What do you do when you find yourself in Anilao on the eve of a brewing tropical storm? You pray for better weather and find other things to do while on staycation. For your Happyfoodies, it was a good excuse to foodtrip at the Eagle’s Nest Restaurant and Bar of Eagle Point Resort, perusing the menu and asking the friendly staff for recommendations and suggestions. We haven’t been anywhere around here for a long time so it was nice to find that the resort’s eating venue offers a great view of the sea (roiling as we sample the fare the two days we stayed there).
Happyfoodies has been on the road recently and traveling through towns we normally pass through on the way to Bontoc and Sagada brought some surprises to us. One of these is finding a place to have good coffee in Abatan, some 80 or so kilometers away from Baguio. Billeted at Garden Breeze in Bangad, we wanted to find out what else is out there, attractions- and food-wise, so we walked along the town center. After a hearty lunch of beef broccoli and soup at Kadan-Tom, we decided to find out if there’s a place where we can grab a cup of coffee and some dessert. Maybe it was a stroke of serendipity that we found Cafe Lounge 85 at the fringe of the town center where the coffee along with the view gave us a pleasant surprise.
What’s in a drink? I mean everybody’s got to cool down especially in this hot weather and in what looks like an extended summer.
I try to drink like a liter and a half of plain water daily but if I crave for a bit of flavor, I’ll steer clear of sodas save for occasions when there’s no safe drinking water or strangely, after long mountain hikes (I know it’s not healthy but hey, this is just very rare). I also tend to favor either fruit juices over soda or if I want a bit of variety, I’d have some tea brews every now and then. Thing is, a lot of ’em tea brews are loaded with sugar. Flavorful, yes. Healthier than soda, ummm not really.
Most of the eating places in Bontoc town proper and Illi are located on the main road, much like the arrangement of restos and cafes in Sagada. Even if you’re new to the place, it’s fairly easy to spot them, each one just a short walk, after alighting from the bus or van from Baguio or Banaue. Thing is, the main avenue can be noisy at certain times of the day, and if you’re looking for a quiet place to eat, relax, chill or meet a date, it’s a tricky proposition to find it. Well, good thing there’s Caja.
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.
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.
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.
The shop looks rather nondescript from the outside save for a simple, elegant signage that announces “Satinka Naturals” and a blackboard that says, “A piece of the mountains in the city”. Well, the second one got our attention. As is common with some other establishments, the promise can be just that – a promise premised on purely commercial purposes, just enough to pull in a customer for the first time but not for a return visit. Happily, Satinka Naturals’ advertising sign is not mere rhetoric. In fact, the more often we visit, the more delighted we are in discovering, not just healthful foods, but also nuggets of health wisdom from its owners, Satinka and Shaller, who both hail from Kalinga.