Guiltless goodness in Tagaytay: Koomi

One of the happiest discoveries of the family’s Tagaytay sojourn is the presence of one of our favorite yogurt drink stores at the nearby Ayala Malls Serin.

Koomi is an Australia-based chain which specializes in combinations of natural probiotic drinking yogurt with various fresh and wholesome ingredients to produce yummy and icy drinks.

Koomi Tagaytay
Koomi Tagaytay

If you haven’t tried Koomi drinks yet, you definitely should mainly for two reasons:

  • They are so good for you. Yogurt aids in digestion, boosting immunity and is rich in nutrients that promote bone health.
  • They taste so good. Flavored with natural sweeteners like fruit honey and enhanced with fruits, nuts and other healthy ingredients, Koomi drinks are yummy concoctions meant to be heartily enjoyed.

I took the opportunity during a supply run in Ayala Malls Serin to take out some delicious Koomi drinks for the fam, such as:

Koomi Tagaytay
Avo Nice Day (Php170). Yogurt flavored with rich avocado, my all-time fave!
Koomi Tagaytay
Mango Cracker Rocker (Php155). My daughter’s go-to drink made with yogurt, mango bits and crushed graham crackers.
Koomi Tagaytay
Cookies ‘n Cream (Php135). A treat for my son who loves the combo of yogurt and chocolate cookies.
Koomi Tagaytay
Banana Dance with Some Berries (Php175). For my health-conscious Hubby, this combo of yogurt, bananas, blueberries and strawberries is his smoothie!
Koomi Tagaytay
Nuts About You (Php155). I introduced Koomi to my mother-in-law with this not-too-sweet mix of yogurt, almonds and pistachios.
Koomi Tagaytay
Boppin’ Boba (Php135). I treated my nephew (and my son’s bestie) to the yogurt version of his favorite milk tea.

I opted for the Aussie blend, resulting in drinks with a very pronounced tanginess. However, Koomi also offers a Filipino blend which has cream added to the mixture, a flavor profile more aligned to the Pinoy palate.

Koomi Tagaytay
Koomi Tagaytay

Tagaytay vacationers (and residents, of course!) sure have some guiltless goodness to enjoy with this Koomi branch.

It’s located at Ayala Malls Serin, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo Highway Brgy. Silang Crossing East Tagaytay City, Cavite 4120.

In Metro Manila, Koomi branches are located at:

  • Pasig: The Podium, Unimart Capitol Commons
  • Mandaluyong: SM Megamall
  • Quezon City: Robinsons Magnolia, Eastwood City Mall, SM North EDSA, Robinsons Galleria, Z Square Mall, Ali Mall, Ayala Vertis North, SM Fairview, Timog Avenue, Mezza Residences, Fisher Mall QC, Hemady Square, White Plains, UP Town Center, Maginhawa
  • Makati: SM Jazz, Glorietta 4, Salcedo Village
  • Pasay: SM Mall of Asia, Double Dragon Plaza
  • Manila: SM San Lazaro, SM Manila, Lucky Chinatown
  • Taguig; SM Aura, Uptown Mall
  • San Juan: VMall Greenhills
  • Muntinlupa: Festival Mall
  • Las Pinas: SM Southmall
  • Paranaque: SM City Bicutan, BF Homes
  • Malabon: Fisher Mall Malabon

#QuarantineCookbook: Homemade Avocado Ice Cream Cake

Relief from this summer’s oppressive heat and humidity is few and far between.

It makes me want to cool down with some frozen treat. How about you?

Well, since I recently learned how to make homemade ice cream, I set about learning how to add a twist to it: make it into a cake!

And of course, I just had to try it with my favorite fruit: the avocado!

Homemade Ice Cream Cake

This fruit has been having quite a resurgence lately, appearing in a variety of trendy and previously unheard-of dishes from toasts to pastas. However, the avocado’s real siren call to me is as a dessert. Its rich and creamy texture, as well as its earthy flavor make the avocado absolutely sensational when sweetened, making it a great showcase ingredients for desserts such as this homemade avocado ice cream cake.

It turned out to be so easy!

Ingredients:

For the crust:

2 cups crushed Christia toasted bread (can be replaced by an equal amount of crushed Graham crackers)
1 stick of softened butter
3 tbsp white sugar

For the ice cream:

1 cup avocado puree (made by pureeing the flesh of two ripe avocados in a blender)
1 300ml can of condensed milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream

Procedure:

In a bowl, combine the crushed Christia toasted bread, butter and sugar. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom of two 6″ x 2″ cake tins then set aside.

Homemade Ice Cream Cake

In another bowl, mix together the avocado puree, the condensed milk and heavy cream at low speed until the ingredients are well-combined and the mixture begins to thicken.

Increase the mixer speed to medium and continue mixing until the mixture forms stiff peaks.

Transfer the mixture into the prepared cake tins, gently pressing the mixture into the containers and smoothing out the top using a spatula.

Freeze for at least six hours or overnight.

What you get is a wonderful creamy blend of avocado sweetness and crumbly buttery crust with each spoonful. My kids (and I!) absolutely love it!

Homemade Ice Cream Cake

Homemade Ice Cream Cake

Well, it sure looks like I’ve got new favorite dessert!

Homemade Ice Cream Cake

Plus, wouldn’t you know it! You can use this recipe to make other fruit-based ice cream cakes! You might need to adjust the amount of condensed milk you use depending on the native sweetness of the fruit you’re using. Check them out:

Mango!

Homemade Ice Cream Cake

Banana!

Homemade Ice Cream Cake

Strawberry!

Homemade Ice Cream Cake

If ever you need to bring dessert to a potluck party or want to give out ice cream cakes as gifts, you know you can always whip ’em up in a jiffy.

Which fruits would you like to make into homemade ice cream cakes? Try this recipe with your favorite fruit and let me know how it turns out.

PS: Truth be told, the recipe originally called for Graham crackers but after scouring through three supermarkets looking for this out-of-stock item, I decided to use Christia toasted bread as a substitute. It had a buttery flavor and a more crumbly texture that went well with the ice cream. Still, if you want a more conventional crust for your ice cream cake, you may opt to stick to the crushed Graham crackers.

Looking for other easy-to-cook dishes to try out while in quarantine? Check out my other recipes:

A Japanese shokudo food experience at Grillin’ Ape, Eastwood Cybermall

Craving for yummy Japanese food for lunch but payday is still a few days away?

Fear not; if your workplace is near Eastwood in Libis, an exciting and affordable dining option has just opened in your neck of the woods.

Hie yourself over to Eastwood Cybermall’s Food Court and you will see its newest establishment called Grillin’ Ape.

Grillin’ Ape, Eastwood

Styled after the shokudo (casual, independendently owned hole-in-the-wall restaurants located and cafeterias that serve affordable dishes), it is marked by colorful murals and banners, with wooden stools and tables where guests can eat in comfort. Diners can choose their food among no-frills and affordable Japanese dishes with prices starting at Php50!

Grillin’ Ape, Eastwood

Grillin’ Ape, Eastwood

Together with my fellow foodies, I checked out Grillin’ Ape’s offerings, which included:

Sushi Rolls. These are uramaki type rolls, the ones in which the rice is outside and the seaweed wraps around the filling, made of different types of flavorful fillings and toppings.

Grillin’ Ape, Eastwood

Mango Kani (Php130).

Grillin’ Ape, Eastwood

Crunchy Tempura (Php150).

Grillin’ Ape, Eastwood

Tempura Caviar Overload (Php160).

Grillin’ Ape, Eastwood

Spicy Tuna Lava (Php150).

Grillin’ Ape, Eastwood

Sushi Donuts. A modern take on how to enjoy sushi, sushi donuts are made of donut-shaped sushi rice base topped with the same ingredients as sushi rolls.

Lava Donut (Php230). Made with tempura, egg, yuzu kyozu mayo and mozzarella cheese.

Grillin’ Ape, Eastwood

Grillin’ Ape, Eastwood

Salmon Belly Donut (Php195). Made with marinated salmon and red radish.

Grillin’ Ape, Eastwood

Grillin’ Ape, Eastwood

Yakiniku. These are meat seasoned with tare sauce or items such as quail eggs and corn which are cooked by charcoal-grilling. These may be ordered by the stick – Chicken Meatballs (Php50), Pork Belly with Scallion (Php70), Enoki and Bacon (Php80), Chicken Liver wrapped in Bacon (Php80), Chicken Wings (Php95), Quail Egg Bacon (Php80), Chicken Fillet with Scallion (Php60), Pork Meatballs (Php70), Quail Egg (Php40) and Corn (Php30); in rice bowls priced beginning at Php160; or as part of this Yakitori Big Bowl (Php599 – good for four) in which Japanese rice seasoned with teriyaki sauce is topped with four sticks each of pork belly, chicken fillet, pork meatballs, bacon-wrapped liver, grilled corn and quail eggs.

Grillin’ Ape, Eastwood

Grillin’ Ape, Eastwood

Udon Bowl (Php180 ). Thick strips of wheat noodles in savory pork broth topped with your choice of meat, as well as herbs and egg. We were served two variations of this dish: one topped with pork belly and another topped with bacon. These hearty noodle dishes can both fill and warm tummies especially when the cold weather comes in.

Grillin’ Ape, Eastwood

Grillin’ Ape, Eastwood

Desserts. No meal is complete without dessert, am I right? Well, at Grillin’ Ape, we capped our meal with these sweets you can go bananas over.

Banana Ape (Php135). Caramelized bananas topped by a generous scoop of vanilla icing.

Grillin’ Ape, Eastwood

Grilled Banana (Php50). Slices of skewered bananas grilled then drizzled with caramel sauce.

Grillin’ Ape, Eastwood

Sake. Adding to the shokudo dining experience are the special sake – Shika Cup and Kirei Peach Sake – which we were told were not available elsewhere in the metro. Sake are alcoholic beverages made of fermented rice and are part of a long standing tradition in Japanese cuisine.

Grillin’ Ape, Eastwood

Grillin’ Ape, Eastwood

Despite being only a few weeks since its opening, Grillin’ Ape does seem set to be the new destination for tasty yet affordable Japanese food.

Grillin’ Ape, Eastwood

Many thanks to Nino and the crew of Grillin’ Ape for the fabulous food and to Diane of Fried and Prejudice for extending the invitation!

Grillin’ Ape is located at Food Court, Third Floor, Eastwood Cybermall, Libis, Quezon City, open daily from 10am to 12 midnight. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 999 8831662.

Grillin' Ape Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other foodies, I attended a foodie meet-up held in this restaurant.  All the food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare to facilitate honest reviews and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my reviews of other Japanese restaurants: