BAYANI BREW: Healthy Purple Leaf Tea Drink 

For the first time I was able to taste Bayani Brew concoctions at Cucina Andare last night (June 7, 2013). The Bayani Brew Classic is an all-nutritious, all-delicious and all-Filipino beverage brewed from all natural sweet potato, purple leaf tops and lemongrass with a hint of calamansi I tasted calamansi (a native citrus plant) and talbos ng kamote (camote tops). I was surprised that talbos ng kamote tasted good. The other flavor is lemongrass which tasted good as well according to my fellow foodies. I should taste the other flavors next time.

Aside from the fact that the variations are unique and healthy, Bayani Brew's products are also for a good cause – the organization helps out the farmers who plant and harvest the ingredients being used. Bayani Brew is also brilliant concoction of the nanays (mothers) at Gawad Kalinga's Enchanted Farm in Angat, Bulacan. The Enchanted Farm is a budding social development destination that provides homes and sustainable livelihood programs for relocated settlers. Here, the Bayani Brew crew shares in the beverage's profits as they work towards their 2024 goal of ending poverty by raising the income of subsistence agrarian reform beneficiaries.

Celebrate your love for our country with a refreshing drink made especially for nation-builders! The Bayani Brew Classic is an all-nutritious, all-delicious, all-Filipino beverage brewed from lemongrass and pandan leaves with a hint of calamansi. Grab a few bottles today and share the goodness with your favorite bayanis (heroes)!

Shelf life: 2 months from the production date.

All-Nutritious: Rich in Vitamin C and other powerful antioxidants awesome for your health
All-Delicious: Contains the perfect blend of fruits and herbs in every refreshing gulp
All-Filipino: Uses local ingredients, supports farming communities, and promotes countryside development

Ingredients: water, brews from lemongrass (tanglad), and pandan leaves, calamansi extract, sugar, vitamin C, and potassium sorbate to retain freshness
CUISINIERS: Grilling And Roasting At Cucina Andare
Nothing beats your "gutom" (hunger) on a rainy Friday night than an "oh, smokin' hot barbecue!" 

I was invited to a food feast at Cucina Andare tonight, Friday, June 7, 2013. One of the food stalls that caught my attention is Cuisiniers. Cuisinier (kwē-zē-nyā') is a French word that means male cook or chef. A female cook is 'cuisinière' (kwē-zē-nyer'). Cuisiniers is the ABS-CBN's FOOD MAGAZINE 2012 winner of the first ever BBQ Cook-Off, Pork Skewer Category! 

In Wikipedia, cook-off is described as "a cooking competition where the contestants each prepare dishes for judging either by a select group of judges or by the general public. Cook-offs are very popular among competitors (such as restaurants) with very similar dishes and serves as a way to decide which recipe is the best for that particular dish." 

For its bestselling pork barbecue, Cuisiniers uses pork loin, a premium cut that is very soft and tender. The meat is marinated for a couple of days for it to absorb all the flavors. The serving size for each stick is humongous.  Sold at only Php35.00 per stick! It even has a promo: if you buy 2 sticks, you get a free rice! Or if you don't want rice, you can save Php5 simply by buying three sticks at Php100. Cool eh? It’s enough to satisfy your "gutom". So next time, don't be "gutom" (hungry).
Another must-try is the chicken barbecue, which is tender, juicy, and grilled to perfection! It serves the best chicken BBQ! (At least for us!) It is one of the best tasting chicken barbecues I ever had and I believe all the foodies with me tonight would agree to that. Not only that, Anton, the author of the blog "Our awesome Planet" cited Cuisiniers as having the Best Barbecue Pork Skewers in the Metro today on his post. 

You would love for sure the "oh so tender and juicy and full of flavor roast beef!!!" It was slowly cooked for more than eight hours. 

Cuisiniers also offers the following:
  • Slow Roast Beef
  • Slow Roast Porkloin
  • Pork Barbecue
  • Grilled Liempo 
  • Boneless Chicken Barbecue.
Overall, my ultimate favorite is the chicken barbecue!
The owner comes from a family who is really fond of food, particularly barbecues and roasts. The very friendly and beautiful representative of the owner shared with us that Cuisiniers has been in the food scene ever since it opened a restaurant in the Makati Central Business District area way back in 2010. It serves various dishes and even baked goods there, but in Cucina Andare it focuses on its barbecues and roasted chicken. The owner eventually likes to open a stand-alone ihaw-ihaw (barbecue grill) place where it can serve more customers and keep on grilling.
It is available every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at CUCINA ANDARE from 4pm to 3am of the following day at Glorietta 3 open park.
My Yellow Kitchen: Delicious Snacks
One of the newest food stalls at Cucina Andare is My Yellow Kitchen.  I so love its Mushroom Pesto Panini. It's very delicious. You could taste the mushrooms in every bite. Plus, it is very affordable at only Php80.00.
Its Chicken Adobo Cream Pasta is very flavorful and delicious. You could taste the adobo (a popular dish in Philippine cuisine that involves meat, seafood or vegetables marinated in a sauce of vinegar and garlic, browned in oil and simmered in the marinade) in every bite. It's very tasty. It is very affordable at only Php100 per serving.

My Yellow Kitchen also offers spaghetti with hotdog. I was not able to taste it. But it looks delicious. Next time I drop by Cucina Andare, I'll try this.

My Yellow Kitchen is owned by Marion Vasque.
PING GU: Mushroom Fries
Ping Gu means Oyster Mushroom in Chinese. Coincidentally, Ping is the nickname of one of the owners of Ping Gu, a food cart business that serves freshly-picked and organic mushrooms coated in a special breading and then deep fried in Canola Oil.
Their mushrooms are freshly picked from Nasugbu, Batangas, we were told.
Here is how they cook the mushroom fries: (1) organic oyster mushrooms are coated with breading; and (2) deep-fried in canola oil using a deep fryer with temperature gauge to ensure that the Crispy Fried Oyster Mushroom by Ping Gu will be crispy. The crunch of the breading gave way to perfectly cooked meaty mushrooms. 
Ping Gu's Crispy Fried Oyster Mushroom is very crispy and delicious. This is a healthy alternative to the oily and salted French Fries.

Ping Gu dips are the following:
  • Garlic Mayo
  • Tomato ketchup
  • Gravy
  • Sweet Chili
Garlic mayo is the dipping sauce of choice and obviously a crowd favorite.
Ping Gu's Crispy Fried Oyster Mushroom owners were even featured in a magazine.
Ping Gu is owned by Jewel and Ping Joven. Jewel told us that they got the idea from her sister-in-law when she fried mushroom and they find it very delicious. They both love the fried mushroom.  Accordingly, husband-and-wife team decided to put up the business.
Jewel Joven and her husband Ping are very proud of their creation and even told us that everyday some of her clients came all the way from Quezon City just to buy her mushroom fries.
RICE POTS: Fried Rice Haven
Filipinos love rice! After all, it is our staple food. We eat rice in all our meals. A lot of us can't forego eating rice during breakfast in the morning, lunch and dinner and to some, even midnight snacks. 

This stall was created by two
 foodies, Peter Garcia and Joy Kim. Peter and Joy were classmates in UP Hotel and Restaurant Administration and have common interests as well. “We love dining out, we love food, and we love to cook.” According to Peter, “Joy is the innovator. She’s a very good cook. She’s more into cooking and more creative.”

They created Rice Pots, which offers Asian-inspired freshly cooked fried rice, because of their want for something different. Peter shares, “Filipinos love rice. Why not make different kinds of Asian fried rice?” Thus, Rice Pots was born in 2011.

Its first branch is a full-blown restaurant located in the southern part of the metro. After six months into the business, they decided to join the Mercato group. Rice Pots is the pioneer in real fried rice. It is not one of those instant ones that are just flavored with seasonings.

Their Adobo Fried Rice involves cooking the actual adobo viand and incorporating it with the rice. It’s like a meal in itself. Since Filipinos love rice toppings the duo decided to offer add-ons like small dimsum, Hainanese chicken, and their bestseller- lechon macau that is pugon-roasted, woody and smoked for only Php129.00  I so love their lechon macau! Yum yum! It is one of the best tasting lechon macau I ever tasted.
Rice Pots offers a number of rice variants inspired by the different regions of Asia.  Its specialties are the Adobo Fried Rice, BBQ Fried Rice, and Yang Chow Fried Rice. Each serving is good for approximately two to three persons for a very reasonable price of only Php75.00. I super like the Adobo Fried Rice. It has bits and pieces of pork adobo and lots of garlic. It is very delicious!
It comes as no surprise that from time to time, the duo comes up with different inventions. “Since everyone is into Korean, we will be having our own take on omu rice (omelet rice) with a twist.” Instead of the egg being incorporated in the fried rice, the rice will be wrapped in the egg. Cool! I'll wait for that version!
Telephone number: +(632) 478-2208
Mobile number: (+63 917) 844-4844
Facebook: Rice Pots
Twitter: @RicePots

Available at Cucina Andare

Address: Glorietta 3 Park, Makati (in front of Makati Shangri-La)
Mobile number: (+63 917) 840-1152

Operating hours: Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 4pm-3am

Address: G1 Center, 98 Aguirre Ave., BF Homes Parañaque, Parañaque City
Telefax: +(632) 478-2208
WRAP BATTLE: Filipino Plato Wrap
Paul Wenceslao used to be a writer and as a writer, he was sometimes swamped with work and at times had no writing assignments. That's why during one of those "vacant" times he concocted the idea of putting up his own food business. Since he loves eating at Mercato Centrale and he observed that there are only a handful of stalls that solely offers wraps so he comes up with Wrap Battle.
Wrap Battle offers pita wraps.
He uses fresh ingredients.
The owner comically posed besides his stall.
Paul currently has eight varieties and he said that one of his bestsellers is the Beef Nacho Wrap. Those who enjoy eating nachos and dip would definitely love this. Sold for only Php100. The wrap length is 9" which for me is already good for two to three people.

Beef Nacho Wrap is basically pita filled with spicy beef, nacho cheese sauce, onionstomatoes and crushed tortilla chips. He said it is very crunchy, tasty and it's a fun way of eating nachos.  I guess I will just have to taste and see it myself.

He let me try half of his personal favorite Chicken Pesto, a pita wrap with spiced chicken, cucumber, tomatoes, cheese, homemade pesto sauce and lettuce. It has sour cream sauce. The mayo gives a fuller flavor to the wrap while the sour cream highlights the flavor of the pesto. The aromatic basil pesto is a come on for foodies like me. If you try this wrap, tell them to put more mayo than sour cream for that extra oomph.

He said his wraps are the Filipino's version of the Mexican pita wraps. He said that he is currently working on a new variant, the Adobo Wrap. Hmmm... it would be exciting to see Wrap Battle’s version of the traditional Filipino dish wrapped in pita.  


Wrap battle is available at Cucina Andare:

CUCINA ANDARE Address: Glorietta 3 Park, Makati (in front of Makati Shangri-La)
Mobile number: (+63 917) 840-1152
Operating hours: Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 4pm-3am of the following day
CARLO'S KITCHEN: Irresistible Crunchy Belly 
Good news to my Carnivore friends! Carlo's kitchen has an irresistible Crunchy Belly!

Up until this time, I am still craving for the unique creation of Carlo’s Kitchen.  The owners are pork lovers that's why they came up with this unique yummy 
pork concoction.
Carlo’s Kitchen crunchy belly is a finger food version of bagnet (crispy pork belly)! Crunchy Belly is made of the  belly part of the pig. A cross between chicharon (a dish made of fried pork rinds) and lechon kawali (deep-fried pork belly). The Crunchy Belly looks like the oh so tempting chicharon. It has a crunchy sound in every bite.  
Like me, you wouldn't get enough of this sinful goodness. After your first taste, you'll just have to take another piece, and another, and another.  

I unbelievably eat a lot of the crunchy belly even when I conditioned my mind to only take one piece. Gosh! Please don't tempt me.
We had a chance to chat with the amiable Kat Reantazo, one of the creators/ owners of crunchy belly. Kat and her husband Carlo are pork lovers and they got their inspiration to do this business from their travels abroad. In almost all their trips abroad,  the husband-and-wife team would always go to hawker places simply because they love to eat. Although they don’t have culinary degrees, both of them are simply passionate about food. They observed that the stalls with the longest lines are those that sell unique creations. Since both of them are pork eaters, they came up with a product that would suit them best. They came up with the oh so irresistible crunchy belly.  The husband-and-wife team dreams of eventually opening up their own restaurant and reaching more people. In the meantime, they are happy to serve their creation at the Cucina Andare Night Market.
Telephone number: (+632) 399-2715
Mobile number: (+63 916) 403-3495
Twitter: @crunchybelly

Available at Cucina Andare Night Market

Address: Glorietta 3 Park, Makati (in front of Makati Shangri-La)
Mobile number: (+63 917) 840-1152

Operating hours: Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 4pm-3am

Note: Please eat in moderation. Take your medicine.
ABBIE'S KITCHEN: Pasta Station
The world is full of pasta-bilities! 

Pasta is my favorite Italian dish after Pizza. I enjoy every variation of pasta specially the creamy white sauce base which for me is damn yummy.

Pairing the appropriate sauce with a specific pasta shape really makes a difference in the flavor of the dish. The fusilli pasta served to us by Abbie's Kitchen had a uniquely toothsome texture coated with a luxurious sauce full of flavor. I so love it!
Oh my goodness, my favorite fusilli pasta in white sauce! Fusilli Pasta Salad is a fusion of Mediterranean cuisine that is both healthy and satisfying. It can be eaten either on its own or as an accompaniment. We excitedly savour our Fusilli Pasta Salad specially made for us by Abbie herself.
Abbie believes that her customers must be given various options that's why she created a pasta station so kids and adults alike could choose their own pasta experience. Here are the steps on how to choose your pasta. Please be guided accordingly.
Step 1 Choose the type of Pasta. There are three choices:
  • Spaghetti 
  • Penne 
  • Fusilli
Step 2. Choose your sauce. Here are your options:

  • Four cheese sauce
  • Creamy garlic
  • Special white sauce

Step 3 Choose your ingredients. You have an option to choose four. Available ingredients are the following:
  • Minced Chicken
  • Ground Beef
  • Smoked Bacon
  • Ham
  • Onion
  • Bell Pepper
  • Grated Cheese
  • Parmesan
And even Chix Chops for an extra fee of Php20.00
After choosing your pasta, sauce and ingredients,Abbie herself will cook it in front of you!
Abbie believes that from the minute the pasta is cooked, there is no time for pause or delay. Drain, sauce, toss, serve and eat!!! That's why she always cook it fresh in front of the customer.
Customers patiently wait for their pasta fix.

Available at Cucina Andare

Address: Glorietta 3 Park, Makati (in front of Makati Shangri-La)
Mobile number: (+63 917) 840-1152
Operating hours: Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 4pm-3am