Post-Typhoon Yolanda has shaped a different Tacloban City. Businesses are booming and the presence of numerous foreign aid workers have prompted locals to open up not only more lodging but eating places too. People of Tacloban love to eat and its a delight to see some quality home-grown establishments popping-up to join old favorites. With the presence of foreigners though, prices have gone up but there are still some affordable options around. This list is not a ranking but the places I have personally tried during my stay. Tacloban City Eats has a nice mix of comfort food, cafes, dessert place and a hotpot. Check out Chew Love, Dream Cafe, Libros Atbp, Porbida Burger, K Patisserie, Miyara Patisserie, Sofa Cafe, Huhku Hotpot Express and Oppa’s Kitchen.
It’s off the usual route and takes a bit of traveling to get to but Cioccolo is an interesting place to go to at night. Right in the middle of a dark field, it seems a place of enchantment has sprung up, magically lit up at night. There’s R2-D2 in one area, Elvis in another as well as Roman statues here and there among a host of other curiosities that catch the eye and piques one’s interest no matter how blasé he or she can be. There are even huge banquet halls spread out on the spacious lot that looked like settings for a medieval tale complete with trompe l’oeil ceilings, huge chandeliers, gilded walls and ornate furniture. Cioccolo’s truly kitschy as kitschy can be but in a pleasant way, maybe strangely romantic even like a fantasy world. Contrastingly, the coffee shop looks “normal” and “real world”, warmly lit and inviting for a nightcap. The whole place looks every bit interesting but we wonder if the food could be as “kitschy” good as well.
Before you know it, we’re deep into the Christmas holiday. It’s the time of the year when part of the tradition is the merry eating, often a cause for indulgence that will visibly manifest itself come January. It’s also the time to give and receive (food calories included in the merry swapping of presents) so it was really a pleasant surprise to get boxes of J. Co Donuts at the doorstep. Hmmm, gets us into thinking: is there really room for another donut brand in a sweetly saturated market? J.Co isn’t really a new brand, having been around in other Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia where it got started since 2005. Well, only with a taste test can tell so we made room for extra calories to give Happyfoodies readers our impressions.
Forrest Gump may have said that life is like a box of chocolates but he never had the dilemma of contemplating on what kind of chocolate brownie he’s going to get out of an assorted boxful from Brownies Unlimited. That’s what Happyfoodies mulled upon when we got boxes of chocolate goodies from BU over the holidays. Not to complain though as we’re certified chocoholics.
There were bread crumbs on the table. Crumbs on the tray liner. And more crumbs on the saucers. A nuisance? If the crumbs were from ordinary bread, they would be. But we were having Paris Delice breads for breakfast and notwithstanding the proliferation of French bakeries in the metro, it really doesn’t take a cultured palate to know these breads are different from all that came before them.
It’s been quite a while since we last stepped into Amici in Don Bosco in Makati City. Oh, we’ve always considered this restaurant that boasts of affordable, home-cooked Italian-style cuisine as a comforting constant in a constantly changing foodscape. But ever since its takeover by a new management team two years ago, we had our apprehensions. And there’s also the expansion to include a branch in SM Megamall. Did the move to professionalize the operations alter the relaxed eating experience? Or worse, change the great-tasting food we’ve always come to love?
To find out, we dropped by on a Sunday afternoon for a late lunch – something that was not possible when Amici was still run by the Salesians of Don Bosco. Obviously, this is one of the benefits of the new management as Sunday is a very nice time to avoid the big weekday office crowds and take your sweet time to savor each and every bite. The verdict: still as lip-smacking good as ever.