Yesterday was the first time I said no to free food. Haha. That was after trying out almost 40 food from appetizers to desserts, and I was ready to give up but my friends were persistent and supportive of celebrating good food! I never really cared if I came straight from work and never had a decent sleep the night before, and never mind the braces - I still took a bite of that crunchy bars!
Were you at the Ultimate Taste Test yesterday in Rockwell Tent? I was there with friends, and yes, we tried all the offerings from the 55 booths which offer good and unique food. It was fun - we felt like certified food critics, even talking about packaging and presentation. We came at around 11:30 (the door actually opened at 11:00AM), and we finished at 8:30PM. The tickets were sold out at around 4:00PM (that's when I saw the sign at the entrance door), but there were still people checking the place at around 7:00PM.
First things first, what is the Ultimate Taste Test? It is the annual event where foodies and food owners are gathered to showcase their products. Foodies, bloggers and even just about anyone (who has ticket!) can sample the dishes and be a critic for a day. You would be given a passport (paper with list of food establishments and space for writing your comments). The ticket costs Php585 but it was worth it because this year's UTT has a good line-up of food establishments. I have to thank my friend for buying a ticket for me (I haven't paid him yet).
There are just so much good food and amazing new businesses. I just want to share my top 10 picks.
1. When we entered the hall, we saw Ms. Janice De Belen, and we know the reason. Coincidentally, Luigi's offerings were the first we get to try. The Chicken Cordon Bleu and Phillychanga are just soo good, I was ready to order a cup of rice! The chicken is tender, and the cheese flavor is not overpowering. The Phillychanga is crunchy with the tasty beef stuffing inside. Yum! Sorry, I don't have a picture of the food - it went straight in my mouth because the delicious smell was so inviting.
2. Casa San Luis - Adobo Quiche and Bangus Quiche (not really sure if I got the name right). But my friends and I fell inloved with the fusion of Pinoy and French cuisine. We were able to talk to the Chef behind Casa San Luis and he told us that is what he wanted to achieve, to combine Filipino dishes with French food. He didn't fail. We love it!
3. Spring by Ha Yuan. I tried the Braised Short Rib and Lychee (not the one in picture - but that's the bestseller). I love that it there is a contrast of crunch, tasty meat and sweet-soury lychee in a bite. The sample I got was not enough, I wanted to order one more serving!
4. Gourmet Keso is just the perfect cheese to serve with crackers. I like that it is smooth and velvety in mouth, tasty but not salty. The kind of cheesiness with glamour. It is hard to explain in words, but if you get to taste it, you would love it. I am just telling my mom how good it is, and she now wants to order to check if it is as good the Kesong Puti she knows.
5. Farm and Deli's offers Tinapa in Olive Oil and longganiza and sausages from different provinces. What we love is the beef sausage called Batotay from Cabanatuan. I started to crave for fried rice when I tasted it. (I wanted to scream - I want a full meal! There's too much teasers!!)
The Tinapa in Olive Oil is prepared by the team, and is preserved using pure olive oil. It also goes well with crackers. I don't really like Tinapa but this one made me a convert.
6. Merry Moo Artisan Ice Cream. I tried the Brown Bread and the Pistachio Mango. I was excited to try the Salted Caramel, but that one is not available. The Brown Bread is made of toasted bread with sugar and cinnamon. It is good, as it is not too sweet. I cannot say much because I am not really an ice cream person (would prefer cakes!). But the reason this product made into my list is because it is not the usual ice cream I was expecting - it is not sweet and with carved frozen texture like the usual ice cream in the market.
7. 5 Loaves and 2 Fish offers baked veggie chips and home-made dips. My friends just gotten my sample on my behalf as I rested in the eating area. When they arrived, I was served with these..
The ones in the far left are chips from 5 Loaves and 2 Fish. The veggies are thinly sliced, and crunchy and I love that Dark Chocolate Dip!
8. Speaking of Dark Chocolate, I love every offering from Theo and Philo Chocolates. The chocolate with chili or siling labuyo is just too common now, but have you tasted the one with kapeng barako? How about with Green Mango and Salt? I actually love the contrast of bitter-sweet chocolate, sour hint of green mango and the bite of salt. I bought one bar. It costs Php95, and my friend bought the one with Kapeng Barako. I hope a lover would send me all the varieties at home. Girls love chocolates! Below are the other varieties..
9. Cappuccino Taho is a must-try! Get it from Mang Pedro! Who ever thought our favorite morning drink/food can be served with flavors? When we asked for the Cappuccino flavoured, it was not yet available and we have to go back a little later in the evening for the fresh delivery. It is good and tasty - like having coffee and taho in one.
10. If you love frozen yogurt, you would love this Yo-Gee Frozen Kefirs! Kefir is a fermented milk which is healthier and has more lactobicilli which everyone knows is good for your tummy! We were able to talk to the owner, Vincent and he shared that what drives him to start offering Kefir is his need to drink it (because like me, he is also experiencing acid refluxes). He started growing it, until he had enough for himself and decided to offer them. Right now it only comes in Strawberry and Mango flavors. I am not sure if there are alot Kefir fans in the Philippines, but this one is something that you should try.
I just cannot leave this one out, it deserves to be on my list. The Cupcake Boutique by Klar Joseph offers one of the best cupcakes! It is one of the most crowded booths because they offer not just one cupcake but all three - I love all three especially the Dark Chocolate (with that hint of gold trimming).
I find the cupcakes soft, yet moist and not dry. It is fluffy and rich - and flavourful! Yum.
Also, I just have to mention the milk from hollysmilk.com and smooth ice cream from Carmen's Best! I really hate milk and I cannot remember the last time I drank milk, but when I tasted it, it is light bodied and smooth, and just fresh. Would want to order stocks and take the doc's advice.
Good food is not enough without alcohol - San Miguel offers one bottle for each guest.
I voted San Miguel Premium Malt Beer and Daims Food, Inc flavoured sausages (the Wasabi and BBQ sausages are good too!) as the best beer and dish combo.
The best part of the event for me was that I get to pull a shot of espresso! Been missing holding those portafilters and tamping the espresso and pulling a perfect shot with nice crema! Thanks to Concept Specialist for letting me make coffee. ;) The pictures were taken by my friend, and I am still waiting for him to upload them.
It was such a fun day/night. Congratulations to the organizers - Anton Diaz of OurAwesomePlanet.com, to all the sponsors and foodies, and everyone who anonymously shared good food with us!
This year's UTT is just awesome! See you next year!