Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Vanderlust Bistro + Patisserie: My last foodie discovery for 2017

As a foodie, I ended 2017 wonderfully with a great restaurant find somewhere in Tomas Morato. Outside, it's not much of a looker. Not so great inside, either, aesthetically speaking. But the food -- and desserts! These are what's unforgettable at Vanderlust Bistro + Patisserie. Its owners opened the restaurant in August 2016 with an aim to give its clients a taste of Europe. Yep, the dishes on their menu are originals from Germany, Spain, France and some other countries from the continent which the couple-owners have visited. The desserts from Germany are one-of-a-kind and delicious, but give me a hard time pronouncing their name! 
Anyway, I  came for lunch with two of my friends 
in the office on the last work day of the year. 
Our orders:

Catalan Baked Fish with Potatoes and Asparagus, P378.
My two companions decided to do a twinning with this healthy fish entree. I had a taste of Friend No. 1's fish while Friend No. 2 gave me all her veggies except for the potatoes. This is why I love my friends. Haha! The baked fish was really soft but the crumby herbed crust 
provided an interesting contrast in texture.

Basil Chicken Pasta, P288.
This has subtle flavors and I ended up putting in a lot of parmesan cheese and chili flakes. I loved though that there was a lot of those chicken chunks and boy, this plate of pasta really filled me up! I wished, however, that the 
pieces of toast had a pat of butter.

Now on to the desserts. We ordered the Schneeballë, which is a hard ball of pastry that one has to smash using a mallet. Indeed, a little bit of a challenge to eat, but worth the extra work. Its delicious, not overly sweet, and I could find it good  to go with a nice cup of coffee. Wikipedia says "This kind of pastry has been known for at least 300 years in the regions of Franconia and Hohenlohe (northeast of Baden-Württemberg in Germany) where it is very popular. Served only on special occasions such as weddings in the past; they are nowadays available throughout the year and can be found around Rothenburg ob der Tauber in bakeries, pastry shops, and cafes". The Schneeballë, it added, 
is the German town's signature dish and is a favorite 
"pasalubong" by visitors to the place. 
We bought three of these which each of us took home. I wasn't able to take a picture of the other, though, the Cookies and Cream variety, which my youngest son was just too eager to eat at home. There was no mallet to smash it with, and my child simply gave it a hard bang against the wall. Tee-hee.

                                                 Schneeballë, P120.

My friend trying to give the Schneeballë a hard hitting.

Cannoli, P125. for the trio 
(L-R: Chocolate Chip, Taro, Earl Grey)
These we ate at the store and I liked the creaminess of the fillings against the flaky outside. It was something different, something good to wipe the palate clean after a meal. Cannolis are tubular fried pastry dough, filled with a sweet, creamy filling 
and originate from Sicily region in Italy.

Schokokusse, P49.
This dome-shaped dessert is being claimed by many countries as their invention, to include Denmark and Germany. A schokokusse is a chocolate-covered marshmallow treat. At Vanderlust, it comes in at least nine flavors. I ate the one at right and it was heavenly! Too bad I forgot what the flavors of these two were called. I brought the one at left to another friend in the office and the marsmallow inside 
was in bright colors and smelled like bubblegum.

Very Berry Somoothie, P160.
My friends' refreshing fruity drinks.

Flat White, P125.
My coffee, which I loved. It was really strong it gave me a heartburn 
for the rest of the day. Oh-oh!

In and around Vanderlust Bistro + Patisserie

Second level

Wines and desserts

Smashing a Schneeballë 101 

Vanderlust Bistro + Patisserie at 100 Scout De Guia corner 
Tomas Morato Avenue, Quezon City

I have never been to Europe and am thankful for the opportunity to have a taste of its food without having to fly there. The food is good and the price is commensurate to its quality. The service crew are courteous and our server, in particular, answered all our queries patiently and granted our requests and even whims happily. Overall, our lunch was a memorable one, something to savor at the tail-end of 2017. 
Saving the best for last? We definitely did.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Cafe Inggo: A must-visit on Quezon Ave.

I pass by Sto. Domingo Church along Quezon Avenue in QC daily as I commute to and from work. And this cafe on one end of the church compound, I found very interesting and tempting, especially during this Christmas season (It's not over yet, right?) with all the attractive lighted lanterns outside. Cafe Inggo, to me, was irresistible, and one Saturday afternoon last November, I gave in to its calling, tagging along my eldest daughter. It was a pleasant first visit that warranted a second so I 
came back for lunch the following Saturday.
 It's charming inside Cafe Inggo, with its simple but sleek, clean interiors that render the place very homey and cosy. There are various books on the tables such as on art and religion. There is a long couch on one side of the cafe and there are throw pillows on it that made me want to lie down while reading the Fernando Amorsolo 
book that was on my table.
As for the food here's what I/we've had:

Pancit Guisado, P175.
I love pancit! It's my ultimate comfort food. I always order it in restaurants serving Pinoy food. But Cafe Inggo's pancit bihon floored me! I was surprised at how "loaded" it was! When I placed my order, the server told me their pancit was really special, with lots of toppings. And it's a lot indeed! There are two slabs of bagnet, a huge shrimp, slices of beef tapa, and as if those are not enough, there's also minced longganisa! Wow, that was really one special plate of 

pancit bihon. Very delectable and filling!

Buttered bread, P55.
Some slices of toast to go with my pancit.

Lucban Longganisa Meal, P200.
This was my daughter's and it delighted her. Longsilog and with two fried eggs at that. She asked for one scrambled egg and a sunny side up other. An order of all-day breakfast 

meal comes with brewed coffee.
Home-made Chicken Galantina, P220.
My lunch on the second visit and it was sooo good! This chicken dish was packed with flavor and it bawled me over. It's topped with lots of mushrooms and drizzled with a milky/creamy sauce. An order comes with a cup of steamed rice.

Matcha Frappe, P160.
This was my daughter's healthy drink and she commented that it's 
yummier here than in another cafe. 

Americano, P85.
Cafe Inggo serves good coffee, too! The server told me they use Italian beans and I loved it, 
I didn't even have to put sugar nor milk or cream.

Food menu 

Inside Cafe Inggo

Amorsolo book on my table

Cafe Inggo at Santo Domingo Church, Quezon Ave., Quezon City

Visit Cafe Inggo, folks and enjoy Spanish-Filipino food that are freshly cooked and great-tasting. Prices are reasonable and the servers are friendly and attentive to the needs of their customers. One visit won't be enough. 
You'll want to come back! 
Happy eating!

New beginnings

It's a brand new year -- a time to start life anew. Let's leave 2017 behind, with all the mistakes,  failures and heartaches. We might have been troubled, wounded and discouraged, but God can make all things new! Let us forgive those who caused us pain, even if they didn't ask for it, and let God heal the scars. Let us surrender all to Him and trust Him to clean our slate and give us a new lease in life. Let us remember to pray at the start of each day, thank Him for the life that He gives us and ask for His wisdom and guidance in every thing that we are to do. When we retire at the end of the day, let us thank Him, too for all His provisions and protection for our family. Let us praise the Lord for He is always good, loving and merciful! Thank Him for this new year, for giving us, 
His children, new breath, new beginnings, new life. 
God bless us all.