Showing posts with label merienda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label merienda. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Gardens, The Grove, Pasig City

I was going to go to the airport to fetch the Clairvoyant who was arriving from Hong Kong with her parents. Instead of doing so, however, we decided to just meet up midway as our driver would be the one to fetch them all to the airport. My wife will just be dropped off at our designated meeting place before our driver proceeds to take my in-laws to their home. We agreed to meet up along the route to Quezon City, which was mainly along C-5. The Grove presented itself as a good option as it was near our usual route to our home in Rizal. I thought at first to go to Starbucks to have my drink and some snacks. I found it to be crowded so I checked for other options where I could have my merienda. One place that already got me curious from our previous times there was a quaint restaurant we always say we'd eat at but haven't.

The interiors give you a relaxed feeling. I thought this was a good venue for long conversations or catching up.
The bar is interesting with bottles of a variety of stuff including spices, sauces and beverages.
Orange Julius to cool off on a Sunday afternoon
Fluffy pancakes for merienda while waiting for the wife. Those are maple syrup, bananas and a couple of sausages on the side to make the merienda more satisfying.
I had a good meal and the service is good at The Gardens and will likely eat there again soon. But that next time will be with the wife and our little one. Browsing through their menu, they have a lot of variety and seem to be child-friendly, which is an important feature we look for in restaurants these days.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Yellow Lantern Cafe, Antipolo

One afternoon after a trip to the Avilon Zoo in Rodriguez (formerly Montalban), Rizal. we decided to make a "merienda" stop along our way home. The Clairvoyant suggested the Yellow Lantern Cafe in Mambugan, Antipolo City. The cafe is located at the initial steep ascent from lower Antipolo to the upper part of the city where there are several establishments offering nice views of Metro Manila. She had eaten there before with an old friend from university and they had a good snack plus the benefit of good wifi.

Tables included those with all seats facing the balcony. Despite the afternoon sun, the cafe benefited from a cool breeze. There were TV screens strategically located around the cafe where they likely show popular programs including probably basketball games or boxing matches.
Staff congregated at the bar for what seemed to be a downtime for everyone. We were told they were busiest after 5PM when people start coming in for the sunsets and later for the cityscapes after dark.
The cafe has air-conditioned rooms for more private functions and I guess you can also have your own karaoke session in those rooms.
We came at a time when there was only us eating there (around 2:30 PM on a holiday). We practically had the entire cafe and staff to ourselves.
Chocnut cheesecake - a definitely "must try" for those eating at the cafe
The cafe offers this view of Metro Manila. It was mid-afternoon when I took this photo so the sun is basically setting towards the west and giving more emphasis on the smog smothering the metropolis. I can imagine this to be a more spectacular view at night when all the lights give a different feel to the cityscape.
Looking at their menu, Yellow Lantern Cafe has good variety and is not your typical "inuman" place. Prices are fair and the selection gives you choices for food whether its for full meals or light ones like the merienda we had. I would say that it is a good place to go to if you want a place to eat at Antipolo without having to go all the way up and to the restaurants further up Sumulong Highway. It affords a great view of Metro Manila, offers good food, and, based on our experience, good service from the staff.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Blugre': A Taste of Davao

We were at the Taytay Municipal Hall for a meeting and afterwards wanted to go for some merienda before heading home. We spotted a new cafe at the building just across from the municipal hall. The last time we were here was more than three months ago and this wasn't there before. 

Blugre' Coffee is a popular cafe in Davao City, the hometown of the current President of the Philippines. I haven't seen any branches in Metro Manila and so it came as a pleasant surprise to see this one in Taytay. Here are some photos of the cafe, which opened only last weekend but now enjoys quite a crowd especially municipal hall employees and visitors.

Backdrop, tables and chairs
Counter and merchandise
Beverage and food selections
Novelty drink celebrating the popularity of the current president
We thought their coffee and iced tea were good. I also tried their tuna melt sandwich and it was good, too. The prices are more like Figaro than Starbucks and they do have some unique items on the menu featuring mainly durian. I think the service is good though they are a bit slow to prepare our orders. We thought that this was likely due to their being new so there's definitely room for improvement. We will definitely be back for more coffee, tea and merienda. Maybe next time we will try their meals.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Teppanyaki at Somerset

One of the things we missed about Singapore was eating out. After checking in to our hotel, we found ourselves walking to the nearby SMRT station to board a train to Orchard Road. We alighted at Somerset to check out if our old food haunts were still there. We found that there was no longer a Din Tai Fung at the Somerset mall. The old Ramen Play resto was also no longer there. Marche was still there but we decided to go for the teppanyaki at the top of Somerset.

I know its Maundy Thursday but here goes a couple of photos of the set we ordered for our 'heavy merienda'. The Clairvoyant wasn't able to have lunch so we decided to have a heavy enough meal before taking a walk along Orchard Road.

Beef and seafood

Scallops and prawn
The teppanyaki came with a generous serving of salad and a cup of rice. Afterwards, we decided to go around the mall a bit to see what other changes were there before taking our Orchard stroll. More on our Singapore sentimental weekend soon...


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Snack time at Dunkin Donuts

The wife and I decided to have merienda while waiting for our dog being groomed at the shop beside our vet. Our search for a place to have a snack at led us to a Dunkin Donuts among a bunch of restaurants along Marcos Highway. Dunkin Donuts serves good coffee and the wife wanted to have a cup to go with a donut (we are at a donut shop after all). While looking at the donuts on display, I spotted their sandwich selections and we ended up getting a couple of tuna sandwiches on ciabatta bread.

The branch was made up for Valentine's Day and they had some promos for boxes of donuts

Our sort of a Valentine's date with tuna melt sandwiches, a donut each, coffee for the wife and hot chocolate for me.
The donuts, coffee and chocolate was as expected and satisfying. We were actually surprised that the sandwiches were good. It was a good heavy merienda for us and we had fun talking about how we didn't go on actual Valentine's dates since we got together. It was February the 13th and so we continued with our streak of not dating on the 14th.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Off-season delights: puto bumbong

Two Sundays ago after Mass, we decided to pass by the food stalls beneath the church to get our Ally some treats. There are usually home-baked cookies available in at least one stall and these are the chewy kind that are a pleasure to munch on. There is a very popular stall that offers bibingka (grilled rice cakes) and puto bumbong, which are steamed rice cakes cooked in small cylindrical containers (bumbong)that give them their characteristic shape. Puto bumbong is usually something that was sold during the Advent season during Simbang Gabi (night or early morning masses) but now is sold in many places and not necessarily at churches on Sundays. I got a couple of orders of puto bumbong for merienda at home.

Puto bumbong just the way we like it - with grated coconut, butter and sugar

Puto bumbong is among those that I categorize under comfort food. The ones I get at our church are good and definitely brings back a lot of memories when I was young and going to simbang gabi with my friends. I associate such food with Christmas, which is always a happy season for me. It certainly does not hurt reminiscing about Christmas any time of the year.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Puto at kutsinta

I always remind myself of our relative proximity to Antipolo's new public market. It is where we get our fresh seafood and vegetables on weekends. We also found good old kakanin or rice cakes being sold there and we quickly made sukis out of some vendors of puto, kutsinta and sapin-sapin.

I prefer "puto sa bilao" or "puto manapla" than the other types of puto that you can buy from the leading bakeshops. The latter are not really puto since many use flour and not rice for the doughs. I prefer the classic puto that you can buy at the market or at shops that specialize in native kakanin. There are still many of these shops around Rizal especially in Cainta, Taytay and Antipolo.

Puto and kutsinta are traditional rice cakes or kakanin. In the photo is puto sa bilao, which is sliced from a giant rice cake on a flat basket (bilao).

Kutsinta is made of glutinous rice and goes very well with shaved coconut.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Toasted siopao

There's a current rage for toasted siopao. I first tasted one earlier this year when we purchased a dozen from Balai Pandesal along Commonwealth Avenue in the Fairview area. Customers have a choice between asado (a kind of stew) and bola-bola (meat balls or ground beef/pork). My father-in-law enjoyed the toasted siopao and told us that they were popular in his hometown of Naga City in Camarines Sur. 

We found another bakery, Bicol's Best, near our home and bought a couple of boxes for when we entertained the wife's office-mates one evening. One of her office-mates mentioned that there was another bakery located along Marcos Highway in Antipolo that's become popular with its toasted siopao. I decided to check this out one time on my way home and purchased a box for us to enjoy over merienda.

An acquaintance mentioned TatyStar Bakery located at the commercial center near the Filinvest East main gate along Marcos Highway. It is within the compound and is not visible from the highway.
The box contains 12 buns
A hot toasted bun doesn't look like siopao at all.
Inside is the prize - savory asado with egg
This toasted siopao is certainly something that should weather the fad tag. Of course, there will be those who would quickly join the bandwagon but I guess the really good siopao will eventually survive and outlive those who only wanted to make a quick buck from this trend. Others will perhaps just go back to the steamed original.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Balai Pandesal

There is a pandesalan along Commonwealth Avenue in the Fairview district that's been highly recommended by friends residing in the area. Their pandesal is not marketed as "pugon" pandesal, referring to the earthen ovens that use wood as fuel for the fires. However, their pandesal is very tasty and one will surely remark that eating it doesn't require palaman. Since we are usually travel to Novaliches to lunch with my in-laws on Sundays, we quickly became regulars of Balai Pandesal. They also have other bread products like bread loafs, ensaymada (pastry usually topped with cheese or margarine and sugar) and pan de coco (buns with coconut filling). I like their "kalihim" that is basically a roll with a sweet red, blue or mixed sweet filling. These are perfect for merienda with whatever drink on the side.

Balai Pandesal is located along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City in the Fairview area.
Also popular at Balai Pandesal are their toasted siopaos. My father-in-law tells us that toasted siopao is very popular in Bicol and that they enjoyed these during their childhood years back in Naga City. I've seen some shops sprouting around Antipolo selling these toasted siopao claiming theirs to be "Bicol's Best." I have tasted a couple of their asado but I think Balai Pandesal's version is tastier.

Their toasted siopao is good and you have a choice of bola-bola or asado just like the conventional siopao.
So whenever you happen to be in the Fairview area and traveling along Commonwealth Avenue, be sure to try out Balai Pandesal. It's along the northbound side of Commonwealth and right after the Mercury Drug branch across from Puregold. You won't regret it!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

J.Co donuts

I have wondered about the long queues at J.Co stores in the malls. I was told by friends that their donuts are really good. And so when J.Co opened a branch near our office, I decided to get a box we could share during merienda at the office. I didn't get the exact names of each of the doughnut variants though I did remember a couple that were called Al Capone, and reputedly the best selling doughnut from J.Co.

A box of 12 donuts is priced at 350 PhP but you can get 2 boxes for 550 PhP.
Al Capone
I forget what this one is called but it is a delight because of the nuts
What attracts a lot of people to buy J.Co is the variety with some doughnut concoctions being quite daring in the combination of ingredients.

The verdict is that their donuts are really good. Personally though, I prefer the classic glazed donuts of Krispy Kreme over J.Co's version. Of course, I would always prefer the freshly made regular sugar raised or sprinkled donuts like the one we used to buy in the old Rustan's in Cubao or Unimart in Greenhills. These were guilty pleasures from my childhood.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


We had some local, native treats for merienda (snacks) last weekend at my in-laws. This consisted of fruits (rambutan), puto and kutsinta (rice cakes), assorted nuts, and taho. It was the hot taho that we enjoyed a lot when we were kids. It's usually sold by roving vendors and is made of soya. Added to the soya is arnibal, which is made of caramelized sugar or syrup and vanilla, and sago or tapioca pearls.

Taho, which is made of soya, is sweetened with arnibal and sprinkled with sago.
Rambutan, taho, puto, kutsinta, and assorted nuts and peas.