Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The new grilled sandwiches of Kenny Rogers Roasters

Anyone with a job like mine where mere moments away from the computer could mean missed deadlines and extra hours of overtime can easily relate to eating on the job--more specifically, on the desk. That's why I take note of new food offerings at the nearby mall, make quick trips and order TO GO before heading back to the office to eat and type. My latest meal, two of the four new grilled sandwiches at Kenny Rogers Roasters--Tomato Pesto & Mozzarella and Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese.

I must admit, the billboard on Edsa and the posters at the store premise seduced my senses. So you can imagine my disappointment when I discovered that each sandwich was like 6" x 2.5" x 1.5" (luckily I had two--though I was was hoping to save the second one for the next morning), and seemed flattened beyond recognition (obviously a lot of food styling went into the ads). Even sadder were the wilted lettuce leaves of my salmon panino, with their brown edges.

But whatever the sandwiches lacked in appearance, they made up for in taste and texture. The toasted bread added a delightful crunch to my tomato sandwich which did not scrimp on pesto--perhaps a touch too salty for some, but just right for me (ooh, my blood pressure). And the mozzarella gave that stringy stretch we look for in most cheese dishes. The salmon and cream cheese was equally tasty (though at one point my tongue was hoping for some brine--maybe capers would have done the trick) with enough of the smokey fish and rich cheese to embrace the slices of bread. Flavor-wise, both made for a satisfying dinner.

My only real displeasure? That each sandwich is in truth no dinner fare; just a snack--and a pricey one at that.

New Grilled Sandwiches:

Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese (P159)
Ham & Cheese (P109)
Tomato, Pesto & Mozzarella (P99)
Four-Cheese (P99)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Nestle's Limited Edition All-Purpose Cream in Mixed Berries and Chocolate Flavors

Imagine the possibilities--all the sumptuous treats you could whip up with Nestle's flavored creams. Dollop spoonfuls onto a tall ice cream sundae. Sandwich them between layers of moist loaf cake. Blend them into rich, frosty milkshakes. Infuse them into a ganache or some hand rolled truffles. Toss them up with slices of cold, fresh fruit. Build them into a rich and flavorful mousse. Mind the calories though.

Nestle's Mixed Berries and Chocolate Cream retails for around P49.50 for a 250ml tetra brick. Who knows how long this limited edition product will be selling? I suggest you try it soon, this summer.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Selecta Gold Series

I am no longer the ice cream junkie I was as a kid. But these days, when the air conditioner just can't douse anymore the searing heat that streaks through my parched window, I find myself visualizing scoops of those creamy frozen delights I enjoyed as a child.

Today, I sampled heaping spoonfuls of Selecta's Gold Series--yes, all three flavors. Perhaps I was badgered by the endless TV ads over the weekend. Or maybe I was intrigued by what chefs J Gamboa (Cirkulo), Sau del Rosario (Chelsea Market), and my former high school student Lando Laudico (Bistro Filipino) had to offer to all of us evading a heatstroke. Here's what I thought...

I started off with Chef Lando's CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES, which according to the merchandiser at the supermarket, was the most purchased flavor in the series. The cloud of ice cream in my spoon was dense, with a ribbon of dark fudge syrup and a chunk of chewy truffle embedded within. In my mouth, the texture was silky smooth (it must be all that butterfat) and the flavor, intensely chocolate, kicked up a notch by the richness of the truffle. Chocoholics beware.

Chef J's BERRY STRAWBERRY came next. Sucking on a spoonful, I was immediately awakened by a burst of fruit. This ice cream scrimps not on berry goodness--so unlike many others that taste more like milk with a hint of strawberry. The fruit pieces here add a textural contrast and a delightful tanginess that cuts through the thick vanilla cream. Yum.

Lastly, Chef Sau's HAZELNUT BROWNIE. Ok, another choco treat, but quite different from the first. More than nutty, the flavor is extremely buttery--a result of course of the hazelnut, which adds a charming twist to the already satisfying chocolate flavor (if only there were actual nuts in the concoction). The moist pieces of fudgey cake are a pleasant surprise too.

The ads on TV describe the Gold Series as the most decadent flavors of Selecta.  Hmm, I'm on the fence with this one. I guess I'm not certain these flavors are so luxuriously self-indulgent. Don't get me wrong--these are among the more luscious chocolate and strawberry ice creams available in the market today; I'd buy a tub of any in the series as soon as the mercury touches 37 degrees. But hey--though great, it's just chocolate and strawberry.

I guess my idea of decadent involves the exotic and brave flavors my tongue has yet to taste--a curious concoction that excites my fancy, urges me to dare, and ultimately gratifies.  Maybe white chocolate raspberry truffle, or espresso and sesame brittle, or passion fruit and ginger spice. I don't know; maybe I'll be more certain when that flavor greets me from the supermarket freezers.

What is certain is that Selecta has been a tad careful here, selecting flavors that are guaranteed to sell (how can one go wrong with chocolate or strawberry) but making sure these flavors are the best they can be while keeping prices competitive and affordable. Would I recommend the Selecta Gold Series to friends? Why, yes--ice cream is all good, and these are better than most (kudos to the chefs). But as soon as I consume the three unfinished tubs in my freezer, I'll be on the hunt for a new flavor.