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.
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.
October is around the corner and its time to raise your mugs and enjoy an overflowing dose of beer-goodness. It’s Octoberfest and Vikings Luxury Buffet is there to celebrate with you with a meaty-licious menu to chug in more beer from the tap. Check whats in store for you this Vikings Luxury Buffet Oktoberfest.
It’s been more than three years since J.Co Donuts and Coffee came to the Philippine shores. I still remember the unbelievable long queue on the very few branches they had. We can’t blame those people as happyfoodies too raved about their not-too-sweet but delicious donuts. Lately, J.Co has a more relaxed atmosphere with more manageable lines that doesn’t seem to be in a state of panic to take home boxes. People can enjoy coffee, frappes and their donuts in an unhurried pace and actually share some quality chats with friends. Happyfoodies was just glad to find a window-side table with comfy chairs and get to try what’s new to add to their old-time favorites.
I’m glad an old favorite cafe returned. Coffee 8065, a cafe owned by the same people behind 8065 Bagnet re-opened early this year in a new location within San Antonio Village in Makati. Moving from their former home, on the 2nd floor of an old building along Estrella corner Pasong Tamo, their new home is more accessible being on the streetside. A bambike (bamboo bike) holds their signature sign parked just in front of their entrance. From outside, it looks like one of the houses in the neighborhood; inside is the familiar cozy ambiance with a very homey vibe.
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.