Crazy over these cupcakes that take the cake!!!

14 11 2008
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The sign of great things in small paper liners - Cupcakes by Sonja!

 

I’VE NEVER been a dessert person.  I eat a lot – a whole lot, with at least 5 cups of rice for lunch back in the day – but I’d never have dessert.  Ooops, I guess I just inadvertently explained my first sentence with the last one – whenever I eat, I do not leave any stomach space for dessert.  But no, I know for a fact that I am not a dessert person.  While on one episode of Rachael Ray’s ’30-Minute Meals’ she feared she would be scolded by her mom for starting with dessert (I guess it was some ‘irresistable’ lemoncello, mimosas or berry freeze), I never had such fear.  Dangle chocolates, cakes, sundae or simply ice cream in front of me..  and something would definitely melt – those sweet treats (from the heat and humidity of the scorching Philippine weather).. not me..  I won’t melt!

 

But that all changed when Cecille Carnay (my friend ‘in-the-know’ a.k.a. ‘Friendship’) brought me to that quaint, cozy store located in the Serendra Piazza aptly called, “Cupcakes by Sonja.”  The ‘Sonja’ in the business name, being the nice, soft-spoken, unassuming lady who I almost always chance upon in the store, doing every imaginable role from making the cupcakes, icing them, fixing the décor, taking orders, to ringing the cash register and handing over your cupcakes with a sincere smile.  To me, she is the ‘Cupcake Rockstar’, a celebrity even that when I finally got the chance to talk to her (when she made comments about my meticulously packaged Royce Nama (Champagne) Chocolates), I almost got up the nerve to ask for a photo-op!  Bwahahaha!  Pathetic, eNTeNG!  But then again, I won’t dwell on Sonja any further as I think she doesn’t really like all the attention.  The star is the cupcakes themselves!

 

I can still vividly remember the first time in 2006 when I stepped in to her store, after spending quite a few minutes outside, waiting in line for my turn.  A whiff of yummy cinnamon-y scent greeted me, and the burst of colors whetted my appetite.  My friends and I ordered a cupcake each.  I asked for one ‘Vanilla Sunshine’, and with my first bite, I thought I’d gone to dessert heaven, a place unknown to me at the time.  I was in love since then.

 

BUnny Huggers Carrot Cake Cupcake

As moist & yummy as it can get - the Bunny Huggers Carrot Cake cupcake, perfect with a hot pot of lavender tea!

I have kept coming back to her store – almost every week – and my favorites have evolved.  Nowadays, I swear by her ‘Bunny Huggers Carrot Cake’ cupcake.  It is for me, the most moist carrot cake I’ve ever had.  And I think Sonja and her team grate the carrots fresh right there in the store!  I used to have a favorite that I would get from another local store.  But I had stopped getting it since ‘Bunny Huggers’ came along.  The cream cheese frosting on top is just divine.  The sweetness is playfully coy and just perfectly complements the cake.

 

And in October, I just had to have the ‘Pumpkin Sweet Spice’ Cheesecake(?) cupcake.  Cecille texted me about it one weekend, and I just had to dash to Sonja’s the very first chance I had!  I wasn’t disappointed.  And to think that I was having the cupcake while the city was being beaten by a deluge, was such a relief.  It just made all my troubles (work, the weather) wash away with the flashflood outside.  ‘Pumpkin Sweet Spice’ was a delicate party in the mouth.  The subdued sweetness of the actual pumpkin cake, spiced perfectly with nutmeg and cinnamon (I think!) calmed my senses and prepared me for the slight jolt of sweetness the graham cracker crust offered.  The layering of flavors and of course textures, and the guarantee that only the highest quality ingredients went to my cupcake, more than made up for the price.  As consumers, we always look for value for our money.  And I never felt that any ‘truer’ than at ‘Cupcakes by Sonja.’

 

Box of 4 Bunny Huggers Carrot Cake cupcakes

I can never leave the store without getting me at least a box! This is a box of 4 Bunny Huggers.

Partner - Vanilla Sunshine

Aren't they the prettiest? On display - 'Vanilla Sunshine' (top), 'Chocolate Surprise' (bottom) - in various icing color choices.

Her cupcakes are all fabulous, and are so creatively named.  Whenever I put together a box for myself or for my loved ones, I would always ask for Bunny Huggers, Mocha Motion, the Flourless Chocolate Cake (made with Valhrona chocolate, no less!), the (peanut butter-filled) PB&J’s, the Valhrona Chocolate & Hazelnut Tart, Red Velvet Cake, and Vanilla Sunshine.  My friends love them too.  James (Spider-man) adores ‘Bunny Huggers!’

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Perfect after a long day at work - 'Pumpkin Sweet Spice' and a tall glass of fresh lemonade!

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Partner takes an 'artistic' shot of the lovely tea pot that has my hot lavender tea. To the right is the even lovelier 'Pumpkin Sweet Spice' (but all you really see is the paper/foil liner!).





“Utan Ilonggo”.. say what?!.. “Fely J’s” satiates.. Greenbelt 5 radiates (with the joy of the season)!

14 11 2008

I originally intended my first official post to be about “Cupcakes by Sonja“.  But Cecille said I can start with the one below which I originally shared with them thru e-Mail this morning.

 

I HAD to really meet up with Drei (that’s Batman) last night (I was holding for ransom something he needed.  Hehehe..).. and upon Partner’s advice (together with previous ones from Cecille and Data), we decided to finally check out “Fely J’s” in Greenbelt 5.  I’ve heard a lot about it as it has been “all over the media” since it opened its doors to fans of Filipino and Asian cusine.  I’ve seen it on TV, read about it in the papers.. and the best recommendation of all – heard about it from friends who have been short of gushing :):):) ..

 

Your friends are your best resources for where to go, where to eat.. what to eat.”

 

True enough, the place was packed!  Whoever said that the Philippines is on the verge of smarting under the lash of and eventually reeling from an economic crisis must’ve not been to Greenbelt 5.  (Or probably, the recession is really still next year, as bannered by the Philippine Daily Inquirer the other day.)  Before we even reached the place, Batman and I had to snake our way through an American Express-sponsored cocktails at the lobby of Greenbelt 4 for what they call as “their loyal clients who patronize the 9 luxury labels under that roof.”  I looked at Batman and he probably got what I was thinking – we could just line up for the buffet ourselves and get a free pass!  Bwahahaha!  Who will know?!  I got a really good wristwatch on and the girl manning the buffet would probably think I’m loaded.  Bwahahaha!!!

 

As “Fely J’s” was packed, we had to settle for the verandah.  The lighting wasn’t good at all at that part of the restaurant, and all we had was a small votive candle (OMG?! A candle-lit dinner?!  Bwahahaha!) meant to shoo away mosquitoes!  Usually, I’d just up and leave if I don’t like the seating location.. but this was “Fely J’s” – almost the new Holy Grail of good dining – so I had to content myself with what was available.  Besides, we didn’t call in ahead of time.  So there we were, and as I flipped though the impressive menu, I had to trust our waiter and of course Batman, on what to order – but I just made a demand for one thing, the “Dilis-cious Rice”!  I remember Data telling me it’s the one thing to order – plump, fluffy white rice, generously topped with sauted black beans and crispy dilis..  yum!

 

The others, we had to choose on a whim and pure gut feel – the “Lola somethingCrispy Pork Adobo, the Thai Green Curry Chicken, and the “Utan Ilonggo.”  The adobo was good (though I’m not an adobo person).  The meat was very tender and flavorful, fried to the point of just making the outside crisp, with the inside kept moist.  The Thai green curry chicken could use some more heat, but it was nevertheless good.. just REALLY more heat.  But the “utan ilonggo” was the most pleasantly surprising thing for me.  It was a soup of fresh vegetables (saluyot, thinly sliced kalabasa, okra, onions, and malunggay) with really succulent shrimp and manila clams.  It was “hot” heaven on a soup bowl!  The flavor was very delicate.. very clean even!  There almost wasn’t salt in the broth, but it was really comforting.  Sarrrap!!!  The soup did it for me!  The service was great too.  The staff was very attentive and very courteous, even accommodating my whims to get my “kamias crush” slush to the right sweetness (a little bit more sugar syrup please!).  Too bad the poor lighting made all the images I took with my Nokia 5310 XpressMusic cellphone camera grainy.

 

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Don't you just love this sugar-free 'Lemon Torte' from 'Classic Confections' in Greenbelt 5!

 

Right after dinner, off we went to Classic Confections to get our load of my favorite russian tea cookies, and sugar-free lemon torte..  as well as rocky road bars and walnut bars. 

 

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Batman: "Ang tagal namang magbukas!".. Hehehe..

After a feast like that, you’d really have to walk and hopefully burn some of the calories off.  So we did just that.  And I marvelled at how wonderful the development of Greenbelt 5 has been – now extending all the way to where the old Greenbelt 1 is.  The best part I love???  The fact that 8 of the world’s best wristwatch brands are opening flagship stores in the Philippines, finally!  They just further perpetuate one thing in this life – sometimes, we just have to really desire something we know we can’t have.  Another way of saying it??  Dream big.  Bwahahaha!!!  And eat well while doing it.

 

Definitely, I had to take the requisite photos.  Especially since Greenbelt 5 is already so decked for the (Christmas) season!  The Christmas trees are very nice, though Batman said that they were leaning towards the traditional.  But I love the color scheme and ‘traditional’ is good.  Can’t help but love the classic!

 

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"Do you see us in the Christmas ball?"

Batman, and all my friends know that I am such a cam-whore, a lot of times regardless of the setting..  Of course there are the required escalator photos..  and one shot I particularly like which should be captioned: “Do you see us in the Christmas ball?”..  Zara was such a clothing heaven..  Batman stood in front of the Patek Philippe store space and with a thought bubble wondered: “Ang tagal namang magbukas!”.  Hehehe..





Hello world!.. Finally, a blog!

14 11 2008
That's the note Partner & I left for the chef / staff at Abe's in Serendra. Just one of the ways to show we appreciated the food!

That's the note Partner & I left for the chef and staff of Abe's in Serendra. Just one small way to say we appreciated the food! More food adventures to come! And yes, that's my handwriting 🙂

THE “HELLO world!” part of the title of this post was wordpress’s default for the first post.  I decided to keep it as it basically sums up my sentiment, succumbing to the call of the connected world.  Seriously, I just have to give in to Cecille’s prodding for me to start a blog.  For the longest time, she has been one of the very few who form my patient audience (a local celebrity would lovingly refer to a similar group of people as – drum roll please – “my public”).  I guess Cecille feels somebody else out there would care about what I have say.  So here it is – eNTeNG’s Blog.  If only I can figure out how to make my visuals more interesting.. beginning with the font.  (Petty stuff!)

So what will I put in here?  Definitely, only stuff I’m really passionate about – food, wristwatches.. music.. and more food and more wristwatches.

And in this day and age of shameless plugging and “pabati” on multi-media, let me get things started by giving a shout out to all my wonderful friends, who, for all the many reasons they are in my life.. and for all the many things they bless me with.. are just the ones I care about because they keep me grounded (bwahahaha!) – Cecille (Friendship), Edu (Brother), Lethe (Mother), Erwin (One True Friend), Agnes (Sister!), ThereseClint (the Gifted Child), Roy Patrick.. James (Spider-man!), Jen (Partner!), Andrei (Batman!), Data (Summit!), and Ronoel (Superman!).

To the others I may have missed – that’s life.  Hehe.

I don’t have high hopes for this blog.  I’ll take things nice and slow 🙂