She wrote about these luscious gobs of sweet cheese and milky snacks on her blog last week, and in appreciation, Oishi sent her a whole carton of snacks. Generous friend that she is, Jessica shared w/ me a bagful of these treats after I badgered her to gimme some. (I think my exact words were: "Oi, mag-share ka naman!)
Aside from the Cheese Sponge, she also gave me Marty's Cracklin' Vegetarian Chicharon. Veggie chicharon? I kid you not! But mmm...they are sooo flavorful as well (not to mention yummy evil) that you can munch on 'em even w/o having to dip them in vinegar the way we usually do w/ regular chicharon. They're salty and crispy just like chicharon, but as they are made from veggies like dehydrated potatoes and dehydrated green peas, they taste and feel lighter.
And since the chicharon is cooked in palm or coconut oil, no trans-fats either, so these are absolutely guilt-free snacks. But warning thought, it does contain 130 mg of salt (the Sponge Crunch is higher at 150 mg), so if you have any issues with water retention, then you may have to steel yourself from eating more than one bag. Ayayay. (Teka, teka, sino pala si Marty?)
Francine describes the Sponge Crunch as "hormonal" in the sense that you get the salty-sweet combination – a taste w/c women crave for when we're PMS-ing, so I wonder if the R&D department at Oishi is staffed by women. Hmmm. Another Oishi snack that Francine loves is the Chocolate Pillows, which are crackers filled w/ chocolate. I must try them soon. Btw, Francine says she's seen call center agents at ABS-CBN eating the Sponge Crunch w/ Blue Gator-ade. Is this Generation Y's Chippy and Coke combination?
I never knew how much of an Oishi fan I've been for a while 'til I went to the company web site and looked through its product catalog. (Then I realized that the chichiria I've been stealing from my snack-loving niece have all been Oishi products pala, haha.) Like one of the snacks I usually buy from the supermarket especially when I'm going out of town is the Wasabi Potato Ridges. It's crispy potato chips w/ the unique mildy spicy horseradish taste. Then there's the Bread Pan w/c is basically a smaller-scale version of the classic Filipino snack mamon tostado (usually just w/ butter and sugar). Bread Pan though comes in garlic, cheese, and sour cream and chives flavors. Another snack I like is the Oheya mulit-grain snacks in cheese flavor. It's the same hormonal combination of salty and sweet, perfect for "those" days.
Whoa! Oishi sure has come a long way from its Prawn Crackers no? (Mental note: Must secure an interview w/ Oishi owner on success story.)
(Jessica takes a photo of her b-day "cake". That's Francine in the background.)
Btw, we had a super-belated birthday dinner w/ Ms. Gorgeous last Thursday (her natal day is actually in November so we're a month late) at La Regalade, and they comped us a lemon tart for her birthday dessert/surprise. Thank you! This was the best lemon tart I've had other than Lemoni Café's in Boracay (that one created by great pastry chef Buddy Trinidad). They both have that aggressive tartness that I love, but Lemoni Café balances this out by caramelizing some sugar on top.
Btw, I am just enamored w/ La Regalade's 7-hour leg of lamb, Manila Clams, and Duck leg confit....mmmm. As it is a bistro, the food is not maarte at all, just comforting like your Lola's Arroz Caldo. Also it's a welcoming place like someone's home, so nobody will feel out-of-place going there. It's wonderful to see an eclectic mix of people during lunch time, for example, where you have mid-level office workers dressed in their long-sleeved polos and ties, while the girls are in their business suits and pumps, then in some tables you see the country's movers and shakers. Like the first time I was there, I espied my ex-boss at the DA Sonny Dominguez w/ his brother Paul, and Bobby Romulo. The night of the Jessica's bday dinner, Inquirer's Sandy Prieto and her family were there, and in another table was Peter Garrucho of First Gas.
So It's a nice place to chill out and just talk and eat w/ your friends for hours and hours, preferably w/ a good bottle of wine. What's more, owner Bubot Quicho adores noisy guests. "The noisier, the better," he tells me w/ a knowing smile. Love him!