Cook-It-Yourself Packs of premium coffee grounds and hotcake mix now available in McDonald’s!

In case you missed it, McDonald’s has made it easier to prepare meals and snacks at home with Cook-It-Yourself Packs of Premium Coffee Grounds, Hotcake Mix, Hot Fudge Topping, and so much more!

Get them now at select McDonald’s stores through Take-Out and Drive-Thru as they’re available for a limited time only!

McDonalds Cook-It Yourself

See the full list of Cook-It-Yourself packs below:

  • Coffee Grounds (80 g or approx. 7 cups) – Php 99 per pack
  • Hotcake Mix (1 kg or approx. 27-28 servings) – Php 149 per pack
  • Hotcake Syrup (1 kg) – Php 199 per pack
  • Tonkatsu Sauce (1 kg) – Php 199 per pack
  • Mayonnaise (1.5 kg) – Php 399 per pack
  • Hot Fudge Topping (2 kg) – Php 399 per pack
  • Caramel Topping (2 kg) – Php 399 per pack

View the list of participating McDonald’s stores here and follow McDonald’s Philippines on Facebook to stay up to date on all announcements.

Header photo by Natanja Grün on Unsplash

Nitro 7 Coffee & Tea Bar, SM Pasig

You’ve probably heard of cold brew coffee but what about nitrogen-infused cold brew coffee?

Nitro 7 Coffee & Tea Bar is the first of its kind in the country, operating on a new technology in coffee and tea preparation.

At Nitro 7, single-origin Ethiopians arabica coffee beans are brewed in low temperature for 18 hours, then infused with nitrogen before being served on tap, similar to draft beer. The entire painstaking process from brewing your Nitro 7 coffee to serving it to you takes two days.

Cold brewing the coffee increases its caffeine content while lessening its acidity, making this the preferred coffee of people suffering from hyperacidity.

Infusing it with nitrogen, on the other hand, reduces the coffee’s bitter taste while thickening its texture and adding some milk sweetness to the brew. The result: the Black Nitro, Nitro 7’s signature black coffee which also serves as the base for its other coffee flavors.

Thanks to GCs I received during the epic #WLTEChristmas Party and also from Harvard of AlwaysHungryPH, I was able to treat my daughter and myself to a coffee break at the Nitro 7 Coffee & Tea Bar in SM Pasig.

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

There we enjoyed some of the coffee bar’s more Irish creme-based variants:

Irish Creme Breve (Php145). A creamy blend of nutty, chocolate, vanilla and whiskey flavors.

Irish Caramel Creme Nitroccino (Php170). An ice-blended coffee which mixes the flavors of Irish creme and the sweet richness of caramel.

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

We also treated ourselves to some desserts available at the store such as the New York Cheesecake (Php135), two pieces of Crinkles (Php35 each) and a Revel Bar (Php55).

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

The desserts are good accompaniments to the coffee drinks which remain the stars of the show.

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

This Nitro 7 Coffee & Tea Bar branch is located at Ground Floor, SM Center Pasig, Frontera Drive, Barangay Ugong, Pasig City, open daily from 11am to 10pm.

Other branches are located at:

  • Makati: Food Choices Third Floor Glorietta 4
  • Mandaluyong: Fourth Floor SM Megamall Building B, 123 Pioneer Street Highway Hills
  • Manila: Third Floor Robinsons Place Manila, Ground Floor LA Village at Youniversity Suites Sampaloc
  • Quezon City: Lower Ground Floor Robinsons Magnolia, Level 1 Robinsons Galleria, Lower Ground Floor SM City Fairview, The Annex SM City North EDSA, Eastwood Citywalk 1 Libis
  • Pasig: 2nd Floor Ayala Malls the 30th, Cinema Level Ayala Malls Feliz, Emerald Mansion Garnet Road
  • Valenzuela: Mezzanine Floor Pond Building

Nitro 7 Coffee & Tea Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my blog posts on breakfast/brunch joints around the metro:

Back-to-basics coffee at Little Farmers Coffee Brim, Ayala Malls the 30th

Coffee is big business in the metro, with coffee shops and cafes sprouting all over, offering coffee aficionados all kinds of roasts, blends and what-not.

But if you’re a coffee lover wandering around Ayala Malls the 30th, you just might find a no-frills alternative for your caffeine fix.

A few steps away from the grocery store is a Little Farmers Coffee Brim kiosk which offers a wondrous array of coffee beans, roasted and blended, some infused with flavors, to cater to coffee fans who really care about what goes into their cuppa.

Little Farmers Coffee Brim, Ayala Malls the 30th

Little Farmers Coffee Brim started in Bacolod then branched off to Manila with its first outlet in SM Megamall where budding entrepreneur Warren Yao got hooked after his first taste of the coffee and decided to become a franchisee. Hence, the opening of a Little Farmers Coffee Brim at Ayala Malls the 30th which I visited together with fellow coffee-loving foodies.

Little Farmers Coffee Brim, Ayala Malls the 30th

The coffee beans are all sourced locally, from the coffee-producing mountains of the Cordillera region – Benguet, Sagada and Kalinga – supporting the region’s small coffee farmers through a fair trade arrangement.

Little Farmers Coffee Brim, Ayala Malls the 30th

These local beans are roasted and blended to produce the variety on offer at all Little Farmers Coffee Brim outlets, where they are freshly ground and brewed upon order.

Little Farmers Coffee Brim, Ayala Malls the 30th

Little Farmers Coffee Brim, Ayala Malls the 30th

Little Farmers Coffee Brim, Ayala Malls the 30th

Of particular interest to me were the flavored beans. How could that be possible?

Simple: during the roasting process, food grade oil extracts of the desired flavors are added to the beans, producing coffee with subtle notes of desired flavors without the need for too much dairy or flavored syrups.

Little Farmers Coffee Brim, Ayala Malls the 30th

During my visit to this Little Farmers Coffee Brim kiosk, I was able to taste iced versions of two of these variants: Mocha and Baileys. The coffee flavor is the most dominant with infused flavor adding dimensions to the aroma and overall taste of the brew.

Here, I also learned that sweetening coffee with condensed milk or muscovado sugar brings out their best flavor. (Duly noted!)

Little Farmers Coffee Brim also offers the famed Kape Alamid – the civet coffee (I won’t go into how that is made, hehehe!). This aromatic and full-flavored brew will really wake you up! (Like my foodie friends say, “ang kapeng matapang na kaya kang ipaglaban!”).

Little Farmers Coffee Brim, Ayala Malls the 30th

Little Farmers Coffee Brim, Ayala Malls the 30th

You can get a hot freshly brewed cup of your choice of coffee blend for just Php55, enjoy it iced for Php65 or have it decaf for Php80. Alamid Coffee is Php200 per cup.

Little Farmers Coffee Brim is definitely a welcome addition to metro’s coffee options. Do give it a try!

Many thanks to Warren Yao of Little Farmers Coffee Brim for the drinks and to Bunny of Always the Funny Girl for extending the invitation!

Little Farmers Coffee Brim, Ayala Malls the 30th

This Little Farmers Coffee Brim branch is located Lower Ground Floor, Ayala Malls the 30th, Meralco Avenue, Ugong, Pasig City, open Sundays to Thursdays from 11am to 9pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 11am to 10pm.

Other Metro Manila branches may be found at:

  • SM Hypermarket, Upper Ground Floor, SM Megamall Building B, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong
  • Lower Ground Floor, SM Makati, Glorietta Complex, Makati City

Little Farmers Coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other foodies, I was invited to attend a coffee tasting held at this kiosk. Drinks mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

This past November, Dean & DeLuca opened its newest branch in Quezon City.

This much-awaited outlet is notable for many things, not the least of which is the fact that it is owned by actress (and idol of the titas) Bea Alonzo.

“Good old coffee. Just what I need today.” she posted on her Instagram.

(Oh, Bea… don’t we all?)

Dean & DeLuca started as a chain of upscale grocery stores in New York City but has since evolved into cafe operations. Its first three branches in the country are located in Makati and BGC, with more in the works.

This past Tuesday, my officemates and I made our way to QC’s Dean & DeLuca, a five-minute car ride from our workplace, for our lunch break.

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

With the exception of the guys who joined us for the midday meal, this bunch consisted mostly of titas, who all have been looking forward to dining at Dean & DeLuca.

Our orders included:

Truffle Fries (Php160). Crispy French fries drizzled with truffle oil and sprinkled with grated parmesan before serving with a creamy zesty dip.

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Aglio e Olio Gamberini (Php450). Organic pasta tossed in traditional Italian garlic and olive oil base along with prawns and cherry tomatoes.

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Prawn and Gorgonzola Pasta (Php495). Organic pasta tossed in a creamy paprika wine sauce along with fresh prawns, gorgonzola cheese, mushroom and basil.

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Butifarra con Salsa Funghi e Tartufo (Php470). Organic pasta tossed in truffle cream along with slices of Butifarra sausage and fresh mushrooms.

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich (Php380). Free-range chicken, grated cheese pimiento, pickled dill, slaw and dressing in yeast-free sourdough bread.

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Umami Fried Chicken (Php390). Aburi fried chicken, miso glaze, slaw and lettuce in sourdough brioche.

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Beef Rendang (Php590). Himalayan red rice topped with grass-fed beef cooked in rendang spice and coconut milk.

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

After lunching on these food items, we capped our meal with our chosen coffee drinks – Salted Caramel Latte, Cafe Latte and Cappuccino – all priced at Php160 each.

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Dean & DeLucca does tick off all the marks when it comes to trendy cuisine (eg. grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, organic pasta, etc.) which I’m sure many foodies will appreciate.

Sadly, given its price points, I’m not as impressed as I hoped I would be when it came to my truffle pasta which I found too heavily flavored. My friends told me that I simply ordered the wrong item from the menu but how can I go wrong with ordering one of my favorite pasta dishes?

Oh, well. Maybe when I try the desserts on my next visit I’ll have a better experience!

Plus, my officemates and I still had a chill “tita-ish” lunch break here.

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Dean & DeLuca is located at Scout Rallos corner Scout Tuazon Streets, Tomas Morato, Quezon City, open daily from 10am to 9pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 916 2126535.

Dean & DeLuca Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my blog posts on breakfast/brunch joints around the metro:

Become a coffee expert at UCC Coffee Academy

Fancy yourself a coffee connoisseur?

Well, you will be amazed at what more you can discover and learn about your favorite brews at the UCC Coffee Academy.

UCC Coffee Academy, BGC

UCC Coffee Academy, BGC

Located at Uptown Parade in Bonifacio Global City, the academy culls eighty-five years of UCC Japan’s coffee expertise, from crop cultivation, procurement, research and development to roasting and processing, creating a coffee culture and serving the precious cuppas to coffee lovers.

Key to imparting these coffee knowledge is its use of an interactive Japanese method. Aside from lectures and presentations from knowledgeable instructors on various areas of coffee production, preparation and appreciation, students also benefit from hands-on learning experience. Here, students can expect to learn to learn to value the quality of a good coffee bean, from where, by whom and how it is sourced, how it is prepared and served to bring out its best qualities, and how those qualities are evaluated and ranked by coffee experts worldwide.

UCC Coffee Academy, BGC

UCC Coffee Academy, BGC

UCC Coffee Academy, BGC

Together with my fellow foodies from #WeLoveToEatPH, I went through an extremely condensed crash course on Coffeeology: Coffee Fundamentals from Farm to Cup at the academy.

UCC Coffee Academy, BGC

UCC Coffee Academy Head Instructor Robert Francisco took our group on a journey of coffee discovery. Having authored the book A Coffee Journal as an effort to support local farmers, he holds the local coffee industry very close to his heart.

UCC Coffee Academy, BGC

Assisted by another UCC Coffee Academy instructor Joems Lichangco, Instructor Francisco gave our group a customized coffee preparation and appreciation workshop which includes brewing at home, tasting and – my favorite – latte art.

UCC Coffee Academy, BGC

UCC Coffee Academy, BGC

Here are some tips I picked up along the way:

Coffee Brewing.

The ratio of coffee to water is important for product consistency: use 20 grams of coffee to 300 grams of 92 to 93 deg C water.

Always pre-heat your equipment – drippers, filters and catchers – by slowly pouring a bit of hot water on them. Washing the paper filter, in particular, removes any papery or bleachy taste that can mar the flavor of the coffee.

Pour the first 40 grams of water on the ground coffee to let it “bloom.” The hot water allows the gas from inside the ground coffee beans to escape and the flavor to be extracted. This process is called blooming because the ground coffee seems to bloom or expand with the water it absorbs. After twenty seconds, you can already pour the rest of the water.

Coffee Tasting.

Freshly brewed unsweetened coffee may taste sour because coffee actually is acidic but not strong enough to curdle milk nor bring about acid reflux. What triggers acid reflux is the caffeine. Here’s a tip: eat something buttery like cake to line the stomach walls before drinking coffee to weaken the acid reflux.

UCC Coffee Academy, BGC

Coffee has various aspects for consideration during coffee tasting. These include aroma (how it smells), flavor (how it tastes), body (how it feels in your mouth), finish (its aftertaste) and roast (whether the beans are lightly or darkly toasted). To draw out these aspects, here’s how to taste your coffee:

Step 1: Smell your coffee.

Breathe in your coffee’s fragrance. Much of the nuances of coffee’s flavor are contributed by its aroma.

Step 2: Slurp your coffee. Slurping allows more of the coffee to cover different areas of your tongue letting you identify more flavors.

Latte Art.

Latte art is made with steamed milk poured into coffee with variations in the speed and height of pouring.

It is important not to heat the milk to the point of being frothy. Otherwise, you will lose the silkiness of the milk that makes good latte art.

Whether you’re a foodie who wants to explore more about coffee, a barista-in-the-making or an entrepreneur looking to enter the coffee business, you can discover everything you need to learn at UCC Coffee Academy.

UCC Coffee Academy, BGC

UCC Coffee Academy is located at 3rd Floor, Uptown Parade, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. For more details or to get a listing of the courses available, visit its webpage or call +63 966 531 1843.

Celsius, Lamp Quarters

As part of our makeshift food crawl in Marikina’s Lamp Quarters over the holiday break, my friends and I proceeded to its newest coffee shop after our lunch at Chives Bistro.

Celsius has been cited as the place to be for students who want to a place of peace and quiet where they can study or regroup with their pals over cups of artisanal coffee.

Celsius, Lamp Quarters

Celsius, Lamp Quarters

It has also been hailed as part of the third wave coffee movement in Marikina. It certainly does its share in featuring high-quality coffee with beans sourced from coffee countries such as Ethiopia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Colombia and Indonesia, as well as our home-grown beans from Benguet Atok and Mount Apo Sablan.

These beans are brewed fresh upon order, bringing the aroma and flavors of premium coffee to a new generation of would-be coffee connoisseurs.

Well, the titas and titos our group joined the young ones in their coffee hangout where we enjoyed our orders of of:

Foamless Latte (Php145).

Celsius, Lamp Quarters

Lounge Latte (Php160).

Celsius, Lamp Quarters

Celsius, Lamp Quarters

Celsius, Lamp Quarters

Lounge Fine Chocolate (Php150).

Celsius, Lamp Quarters

Cappuccino Frozen Cheesecake (Php150).

Celsius, Lamp Quarters

Celsius, Lamp Quarters

The coffee and chocolate drinks were full-flavored and served steaming hot while the coffee-based frozen dessert will surely appeal to lovers of sweets. These treats fueled a lively round of good-natured ribbing and gossiping among the titos and titas present.

Word of advice, though: try not to sit on the triangular stools. They’re bad for your posture and posterior. (Trust your tita on this!)

I’m so looking forward to coming back here and enjoying a round of coffee mocktails with the titas.

Celsius is located at Lamp Quarters, Gil Fernando Avenue, Santo Nino, Marikina City, open daily from 11am to 11pm.

Celsius Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my blog posts on breakfast/brunch joints around the metro:

Sourdough Cafe + Deli, Tomas Morato

Sourdough bread is a new food trend that gaining traction in the metro. It is made by fermenting dough using naturally occurring lactobacilli and yeast producing a sour taste compared to breads made with baker’s yeast. It also keeps longer, owing to the lactic acid produced by the lactobacilli.

For the health-conscious, sourdough may be used to improve the quality of gluten-free breads by enhancing their texture, aroma and shelf-life. Its glycemic index is lower than other types of bread which is good news for people watching their sugar intake.

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

It’s a good thing, then, that a cafe specializing in sourdough recently opened near my workplace.

With such an exciting item in its menu (in fact, the central item in it!) as well poshly designed yet comfy interiors ideal for quiet lunches or intimate dinners tucked away in an office building along Tomas Morato, Sourdough held an irresistible appeal to titas like me.

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

This is why during one of our lunchbreaks prior to the Christmas break, my co-titas in the office and I decided to have our meal at Sourdough Cafe + Deli.

This tita meal consisted of:

Complimentary Flatbread Slices. Dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar with some parmesan cheese, these gave our tastebuds a good preview of Sourdough’s offerings.

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Prosciutto Arugula Flatbread (Php345). Sourdough flatbread topped with marinara sauce, mozarella, arugula leaves and bits of prosciutto.

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pasta Carbonara (Php395). Al dente noodles tossed in a creamy sauce made with eggs, pecorino cheese, parmegianno reggiano, guanciale (Italian cured meat made from pork jowl) and pancetta (Italian salt-cured pork belly).

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Grilled Cheese Sandwich (Php295). Four cheeses – gouda, yellow cheddar, mozzarella and grana padano – sandwiched between sourdough bread slices lightly spread with mayo.

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Basque Burnt Cheesecake (Php195). Also a trending food item, this cheesecake is an offshoot of Spain’s tarta de queso. Its top appears toasted but the center has a soft custard-y texture. Combined the top’s buttery taste to the tanginess of the cheesecake filling, and you have a winning dessert you would want to taste again and again.

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

After lunch, we also treated ourselves to Sourdough Cafe’s handcrafted coffee.

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Not bad for a bunch of titas out for lunch.

By the way, since wine and titas go together so well, you might want to check out Sourdough Cafe’s unli wine at Php599 per person.

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Sourdough Cafe + Deli is located at Ground Floor, JSB Building, 104 Tomas Morato Avenue corner Scout Delagado Street, Tomas Morato, Quezon City, open daily from 11am to 11pm. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 2 85259463 or +64 917 1889463.

Sourdough Cafe + Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my blog posts on breakfast/brunch joints around the metro:

Crema & Cream Bistro + Coffee Lab, Tomas Morato

Coffee culture is steadily gaining ground in the metro, with cafes and coffee shops offering high quality and specialty brews. Coffee has evolved from being just another beverage to a social lubricant.

In the foodie-friendly Tomas Morato area in QC, for instance, a new coffee establishment has sprung up, ready to elevate the coffee experience of local foodies while paving the way for friends and family to get together over their favorite coffee blends.

Crema & Cream Bistro + Coffee Lab started as a specialty coffee roaster not just supplying aficionados with coffee beans especially roasted to highlight their unique flavors, but also providing training and consultations to budding coffee experts.

Early this year, it opened its flagship store along Timog Avenue where it not only serves its quality brews but also a well-curated menu of dishes that will appeal to the metro’s epicures. It also features an inviting space for coffee lovers to work or hang out in solitude or dine together with like-minded companions.

Crema & Cream, Tomas Morato

Crema & Cream, Tomas Morato

Crema & Cream, Tomas Morato

Crema & Cream, Tomas Morato

Together with my officemates, I ventured out to Crema and Cream to experience it first-hand. Our lunch repast included:

Asian Chicken Salad (Php325). Honey-soy-and-garlic glazed fried chicken cutlets tossed into seasonal greens doused with wasabi mayo dressing and topped with fried wonton, mango, toasted almonds, corn, red radish, pickled red onion, edamame, nori, bonito flakes and toasted sesame seeds.

Crema & Cream, Tomas Morato

Crema & Cream, Tomas Morato

Mushroom Trio Toast (Php225). Mushroom jam served over arugula, tomato, feta cheese and topped with a poached egg over a slice of sourdough toast.

Crema & Cream, Tomas Morato

Crema & Cream, Tomas Morato

Chicken Waffle (Php325). Fried chicken cutlet served with a rosemary and cheese waffle topped with a fried egg and drizzled with a honey brown butter sauce.

Crema & Cream, Tomas Morato

Crema & Cream, Tomas Morato

Sausage and Egg Toast (Php255). Diced sausage and scrambled eggs served with caramelized onions, tomatoes and cheese on sourdough toast.

Crema & Cream, Tomas Morato

Crema & Cream, Tomas Morato

Pan-seared Salmon (Php565). Pan-seared salmon fillet served with French beans, cherry tomatoes, diced vegetables, herb pesto mashed potato with lemon butter cream sauce.

Crema & Cream, Tomas Morato

Crema & Cream, Tomas Morato

We also enjoyed some of Crema & Cream’s signature brews together with our meal.  This included:

Hot Chocolate (Php140).

Crema & Cream, Tomas Morato

Mango and Peach Black Tea (Php120).

Crema & Cream, Tomas Morato

Flat White (Php150).

Crema & Cream, Tomas Morato

Cappuccino (Php140).

Crema & Cream, Tomas Morato

While the viands are not as hearty as we would like our lunch meal to be, the flavors presented are new and exciting.  I wouldn’t mind returning to taste more of Crema & Cream’s offerings.

Crema & Cream, Tomas Morato

Crema & Cream, Tomas Morato

Crema and Cream Cafe Bistro + Coffee Lab is located at 116-B Timog Avenue corner 11th Jamboree Street, Bgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City, open Tuesdays to Thursdays and Sundays from 8am to 11pm, and Fridays to Saturdays from 8am to 12 midnight. For inquiries or reservations, call +63 2 7130662.

Crema & Cream Cafe Bistro + Coffee Lab Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my blog posts on breakfast/brunch joints around the metro:

 

Gelato break at Cara Mia, Robinsons Galleria

It seems that no matter the weather, frozen treats are a sure bet. Whether your find yourself in the midst of a sweltering summer or wet monsoon season, you can always take comfort in something cold and sweet.

Take gelato, for example.

This dessert which originated from Italy has become a mainstay in the Pinoy dessert scene.  And why shouldn’t it?  Made with a base of milk, gelato uses a lot less cream than ice cream, resulting in a denser and creamier dessert.

Premium gelato brand Cara Mia (“my dear” in Italian) got its start when  Fr. Gianluigi Colombo, the Salesian Priest who started Amici di Don Bosco in Makati started selling gelato in one of the sections of the cafeteria style restaurant when it opened in 2001, in effect making it among the first to offer this kind of dessert to Pinoys.

Years later, Cara Mia was spun off into a separate brand with its own stores all over the metro, such as the kiosk in Robinsons Galleria that my son and I visited when we were in the mood for dessert after our steak lunch.

We gave up trying to walk off the calories and just opted to sit down at the kiosk and relax with our chosen cup of gelato.

Cara Mia, Robinsons Galleria

Cara Mia, Robinsons Galleria

Cara Mia, Robinsons Galleria

Cara Mia, Robinsons Galleria

I got myself a Coffee Mudslide (Php95), a sweet treat fortified by espresso shots incorporated in the gelato.

Cara Mia, Robinsons Galleria

Cara Mia, Robinsons Galleria

My son got a cup of Cookies and Cream (Php95), rich vanilla gelato interspersed with Oreo crumbs, definitely one of his favorites!

Cara Mia, Robinsons Galleria

Cara Mia, Robinsons Galleria

What a lovely end to meal and a way for mom-and-son to spend some quiet time together!

Cara Mia, Robinsons Galleria

This Cara Mia branch is located at Level 2 Robinsons Galleria, Ortigas Center, Quezon City.

Other branches include: Ayala Malls Feliz, Greenhills, Don Bosco, Tomas Morato, Ayala Triangle, Alabang Town Center, Robinsons Manila, Estancia Mall, Trinoma, Fairview Terraces, SM Megamall, SM Fairview, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Greenhills Promenade, Festival Mall, Gateway Mall, Venice Grand Mall and Uptown Bonifacio

Cara Mia products can also be enjoyed inside Amici stores such as UP Ayala Technohub, SM Mega Atrium, SM North EDSA The Block and Katipunan Avenue.

Cara Mia Cakes & Gelato Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other dessert shops in the metro:

#TasteMagic at Salamangka, Eastwood City

Salamangka translates to “sleight of hand” in Tagalog. It is a word wrapped in magic and mystery, calling to mind enchantment and wonder.

The restaurant and bar in Eastwood Citywalk that bears that name lives up to it by offering coffee, cocktails and craft beer, as well as its own reimagining of Filipino food, against a welcoming backdrop laden with a hefty dose of mystical appeal.

Salamangka, Eastwood

Together with my foodie friends from #WeLoveToEatPH and #SaanSaPH, I stepped inside Salamangka’s doors for a taste of magic.

In the late morning, Salamangka is awash with light, the black murals of mythical creatures and the balete tree on the wall wonderfully offset by the clean white background. Furniture made with native materials and a huge table and bench set made from solid pieces of wood provide ample seating for the diners.

Salamangka, Eastwood

Salamangka, Eastwood

Salamangka, Eastwood

Salamangka, Eastwood

Salamangka’s menu consists of its own take of classic Filipino dishes, such as:

Kamote Chips (Php199). Crispy deep-fried slices of of sweet potatoes that go so well with its dip of condensed milk reduction.

Salamangka, Eastwood

Piknik (Php199). Crispy hand-cut potato slivers served with three different sauces (but they’re ok without the sauce as evidenced by the way I keep popping them into my mouth, hehehe!)

Salamangka, Eastwood City

Coca Cola Wings (Php259). Fried chicken wings simmered in a Coca Cola reduction and served with piknik.

Salamangka, Eastwood

Itlog na Maalat Wings (Php349). Fried chicken wings covered in a sauce of salted eggs and served with piknik.

Salamangka, Eastwood City

Vegan Nachos (Php199). Toasted pita chips topped with ground tofu and drizzled with a mixture of Yummza pesto hummus, lemon and oil. Live a little and add Php20 for additional topping of grated cheese.

Salamangka, Eastwood City

Tinapa (Php189). A bowl of smokey tinapa flakes on top of garlic rice and paired with salted egg, a side of tomatoes and burong mangga.

Salamangka, Eastwood

Salamangka, Eastwood

Bawang na Bangus (Php189). Fried bangus marinated in garlic served on top of garlic rice with salted egg and atsara.

Salamangka, Eastwood

Salamangka, Eastwood

Sinigang sa Manggang Hilaw (Php279). Beef sinigang with a sour sauce instead of broth on top of steamed rice and served with sour mango and bagoong.

Salamangka, Eastwood City

Once you’ve eaten your fill, how about lettin’ loose and sampling Salamangka’s much celebrated alcholic concoctions? Impress your friends with your knowledge of native folklore when you identify the entities that give their name to these intense spirits.

Salamangka, Eastwood City

Wakwak (Php99 per glass | Php349 per pitcher). Named after a vampiric bird-like creature that makes the noise “wak-wak” as it flaps its wings, this cocktail is mixture of rum, lime juice, mango puree and mint leaves.

Mambabarang (Php99 per glass | Php349 per pitcher). Made with gin, lime juice, cucumber slices and mint leaves, this cocktail got its name from the warlock or sorceress that cast malevolent hexes on people

Ibong Adarna (Php99 per glass | Php349 per pitcher). Named after the mythical bird whose song has healing qualities, this drink is made with tequila, pineapple, calamansi and chili placed in a salt-rimmed glass. A sip of this drink is multi-layered: you get the citrus flavor from the calamansi, the spiciness from the chili, the saltiness from the rimmed glass and the fire of the tequila as it travels down your throat.

What really got me excited was Pitong Elemento (Php350). A flight of seven intense native infusions inspired by legendary elementals, this consists of seven shot glasses of flavored spirits that pack quite a punch.

  • Duwende (dried mango rhum – named after the mischievous house spirit)
  • Sigbin (orange vodka – named after the mythical creature that suck its victims’ blood from the shadows)
  • Kibaan (raisin gin – named after the mythical creature that lead travelers astray with its backward feet)
  • Tiyanak (Thai chili tequila – named after the creature that takes the form of a crying baby to attack folks who pick it up)
  • Undin (roasted bell pepper vodka – named after the water sprite that drown people who disturb it)
  • Santelmo (lemon vodka – named after St. Elmo’s Fire, balls of fire that appear as portents of doom)
  • Nuno sa Punso (spearmint chocolate vodka – named after the dwarf-like creature that dwell in mounds of earth).

You can also opt to get these infusions individually by the shot glass at Php50 each, except for Nuno sa Punso which is at Php99.

Salamangka, Eastwood City

(Note: I only attempted to try Nuno sa Punso and, really, a few sips were more than enough for a lightweight like me.)

Fans of the local craft beer Engkanto would really go for a Beer Flight (Php249) a four variant sampler consisting of lager, pale ale, IPA and double IPA.

Salamangka, Eastwood City

Salamangka also prides itself on its Single Origin local coffees at Php99/cup such as those from Bukidnon and Batangas. These are freshly ground upon order and then brewed using pour over cups. Until August 31, get a Buy 1 Get 1 deal on these local coffees from 7am to 10am, thanks to Salamangka’s ongoing Hiwaga ng Umaga promo.

Salamangka, Eastwood City

Salamangka, Eastwood

Salamangka, Eastwood City

Salamangka’s Bulletproof Coffee (Php190), which is made with brewed coffee, coconut oil and unsalted butter, would probably be great for chasing away a hangover given the coffee’s touted properties for enhancing alertness. I would just prefer the residual flavor from the coconut oil to be tempered down a little bit more so that the creaminess and the slight sweetness from the butter would be more pronounced.

Salamangka, Eastwood City

So if you want a great time with your friends tinged with magic and mystery, head on to Salamangka.

Salamangka, Eastwood City

Salamangka, Eastwood City

Salamangka, Eastwood

Thanks to Darryl, Issa, Veni and Kevin of Salamangka for having us!

Salamangka, Eastwood City

Join Salamangka’s Hocus Focus Facebook contest by posting a picture of you posing in one of Salamanka’s Kreature Kutouts. Make sure your post is public, tag @salamangkamnl, use the hashtags #IsangTaongHiwaga and #TasteMagic, for a chance to get a freebie.

Salamangka, Eastwood

Salamangka, Eastwood

Salamangka, Eastwood

Feel like pitting your knowledge against other Salamangka guests? Join the Gabi ng Pagsusulit, a quiz night held at Salamangka every second and fourth Thursday of the month.

Salamangka is located at Eastwood Citywalk 1, Libis, Quezon City, open daily from 7am to 3am. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 5518557.

Did you know you can buy two drinks and get the same two drinks for free at Salamangka through Zomato Gold? Zomato Gold provides members with 1+1 deals on food or 2+2 deals on drinks. All you have to do is sign up for a Zomato Gold membership here. Use my code JELLYB to get 20% off the membership fee.

Salamangka Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with my fellow foodies, I was invited to join a foodie meetup held at this restaurant. Food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

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