Cafe Abuelita

27 06 2010

Every time I go to Batangas on weekends, I would always want to try out a restaurant not only because I want to blog about it but because I want to be able to experience how much Batangueños have evolved when it comes to food. Last Saturday, dad ordered merienda to welcome us :P (that’s one thing I like about going home.. mum and dad always prepares something for us). He got pancit and chicken from Wa Nam. Those from Batangas would remember that Wa Nam was known for their pancit, lumpiang Shanghai and fried chicken. This is not to say that things are still the same but still, the pancit and chicken merienda brought back fun childhood memories :)

Anyhow, going back to the topic, I saw this Cafe Abuelita tarpaulin outside SM City Batangas and as always, we followed the signs. It led us to Fil Oil, a gasoline station in Gulod just after the Bridge of Promise if you’re coming from Alangilan, or before the bridge if you’re coming from SM City like us. It’s a mini-Spanish bistro that does not go heavy into the Spanish cuisine. The menu, I’d say, is a little confused because there’s just too many off-Spanish dishes going on. Nevertheless, we enjoyed lunch because everything was prepared spot on. The dishes were simple but since they were cooked on the spot, they were served hot and just in time.

sorry the menu is a bit glossy 😦

small cozy interior

more tables and chairs outside

This one is from Cafe Abuelita’s FaceBook page:

Cafe Abuelita is a Spanish-inspired café which offers a rustic yet homey ambience. It boasts of its one of a kind list of Spanish coffee, including its very own Cafe Cortado (Espresso with a little bit of cream), Cafe Negro (black coffee), Café Carajillo (spiked coffee) and Cappuccino. It also offers its very own recipe for Bocadillos (sandwiches), Batangas Adobo, Crepes, Hot Chocolate and home-made Gelatto.

Cafe Abuelita is a fusion of Filipino and Spanish influences of Batangas and presents its rich and diverse culture. The café offers its unique recipe of classic Batangueno culinary delight while showcasing a gallery of one of the city’s most influential personalities in the field of arts, Rosie Ilustre. The gallery depicts the life story of our abuelita, as well as her legacy insofar as the Batangueno culture is concerned.

My folks and hubby got the “silogs”:

tocino with egg
tapa with egg
boneless bangus with egg

I, on the other hand, ordered Batangas chicken caldereta with pasta :)

This is not to say that the chicken caldereta is bad. But… I like the beef caldereta pasta of A&M better. The chicken caldereta would have went well with rice. For pasta though, specifically spaghetti, beef works well. It’s worth a try though because the caldereta is really flavorful and I love the olives.

Aside from soda and bottled water, we also got the following drinks:

dalandan juice
iced cafe mocha

The drinks are refreshing although I was hoping they won’t be that sweet. The good thing though is that the cook was very willing to adjust everything for us :) She fixed the drinks to temper the sweetness :)

I just have to say that they have the sweetest cook/waitress. Yup, our lunch was a one-woman show. There’s five of us with different orders and she managed to handle everything gracefully :) I forgot to ask her name so you could look for her when you go there. Daymn :P

So there ya go. That’s another Batangas restaurant for you try. I know it’s impossible to try all the restaurants in Batangas in one go. There are just way too many good ones out there. However, I would really suggest that you try them all.

Cafe Abuelita is in FilOil Gas Station, Gulod, Batangas City. You can email them at for inquiries. And if you have a FaceBook account, learn more by joining Cafe Abuelita’s group :)

*originally posted in my Taga-Batangas blog.

Cafe Casa Rap

14 06 2010

I remember passing by Casa Rap all the time whenever I go home to Batangas. However, I never really thought of trying it out because from the outside, it just looks like a house covered with trees and the name sounds like it’s a beer house of some sort. Sorry about that misconception 😦

I realized that it’s a safe place to go to after seeing it in my friends’ pictures over at Facebook. I heard they serve good tea and I decided to bring hubby to it the next time I go home. Well, it’s been a while and after so many months of loitering in and out of the country, I finally found the time to hit Cafe Casa Rap.

To read in full about our Cafe Casa Rap experience, which apparently is part of the Viaje Del Sol culinary/cultural journey, go to my Taga-Batangas blog 🙂

Vivo’s Bar & Cafe

15 03 2010

I went to Batangas this weekend to attend a pre-Jordan seminar at St. Mary Euphrasia parish. It’s a seminar given to parents who are gonna get their children baptized as Roman Catholics. Godparents are also required to attend that seminar. I’m asked by my only sister to be the godmother of my only nephew and one of the requirements is a certificate of attendance to a pre-Jordan seminar.

Famished after the seminar, my family went to Vivo’s Bar & Cafe in front of SM City Batangas for my birthday treat 😛 I know, I’m so cheap but hey! I am saving up for more shopping spree in April so…

Interiors are fairly warm and homey. It fits the cafe aspect of the place. I wonder how the bar aspect fits into it. Maybe there’s a transformation going on when the younger crowd fills the place. It was an early Saturday evening when we went there and we didn’t see any young crowd coming in. In Batangas, I realized that people sleep early. If not, they close their homes quite early to catch the latest teleserye on TV 😀

Let’s go check out the food we got:

Dad got tuna cheesy sandwich and kapeng barako (Liberica). He said the coffee is really good. No wonder kapeng barako is a real pride of Batangas. I remember brewing it every morning while I was still in law school. It keeps me up the whole day! 😛

To be honest, I’m not impressed with the tuna cheesy sandwich. It sounds plain. And it looks plain as well. I’m actually kinda disappointed that for an expensive sandwich, they used plain white loaf bread.

We ordered quesadilla for appetizer, but heck, it was served with the bulalo and the rest of the food so we didn’t make pansin to it when it was served. Good thing was that it tasted good. It was cheesy and beefy and that made us give attention to it and actually finished it in one pass 😀

I ordered binagoongang baboy, a favorite dish. For most of you who follow this blog, you know that I also cook this dish. I’d like to cut the mustard short and just say that this dish is fail. It’s plain deep-fried liempo topped with Barrio Fiesta bagoong. I’m always disappointed when the dish is expensive and yet it’s plainly done. If this is what I’m gonna get from a restaurant, I’d rather cook at home 😛

Mom got Carbonara and just by looking at this watery, overcooked pasta, I could already tell it’s fail. True enough, Mom said that my spicy tuna pasta in white sauce is way better. I mean, look at it. While I was in law school and the only thing I could cook in the morning was Maggi Instant Mami, I have the tendency to forget that I cooked mami when I’m already halfway through my case assignments with a cup of coffee. Then I would remember the mami in the pot and when I look at it, the noodles have sipped in the water so it becomes fat and soggy and the supposed soup is reduced to a quarter. That’s what I saw in Vivo’s carbonara.

Batangas is known for bulalo soup. I’ve featured Rose & Grace before and I’ll feature another one when I’m able to get pictures of their bulalo. The other bulalohan I’m telling you about is called Ian’s and it’s somewhere between Lemery and Calaca in Batangas. Super sarap.

Having said that, it is rather disappointing that the bulalo in Vivo’s is not good. The soup has that burnt corn taste which isn’t pleasing at all. It is confusing in that you don’t know if the soup you’re having is bulalo or nilaga.

I got  curious about Vivo’s because most of my friends in Batangas who have pictures there. It’s like a hang-out place for them. After experiencing what Vivo’s has to offer, I think I’m gonna observe the saying “Once is enough.”


Byaheng Batangas

1 03 2010

I went to Batangas last weekend to visit my parents and to settle with them the itinerary for our US trip this April (for those of you who don’t know yet, Batangas is my hometown) 🙂 It always feels good to go to Batangas because it is such a laid back province. It is actually a progressive place and Batangas/Lipa cities are some of the highly urbanized cities in the country. But it’s very unlike Metro Manila. Metro Manila is all hustle and bustle while Batangas is more like everything is a breeze. Life there is simple, serene,  and is always embraced by the love and support of friends, families and neighbors.

Yes, neighbors. It’s something I don’t experience (or rarely experience) in all of the sixteen years that I have lived in Manila. In Batangas, neighbors will welcome you when you come home. They will stop to say hello and ask how you’ve been. If you’re lucky enough, they’ll send food if they cooked something special in their household too. In Manila, no one cares to greet me when I’m inside our condo elevator. When I make an effort to greet them, they usually think I’m being plastik or just weird.

Going to Batangas now isn’t as taxing as it used to be. I remember allocating 3 to 4 hours of travel time before because we had to traverse the National Highway from Sto. Tomas all the way to Batangas City. If my geography is correct, this is the order of the towns we had to pass through to get to Batangas City: Sto. Tomas, Tanauan, Malvar, Lipa, Banay-Banay, San Jose, Concepcion, Balagtas, Alangilan, then Kumintang 🙂 Batangueños, please correct me!

When Star Tollway was opened, it was like a dream come true for us 😛 We still had to pass by Calamba and Sto. Tomas because Star Tollway’s first station is in Sto. Tomas but hey, Star Tollway helps us save 30 minutes of travel time! I’m so excited that from the South Luzon Tollway, they are now gonna make an exit straight to Star Tollway. That means, no more sight-seeing in Calamba 😛 Kidding, that means faster and less time-consuming travel 🙂

Here are some of the pics I took while inside the car. If you happen to plan something for summer and it’s beaching in Batangas, take note of the pics. Will help you find your way 🙂

exit to batangas

view of Mt. Makiling

the original rose and grace

i love it, "lalawigan ng MAGIGITING"

exit to Star Tollway in Sto. Tomas

welcome sign and tweety 😛

star tollway

batangas city exit

told you, this is Batangas City..

uhm, did i tell you it's Batangas City?

now you believe me!

We left Manila on a Saturday at 2PM. Save for traffic in Bicutan and Sucat area, we reached Batangas City at 4pm. Not bad 🙂

SUMMARY: From EDSA, go to South Super Highway until you get past Alabang and enter South Luzon Expressway. You won’t pay any toll fee until you exit the last toll booth. Toll fee for Batangas exit is P87. If you’re a frequent traveler, get the E-Pass. From Batangas exit, drive all the way until you see Star Tollway exit. Toll fee until Batangas City is P55.

As a side story, we saw this lady standing on the table while selling her goods.

She lost balance and to save her ass from hitting the ground, she had to hold on to her make-shift roof made of some old Coca-Cola tarpaulin 🙂 It was funny seeing her panic and all that. Whoever told her that it’s a guaranteed way to sell lambanog, lagot ka! What’s funnier is that when she saw me pull down our car window to take a picture of her, she started acting like she’s cool and was just fixing something 😛

Haaay… I wish I can go back to Batangas everyday 🙂 More pics of what I did in Batangas in next post.

*This is also re-posted in Taga-Batangas

Rose And Grace Bulalo

4 02 2010

Yesterday, my friends from the office decided to have an early dinner at Buon Giorno at the Cliffhouse in Tagaytay. Although we originally planned to leave at 3pm, we technically left the building at almost 4pm. With a crucial one hour gone, we decided to simply stop over at Sta. Rosa to check out the factory outlets at the Paseo de Sta. Rosa. And there’s no better place to have dinner in that area than in Rose and Grace, the house of the famous Batangas bulalo 🙂

Among others, these are what we ordered:

Bulalo (the best Bulalo ever)

Crispy Tadyang ng Baka


Sinaing na Tambakol (this one's a winner. fresh soft moist fish. sorry, the fish has already been touched before I can take a picture of it)

Crispy Pata

Green Mango Salad (love the way they mixed green and semi-ripe mango to make a good sweet/sour balance. the shrimp paste is also great)

These were just some of the dishes we ordered. We also had some lechon kawali, ginataang gulay, etc.

I woke up this morning feeling a little dizzy and all that. I feel like my blood pressure is high. Guess you know why 🙂