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.
It’s not your usual toast. Cafe Shibuya has signature high toast that are 2 1/2 inches thick, topped with a single ice cream scoop or two and sprinkled with powder, fruits or chocolates depending on your desired flavors. Just looking at the variety of offerings from the menu, it’s challenging to make a choice as most look delectable. Choosing drinks was quite easy as I love coffee and matcha and they have a blend of both.
There is a certain zen moment that I like about Vietnamese coffee. The time I wait for the coffee to brew and drip from the phin (a small Vietnamese brewing device) to my is a quiet still moment I savor every morning. I like the unhurried air it brings. There’s also the yin and yang combination from the ironically smooth yet strong coffee and the creamy sweet layer of condensed milk. Their perfect blend is just a satisfying reward for that short wait. More than the coffee, I also appreciate the surrounding of the cafe which adds to the experience of drinking coffee. That’s why in Hanoi, Cafe Pho Co, was a delightful find, tucked deep within rustic buildings past the souvenir shops fronting the streets. Ancient walls, a charming cat, unique coffee with egg and views one can get lost in moments.
It became my temporary office in Bontoc. The cozy sofa and chairs, the tasteful interiors heavy on the travel theme coupled with beautiful photos of the rice terraces and people of the Cordilleras is truly inviting. My almost weeklong stay in Bontoc finds me at Goldfish Cafe catching up on work and the online world. For Bontoc standards, Goldfish Cafe is the fanciest cafe in town. For a town whose local coffee culture is quite predominant already how does Goldfish Cafe’s specialty coffee offerings fare?
Food discoveries during travel have always been the heart of Happyfoodies. And during this Lakbay Norte 2, a familiarization tour of select places in Northern Luzon, we get to try out some interesting food stops on the way to Baguio from Manila on our first day. We had breakfast at SOUL Cafe in La Union, snacks at Cafe Isabelle and dinner at Hotel Elizabeth’s Flora Cafe.
Apart from the food offerings of longtime stalwart, Outback Restaurant, we admit we’re not that exposed to Australian cuisine. Oh, we have images of Australian icons in our heads but still, we asked ourselves, “what is Australian cuisine?” Googling the topic reveals a bit of insight like the fact that traditional Australian cuisine borrows heavily from the British tradition (think fish and chips, pies, et al). The modern iteration, however, is not as easy to define as understandably, their cuisine is influenced by and infused with other cuisines, especially of the people who have been transplanted to the continent like Asians. Follow the Happyfoodies as they venture to the southern part of the metropolis to get a taste (and a flavorful idea) of Australian cuisine at the appropriately-named Aussie Café and Resto.