Because I’ve tasted the original Tim Hortons coffee during my short visit to Vancouver almost a decade ago, of course I got curious whether the one established in Manila tastes the same. I’ve been wanting to go since they opened shop last year, but the branches were out of our way. And my heart skipped a beat when we saw they opened one near MOA, yay! Finally, tried it last Friday and I wasn’t disappointed.
I actually got an overload because they were offering their signature brewed coffee for free (just because the branch recently opened) for every order. And since we already have iced coffee for our combo orders, we were Tim Hortoned till the next day, which was mighty fine with them. Love their coffee as it already has cream and sweetener. Just got their cheese panini and the hubby got the Italiano bagel, which was a lot of work if you ask me, but he seemed to have enjoyed it. We also shared a chocolate dip donut. Next time I’m having the biscuit and bagel with cream cheese.
Okay, so this Christmas season, I am still all about making Ate happy. Despite my misgivings, and following our not so good experience at this cafe, I brought the whole family to another concept cafe. This time, it’s cats, and no sooner than I have set foot in the Miao Cat Cafe’s threshold that I want to back out.
You see, I am definitely not a cat lover. It must be the dog in me. For years and years before I started my own family, I have lived with dogs. At one time, I had nine of them (four or five were puppies). While I respect cat lovers and cats of all shapes and sizes, we definitely could not live under one roof. Maybe it’s because dogs make so much effort to please humans, that’s why humans are naturally drawn to them (at least this human does!). You kinda meet halfway whereas cats need to be wooed or something like that, and I don’t normally do that, even to fellow humans!
And so, only true, unconditional love could lead me to endure half an hour with these felines. A payment of Php300 per adult and Php 150 per child entitles interaction with the resident cats of the cafe for two hours, and includes a drink and pastry. There was a changing area for footwear, and they provide slippers. Unlucky day for me because I was not wearing socks, ugh! Both kids enjoyed that time spent, and time could not pass fast enough for the adults haha. This is a dream place for cat lovers who cannot have cats at home, and the owners are nice enough to share their pets to the paying public. They must have at least fifteen high breed felines there.
We had lunch on Christmas Day at Rainbow Dreams Cafe along the stretch of Maginhawa Street in Quezon, which is famous for being littered with rows of concept restaurants and specialty establishments. I came upon a post a couple of months before, and decided to delight Mischa with its cute concept of unicorns/my little ponies (up to now, it is still not clear what they are. lol).
Also ran into one of our colleagues who was spending Christmas there alone. Poor guy haha (seriously though, he doesn’t mind).
From the get-go, it was clear that the employees there were not happy to be on duty on Christmas day. Their Facebook page said the cafe was open at 12:00 noon, and it was half an hour past when we got there, and they weren’t ready yet. And their patrons could use some smile, but nada. There was also another family there, and just like us waited for them to get their acts together. It really seemed like they were dragging their feet. I would have thought that they would have some Christmas spirits left in them but it looks like they left these at home Oh well.
General review of food–zilch. Presentation was all they could boast of. But they were even serving it sloppy. Some of their plastic glasses had some cracks in them that water was spilling on the table. It took me at least three calls to their server to mop it up to no avail. We just decided to move on to the next empty table so they would deal with the mess later. I didn’t want to make a fuss so as not to spoil the day. So we just lapped up the tasteless dishes and took photos for posterity and that’s it.
Honey garlic wings
Crispy fish fillet
Chicken with sriracha
Because I try as much as possible to try things, especially food and restaurants, whenever I am in a new place, We searched and asked around for the best dining experience in Dagupan City. Our cursory review of the Net and referrals led us to Dagupena, one of the oldest and well-known in the city. We got quite a laugh when we realized that Dagupena is not really in Dagupan, but located in the neighboring town of Calasiao. We thought we got a little ripped off by the tricycle fare, but I would like to think that the needs of the family of the tricycle driver is much greater than mine so there you go.
And because Dagupan City is Bangus (milkfish) city, we just had to have bangus! While I don’t normally like bangus because, number 1, it has more bones or tinik than you can imagine. You spend almost all of your time removing them than actually eating, and by the time you’re done, you might have already lost your appetite. Number 2, sometimes it kinda tastes like mud. But the bangus I had here was yummy, juicy, and more importantly, boneless! Haha. Seriously though, it had a sweet, savory tang to it that made me enjoyed it. We paired the sizzling fish with the national food in the Philippines, which is sinigang. The two were a perfect blend in the mouth. We capped it off with dessert (I had sansrival ice cream).
Despite it being a weekday when we came, the restaurant was full, and the service seemed slow. It seemed to me that the crowd was a mix of well-off locals and tourists like us. The lighting could also be improved, as well as the ambiance in general. But the place is still being patronized, maybe because of its long history in the business, and its reputation precedes it. It really could do more but the food really wasn’t so bad.
I and some colleagues, during a recent trip to Naga City, dined at the Red Platter. It was recommended by our hotel’s staff as one of the best places to eat in the city. Looking at its interior, with the way it was built, it seemed to me like it was formerly an ancestral house, which was turned into a restaurant. I like entrepreneurs who do this to maximize idle real properties. It even had weathered Machuca tiles that enhanced the 20th century look of the place. The dining different areas looked like they were formerly sitting areas or family rooms. The restaurant is perfect for family style meals or intimate conversations.
And because we were in Bicol, we just had to try the sili-infused meals. Unfortunately, there was no Bicol Express Pasta that day, and that was the one I was looking forward to. Bummer! And my favorite crispy pata is a little letdown. But! This might be because I have already searched far and wide for the best ones, and this version might be good enough for some.
Laing cordon bleu
Salted egg fried chicken
Sinigang na salmon belly
They also have a bakeshop showcasing cakes and a whole lot of pastries, specializing in pili, a local product of the Bicol region.
One quiet afternoon in Naga City, I took my girls out for meryenda. We ventured into a place called Coffee Table in the lifestyle center of the city. It was nice haunt for meetings and quiet conversations. Located in the same building as a hotel, it fairly attracts students, professionals and anyone in the neighborhood looking for a place to unwind.
I was actually gunning for their specialty Bicol Express Pasta, but too bad that it was not available. So I settled for the seafood pasta and the super hot sili affogato. I almost didn’t make it the next day. lol. It was soooo spicy! I must have drunk 2 gallons of water in one sitting.
Matcha green tea
Seafood Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes
Cookies and cream crepe
If you are looking for traditional Filipino food livened up with a twist, then Manam is for you. The restaurant is an ideal place for families or a group of friends sharing a hot meal, or even couples of bffs chilling out or plain relaxing. Each of their dishes come in three sizes: small, medium or large, so you can order according to the size of your party or your heart’s desire. You need not worry about ordering too much or too little.
You can start off with drinks concocted with ingredients that you would not think are possible together:
Banana melon sago
Camias with lemongrass
Papaya with black pepper
For the main dishes, there were so many to choose from. If I had my way, I would have gotten their bestseller sisig and the sinigang na corned beef sa watermelon. But as I was with hypertensive and people watching out for their sugar levels, we opted for the safer though still yummy dishes.
Batil patung (famous in Cagayan where the husband is from)
Braised then fried pork and chicken adobo (a hit with Mischa)
Binukadkad na plapla with buro
Sinigang na ulo ng salmon sa guyabano (a hit with Maxine)