A Review – Ultimate Taste Test 2013

IMG_5839I checked out Rockwell’s Ultimate Taste Test last September 14 and this time around I was able to enjoy it. In the previous post I picked my top 5 and this one’s a rundown of things that would make or break your taste test experience.

  • Savory versus sweet – It matters that half of the food stalls served dessert. If you are planning to skip having dessert, you will be disappointed. I doubt if you’d be satisfied with the 585 bill in mind if you only got savory picks. Sure it can be filling but it’d be from the burger buns, pitas, rice and not really meats.
  • Taste test  – It’d do you no good to consider that it is an eat all you can affair. It’s not. You won’t have second helpings even if you wanted to. Only a few stalls sold their food items so it’s also not a bazaar. If you expect to bring home a lot of goods, you are mistaken.
  • Comfort – The tables with chairs weren’t inside the tent and while it is covered it still wasn’t 100% weatherproof. Half of the eating then was done standing in a corner or walking through the mesh of people, bag and plate in hand. The restrooms were kept clean and there were no queues.
  • Serving size – This I think is the most important yet it’s really tricky. If you liked something you naturally want more of it and other times you’d think you wasted stomach space. But I do think some were too small that you’d actually feel deprived like The Sultry Chef’s roast beef which was good but smaller than a bite size. It makes you feel less of a “food critic” if you’re eating mini scraps and makes you wonder about the 585 pesos you spent. Having said that, I’d like to commend Yuan’s for giving the “tasters” a choice between bite-sized portions and a chicken wing. On the other hand, if the serving is too big you’d be too full to appreciate other foods. What I did was ask for smaller helpings if I knew it was heavy or split it with a friend.
  • Happy place – Most of the owners or attendants were enthusiastic to serve you. It added to the overall ambiance and made me feel good the entire time. They did well in entertaining questions of the tasters and their passion was also intoxicating. I was wondering if all public food stalls were like that, perhaps Mondays or rush hours won’t be as bad.

It’s not for everyone of course. It’s meant for people who are adventurous. It’s inspiring. It’s kind of a one-stop place for hand-picked food items prepared by passionate people and that makes you feel lucky.

My top 5: Ultimate Taste Test 2013

TotalCollage_D1WGY-CIINYIt’s only my second helping of Rockwell’s Ultimate Taste Test and the experience was already a hundred times better. It’s because I already know what to expect. But before anything else, I’ll pick my top 5 in no particular order. Let’s face it, it’s so hard to compare dessert with savory helpings.

1. Cream of the Crop – The Malunggay and Langka and Spicy Tableya ice cream weren’t as weird as they ought to be. In fact ,it’s something that I recommend people should try. But even for those who aren’t adventurous Sulu Coffee with salted muscovado is phenomenal.

2. Franchino’s It was simple and perfect. Creamy salmon dill spread and a lemon cookie may not seem like a winner to most but I couldn’t help it I went back and asked if she was selling the spread because I sure wanted to have that in one of my leisurely breakfasts. Alas she ran out of stocks. It’s not the flashy type but it’s hearty and it’d easily make your day.

3. General’s Lechon – Well, their serving was bigger than most. Other than that I like how flavorful and aromatic it was. I just don’t know how they infused the flavors with the meat. Plus the spicy vinegar was really good with hints of pickled papaya. I should try adding some heat to atsara and pairing with lechon! It’s a great idea!

4. Shmallows – I got a set of 3 marshmallow spread bottles for 200 pesos and I made a lot of kids happy! It just goes to show that whatever happens, nostalgia will secure a spot when it comes to food. I like the idea of letting kids have their way with it. But you know even adults can have a lot of fun with s’mores.

5 .GCIC – healthy Japanese malunggay ramen – it’s refreshing, it’s healthy and it’s superb. It is definitely something you’d want to be on your monthly house menu.

I know I said 5 but I just have to mention Bronuts, The Juice Barista’s King Kong Apple Pie, Golden Duck’s duck burger, Shmidt’s Gourmet Hotdogs, Bite’s truffled tuna crudo , Flavor Avenue‘s bagnet paella because they were also good.

I thought it was tough to rate the foods I tried but it is tougher writing about them whether or not you are hungry. man I’m craving.


*My friends Fia and Jodi and Shmallows’ marshmallow spread in the photo (I wasn’t able to take photos because I was busy eating)

Learning Recipes in Sariaya

 There were a few surprises in the 4-weekend trips to Sariaya (our province) and one of them is learning recipes.IMG_2097

  • Leche flan by Lala and Len’s mom
  • Shawerma by Nolan and Len
  • Nanay’s embutido (a kind of meatloaf)
  • Nanay’s utak na sopas 
  • Instant Chicken Fajitas



I guess this shouldn’t count as a recipe because it’s instant. But, it seems simple enough and I think I can easily manage my own recipe so it’s all good. I was happy to try it out because I kinda lack chicken recipes. Plus with my white onion sauce


it would be gastronomical.

It’s daunting for someone who is not into baking but I promise to try making a batch of Leche flan real soon. I should have taken advantage of the free eggs we got from uncles but it was just too soon. Meanwhile, their version of shawerma with longganizang Lucban is a sure winner. People in Manila go crazy over longganiza so any dish you incorporate it with is good.

Ahh. I can’t believe I pulled off making nanay’s utak na sopas in one try (You should have seen how fast people devoured that evil evil soup). It’s a heartwarming dish yes, but it’s hard to get by in Manila and thinking about cholesterol is quite discouraging. Oh but I am proud and maybe I’ll try it again on special occasions.

It was all enjoyable but it was making nanay’s embutido that I found most interesting. I prepared it together with my sister, my cousins, my aunts while being pestered by know it all uncles. We weren’t able to perfect it but it didn’t matter. It was the first time the 9-year old twins “mooshed” meat with their hands and that alone made it worth it. Maybe it was most exciting for them!
TotalCollage_WDZE7-L9XQBIt wasn’t well-documented but who cares, it was grand. Food surely brings people together. Since you’re busy and stuck in the kitchen, you’d end up chatting and laughing together, maybe even have a beer or two. I do hope I get the chance again to spend time with my family “learning recipes”. Speaking of which, Tita Baby also is a wondrous cook and these two here will also be a part of my list along with her chame with isaw. I look forward to cooking and tasting all those.
I’d have to post another one for the sweets part okay? Cheers!