Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Birthday Food Trip at Soderno

(OK, I admit I was pretty busy during the holiday season.  But now I’m back updating my blog again and, hopefully, I get to catch up on all the stuff I want to write about, now that I have gotten over the holiday hullabaloo.  So here goes…)

Last December, hubby and I had a late-night date at The Soderno @ Molito, the newest weekend lifestyle market to hit south of Metro Manila.  It was actually my request from hubby to treat me to a date to celebrate my birthday since we rarely go out as a couple (minus the kids) these days.  It wasn’t a romantic candle-light dinner that other girls may dream about, though.  My adventurous spirit made me want to go on a food trip instead, since I’m such a ‘foodie’ and I like exploring new dishes in the kitchen.  When it comes to food, I’m fearless in exploring different kinds of food, trying out different flavors and specialties from all over the world.  And with the new trend of food bazaars and weekend lifestyle markets, I also want to discover the different “gimmicks” that other small-to-medium entrepreneurs are offering these days.  I was curious with Ortigas’ Banchetto and BGC’s Mercato Centrale weekend market, but haven’t gotten the chance to visit them yet.  So I got so excited when I learned last year that there’s one like Mercato that will be opening in Alabang, where I’m nearer.

Soderno @ Molito indeed showcase the best that southern people has to offer – from great-tasting gourmet and international dishes, refreshing drinks, delicacies, delicious pastries and desserts, to fashion finds, organic and natural products, and home decors and furniture.  Although I think some of the vendors in Soderno are also present in Mercato, the variety of international cuisine at Soderno is quite vast – there’s Arabic, Greek, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, Spanish, Italian, American, and of course, the all-time favorite Filipino cuisine and delicacies and even Pinoy street foods, not to mention the different calorie-loading cakes, pastries and desserts. 

Most of the vendors provide food tasting, which I thought is great because I got to go around the market tasting all sorts of food without buying them all!  But of course, hubby and I also bought, and the foods that we bought were those that are quite new to our sight and our taste buds, like the bite-size tacos of Taclings.  These cute little tacos, with a choice of beef or tuna mushroom, are all lined in a clean egg tray and can be bought for P60 only for 6 pieces of tacos per tray or P100 for 12 pieces.  This alone will already fill your stomach!  They’re so cute to look at and I find the concept new and quite innovative.  Taco is usually quite difficult to eat because of its size and shape, but these little tacos of Taclings have a pie shape and bite size only so they’re not messy to eat.  However, I think the owner needs to improve the taste as hubby and I didn't see nor taste the beef and tuna in our tacos, instead, they're mostly filled with diced tomatoes and onions only.

Another concept that is new to me is the Mochiko Ice Cream Filled MochiMochi is a Japanese confection made of glutinous rice flour, and is usually filled with a sweet center such as anko or red bean paste and eaten as a snack.  The Tagaytay-based business, Mochiko, with shop located at The Cliffhouse, innovated this Japanese delicacy and turned it into a ball ice cream snack with various flavors such as azuki, green tea, cookie dough, mango, black sesame, caramel, strawberry, chocolate, coffee, and vanilla.  For only P70 a piece, I got to try the green tea flavor, which was like hardened and cold green tea that is not, just as I expected, very sweet (which is fine with me).

The charcoal-grilled burgers at Big Bob’s were just so tempting; hubby and I couldn’t resist them!  I got the Wine and Cheese Steak Sandwich, which is pure Angus beef marinated in red wine and topped with cream cheese, while hubby got Big Bob’s Super Special (best seller!), which is 1/3 pound pure beef patty topped with bacon and fresh vegetables and oozing with mozzarella and cheddar cheese.  These are heavy on the belly, I know!  My diet is all ruined at this time, but what the heck!  I’ve been good to my body all this time, and indulging on a food trip like this is a rare one for me.

On the healthier side, I also tried Bawai’s Vietnamese fresh spring rolls with its special Vietnamese sweet patis-like sauce, which are light on calories and light in taste.  No wonder, most Vietnamese women are slim because they mostly incorporate vegetables into their diet.  If you are planning on a getaway trip to Tagaytay on a weekend and is looking for a new restaurant to try, you may want to make an advance booking at Bawai’s Vietnamese Kitchen in Silang, Cavite, which offers weekend dining of authentic and un-commercialized Vietnamese cuisine.

Thai food is one of my favorites.  Whenever I eat at a Thai restaurant, I usually end up with a full stomach just with the main course meal and have no room left for dessert.  So when I saw the desserts that Thai Patio offered, I grabbed two of them, both priced at P60 only.  Thako is coconut-pandan-corn pudding much like our local maja blanca.  I like it for its uniquely lightly sweetened taste (of the mung bean flour and sugar) at the bottom combined with a bit salty taste (of coconut milk and salt) on top of the soft white pudding wrapped in banana leaves.  I wonder if they can substitute the staple wires in fastening the banana leaf molds with small wooden sticks or toothpicks instead!  Another dessert that I tried from Thai Patio is the Red Ruby and Emerald with Coconut Cream.  Much like our local halo-halo, this cold dessert is made up of water chestnut and turnip topped with crushed ice and poured with coconut cream all over.  But as its name connotes, this dessert should have red and green colors of water chestnut, however, the one given to me had only pinkish red.  But other than that, I like its crunchy bite and not-so-sweet taste.

The cakes and ice creams at Soderno all look so delectable, but my stomach got so full that night that I couldn’t even take a scoop of Mio Gelati's ice cream anymore.  I guess 1 ice cream mochi was enough for me.  So I just bought some of the mini cupcakes of “Baked by Anita” to try at home and give to my kids the next day.  I got Red Velvet, Cinnamon, Peanut Butter Truffle and Choco Loco.  Anita’s mini cupcakes are no ordinary cupcakes.  She specializes in bite-size mini cupcakes, which are so cute to look at when they’re all lined in the display counter. Baked by Anita’s mini cupcakes are uniquely-flavored, bursting with flavors and generous in cutely-decorated toppings.  The mini chocolate cupcake that I’ve tried even has a small whole chocolate inside near the bottom, and I thought that was a nice surprise!  No wonder there were only a few cupcakes left that night because, I heard, they are always sold out.  Got my kids those mini Angry Bird cake toppers, too.  They’re so cute!

I want to go back to Soderno again one of these days, or hopefully get a chance to try Mercato, and indulge on other foods that I haven’t tried before.  Incidentally, both weekend markets are still closed for a holiday break and will re-open starting on January 13-15, 2012.

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