The Black Pig

The Black Pig
“Good food is good mood.”
Coming across an article that featured restaurants with the most beautiful and impressive interiors, being a designer,  it has drawn me to see them up close and personal. Neil’s Kitchen was in that list though I’ve been there several times and I must agree that their interiors is not just beautiful, their food is awesome too. The next that caught my attention from the list is The Black Pig.
It is a few blocks away from Neil’s Kitchen. It’s in Alabang too at the second level of Commerce Center. Without the heat of the sun, it is walking distance for me. The Black Pig’s facade isn’t too attractive as the whole place from the outside isn’t well- lighted. But the welcoming smiles of their attendants will compensate for that which kept my brain engaged.
Since Jen already commented:”The placed looked gloomy.” This is because they opted to use hanging lamps and pin lights on selected areas.
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Rustic..
Upon entrance, it is only the time I began admiring the place from the interiors, their furniture, lighting system, the colors that they’ve chosen, the vigilance of their attendants to the table wares (made by a known potter from Laguna), cutlery and the food itself. 
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Floor decal..

 

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Call cards..

 

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Looked Moroccan to me. =)
There are some touches of green elements which add life to the whole place. What will caught your attention is definitely the bar.
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Awesome..

 

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There’s the famous bar..

 

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I liked that swing door going to the kitchen..
It exudes order and class by the use of black and brown finishes. Usually, most bars looked untidy even if the items are properly arranged due to the fact that you see everything from it: sorts of bottles, glass, machines, some bars are even with baskets of fruits displayed on the counter like so much is happening in it. At The Black Pig, you will see the clutter though it will not sore your depicting eyes.
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Coasters made from Guava tree..

 

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All corners are inviting..

 

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And we choose this.

 

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Not yet peak time when we visited..

 

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That chair…

There’s even a guide for drinking wine.

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Very useful especially with me who doesn’t drink any liquor at all.

A cool utensils rack.

 

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Very orderly..

When it comes to food. We had a three course meal altogether which started with a green salad:

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I enjoyed this fresh treat..

I am training my palette with fresh greens and it’s followed by a slow-cooked chicken dish:

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Chicken please. =)

and home-made ice cream for dessert.

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Ube for me and caramel for Jen..

We had the feel of drinking Al fresco with that refreshing raspberry iced tea.

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Al fresco..
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Raspberry iced tea..

According to the attendants, peak time is usually dinner time onward because they serve alcoholic drinks too.

During the afternoon, if you wish for a less crowded place to have lunch or snack. The Black pig will give you that. It is ideal for business meetings too. For the overall experience, dining there, the ambiance, service and carefully prepared food is recommendable.
I suggest that you try it, when you’re heading to the south. They’re located at: Commerce Center Building, Filinvest Ave. corner, E Asia Drive, Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang, Muntinlupa, 1781 Metro Manila

“S” for Silantro – Another Fil-Mex on the rise

SILANTRO Fil-Mex Cantina

The name of this restaurant is very intriguing even if from its’ name, we would know already that it is Mexican.

The only difference is that another term of coriander which is cilantro starts with a letter “C” and not with a letter “S”, so that made it intriguing. What would differentiate it from other Mexican joints?

And our search for a “To die for” nachos is obligatory. There are some amazing places we’ve spotted, still, we yearn to be satiated by something new.

The nearest Silantro from our place is in Alabang. So we headed there one weekend.

It was not a surprise to witness a long queue when we arrived. I have been seeing it several times on social medias.

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Patience is a virtue.

Most of them are in big groups, and since we’re only two, a very vigilant attendant was able to squeeze us in inside. He asked if we’re good with the counter and we don’t mind.

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Our spread was overwhelming. Their portions are bigger and per my high-school’s friends’ recommendation, yes their nachos is great.

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I doubt if we can consume these..

Jen’s Silantro’s quesadillas even came with french fries. While my burrito came with three different dips. All of them didn’t compromise my palate.

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While they didn’t use ground meat on the nachos but cubed beefs, cut smaller than the usual, making the sauce tastier and irresistible, their version of the cheese sauce is thicker since they mixed mozzarella with it. Veggies are sufficient too and the corn tortillas tasted like home-made and very crispy.

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Highly recommendable. =)

It was a good decision to try them but we will be choosy with the hours on our next visit. We heard that they are usually congested.

By the way, the interiors is modish too. Their theme is a combination of rustic and industrial. Raw floors, there are wall decals, impressive lighting fixtures and my favorite, they resorted to Machuca tiles to accentuate their floors.

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They deserve a second visit, we have a lot to try next time. We thought of the shrimp skewers. =)

No wonder that their branches are increasing lately.

Caffera as in Cafe and Camera combined…=)

Caffera as in Cafe and Camera combined…

My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.” ~Steve McCurry~ (An American photographer).

There is this new place Jen is telling me about, a themed coffee shop owned by a Photography enthusiast like her. It’s name is “Caffera”.

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Second floor of Dona Zenona Suite..
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This you will see upon entry… It is actually already stimulating..
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A vintage signage is displayed too..

And she has been persuading me to see it for the longest time. I am half-hearted to go because it entails more than 3 hours travel from our place. We are in San Pedro, Laguna and the shop is in Maginhawa street, Quezon City. Eventually I gave in due to her beguiling tricks.

And without her knowledge, I am also eyeing to see in person the string of coffee shops, pizzerias, burger stands, name it that were so famous in Maginhawa street paralleled with those you will find in Aguirre Avenue in Sucat, Paranaque and Kapitolyo street in Mandaluyong and the one in Tomas Morato. Most bloggers term them as Foodie’s Mecca.

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Such a unique idea..

And so during the holidays, we opted to plot not just Caffera but some more interesting spots Maginhawa street can offer.

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Now, we’re wondering if we can have this card even if we’re not a resident of QC..

True enough, the place will be loved by anyone who have been fascinated with photography and all the materials needed in pursuing this passion is displayed in all corners. All the accessories, even those that we have might have missed is there. If there is one adjective for this place, it is “inspiring”.

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Touches of Christmas decors were neatly placed around the cafe..
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Right in front of the counter which entice guests like a food porn..
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Lots of vintage cameras you’ll see..

Please take a look:

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Notice the roll of film utilized as label? =)
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I have exceeded my expectations – I wondered if they have cakes in camera shapes..
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The glass window is written with calligraphy..
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A unique way to paint a wall..
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Jen is filled with awe..
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Several models of vintage cameras..
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Collection of emptied rolls of film, a light, camera, action display, vintage cameras..
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An old movie camera.. Most displays are DIYs! =)
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Even the menu is photography inspired: It says FRAPPerture, ISO Amaro, Mugshot coffee, etc.
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Delighted guests can’t help but express their appreciation..
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Even the quotes are all about Photography…=)
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This is my favorite part of the place..
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There’s our coffee drinks. In mugs that were made of camera lens. #amazing
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Don’t you agree?
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Brought me back during college days when we took up a few units of Photography class..
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I can’t help it, I took a photo of their mirror inside the rest room…
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Vases out of lens..

If you want locally-produced coffee beans, brewed with love and passion for photography, sweet yet not too strong iced coffee, then Caffera is the perfect place for you. The ambiance suits both millennials and the not too millennials as well. =)

Being here, you will sense the owner’s passion through the consistency of themed displays painstakingly created so as to come up with such an “inspiring” place.

Caffera Cafe is located at:

Unit 204, Second Floor, Dona Zenona Suites, 54 Maginhawa Corner Mahusay Street, UP Village, Diliman, Quezon City.

CASA QUESADILLA at Maginhawa street…

CASA QUESADILLA

“Mexican food is so full of colour, life and music. It’s like a pinata exploding in your mouth.” ~Kate Mclennan~

Nowadays, finding a TexMex restaurant is as easy as ABC.

Being a fan of Mexican food, Jen and I didn’t have a hard time looking for one should the cravings set in. Filipinos and Mexicans have similarities in culture, food and even language due to our common root. Both countries were being inhabited by the Spaniards. This historical trail is evident up to this very time.

At Maginhawa street, while eyeing Caffera: Cafe and Camera combined. We intentionally treaded the stretch of this famous street at Sikatuna Village in Quezon City to explore and choose food spots we intend visit in the future. Which obviously made us very hungry.

We weren’t surprised to find out that there are a lot of Texmex spots that we can choose from. We opted to try Casa Quesadilla.

It is easy to be spotted.
It is easy to be spotted.

Jen being crazy with quesadillas, immediately entered the multi-colored entrance of Casa Quesadilla. I, on the other hand like quesadillas too but my favorite Mexican food is Chimichangas, though there a few restaurants which offer this, they usually offer Burritos instead. I am good with Burritos but I like Chimis better since the latter has no rice.

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Colorful..

The Casa is like a hole in the wall type of Texmex joint. Still, they have a wide array of recipes to choose from.

We just had quesadillas and nachos salad. Quick and light. It took them less than 10 minutes to serve it.

Quick and light..=)
Quick and light..=)

I had to use the loo, and I have to pass by their kitchen to get there and I can attest to the cleanliness of their kitchen. The loo is clean too.

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They also offer alcoholic drinks and there are 2 groups enjoying their drinks outside while we dined inside.

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Unli beer from 6pm to 8pm..

And much to our content, their food is satisfying, Texmex is like comfort food to me and Jen.

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Now, we’re ready to stride again for our next stop. We passed by a bespoke restaurant on our way to Casa Quesadilla and it honestly looked interesting: When Uan met Sally. While Gourmet Gypsy Art cafe is befitting. =)

Casa Quesadilla is located at Unit 1, 176 Maginhawa, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City

The very popular Maginhawa street..
The very popular Maginhawa street..

BALAY DAKO – A must-visit…

BALAY DAKO

“Enjoy life, it is delicious.”

Catching up with myself, I decided to self-gratify and do a quick fix by visiting one of my favorite places in the Philippines – Tagaytay.

Among the long list of where to make our tummies happy, we chose “Balay Dako”.

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She’s all smile getting there.
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Waiting area..
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Piaya originated from Bacolod..
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Sorbetes! (Ice cream)

Immediately upon entering their enormous dining hall, we found our spot.

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While waiting for our food..

It is facing a central view of the famous Taal lake. It came to us with the soft cool breeze of Tagaytay. And some fogs too which were too thin to notice.

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The weather was great at that time.

Spending almost 3 hours to get there from my place, we ordered some of their specialties to our heart’s content.

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And relaxing at the same time..

And while waiting for our food, I took photos of what they’re using in their kitchen.

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It was good to know that some of these are in my kitchen too..

I must not forget to mention here that Chef Tony (Escalante) was there and smiles at everyone including me. #startruck

Permit me this awe since he is touted as one of the best chefs in Asia. The brain behind Antonio’s Restaurant. Though the Executive Chef of Balay Dako is Chef Ricky Sison.

So, here’s what we’ve had:

Our table were filled with Filipino cuisine and the usual that we cooked at home, but broadly speaking, the taste and ambiance and the service are 2 thumbs up.

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We had shrimps, beef and green mango salad.
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Two old-time favorites: Turon and bibingka..
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And another favorite: Sago and gulaman for our drinks.
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We were also provided with mascuvado sugar either for our bibingka or sago gulaman should we wanted it sweeter.
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Each table is served with staple condiments.

And these are the elements making up a note-worthy place that deserves frequent visit. I then again wished that Tagaytay is just 15 minutes away from me. More of a visceral thing to me. We were in a relaxed mode anyway.

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I had fun spotting two of the most important letters to me..=)

The place is huge, giving justice to it’s name: “Balay Dako”. Dako is big in the Visayas where Chef Tony hailed from.

You’d be glad to know that after we had our desserts, our feet lead us to their specialty shop and brought home some stuff too.

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Went shopping too.
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Neatly arranged items..
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Chalkboard menuboard which will eventually be included in my other blog that features my fascination on Calligraphy.
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When you visit this, there’ll always be something that you can bring home..
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Like these..
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Fish in oil..
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Chicharon which equates to 20 counts of burpees.. =p
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Freshly-baked daily.

Find time to visit the place and I’m pretty sure you’ll like it there too.

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Their welcome arch..

ps

They asked if we have tried these other two: Breakfast at Antonios and Antonio’s Restaurant (the pilot branch). And if not, they said that we must. =) I think I’ll start saving for the latter. Their steaks are famous. =)

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