Saturday, November 22, 2014

Maginhawa St. Gastronomic Walk #3: Cafe Quezon

Where I come from, beaches are beautiful, sceneries are picturesque, life is good and simple and food is divine! I'm sure people who hail from other provinces would say the same thing about their hometown but hey, I love my own! Haha! Anyway, I'm speaking about Quezon, that coastal province at the southern tip of Luzon quite close to Marinduque and Bicol Region although separated by sea. Whenever I go there for much-needed respite from work and city life, it's the food and everyday walk on the seashore that I cherish the most, aside of course, from being with my folks. And if there's one thing that reminds me of my summers spent as a child in Quezon, it's the crispy tapa which my father would painstakingly make - from slicing the beef so thinly, climbing up the roof to dry the slices on a bilao under the sun for several days and then striking them flat with a hammer, before my mom could finally fry it for breakfast. 
Many years later when my dad couldn't do all those work anymore because of old age, my mom would just buy the crispy tapa two towns away in Catanauan. Only, it is so expensive! Today, it costs about P1,400 per kilo. Why so expensive, you might ask. Because when fresh beef is dried, it drops in weight, such that two-three kilos might end up as just one kilo of tapa. Though that is just my estimate, at least you get the idea. And because of the price and the distance my mom has to travel to buy it, we don't get to eat crispy tapa very often these days. So I was just so delighted to find out that there's one restaurant that serves crispy tapa - Cafe Quezon on Maginhawa St. - that strip in Quezon City that's famous for the great number of foodie places that you can find next to each other. Last Saturday, my daughter and I hurried off there and found out that aside from the Crispy Tapa, there are other Quezon specialty dishes that could be found here like Pilipit and Pancit Habhab (also known as Pancit Lucban). I felt so at home! My daughter and I had these for lunch one Saturday this November:

Quezon Crispy Tapa meal with iced tea or coffee (coffee is till 12 noon only), P150.

Longganisang Lucban meal with iced tea, P130.

Pilipit, P80.
This is kakanin made from malagkit (sticky) rice, drizzled with caramel and chocolate sauce. Yummy!

Our drinks - brewed coffee and iced tea



I would definitely want to go back to Cafe Quezon for their great food that reminds me so much of my beloved hometown. They offer other Filipino dishes too aside from Quezon province specialties, like nilagang baka and pork sinigang. If you want to give Cafe Quezon a try, (and I suggest you do), it's at 179 Maginhawa St. in Quezon City.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Chef Paul's rocks!

I have loved rock music for so long, starting in high school (Admittedly, that was a long time ago. Hahaha!). I would always watch gigs and concerts by my favorite Pinoy rock band The Dawn. I also listened to foreign bands - U2, INXS, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Incubus and so on. Last year, however, I stopped listening to them when I became a born-again Christian because Suddenly, my taste in music changed. No, I didn't shun rock - only this time, I preferred Christian rock music and began listening to Christian artists like Jake Hamilton. 
Anyway, there is this cafe that I discovered - happily - in my office neighborhood that might as well bring out the rockstar or well, rock fan in anyone 'coz it's rockstar-themed. Quite unique and very clever! I'm talkin' about Chef Paul's on Visayas Ave. which opened early this year (or was it late last year?). It's a coffee and desserts place that makes you feel like rockin' wherever your eyes lay on. Painted on the wall at your right once you enter is a huge picture of The Beatles and another of the iconic Pinoy band Eraserheads. All around are old vinyl records hanging from the ceiling, real guitars on the walls, and cassette tapes cleverly used as napkin holders. There are the usual tables and chairs but one part of the inside is elevated and you'd just sit on the floor and eat on round glass tables placed on top of car tires. Still another part 
you'd have to reach by climbing a few steps of stairs. 
And the menu - it gave me a few good laughs! Consider pasta dishes like SPAMdau Ballet, Eltuna John and CarBONOra, Alfredo Mercury and Elvis Pesto.and mocha milkshake named Mochamical Romance (My Chemical Romance used to be my daughter's favorite band before she became a Christian herself). The dishes themselves are quite ingenious. Otherwise  simple dishes are given an unusual and exciting twist. Consider this: for a hamburger, they have a beef patty sandwiched by waffles instead of bread buns and champorado crowned with whipped cream and served with bacon, ham and Spam instead of the usual tuyo. I had this champorado last week and it was delish! I've been at Chef Paul's four times 
since last summer and these were what I've tried so far:         

'2Pac' - waffle burger with cheese and mushrooms
Champorado with Spam, ham and bacon

'Eltuna John'

'Bacon Jovi' bacon waffle sandwich

'Meatloaf' - Spam waffle sandwich

'Bob Dylan' blueberry waffles

'The Beeftles'
'Pink Floyd' Strawberry Milkshake and 'Mochamical Milkshake'

Cafe Americano

Iced Tea

Their Menu


Cassette tape cases as napkin holders

The Beatles, Eraserheads on the wall

I have definitely added Chef Paul's to my list of favorite foodie places 
for the yummy and cozy factors. Check it out, guys!