Sunday, October 30, 2016

Have a haunting Halloween at Amor Bakery

I read that we Christians must not celebrate Halloween because it supposedly glorifies evil creatures, but I can't help but find spooky and creepy things cute. When I went to my favorite Amor Bakery in Manila yesterday afternoon for some snacks after a visit to the doctor, I found out this lovely cafe is all spruced up for Halloween and I couldn't be more amused. You know - cob webs clinging onto antique-style chandeliers, spiders, ghastly masks -- all those things meant to bring fright. I loved it! Even cakes, cupcakes and some breads were baked to scare! I ordered a spidey cupcake and another one with a mummy face which I paired with my favorite lychee fruit tea.

Halloween cupcake, P69. each; Fruit tea, P80., 500 ml

Amor- España ready for Halloween

I love Amor's cupcakes as they are light, fluffy and not too sweet. They are really best to have with coffee but yesterday, I chose a cold drink over a steaming cup of joe as it was very hot and sunny outside. The weather and a viral infection (the reason for the doctor's visit) left my throat dry and itchy and the fruit tea that I asked to be made not with too much ice (and with no sugar!) soothed me. 
Anyway, I was thankful for a "spacious" Amor on a Saturday afternoon, with a good number of vacant tables (because students are on their semestral break and many, I suppose, have gone home to their provinces for the "Undas"). On most days I was here, this place was jam-packed with students, their faces buried either on laptops or textbooks. What a relaxing stay it was indeed yesterday afternoon at Amor so I decided to while away the time, playing my favorite game on my cellphone.
Have you tried Amor Bakery, folks? If you haven't, I suggest you do if you feel like having coffee and a light snack. Some branches now offer heavier stuff like pasta, that's why I'm jealous for the Espana branch which is the first store, I believe, but is left behind when it comes to the menu. 
Amor Bakery now has 5 branches (Espana, Ongpin, Tandang Sora, SM Sangandaan and Katipunan) just a year and a half after it first opened its doors. Visit the one nearest you and chill it out!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

SHP Bibimbab Cafe & Restaurant in Malate

Apparently, Korean food is my "flavor of the month". I've been craving for it the past three weeks! Yup, several bowls of bibimbap I've had already and I'm still wanting! Anyway, I went to the La Salle area along Taft Ave. last week as my kids and I attended the opening of the solo sculpture exhibit of my eldest daughter's beau. And to hit two birds with one stone, I took advantage of the occasion to embark on a little foodie adventure with my little boy before going to the venue, which was the 
Cultural Center of the Philippines. 
I made some research the day before, as a real foodie should (Haha!), to find a restaurant that would arouse my curiosity and excitement. This time, SHP Bibimbab Cafe & Restaurant did it, and it was just the perfect choice as I've been, as I mentioned, on a Korean food mode. The pictures of food and the place itself made my heart skip a beat! Those huge teddy bears and the country-style interiors plus the bowls of 
my favorite bibimbap got me so excited! 
Then, finally, we were there at SHP Bibimbab, my little boy and I, and after choosing a place to prop ourselves up and placing our order, we quickly proceeded to clicking away with the camera - the little boy of me, and I, of him. One could easily get tired of taking pictures here, I learned, as every nook and cranny is picture-pretty 
and Instagram-worthy! 
And then, the food came, thus, it was time 
Nope! take more pictures, but of course. :)

Beef Bibimbap, P190. 
Clubhouse, P210.

                                                 Cookies and Cream Frappe, P170.

Iced Cappuccino, P140.



In and around SHP Bibimbab Cafe & Restaurant

Cribs all around that make group gatherings and hanging out 
more intimate and fun 

The wall at the corridor where the wash area is
The door that opens to SHP Bibimbab at the Second Floor, 
Mervin Terraces Building, 980 Pablo Ocampo St., Malate, Manila

We came to eating, but of course, but still in between taking pictures. Tee-hee. My son was all praises for the clubhouse sandwich. It took him just one bite to declare his love for it and announced wanting to come back here to have this sandwich again. Just look at those thick fillings of ham, tuna, fried egg and veggies and you're sure 
they don't scrimp around here.  
I loved the bibimbap (bibimbab is what it's called here), too, though I would have wanted it with more sesame oil flavor like the one I'm used to eating some place else. I wondered if the Bulgogi Bibimbap would be more to my liking. I liked, though, that at SHP, bibimbap doesn't come with a sunny side up egg at the center but with scrambled and shredded fried egg on the side. Weird as it may, but I leave the 
sunny side up fried egg whenever I eat bibimbap. 
Anyway, I was all praises for my Iced Cappuccino, which had a robust espresso taste that dominated over the milk. That's how I like having my coffee - strong but not too much as to give me a heartburn. My son also loved his Cookies and Cream frappe though I shuddered over its price tag. Haha! After eating, we had time to linger for some 30 more minutes before going to the CCP so we just hanged out to chatter and play games in our cellphone. Wi-fi is available here, by the way, but I didn't bother to ask for the password because my favorite game has been downloaded on my cellphone.
Well, it was a lovely stay in this lovely cafe. The place is obviously quite old and the water pipes sticking out of the ceiling, that I cropped out of my pictures, could be an eyesore (In my humble opinion, they suit industrial-themed interiors but not a girly place with a country design). But the cribs, decors, trimmings and wall art plus the teddy bears all successfully made the interiors pretty and inviting for hours of lounging. 
Visit SHP Bibimbab Cafe & Restaurant one of these days, folks, and find out for yourselves why this cafe is a crowd-drawer, especially among students.
Happy eating!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Bibimbap and some more at Rock & Seoul

Though I eat Korean food once in a while, I'm not particularly fond of this cuisine and I don't go the extra mile to get it, as I would do for my favorites. And so it came as a surprise to myself that I suddenly had a bad craving for the Korean mixed rice dish called Bibimbap. So bad, yes, that I ate Bibimbap three times last week! Two of those times were in one and the same restaurant at the SM San Lazaro in Manila, and the other at Rock & Seoul, which I decided to blog about first.
Rock & Seoul at The Block of the SM North Edsa is so much different from all the other Korean restaurants I've been to, which all have a somewhat formal setting and ambiance. In contrast, Rock & Seoul has a unique, fun and modern concept, as shown in its unconventional menu and bright, colorful store design. The main entrée is Bibimbap, but with some innovative variations. They have World Baps - international food served Bibimbap-style. Imagine having American breakfast or salpicao, or tacos.. even shawarma, assembled on a bowl the way they do bibimbap. 
Meanwhile, the store itself makes one feel young and vibrant with the dominance of red and blue colors on a white background and the use of bright lights. There's a feeling of nostalgia, however, evoked by some music-themed antiquated items that are placed on a shelf on one side of the store such as vinyl records and a turntable 
and cassette tape player plus some album jackets.
Anyway, I had three friends in tow and these were our orders:

Bibimbap original, P190.

Pork salpicao bibimbap, P245. 
Beef bulgogi bibimbap, P245.
                                                              Spicy silken tofu, P160.
Dalandan juice, iced tea

                                                                Inside Rock & Seoul

                                         Rock music-themed wall display
Cute t-shirts on display, possibly for sale 
Rock & Seoul at the ground floor of The Block, SM North Edsa

I could only share about how my Bibimbap was as I didn't get to taste my friends' orders. I liked that there's a generous inclusion of a mixture of pork and beef to go well with the mounds of veggies - cucumber, carrots, bean sprouts and green leafies. There's an exciting cacophony of flavors that blended seamlessly from all these plus the bibimbap sauce but for me, it was the zing from the chili that was very dominant and I regretted asking for 'medium' level of hotness. I wished the rice wasn't drowned in the spicy sauce. In fact, I would been happier without any sauce. Also, I thought that I would have liked my Bibimbap better if the veggies were sliced smaller than they were. Anyway, I asked my dining mates how their order was and 
they gave me the thumbs up. All orders of Bibimbap came with a side dish of Kimchi but unfortunately, it was made too salty on that day, and the server apologized for our small misfortune. Apology accepted 'cause there was 
nothing we could do about it. Hehe.. 
But all in all, we had a good first time at Rock & Seoul and found this place worth coming back for. For my next time, I want to try their World Baps, 
especially the Mexican Taco and Shawarma.
Rock & Seoul is worth a trip, folks! Hope to see you there!
Happy eating!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Enjoy coffee breaks at Country Style

When I'm at the mall and want a good cup of joe and a light meal because I'm not really hungry, I usually go to Country Style where sandwiches and coffee are both awesome and affordable. For a bit of info, Country Style is a Canadian bakery, deli and cafe franchise, with over 30 branches in the Philippines at present.
But what makes a sandwich awesome for me? First, it must be visually appealing to stir up the appetite.  You know - colors! There must be greens and reds for the veggies. Also, there must not be scrimping on the filling. The taste, of course, is just as important and the bread must be fresh. For these categories, it's all check for Country Style for me. As a bonus, their sandwiches are huge, so I usually only eat half 
and take the other half home. 
Meanwhile, their brewed coffee serves as the perfect thing to wash down everything. Yes, the cup of joe is another thing I love at Country Style - it's of medium roast so it doesn't come too strong for me. The only thing that makes Country Style less 
than perfect for me is they don't offer fancier coffee 
so no cappuccino or latte for me here. 
Anyway, here's what I (and sometimes, a companion) have 
had so far at Country Style:

Bagel Sunriser, P180. with brewed coffee

Ham Double Decker Sandwich, P125.

Bagel de Luxe, P110.

What's more to love at Country Style? They have all-day breakfast rice meals, too. My daughter once had this Beef Tapa with fried egg meal and she approved of the savory and 
tender slices of marinated beef.  

And there's more: pasta! Surprisingly, the spaghetti is quite good as attested to by my little boy. The sauce has a bold (notice the deep red color) , intense tomato-and-spice flavor balanced with a hint of sweetness. Aside from spaghetti, there's carbonara, 
too, but I've not tried it yet.

Spaghetti, P75. (not sure about this price, though)

Country Style is also known for their donuts, which my daughter loves. 
The Choco Log, which has a rich chocolate filling, is her top pick.

Choco Log, P30.

I also once ate a bit of the Cookies and Cream donut - a square piece of saccharine heaven 
that, had I finished, would have given me a diabetic's nightmare.
Cookies & Cream, P30.
Coffee - as always, my elixir. Only P50. per cup
Drooling over those treats? Head over now to the nearest Country Style and enjoy a sandwich (or donut, or a rice meal) and steaming cup of brewed coffee as much as I do. Most SM Malls have a branch, where you can quietly 
work on your tablet or read a book.
Happy eating!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Today's Word: Isaiah 40:31

Are you waiting for a blessing from the Lord? I am. For almost four years now, I'm eagerly waiting for a prayer to be answered. Sometimes, I get impatient and lose hope. Other times, I'm ready to give up. I would think maybe, it's not for me, maybe God did not want this thing for me. But in those times that I told Him I was giving up praying for such a blessing, He would orchestrate circumstances that would put me back on track. After that happened a few times, I understood. What I'm praying for, God wants to give 
me - only, it was not yet the right time. So what am I supposed to do? Wait. Continue to hope, pray and believe. After finally realizing God's will, He would give me 
the patience and strength to carry on. 
Do you find yourself in the same situation as mine? Are you losing hope because 
the answer to your prayer has taken too long? Take heart! God is 
faithful and He will deliver! So hold on and continue to pray, 
believing that in the Lord's perfect timing, your blessing 
will come and the wait is going to be worth it! 
God bless you today. 

                                                    (Thank you, Digital Bible for this photo)