Tastease Donuts: Hartford’s Tastiest Donuts!

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After randomly searching for a good dessert place in CT, Tastease came up a lot and all I saw were lots of Instagram posts and good reviews. I had to go check this place out.

Last week, I wanted to surprise my husband with these donuts but we arrived at the store just a few minutes before the store was closing so obviously, no donuts for us! We were told that if we wanted donuts, it’s either we call a day before or I we come in early in the morning. So this morning, I called in to reserve a box — at 7 A.M. The person on the other end asked for my name and what time I was to pick up the box of donuts and I said I’ll be there by 9 A.M. I arrived at the place by 8:45 and this was what I saw when I stepped inside:

8:45 A.M.
8:45 A.M.

 

Not a lot of donuts left. I didn’t ask if they have another batch baking in the kitchen but with what I’ve observed, it’s better to just call ahead of time and RESERVE your box. Trust me on this one, you wouldn’t wanna waste your chances on getting your hands on these yummy treats! A box of twelve yummy little donut goodness and waking up early to get these was really worth it.

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Aren’t they pretty?

 

Despite their size (they’re quite small), I was surprised at how much flavor each bite has — these donuts are dense and just a few pieces and a cup of hot coffee would be enough for breakfast! (We’re not big coffee drinkers so we just had plain ol’ water but still worked well for us!)

Yay for donuts! I can’t wait to try out the other flavors!:)

Have an awesome day!

SLTB

Tastease is located in 70 New Park Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut. Call them at (860) 233 2235.

Read more about Tastease:

CTMQ.org: Doughnuts at Tastease
Hartford.com: Mini Donuts From Tastease
CTNOW: Best Donuts

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Upcoming: Healthy Cooking Demo Goes Asian!

Newbee Baking and Cooking International invites you to another healthy cooking demonstration by Celebrity Chef, Chef Redj Baron Saguin of Cook Eat Right! Newbees go Asian, as Chef Redj introduces how to prepare Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce, Steamed Fish Teriyaki, and Asian Flavored Rice. Also, you wouldn’t wanna miss the Mango-Banana Flambe that’s the perfect dessert to top off this menu!

Make your own Safari-themed Fondant Cake at home with Ms. Charlotte Bernabe’s fondant demo — the cake will be finished off with a cute topper that the kids will surely love!

Lastly, learn how to always have fresh herbs right in your own kitchens with an urban gardening demonstration by yours truly, Erina Tachibana!

Exciting prizes will be raffled off so register now!!!

batch 3 poster 2When: October 10, 2015
Time: 11:00am
Where: Berghoff Incorporated
109, Ground Floor The Frabella Building, Rada Street, Legaspi Village Makati City, 1200

How to register:
– PHP250.00 participation fee required to cover ingredients and utilities.
– First pay, first served basis.
– Interested attendees are given until Thursday, OCTOBER 8, 2015 at 5 PM (Manila time) to confirm attendance and payment. See below for payment details:

BDO Felicidad Laurel
006780551022
BDO SM Fairview

BPI Erina Tachibana
0089 0437 86

Gcash
09279663151

Please send me (Erina Tachibana) a screenshot or picture of your proof of payment and participants’ full names.
For reservations/inquiries, do send a message to eri.tachi0523@gmail.com or SMS/call 09271282463.

NOTE: LIMITED SLOTS AVAILABLE
See you there!!

SLTB

Healthy Cooking Demo by Chef Redj Baron Saguin

I love baking and cooking. Much like a box of memories left at the back of a cabinet, however, I’ve set aside the passion that I have for it. I just can’t do it at the moment. Despite the “baker’s block” though, the yearning to learn more is still there, so aside from taking classes once in a while, I’ve joined baking and cooking groups on Facebook (guilty: I joined almost all of them… and dragged BF along, too! Haha!).

One of the groups that I enjoy the most is the Newbee Baking & Cooking International group. The “newbees” (members) are friendly and encouraging, and despite her being overseas, “motherbee” (the founder) always makes sure that everything is going well in the group. Aside from the members themselves, a group stands out when they’re as much a group out in the physical world as they are online, and this was proven at the event hosted by the Newbee Baking & Cooking International: Healthy Cooking Demo by Chef Redj Baron Saguin.

Despite the abundant fresh produce found in the Philippines, cheap and instant food are very popular among the Filipinos. In fact, in 2014, among the most popular companies in the Philippines are those that produces instant noodles and artificial food seasoning. It seems that a Filipino dish isn’t complete without a packet of something something mix or a pinch of magical powder and I think the dish loses it’s soul in the process. As for me, there’s something about fresh food that’s been seasoned with only herbs, salt, and pepper that’s really inviting, and I’m really interested in the versatility of fresh ingredients which is why I went to the cooking demo.

The event started off with an introduction by Chef Niel, followed by a bonus fondant demo by a fellow member, Ms. Charlotte. First, she taught us how to make an easy ruffled cake with fondant. I wasn’t really fond of fondant since I think it’s just to sweet, and I was more attracted to the classic buttercream, but I think I’ll give this one a go. I learned that fondant can be made in a big batch and it’ll keep for a while so that’s really convenient.

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pretty ruffles 🙂

Ms. Charlotte even taught us how to make a cute bear topper afterwards! 🙂

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adding details to the bear…

I knew it was easy to deal with fondant, but the creativity and artistry is only acquired through constant practice and a great amount of experience.

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the finished product 🙂

After the fondant demo, the healthy cooking demo started right away. I don’t watch TV at all, so it was only later on that I found out that Chef Redj has his own cooking show, and is a contributor to different food magazines. A celebrity chef!

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Chef Redj was fun to watch — and it is not a secret that a happy cook will serve happy food! In between the Paella Valenciana, the Grilled Chicken Canape, and the Steamed Fish Florentine with Mornay are lots of tips and tricks, too! In addition, I learned a lot about how to make a good stock which is important in cooking for good health.

When the Steamed Fish Florentine was done, we were each given the chance to put it all together and taste the finished outcome. This was really nice — the lightness of the fish, the spinach, and the wanton cup was balanced of by the creamy mornay.

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audience participation at its best 🙂

The next dish was the Grilled Chicken Canapes, and, just like the previous dish, we all had a small piece to try it…

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Grilled Chicken Canape

Finally, the most awaited Paella!

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After mixing everything together, we were finally able to try the paella… and it was amazing! I don’t really eat paella, but this was really delicious! Plus, the generous amount of seafood and the use of good soup stock instead of artificial seasonings made this dish really special. 🙂

Another bonus treat was a unique demo of a pineapple upside down cake. What’s so special about it? It wasn’t baked in an oven! It was “baked” on a stove top, with a pan made by Berghoff — a European brand that produces high quality cookware… How cool is that?!

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This demo taught me more than just cooking and making fondant, and to be able to see firsthand how technology, creativity, ingenuity, and passion can transform the way we do things in the kitchen was really unforgettable. I really enjoyed meeting everyone and hearing about their personal experiences in the kitchen — being reminded that other people has their fair share of bloopers in the kitchen made me realize that it’s okay to make mistakes. And what’s a better way to be a newbie than be a NEWBEE? 🙂


SLTB

P.S. Watch out for updates as the group will be organizing other demos for everyone to enjoy! 🙂

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participants (c)raquel melendez

Avocados!!!

Avocados are prepared in many different ways — as a guacamole, added into salads, etc. In the Philippines, however, savory preparation of avocado is trumped by the only way our childhood has ingrained in us — chilled, sweet, and creamy. Personally, pairing avocado with condensed milk is the only way I’ve eaten avocado, and though I’m willing to try the savory ones, I’m still a bit unsure how I’ll like it.

Anyway, I got some avocados the other day for Php75 (Php60/Kilo) and made one of my favorite treats — frozen sweetened avocado. I mashed up some avocados in a container, mixed in some condensed milk, then placed it in the  freezer to just freeze up a bit. It ended up looking like this:

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I’ve been playing around with making ice cream lately so I decided to give this a shot. Now I didn’t really want to add cream, milk, and sugar because I’m a huge fan of the condensed milk + avocado love team so what I did was just pureed the avocado, added the condensed milk, and froze it. When it was frozen, I thawed it up a little bit, incorporated some air into it using my hand mixer, then froze it again. I ended up with this:

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This, my friends, is how I love my avocado.

How do you like your avocado? Please do comment below your favorite avocado recipes that I can try… And if you’ve tried it the sweet way for the first time, let me know if you liked it, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂


SLTB

A ‘No-Bake’ Day

No-bake desserts should be a no-brainer right? Well, that’s what I thought until I attended the No-Bake Desserts Class at the Joey Prats School of Baking and Pastry Arts last Saturday (June 27). Though excited about the class, I have to admit that a part of me thought I wouldn’t learn as much as I have from the past few lessons I took here since this particular class deals with no-bake desserts (Class #1 was “Cookies and Bars,” while Class #2 was “Macaron”). But then again, it’s Chef Joey… so with much anticipation, I went to the blue and green little house in Marcelo Green Village for my no-bake baking class.

There’s always something new to learn beyond the recipes in his classes – and I’m looking forward to learning more and more new things. Oh, and don’t forget the free food! I love being able to taste new flavors and Chef Joey Prats’ recipes are all to-die-for. By the way, if you’re going to take any class of his, try not to eat too much before the class. Trust me on this one.

The first recipe was the Strawberry Shortcake Tiramisu – a gorgeous twist to two classic desserts that’s sure to be the center of everyone’s attention at any party. The lady fingers used in this recipe is homemade, and is very similar to a sponge cake. The flavors are easily soaked in, giving us a ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ feel with enough character brought about by the different flavors of each layer of the tiramisu. Another ingredient that’s difficult to find is mascarpone, so he taught us a good alternative to this – American Heritage Cream Cheese. I think this treat would be great for people who are working late at night — you’ve got the sugar for energy, strawberries for nutrition, coffee for focus, and alcohol for creativity! Yay!

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the final layer of strawberries

Next up is the Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Minted Fruits. Before teaching us how to make this, we were given a sample made with minted mangoes. I love the idea of putting it in a jar as it saves the hassle of transferring the panna cotta or packing it up for transport. During the actual demo, he used peaches instead of mangoes to show the versatility of the dessert (I’ll try making this with strawberries).

panna cotta collage

The third one is a No-Bake Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake made with American Heritage Cream Cheese. Again, we were all able to have a slice each before the actual demo. Now, I’ve never actually tried American Heritage before, but it’s nice how there’s not much water when you open a package of it – meaning it has more of the good stuff that you need. This particular recipe has no eggs and flour which gives it a texture reminiscent of a very light mousse, yet it’s stable enough to hold its shape when plated.

blueberry swirl cheesecake

I would say that my favorite recipe for this class is the Espresso Almond Praline Ice Cream. The smooth ice cream was balanced off by the crunch that the pralines gave, and the flavor was just absolutely lovely. During this part of the lecture, it was also explained to us how ice creams differ in their texture, and how different ingredients play important roles in an ice cream. It was easily done with a KitchenAid stand mixer using the Ice Cream Attachment, and I just wish I can take one home and make ice cream immediately. I swear, this ice cream, by far, is the best I’ve ever tasted. No exaggerations, it is addicting.

churning...
churning…
warning: very addicting
warning: very addicting!

As absurd as a ‘no-bake baking class’ may sound, taking this class was absolutely worth every centavo. All of these four desserts were very easy and fun to make, and I’m 100% sure that family and friends will love them.

After the class, a classmate offered me a ride. We live very near each other so when she asked if I wanted to go with her for me to see her kitchen before I went home, I immediately said yes. When we arrived at her kitchen, this overwhelming joy filled my heart. (Thank you, Ate!) I felt like I walked right into dreamland. I know this might sound weird, but stepping foot in this kitchen made me so happy I was fighting back tears. (*^_^*) I’ve always wanted to be a pastry chef, and I’ve tried different jobs but I’m always strongly pulled back to my love for food. I’m still hoping it’s not too late. 🙂

SLTB

Heavenly Cheesecakes by Joey Prats

If, for others, an event is incomplete without alcohol, then an event isn’t complete without cake for me! I’ve even baked some cakes before, although the last time I did was last year — it was a red velvet birthday cake with cream cheese frosting and fresh strawberries for BF. Seeing loved ones enjoy the baked goodies bring me a certain joy that totally beats store-bought cakes. It’s the appreciation for the cake that says, “I appreciate you.”

cake collage
Though I may not have baked for a while, I’ve joined Facebook baking groups and I’m also taking as much lessons as I could so that when I start baking again, I would be better equipped with skills and knowledge that I’ve learned so far.

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Last week, I received my own copy of the Heavenly Cheesecakes DVD by Joey Prats. Included in the DVD are three recipes of cheesecakes — Dulce de Leche Cheesecake, Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake, and Black Forest Cheesecake. I actually can’t wait to try them all! I think the one that’s gonna be easiest to do right away is the Dulce de Leche one because all the ingredients are readily available in my kitchen… plus I love dulce de leche! 🙂 Anyway, I might not be able to do it asap but I’ll be posting it up as soon as I make it. 🙂

I’ve taken 2 classes so far (the Cookies & Bars Class and the Macaron 101 Class) and I highly recommend the Joey Prats School of Baking & Pastry Arts. Though the classes I’ve taken were demo classes, I’ve learned a lot in those classes. They do have an upcoming 3-month certificate course so for those who are interested in baking, I’d suggest this course. I would enroll right away if I have the funds right now, but I don’t yet so I guess there’s gonna be a next time for me… but if you, my dear reader, is interested and you can, then please do so and enjoy learning how to bake at this school. 🙂

For those who want their own copy of the Heavenly Cheesecakes DVD, you can click here to contact them through their Facebook page. They also have other DVDs as well (Joy of Pastry and Best 100 Recipes) so there are a lot to choose from. BTW, those who aren’t in the Philippines can still purchase the videos — I think they’ll send the digital copy instead of the CD, so don’t hesitate to contact them. 🙂

Joey Ayala at Sev’s (Feb. 27, 2014)

(I found this buried in my drafts folder and thought I should edit and finally upload it.) 🙂

February 27, 2014
Browsing through Facebook for some ideas to do for the day, BF and I stumbled upon the page of Sev’s Cafe and saw that Joey Ayala would be performing that night. We were really impressed with his TED video which included his version of the Lupang Hinirang, so we decided to go (click here to watch the TEDx video). Since we both still didn’t have our salaries yet, we were on a budget — it’s a good thing that the P200 ticket has a P100 consumable per person included. Reservations were made with Ms. Ipat, and we were on our way to the place.

Located in Roxas boulevard cor. Vito Cruz, it’s very easy to go to and very accessible to commuters. It’s in the Vito Cruz side though, and you’ll have to walk a little from the corner till you see an entrance to a parking lot at the right side — it’s at the end of that parking lot. There’s a guard there you can ask as well. (click here for the map)

As we entered the restaurant, I immediately felt at home with the place. The welcoming atmosphere is just comfortable enough to make you want to come back again and again. It actually reminds me of living/dining rooms were friends and family would gather around and enjoy a great home cooked meal while sharing lots of stories over coffee and/or dessert afterwards (definitely dessert for me!!).

I ordered the Pork Afritada and a banana smoothie, but I highly recommend the Tapsilog and the mango smoothie which BF ordered. The dynamite is awesome with the extra crunch and creamy cheese while the squid rings are cooked just right (and would be great with beer). I’m not sure if I was able to take pictures of what we had  — It’s either buried in my dropbox or I think we were just both hungry that time that we didn’t even thought of taking pictures. Everything on the menu is priced more reasonably than most restaurants, and I was pleasantly surprised at the healthier options (i.e. brown rice instead of white rice; vinegar instead of ketchup-mayo dip, etc.). Oh and did I mention the mango smoothie? You need to try it. 🙂

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Joey Ayala

The show started and all eyes were on Joey Ayala. He performed different songs of his — love songs, nationalistic ones, even funny ones among all others in his lineup. With every note and word was his love and passion for music, for his arts, and for the country. It’s amazing how in simplicity, the most heartfelt and striking songs were formed. Watching his own rendition of the national anthem on youtube already gave me goosebumps — this is one Filipino who really loves his country. Yet seeing him performing live onstage was a different experience. Simple words are those that actually pierce through one’s soul, encouraging one to think and reflect on the realities of the present and the current situation of the country.

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The restaurant, just as Joey Ayala is, is proudly Filipino — from the flag just above the door, to a portrait of Andres Bonifacio at the back of the counter, to the tables, chairs, and other decors of the place, down to the menu (they serve Basi and Tapuy shots!) and ingredients. This place is perfect for schoolmates or barkadas who are looking for a chill hangout.