Discover Filipino Dining at Archipelago 7107 by Barrio Fiesta

Having been born to an Ilocano father and Tagalog mother – who both love to cook – introduced me to a bevy of authentic Filipino dishes. I have a lot of favorites, but some others are just plain exceptional like Kare-Kare, Pinapaitan, Hinalang, Ginataang Alimango, and Liver Asado. I consider Filipino cuisine as my comfort food, and in fact, at any given day, I would choose a Filipino Restaurant over intercontinental dining.
Photo Credit:  Pinoy Teens
I recently had the chance to attend the grand opening of Archipelago 7107 by Barrio Fiesta. The restaurant was cozy with a warm ambiance. I love the interior design of the restaurant. It’s chic and casual, something that’s not usual for a Filipino Restaurant. Not to mention, they do have a bar area for those who want to grab some cocktails after a stressful week at work.

A little history: 

Archipelago 7107 by Barrio Fiesta is a brainchild of young entrepreneurs Antero Sison III, Carlo Lorenzana, Alberto Bacani, and Alan Bangco who teamed up with the third generation restaurateur Tyrone Ongpauco from the Barrio Fiesta chain of restaurants

The concept of Archipelago 7107 was to bring together different Filipino regional recipes into one roof, hence the number 7107 that represents that number of Islands in the Philippines. It’s a genius idea, if you ask me. Here you get the chance to sample different dishes from different regions of the Philippines without having to board a plane.
Bar Area | Photo Credit: Pinoy Teens
Food was great and it was everything I hoped for in a Filipino restaurant. Each dish was filling, comforting, and best of all, it doesn’t drill a hole on the pocket. It’s definitely a must-try. Here’s what you can expect from Archipelago 7107’s menu:

Nachos with Salsa
Dinuguan, P245
 Savory stew of blood sausage simmered in a rich, spicy gravy of pig blood, garlic, chili, and vinegar.
Sinalab Special, P640
 A collection of fresh seafood and assorted meals cooked to perfection and served in a kawayan (bamboo) tray.
Mama Chits Special, P640
 A feast in a bilao as how Mama Chit would prepare it. Indeed, a mini fiesta in itself.
Inihaw na Pusit, P245
Chicharon Bulaklak, P195
 The best thing that happened to me that night. My dad loves to cook Chicharon Bulaklak, but now that we’re trying to watch our health, we’ve lie-lowed on eating high-calorie food. I am my father’s daughter and well, it’s been a while. My first bite brought me back to my younger years when diet was the least of my concern. If you’re craving for a sinful plate of chicharon bulaklak and your dad won’t cook for you, you know where to go! =)
Kare-Kare, P230 (regular), P350 (family)
 Tender Oxtail and trip stewed in creamy peanut sauce.
Crispy Pata, P520
Archipelago 7107’s specialty and the dish that made them a household name. Crispy Pata is a deep fried pork knuckle cooked the Barrio Fiesta way. I devoured this like crazy, my diet is gonna sue me.
Chilling with my fellow Davao Bloggers
Photo Credit: Pinoy Teens
So there you go. If you’re looking for a cozy restaurant to satisfy your Filipino food craving, head over to Archipelago 7107 located at the 2nd floor, Fountain Court area, SM Lanang Premier.

Blugre: The King of Coffees

Back when I was still a corporate slave at Landco, I used to grab my coffee fix at Blugre Coffee, which is so conveniently located at the entrance of the building. I’m a huge fan of their Durian Gatchpuccino and Chocolate Torte; they never fail to help me get through a tough day’s work. Even my Danish boss would often indulge on Blugre’s wide array of  hot coffee and delicious pasta offerings.

 

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to sit down on a meeting with Mr. Benjamin “BMC” Cuaresma, VP for Franchising, and Ms. Joanne Sy, VP for Operations of the new and better Blugre Coffee. It’s good to know that the brand is fast evolving and rooting towards being at par with the biggest names in the Coffee Industry worldwide.

Blugre is now under a new management, and in only a year after the turnover, the brand has already added six branches all over Mindanao. On top of that, two more branches will open its doors within this month; Tagum City on February 22, and at Davao Doctor’s College on February 28, respectively.

“Our vision is beyond building an enormous conglomerate. We see Blugre Coffee as an avenue where people and experiences can converge to give life a deeper meaning across all the people involved in our company; the stakeholders, the employees and most importantly the customers. Our brand is a celebration of how unique we are as a Filipino race”

This year, Blugre aims to bring the brand to the global market by putting up a branch in Las Vegas and Los Angeles by the end of the 2013. Other global expansion includes Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Toronto, and Adelaide. But of course, the brand will also put up more stores across the Philippines. With their continuous expansion, the brand will also be offering new drinks and desserts that would showcase the flavors of Davao.

“We are not just a cup of coffee; we are a global brand, a lifestyle and a brand that gives back”
Blugre works in partnership with DENR in planting mahogany trees, while at the same time providing additional schools and livelihood program for the B’laan tribe. Truly a brand that gives back to the people.
Blugre Coffee has indeed come a long way, but there is a lot more to look forward to. As what BMC said, the company’s main goal is to establish its name as a Davao brand in and outside the country.
For more information, visit:

Homemade Chocolate Bonbons

Last December, I bought a huge chunk of Beryl’s White Chocolate from a colleague without thinking what I wanted to do with it. It was yet again, another spur-of-the-moment purchase. It’s been sitting in our fridge since then and I feel like it’s cursing me whenever I open the fridge; like a child abandoned on the street. But last Wednesday, I finally had the heart to make something pretty out of it. I went to this awesome baking supplies store along Quirino street filled with everything nice and pretty. I spent about an hour in that store just staring at those pretty little things that make for beautifully designed cakes and other pastries. Anyway, I purchased a few chocolate molds, rice crispies to add some kick,  and food color. I wanted to make pretty chocolate bonbons, just in time for valentines. But well, they turned out fancier than I thought. Too fancy that you wanna throw them in the double boiler, melt them again, and just make whatever fudge comes out of it. So yeah, here are my rather, amateur chocolate bonbons! =)

If you’re wondering why there are weird tails on those big roses, it’s because they’re supposed to have sticks in them. But yeah, those darn sticks where protruding everywhere that I can’t get them to fit in the freezer. They were going in every direction, I had to take them out when the chocolates were already semi-hard. I know right?

The red shells are my favorite! Anyway, they’re not picture worthy, at least for me. But hey, at least I was able to finally get rid of that inch-thick, one-kilo chocolate block. Plus, the process of creating these cuties is very much therapeutic. Try it when you’re bored.

Baked Creations: Mom’s Special Cheese Cupcake

One of my fondest childhood memories is when I’d spend my afternoons watching my mom in the kitchen as she bake different kinds of cakes, cookies and other pastries. I remember sitting in one corner of her working table, looking at all the raw ingredients as they are slowly being tossed in the mixer. I would stay like that for hours watching her do her magic, and before I know it? Freshly baked goodies are already being laid right in front of me. She sure bakes a lot, but no, we didn’t own a pastry shop back then. But things changed over time. We transferred from one place to another and several other things had transpired as we were growing up. Along with the changes, my mom eventually stopped baking.
But just last Christmas, mom bought herself a new Baking Oven. We were all excited because it only meant one thing: she would bake again! And so she did! The other day, she baked one of my most favorite cupcakes in the world; her Special Cheese Cupcake. I can’t remember when was the last time she baked it for us. My first bite after so many years was so nostalgic. And right then and there, I was 7 years old again.

Mom’s Cheese Cupcake looks pretty simple and straight forward. No fancy frosting or toppings; Just a plain looking piece of pastry. But, the real goodness of this comes in when you close your eyes as you take a bite. The scent of its freshness is very addicting and I’m not even talking bias here. Okay, maybe a little. But hey, who doesn’t love cheesecakes? Now, this is not the kind of cheesecake that you’re probably imagining. Its taste is very far from the good’ol Blueberry Cheese Cupcakes with cream cheese base. Mom’s version of Cheese Cupcake is made with cheddar cheese. I can’t tell you all the other secret ingredients as she might kill me.  Hah! Another thing that I also like about this cupcake is that, it’s dense and moist. You know how some cupcakes tend to be airy and they get stuck in your throat? I hate those kinds. Mom’s cupcake has a bite to it, which I really love. It has the right amount of sweetness and the cheese is not too overwhelming.  It’s the kind of comfort food that would make you think of clouds, and rainbows, and unicorns.
Now that I’m a grown up, it’s about time for me to stand up from the corner and learn how to bake. Mom said baking is no rocket science as long as you’re passionate about it. Wow, hand me the mixer. I’m serious.