Houston may not have an In-N-Out like our neighbors to the north, but this fine city has something Dallas, Austin and San Antonio don't: the Filipino fast food restaurant where ordering spaghetti, fried chicken and the dessert, halo-halo together are encouraged, Jollibee. And as of last weekend, Red Ribbon Bakeshop.
Red Ribbon Bakeshop, the Filipino bakery chain based out of the Philippines, opened October 25 in the Main Street Shopping Center near Reliant Stadium. The inclusion of the shop makes for a holy Filipino trinity with adjacent Jollibee and Pugon de Manila. Saturday's grand opening didn't produce the massive lines as Jollibee's first day, but did have impressive numbers by its own standards.
Doors opened at 7 a.m. with a line of people crowding the parking lot. Each waiting patiently for a slice of mango cake while discussing their excitement with fellow attendees. Before the first hour passed, over 100 people purchased baked goods and it wasn't 7:30 a.m. yet.
Inside, the grab and go bakeshop is small and narrow with a contemporary feel. The walls are bright orange and yellow, allowing your eyes to be drawn to the bright red packages before you. Near the entrance is where the fun begins. Shelves of packaged sweets include: cashew brownies, pan de sal -soft bread buns tossed in bread crumbs, mango bars, cheesy ensaimada and the best seller, butter mamon - a melt-in-your-mouth sponge cake made with chiffon and butter.
An assortment of cakes are available to choose from that includes chocolate, black forest, rocky road and the crowd-pleaser mango cake sweetened with mangoes from the Philippines. For the more adventurous, the ube overload cake (purple yams) covered in white cream frosting and cake crumbs. Behind the counter are Filipino empanadas filled with savory beef or chicken.
Ray Viguilla, Red Ribbon Bakeshop USA's head of operations, was in attendance. He was thrilled to see everyone excited about the bakery and looks forward to putting more smiles on the faces of Texans soon. Brand Manager Chino Lazaro teased further that if all goes well, locations for Austin and Dallas will likely come in 2015. For now, the focus is on Houston and living up to everyone's expectation. After a taste of the butter mamon, expectations have been exceeded.
Have you visited Red Ribbon Bakeshop or are you waiting to visit? Tell us about your expectations in the comments.
Red Ribbon Bakeshop [Photos: Jakeisha Wilmore]