I swear, that was the first thing out of my friend Mica's mouth right after she took a bite from her sandwich. Who was the culprit in my friend's sudden surge of ecstasy? Why it was Elvis, The King Sandwich (P155). Scene of the the crime? At my very new find and current obsession, Peanut Butter Company (PB Co.).
First off, I have to give our resident film critic a big fat Thank You for convincing me to visit this little casual restaurant in SM North EDSA. Phil has been talking about PB Co. every time we bump into each other. This kept on for about a month -- this surely means good stuff awaits me in that place. So I finally had a weekend free and gathered some friends to take a trip to the north area to finally meet this peanut butter thingy. Imagine a place where they have all sorts of peanut butter - both sweet and savory kind - for sale in jars and also being sold in sandwiches and pastas. The concept alone sold me.
We actually got a bit lost finding PB Co., a little frustrated too because we were getting hungrier by the minute and the walk from the MRT station to Landmark to SM Sky Garden (on a Saturday!) was both long and stuffed with lots of people. But we finally found it, and boy am I happy we did -- it's near the mall entrance nearest to the Annex entrance of the Sky Garden level. Look for those odd kiddie rickshaw rides by the entrance that has the little passengers on a seat while a electronic/machine kid thing pulls them to motion. It's all very strange (the walking dolls remind me of Chucky from 'Child's Play'), but that's the best marker to know you're in the right mall entrance.
Let's first get to the Elvis, The King Sandwich (P155). Mica was very happy with that one, and I can just imagine why: crunchy peanut butter is slathered on the bread, then layered with strips of bacon and slices of banana. It's a sensational thing inside the mouth, with all the salty-sweet, soft-and-crunchy flavors and textures.
Elvis, The King Sandwich
This sandwich is known to be Elvis Presley's favorite, and is argued by many as the best way to eat peanut butter. From Mica's first words after the first bite (she said them again after the second bite, hehe), I'm guessing she agrees with that.
My other friend Timmie and her boyfriend ordered Classic Spaghetti (P135) and BBQ Wings (P125) -- and yep, both orders have peanut butter in 'em!
The spaghetti to my surprise was perfectly, deliciously al dente. Usually at more casual dining places, the noodles tend to be served overcooked. This one was just right. It was served in a handy box that's perfect for take-out, too. And once you open the box, you get a strong nutty scent. I twirl myself a forkful, and try it out.
My tastebuds automatically gave it a thumbs-up. It was my kind of spaghetti - sour notes of the sauce overlaying the sweet, not the cloying Pinoy-style sweetness at all. The nuttiness is not too powerful, and gives that feeling of curry for the pasta. Very interesting. I find out later that they mixed their sun dried tomato peanut butter with the meat sauce. Very, very interesting!
The BBQ Wings in the meantime get their spiciness from the drizzle of chili peanut butter. Nothing too extraordinary with the flavors that would take you aback, but definitely the peanut butter in there was not pinilit. It still had an agreeable taste.
Chili Fried Chicken Sandwich
My order for that day was Chili Fried Chicken Sandwich (P185), which is Phil's favorite (and the cashier points that out to me, as well). The sandwiches by the way are pretty big, you get a bigger square of bread and it is cut in half for easier consumption.
Box of Chips
Oh, by the way. Not all their items in PB Co. are smothered with peanut butter. Their drinks are canned sodas, juices and coffee. You can get a siding of Creamed Corn (P99) or Box of Chips (P65), both are peanut butter free. We chose to munch on a Box of Chips, which are salty, peppery, and crispy mojo potatoes.
Now, back to the Chili Fried Chicken. It's quite an exceptional thing! Imagine if you will, the popular fast-food spicy chicken sandwich. Make that leaner, healthier, less oily. Add a zany layer of chili peanut butter, a sweet and crunchy creamed corn top. Add some of your usual lettuce and tomato for some color and added texture. You get the Chili Fried Chicken. Over-all, it just tasted and looked fresh. This is one sandwich that did not disappoint at all, and yes, the trip up north was worth it. This spicy chicken sandwich now trumps the fast food kind from now on.
I was so hooked with Peanut Butter Company's unique concept that I decided to visit it again the day after. I brought along another friend with me, and we shared an order of pasta and sandwich. We ordered the PB Burger Sandwich (P185) and the Cold Asian Noodles (P135) that afternoon.
PB Burger Sandwich
Upon first bite of the burger, my friend smiles at me and says, "Who would've thought burgers and peanut butter would go well together?" I can see I've made another friend a PB Co. fan!
The bread bun is laden with sesame seeds so it seems like a nice way to add more sesame with their sesame peanut butter. The burger patty itself is decently sized, perhaps almost half an inch thick. The difference in taste is there, but it is not overkill.
Cold Asian Noodles
The Cold Asian Noodles reminds me of Japanese cold soba. Yum. They also used the sesame peanut butter for this dish, and it seems to me that sesame and peanut butter will always go well together. The al dente, slippery noodles with the shredded greens and chopped tomatoes is a bit of a fun tribute to nutty Asian noodles like the pad thai and peanut-noodle salads. If only they used linguine or vermicelli instead of the spaghetti pasta, I would personally love it more. Perhaps some chopped cilantro, too?
I forget to mention that Peanut Butter Company concocted all their different kinds of gourmet peanut butter. If you're hooked with their peanut butter creations like me, you can bring home 590 gram bottles for P180 each (Creamy/Crunchy Peanut Butter) or P210 each (Flavored Peanut Butter).
I brought home Chili Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter. PB Co. doesn't use any stabilizers or additional oils in all their products so oil separation occurs -- just stir the peanut butter a bit to get the right consistency. And another thing, by the way - Peanut Butter Company is a local brand! Their products are manufactured here. Another reason to drop by: to support quality Filipino products.
I recommend slathering the Chili peanut butter on fresh lumpiang ubod. I had that for Sunday breakfast, and it perked up my morning. The peanut butter has a smooth and silky consistency, the peanut butter taste still present. The tingly chili flavor is not too overwhelming so you can appreciate the nutty taste. The peanut butter in fact is quite curry-like in appearance and taste (they also have Curry Peanut Butter, I bet that's good, too). My friend Liz 'tweeted' about the Chili too, that it's quite exceptional for savory stuff. She recommends it with marinated/flavored meats, and to add cucumbers for some bite and contrast.
Another friend brought home a jar of Cinnamon Peanut Butter, and had it this way: slathered on toast, served with a glass of milk. "I'll never find a better midnight snack," he said. If you're not sure which jar to bring home, the folks at Peanut Butter Company can let you sample the different kinds of gourmet flavors they have. I've tasted Cardamon (it has teases of ginger) and Green Tea. The green tea was quite intriguing but I still haven't figured out how to use it, should I buy a jar. I think I'll be trying out chicken satay with the chili peanut butter some time soon. How about you guys, care to share your favorite PB Co. recipes?
Just very recently I brought several PB Co. sandwiches to our office and a couple of my colleagues proclaimed the White Chocolate Orange Sandwich (P135) and the Roast Beef Sandwich (P185) as their top picks. The first sandwich has white chocolate peanut butter, orange, and vanilla cream cheese; the latter is a sandwich of cardamon peanut butter, roast beef and gravy. They wolfed down the grub in under a minute!
White Chocolate Orange Sandwich
Roast Beef Sandwich
Oh, you've come a long way from just being my pandesal staple, you peanut butter, you. I've got to give Peanut Butter Company a very warm hug for reviving my love for the simple comfort snack, and kicking it up a notch with their different concoctions. So spread it on bread, spread it on pasta, but most of all, spread the word!
On a side note, if you want some cold dessert to take a breather from peanut butter heaven, Stick House is right beside PB Co., serving different flavored gelati on stick. And another reminder: don't overkill on peanut butter especially if you're suffering from gout. Everything in moderation, as always. Enjoy!