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PhilSTAR L!fe recommends: Best local stores for your food fix

By PhilSTAR L!fe Published Feb 27, 2021 10:25 am Updated Oct 25, 2023 9:14 pm

One thing many of us have become experts at during the pandemic is ordering food online.

If you’re craving some variety in your to-go menu, there are plenty of other choices that would not only make you stuffed to bursting, but also keep your mouth watering until your next order. 

Look no further because the members of the PhilSTAR Life team independently tested and recommend some of the best dishes online that could satisfy your cravings and turn up the flavor of your stay-at-home experience. 

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Best salmon and potato bake: Bakedt MNL

I love, love, loooove Bakedt MNL! This online food store offers a fresh take on our favorite comfort foods like sisig (P398/P748), roast beef (P498/P928), and shawarma (P458/P848) by amping them up into a myriad of delectably baked layers. Just recently, they added Salmon and Potato Bake (P888/P1,748) to their menu, which easily became my go-to food. —Brooke Villanueva, Content Producer

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Best Korean minimalist cake: Aegyo Cakes

Unsurprisingly, the eye-popping, pastel-hued Korean minimalist cake trend has been filling up our Instagram feeds with its simplistic beauty. And one of the best that you can find online is from Aegyo Cakes! Whether it’s a celebration or a solo ‘treat yo’self’ moment, Aegyo cakes in lunchbox (P450) or full-sized (P1,200) are better for a little pick-me-up. —Red Dimaandal, Social Media Manager

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Best buttercream cake: Ola Cupcakes

Since the pandemic pushed many of us to be bakers, I believe that Ola Cupcakes really took the opportunity to make the best possible floral buttercream cakes, especially the carrot walnut ones! Their eight-inch cakes are priced at 950 which will surely be enjoyed by the whole family. It has this rich flavor and the perfect balance of sweetness that will definitely hook you. You can also customize the designs based on your preference. They can even create a design based on an artwork/doodle/picture you'll send. This is one of the best choices if you prefer to veer away from the commercial store-bought cakes you usually have. —Danicah Lagman, Social Media Content Producer

Best brownies: The Drunk Baker

Fudgy, chocolatey and whiskey-latey. How can you go wrong? The Drunk Baker’s specialty is actually the Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Cream Cheese and Strawberries, but since I don’t eat strawberries and I love whiskey, their Whisky Brownies (P580/ dozen, P340/ half dozen) is perfect for me. A friend sent me a box during the lockdown last year and it was like sunshine on a gloomy day. You bite into the slightly crunchy top and into the moist chocolate brownie and taste the smoky whiskey. It’s perfect! —Tanya Lara, Features Head

Best donuts: Project Donut

Though I don’t have a nagging sweet tooth, it feels nice to indulge once in a while and Project Donut was just one of the best indulgences I’ve had. Their donuts were filled with flavor and the fillings were bursting at the seams. The store calls its donuts “Malasada-style,” alluding to a fried fluffy dough coated with sugar and at times cinnamon. Eating them was just a joy. It’s like a coterie of warm pillows decided to snuggle up inside my mouth on a cold rainy day. Also, the package is so sweet and thoughtful you could almost see the small business owner smiling as she/he tied the bow (because there was in fact a bow) around the donut box. There’s just so much heart in every corner. 

Their half dozen box goes for P330, while their one dozen box sells for P650. They currently have four flavors per box, namely classic chocolate. crème brûlée, apple pie, and strawberries and cream. —Bim Santos, News Head

Best pad thai: Som's Noodle House

My go-to is Som's Noodle House. I love, love, loooove Thai food so I always order from here when I’m craving. My parents introduced me to this store years ago back when they still had a restaurant near Rockwell. Som’s disappeared for a few years, and I just rediscovered them again last year! My fave would have to be the Pad Thai (P250). It tastes just like the ones in Bangkok! —Camille Santiago, Associate Editor

Best cookies: 'La Felipa Homemade Cookies

I never really knew what a legitimately delicious cookie tastes like until I dug into the rich, chunky dough of 'La Felipa Homemade Cookies. I have eaten too many kinds of cookies as someone with a sweet tooth, but 'La Felipa would always hit home. Each bite oozes with quality ingredients like its perfectly combined sweet and salty batter and big chocolate chips. They come in five flavors: Original Cookie Recipe, Double Cacao, Matcha Green Tea, White Tsokolate, and Kape Felipa. Each box contains eight cookies with your choice of single (P240-P250) or two flavors (P280).  

Its owner, Marvin de las Armas, started the business during the pandemic inspired by his lola Felipa Garcia. The way he would send out the cookies would remind us of our own grandmothers, too, because besides that it's carefully wrapped in a kraft box complete with a paper bow, it comes with an uplifting hand-written note that seemingly came from Lola Felipa herself. Wanting to make his customers feel they're part of his warm family, Marvin would also address his customers as "cousin" or "cuz." All these make ordering the cookies an experience complete in itself that's definitely worth indulging in. —Justine Punzalan, Associate Editor

Best brownies: The Drunk Baker

The Drunk Baker is one of the many online food businesses that were established in the midst of the pandemic. Joey Silvestre, who works for a bank, has been whipping spiked treats that are a hit with booze and dessert lovers.

The Drunk Baker may be known for its bright and light Lemon Olive Oil Cake (that could be topped with rum cream cheese frosting, fruits, and berries), but a rockstar in its focused menu deserves the spotlight—the Whiskey Brownies.

Those with a sweet tooth will not be able to resist these rich, chunky pieces of boozy heaven. With just one bite of these brownies, one will know that Joey does not scrimp on the booze (so far, she has used Jim Beam and Copper Dog). The quality of ingredients used for these brownies also stands out. 

The Whiskey Brownies are sliced in massive squares, which are at P580 for one dozen and P340 for half a dozen.

Want to give your brownies an extra kick? Just let Joey know and she’ll make it happen for you. All of her items are for pre-order, which needs at least a two-day lead time. —Pinky Icamen, Content Producer

Banner photos from Bakedt MNL, La Felipa, Project Donut, and Som's Noodle House on Instagram.