From Crosta pizza to Aleth ensaymada, a week of discoveries

Published September 2, 2021, 8:00 PM

by Sandy Daza

PASTRY FANTASY The Hermit Bakery ensaymada

In spite of the lockdown and all restaurants still closed, last week was still an exciting week of discoveries. While my enjoyment was going out to discover, somehow things took a turn and some of the discoveries ended up coming to me. What a blessing!

It all started when my son Franco’s girlfriend Ban came home one evening with three boxes of pizza. I’m not a great fan of pizza unless it’s exceptionally delicious. Unusual toppings with a delicious thin crust is my type. I tried a piece of each one. But one immediately called to me. It had a spinach artichoke topping with an unusual crust with toasted cheese on the side of the crust. It was creamy, salty, crunchy, cheesy, and simply divine. Best I’ve ever come across. I try to stay away from carbs but the temptation was just too strong. I dreamed about this one for days. I remembered the name and off I went. It was a Sunday lunch and I was alone and bored at home. I picked up a box of that same freshly made pizza and had to control myself from diving in. You have to let it cool a bit so that the full character of the pizza comes out. With great difficulty, I waited and from Makati, drove to Ongpin where I just slowly drove around. Even before I reached Binondo, that pizza magically disappeared. I had never in my life eaten a whole pizza by myself. This was a first. Crosta Pizza is located in Makati. (0977 284 5636 |

IN PIE WE CRUST Crosta pizza

Another item that blew my mind this week was the reigning best ensaymada I have tried so far. Made by Gabby Mapa of The Hermit Bakery. It is a light, fluffy, buttery, cheesy, soft, and simply delicious. There are two kinds. French butter topped with queso de bola and the Greek style that uses Epirus butter and Kefalograviera cheese. The size is perfect in that in one sitting, I can down two. Anyone trying to diet will fail miserably. They’re that good! Mapapasayaw ka din sa sarap! IG: @thehermitbakes or 0917 896 2908. A must try!

Have you tried “Pretty Good” Gourmet Tinapa? It’s not pretty good. It’s very, very good! It is not your ordinary bottled tinapa. Made with healthy extra virgin olive oil, the combination of ingredients will make you hum! It is perfect for breakfast with sinangag, scrambled eggs (I drizzle truffle oil over the eggs), and the tinapa. This is an example of something healthy yet delicious. Even the olive oil can be poured over the rice to flavor it. A friend Nancy De Guzman tells me she loves it over flat pasta. Friends bring this to the US as pasalubong and everyone loves it. I hope it reaches our kababayans all over the world! A must try! (Makati-0917 819 223; Quezon City- 0917 845 5502; Alabang- 0917 323 5231.)

CRUSTACEAN SENSATION My Mom’s Taba ng Talangka

I was having dinner with my kids and I tried a bottle of taba ng talangka. Oh My gosh! I dabbed some on my rice, mixed it, and had it with fried wings. For someone who tries not to eat rice, I felt so guilty after. I had so much. I simply couldn’t stop. It was so, so good. I had it a few days after from the fridge. It was a bit chilled, so I put hot rice over it and it just simply melted away. Talk about sira ang diet? Ito ‘yun. But it was so worth it. It’s also a must try! Made by My Mom’s Taba Ng Talangka—[email protected] or 0917 529 1055.

Another item that blew my mind this week was the reigning best ensaymada I have tried so far. Made by Gabby Mapa of The Hermit Bakery. It is a light, fluffy, buttery, cheesy, soft, and simply delicious.

Another dish that is very common in most homes but not easy to find is a delicious version of rellenong manok. Most of the time, those I’ve tried are so loaded with filling it sometimes loses the balance in taste. This particular one I tried stands apart from most. It is so good. It is well balanced in flavor and comes with a delicious gravy. It is very neatly made and presented. Perfect for a Christmas dinner or any celebration. You must try it! (0917 557 4200; 0917 522 5450; 0917 358 1905)

FISHTASTIC Simply Delicious Tinapa with sigarilyas added over rice

 So there— in spite of the scary and unstable situation we all are faced, I still had a wonderful week of discoveries. This coming week, I’m developing recipes for my coming shows and you cannot believe the dishes I’ve been working on. I’ll be sharing those next week.

Meanwhile, happy eating!