It started benignly enough. I woke up earlier than usual to bring my Dear to her office in Greenhills, a mere 25 minutes away including mild traffic. On my way home I decided to look for Pasteleria Mallorca which I knew was somewhere along Sct. Fuentebella in Quezon City-- also 25 minutes from my house but in the opposite direction.
Pasteleria Mallorca's products are actually available in supermarkets-- I've tried (and like) their lenguas de gato, palillos de Madrid, and galletas San Nicolas-- but I've always wanted to visit their shop not only to buy their pastries but also to try their old-school ensaimadas, which are supposed to be the best in town.
So there I was, driving down the length of Sct. Fuentebella looking for a pastry shop, thinking it should stand out in what's mainly a residential street. No luck. After seeing the same houses four times I decided to call it quits and go home. So as not to let my detour be a total waste, I thought I might as well pass by Estrel's on the corner of Sct. Tobias and Sct. Limbaga.
Estrel's, established in 1946, is actually famous for its caramel cake which is I should say really superb-- it's one of those cakes in which everything is actually good: cake, filling, icing, flowers, etc. But since I wasn't in the mood for cake I decided to buy a box of food for the gods, at P360 for 20 pieces. They're very delicious and you can tell they only use premium ingredients, but I find it quite pricey since I'm already happy with those generic versions you can buy in any supermarket. But if you want food for the gods that is worthy of, well, God, then do buy a box from Estrel's. As for me, next time I'll stick to the caramel cake.
Heading back home, I impulsively parked at Santi's Delicatessen along Timog Avenue, unable resist rummaging though a well-stocked grocery. They did have a good selection of cheeses, canned goods, meats, sausages, etc., but I could find 90% of them (or equivalent substitutes) in other supermarkets at a marginally cheaper price. I was also looking for some Russian sturgeon caviar which I can't find anywhere in this country, and neither did I find it there. I ended up buying two links of pork cervelat, two links of veal bratwurst, and three links of Italian garlic pork sausage for a total of P295.40. This amount is actually enough for at least six meals so at around P50 per meal it's a pretty good deal.
While on the Santi's checkout line I met Mrs. Tess Morato-Lazatin, a daughter of Tomas Morato (yes, the street's namesake). She mentioned that, as a hobby, she makes morcillas and chorizos and cooks made-to-order paella (10 people minimum), using recipes from her home in Spain. Obviously she didn't have any products on hand so I got her contact info and I'll surely order some chorizos when my current stock runs out, maybe even some paella if I feel like splurging. I mentioned I was in the area looking for Pasteleria Mallorca, and lo and behold, she knew where it is-- 18 Sct. Fuentebella.
So back I drove to Sct. Fuentebella, looking for No. 18 which I'm sure I've seen before. And yes, I've seen it before-- that green-gated house that looks like the other houses beside it with nary a clue that it makes Spanish pastries on site. Well they do have a sign on the gate, if a plastic-covered piece of paper with words you'll only be able to read if you step off your car and walk up to it counts as a sign.
And there I was, at the first cause of my detour, the home-based factory of the Pasteleria Mallorca line of pastries as well as the Mega Mexicana line of tacos and dips (never knew they were made by the same company). First order of business was the ensaimada-- they had none. They make them only during the afternoon, freshly baked at around 2:30pm. Sigh. I guess I'll have to order some in advance then. But since I also went there for the pastries, particularly the lenguas de gato, it wasn't a total let-down. Besides, they also had some frozen sans rival and tarta Madrid, but they were too much for me at the time. I ended up buying a jar of lenguas de gato (P210), a jar of palillos de Madrid (P135), and a pack of argellanas (P60).
So that's P1,060.40 worth of various food stuffs bought on a whim. And it wasn't even lunchtime.