A Day at Cafe By The Ruins

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Cafe By The Ruins is one of those famous places in Baguio that even Manilenos are willing to suffer hours of travel to go up to Baguio to see and dine in this place. Well, I’ve always wanted to see the place, so in my recent Baguio trip, I finally dropped by with a friend.

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I can really see what the fuss is all about. With the wooden furnitures and the mountain cabin ambiance, I feel so comfy and at home. The place is located along Shuntug road and just right beside Eurotel. It’s in a quite secluded corner, so be on the lookout for the Cafe By The Ruins sign.

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My friend and I ordered Ruins’ coffee (Php 85), a coffee filtered with cardamom, topped with whipped cream, muscovado sugar and cinnamon powder. I love this coffee; I think the cinnamon gave it an extra oomph and the muscovado sugar is the perfect match to sweeten it to my taste.

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Another friend says the muscovado sugar looked like soil. Haha. But believe me, it tastes good with the coffee!

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My friend and I were already so full from our late breakfast. But since I wanted to try some food in Cafe By The Ruins, I ordered this Ernie’s kamote bread (bread flour with Cordillera kamote, milk, and honey) and Herb Cheese (Ricotta and yoghurt cheeses blended with butter, garlic, chives, and paprika). I have wanted to try this bread with cottage cheese and basil, but there’s none available at that time. But the Herb Cheese is good too! I’m kinda missing it already. Not too salty as cheese and I love the creamy consistency. Ernie’s Kamote bread is only Php 85 and is already served with your choice of spread.

Overall I really like this place. Best to enjoy it on a cloudy or sunny day. Next time I visit, I’ll try their desserts…and of course, more coffee!

 

Cafe By The Ruins
23 Shuntug road, Baguio City, Philippines
(074) 442 4010
FB page:?https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cafe-By-The-Ruins/38813861009

Posted in Coffee | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

1837 TWG Tea Salon and Boutique, Shangri-La Mall East Wing

I think I have found the perfect tea place, right smack in the middle of Shangri-la’s newly built East Wing!

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Can you find where the kitchen is located?

1837 TWG (The Wellness Group) Tea Salon and Boutique at Shangri-la Mall, East Wing, offers about 800 single estate fine harvest teas and exclusive blends, tea patisseries and other tea-infused delicacies in its menu. It’s more than a salon for those who wanted to spend the afternoon or evening enjoying their favorite teas; it’s also a retail outlet for tea leaves in tin cans that may interest people who like to enjoy exquisite teas at home. The year 1837 is significant because TWG originated from Singapore and this was the year when Singapore when it dominated as Far East’s most illustrious trading post for teas and spices.

The place actually reminded me of the movie, Moulin Rouge. It’s a dazzling display of lights, colors, and gold, giving a luxurious ambiance to the place. TWGtea tea boxes

Tea leaves in tin cans. It’s not advisable to keep tea leaves in a clear glass jar, anyway, nor have it stored near coffee and other spices, since the tea will absorb their flavor also. A tin can is priced at about Php 1,500 or more, depending upon the kind of tea leaves. 009

Tea Tin Can Tower is what I call it. There are few more of this in the place. It’s where they keep the tea leaves used for the resto, really. TWGtea tin can towers

More Tea Tin Can Towers. There’s even a Tea Bar! ?Actually the kitchen, which my friend and I have been looking for since we came in, was smartly hidden from the customers’ view behind the tea bar. Even if you go behind the tea bar, you won’t see the kitchen. It’s all walled up.

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And more tea…

TWGtea tea china sets

They’re selling china, too. I love that pink and white ones.

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And because the huge number of variants of tea they’re offering, they have to put it all in a book…

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I wish, though, that this “tea book” is available online. I’d love to read it through but I don’t think I’d be staying that long in the salon enough to read everything!

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Actually, I already get a headache just by looking at the tea menu/list. And yup, you saw that right…there are teas that are worth Php 1,500+/pot. They’re like the “champagne” of the tea world, I guess. I don’t know if I’d splurge that much on a pot of tea.

So, what did I try from that huge list of tea? Take note, though, that this post documents two visits to this place…I didn’t drink/eat all of these in one go! Also, some I have shared with a friend…

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Iced Pink Flamingo Tea, Php 195

Of course, you can have this served hot also. The taste is pretty much flowery, with some hint of fruit. Well, it said in the tea book that it’s a mix of green tea with crimson hibiscus blossoms. I suggest that you put just a teeny, little sugar syrup in there. Putting too much will not let you enjoy the subtle flavors.

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Iced Sakura Sakura Tea, Php 195

It may look like champagne but it’s not a sweet tea. I wouldn’t recommend putting sugar syrup in it. I simply like how there’s a slight tangy taste to it. Sorry, I forgot to look it up in the tea book so I could describe the mixture to you. Perhaps, next time.

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Chicken en brochette, Php 475

It’s a pan-seared chicken brochette flavored with wholegrain mustard with capsicum and pineapple chunks drizzled with Timeless Tea infused sauce and served with steamed rice. I wonder how that tea got its name. I just love how the food here taste so light and yet substantial. The taste is subtle, yet interesting. I guess I wouldn’t expect food here that’s high in sodium. Sometimes it’s the high sodium content that kills the food’s taste, no?

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Garden Vegetable Lasagna, Php 350

I forgot what kind of tea has been infused into this dish. I love how the cheese did not overpower the natural sweet taste of the vegetables in between the lasagna. However, I do wish there is less of that sauce. The lasagna is literally swimming in it. ?Not that it taste bad. It’s just my preference.

Now, everybody’s favorite part of the meal: desserts!

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Moroccan Mint Tea and Napoleon tea and Caramel macarons, Php 55/piece

Like what I’ve said, everything here has tea. LOL. Of the two, I like the Moroccan Mint Tea. It can really remove that aftertaste from a heavy meal. I find the Napoleon tea and Caramel macaron too sweet.

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Camelot Tea and Praline and Vanilla Bourbon Tea Macarons, Php 55/piece

The Camelot Tea and Praline macaron kinda reminded me of graham crackers…but with some subtle chocolate filling. It’s just okay. I like the Vanilla bourbon tea macaron better. It is sweet, because of the vanilla, but I kinda like the bourbon aftertaste.

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I’m beginning to like these macarons. They look small and unassuming, but they’re just the perfect desserts: not so filling, not so overwhelmingly sweet, but can totally be the perfect finish for a meal. A perfect little kiss to remind of the wonderful dinner one had.

But there’s one more:

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Vanilla Bourbon Tea Ice Cream, Php 110/cup

So even the ice cream is not safe from tea, LOL. Seriously, I think this is the perfect dessert to that dinner (especially if you’re having a dinner date. It’s just that macarons as a dessert during a date isn’t just too “romantic”). The texture, the taste…just perfect. I love this ice cream!

I really can’t wait to visit this tea salon again. Maybe I could buy one of their tea pots for sale (those in the gift sets), buy tea leaves (expensive, though), and brew myself some tea? I’d love to come back here with friends, though. This place is just too interesting and would be a nice conversation piece.

1837 TWG Tea Salon and Boutique can be found at the 2nd floor of Shangri-la Mall’s East Wing. There are also branches at Resort’s World and Greenbelt.

Posted in Desserts, Pasta dishes, Tea | Tagged , | 2 Comments

El Viento Restaurant and Poolside Bar at Marco Polo Cebu Hotel

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The last few weeks have been busy for me because of some traveling with friends. I wasn’t able to do much food tripping as much as I wanted to because there’s just so many stuff to do and so little time! Hehehe. But yeah, I tried.

For today’s blog post, I want to share with you my experience at Marco Polo Cebu Hotel’s El Viento Restaurant and Pool Bar. Marco Polo Cebu Hotel is where I stayed after the Asia Humanist Convention I attended in Cebu.

El Viento Restaurant and Pool Bar will remind you of summer all-year long. I guess it’s because of its Mexican theme, the al fresco setting, and of course, it’s best view, the poolside.

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Lovely, inviting lounge chairs…perfect place for soaking in the sun

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Pool for the kids

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Those lounge chairs submerged in the pool water is simply the best

Just looking at these photos makes me want to go find a pool to dip in. And the urge grew even stronger upon remembering the fun time my friends and I had in that same pool. With this kind of view at El Viento, it makes chilling-and-relaxing all the more refreshing.

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Perfect day!

My friend and I ordered beer (San Miguel Light and Cerveza Negra) as refreshments (I forgot how much they are, sorry). And for our snack, we ordered an 8″ Pizza Sisig.

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We were curious as to how the sisig will play into a pizza dish. ?Surprisingly, it does taste good as a pizza! Even with the egg on top! I guess the sisig meat is kind of a replacement or alternative for the anchovies found in the usual pizza. The two of us were able to finish the whole thing. Hehehe. ?And it’s reasonably priced, too, at Php 270.00 (if I remember it correctly).

The restobar staff were friendly and give good, prompt service. I love how accommodating they were. Initially, my friend and I were just supposed to hangout in the place for a cig break and we asked permission from the staff if we could have some seats. But despite that, they arranged a table for us and even gave us water for drinks. We, then, decided to order food and drinks anyway because we liked the place already.

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The place looks great at night, too. There are fewer people around then. ?And perhaps, if you really don’t like crowded places, the night time is the best time to hang out at El Viento.

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That’s me and my friend, Regie, having another cig break.

There’s another bar that can be found at Marco Polo Cebu Hotel and that is Blu Bar and Grill. Blu Bar is actually the more famous bar at Marco Polo and can be found at the topmost floor, offering a panoramic view of the city. However, due to time constraints and the number of activities that we had to do, we weren’t able to visit it. Awwwww. Maybe next time we visit Cebu.

Posted in Filipino food, Hotels, Travel | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Secret Recipe’s Thai Seafood Spaghetti

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Secret Recipe Manila has a new offering for pasta lovers: Thai Seafood Spaghetti. ?It’s a Thai-inspired special creation of basil, chillies and garlic with saut?ed prawns and calamari tossed through spaghetti.

And since they called it Thai Seafood Spaghetti, I’m expecting it to be quite spicy. ?I was a bit disappointed with their Thai Green Curry Chicken they had that I ordered before because it was lacking in heat. ?However, this Thai Seafood Spaghetti did not disappoint. ?And it wasn’t too oily too. The serving size is ample and for Php 185, I think it’s a good buy?already. ?It went well with the watermelon shake that I ordered (no photo taken, sorry).

Posted in Asian Food, Pasta dishes | Tagged | 7 Comments

Wine Accessories for the Wine Lover

Wine is more than just a drink. With its rich history and devout following, wine is part of a lifestyle. Wine clubs can introduce you to fine wines. But fully enjoying that wine typically requires more than just a great bottle. Consider the following accessories to help you increase your enjoyment of the hugely popular beverage:

Wine racks and coolers: If wine drinkers are part of wine clubs or otherwise acquire a steady supply of wine, having a high-quality wine rack is a must. Wine racks can range from a small rack that holds a few bottles to a larger rack that can store more than 40 bottles. Many wine lovers opt to invest in a wine refrigerator or climate-controlled cabinet, allowing them to store wine at optimal conditions.

Wine glass charms: Wine glass charms create a stylistic way for guests to tell their wine glass apart from others. Perfect for parties, wine glass charms are small charms that hook on the stem of a wine glass. Consider tailoring your charms to your party: Use Christmas-themed charms for a Christmas party, for example.

Wine glasses: The elegance of wine demands a specialty glass to do it justice. Many wine connoisseurs select a glass to match the type of wine they serve. The red wine glass is wider, allowing more room for swirling and aerating the wine. Sparkling wine is best enjoyed using champagne flutes: Tall thin glasses keep bubbles from escaping too rapidly and negatively affecting the taste of the wine. Consider stocking a variety of glasses to enhance your enjoyment of the wines you drink.

Bottle opener: A corkscrew or corkpull is one accessory every wine drinker must have. After all, if you can’t open the bottle, you can’t drink the wine (unless its a screw-top). Many wine drinkers also purchase wine spouts and wine vacuums, which assist in serving and preserving the wine.

As the old saying goes, “Life is too short to drink bad wine.” Investing in a few quality accessories can help make your good wine taste even better.

Posted in Wines | 1 Comment

Enderun College Summer Cooking Workshop Discounts!

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Visit this site for registration and more information.

Posted in News and Events | Tagged | 7 Comments

Baked Creamy Cheesy Penne and Apple Caramel Crumble Pie @ Banapple Kitchen, Market! Market!

Would you ever believe that it was only this year that I have tried Banapple Kitchen? LOL.

Yeah, it’s true. And somewhat, I think I’ll be coming back for more of their food. Here are the two dishes that I have ordered during my first visit:

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Baked Creamy Cheesy Penne (Php 185)

This is actually one of their bestsellers in pasta dishes. ?It’s al dente penne pasta smothered with white cheese sauce and meaty tomato sauce with sauteed Hungarian sausage. ?It’s pretty much filling for just one person and I guess, because it’s quite heavy in the tummy, two persons can split it and just order a side dish or a dessert to make it more filling for both. ?I wasn’t even able to finish this dish. ?I liked it, don’t get me wrong. ?But with two sauces going in there, it’s really quite heavy for me, even for a main meal.

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Apple Caramel Crumble Pie (Php 100)

I’ve got a slice for my dessert and my, my, my it’s one humongous slice! ?It’s called apple caramel but I think there’s cinnamon in it too. ?I just love how warm and sweet the baked apples were. ?I was quite tempted to order a whole pie, actually (only Php 760 and I think, I could finish in a week).

This is quite a short blog post…but I’m sure I’ll be posting updates soon. ?I’m craving for more pies!

Posted in Desserts, Pasta dishes | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Online Games with Real Money

In as much as I like spending free time going out with friends, eating out and having coffee, I also love playing games, both online and offline. And one of those “old-fashioned” games that I miss is Bingo. Kids of this generation probably never knew that this game was played with a bunch of pre-printed cards with numbers on it and numbered chips that are stored in a plastic bottle, shaken during the game to get a random number and called out. Players are supposed to take note of the numbers and see if it forms pre-agreed patterns on their cards. ?When a player has one of the patterns formed, he is supposed to say “bingo!” to alert all the other players that his card is a possible win. This, in turn, would be checked and then he would be pronounced a winner. Ahhhhh! Good ol’ days! It’s an opportunity for bonding with friends and even forming new friendships with total strangers, if played correctly.

Most of kids nowadays have probably experienced playing bingo online. There are a lot of online bingo gaming sites, mostly free-play. However, there’s a certain amount of excited added when real money comes to the game. One just has to pay a certain amount as a deposit and play several games. The conditions may differ from one site to another. But winnings usually can be paid through credit card or paypal. One of the more popular online bingo sites is Cheekybingo.com.

I haven’t tried to play games online with real money involved, although I have shopped online. But then, perhaps through paypal, transactions are fairly secure. Maybe I’ll try it sometime. ?A word of caution, though: ?Always check if the online gaming site operates legally.

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Food Writing Workshop with Ms. Amy Besa

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Those of you who might be interested in honing their creative food writing skills, this workshop is for you.  After all, food writing has to be one of the more difficult writing styles (in my opinion).  I don’t claim to be an expert (hell, I’m uneducated about this kind of writing style and I need to learn!) but if you notice, one just simply can’t overuse “tasty”, “delicious”, and “gastronomic” especially when writing articles about food for newspapers or any publication.  You also have to be knowledgeable in cooking techniques and the ingredients!  It takes some careful and practical use of words to be able to convey the experience that we sense through taste and smell.

I guess, for a 3-day workshop, with lunch and snacks, P5,400 isn’t too bad.  I just hope my schedule will permit me to join this workshop.

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Dakasi Bubble Milk Tea

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I have always been a coffee person.  But there are just times when I just want to take a break from the espresso-frappuccino-lite-with-irish creme-and-double-shot-espresso drink that I usually get.  That’s the time when I turn to milk teas for refreshment.  So far, I’ve liked Happy Lemon and Gong Cha.  But then I read in some blogs about this milk tea place that’s called Dakasi.  So, I went over to their Market! Market! branch to try it out.

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This milk tea place actually started in Taiwan.  But now, it already has a lot of branches in China and other southeast asian countries, like in the Philippines.

At first glance, the place kinda looked like Happy Lemon, because of the prominent bright yellow and white colors of the store.  I love that it’s very well-lit and that somehow makes the experience a cheery one.  Members of the staff are quite friendly and accommodating.  And the whole place looked clean.

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There are a lot of varieties of milk teas to choose from like Jasmine milk tea and Taiwan Holly leaf milk tea.  I tried their bestseller, Dakasi Bubble milk tea.  It’s sweeter than I would have wanted it.  I’m not sure if I could ask them to lessen the sugar content, like what I do at Gong Cha.  But the tapioca balls are soft and easy to chew.  And they don’t get stuck in the straw like what happens sometimes which makes drinking these kind of drinks a little difficult.

Overall, I enjoyed my first experience at Dakasi Market! Market! branch (which is located near Lord Stowe’s bakery and just right in front of Serendra).  I’ll come back to try the other milk teas.

The other branches of Dakasi are:

Annapolis Carpark, Greenhills Shopping Center (02)871.5499
Ground Floor, Dela Rosa Carpark 1, Makati (02)401.4929
Level 1, Marquee Mall (045)304.1343
Level 1, SM Sta Rosa
Level 2, Harbor Point (047)306.5061
Level 2, The District (02)710.2561
UN Avenue corner Orosa, Manila (02)917.7077
Level 1, Festival Mall (02)775.6465
Level 1, Robinsons Place Otis (02)710.2562
17 P Tuazon, Cubao (02)945.2646
Level 1, Technohub Iloilo
Level 3, SM Calamba
Level 1 Padre Faura Wing, Robinsons Place Manila (0926)681.9698
Level 3, Trinoma (02)710.2547
207 Banawe St, Quezon City (02)546.8146

Dakasi Philippines FB page: https://www.facebook.com/DakasiPH/

Posted in Milk Teas | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments