Morning sweets at Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

A friend and I suddenly found ourselves with some time on our hands while in Serendra yesterday morning, so we decided to break our fast at Cupcakes by Sonja.

This store was Manila’s first ever cupcake store, opened by Sonja Ocampo to bring the cupcake experiences she had in New York to our shores.

The store has the charm of a corner bakery: from its colorful storefront, the quaint bric-a-bracs inside to the lovely display of goodies available.

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja features whimsical pastries baked fresh daily, using premium ingredients and no preservatives. Expanding its repertoire beyond the classic cupcakes flavors, its menu now includes hybrid cupcakes, full-sized cakes and pies.

Today, the shop offers these goodies paired with house-made hot beverages such as in Hey Hot Stuff Combo 1 which gives the diners a slice of cake and a choice among latte, cappuccino and hot chocolate for only Php179.

I got myself a Reverse Salted Caramel + Latte. The Valrhona chocolate cake base is richly flavored and moist, wrapped in layers of salted caramel buttercream. The latte I had with it is not too sweet, a good complement to such a decadent dessert.

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

My friend got the Rainbow Fiesta + Hot Chocolate. The cake is made of six layers of fluffy vanilla chiffon cake in different rainbow colors finished with marahmallow frosting and garnished candy sprinkles.

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

I also got myself a Red Velvet Vixen Cupcake (Php95). Did you know that Cupcakes by Sonja was the first store to offer this classic Southern American cupcake flavor in the Philippines? I remember having my first taste of this confection in this very store more thab a decade ago, and this cupcake still holds its appeal to me. With a decadent Belgian chocolate cupcake base, colored with that deep red hue, and topped with a luscious cream cheese frosting, it has become quite a local favorite.

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

I had a lovely return to this wonderful store for my morning sweets.

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

This Cupcakes by Sonja branch is located at Ground Floor, Serendra, Bonifacio Global City, open Sundays to Thursdays from 8am to 11am and Fridays to Saturdays from 8am to 12 midnight.

Other branches are located at:

  • Ground Floor, Mega Fashion Hall, SM Mega Mall, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City
  • Second Floor, Glorietta 2, Ayala Center, Makati

Cupcakes By Sonja Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other dessert shops in the metro:

Dessert lovers’ paradise at Coffee Time Cakes & Pastries, Santolan

Friends and family know that I’m a sweet tooth.

I would scour food halls, parks, malls and shopping centers in search for sugary treats. And sometimes, I would find something that the mere thought of which gives me a sugar high.

How about sweet confections at par with those you can find in a Parisienne cafe or New York hotel, but easily accessible and affordably priced? Think it’s good to be true?

Well, as I’ve discovered together with my East-based foodie friends, Coffee Time Cakes and Pastries, is the place to be in Pasig if you want to indulge in delectable desserts masterfully whipped up by a Paris-trained pastry chef.

Coffee Time, Pasig

Coffee Time, Pasig

Coffee Time, Pasig

Upon her retirement, Chef Amy Carr decided to bring her extensive experience in cakes and pastries by helping her daughter Lucelle and son-in-law Martin Tan set up a cafe along Amang Rodriguez Avenue in Santolan, Pasig.

Coffee Time, Pasig

Coffee Time, Pasig

Enter its doors and you will be ensconced in a cozy haven with a cosmopolitan feel. Comfortable chairs and low tables make for seating that encourages intimate conversations or restful solitude. Tasteful wall and shelf decor give the space an posh yet welcoming atmosphere. And for those who need to be always online, whether for work, study or social media, the place provides many power outlets for gadget charging as well as free WiFi.

Coffee Time, Pasig

Coffee Time, Pasig

Coffee Time, Pasig

For me and my foodie buddies, Coffee Time’s raison d’etre is its well-curated selection of cakes and baked goodies, all made from scratch by Chef Amy using premium ingredients. Check out a sampling of sweets that we were treated to when we visited the cafe:

Blueberry Cheesecake (Php160/slice | Php1,300/whole). New York-style cheesecake topped with sweetened blueberries.

Coffee Time, Pasig

Choco Salted Caramel (Php150/slice | Php1,200/whole). Rich chocolate cake layered with salted caramel and covered with a luscious chocolate frosting.

Coffee Time, Pasig

Tiramisu (Php160/slice | Php1,300/whole). Did you know that the name Italian word tiramisu translates to “cheer me up?” Well, this confection made of espresso-dipped chiffon cake layered with mascarpone cheese-based mixture and topped with powdered cocoa is sure to give your day a boost.

Coffee Time, Pasig

Sans Rival (Php165/slice | Php1,500). A homegrown dessert, this confection made of buttercream, meringue and cashew nuts layered on top of each other really is without rival.

Coffee Time, Pasig

Strawberry Shortcake (Php160/slice | Php1,300/whole). Light sponge cake layered with strawberry and vanilla cream and topped with fresh strawberries, this cake blew us foodies away with its delicious taste and lovely mouthfeel.

Coffee Time, Pasig

French Macarons (Php65/piece | Php320/box). These dainty and colorful meringue-based confections are bigger than the ones you’ll find in other dessert shops. Buy a piece, a box or two, for yourself or to give as a gift.

Coffee Time, Pasig

Cheese Drops (Php45/piece). A kiss-shaped dollop of cheesecake coated with s thick layer of chocolate, it makes for a bite-sized enjoyment!

Coffee Time, Pasig

Ensaimada con Queso de Bola (Php70/piece). Our favorite merienda pastry is given more flavor by the incorporation of Pato queso de bola (Edam Cheese).

Coffee Time, Pasig

Oatmeal Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies (Php60/piece). The classic chocolate chip cookie is made heartier by the addition of oatmeal and chopped walnuts.

Coffee Time, Pasig

Red Velvet Muffin (Php55/piece). Despite its bright red color, red velvet muffins are actually rich in chocolate flavor. Topped with buttercream icing, these are quite filling yet not too sweet, perfect for pairing with black coffee.

Coffee Time, Pasig

Choco Chip Muffin (Php60). Everyone’s favorite cookie now in muffin form.

Coffee Time, Pasig

Partner these sweets with coffee- or non-coffee-based drinks offered at the store such as:

Flavored Lattes: Salted Caramel Mocha (Php90/8 oz | Php100/12oz) and Red Velvet (Php115/8oz | Php125/12oz).

Coffee Time, Pasig

Coffee Time, Pasig

Coffee or Cream Frappes: Salted Caramel Popcorn (Php150/16oz), Matcha (Php150/16oz) and Strawberry Cream (Php170/16oz)

Coffee Time, Pasig

Coffee Time, Pasig

Coffee Time, Pasig

No time to drop by the cafe? If you live in nearby Pasig or Marikina areas, call +63 920 9490391 to have your sweets delivered.

We foodies had such a sweet time which was one big sugar high, thanks to Chef Amy, Lucelle, Martin and the sweet folks of Coffee Time Cakes and Pastries!

Coffee Time, Pasig

Coffee Time, Pasig

Coffee Time Cakes & Pastries is located at 50 Amang Rodriguez Avenue (across South Supermarket), Santolan, Pasig City, open daily from 7am to 9pm. For inquiries and delivery requests, call +63 920 9490391.

Coffee Time Cakes & Pastries Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other food bloggers, 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 and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my reviews of other dessert places in the metro:

Tea 101 at Starbucks, SM East Ortigas

Starbucks has long been synonymous with great coffee, but did you know that it has a great selection of teas as well?

Last weekend, together with fellow bloggers Jen of Sand Under My Feet and Francis G, as well as other tea lovers in the east of Manila area, I attended the Teavana TEA-volution Tea Tasting Seminar, a Tea 101 if you will, held at the Starbucks branch in SM East Ortigas. Our Starbucks Tea Master Jonas Velgado took us on guided tour through the history of teas, the tea-growing regions of the world and three flights of tea tasting.

TEAvolution, Starbucks SM East

TEAvolution, Starbucks SM East

TEAvolution, Starbucks SM East

TEAvolution, Starbucks SM East

Tea culture started in China in 2737 BC. Legend has it that Emperor Shen Nung, exhausted after walking in the countryside, decided to rest himself under a tree and boil himself some water to drink. A gust of wind shook some leaves from the tree (said to be a wild tea plant) into the boiling water, giving the liquid a goldish color and a pleasant taste which the emperor liked. Thus, began the pleasures of tea drinking which spread throughout the world.

TEAvolution, Starbucks SM East Ortigas

There is a wide variety of teas, each with its own flavor and characteristics, influenced by the region in which they are grown. China, for example, produces black, oolong and white tea. Japan, on the other hand, is known for matcha and green tea. India, also made a name for itself for black tea.

The processing of tea leaves which come from the same plant called Camellia Sinensis is what determines the teas’ strength of flavor and the leaves’ exposure to the elements – or oxidation – determines their classification into white, green, oolong or black tea.

White tea is the lightest and most delicate variety, made of the youngest and freshet leaves which are simply plucked and dried with no time for oxydation. White tea is usually characterized by its fragrant and sweet notes.

Leaves heated before being rolled and dried result to green tea. While there is little oxidation, the added processing brings out more natural flavors and lightly toasted notes.

Bruising or tearing the leaves add partial oxidation into the processing, resulting to a fuller body and richer color. Thus, oolong tea, commonly served in Chinese restaurants, is characterized by a floral aroma and a smooth finish.

Lastly, rolling and giving the tea leaves plenty of time to oxidize before being fired, give the black tea, more popular in Western countries, a bold, complex and strong flavor.

After the brief history and geography lesson, we were treated to three sets of tea tastings, from the base teas to exciting beverage innovations, all available at Starbucks outlets.

First Flight: Full- Leaf Brewed Teas

Starbucks’ Teavana line boasts of the youngest and freshest whole tea leaves grown from the most fertile regions. These are available in sachets in Starbucks stores so that tea lovers have the option to enjoy them in-store or wherever they are. Steeping time is usually at five minutes using eight fluid ounces of boiling water, but, of course, tea drinkers are welcome to experiment what works best for their taste. Enjoy these hot or ice-shaken.

TEAvolution, Starbucks SM East

TEAvolution, Starbucks SM East

English Breakfast. This robust handcrafted blend of Assam, Sri Lankan Ceylon and Chinese black tea. This will taste great with or without sugar and milk (but I would prefer it with sugar and milk!)

Chamomile. This caffeine-free herbal infusion uses chamomile sourced from Croatia, giving the blend soft and soothing floral tones.

Emperor’s Clouds and Mist. Both leaves and buds of the tea plant grown amd harvested from Chine’s Huangshan Mountain 3,500 feet above sea level are used to create this rich-bodied and sweet-flavored green tea.

Second Flight: Tea Lattes

Tea proves to be a very versatile beverage. Case in point: adding steamed milk to a strong-flavored tea gives you a frothy tea latte. Enjoy these in hot or iced formats.

TEAvolution, Starbucks SM East

Chai Tea Latte. Black tea is infused with cinnamon, clove and other warming spices, then combined with steamed milk, and topped with foam, resulting to a creamy balance of sweet and spicy.

Green Tea Latte. Matcha is lightly sweetened and served with milk, giving you a milky yet herby aroma in a thick, yet smooth and creamy deep-green blend.

English Breakfast Tea Latte. Steamed milk is added to English Breakfast black tea, lightly sweetened with cane sugar, resulting to a light mouthfeel but rich taste.

Third Flight: Featured Tea Lattes

From time to time, Starbucks introduces limited-edition beverages, fresh takes on their classic tea drinks, to match the season and infuse their beverages with the unexpected. These are also available hot or iced.

TEAvolution, Starbucks SM East

Oat Green Tea Latte. Green tea and oats are blended then topped with colorful granola, making a cheery and festive drink.

Peach Black Tea Latte. Subtle fruitiness characterize this blend of peach flavors and earthy black tea, my favorite among the drinks.

Chestnut Black Tea Latte. Finely ground black tea blended with steamed milk and chestnut sauce is lightly sprinkled with chestnut and strawberry bites, resulting to a creamy textured drink with a slightly dry nutty aftertaste.

Starbucks’ TEA-volution Tea-tasting Seminar is one of Starbucks’ laudable initiatives in expanding the Filipino palate. I can hardly wait to discover what other beverage innovations Starbucks has up its sleeve.

TEAvolution, Starbucks SM East

TEAvolution, Starbucks SM East

TEA-volution, Starbucks SM East

TEAvolution, Starbucks SM East

Kudos and thanks to Jonas and the Starbucks SM East Ortigas crew for their warm welcome and kind accommodation during this delightfully educational event! The seminar was well-organized and facilitated, with Starbucks SM East Ortigas store serving as a comfortable venue for the attendees.

Disclosure: The TEA-volution Tea-tasting Seminar held in this Starbucks branch is a free event open to the public that simply requires pre-registration. The beverages mentioned here were served to enable us to sample the brews and were not paid for by attendees, including myself.

Starbucks Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my other recent post about Starbucks: 10-day Journey to the Starbucks 2019 Planner.

Laid-back lunch at White Camp, Tomas Morato

Lunchtime is that magical hour (or hour-and-a-half) where you can rest your brain from your office worries. For me and many of my work buddies, the lunch hour is sacred: it is a respite from work and an opportunity to explore the possibilities for gastronomic delights that surround the workplace.

Last Thursday, when I found myself without my usual lunch buddies, I was lucky enough to chance upon another officemate who was willing to forego the pleasures of the office foodcourt and accompany me to White Camp Coffee.

A newly opened cafe located at the corner of Mother Ignacia Avenue and Sgt. Esguerra Street in Quezon City, White Camp promises to be “a bright space for infinite cofee and dining adventures.”

The resto’s interiors are bright and cheery, a palette of white with spots of colors which are all easy on the eyes. Comfy tables, chairs and counters are conducive to hanging out and enjoying one’s coffee concoction.

For lunch that day, I ordered a Truffled Eggs on Toast brunch set (Php189) which consist of a smaller portion of the resto’s fluffy scrambled eggs with a hint of truffle oil on toast, accompanied by crunchy wonton chips and a free drink which I upgraded to a Latte (by adding Php30). Perfect timing as it turns out because brunch sets are only available weekdays from 10am to 2pm.

My companion, on the other hand, got a Bacon Bagnet Rice Meal (Php289). Sinful strips of bacon deep-fried for a satisfying crunch were served alongside fluffy garlic fried rice.

The portions were substantial considering my companion shared some of his bacon bagnet with me and I ended up having half of my toast wrapped up to go.

All in all, it was a satisfying meal for me, made all the better by having a new lunch companion.

Update: I went back to White Camp together with my usual lunch buddies. I ordered a Kani Sandwich Brunch Set (also Php189) and I just upgraded the drink to a Flat White (+ Php30).

White Camp Coffee and Kitchen is located at 62 Sgt. Esguerra Corner Mother Ignacia Avenue, South Triangle, Quezon City (Tel: +63 9178987793)

White Camp Coffee & Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato