A super cool venue for your office party? A “holiday box” that the whole family will love? We’ve got more options for you!
An abundance of choice is always a good thing, but it can also be overwhelming. With so many delicious things going around, especially during the holidays when so many talented and entrepreneurial cooks are all over your socials offering their specialties, you might need some help with your picks. Here’s a second list to assist you.
1. Basque-ing in the holiday spirit: limited-edition flavors from Chef Chele’s Kitchen
With the success of this pandemic “baby” from top chef Chele Gonzalez and his lovely wife Teri, they have opened a store at The Podium where their discerning clientele can have easy access to their incredible burnt Basque cheesecakes.
For the holidays, they have come up with an ingenious limited-edition flavor that is sure to tug at your heartstrings—chocolate crinkles. The cookies have that amazing fudge-y texture that is a nice complement to the creamy cheesecake. If you are looking for something more “grown-up,” their fig and manchego is an elegant and decadent option. To order, visit them at The Podium or find them on Instagram @chefcheleskitchen and click on their order form.
2. Sweetest memories: old school desserts from Share the Carbs
Another pandemic success story, home baker Sanndra Orosa has been making her grandma’s classic desserts for the past four years out of their Katipunan-adjacent home. Her bestselling brazo de Mercedes and tocino del cielo are sure hits in every party because they are simple, familiar, and well-executed.
She has also put a lot of thought in the packaging so that they travel well (or at least she really tried) and can survive in the ref or freezer for months. Nostalgia is truly a strong motivator, and these desserts are definitely the stuff of good memories. To order, message @sharethecarbs on Instagram.
3. Live the high life: Z Lounge at GA Tower 2
Getting around is tough especially with the crazy holiday traffic, so this venue in the middle of EDSA is incredibly accessible and located right in the center of Metro Manila. The roof deck lounge boasts incredible views from their al fresco bar area, while the air-conditioned dining room provides luxurious provisions for meals prepared by their experienced chefs.
The menu can be customized according to your preferences— anything from Asian classics to bar chow to Western favorites. The whole space can accommodate up to 150 guests and is truly a stunning new party space sure to impress. For inquiries and reservations, contact 09171493463.
4. A Christmas SpecTEAcle: the Nutcracker afternoon tea at The Writer’s Bar
The Raffles Makati has played host to many exciting and elegant events, and this themed afternoon tea designed for the holidays is truly one to beat. They have partnered with Steps Dance Project for brief yet memorable performances of the Tchaikovsky classic to signal the beginning of tea time where delectable canapés, pastries, and sweet treats are served. It is a great way to celebrate the season and something the whole family can enjoy. For reservations, click the link on their Instagram bio @rafflesmakatihotel.
5. Fresh start: Italian-style fresh cheeses from Crumbs and Grubs
With all the decadent meals during the holiday season, it’s important to mindfully include a few healthy bites now and then. Or perhaps get a head start on your new year’s resolution by having some fresh salads topped with burrata or cherry mozzarella from Crumbs and Grubs. These are locally made and produced from the milk of grass-fed cattle—definitely clean eating. But because it’s cheese, it does not feel like such a sacrifice, even if you are really doing your body a favor. For orders, message Crumbs and Grubs on Facebook.
6. Smells like grandma’s house: Orange Rum Butter Cake from The Kitchen at 2002
Remember when rum cake was all the rage? Probably because they are relatively easy to make and also oh so delicious. Rum cake is a great holiday gift because it is one of those bakery items that are not so sensitive to the weather and can sit comfortably in your ref until it is ready for a party or merienda (it actually tastes better after a day or two). Home baker Marga Marquez makes a really good one infused with oranges, and she recalls how when her mom made it, the entire house smelled amazing. To order, send them a DM on Instagram @thekitchenat2002.
7. A box of good vibes: Christmas gift sets from Noodle Lab
It has been medically proven that pasta makes people happy because carbs tell your body to release serotonin— a chemical with many functions and among them is to make you feel good. Give the gift of true medically proven happiness with these Christmas gift sets, containing this small-batch purveyor’s excellent fresh pastas and your choice of pasta sauce. Of course, these are all packed for holiday gift giving, so it’s one of those minimal effort, maximum satisfaction things. Got to love those! For orders, click on the link of their Instagram @noodlelab.ph.
8. Eggs and cold mornings: Tagaytay breakfast at The Fatted Calf
Take an early drive to the chilly hillside vacation spot and be rewarded with a hearty breakfast care of husband and wife team chefs Jayjay and Rhea SyCip. There is good coffee here, and the ingredients are sourced sustainably, mostly from the local farmers in the surrounding areas or around the Philippines.
The baked eggs with chickpeas are a favorite, scooped up with their house-baked rolls, and the chicken and waffles look amazing. They are open all day and is perfect for a quick respite from all the holiday shenanigans. For inquiries and reservations, call 09177892352.
9. Noche buena and chill: Christmas Flavors gift package from Carmen’s Best
The upside of living in the tropics is that it never really gets too cold for ice cream. Homegrown dairy brand Carmen’s Best has launched their limited edition Christmas flavors— S’mores the Merrier, Jolly Ol’ Eggnog, and Merry Mint Chocolate— and they surely make a great gift packed in a cute insulated bag with gift tag. They will even take care of delivery for you! Go to their Instagram @carmensbest and click the link in bio.
10. Easy-peasy party food: Festive Feasts from The Grid Food Market
What’s an easy and efficient way to party? Bento it! The popular food hall at Powerplant Mall has us all spoiled for choice, and now they have assembled bento boxes with some of their bestsellers from their food stalls for as low as P295 per plate. There is fried chicken from Bad Bird, Charsiu and rice from Whiteflower Teahouse, and gyudon from Tsuke-men, among many more delectable variants. For inquiries, shoot them a DM on Instagram @thegrodfoodmarket.
11. A crispy-fried feast: The Holiday Box from Aguirre Fried Chicken
The BF Homes cult favorite has made a name for itself when it launched during the pandemic with their hot boxes—their classic spicy fried chicken with rolls, homemade banana ketchup, and other accoutrements. Come Christmas, they like to offer a more dressed up version of that worthy of a true holiday meal. This year’s holiday box comes with a whole chicken, creamy spinach lasagna, and lemon pound cake. Sounds like a party to me! For orders, contact them through 09567638600.
12. Blessed with bread: European-style baked goods from Brie and Rye Bakery
Accompany the stars of your noche buena feast with these all-natural, no preservative masterpieces from the ovens of master baker Richard Manapat and his wife, Myka. The sweethearts of the European diplomatic community, the Manapats make a variety of German, Spanish, French, even Romanian bread that would be great topped with hamon, quezo de bola, or even to mop up callos and creamy pastas.
They also have berliners (German jelly donuts) stuffed with homemade jam that would be perfect for Christmas morning. To order, visit them on Instagram @brieandryebakery for details and for the link to their order form.