Gringo Chicken Ribs Friends, 3 Pleasant Surprises in Goodie Boxes

Don’t chicken out! Especially when the newest Mexican-Latin flame-grilled chicken specialty restaurant, Gringo Chicken, Ribs, Friends has invaded SM The Block. I recently got a chance to sample their main entree when they sent goodie boxes to my office – each containing the Gringo Original Chicken, Southern Spice Chicken and the Baby Back Ribs. I must say the look of delight as I opened the boxes must’ve looked like the charming grin of Gringo on their logo. Each dish is paired with its own set of garlic rice, nachos, mushrooms and special sauces.

Don’t chicken out!  Especially when the newest Mexican-Latin flame-grilled chicken specialty restaurant, Gringo Chicken Ribs Friends, invades SM The Block. I recently got a chance to sample their main entree when they sent some goodie boxes to my office – one each of the Gringo Original Chicken, Southern Spice Chicken and the Baby Back Ribs. I can imagine the look of delight on my face as I opened the boxes must’ve looked a lot like the charming grin of the Gringo mascot character on the company’s logo. Each dish is paired with its own set of garlic rice, nachos, mushrooms and special sauces.

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Casa Italia: Handcrafted Gelato, Coffee Otto and Italian Vibe

Summer is beginning to make itself felt. Pretty soon, people would be reaching for something cool and comforting to beat the summer heat. If one is passing by Burgos Circle in BGC and recently at SM’s the Block, check out Casa Italia. Don’t be intimidated by the fancy interiors of this Singaporean-based Italian coffee and gelato cafe chain. A warm greeting of “Ciao!” from the friendly staff once you step on the checkered floor tiles is enough to make you smile. Then, the array of colors from the numerous gelato in display will awaken your dessert indulgence.

Summer is beginning to make itself felt. Pretty soon, people would be reaching for something cool and comforting to beat the heat. If you’re passing by either the Burgos Circle in BGC or SM’s The Block, why not check out Casa Italia? Don’t be intimidated by the fancy interiors of this gleaming Singapore-based Italian coffee and gelato cafe chain.  The friendly staff greets you a warm “Ciao” the moment you step inside. Then, the array of vibrant colors of the gelato on display may just awaken your passion for dessert indulgence.

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Barkin’ Blends Dog Cafe: Lettin’ the Dogs Out

It actually came as a pleasant surprise that the cafe has already celebrated its first year anniversary as I felt that while as a dog lover I dig the idea, I don’t know if the novelty would wear off after a few months.  Sure, it was a swell idea when it first came out, a concept that you’d probably read about in Japan or Singapore where the high costs of keeping pets or strict housing rules has created opportunities for creative pet lovers to build a business around a petting zoo type of establishment.

We actually heard about Barkin’ Blends Dog Cafe last year when it was about to open.  Busy-ness plus the travails of commuting kept us from visiting until last Sunday when your Happyfoodies found themselves in the Katipunan area within barking distance (pun intended) of the cafe so we dropped by for an afternoon of coffee and canine company.

It actually came as a pleasant surprise that the cafe has already celebrated its first year anniversary as we felt that while as a dog lover we dig the idea, we don’t know if the novelty would wear off after a few months.  Sure, it was a swell idea when it first came out, a concept that you’d probably read about in Japan or Singapore where the high costs of keeping pets or strict housing rules has created opportunities for creative pet lovers to build a business around a petting zoo type of establishment.  We haven’t reached that state yet, we think, though keeping a dog is no joke – costly in terms of vet care, food, grooming and we never believe that dogs are just some form of status symbol for showing around; rather, they’re friends to care for.

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Balai Pandesal, Dropping by at the 24/7 Pinoy bakery

Who’s to argue that the pan de sal is the quintissential Pinoy bread?  Its popularity may have waxed and waned through the years but it has remained a mainstay on the Filipinos’ table for generations.  Embedded deep into our culture, it has also become some sort of an economic barometer, shrinking in size and puffing in price with economic downturns.  I remember years ago when every neighborhood bakery rode on the hot pan de sal craze, then slowly diminishing in popularity.  It didn’t really go away, though, even moving from being a breakfast fare to an all-day treat.  Which is why probably the people behind Balai Pandesal built its business around this Pinoy staple.

Who’s to argue that the pan de sal is the quintissential Pinoy bread?  Its popularity may have waxed and waned through the years but it has remained a mainstay on the Filipinos’ table for generations.  Embedded deep into our culture, it has also become some sort of an economic barometer, shrinking in size and puffing in price with economic downturns.  I remember years ago when every neighborhood bakery rode on the hot pan de sal craze, then slowly diminishing in popularity.  It didn’t really go away, though, even moving from being a breakfast fare to an all-day treat.  Which is why probably the people behind Balai Pandesal built its business around this Pinoy staple.

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The Coffee Library in Baguio, Vietnamese coffee and cuisine come to the highlands

Your Happyfoodies trudged to the northern highlands for the days leading up to the new year with an overnight stop in Baguio.  By chance, we got billeted in a hotel on the quieter street parallel to the always-busy (also noisy) Session Road and chanced upon the barely month-old The Coffee Library on the ground floor of the Rex Hall Student Residences along General Luna Street.  Needless to say, it was a serendipitous find.  Yes, it is eye-catching, with tasteful touches of ethnic crafts, mix of red brick and warm wood, even vintage “padyak” (foot pedal-powered) sewing machines converted into tables, but how was the food, you may ask.

Your Happyfoodies trudged to the northern highlands for the days leading up to the new year with an overnight stop in Baguio.  By chance, we got billeted in a hotel on a quieter street parallel to the always-busy (read: noisy) Session Road and chanced upon the barely month-old The Coffee Library on the ground floor of the Rex Hall Student Residences along General Luna Street.  Needless to say, it was a serendipitous find.  Yes, it is eye-catching, with tasteful touches of ethnic crafts, mix of red brick and warm wood, even vintage “padyak” (foot pedal-powered) sewing machines converted into tables, but how was the food, you may ask.

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