THE best things in life are free, and getting to eat good food for free is certainly one of the best things that you can do in your life. So, how about it? Eat for free, that is. Last Monday (June 24, 2013), I got to go on an exciting food tour that had four very interesting stops, and I got to sample all these four restaurants’ specialty dishes for free. But you don’t have to envy me, even after I tell you where the food tour got me and what dishes I got to taste, because although the food tour last Monday was organized for the media, the succeeding food tours – happening for the next four Saturdays (June 29, July 6, 13 and 20) – are no longer exclusive to the media. They are for all shoppers who make a P1,500 purchase (single or accumulated receipts) in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) shops and restaurants and have been designed to treat everyone to an exciting food tour coupled with free bites in four restaurants. And you don’t have to go on the food tour and enjoy the free food by your lonesome. You can bring a friend along, as receipts for a P1,500 purchase entitles you to two tickets to join the food tour.
But, first, let me tell you what happened last Monday, when BGC launched its first BGC Eats Food Tour. Members of different media establishments and bloggers met at the Hop On, Hop Off Bus stop located along 9th St. between the Nike and Bo Concepts stores at 3:00 p.m. Joined by BGC’s Art Programs director Monica Llamas and food tour curator JJ Yulo, the group hopped on to the bus, which got underway on an exciting ‘guerilla type’ food tour.
FIRST STOP: WILD FLOUR
Wild Flour Café + Bakery, a bistro type restaurant located at the ground floor of Net Lima Bldg. along the corner of 4th St. and 26th Ave. This is one of the homegrown restaurants in BGC owned by Ana Lorenzana-De Ocampo and whose head chef is Chef Allen Buhay.
It’s well-known for its ‘cronuts’ (*a pastry that’s a cross between croissants and donuts which are all the craze in the United States now), Wild Flour being the first bakery in the Philippines to offer it in the country. Its cronuts are so popular that you cannot find it if you just walk in and attempt to buy it at Wild Flour. You need to order cronuts in advance.
Wild Flour is also known for its flatbreads, or its versions of rectangular pizzas cut into squares and served on a wooden chopping board. For the food tour last Monday, it served two kinds – Mushroom Tart Flambe and Bacon Tart – plus a healthy cucumber-mint-lime drink called Agua Fresca and sent everyone off with a small bag of choco cookie bites.
SECOND STOP: NOLITA
An intimate restaurant ‘endemic’ to Bonifacio Global City and located in Bonifacio High Street Central, Nolita is a self-service establishment named after a neighborhood in New York that’s famous for its huge pizzas. Needless to say, it brought authentic New York pizza to Manila that’s characterized by its size and the texture of its crust, which is crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. It offers 11 flavors of pizza, and customers come to the counter, pick the pizza that they want, and it is served to them.
During the BGC Eats Food Tour for the media, pizza flavors included Pepperoni, Wild Mushroom Walnut with Blue Cheese or Ricotta, Regular Cheese, Sausage Pepperoni Mushroom and Cheeseburger. They also served Wild Berry Drink, which was very refreshing and fruity and became an instant favorite of mine, as well as Savory Bread Pudding and Fried Shrimps with Creole Hollandaise.
The owner, Patrick Santos, went around making sure everyone had his fill.
THIRD STOP: 2nd’S RESTAURANT
A simple name for an exciting restaurant that sits on the second floor of Building 1 Quadrant 3, of Bonifacio High Street facing BGC’s 9th St. Owner Nadine Howell looked like a cross between Iza Calzado and Rhian Ramos, and with co-owner Indy Villalon and head chef Mikko Reyes, she gamely talked to the group about the restaurant and served two of its specialties: Bacon Chicharon for appetizer and a smaller version of Benedict Burger.
The Bacon Chicharon had the crunch and flavor factor needed to make it a hit, and the Benedict Burger is loaded with its USDA-grade all-beef burger sitting stop slices of Spam, topped with fried egg and Hollandaise sauce, and served with homemade ketchup and mayo. The original burger has a fried chicken egg on top, but for this mini version for the BGC Eats Food Tour, it had a fried quail egg on top. Mini version, it may be, but it was still very filling.
Everyone also received a token, a bottle of 2nd’s chilled sangria!
FOURTH STOP: CUPCAKES BY SONJA
Now, this is a huge success story for BGC. Cupcakes by Sonja in its original location at Serendra, that is. More than six years ago, Chef Sonja Ocampo revolutionized the local bakeshop industry and started the cupcake craze when she opened the first Cupcakes by Sonja store in Serendra. She turned cakes and even pies, tarts and other desserts into premium cupcakes, and people really queued up for them. They’re still hot and in demand.
For the BGC Eats Food Tour, Chef Sonja generously put together a cupcakes buffet display and had everyone taste Cupcakes by Sonja’s best-sellers, such as Red Velvet Vixen, Pistachio Berries n’ Cream, PB&J, Cookie Monster, Crème Brulee, Vanilla Sunshine, Pineapple Upside Down and Dark Valrhona Chocolate Cupcake. Then she sent off everyone with a Red Velvet Vixen cupcake.
Throughout the tour, Monica and JJ were there to acquaint ‘food tourists’ with each restaurant that they’re visiting and making sure they got to meet the owners and the chefs. To make the tour even more exciting, a group of live musicians called Ukelele Manila followed the group around and provided live entertainment at each stop.
“No two BGC Eats Food Tours are the same,” Monica promises, so expect the stops of the half-day food tours to be different each Saturday.
The way BGC Eats works is that BGC shoppers who accumulate receipts totaling P1,500 from any or a combination of shops and restaurants found at Bonifacio High Street, One and Two Parkade, Bonifacio Stopover, Crossroads, The Fort Entertainment Strip and The Mind Museum can claim two tickets for the food tour at the Bonifacio High Street Central Concierge (inside C1 Building) from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. until July 20, 2013. Claimants can choose to join any of the food tours scheduled on June 29, July 6, 13 or 20 and be at the Hop On, Hop Off Bus stop along 9th St. at exactly 3:00 p.m. Tour lasts approximately 2-1/2 hours.
So if you want to join the food tour and get to eat for free, you know what to do.