No Good Cheesecakes in Manila?

Last week, I caught the tailend of a Game Ka Na Ba episode where Kris was interviewing Maritoni Fernandez just before she plays the jackpot round. Maritoni’s sweeping comment that “there are no good cheesecakes in Manila” caught my attention. She said that the cheesecakes here in Manila are either the ones with jello or too crumbly because of the cheese. She’s looking for the one cheesecake which is like that of New York Cheesecake Factory’s.  (This is my cue to roll my eyes).  And so, as a service to the Philippines, she has put up her own cheesecake business because she has a well-kept cheesecake recipe, which is so much like the New York Cheesecake she is pining for.  (Rolls my eyes again.)

Here’s  my take on her comment to which I don’t at all agree.  While I may have not tasted the New York Cheesecake which is Ms. Fernandez’ benchmark for good quality cheesecake, I don’t live in a cave and there are arguably a number of establishments in and out of Manila with good quality cheesecakes, and which I bet are at par with those from New York Cheesecake Factory.  We have a lot of talented pastry chefs in Manila and some of them are even lured to work in luxury liners.  From the top of my head, some of the places which offers a variety of oh-so-good cheesecakes are Cheesecake Etc., Goodies and Sweets, The Peninsula Manila Hotel, The Richmonde Hotel, Hotel Philippine Plaza and The Coffee Bean and Tealeaf.  The Skyline Restaurant can also come up with one mean cheesecake and so can our wedding ninang, Tita Mars who’s been in the catering business amost all her life.  Well, cheesecakes in Manila may not be “New York perfect” but there are a lot of good ones out there…you don’t even have to buy from Maritoni. :P

SWEETS RESOURCE

While I’m on the topic of sweets,  I’d like to share the ones I have on my list and where to get them:

1)  CAKES – The chocolate moist cake of The Richmonde Hotel Lobby Cafe is a must try.  A slice goes for Php 48.00 pesos and is about 4in x 4in x 4in.  It is melt-in-your-mouth goodness! A recent discovery is Kookie Korner’s chocolate roll which costs Php245.00 for the full roll, a few pesos cheaper than Red Ribbon’s.  I also like Red Ribbon’s choco-caramel roll and their silvanas.  The cheesecake resources I mentioned earlier are in themselves a treasure throve of other cakes…blackforest, chocolate mousse, etc.  The chocolate mousse cake of my childhood is that of the old Cafe Elysee which used to be found in all SM outlets.  Dexter’s Bakeshop has a unique orange chiffon cake which is popular among its patrons.  Other favorites of mine are Alba’s canonigo and Dulcinea’s brazo de mercedes.

2)  ICE CREAM – On top of my list is Fruits in Ice Cream otherwise known as FIC.  My favorite is their Raspberry Rapture, but that’s only if I have to pick one. I love all the flavors! :)  A sentimental favorite is Selecta’s cookies and cream and super chocolate.  Goodies and Sweets and Fiorgelato have very good choconut flavored ice cream.  A stall in Tiendesita, ECJ (or is it EJC) at the fresh fruits section/fastfood section has very fine and creamy durian ice cream.  Their fresh durians are the best as well!

3)  BIRTHDAY CAKES – Dexter’s Bakeshop for their moist birthday cakes in unique well-thought-of designs with goody goody frosting.  Of course, you can never go wrong with Goldilocks, with which most of us grew up.  You can choose the flavor and the filling.  The Shoppersville Bakeshop in Katipunan Ave. is also a very good alternative.

4)  ENSAYMADA –  Again, I’m a big fan of The Richmonde Hotel’s supersized Ensaymada in plain and ube flavors.  They are priced between Php50.00 and Php60.00 and can be shared by 2 people (but I can finish one whole!).  It’s best to first have them microwaved for a minute to melt the butter and the cheese.  I hear Cunanan’s is a good ensaymada but I have yet to try one.  I often see the name Cunanan’s for the best ensaymada in newspapers when the Christmas season is at its peak.  For pasalubong to relatives and friends abroad, one can never go wrong with Muhlach Melt. :)  The Lord Stowe’s also has very good bite-sized ensaymada in ube, plain and quezo de bola.

5)  SUMAN – Tita Paring’s suman latik is the best.  It is soft and yummy.  Some have tried to duplicate their suman but failed. :)  Tita Paring’s has a special box for their suman for gift-giving and pasalubong purposes.  I also love Antipolo’s suman, the long white kind wrapped in banana leaves which you just dip in sugar.

6)  BIBINGKA – Bibingka Galapong in White Plains, Katipunan Ave. is the ultimate because it’s really made from galapong. :)  One other favorite source of bibingka is Ferino’s.  There’s also Via Mare’s bibingka galapong with salted duck egg and white cheese, but they tend to be inconsistent.  I think some outlets don’t use the old-charcoal-style of cooking.  I know there’s an equipment which can produce a number of bibingkas at a time.  That must be it. :)

7)  PUTO BUMBONG – I love Via Mare’s puto bumbong with queso de bola.

8)  PUTO –  Oh, I can go on and on about puto.  I love PUTONG UBE’s, you guessed it, putong ube.  The Pangasinan puto (the small white ones) which can be bought from almost every nook and cranny of the metropolis has also turned out to be Abby’s favorite.  DEC’s (a Chinese grocey) big triangular-shaped white puto which goes very well with dinuguan is also on my list.  I also love the little round brown putos which an aunt buys from a supplier in Marikina and which I think is also available in Tiendesitas.

9)  KUTSINTA – I personally like the kutsinta which are cut in rectangular shapes and with langka on its red top more than the regular round orange ones.  There’s a stall in Shopwise Libis which sells kakanin and they have this particular kind of kutsinta at Php20.00 per slice.  I believe Latik also has them.

10)  SAPIN-SAPIN – Dolor’s is Malabon’s pride when it comes to sapin-sapin…until Dolores came along.  Unlike some sapin-sapin which comes in a layer of different colors, Dolor’s and Dolores’ sapin-sapin in a bilao come in individual layers of white, red, blue and yellow and brown (bico).  My favorite layers are the red (which is like kutsinta), yellow and white, which is why I like Doroles, because it is more generous with these layers. :)

11)  Halo-Halo – The Legend Villas’ Lola Maria’s Coffeeshop halo-halo has home-made ingredients which are already good in themselves, especially the leche flan and ube.  Razon’s also has good halo-halo but it only has about 3 to 4 ingredients plus leche-flan.  The ice they use is very easy to crush and does not get rock-like. :)

12)  CASSAVA – The best I’ve had is from Cassava Manila.  Unlike other cassavas which loose their appeal once refrigerated, Cassava Manila’s retains its goodness even after being refrigerated.  It only has to be re-heated in the microwave for a minute or so.

13)  PICHI-PICHI – When I was still a little girl, My Mom would always bring home pichi-pichi from the Sampaloc Market every Sunday morning after she does her market shopping.  It’s another childhood favorite kakanin. I’m glad my sister-in-law discovered ARNY & DADING’S in Katipunan for the best pichi-pichi.  Their pichi-pichi has cheese and about the size of a pingpong ball. :)  You can keep it in the fridge and it will still be good to eat after re-heating in the microwave.

14)  DOUGHNUTS –  Thank God for Gonuts Donuts. It is supposed to be the local version of Krispy Kreme (which I hear will make its Philippine debut in November).  I haven’t tried a Krispy Kreme doughnut ever so I can’t really compare.  Gonuts’ donuts are soft and they melt in your mouth.  My favorite is their pastillas de leche stuffit and their peanut butter driz.

15)  CREPES –  I like my crepes simple…happy na ako with Nutella. :)  Crepes and Cream have very good varieties of crepes.

16)  PANCAKES –  I’m partial to Pancake House’s chocolate chip pancakes which are served with peanut butter.  I also like Heaven and Eggs’ butter pancakes which are served 3 pcs. per order.  Yum!

17)  EGG TARTS –  The Lord Stowe’s egg tarts are very good.  Bread Talk comes as a close second.  Dexter’s also has very good egg pies.

18)  LECHE FLAN –  Again, Lola Maria’s of The Legend Villa’s has very good home-made leche flan, and so does Bon Appetit and Cafe Bola.  But, in my personal opinion, my late Nanay (my maternal grandma) makes the best leche flan.  Thank God her daughters, my Tita Luming, Tita Doris and Tita Baby inherited her leche flan making skills.

19)  UBE –  Lola Maria’s makes it to my list again.  If my mom’s sisters can make drop-dead-delicious leche flans, her brothers, my Tito Paquito and Tito Dingo, can make a mean home-made ube.  Ube is so labor intensive in that you have to stir it until its the right consistency and until your arms are numb.  My Daddy Maciong (my late maternal grandad) and my late Dad used to be tag-team ube stirrers when I was a still a kid.  My lolo’s brother, Tatay Turing, is also an ube expert (wala na rin siya :) ).

20)  COOKIES  –  I’ve acquired a special liking to my sister-in-law’s favorite, Chewy Chips Ahoy.  :)  Mrs. Fields also has very chew chocolate chip cookies.  And there’s another commercial brand, which I think is called Chips Deluxe which has the chewy stuff.  Yum.

I know there are many more dessert finds out there.  These are just the ones I could easily recall.

Now, I gotta go get a bag of chips.  All this talk about sweets has made me a little suya.  Haha. :)


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Comments

12 Responses to “No Good Cheesecakes in Manila?”

  1. Vanessa says:

    The Cheesecake Factory is my #1 favorite restaurant, not for their cheesecake but for the other food they serve. I don’t mind waiting for hours to be seated. (as in hours… last time we waited was for 2 hours). Well siguro sa tagal sasabihin mo na kahit anong i-serve nila e masarap sa sobrang gutom hehe. Di naman masyadong masarap cheesecake nila… presentation wise ok pero mas masarap pa ang cheesecake sa Costco at mas mura pa.

    Reply

  2. Mia says:

    weng, you should really do this professionally. grabeh!

    i saw that episode with maritoni, napataas din kilay ko. no good cheesecakes in manila? i think tuloy she set people’s expectations too high about her product. if she doesn’t deliver, her business will eat dust. i’m sure there are great cheesecakes in pinas, kulang lang si maritoni sa exposure, hehe.

    i’m not a big fan of cheesecakes so i can’t say for sure, pero i’ve tried cheesecake factory’s and i think they’re ok, albeit a bit overrated.

    dagdag ako sa list mo, if i may, hehe. my wedding cake was done by alex franco, i still dream about it sometimes. tapos i also love claudette’s and mandarin hotel’s cakes, particularly yung strawberry shortcakes nila. i miss juanchito’s bibingka (the branch in ortigas extension closed down when i was in pinas, kainis!), i got everybody addicted to it at one time! as for ensaymada, my vote goes to hizon’s. brownies and lemon squares, sa becky’s. one of the best halo-halos i’ve had is from the balaw-balaw restaurant sa angono, dinadayo pa namin yun ng ex-officemates ko. agree ako with you sa egg tarts ng lord stowe’s, pero my mom (and ako na rin) loves their (wait, i forgot na) parang japanese bread ba yun na diabetic-friendly (?), we could eat loaves of it all day. for puto, there is a barangay in my hometown meycauayan called saluysoy, they make the best puto there. kapag may fiesta or birthday, i make it a point to tell my mom to buy puto lagi! sa pichi-pichi naman, i love amber’s (sa may makati) lalo na when paired with their palabok. sa sansrival naman, i liked the triple white chocolate sans rival sa coffee bean and tea leaf (i wonder kung meron pa rin sila until now?), as well as Jill Sandique’s pistachio sans rival. crepes naman sa cafe breton, particularly that pinay crepe, hehe.

    oops, haba na yata nito. basta pagkain talaga… :P hay naku, i better go and get myself a bag of chips, too. :D

    Reply

  3. Weng says:

    Hi “L.O.C.B.”! It’s yummy indeed! :)

    Hi Vanne, I wonder why my relatives never took us to Cheesecake Factory. Hmmm. I’ll make sure to check it out the next time I visit the US…whenever that is. Haha! Pero ang haba naman ng wait! 2 hrs?! Ano ang ginagawa mo habang naghihintay? :) It must really be worth it then if you have to endure that long a wait. Haha.

    Mama Mia, I think I’ll need to take a culinary course before I do this professionally! Alam mo na, so I have a piece of paper to back me up. Haha. Thank you for sharing your list. Come to think of it, ang dami ko pa ngang hindi naisama. You’re right about Becky’s! I’m not fond of brownies but I really love the ones from Becky’s. Alam mo bang may competitor siya?…si Betty’s! O diba, parang si Dolor at Dolores ng Malabon! :) Na-try ko na rin ang halo-halo ng Balaw-Balaw. Kaya lang mukhang hindi ko na-appreciate dahil sa sobrang kabusugan that time. Balikan ko na lang! Haha.

    Reply

  4. This blog doesn’t help now that I’m carb counting… for like a few days :)

    My favorites pichi-pichi, halo halo… and putubungbong… Miss Christmas in Manila…

    Reply

  5. Keith says:

    I so miss all those food you mentioned! Grrr! Tita Paring’s… my favorite.

    Reply

  6. Weng says:

    Hi Luth, happy carb counting! :)

    Keith, I’d so miss all these food as well if I were to live somewhere else. ;)

    Reply

  7. joyce says:

    The cheesecake of Manila diamond hotel is heavenly.Try it!

    Hi Joyce! Thanks for the heads up on Manila Diamond’s cheesecake! I will definitely try it the next chance I get! :D God bless!

    Reply

  8. anntot says:

    Actually, you can buy The Cheesecake Factory’s cheesecake in any TOSH (The Old Spaghetti House) resto. You can buy it plain or with blueberry sauce on top (take note, it’s a sauce! no viscosity at all!). A waiter told me though that the blueberry sauce is supplied locally. I prefer their cheescake plain ;-)

    Really a must try :-)

    Hi Ann! Oooh, that’s another cheesecake tip I have to take note of. :) Blueberry cheesecake used to be my ultimate favorite dessert, but now, give me any good cheesecake and I could easily declare it my favorite. Hahaha! :D Thanks for the visit and for the tip! I’ll be sure to visit TOSH, if only for the cheesecake, when my family comes home for a visit…hopefully some time this year.

    Reply

  9. anntot says:

    oh! oh! I just remembered! It’s also available in any Grilla restaurant ;-)

    p.s. I’m not sure but I think TOSH and Grilla are sister restos.

    I also suspect that Grilla and TOSH are sister restos! They seem inseperable! They are “together” at the Antipolo branch and in Libis! Hee hee! :D

    Reply

  10. Elody Vannessa Jeanne A. Malonzo says:

    You’re right that there a good tasting cheesecakes available in Manila but you MUST try Maritoni’s cheesecakes and TASTE the difference. There you’ll know what GOOD and BEST mean. I only buy cheesecakes from Maritoni since I tried it.:-)

    Hi EVJ! It’s good to hear that Maritoni is living up to the high standards that she has set for her cheesecakes. :) I have nothing against her. Her comment more than a year ago just sort of left a bad taste in my mouth. I just thought there was a better way of promoting her business without making such a sweeping statement that there are no good cheesecakes in Manila.

    I’ll be sure to email you and ask for Maritoni’s contact number so I can TASTE her cheesecakes the very next chance I get to come home. :D Thank you for dropping by! :)

    Reply

  11. u8mypinkcookies says:

    Your post made me crave for sweets again! :D

    Cakes: I love Conti’s mango bravo, chocolate overload and turtle pie. Also Chocolate Kiss’ carrot cake & devil’s food cake. Whenever we go to MOA, i never miss to buy from Chocolat! the death by tablea & choco carrot cake are divine! i still like the good ol’ mocha or choco roll from Goldilocks.. or HungryPac’s chocolate ecstacy– w/c is cheap for P110 for 3 slices.

    Ice Cream: must agree w/ FIC’s raspberry rapture! other faves include HaagenDazs strawberry cheesecake, selecta coffee crumble and ben & jerry’s!

    Suman: i like the Budbod Kabog, but i don’t think they have stalls in malls.. i only see it in bazaars. :( Tita Lynn’s Flavored Suman is also good… its P25/pc. i think. I love the suman with the brown sauce and latik too!

    Puto bumbong: yeah Via Mare! and those sold beside the church during xmas :P

    Puto & Kutsinta: love those from Pangasinan.. the sweet & small puto and kutsinta sold in brown bags. :D i also like puto binan and the one with cheese.

    Sapin-Sapin: my ultimate favorite and runaway winner– DOLOR’S!

    Cassava: i love it esp. if its from the fridge, hehe.. i like those sold in kakanin stands!

    Pichi-pichi: Amber’s! enough said :P

    Pancakes: I love Pancake House’s choco chip pancakes w/ PB too! i like making oe at home too.. using Pillsbury instant mix, then topped with peanut butter, dairy creme lite or coco jam…

    Egg Tarts: Lord STowe’s.. but i also love those sold in Hong Kong na we tried before.

    Ube: Good Shepherd’s Ube Jam..

    Halo-Halo: Razon’s.. or sometimes, Chowking. I also like the Buko Halo-Halo from Buko ni Fruitas.

    Muffins: I love S&R’s double choco chip muffins, and Country Style’s cappucino muffins. I wish we have Famous Amos here too..

    Cinnamon Rolls: Starbucks is my all time fave.. I also like Cinnabon’s chocobon!

    Reply