Las Casas Manila

Las Casas Manila

So much of our future lies in preserving our past. ~Peter Westbrook~

Aside from food, Jen and I shared our love in exploring new places and travel together as far and as much as we can. Anything new to us. She had been requesting from me for years to bring her to Bataan, at “Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar”. However, we’ve been busy lately and when I discovered that there’s an extension of said place somewhere in QC, I am thrilled to inform if she’s okay into venturing to this one that’s nearer, for now.

So up we went one Friday, and reveled in its’ own version of preserving and restoring one of the old manors in Quezon City – Casa De Juico.

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They converted the place after being sold to Jerry Acuzar: The owner of San Jose Builders, it is complete with a boutique hotel and a restaurant by one of Asia’s Best Female Chef: Margarita Fores.

After the attendants with pleasing demeanor took our food choices, we wandered around the place with its’ classic ambience and took pictures (a lot) while Jen is checking from time to time if our food is already served. We were starving as we arrived there at almost 2:00 pm.

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We were ushered by two smiling faces and directed us to the dining hall and let us choose where we want to be sitted.

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I definitely enjoyed chosen spots which they call Instagram worthy. Little did Jen know, I’ve spotted some favorites since I already saw them several times from Instagram. =)

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A version of “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt .

So here’s what we’ve got: Spaghetinni con Mariscos (Seafood pasta), Callos (Ox tripe, Chorizos and garbanzos), Tres leches (a slice of chiffon cake topped with smoked coconut and dried mangoes and jackfruit) for dessert and red grapes shake for me (which I so loved) and yellow mango shake for Jen. She loved her pasta as it is thinner than usual, they used Spaghetinni, my Callos were made of slow-cooked to tenderness tripe.  

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We also had Huevos con gambas, for a starter. It’s hard-boiled egg topped with prawns relished in paprika.

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This wheel of cheese is part of their buffet offer, it’s called Parmeggiano Regiano, it’s known to be the “King of Cheese”, it’s so tasteful, gritty and lactose-free too. The cheaper version, is known as “Parmesan” cheese.

It’s just one manor, unlike the one in Bataan, there are more than 20 Casas there, but just this one brimmed our phones with pictures both inside the place and outside as well, I actually enjoyed more the “Al fresco” feel. You wouldn’t know how much I belong to it. The trees, the grass and all. =)

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For a different experience, visit Las Casas Manila and it’ll stir your senses until you realize that you’re heading to Bataan the soonest you can. =) Either places, I’m sure, you will enjoy. =)

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You can make reservations thru: 866-8500 and 0917-711-3714. They’re open from Tueday to Sunday from 11am to 10pm. Las Casas Manila is located at 134 Roosevelt avenue, San Francisco Del Monte, Quezon City. You can also check them out at: https://www.facebook.com/LasCasasQC/

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Cintai Corito’s Garden – “Bali be like”

Cintai Corito’s Garden – “Bali be like”

There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.” ~George Sand~

I’ve been hearing a lot about Cintai Corito, photos I’ve seen whenever I come across it is so inviting. I first thought it is not in my country. The place used to be a private sanctuary for its’ owners, especially for the wife (and mother). This place was dedicated for her. Like a local “Taj Mahal”.

It has been open to the public for the past 10 years, and it was only later that I was able to convince my foodie/ travel buddy to accompany me to witness its’ grandeur.

True enough, it is very beautiful and so relaxing. Everything is green, it brings you closer to nature. You hear birds chirping, pretty flowers,

and even peacocks making sounds like they’re trying to communicate with you. These peacocks are the first and primary reason why I included Cintai in my places to visit. I have this certain fascination with peacocks. They used to roam around according to my friends who’ve been here. When we visited, all of them are inside a huge cage then.

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There are areas to meditate, pavilions for events, picturesque villas and a Balinese themed restaurant: Abadi.

There’s a special corner for a spa, swimming pools in varying sizes and a TV room too.

We arrived in Lipa, Batangas a little late than expected, still, we were able to catch their buffet spread.

After which spent all the afternoon roaming. I truly enjoyed it and breathe easy. Everything I see, hear and smell are all pleasing. The place is good for all the senses like a serene refuge. I also had this great admiration that everything were executed in meticulous details.

This would surely be one of your choices to stay when you’re heading to Lipa. There are also equally nice establishments in the vicinity, which made me want to go back soon. It is more or less (depending on the traffic – I do not recommend leaving on Saturdays even in the morning – as you’ll get stuck in traffic) than 2 hours from Manila.

In the midst of seeing mostly several images of Buddha, this image of Mother Mary brought solace to my heart. Our Lady of Guadalupe seems to be showing up to me lately mostly in unexpected places and time. I hope to see her in Mexico one day. =)

By the way, “Cintai” is the Indonesian word for “Love.” You can contact them thru their mobile: 0917-833-1508/ 0977-811-9593. Or email them at: reservations@coritosgarden.com. They are located at: Sitio Pandayan, Malabanan Balete, Lipa, Batangas.

 

   

Luna Cafe…

Luna Cafe…

“Coffee and friends, make the perfect blend.”

On my way to work, I spotted this newly-opened coffee shop in our hometown. Luna Cafe. It looks cozy from the outside, and I saw some splashes of the color pink inside. I instantly wanted to pay visit and check their menu so I scheduled it immediately over the next weekend.

Facade… They’re on the second floor.

I have been on the look-out for a coffee shop ala “Starbucks” that’s just near my place, like a rendezvous. I think this one’s the nearest so far. I have a leaning with “Picked” but it is 2 rides away from where I lived. And Starbucks is an hour drive from home.

Luna Cafe happens to be sitting beside another coffee shop. I just wondered why the owner of the place allowed tenants in similar businesses, it should be offer a variety as they will both benefit from it, looking at it, the other coffee shop looked gloomy, there was no guests at that time. While there are 2 tables occupied at Luna cafe.

Their interiors is the typical shabby looking, modern take of whats’ eclectic since they combined industrial chairs with girly and chic pieces, there are even flowers mounted on their walls that are made of papers. It actually added charm to the place or could be, because I just love the color pink.

My instant favorite is this wall. It inspired me to mount photos of those personalities that somehow inspired me and impacted my mindset, the likes of Mother Theresa, Frida Kahlo, or maybe even a photo of Madonna along my own portrait. Ahaha

Jen got quesadillas, as always, it has become her favorite. I tried the chipotle, because It reminds me of someone very special looking for chipotle when he visited the Philippines a few months ago.

Quesadillas..

We also wanted to try the mozarella logs, which also reminded us of the mozarella logs from Spatzle. I think I want to go back.

 

One of Cafe Luna’s best sellers are their artisanal coffees, intricately prepared in an artistic way, good to look at but you will always wonder if you’re going to eat all those decors since they are edible. Or should I leak the dripping chocolates on the sides of the mug.

I had avocado and Jen had their best seller specialty coffee: Cadbury Nutella.

The serving time was a bit longer than usual, so I again questioned what if it’s peak time. Jen asked me to not complaint and told her I will complaint, I am just sharing my views just with her. Or maybe they should have this standard spiel of informing their guests prep time of each item that we ordered.

Anyway, I just took photos of each corner to kill time, I even went out and took this pretty windchime, a hot air balloon, which is made of glass. It’s sound is so pacifying as soft wind came in that late Saturday night.

Their line-up isn’t pricey and I think is worthy for another visit when boredom at home hits me or should I need a little change in my environment. Anyway, it’s just 15 minutes away from home.

Cafe Luna is located at: Pacita Avenue, corner 16th avenue, Pacita Complex, San Pedro, Laguna.

Some photos courtesy of: http://www.decobake.com.ph/luna-cafe

Balay Dako by Antonio’s…

Balay Dako by Antonio’s

“Family is like music, some high notes, some low notes, but always a beautiful song.”

I’m so glad to have brought my family to dine at Balay Dako… It just occurred to me that when they planned going to Tagaytay, I instantly thought of bringing them nowhere else but at Balay Dako.

And because me, my son and her girlfriend were outnumbered by oldies, what we ordered were those that are a little “healthier”, even if I wanted a lot from the menu to try for myself, please take a look:

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Gela just enjoyed nibbling on these dessert from Ilo-ilo: Piyaya.
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While I enjoyed the ube turon
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I was quite disappointed with the halo-halo, I think they lack some of the ingredients.
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The oldies wanted fish, so we had sweet and sour fish for them.
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My son opted for the salt & pepper spare ribs.
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We ordered for the green mango salad too

I actually can’t figure out what matches it. We just had the beef shanks soup (“Bulalo” in Filipino), and normally green mango salad fits best with fried food.

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Their paella.
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Mama and nanay (her yaya) about to start on their fresh lumpia when I asked them to smile first. =)
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Their lumpiang sariwa.

I still want to try more from their menu, I’ll come back soon. =)

 

Menu Photos courtesy of: http://antoniosrestaurant.ph/balay-dako/#menu-section

I’ve tried most of their desserts, so we can always go out and find another, there’s a lot of places in Tagaytay where you can find a good one to get your sweet cravings. So it’s like hopping from one place to another, besides Tagaytay is a very beautiful place. You wouldn’t mind just looking around.

 

 

 

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.

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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