The Fat Pig Homebaker

These Little Piggies | The Fat Pig Homebaker

The local cupcake industry may very well be The Cupcake Wars with baking short-courses churning runny, mishappen, quick-buck ambitions to muddle the pretty, sculpted-gumpaste frosting of the more artisan, more heartfelt of the scene. Well, these little piggies came into the market. These little piggies are keeping it home (for now, at least). These little piggies like their good meats. These little piggies are mixing those into their sweets. And these little pigs will soon be swinging, “Whee, whee, whee!”, taking accolades for their own.

You’ve got to have a terribly good sense of humor to call yourself a fat pig and only such cheeky playfulness could be a wellspring for great imagination. The Fat Pig Homebaker was born out the love of savories and sweets and the good notion to put these together in a bite. Often described to have weird tastes, always insisting on experimental and exploratory tags, I seem to have found kindred tastebuds. The first, and the only one I know of, to come up with such combos, TFP started with 8 signature cupcakes — BBQ Pulled Pork, Chorizo, The Early Bird, French Toast and Southern Red Velvet, Vanilla Bean, Chocolate Mud, Some Mores — and slowly expanded their lineup.

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My orders of two boxes with all their flavors available were delivered in the morning. The rest of the day stretched out to be a very extended Marshmallow Test for me to hold back for the planned unboxing with The PussyKat after hours. Piglets, as they were available in more manageable bite sizes, packed the golden boxes with a dozen each.

The Fat Pig Homebaker's BBQ Pulled Pork

Deceptively plain-Jane vanilla in its base and frosting, the BBQ sauce (homemade, I later learned) swirling hinted at the surprise of local-style pork barbie tucked inside the BBQ Pork Piggy. The smoky flavor of the meat jumps at you from the sweet background with a taste that wouldn’t be out of place at local BBQ collective, Larsian’s.

The Fat Pig Homebaker's Chorizo

A butter cupcake housed minced chorizo bits and topped with vanilla frosting drizzled with more chorizo bits in their Chorizo Piggy. The butter flavor complimented the caramelized, meaty taste of chorizo. I would have preferred the chorizo to be on the spicy side but it was otherwise satisfactory with the starch-protein combination making it quite a dish by itself. Spice might also prove overwhelming to some given the already unusual sweet-savory partnering.

The Fat Pig Homebaker's French Toast

Chocolate is love. So is bacon. When these two come together they make one beautiful bastard. With a chocolate-covered, crispy bacon crown on a wig of vanilla, the French Toast Piggy makes one drop some Marie Antoinette: “Let them eat (this cup)cake!” The French Toast cupcake base makes quite the substantial petticoat to this dainty royalty.

The Fat Pig Homebaker'sThe Early Bird

Bacon, ham and cheese sat down for breakfast on a chocolate cupcake with a quail egg and hazelnut-vanilla cream to greet everyone a good morning in The Early Bird. It might as well be under the all-day listing as it rocked my socks off when I had one that night, too.

The Fat Pig Homebaker's Piglet Pride

The rest of the Piglets came in more familiar flavors but with a little bit more oomph. Island colors dye a vanilla cupcake stuffed with whipped cream, topped with vanilla frosting and festive gold and silver sprinkles in Piglet Pride.

The Fat Pig Homebaker's Cookie Carnival

The Cookie Carnival has crushed cookies on a whirligig of whipped cream sitting on a vanilla mini stuffed with more cookie bits.

The Fat Pig Homebaker's Hazed and Confused

Hazed & Confused has that effect with a brown vanilla cupcake looking very chocolate and topped with homemade hazelnut fudge sitting in a well of vanilla frosting and Graham crumbing.

The Fat Pig Homebaker's Smores

This microwave classic goes heavy in a chocolate chip cupcake stuffed with marshies, smothered in chocolate fudge and topped with a Graham square making you want “S’Mores”.

The Fat Pig Homebaker's Dulce de Leche

Leche! My tonsils were already protesting but I couldn’t stop eating. Another mini vanilla stuffed and frosted with Dulce De Leche rounded off with the crunch from half a mini chocolate sandwich cookie in, well, the Dulce De Leche.

The Fat Pig Homebaker's Boston Cream Pie

Chocolate frosting and ganache offsets the milky flavor of the custard that bursts into your mouth when you bite into the mini vanilla cupcake of Boston Crème Pie.

The Fat Pig Homebaker's Cinnamon and Peanut Butter

Cinnamon cupcake makes unusual bedfellows with peanut butter versus the expected fruit but is tied down with cinnamon frosting and ground almond in Cinnamon and Peanut Butter.

The Fat Pig Homebaker's It's So Choco Late

Last on the lineup, it was not too late for It’s So Choco Late — a chocolate cupcake stuffed with chocolate, chocolate frosting and chocolate chips.

Insulin levels spiking and throat a-screaming, I finished about a liter of water in a sitting. It probably was not a good idea to have all that in one go but whether I’d give these another whirl, with appropriate pacing and moderation, this little piggy cried, “Oui, oui, oiu!” These little piggies have a new home. My belly.

 

The Fat Pig Homebaker is currently operating out of a house of bricks. You can huff and puff for your orders on their Facebook page, on Instagram: @thefatpigph or contact the head hog, Alfred, at 09231467601.

Photo credits: Closeups were stolen from The Fat Pig Homebake’s Facebook account. I’m sure they don’t mind.

Carnivore Restaurant Cebu

I’M A | CARNIVORE

In the bygone era, also known as the other night, dinersaurs roamed The Island to fulfill their most basic biological need: food. Our prehistoric drama unfolds in the peaceful valley called The Gallery. From a distance, silhouettes of various sauropods are seen bobbing their heads in typical fashion of feeding.

Thud. A Procompsognakid reared up alert, nostrils aflare. Thud. Zoom in to soup in a bowl rippling to the heavy footfalls. Thud. Cut to a tense crowd of Waiterodactyls hovering around their dining caves of employ. Thud. Cut to soup bowl. Thud. Pan down, up, zoom forward. ROOOOAAR!

Behold the mighty Tryrannosaurus. Six feet of strapping male model muscle, intense eyes and a killer smile. Thriving on obscene amounts of protein, the saurian king walks into the valley in search for his next meal. Dinesaurs everywhere r̶a̶n̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶i̶r̶ ̶l̶i̶v̶e̶s̶ went about their business like there was nothing to see. It could not have been more easy for this carnivore. A white signage against a dark grey wall served as his idiot board: CARNIVORE.

Carnivore

With a commensal in tow, the savagely beautiful Sabre-toothed PussyKat, he was welcomed into the stark, no-frills space. The same logotype, Carnivore, is echoed above a woodcut-syle illo of a wild boar on the glass door. A bar borders the open kitchen and grill space. Meat cut charts of animals adorn the mezz wall. The single-sheet menu was handed to us on the current de rigeur clipboard. Ever one for burgers, that was pretty much a no-brainier and we took the wrap from two- item sandwich section, as well.

Carnivore Meat Cuts Chart

The cool nighttime weather allowed us to sit outdoors and there was not much wait time between ordering and the service. Our dishes were set in front of us with much caution for heated plates — a wonderful touch to help keep the food warm without going to the sizzling plate or stoneware extreme.

Carnivore Burger

This beast begins the feast with savage ferocity, his teeth ripping through the yielding buns of the Carnivore Burger. A strong but welcome bite from the mustard went well with the zippy, fresh greenness of the locally-sourced (Lilo-an) Romaine lettuce. Fresh, red tomatoes and white onions added some acid and pungency to the mouthful before giving way to the lightly house-smoked Cheddar cheese and the perfectly well done Bukidnon Kitayama Wagyu and US Angus beef patty. Noticeably fresh lettuce, cucumbers and alfalfa sprouts were showered with a light vinaigrette in the House Salad, a rather generous side.

A low, feral growl coming from the Sabre-toothed PussyKat indicated she wanted in on the feeding frenzy. The Tryrannosaur’s offer of a bite appealed to the domesticated feline side and was returned with half her food nudged in his direction.

Carnivore Wrap

Seared then oven-finished marinated chicken breast simply slapped with home-made Garlic Aioli, rolled up in a flour wrap with some organic greens made the Wrap. The noticeably fresh greens, again, played off that strength for a veggie counterbalance to the lightly savory chicken. A home-made Ranch dressing with strong herb notes gives Kraft a run for its money. Crispy, reg-cut fries with skins on kept the whole thing from crossing over to dark side called health food.

Seeing the beasts quite satisfied, the humans emerged to exchange pleasantries. On-board items and future offerings discussed already made their mouths water for the next feeding. Their wild boar logo explained, the promise of more exotic meats and preparations have made the Sabre-toothed PussyKat mark Carnivore on our feeding list.

Talks of cutting back on carbs and intermittent fasting were thrown around while slinking out of The Gallery. “So . . . we’re not doing KFC or Dimsum for a while, huh?”, the Tryrannosaur asks. *SHINKT!* The Sabre-toothed PussyKat’s claws unsheathed and the Tryrannosaur blacked out.

Carnivore is located at Unit 6, The Gallery, Mabolo, Cebu City. Open Tuesday-Thursday 11AM-9PM, Fridays and Saturdays 11AM-10PM, Sundays 11AM-9PM. Closed on Mondays.

No. 9 Restaurant Cebu

Love Potion | No. 9

Feeling quite European from sitting through a string of movies at Cine Europa 2014, we were surely not wanting anything mall-outlet for dinner. Off we went for some Mediterranean and Latin at the succinctly named, No.9.

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The renovated ancestral home glowed white along the generally dimly-lit E. Benedicto Street. A warmer glow came from the large glass doors from where you could see a considerable attendance for a new place still in soft operations. Old friends and some acquaintances milling about the foyer and seated inside bolstered the warmth. We felt right at home.

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“Ohai!” “Hellllo!” “Howareyou?” “First time?” “Oh, we love it here!” “Try the squid ink pasta. It’s really good!” “You’ll love the pork.” “And that eggplant salad.” “Do try their cocktails.” Greeted with effusive personal reviews and recommendations, taking our pick from the menu proved easy and the items were guaranteed quite failsafe. Excellent and informed service only made the experience more pleasant. I just love it when the wait staff really know the food they serve.

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Grilled eggplant swam with piquillo peppers in roasted tomato sauce and topped with a 64-degree egg in our opener, the Escalivada. The traditional, ember-roasted Catalan dish gets the molecular treatment with the 45-minute, controlled egg prep. The runny yolk bathed the vegetables when I defiled the custardy doneness of its white with my fork, balancing the veggie tastes, the acid from the tomato and the pungency of the onions and garlic. I could imagine this with buttered, grilled mopping bread pieces as a complete meal and I’m sure rice-eaters would appreciate it as a rice-topping.

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Simply labeled Pork Belly, Bahllahmmbahnn (kooky radio ad reference) liempo coming to mind, this dish is anything but just that. The twelve-hour sous-vide, beating another upscale joint’s eight-hour beer-stewed in prep, is given a quick char on a charcoal grill before a dousing of salsa verde and a cover of wild arugula. The almost melt-in-your-mouth, buttery-soft meat was left unadulterated with only the lightest of infused seasonings leaving it still unmistakably porcine. The salsa verde and the arugula gave the whole dish a zippy punch.

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Quite literally black noodles, Fideo Negro has broken noodles tinted and made pleasantly savory, think umami, with the squid ink. Strips of squid take it further into seafood territory while chunks of Spanish chorizo anchor it shore. A garlic aioli rounds out the rest of the flavors with its slight pungency. With moans of agreement, much pleasurable eye-rolling happened before we looked up from our plates sporting rather Goth lip color. It was understandably their bestseller.

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I’ve had way too many drinks of questionable alcohol content over the past two weeks to think the next one couldn’t be more potent than my daily teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Just light rum and calamansi, their signature drink, No.9, had quite a great kick, both from the booze and the strong, citrusy sours. I took the “light” label quite, er, lightly until I was reminded that I get a pretty bad Asian Flush. So I stopped. At two.

Finally able to peel ourselves off our spots, it was hard to resist having yet another one from their bar for the road. The view of the manicured garden through the floor-to-ceiling window also had its pull. Old world charm and tradition meets modern methods and innovation. The perfect combinations in this love potion No.9.

No.9 is located at No.9 E. Benedicto Street, Cebu City. Bar opens at 5PM, restaurant at 6PM.

Press Steeze | Prestige Modelling Agency | The Marriot Cebu City

Fashion — novelty and trends — dictates the norm. From the most outward manner of dress down to manner of behavior, life is a ride on the rollercoaster tracks of constant change. It is on those ever higher crests and wilder loops that fashion survives on.

prestige

Challenging the local modelling agency scene with their subscription to international standards, a group of enterprising individuals came together and formed Prestige Modelling Agency (PMA). At their exclusive press launch at The Marriot-Cebu City last week, Chief Operating Officer Mr. Arnold J. Echevarria, Chief Finance Officer Mr. Glen C. Labradilla, and General Affairs Manager Mr. Adam A. Resurreccion wowed the crowd on behalf of their President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Heindrich Marty Torres.

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Setting themselves apart primarily with strict adherence to more global gatekeepers, they have a roster of ramp models standing no less than 5’10” for males and crushed me by the fact that I barely pass even for their female height requirement of 5’7″. Currently catering to demands for the ramp, Mr. Echevarria was quick to soothe the sore by announcing that they would be more forgiving in their openings for print . There was a glimmer of hope for myself and the rest of the great unwashed until he quickly followed up with the fact that the offsets would be in other demigod physical attributes like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle abs. No, of course, he didn’t really say that last part. My shattered self-esteem interpreted it that way. Stuck at twenty one, I, at least, made their 17-23 age min-max. I’m sure there would be future shows like Father’s Day: Daddy Dressing, for example. I think I’d make a good non-#TitoMoves Dad.

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The only local agency to boast of a model’s staff house “like in the popular Next Top Model TV series”, Prestige provides “modelling workshops , comprehensive personality development training and intensive character building activities” to its talents with top-caliber mentors from the industry. Like its acronym-sake, the Philippine Military Academy, PMAs strict codes of conduct extend to their model’s lifestyles and personal health habits to ensure competency and quality of performance. The company also provides “portfolio books containing the body of work for each of the talents, which is rare among its competitors within the city but is a common practice in the international industry.”

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As a preview for their grand launch in an Urban Uprising-themed fashion show slated for October 17 at The Gallery of Ayala Center-Cebu, a bevy of models took to the runway in items from participating providers and local designers.

Fashions affect even the landscape of the very basic need for food. With the rise of food focus in the mainstream came snobbism and it’s antithesis, romanticization of the everyday, the plebeian, the mundane. In that development, the ranges of abundance and scarcity throughout time have convoluted the concepts of beauty. Utilitarian stocky gave way to the Rubenesque to the emaciated and the hypocrisies in between. This is me vainly trying to segue into tying up this post with food. This is still a food blog, after all. On to the spread.

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The Marriot was by no means modest with its definition of light lunch buffet. Skipping the Egg Drop Soup, plain rice, Mashed Potatoes and the Rolls, I started with the Greek Salad of black olives, tomatoes, red onions, scallions and Feta cheese. Fed exclusively on goat’s milk as a cow’s milk-intolerant tot, I came to love Feta. Its crumbly saltiness played well with the aggressive onions and black olives and the sweet-tartness of the tomatoes.

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Justifying that the protein content of the Spring Rolls trump the carbs in its rice flour wrapper, I included a split single piece with some Grilled Vegetables and a small slice of Roast Chicken breast. The lightly-grilled cucumber and eggplant slices took on some weightiness with the basing of olive oil. The chicken was delightfully saucy without the meat taking on too much of the seasoning, coming off with the clean, white meat taste.

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Still on a protein bent, I took on some Pork Medallions in Gravy and a few cutlets of Pork Belly. Here the protein by weight clearly outweighs the carbs in the cornstarch used to thicken the gravy.

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Quite happy with my self-control, this dog rewarded himself with a teensy slice of Blueberry Cheesecake and a shot glass of Tiramisu from the dessert selection. The cheesecake was thankfully not of the gelatin-extender variety and had the distinct taste of cream cheese with the real blueberry sitting on the blanket of blueberry sauce adding to its cheesecake cred. A cake-base replaced the usual coffee-soaked ladyfingers in the Tiramisu with what seemed like heavy cream instead of Mascarpone, taking on more of the Cocoa flavor from its dusting. It was otherwise pleasant and satisfying.

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The models later joined us at our tables for lunch. I thought my pickings from the buffet were already quite modest until she-of-a-waistline-no-bigger-than-one-of-my-thighs sat across me with a bowl of soup, two spoonfuls of mashed potatoes and a few slices of grilled vegetables. So ended the afternoon where we “Posed with fashion, Strutted with elegance, Walked with Prestige” and where I highly questioned my self-image. Surely there is an easier way to peek over my full-term belly at my nether parts. I briefly curled up into fetal position to sob uncontrollably then off I went to a second lunch meet.

DISCLAIMERDISCLAIMER

Prestige Modelling Agency is located at S202 Sonrisa Suites, 175 Juana Osmena Street, Capitol Site, Cebu City. Contact them at (032) 254-2953. You can also visit http://prestigemodellingagency.com and http://facebook.com/prestigemodellingagency, Twitter: @models_prestige and Instagram: @PrestigeModellingAgency. More serious information after the page break.

Photo Credits to Francisco Yosores of Fyosores Photgraphy

Prestige gives the local modelling scene a world-class flair.

On the brink of Metro Cebu’s flourishing commercial, advertising and fashion industries, a business entity committed to providing upscale and commendable models carves its niche in the heart of the Queen City. Hailing models from all over Cebu and across the neighboring islands of Visayas and Mindanao, Prestige Modelling Agency (PMA) takes pride in being the catalyst for a lift in the local industry landscape.

With key players in the scene as consultants in putting lie to its vison, Prestige is a reliable corporate partner–training its talents of different ages and diverse races to exude notable professionalism in print, ramp and commercial modelling, setting to go at par with world-class standards. A case in point: its height requirement. Although a little exception may be spared for its print models, Prestige breeds female runway models who stand no less than 5’7″ and male runway models no less than 5’10”. Another one of its key features would be the provision of portfolio books containing the body of work for each of the talents, which is rare among its competitors within the city but is a common practice in the international industry.

At its helm and prime mover as Chief Executive Officer and president is Mr. Heindrich Marty Torres competently assisted by Mr. Arnold J. Echevarria as Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Glen C. Labradilla as Chief Finance Officer and Mr. Adam A. Resurreccion as Manager.

By providing updated modelling workshops , comprehensive personality development training and intensive character building activities, Prestige models are ensured to perform and deliver competency at any level of given tasks and assignments.

As a grand welcome to this roster of high caliber models to the city, Prestige invites local designers, its friends in the media, marketing managers and a league of Cebu’s socialites to its official launch on October 17 at The Gallery of Ayala Center- Cebu. In an Urban Uprising-themed celebration, witness its talents walk the talk and strut the runway in ensembles from Mango, Promod, Ever New, Guess and homegrown designer, Hanz Coquilla’s collection.

For more information about Prestige Modelling Agency, visit its headquarters along S202 Sonrisa Suites, 175 Juana Osmena Street, Capitol Site, Cebu City from 1:00PM to 9:00PM on Mondays through Saturdays or contact them at (032) 254-2953. You can also visit http://prestigemodellingagency.com and http://facebook.com/prestigemodellingagency or reach them through Twitter at @models_prestige and Instagram: @PrestigeModellingAgency.

— Prestige Modelling Agency Official Press Info

Swiney Todd | Treat Street Cafe

End-of-months provide both relief and further anxiety. The ebb in glad-that’s-over is met by the strong tide of shoulda-coulda-woulda’s and often, the surge of backlogs. As we all lean towards the quick fix, however cosmetic and passing, we opt for the pick-me-up and the pat-on-the-back of, often the sugary, treats.

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Swamped thru closing and too tired to consider a proper, full meal, we made our way to this quiet, little standalone on the Muji side of the Expansion Wing of Ayala Center-Cebu: Treat Street Café. Done up in the currently ubiquitous industrial-loft chic, it featured a chilled-display and a high bar counter with some tables and chairs out front in a refreshingly simple setup to its usually garish kiosk-brethren.

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Starting off with savories, their Spicy Lechon Pie hinted at a Mrs. Lovett but sat quite innocently in its perfectly plain pie crust. Biting into it revealed a steaming mass of shredded Cebuano Lechon. Veritably the Demon of Treat Street, its porcine goodness embraced my taste buds while making good of its spicy label with a soft, slow and lingering burn not too overwhelming. I was already raising my hand to summon seconds when The Pussykat shoved another plate in front of me.

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The Treat Street Pie had a dark chocolate cookie crumb base filled with walnuts in caramel, slathered with chocolate fudge then topped with a thick layer of cream and dusted with chocolate shavings. Fans of nutty pies and those of chocolate would happily skip about hand-in-hand after having this. Being one of both, I did with myself in my head.

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Way in over our heads and too into the reward, we thought another treat wouldn’t hurt. Muted green and gray colors wouldn’t score high on cake-peacockery but the label only had to show me “green tea” in Green Tea and Black Sesame Cake to get to grab me by the collar. Looking quite dense, the actual green tea cake was chiffon-light with the generous green tea and black sesame frosting also surprisingly light–the flavors allowed to stand out with the extreme restraint on sugar. My usual Americano didn’t have much sweet to counterbalance but went well with the unusual flavor pairing.

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The couple at the next table had what looked like a Red Velvet Cake and a Brownie, both ala mode. Tempting. But there’s always a next time.

Treat Street Café is located at the 2nd Level of the Expansion Wing of Ayala Center-Cebu, Cebu City.

Picky’s Mix | Pizza Republic

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I’ve read somewhere that in a study, termites eat faster and, thereby, more when subjected to heavy metal music. Perhaps, that is the idea behind the EDM that patrons are blasted with at Pizza Republic. Way to wake up the appetite. Hopefully such effect extends to one’s metabolism, as well.

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The crowds have finally let up to allow parking outside the single-storey joint. The rather simple, industrial loft-style interiors funneled attention to an acid yellow wall and the pizza assembly bar in front of it. A wall clad in brushed-steel displayed their best combos from which we picked out the protein-heavy Porcini — mozzarella, porcini, bacon, herbs and eggs. We decided to go crazy on a “Pick + Mix” for a second order.

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We started with a coat of Special Pizza Republic Sauce, the make of which I was not able to note, on the freshly-prepared pizza dough then piled on the Cream Cheese, Mozzarella, Cheddar, Parmesan and my current favorite, Gorgonzola. We didn’t stop at Cinque Formaggi , adding Smoked Pork Loin, Porcini, Bacon, Champignon Mushrooms, raw and Caramelized Onions, dried Basil, Arugula and more Bacon.

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This baby came out of the oven a steaming, sloppy, molten mess with a very heady pungency from the deadly combination of cheeses. Creamy flavors from the Cream Cheese contrasted against the sharpness of the Cheddar, the bite from Gorgonzola and the umami from Parmesan all held together by the slightly sweet chewiness of Mozzarella. The bacon and smoked pork loin gave it the much appreciated meat textures and flavors. As it is often said, one can never have too much bacon. Mushrooms balanced out the flavor intensity while the onions and arugula gave a refreshingly herby punch. What calorie limitations?

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The Porcini Pizza was heavy on that mushroom which seemed to take on the taste of the Bacon. The biscuit-thin crust came up pretty crisp with moisture coming in moderation from the single cheese topping. Pretty much the most protein-packed among the combos with bacon and eggs, I’d daresay this would make a great post workout meal during a bulk phase.

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Pizza Republic basically took the food customization concept most identifiable with another local favorite, Kublai Khan, and dished that out in items as tough to do wrong just as they are almost universally recognized: pizza. Coupled that with an unpretentious, uber casual, fun vibe and they have the formula for this runaway success. So, yeah, maybe the EDM had something to do with it, the control they gave their customers or the very reasonable pricing. Maybe it was just simply good. Whichever it was, we sure had a good time and left wanting to come back for more.

Pizza Republic is located between Islands Pasalubog Center-Lahug and Orange Karenderia along Salinas Drive, Apas, Lahug, Cebu City.