THE NEST – Vivere Hotel

The Nest at VIVERE Hotel…

vonnegut
=)

http://www.thetomatotart.com/life/quotable-friday-kurt-vonnegut-enjoy-the-little-things/

Now that we’re free for a few days, we had the chance to go out in the evening. Whereas during ordinary days, normally we just go out to have a quick lunch out or to have coffee somewhere near.

And since collecting stickers (for that famous planner) is over, we decided to have our coffee from The Nest. It is located at the roof top of Vivere hotel. The Nest is one of our favorite place in Alabang where I hang-out with colleagues and friends.

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The bar..
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Rustic inspired..
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Rustic/ vintage theme..
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And gorgeous tiles from Machuca…

Jen haven’t tried there yet so it was our first choice along the other hotels in Alabang, namely Bellevue, Azumi, Acacia and Crimson hotel.

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Selfie! =)
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C/o Jen..
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To the hallways..

Each has something to boast, and them being a few blocks away from each other, gave Alabang residents and its’ nearby neighborhood good options to bring friends and/ or families.

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Happy holidays!

One of the detriments of the season is that traffic gets really bad. So instead of having a full dinner at Vivere, we first munch a few at home as we are scared to get stuck (and starving) on the road.

Surprisingly, it took us less than an hour to get to the 31st floor of Vivere hotel.

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We’re on the 31st floor..

We also didn’t expect that the place will be as crowded. Though luck’s on our side, we secured a corner of our own.

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I remember Jen asking if the pool is operational. I just said maybe in the day time. =)
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The corner we’ve got with a nice view of Alabang’s nightscape…
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Loved that corner we spotted.

There is a band at that time serenading us with hits from the 80s. And of course I can sing along because I was already a school girl during then. =)

So what we’ve had for that late dinner.

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The Nest…

We intend to get nachos as aperitif, however, it is no longer available at that time.

I then ordered for my burger. It came with French fries.

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With 3 choices of condiments (mayo, ketchup and coleslaw).

And Jen had pasta in white sauce.

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Pasta with grilled chicken strips. We were disappointed that upon revamp of their menus, they removed the pizzas. =(

We both decided to have iced tea instead of coffee, ironically, it felt freezing when you drink something with ice while the wind is as strong as we chose to dine al fresco.

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It was good..=)

Not being used to the biting cold, we opted to stay indoor and enjoyed the interiors of the Picasso hall.

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Eyed another Picasso boutique hotel in Makati too..

When I saw my favorite machucas, some magnificent and voguish lighting fixtures dangling from the ceiling, soft-cushioned sofas in damask patterns, it actually doubled the fun I was feeling at that time.

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Relaxed mode..
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Inside Picasso (banquet area)..
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I can do that wall, I think! =)

It felt good and sweet going back to a beautiful place that reminds you of good old times spent with good old friends. Wishing to collect more sweet memories here. =)

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Through the years..
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Happy holidays! =)

Vivere Hotel is located at 5102 Bridgeway Ave., cor. Asean Dr | Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang, Muntinlupa, Luzon 1781, Philippines

STEAM YARD Coffee and Community..

STEAM YARD Coffee and Community..

“Good coffee is a pleasure, while good friends are a treasure!”

My encounter with this coffee shop cum retail/ concept store is by accident while I was waiting for a document in the Municipal hall of Muntinlupa City. The shop’s location is just a stone throw away situated alongside other known establishments. It was raining at that time and I had to look for a dry place to stay.

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Steam yard..
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Front yard of steam yard..
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Entryway..

The calligraphy in front of them lured me to go inside and was instantly amazed by it.

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Fusion of rustic and industrial..
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I see these only on the pages of a magazine..
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Such a looker..

There are more inside, a coffee shop that serves blueberry cheesecake and a dozen of on-line brands lined-up with their beckoning displays.

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Wide choices..
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Though they do not have whip cream..=(
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From first visit, I think I’ve bought a dozen already of various items from food to non-food..

Their items are those of millennials, however, the interiors is an amalgam of industrial and rustic motif. They also infused touches of Harry potter facets. You won’t fail to notice that the crowd they attract are students and young executives and those that are young at heart which includes me.

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Cosmetics!
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Cool shirts to choose from..
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I want this! =)

It was also very obvious that the owners (who are millennials too) are one of those manning the shop, in both areas (coffee shop and retail shop). You will notice it from their zesty appeal. Their above-board earnestness to provide good service to each guest that comes in is very evident.

The rest of the team are well-trained too. The Security officer flashes a bright smile to all those who enter the shop. Indeed, the atmosphere is very positive. There is a force that surrounds it like Harry’s magic and believe me, no one went out empty-handed. Or so I think only for those that I’ve seen.

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She said she will come back too.. Like I said when it was my first time to visit..

Initially, I ordered for a drink, my usual iced cafe latte, a few items I bought out of impulse. And a promise that I will bring my friends there.

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My cafe latte..

Before I leave, they called my attention and handed me with a card that came with a stamp and upon completing the rest of it (total of 10) will equate for a free drink. Not bad for a Marketing strategy, especially when they are just a few months old.

Despite of showing enthusiasm for icons that isn’t Filipino (I’m referring to Harry potter), the coffee they’re brewing is brewed locally.

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All about coffee and more..

There are packed gourmets which ratifies local producers. And honestly, they are packed well with attractive rustic labels.

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Personal consumption or gifts…
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Emmafied…=)
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They have the usual and they have syrups too..
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They have soaps, lotions, balms that are organic..

During my second visit. I purchased more items, for myself, for my soul daughter, for a colleague and tried their meals with cakes over coffee.

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We’re starving..

Jen okayed the place however she is a bit disappointed since their coffee didn’t have provision for those who wanted theirs with swirls of cream.

When we informed them that it might help if they provide it, they expressed their gratitude for the suggestion and assured us that it is under-study.

On my third visit with another millennial, I brought my son’s bff who is almost like a daughter to me, took her a few tops, and we had pasta and cakes over coffee. She is more excited than I due to the fact that she is also a Harry Potter enthusiast.

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We’re done with our orders when we thought of pasta.. Recommendation: more gravy for the steak sandwich..
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Typical marinara.. Recommendation: More sauce for this serving or less pasta..

Maybe we will visit every so often since we liked the idea of shopping and dining in one single place. Another important factor that I considered is that their items are of limited production so there’ll be no worries to see yourself wearing the same dress that the girl you passed by is wearing.

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Cha and moi..

The price, both for food and merchandise is competitive too.

MONALISA RISTORANTE..

Monalisa Ristorante

“You can’t buy happiness but you can buy pizza, and that’s the same thing.” ~unknown~

Holding such admiration to the diversity of cuisines from different countries. There is one particular country that I truly admire. Italy. Not to miss mentioning the beauty of their country gifted by God with such a vast pulchritude, breathtaking landscapes and naturally loving people. A country which I long to see with my own pair of hungry eyes. It has been a dream for years yet unfulfilled.

I also have a special liking and amazement for their food. Though they aren’t a big fan of risotto. And ironically, even if I am a typical Filipina who can not skip rice in my meals, but I can do if it’s pasta and/or pizza.

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I must admit, I am a pizza junkie. While I was pregnant, I craved for pizzas the whole time. I go for any brand. Even those stalls that sell cheaper pizzas topping it with just ham and cheese. We even bought ingredients once and did our own. We called it pizzacho. Because we already have a name for the baby in my womb. We named him Echo.

Having Alabang as my rendezvous, I keep on searching for a new and cool Italian restaurant until I came across Monalisa Ristorante. It is tucked in a corner at the second floor of Commerce center. And not the typical artisanal pizzeria, theirs is authentic Italian.

Commerce center is a mall sandwiched by two other malls: Festival mall and Alabang Town Center. There is something very special with Commerce Center. When you can’t breath due to the stream of townies either at Festival mall and Alabang Town center. Check it out and you’ll appreciate the ambiance of the whole place. There is privacy as well though it isn’t as big like the two malls that I’ve mentioned.

I kept falling in love with Alabang every now and then. As a teenager, I grew up there until Festival mall spawned. Alabang Town center did several expansions too, still, there are other options to choose from when you’re in Alabang. There is Civic drive where popular restaurants like Neil’s kitchen, Kanin club, Contis among others are situated. And several hotels for a cozy shop to sip coffee or teas plus your favorite cake or pastry or a spread from their “Eat all you can” menu.

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My knowledge of Commerce Center is accidental. Due to traffic, I opted to walk from Festival mall to ATC and in passing, there it is quietly sitted across Acacia hotel. The name: Monalisa Ristorante sounded very interesting. And from afar, you can see that the interior of the place is impressive. The murals in the ceiling is visible and enticing too.

As we’re about to enter this place, a huge reproduction of Monalisa will greet you with her famous mysterious smile. There are more murals inside. Some of which are paintings from the Renaissance era.

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Like a habit that’s hard to break. I took photos while we’re waiting for our food. Jen is already used to it. I take photos of my own too which is called “selfies” or photos of what we’re getting are “food porns”by the millennials. Sometimes, Jen take my pictures too.

 

 

And when there is an available attendant to take our pictures, we normally asked them to capture us together.

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We asked the RM to tell us about the “Create your own pizza”.

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Their best sellers and if they have Stellas per Jen’s request. Well, they don’t have that beer from Belgium. Jen was offered to try the wines. They have a nice cellar just across their kitchen counter.

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We opted for that “Create your own pizza” thing. You will choose 4 toppings and these are our choices:

– mushrooms

– pepperonis

– bell peppers

– cheese (a special kind)

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For pasta we had Pollo pizimente as recommended.

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It’s just good to know that each place we visit has something special to offer. At Monalisa, I like their dough, it is a bit gummy and tasty. And it’s made from wheat bread which made it a healthier treat. Their cheese (s) are awesome as well.

From the ambiance, excellent service of their people, taste and presentation, Monalisa Ristorante is my kind of Italian restaurant. I will visit again one of these days. 😊 They have zuppa, seafood pasta, house specialty and calzone!

PS

And they bake their own breads too. Their complimentary bread came with three different dips: butter, pesto and tomato sauce..=)

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Monalisa Ristorante is located at: Building 1 Commerce Center, Commerce Avenue Corner Filinvest Avenue, Alabang, Muntinlupa, 1781 Metro Manila .You can contact them at: 556 – 0708.

ICE FLOWER Korean Dessert Cafe

ICE FLOWER – Korean Dessert Cafe

“On trying new things.”

It’s already the “ber” months and still, it felt like Summer most of the time.

Jen and I just had one hefty lunch and we’re looking for a place with a unique dessert as we’ve had enough of the cakes that usual coffee shops are offering.

I am actually craving for “Halo-halo”, a staple dessert in our country, it usually contains different sweetened ingredients, milk base in shredded ice. My most favorite from among the many “rekados” (ingredients) is the sweetened red beans. I would have it boiled at home and add condensed milk without the shaved ice. I definitely love it.

What a coincidence that we ended up at “Ice flower”. A Korean dessert cafe that offers something similar to our “halo-halo” and I was so thrilled to find out that they have one with just red beans on it.

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Upon seeing the red beans, I got so excited.

We also like the fact that their interiors are unique, a combination of industrial with raw walls and painted floors and with touches of country design with chairs in bright colors. There are hints of some elements that I loved as well.

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=)
ceiling
I was counting the ACU’s and initially complained of it, not until after we had their famous dessert, the atmosphere went colder.
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Where are the flowers? =)

Please take a look:

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My toy… It is trending now, and seen it on several establishments.
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I had my red beans and Jen had blueberry cheesecake..
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Look at that!
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The softest shaved ice I’ve tried, so far.

Jen and I had such a crazy schedule at work, she was promoted just recently while I am assigned to several projects at work come last quarter of 2016. We are normally very busy during these months.

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Busy texting…
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I won’t miss capturing this.
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And this.

So we didn’t get the chance to do our usual out of town trips much as we had hoped for and just make do with whatever interests us nearby. Though I equally love the discoveries we’ve made in such a small place like Molito.

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They looked like Rattans, however, they’re made of weaved plastic.

Ice Flower is located at Molito, a new place that we intend to visit frequently, it is just near our place, and they have a line of very interesting shops too. Just across our rendezvous – the Alabang Town Center.

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We will try this next time!

After a few days that we tried this, I learned from some friends that there are other Korean Dessert shops showing up everywhere. With that popular snack/ dessert with Azuki beans. It is known to them as Bingsu.

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Ain’t sure if the others have this kind of room. With snow falling inside.

I’m home now and finding balance, having deep thoughts over some stuff I need to do for myself and my family, and at the same time preparing for work for the coming fast-paced weeks, which I expect to be busier than the previous ones. Till then.

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By the way, there’s a restaurant at Molito which specializes in mushrooms, different kinds of it. I’m bringing my son over one of these days. A mushroom lover he is. I can’t wait. His smile is like sunshine to me. =)

We are both “AIR”. Currently studying the elements, and loving it with all my mind, heart and soul. =)

LA MARIPILI – A classic treat reinvented…

La Maripili – A classic treat reinvented..

Churros are a common goodies during my teenage years. Over and above, It is  my best friend’s favorite. We will save our money just to go to Greenbelt, Makati (our school is in Manila) and guzzle with our portions which came with hot chocolate. It came from a teensy Spanish restaurant – Dulcinea. Oftentimes, we leave with take out bags of goodies containing beehives, eclairs, lemon squares, etc and we sometimes couldn’t wait and munch on them while still in the car.

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about churros. Several establishments have endorsed it as one of their offerings and I even went all the way to Manila just to try the one from Bay leaf hotel, at Cioccolata.

Some low-end churros are baked and are not deep fried also find their way in the market. And even if the latter is not that good to our health, I still prefer it than those that are baked. I missed the goodness in its’ crunch I guess.

Just recently, there’s a new brand endorsing a new version which if I can call them churros for “the hungry ones”. Because it is over-sized and longer like 4x more than that of the usual that we used to have from Dulcinea more than 20 years ago. Back then, we were provided with a small ceramic pot and we will pour the choco syrup in a separate cup and there we dip our churros as we pleased.

Now, it comes in paper cups and is measured and served with just an ample quantity.

Bloggers like me would avoid as much as possible giving derogatory remarks whenever we didn’t like a recently discovered place(s) much so the service rendered by attendants. It is popular probably because of networking sights, bloggers, a good marketing arm and probably if the owner is a celebrity. The product seems to be over-rated.

This frustration was nullified by the most recent churros brand that I accidentally discovered from my best friend’s daughter’s her Instagram posts. Her mom happens to be my college BFF whose favorite is churros (and up to now, she will still ask us to visit Dulcinea from time to time). And I was the one who preferred eclairs. So it’s like me saying: “Like mother, like daughter”.

La Maripili is in Alabang. Almost across Molito and considered as an annex of ATC which also happens to be my rendevouz while I was still a student.

Its’ facade is all white, beckoning with its French door and floor to ceiling glass windows. You can’t help but have your photos taken in front of it.

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Come on, let’s have some churros! =)

And as we enter, the huge mirror on one wall is with “millennial” phrasings and words about churros, food & beverage in general and some inspirational quotes. I must say that aside from the transparent kitchen, that mirror is the focal point of the place.

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Nice to have greens above it..
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Churros! =)
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Focal point..

Their menu is user-friendly ( unlike the other brand I talked about), the attendants seem to be with excitement each time a guest arrives and were accommodating. Of course, they up-sell, which I think is part of their spiels. And it didn’t take us long to get our orders. #quickservice

Anything but caramel..
Anything but caramel..

It is a bit pricey though it is given that most establishments in Alabang town center caters to the medium/high end crowd.

While it’s worth it because their churros brought me back to memory lane  – college days.

Just the right size..=)
Just the right size..=)

It is deep fried but they make it a point to drain them well. The chocolate dip is so thick that it looked like almost melted chocolate bars.

Very thick choco syrup..
Very thick choco syrup..
Photo courtesy of my friend Beth..
Photo courtesy of my friend Beth..

As part of innovating, they have variants which come with fillings in different flavors. we tried the one with caramel. What else?

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With Ms. Caramel! =)

As OC (obsessive/compulsive) as I can get, I was able to check the frying station and it surprised me to see that the oil is clean and almost transparent.

Nice!
Nice!

Their specialty, their chosen product to reach their target market and add the place ideal for some cozy talk and/or bonding with family and friends and their trained roster. I have to say that it is worth a commendation. Till our next cravings. =)

La Maripili Churreria...(--,)
La Maripili Churreria…    (–,)