Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Desserts at Bo's Coffee

I used to frequent coffee shops a lot but recently haven't been able to do so. But during those times when I had the opportunity to sample a few coffee shops, Bo's Coffee stood out for me. They had deliciously brewed coffee and non-caffeinated drinks, together with a selection of drool-inducing pastries, albeit the fact that theirs were slightly more expensive than other coffee shops in Davao.

Thus, I head on over to Bo's Coffee Shop one night after having dinner at California Diner. I had the Cookies 'N Cream chilled drink for PhP150 for the large size and a slice of the Midnight Delight cake. However, Bo's serving is priced quite steeply at PhP 120 and it wasn't even a big slice at all.

I enjoyed the chilled drink to the very last drop, especially because I can taste the huge chunk of cookies with every sip. Plus, that heavy cream on top was pure heaven! It is a non-caffeinated drink, too, which makes it perfect for those who do not drink coffee.

However, the Midnight Delight was a disappointment – not for the quality or taste, but for the price. I heard that most of the cakes served at Bo's are from Lachi's anyway so I could've just head right over to Lachi's for a wider range of pastries selection at a more reasonable price. Same goes with their dishes, too, of which I've tried on my previous trips to this coffee shop. I don't want to sound stingy but I would not mind paying more if it were worth it.

I guess I would be back to Bo's for their coffee and beverages, but definitely not for the food and pastries. What about you? How was your experience at Bo's Coffee?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Breakfast Meals All Day at Taps Davao

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Thus, I always make sure not to skip it or have a good one so I can start the day right. My idea of a perfect breakfast consists of bacon, scrambled egg, and a french toast. If you are a sucker for bacon, fried egg, sinangag, corned beef, and all other Filipino breakfast staples, regardless of time of day, then there is one place in Davao you should go to – Taps.

Personally, I am not a fan of Taps as I am not big on fried food. But when an unlikely craving hit me, I paid a visit to their Duterte branch that was recently renovated as well. Before that particular night, I haven't been to Taps for years (read: since high school!). I can't say it was a visit that I was particularly looking forward to but I just had to give into that craving and I know there is no place better to satisfy it.

E and I ordered the Basilog (Bacon, Sinangag and Itlog – sunny side up) and Lekasi (lechon kawali and sinangag), respectively. If my memory serves me right, the Basilog was priced at PhP 85 and the lechon kawali was at PhP 70.

To be modest, the bacon used on their Basilog was not of premium quality. For the price, what do you expect, really? Thankfully, it had enough crunch and savory taste to it and was not overly greasy. But it was slightly rubbery in texture and it was difficult to bite into.

Meanwhile, the lechon kawali redeemed it for me, though. It was well seasoned and did not contain too many fatty cuts. Hence, I had a fair amount of sinful goodness on my plate. A pretty good value for its price.

The ambiance is a huge upgrade from the traditional Taps branch that I've known all these years. The place is already fully airconditioned so you can enjoy your meals without having to endure a humid environment. At the same time, the tiles and walls are covered in white, which I like because it appears cleaner and more organized. I am not sure if I'd be back soon, but I left with a fully belly for less than PhP200 – clearly, my tummy isn't the only one happy that night!

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

California Diner: Bringing You The West Coast Flavor

Hungry for a brand new dining experience? California Diner is the perfect antidote to that craving. This casual, al fresco diner is reminiscent of the 60's California diners that also incorporate the beach culture feel and traditional food truck dining experience that American culinary culture has been known for. Hence, there is more to this dining experience than the food that is served on your table. 

One night, I went over to Torres St. to finally sample what everyone is talking about - California Diner. The moment I got there, the first observation is that the place is much smaller than I had imagined it to be. Luckily, we were the only ones there at that time so it was no trouble finding a spot for ourselves. 

When you do get here at a busy time, though, extension seats are available at the dessert shop next door. But for the full California Diner experience, nothing beats enjoying your food in one of the tables fronting the counter. As you wait for your order to be served, you can kill some time watching the traffic nearby or people from surrounding establishments - it's more fun than you think!

As for our orders, they were (as expected) reasonably priced but I was surprised by the decent serving size. I went for the Beef Taco that comes with a small serving of Spanish rice and cinnamon crisps. This one cost me roughyl PhP 80, which is affordable for the size of the serving. I really enjoyed the Spanish rice - it is packed with flavor and just the right texture. Also, the beef taco is made with lots of ground beef and fresh ingredients. For a taco fan, I can say with confidence that it was good value for money.

On the other hand, E went for the Deluxe Burger, which I believe is one of their best-sellers. This burger costs PhP155 and is well worth every penny because you get to enjoy (according to their menu) 150 grams of beef patty, along with slices of fresh tomato, lettuce, and a slab of cheese. I wonder if we would've went for additional bacon, that would've been way better! But still, it is good as it is. I would suggest you order this one whenever you get to visit California Diner. 

We skipped ordering dessert at California Diner because they did not really have enough choices. Generally speaking, their menu is rather modest at this point. I am, therefore, hoping that they could expand their choices soon and I would look forward to trying it out by then. 

Overall, this was a fun new way to dine. Somehow, you feel like you're in one of those trailer park diners in the US. That definitely contributes to your dining experience, especially given that there are already a number of burger and taco joints in the city. 

California Diner is located in Torres Street beside Sinangag Express. Once you're there, it's pretty much easy to spot!

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Caffe Firenzo: Exploring Their Culinary Offerings

Caffe Firenzo is one of the most well known coffee shops in Davao with branches in Damosa and Quirino Street. When they first opened branch in the city, they were known for their caffeinated beverages and fast WiFi connectivity. But when I had the chance to visit them as of late for dinner time, I had the opportunity to explore their food offerings that were way better than I had expected for it to be. 

Let's start off with their pizza... the Cheeseburger Pizza. I forgot to make note of its price, but this one is available for roughly PhP 250 - a serving that is good for two. Love the crust on this pizza because it is thin and crunchy! Plus, the topping consists of mozarella cheese that are beautifully melted on the top, onion rings, and ground beef. I haven't had the chance to try their other pizza toppings, but if I happen to drop by Caffe Firenzo again and want to eat pizza, I will have no doubt about ordering this again. 

Another dish that is worth a try is their Garlic Pesto Pasta. This dish is all about simplicity and subtlety of flavors. I love basil and olive oil, so there is not a question in my mind that I am going to enjoy any dish with pesto! The pasta is also cooked to perfection. I could eat pasta this good everyday!

And speaking of pasta, Caffe Firenzo offers another unique way to serve up Spaghetti with Meatballs. I've already noted how I love Grub Resto Cafe's spaghetti but this one is just as good. The meatball is also amazing - very tender and flavorful! There is a pepper-y hint to the taste of the spaghetti sauce which I really dig. 

Here is another unique offering from Caffe Firenzo: Stuffed Pork Chop. Like the spaghetti, it also comes with a strong and potent flavor, which I think meat lovers will appreciate. It is a great new twist to eating your pork chop.

The last, and least, favorite dish from Caffe Firenzo would have to be (well, not technically a dish but an appetizer) their Onion Rings. The onion was sweet, though, but the batter was poorly made. It wasn't crunchy at all; in fact, it soaked up too much oil that it ended up being too greasy for my liking. The solution? We removed the batter and just ate the onions by itself. Yum!

Please note that I've tried only their Quirino branch. All the photos and dishes featured here are from the aforementioned branch. You can check them out right across Central Bank in Quirino Street, Davao City.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Euro Cafe Offers a Simple Culinary Escape

Tucked away in the small corner at the Lower Ground Floor of Gaisano Mall is Euro Cafe. This is a small diner that is part of Euro Baker, a bakery that sells fresh bread and pastries to patrons of the mall. I've been here several times for dinner but mainly come over here to sample their tasty cakes and desserts.

One particular visit, I tried one of their pasta dishes, something of which is quite plenty in their menu. This is also an international cuisine restaurant so you can pick from a wide range of dishes to suit your liking. The Seafood Penne Pasta is a fantastic choice and one I would recommend you try if you do get to visit Euro Cafe. This dish comes with a few seashells that are fresh and well seasoned. The penne pasta in itself is well done, al dente, if you may say. The sauce, on the other hand, is made from genuine tomato sauce that comes with a good combination of creaminess and tanginess. The best part of this pasta dish? The freshly ground parmesan cheese on top of the pasta and seashells that gave out a fantastic aroma to the dish upon serving. 

One other dish that I've tried many times before in Euro Cafe is their Sizzling Malasugi. This is a generous slice of fresh malasugi on a sizzling plate. It comes with a lemon butter sauce that helps to cut the fishy smell from the malasugi. The dish is served with garlic rice, too, so that's a bonus!

Their dessert selection is quite extensive, too. From my many visits there, I've tried their blueberry cheesecake and mango chilled cake. I would highly recommend both, especially the cheesecake!

You can visit Euro Cafe at the Lower Ground Floor of G-Mall, to the left of the grocery entrance

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Crepelato: My Long Overdue Return Visit

As the title implies, I had intended to visit Crepelato again for the longest time but haven't had the chance. Blame that to the fact that there has been a surge of new restaurants in the city, completely filling my list of must-try restaurants, and then having to put the return visits on the back burner. (To give you an idea as to how long it's been since my first visit, my entry on Crepelato is my first ever entry in this blog) But when I had the chance to hang out with some friends at NCCC Mall and was looking for a place to dine in, I thought it was the perfect excuse to try out Crepelato in their new branch.

Thankfully, not much has changed in Crepelato - speaking in terms of the food. Their location at NCCC Mall is just as tiny as their original branch is, although slightly more colorful and vibrant. But we really came in here for the food, so let's proceed to that...

We ordered a couple of their large offerings - Victorian Spareribs (P200) and Bulalo (P299). The Victorian Spareribs is just as good as the last time. In fact, I enjoyed this dish the first time that I immediately recommended that we order it upon checking out the menu. Thankfully, they had maintained the same rich and savory taste that I had come to love in the past. And the meat are very tender you can stick your knife into it and it will just fall off. This serving is ideal for 2-3 people. 

Then there is the Bulalo... At first, I thought it was a tad too expensive price tag for a meal like this. But it's worth every penny because the meat that goes with the soup is humungous! There were four of us during that time and we had a hard time finishing off the meat. It was tender, too, like the ribs! And the seasoning on the soup is just like how mom did it!

They have a pretty extensive drinks and dessert selection, too. We had a chance to sample their milk tea and gelatea. The latter is a tea that is topped with a scoop of gelato (flavor of your choice). I went with the Cheesecake Brownie flavor, which you have to try if you are looking to sample their gelatos on your visit here! It comes with a rich and creamy flavor, perfect to cut off the savory taste of the Bulalo and Ribs

To end the meal, we had the Crepelato... as I noted before, it is a wonderful dessert because you have a combination of texture (soft from the gelato and crunchy from the cereals sprinled over it and the belgian cone). You can't dine here without giving any of these a try! And like always, you can get a free taste before picking which gelato to top your crepelato with. 

Crepelato is located at the ground floor of NCCC Mall, right across HB1 and beside Mandarin Tea Garden. 
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Friday, January 11, 2013

Tiny Kitchen's Paella Mariscos

I've heard a lot about Tiny Kitchen - lots of good things. If you are a food connoisseur or simply like me who likes to hunt for great food in Davao, then chances are the name Tiny Kitchen is not unfamiliar to you. It has grown from a small family-operated business into a full service restaurant. One of their best sellers or specialties would be their paellas and so during Christmas Eve I thought it would be a perfect treat for the family to share during Noche Buena.

We ordered the Seafood Paella just because my family is a big fan of seafoods, just like I am. The medium sized order costs around PhP 760. And I tell you, it's well worth the price with the wide variation of seafood meat included on the paella serving. The bottom consists of cooked rice that is flavored with curry sauce and other spices. Then, the top is sprinkled with a combination of seafood favorites like fish, shrimp, squid, and a few seashells along with a few slices of herbs and red pepper. 

The level of detail on cutting up the seafood meat, especially the squid, up to the final plating is truly superb culinary genius! It was undeniably a fantastic addition to our dinner table during Noche Buena

With this, I look forward to dining at Tiny Kitchen and blogging about their food offerings more extensively. Have you tried Tiny Kitchen's paella? I'd love to hear your thoughts about them.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Seven Tea Review: Classic Milk Tea with Egg Pudding and Mixed Fruits

I wasn't such a big fan of milk tea before. But when I sampled 360 Degrees Hand Shake Milk Tea for the first time, I was made a convert! It was a light, refreshing drink that also feels healthy. Truly, a much better alternative to coffee. 

But here's a new discovery that I would like to share with you all, especially those who are into the milk tea craze - Seven Tea! I'm not too familiar with this brand so I am not sure if they have branches at the mall. I found out about them via a small stall located within the Times Square food court in the corner of Duterte and Ilustre St. in Davao. You can find it right across the street from McDonald's. They are located right in the center of the food court, so it's hard to miss them.

Anyway, I have tried their classic milk tea with egg pudding and mixed fruit offering just recently. And it's such a nice refreshment to go with your meal. The regular sized cup costs PhP65, which is a good bargain, if you'd ask me! You got to try this for the egg pudding alone - it's that good! The smoothness and refreshing quality of the tea provides a calm reverie on your taste buds with every sip.

If you happen to drop by Times Square or any stall of 7 Tea's, make sure to give them a try! And don't forget to ask for the egg pudding. 

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Don Beppe Ristorante Promo

Finding a place to dine in on New Year's Eve, especially at lunchtime, can be daunting. Almost all the places that I wanted to try were not open. Thankfully, Don Beppe was open. And it was the perfect excuse to dine here and try their pizza once again because they do have an amazing promo that I just found out about. 

For PhP 299, you can choose from one of two promo sets. The first 299 promo set allows you to pick from 3 pizza toppings (pepperoni, ham and cheese, and Hawaiian), a pitcher of iced tea, breadsticks, and tomato ragu dip. The second promo set is a pasta set, which consists of either Aglio Olio or Spaghetti, tomato bruschetta, a pitcher of iced tea, breadsticks, and tomato ragu dip.

It's no secret that I love Italian food and I love Don Beppe! Hence, this promo was a fantastic way for foodies or Italian food fanatics to sample their menu without having to worry about the price. I consider this a steal, even! 

We ordered the Pizza promo set and I thought that we were going to get a regular sized pizza. It turns out to be a large rectangular pizza that were too much for two people to consume. We ended up taking the rest home for some snacks! The size of the pizza is, therefore, ideal for barkadas or a small group of 3 to 4. 

A word of caution though, before you try it out. Don't expect the best quality of pizza, which is expected of its price. Nonetheless, it is still quite good. But if you want to get something affordable and of decent quality, might as well go for it! Also, the promo is available for dine-in and from 1-8PM only.

Have you tried Don Beppe's dine-in promo? How was it?

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Not-So-Good Christmas Eve Lunch at Miso Restaurant

It has become almost a tradition with the boyf and I to have lunch during Christmas Eve because the rest of the day is spent with our respective families. This year, we wanted to have our lunch date at Tiny Kitchen because it was timely as I, too, had to pick up the Seafood Paella we ordered days before (for our Noche Buena). Unfortunately, they weren’t open for diners at that time and was only available for pick-ups. And so, we had to scour some of the few available restaurants near Torres to have our lunch in.

We saw Miso Restaurant from among the rows of restaurants in DavCon complex at Torres. So, we figured it might be worth a try; plus, both of us haven’t been there before. Judging by the name, I also expected it to be an authentic Japanese restaurant.

When we entered the restaurant, our immediate reaction was – “This looks like a wedding reception!” Funny as it sounds, I immediately dropped my expectation. Then, I had a look at their menu – it was nothing Japanese at all! But it was too late to turn around because all of our other preferred restaurants were closed for that day. Plus, our tummies are beyond aggravated!

The Mushroom Soup started off our meal and it was fantastic! The stock was creamy and rich in flavor, plus there were lots of slices of mushrooms tossed in. If you happen to drop by Miso Restaurant, make sure to order this one.

I wasn’t up for a rice meal that day and so I went with their Smoked Deep Fish Roll. This was probably the best of all our orders. The wrap did not soak up too much oil upon deep frying, and the seasoning on the fish filling was savory enough to make every biteful quite a treat to your palate. It also comes served with a pineapple relish but a regular vinegar dip would’ve been better, or more appropriate.

I also ordered the Sizzling Gambas, which is a disappointment because it only comes with very few shrimps. And besides, it does not taste like Gambas at all! It is more like your average seafood sizzlers, only that it comes with shrimps alone. But knowing that it is priced at roughly PhP 150, it’s another sad case of “you get what you pay for”.

Meanwhile, E ordered the Carbonara because he is craving for pasta and none of the other two earlier orders were available. Bummer. But it was actually better than I had expected, albeit the fact that the sauce is a little too thin for my liking. It should have been more creamy and thick than it did to allow the flavor from the sauce to cling onto the pasta. 

To conclude, it was not as good of a dining experience at Miso Restaurant. Obviously, since it was our first time, we did not know what to expect. Do I see myself coming back here to dine? Probably not. 

But if you want to give them a try, you can visit Miso Restaurant at DavCon Complex in Torres St. It is located beside Trellis N Vines, the former location of Belgica restaurant.  
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