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.

Garahe 25 Bar & Restaurant

22 03 2010

Hubby and I wanted to have a joint birthday inuman this year coz we want to bring our friends together in a party. And there was only one place we had in mind – Garahe 25. It’s in Sct. Rallos cor. Sct. Tobias Streets in Quezon City. Garahe 25 is a bar and restaurant owned and managed by my uncle and I’ve been meaning to visit the place when they took over in November last year. It’s only now that I was the given the chance though, and based on the outcome of the party last Friday, I’d say we went to the right place 🙂

Garahe 25 is a simple bar… more like the typical inumans in Quezon City area. It’s not air-conditioned and there are no fancy interiors. What Garahe 25 promises though is great food, great booze, for a reasonable price. It’s also not very hard to find! From EDSA, we turned left at Timog (GMA 7 at the corner), went straight past the rotonda, turned left the second block (McDonald’s at the corner), and voila 🙂 It’s just beside McDonald’s along Sct. Tobias. Garahe 25 is also where some of the episodes of  Full House (Pinoy version featuring Heart Evangelista and Richard Gutierrez) were shot.

So if you’re thinking of having a party and you’re on a tight budget, go to Garahe 25. Promise, you will never want to go to any inuman after trying it out there 😛 If only it’s near Makati where I work… In my case, I had a party of 42-45 people and we had free-flowing San Miguels, we kept on ordering pulutan, and I went home paying less than P8,000! I’ll never get that from a bar in Makati or even in Pasig! (Okay, I’m lying. I didn’t pay the gross amount of P8,000 coz I got a discount from my uncle. And I won’t tell you how much. But it’s a huuugggggeeee discount and up to now, I’m still thinking if it was right to accept it 😛 Well, I just consider it as a gift from my uncle)

Unfortunately though, I wasn’t able to take pictures of the pulutan coz they run out so fast hehe 🙂 We ordered sisig, dinakdakan, chicken wings, kropek, tokwa, and ISAW. Their isaw is really good and just for P10 per stick, gosh, I could finish 20 in one go!

Here’s their menu in case you want to know:

If you want a place for your birthday party/inuman, call them at 416-0857. They’re open daily from 5:00pm to 6:00am 🙂

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.”


Food Trippin’ in the City of Smiles… Bacolod :)

9 03 2010

We went to Bacolod in October last year to attend the wedding of our friends D&M. We also took the opportunity to meet our friends from Pax Sepulchrum. Aside from the stuff we did and places we went to, what I really liked in Bacolod is the people and the food!

Here’s a list of the restaurants we liked. Next time you’re in Bacolod, go check them out.


The first restaurant we went to is Imay’s. It’s sort of the Gerry’s or Dencio’s equivalent in Bacolod. We ordered a lot (crispy kangkong, fried rice, sizzling  fish, mixed seafood, sisig, and boneless crispy pata) for the six of us and we only paid less than P1,500. Food is really cheap. Of all the things that we ordered, I really liked the boneless crispy pata. It’s crispy on the outside and very soft and tender in the inside 😛

Cafe Bob’s

What I admire with Bacolod people (how do you call them btw?) is that they love their own. While everyone in Manila goes crazy over Starbucks coffee, it’s a completely different scenario in Bacolod. When we were there, we saw 8 people in Starbucks, tops! But in Cafe Bob’s the whole place is full! And it’s a huge two-storey place.

We initially wanted to try their coffee, but we switched to gelato because we were welcomed by this display:

And do you want to know what they call Cafe Bob’s? STARBOB’s! 😀



If there’s Cafe Bob’s, there’s also Bob’s 😀 It’s the restaurant known for their good Sate Babi. All I can say is that their Sate Babi is really the best! I heard they opened their first Manila branch last year somewhere in Magallanes. That’s good news 🙂

I also loved their fruit punch. It’s perfect this summer. Oh noes…. I’m craving for one.


If you think Mang Inasal or Bacolod Chicken Inasal has the best inasal you’ve tasted, think again! Enting’s in Mambukal has the best inasal ever! JT’s Manukan is very close to it but I heard JT’s is from Iloilo while Enting’s is proudly and uniquely from Bacolod. What made Enting’s really good is their special sauce. It’s so good, I brought back two bottles to Manila.

Do you want to know what’s even better?

Each stick of inasal costs P26.

No kidding.

It’s only twenty-six freaking pesos!



This is how much I love this place. We went to Calea which is just off the block from L’Fisher Hotel.

It’s so hard to describe how good the desserts in Calea are. I think I’ll just compare it with the dessert places we crave for in Metro Manila. This one, in my opinion, owns Becky’s Kitchen, Goodies N Sweets, Chocolat by a hundred times over, and is… well, uhm, maybe.. comparable with Miss Desserts. But with that quality of desserts and their super cheap price, my scale would really tilt in favor of Calea.

In fact, if there’s one reason why I’ll go back to Bacolod apart from seeing our friends M&D again, it would be so that I can go back to Calea. ‘Nuff said. Here are the pics.

my favorite! apple caramel cheesecake with a cup of freshly brewed coffee. can't get any better than this!

We weren’t able to go to Felicia’s due to time constraints but we were able to go to Pendy’s for their famous half-moon custard cake (too bad I didn’t take a pic) 😦 When I go back to Bacolod, I’ll also be trying out Felicia’s and discover for myself how good these desserts are:

photo from my friend Terry

photo from my friend Terry

photo from my friend Terry

photo from my friend Terry

Next time Cebu Pacific or PAL announces that they have a promo for domestic flights, grab one bound for Bacolod. It’s one heck of a foodlover’s paradise! 😀

Thousand Cranes Shabu-Shabu

4 03 2010

This is an overdue post but I’m posting it anyways 😛 I had dinner with my in-laws last February 14 at Thousand Cranes Shabu-Shabu in Eastwood Mall. Valentine’s day also happens to be the birthday of my sister-in-law.


I was never into shabu-shabu before but after having been baptized into Korean gardens by my Koreanovela-addicted friends, I figured it’s fun having to cook what you want to eat 😛 Given a wide range of choices for dinner or something, I am not the kind who would choose to eat at a shabu-shabu. But if I were to rate the shabu-shabu’s I’ve been to, I’d say that Thousand Cranes is a pretty good choice and I don’t mind going back there again.

this automatically turns off 😛 everytime it does, i would accuse hubby that he turned mine off

We basically just had soup that night but the soup was very filling. These were what we got:

the paste, garlic, leeks, chili and special sauce are really good

veggies, button mushrooms, corn, noodles, shrimp balls, fish balls, crab sticks, tofu

squid, fish, shrimps

lobster and crabs! sashimi too 😛

fruit plate

It was another gastronomic evening and what made it even more special was this orchestra (not sure of it was Philharmonic or San Miguel) that played romantic music for everyone… for FREE 🙂


Til next post 😀

A&M Village Restaurant

1 03 2010

The owner of this restaurant in Batangas City is the family of of my elementary classmate/friend. I’ve been to A&M Village Restaurant even in my grade school years because that’s where we usually practice for cheering contests (they have a huge parking space, at least to me when I was young… a child’s perception of space changes as he gets older *wink*) 😛 I have to admit that I didn’t go back to A&M until I started teaching in Batangas on weekends. While Dad always tells me that he brings his clients and friends to A&M for business lunches/dinners, I never thought of going back to A&M to eat with friends or even with family.

There was this one time when our Dean invited us to a faculty meeting in A&M. All the members of the faculty were saying that they serve good food. We were convinced 🙂

We usually hold our meetings in Hotel Ponte Fino but this one time, our Dean thought it would be good to dine at a uniquely Batangueño restaurant. We thank him for bringing back A&M into my system and for introducing hubby to this restaurant.

Since then, every time we go home to Batangas, A&M has been our Sunday lunch venue.

Finding A&M is easy 🙂 Before reaching University of Batangas, there’s a junction with all these signs:

can you see A&M's sign? 🙂

Turn right and go straight ahead until you see this:

you won't miss it, promise!

You can verify that you’re already at A&M when you see this in front 🙂

It’s not a fancy restaurant. It’s a house converted into a restaurant so the feel is homey 🙂

There are lots of things going on in the wall. You’ll find masks and some art pieces. These two are the most interesting for me 🙂

makes me want to put up a resto and call it The Gourmet Dept.

Now, if you ask me about A&M’s specialty, I’d say that it’s their Beef Caldereta. It’s so good they even offer Caldereta Spaghetti 😀 It’s like that pasta in Cyma with beef shanks. What we usually order there is their Native Lunch for only P240.

Yup, you read it right. That’s sinigang na hipon or isda AND inihaw na baboy or caldereta. Mix and match galore! There’s more. I want to tell you that you can tell that a restaurant is owned by a Batangueño if instead of patis, they offer Bagoong Balayan 😛


our sauces, take your pick (from down right: toyo-mansi, suka't toyo, bagoong and calamansi with chili, pure suka)

I’m sure you’re excited to find out what we got 🙂 For that day, these are what we ordered:

frozen buko juice

calamares with sweet n sour sauce

beef caldereta... so yummy!

sinigang na hipon (native lunch portion)

what a native lunch combo looks like: sinigang na tanigue + inihaw na baboy 🙂 luveeet!

Next time you are in Batangas, please don’t settle for any restaurant in SM City. Try A&M Village Restaurant. They have lutong bahay at its finest! 🙂

Grub Burger Joint

25 02 2010

Another discovery for us at the Ortigas Home Depot. Yeay! 🙂

We’re feeling sick of our helper’s pork adobo and that’s the reason why I asked hubby to take me to Ortigas Home Depot. Actually, I wanted him to cheer me up coz my hands are full with work.

So, we went to Grub, a burger joint that’s not hard to miss if you care to look at the other side of the palutuan stretch. We don’t know how come there’s not enough customers in Grub everytime we pass by it. It’s either people don’t like to eat hamburgers when they can choose to have seafood or that Grub is really just not famous yet. Oh well, despite that and the lousy appearance of the restaurant, hubby and I still decided to give it a try.

We each ordered their littlest burger (1/3lb.) 😛 It’s called Grub Burger and we got it for P125. We also ordered French fries (P45) and vanilla milkshake (P120). Surprisingly, we liked the food (or maybe we were just hungry?) 😀 The milkshake is good, almost comparable with that from Mr. Jones 🙂 The fries are similar to KFC’s. The burger is cooked nicely, the patty is very juicy and not dry. Veggies are crisp that’s why we know they’re fresh.

If you happen to drop by Ortigas Home Depot and feel like you want to pass up on seafood, go check out Grub. Don’t be alarmed if there are no customers there 😛 Just try. Grub is in front of the palutuan restos by the way, if you want to know where it’s at 🙂