugar Rush sells these baked goodies.

I had just eaten a red velvet cupcake so I mustered every inch of self-control I had and ordered just one blueberry cheesecake–plus a macaroon con leche cupcake for my dad and a banana choco cupcake for my mom–to go.

I usually hurkle-durkle on weekends but that following morning, I got out of bed as soon as I woke up. I excitedly took out the mini blueberry cheesecake from the fridge and made myself a cup of peppermint tea.

As I savored the taste of blueberry cheesecake in my mouth, a scene from Wong Kar-Wai’s My Blueberry Nights played in my head.

Jeremy: At the end of every night, the cheesecake and the apple pie are always completely gone. The peach cobbler and the chocolate mousse cake are nearly finished. But there’s always a whole blueberry pie left untouched.

Elizabeth: So what’s wrong with the blueberry pie?

Jeremy: There’s nothing wrong with the blueberry pie. It’s just [that] people make other choices. You can’t blame the blueberry pie.

Well, I’d pick cheesecake every single time. Sorry, blueberry pie.


Sugar Rush
017 Dona Teodora Blvd., Brgy. San Miguel, Iligan City


diary of a cupcake fiend: wake me up before you go go


Did you ever have something so good, you got so revved up that you jumped out of blog hibernation?  Well, I just did.

2014-09-27 16.24.52These cupcakes from Sugar Rush were so yummy, I just had to end my blogging hiatus.

Choco Banana
I’ve always been a big fan of banana cupcakes so I knew I would enjoy the choco banana cupcake even before I tasted it.

Not only did this cupcake not disappoint, it actually raised the bar upon which I will henceforth be judging banana cupcakes.

I usually don’t go for chocolate cupcakes. I find them rather ho-hum.  But Sugar Rush’s chocolate cupcake made me go ooh-la-la. The texture was perfectly moist and the ganache was absolutely scrumptious.  And the best thing about it was that it was oh so chocolatey without being cloyingly sweet.

I wasn’t able to sink my teeth into these babies but I intend to do so in the near future. 🙂

If restaurants get Michelin Stars, cupcakes get the Peewee Level.  And these cupcakes from Sugar Rush are definitely Peewee Level cupcakes.

sugar rush

Sugar Rush
017 Dona Teodora Blvd., Brgy. San Miguel, Iligan City

*A Peewee Level cupcake is a cupcake that’s so deliriously good, the first bite renders you speechless.  It is named after my cousin’s girlfriend, Peewee.

episode 2 of the fruh sessions


Just three days after my first visit, I  went back to The Fruh Cafe–this time with my fellow foodie and one-time basil supplier, Kat.  She ordered a banana and hazelnut crepe while I went with a chocolate crepe.

We couldn’t help oohing and aahing when Kat’s order arrived.  It just looked so… dramatic.  I didn’t get to taste it but Kat enjoyed it so it must be good.

060514 03Banana and Hazelnut Crepe (P59)

My chocolate crepe didn’t look as visually arresting.  It came with chocolate wafer sticks and marshmallows though.  And I couldn’t help grinning and feeling like a kid while eating it.

chocolate crepeChocolate Crepe (P55)

Even though we were no longer hungry, we decided to try the BonChon Style Chicken.  Curiosity won over non-hunger, I guess.  That decision was hands down the best one we made that day because man oh man was the chicken good!  It was so tasty, we couldn’t stop raving about it the entire time we were eating!

060514 04BonChon Style Chicken (P89)

I enjoyed the chicken so much, I ordered the BonChon Style Chicken in a Basket the following day.

Yes, it’s that good.


The Fruh Cafe is located at A. Bonifacio Ave., Tibanga, Iligan City (near MSU-IIT, beside Triple M Sales).

episode 1 of the fruh sessions

episode 1 of the fruh sessions

I don’t know if it was the hipstery signage or the name of the place but something drew me to The Fruh Cafe the first time I passed by it.  The building looked pretty much non-descript from outside but it somehow evoked images of Maginhawa Street in my head.  I just had a good feeling about the place.

I asked several people about it but no one seemed to know of its existence.  I never got around to visiting it either–up until this month when I saw pictures of my cousin-in-law modeling for the cafe.  I found a link to Fruh’s Facebook page and discovered that it was a creperie/coffee shop.  The photos of the food looked enticing so I decided to give it a go.

We both ordered pasta.  Shrimp aglio e olio for him and seafood pasta for me.  To our delight, the pasta was cooked perfectly al dente (it’s something that’s very basic to cooking pasta but sadly, most people fail to get it right).  They were very generous with the herbs (yey!) but not so with the seafood.  Both dishes were pretty cheap (P65 for the aglio e olio and P95 for the seafood pasta) so I guess I can’t really blame them.  Most places charge double the price yet they’re only ahead by a single piece of shrimp or a slice of squid.

 060514 05Shrimp Aglio E Olio (P65)

fruh seafood pastaSeafood Pasta (P95)

For the little one, we ordered some ham and cheese crepes.  Unfortunately, he refused to eat it.  He hated the thousand island dressing drizzled on top.  I guess I should’ve ordered one of the sweet crepes for him instead.

060514 06Ham and Cheese Crepes

For dessert, we decided to try the mango crepe rolls.  While Ice Factory’s mango crepe only had slivers of mango in it, this one had big chunks of mango wrapped in crepe.  Ooh la la!  I had an issue with the texture of the vanilla ice cream though.  It wasn’t velvety smooth.  It must’ve been refrozen after it had already melted, hence the presence of ice crystals.  But still, it was a pretty good eat.

fruh mango crepeMango Crepe Rolls

I enjoyed eating there so much, I went back just three days later.  Stay tuned for Episode 2. 😀


The Fruh Cafe is located at A. Bonifacio Ave., Tibanga, Iligan City (near MSU-IIT, beside Triple M Sales).

to the moon and back


After a long and tiring day, we went out to find a place where we could just chill out.  We had already eaten dinner at the pad so we only wanted to have some dessert.

I had done a bit of research prior to the trip and several people recommended the halo-halo from North Pole and the cakes at Carmela’s so we decided to go check them out.  Unfortunately, both North Pole and Carmela’s were closed at the time because of the scheduled four-hour power outage in the area.

And so we went to Mooon Cafe instead.  They only had one dessert on the menu: halo-halo.  I was in the mood for something fancy schmancy so I was a bit dismayed by the lack of options.

But when the halo-halo arrived, all traces of disappointment disappeared.  The texture of the crushed ice was velvety smooth and they were very generous with the ingredients.  They didn’t scrimp on anything!  Ube ice cream.  Macapuno.  Langka.  Leche flan.  Nata de coco.  Kaong.  Cornflakes.  No beans.  No monggo.  I loved how it was just the good stuff.

051014 mooon halohalo bKilig-inducing halo-halo (P65)

It was so good, it made me giddy.  At one point, I even exclaimed, “Maka-kilig lagi ni na halo-halo ay!”

The halo-halo from Razon’s had nothing on this baby.

This halo-halo was by far the best I’d ever had.  It was even better than my forever favorite Ice Blink halo-halo from Bicol!

Since we were at a Mexican-inspired restaurant, we also ordered something from the Mexican Mooon section of the menu.  We just wanted something light so we had Campesinos, crispy flour tortilla chips layered with cheese and tender beef fillings, topped with melted cheese and spiced paprika.

051014 mooon campesinosCampesinos (P125)

The tortilla chips had a really nice texture and the paprika was a really nice twist.  We thoroughly enjoyed this dish and it gave us some ideas on what to do with the flour tortillas sitting in the fridge at home.

We had a really wonderful time and we left with wide grins, full tummies, and joyful hearts.


Mooon Cafe
Rizal Avenue, Ozamiz City
(088) 564-2622

mooon cafe*Mooon Cafe also has branches in Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Dumaguete, Ilolilo, Davao, and Ormoc.

fresh from the oven


“Why don’t you go check?” said my dad as we pulled up in front of the tiny store near the bus stop.

It was scorching hot but I got out of the car anyway and ran excitedly to the lady at the counter.

“Sorry, it’s not yet available,” she said.

My heart sank and I turned to walk away.  I had only taken two steps when the guy in the kitchen suddenly called out, “Wait! It’s almost done!”

Huzzah!  I wanted to do cartwheels right there and then.

After a minute or so, I walked out of the store carrying two bags of bibingka (a type of Filipino rice cake) that had just come straight from the oven.


Everyone in the car was just as excited as I was.  We all wanted to gobble up the bibingka right away but they were still piping hot.  We had to wait until we reached the next town so we wouldn’t end up with burned hands and tongues.

They were definitely worth the wait though.  They were so good, I couldn’t help thinking, “With bibingka as yummy and fluffy as these, who needs toppings?”


*Available at the store in front of the bus/shuttle stop near Laguindingan Airport at P10 apiece

crostini my heart


The magic from the previous night’s Kinfolk dinner still hadn’t worn off when I woke up this morning.  Not one bit.

I wolfed down some shiitake mushrooms, white beans, and couscous  then trooped to my aunt’s house to ask her about the scrumptious crostinis she made last night.

“I was actually overcome with panic when I got my assignment,” she said, “I had absolutely no idea what a crostini was!”

After consulting trusty Mr. Google, she decided to go with bacon and egg crostinis.

Her biggest problem though was the avocado which wasn’t in season.  Fortunately, she was able to score some after making the rounds at the local markets.

The recipe she found on Cooking & Beer also called for cilantro (wansoy) but none of the sellers seemed to know what it was so my aunt used rosemary instead.

Bacon and Egg Crostini with Roasted Garlic Aioli and Avocado Photo by Bobby Timonera

Bacon and Egg Crostini with Roasted Garlic Aioli and Avocado
Photo by Bobby Timonera

My aunt also made a few tweaks here and there.  Here’s her version:

Cleo Jean’s Bacon and Egg Crostini with Roasted Garlic Aioli and Avocado


  • 1 French baguette
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 strips of bacon
  • 3 eggs, hardboiled, shells removed and sliced thinly
  • ½ cup of mayo
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roasted and smashed
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • zest from 4 lemons
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 semi-ripe avocados, skins and pits removed, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and lay bacon strips on top. Bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes.  Remove from oven and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to degrease.
  2. Slice your baguette into ¼ inch slices and brush each side with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 7-10 minutes or until golden.
  3. Prepare the aioli.  In a small bowl, combine the mayo, garlic, lemon juice, zest, salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together until completely combined then refrigerate until you are ready to use.
  4. Cut bacon into 1-inch strips then combine bacon, avocado, lime juice, fresh cilantro, and a dash of salt in a bowl.
  5. Assemble your crostini. First, top the slices of baguette with the aioli.  Then place the rest of the ingredients on the crostini in the following order: egg slice, bacon and avocado mixture.
  6. Garnish with rosemary and serve immediately.

the kinfolk table


Operation Baklava


“Baklava is not a first-time baker’s recipe.”

Uh-oh.  We’ve never even tried real baking before!  How in the world are we supposed to pull this off?

I read the rest of the article and check out several recipes.  It doesn’t seem like such an impossible task–if we manage to get our hands on some phyllo dough, that is.  Groceries here are hopelessly inadequate.

I try my luck online and find out from one of my mom’s former colleagues that it’s probably available at La Vetta, a restaurant/gourmet shop  in Cagayan de Oro.  Alright, I now know where to score phyllo dough.

Next problem: How do I teleport to Cagayan de Oro and back?

My phone rings.  It’s my friend, Bea.  She offers to buy some phyllo dough as well as some mixed nuts for me.  Huzzah!

A few hours later, Bea drops by our house and drops off the ingredients.  No turning back now.  Commence Operation Baklava!

I start chopping the nuts.  It takes me forever to finish so my husband takes over and he turns out to be a lean mean chopping machine.

With much trepidation and excitement, my mom and I assemble the baklava.  We then cut it into rectangles instead of diamonds.

baklava 1
Then it’s time for the trickiest part: baking the baklava in an oven where the markings on the knobs are no longer visible.  We don’t have a thermometer so we basically just wing it.  And as you can see, it’s a beautiful golden brown.

baklava 2
We then pour syrup on the baklava and just let it sit.  After three hours or so, it’s finally ready.

Mission accomplished!


  • 1 package phyllo dough
  • 1 pound chopped mixed nuts (pistachio, macadamia, hazelnut, almonds, cashew, and peanuts)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).  Grease a 9×13 baking pan.
  2. In a bowl, toss together cinnamon and nuts.
  3. Unroll phyllo dough and cut to fit the baking pan.  Cover the dough with a damp towel to keep it from drying out.
  4. Assemble the baklava by placing two sheets of phyllo at the bottom of the baking pan.  Brush each sheet with butter.
  5. Sprinkle the cinnamon-and-nut mixture until the phyllo is pretty much covered.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 twice (or until your ingredients run out).
  7. Before brushing the topmost layer of phyllo with butter, cut the baklava all the way through to the bottom of the dish.  Baklava is traditionally cut into diamonds but you may also cut it into rectangles or squares.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, until golden brown.
  9. While baklava is baking, combine sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.
  10. Stir in honey,  vanilla extract, and lemon zest.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  11. Remove the baklava from the oven then pour syrup over it.
  12. Let the baklava sit for about three hours so it can absorb the syrup completely.
  13. Serve and enjoy!