Purple Beetle…

PURPLE BEETLE

“Where focus goes, energy flows.”~Tony Robbins~

It all started with this photo.

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Courtesy of: http://www.imgrum.org/media/1276837540570395942_1725691340

This is probably one of the most beautiful dream catcher that I’ve seen. It isn’t a painting, it isn’t a drawing, but a photo of a real dream catcher (s). Not just one but several dream catchers put together creating a very beautiful masterpiece. I’ve always thought and assumed that it is somewhere not near, maybe in a different country.

Then one day, while browsing for hotels to stay out of town, I came across this cafe in Lipa, Batangas. It’s called Purple beetle.

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A graffiti of a native Indian struck me, with all kinds of dream catchers surrounding it. Colorful feathers here and there. As I went further, a very familiar window captured my attention. It was that window with the dream catchers I’ve seen months ago. I couldn’t believe that it is here in my country.

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If I can only “DIY” this! ❤

As if running out of time, I immediately asked Jen to visit Batangas because I really wanted to see this cafe. There have been many blogs about it, though I really wanted to see it myself.

We were able to squeeze it with our busy schedules. Just recently, we decided (finally – after contemplating if we can do it) to go to the gym regularly. Adding up another activity that we try to manage inspite of our conflicting schedules tons of work in the office and at home.

We took a bus from Alabang, and it took us less than 2 hours to reach Lipa, Batangas. I must not forget to mention that I admired the town for its’ cleanliness, the roads are very organized, bus stations are situated in just one location giving comfort to commuters and tourists alike.

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Lipa City never felt like a province to me. I saw McDonalds one block after another, I saw a total of 3 McDonalds in Lipa. It was funny, because in my own hometown, I am happy that our village is in front of McDonalds, however, the next is an hour ride from its’ location. Very province right?!

The main roads in Lipa are a bit wider too, and before we reached our destination. It was inspiring to discover that Purple beetle is sandwiched by known restaurants like Army Navy, two very popular coffee shops: CBTL and Starbucks, and you will be surprised
to witness that despite of the competitors surrounding the place, their tables were seldom empty. When we arrived, we even have to wait for some tables to be vacated and we never had the chance to choose spots we like. I don’t mind, I’m just after that window with the dream catchers.

They also sell boho stuff: of course dream catchers in all sizes, hairdresses, boho tops and dresses, tasseled bags, shawls, and mandala spreads.

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Let’s take a look at their menu:

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We opted to have nachos salad and quesadillas which they called “Pizzadilla” because it has toppings too. I had my purple slush and Jen had coffee.

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Much as I do not want to be too transparent in my blogs. The place is just hype, famous among Millennials (Coachella type), but they need to make another study when it comes to the food that they’re offering.

The pizadilla, since it has toppings and fillings at the same time, tasted nothing but salty. No feel of the other ingredients due to its’ saltiness. The tortilla wasn’t able to balance it, apparently, my palette normally requires salty taste from time to time, but this one I couldn’t tolerate.

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In all my travels, several times I’ve proven that a picture can literally speak a thousand words. One can look so beautiful in pictures, when in reality, it is not that pretty if not disappointing. Honestly, the photos enticed me. The likes of Sonya’s Garden, Prado farm weren’t that pretty in reality. They were pretty in their own terms, but they didn’t have that “wow” factor. That feeling of satisfaction that you’re happy you came.

Jen was too positive to tell me that out of the many travels we’ve made, the disappointments are very few. That most travels made us happy because it surpassed our expectations. One piece of advise is to seek opinion of those who saw a specific place already. And you’ll never go wrong. Besides, it is always been a part of the adventure. Usually, it is not the place, it is the adventure itself.

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PURPLE BEETLE  is at Ayala Highway, Lipa City, Batangas Philippines 4217. You can send them email at: hello@purplebeetle.com.ph with telephone number: 0998-855-7732.

 

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Like a child at 14 Four Cafe

Fourteen Four Cafe

“Every Summer, like the roses, childhood returns.” ~Marty Rubin~

I’ll always love blogging. =)

For my “I am blogger” photo. Credits to: http://www.freepik.com/

14 Four cafe logo courtesy of: https://www.facebook.com/14FourCafe/

As a child, I grew up in my parents’ house with a huge lawn where I play hide and seek with my cousins, with my dog and with my papa. I incurred scars in my knees because I wanted to run faster than our dog. I put mud in my mini cooking plate and let it dry for a day so we will have a cake the morning after.

I miss that huge lawn, we took care of dozens of love birds and I remember waking up with their chirping calling out my mom as if announcing that it’s already feeding time. My dog’s name is Tsandu. It is taken from a character’s name from my father’s story line in Filipino comics way back mid-70s. He was an illustrator. An artist.

In that lawn, different kinds of plants are grouped in corners. Some pots are even painted in varying colors. There is a huge star apple tree that gives shade to the whole area making it an ideal place to relax in our green 4-seater garden set. In some corners, you’ll see huge lava rocks which my papa brought home when we went hiking in Mt. Mayon. Along with over-sized sea shells which he also brought home from several beaches that we’ve been to. The other side of the house is with roof because it is where our garage is. You will often hear the likes of Frank Sinatra, Matt Monroe, Elvis Presley serenading you in a humid afternoon. He is fond of Tchaikovsky too. During weekends, my parents invite relatives to have barbecue with us.

I really look up to weekends. When my mom starts preparing pre-sliced pork and marinate them, I get so excited. At the main entrance, a realist painting, (a wedding gift to my parents by my uncle who happens to be an artist too, he’s a known painter during the 70s) will welcome you. If you’re a stranger , upon passing by that house, you would have guess that it is owned by some sort of an artist. And it is. My papa was popular then, I see him being mobbed by people asking their comics to be signed by him. I was just a spectator admiring him from afar.

I had to plot this specific day trip with Jen and travel for hours to reach a very similar place. Jen hadn’t sleep yet, she just came from work, and I’m thankful that she easily gave in to my whims. This place really brought me back to that time while I was still a child. When I first saw it, 14 Four Cafe being tucked in the vicinity of Tanay, Rizal, brought me to memory lane. Since we are from the South, it was really difficult for us finding it, as we are not similar to that place.

Some drivers doesn’t even know where 14 Four Cafe is. And finally, when we reached it. I felt like a child once again. I roamed around instantly without even informing the attendants who pleasantly welcomed us of the instruction given to us when we reserved a table for two as they do not accommodate walk-in guests. Visits are limited too, which is an advantage since they can better taking care of guests unlike when it is peak, attendants will be so busy. Their service, since guests are limited is more personal.

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Now I know that 14 4 is the # of their house.
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I captured some millennials enjoying their stay as well.

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Ironically, even if we found it hard to locate, guests keep coming. The house, more so, the whole place speaks for the artist who owns it. It is owned by Nikki Sambile, a designer. His father, who happens to be an artist too (like my father), showcases his furniture collection on this same place too.

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I want these chairs in my garden too. =)
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Photo credits: https://www.facebook.com/14FourCafe/

Can you imagine that I traveled all the way from Laguna just to have this vegetarian dish? It is Veggie Quesadilla with pesto soaked tomatoes, shitakes, melted mozzarella topped with garlic crema. It has grilled eggplants too and nachos on the side. While Jen, still full from our real lunch on our way to Rizal (2pc. chicken please! lol!), had something light and sweet. She had Amaretto French toast. She chose it because of the toasted almonds. She was overwhelmed with the whipped cream though.

Lighter meal for us.

It was funny that they have Milo to offer as drinks. It really reminded me of my childhood days. I was a Milo kid then.

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I ❤ Milo! =)

I would even eat it alone scooping portions continuously.

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Table for two?=)

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Nope, I actually visited because I needed an inspiration. Being an artist myself, I have to see others in that same niche too.

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An artist’s imagination is infinite.
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Rustic type of a faucet and its’ basin.
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This is the showroom of Stick designs. http://www.14fourcafe.com/location.html

Get the feel of it and be inspired instantly!

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I am not that happy with this photo. We were not able to capture all the colors behind me.

Which surely I did! We don’t even want to leave and hoping to stay longer, however, like I said, it took us almost half of that day traveling.

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So, we left after relaxing in one of the couches al fresco, wondering if we can make time to really come back. Maybe.

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Siesta – afternoon nap.

ps

They’re a favorite of those whose about to wed too, for pre-nup photos. =)

14 Four Cafe is located at:
144 Magnolia Lane, Gregoria Heights Subdivision, Bgy San Isidro
Taytay, Rizal

For reservation, you can call them at: 0999 888 0144

Spatzle Euro Market Cafe

Spatzle Euro Market Cafe

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” ~Vincent Van Gogh~

Just recently, I wrote about this restaurant in Alabang which I found one of those places to drink and dine with the best interiors.

And again recently, I discovered another just a few blocks away from my work place. It’s sitting there for years now, when the new wing was constructed and it’s been a while that I have been to this mall.

True enough, anybody or any designer can create a space, though not all can come up with something enticing from the first look, that’s why if you rate a place, there is an allotted score for ambiance. Spatzle has the modern country feel. It is very welcoming.

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We got our choice. =)

Shangri-la Edsa mall is a 15 minute drive from work. It can offer you a wide array of choices when it comes to dining. Some of our most favorite Japanese restaurants are there, some French, Mediterranean, Chinese, Italian and of course Filipino restaurants.

This time, we know for a fact that shopping can get so tiring and we ended up hungry like wolves.

We learned earlier of this place that’s new to us. Spatzle Euro Market Cafe serves European cuisines with cool interiors, not too stiff and casual enough to literally enjoy another dining experience after a hard day’s work and shopping, and if I may I not miss to mention, the disappointment of getting something you really want when it is out of stock. Come on Jen, let’s eat!!!!

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Food and non – food merchandise.

So we headed right away to that part of this mall where the food spots are. Spatzle is situated in a corner, before reaching it, we came across a few, with barkers outside. However, we already know where we’re heading.

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I’ve always liked chalkboards.

Jen knew too, I do not like it, I mean “hard-selling” because it makes me doubt, why the place isn’t packed.

And even if at Spatzle, there are only a few tables occupied when we arrived, the more it encouraged us to get in since a crowded place only means longer waiting time for them to spread your orders. Besides, the open air feel is very inviting. And there are no barkers. =)

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The hexagons unified the rest of the place. From those upholstery, floor tiles, wall-mounted cabinets and tables.
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Hexagons here and there. But not tiring.

It didn’t took us long as well to place our orders. Yes, we’re hungry, and whatever angle I choose, our orders seems to be too much for 2 persons.

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We opted to share with one another this tongue twisting delight: the “Tarte Flambe Monte blanc”. Which toppings I especially liked, the paprika flavored potato chips, which they call as “Paprika chips”.

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Pizza was my first love. Or anything that looks and tastes like it. =)

I had the “Bacon mozza logs” 

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Honestly, I can only consume 2 at that time.

and Jen got a burger: the “Spatz haus burger”. One of their best sellers.

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USDA Angus burger for Jen.

We had “Watermelon slush” sweetened with wild honey to soften, in anticipation, the savor of all that we will consume in the next few minutes. We were offered to try their desserts, however, we were so full after digging.

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Watermelon slush.

After digging with no holds-barred kind of way, we knew that we will visit a second time. They pulled it off well. We both liked what we’ve chosen and enjoyed all the other extra ingredients thrown in it. We actually checked and eyed others from the menu. We will definitely come back. =)

PS:
I will get the bacon mozza logs once again. Since Mozzarella cheese in particular is like a happy pill for me! Yum!

Another PS:

I found it cute that they have sanitizers along the cubiertos comin’ in handy too. =)

Spatzle Euro Market Cafe is located at:

Level 5, East Wing, Shangri-La Plaza, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City.

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.

Another Pinoy pride: Kuya J!

Another Pinoy pride: Kuya J!

And so it seems that the popularity of Authentic Filipino restaurants like Dencio’s and Gerry’s Grill reached that leverage of being imitated by many.

The tarpaulin ad of “Kuya J” is so distracting when we passed by SM Dasmarinas, Cavite on our way to visit some clients.

It is almost lunch-time and we opted to have our lunch there after one more client visit.

The temperature lately in the Philippines is so unbearable as we are not used to it, even if we are a Tropical country, with scorching winds, even if we’re in a province, it made us rush to the nearest mall. And to the nearest food stall.

And we ended up at “Kuya J”. Upon review of their menu, it is like a newer version of what you will see from Gerry’s grill or Dencio’s.

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Mini mini mini mo!

And while I was reviewing the menu, my colleagues are interviewing the attendant if the “J” stands for Jericho (he is the official model of their ads, he is a famous heartthrob in our country), just like asking if Jericho owns “Kuya J” and we were informed that he is just a model and the restaurant is owned by a Chinese Businessman based in Cebu.

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Two lovely ladies!

And we’ve had what?

We opted to try their Kare-kareng Bagnet. I (or we) didn’t like the shrimp paste (bagoong) that much.

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Yum!

We also tried their Pinakbet. And we liked it.

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Veggies!

We also had Crispy beef tadyang (ribs).

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Crispy ribs!

I personally like the vinegar, it has a tasteful flavor. I am not much into vinegar sauces, but this one I was able to tolerate.

For dessert, we all wished for the fried halo-halo, it is not just available at that time so they ordered for the real one.

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Photo courtesy of: https://www.facebook.com/KuyaJResto/

 

It was a winner. We especially liked the milky ice, it is so fine and no feel of ice bits.

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Truly a Summer treat!

Since we didn’t get our fried halo-halo, we asked the attendant if there’s a corkage should we bring food from another establishment, and they said it’s okay.

Calling it a hefty lunch essentials. We had our finale. Two different cakes from Cakes by Kat.

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We opted for cakes!

We had Chocolate indulgence cake and of course, blueberry cheesecake.

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And we’re back to work with smiles.

In a different occasion, we’ve tried these equally delicious treats:

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Happy tummies! =)

There are more than 50 branches of Kuya J nationwide. One could be just near you. =)