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:

 

Tsokolate Ah and more at Tsoko.Nut Batirol, Tomas Morato

Dessert cafes abound in the metro, but how many of them do you see touting our very own tsokolate – the Pinoy version of hot chocolate?

Would you believe I first heard of this delicacy back in high school while studying Noli Me Tangere? Jose Rizal’s literary masterpiece features a scene wherein the characters assign social status to the thickness of the hot chocolate served.

During a social gathering, Padre Salvi (one of the more nefarious characters in the novel), serves tsokolate eh (from espresso, meaning thick, due to the richness of the hot chocolate served) for Spanish visitors and dignitaries, while tsokolate ah (from aguado, meaning watered down) was served to the locals, which is probably why this is sometimes referred to as the native hot chocolate.

(Aside: being a racist and a snob are the least of Padre Salvi’s character flaws.)

The latter variant is available at Tsoko.Nut Batirol, a small cafe located in Quezon City’s Tomas Morato Area. The batirol in the cafe’s name refers to the implement used in mixing the hot chocolate to make sure that the tablea (chocolate tablets) are dissolved and well-incorporated into the drink.

Tsoko.Nut Batirol, Tomas Morato

The cafe has an Old World feel to it, with furniture and interiors that harken back to ancestral homes in the provinces. It also makes use of its own signature mug for its hot beverages which adds to its quaint appeal.

Tsoko.Nut Batirol, Tomas Morato

Tsoko.Nut Batirol, Tomas Morato

Tsoko.Nut Batirol, Tomas Morato

Together with my office buddies, I went here for some dessert which included:

Tsokolate Ah Batirol (Php88 regular | Php98 large). The aforementioned native hot chocolate is no longer a comment on one’s station. Instead, this is an indulgent treat for any chocolate lover. Made in the traditional way: using chocolate tablea, milk and ground peanuts, this drink will take you back in time.

Tsoko.Nut Batirol, Tomas Morato

Mini Chocolate Cake (Php110). A rich and chocolatey confection of moist cake and thick chocolate icing.

Tsoko.Nut Batirol, Tomas Morato

Mango Torte (Php99). A frozen cheesecake topped with artfully arranged mango slices on on a crust of graham cracker crumbs. It’s so pretty, we almost didn’t want to eat it. Well, almost. 🤪

Tsoko.Nut Batirol, Tomas Morato

I’d love to spend a more leisurely afternoon here, just enjoying my sweets and my cup of native hot choco. I wonder when that would be…

This Tsoko.Nut Batirol branch is located near the corner of Scout Reyes Street and Mother Ignacia Avenue, Bgy. Laging Handa, Quezon City, open daily from 7am to 9pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 3979939.

Other branches are located at:

  • Food Court, Third Floor, Eastwood Cybermall, Libis, Quezon City
  • Upper Ground Floor, Worldwide Corporate Center, Shaw Boulevard, Highway Hills, Mandaluyong City
  • Ground Floor, Telus Building, Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City
  • Third Floor, RCBC Plaza, Ayala Avenue, Salcedo Village, Makati City
  • Northgate Cyberzone, Filinvest City, Muntinlupa

Tsoko.Nut Batirol Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

Morning sweets at Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

A friend and I suddenly found ourselves with some time on our hands while in Serendra yesterday morning, so we decided to break our fast at Cupcakes by Sonja.

This store was Manila’s first ever cupcake store, opened by Sonja Ocampo to bring the cupcake experiences she had in New York to our shores.

The store has the charm of a corner bakery: from its colorful storefront, the quaint bric-a-bracs inside to the lovely display of goodies available.

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja features whimsical pastries baked fresh daily, using premium ingredients and no preservatives. Expanding its repertoire beyond the classic cupcakes flavors, its menu now includes hybrid cupcakes, full-sized cakes and pies.

Today, the shop offers these goodies paired with house-made hot beverages such as in Hey Hot Stuff Combo 1 which gives the diners a slice of cake and a choice among latte, cappuccino and hot chocolate for only Php179.

I got myself a Reverse Salted Caramel + Latte. The Valrhona chocolate cake base is richly flavored and moist, wrapped in layers of salted caramel buttercream. The latte I had with it is not too sweet, a good complement to such a decadent dessert.

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

My friend got the Rainbow Fiesta + Hot Chocolate. The cake is made of six layers of fluffy vanilla chiffon cake in different rainbow colors finished with marahmallow frosting and garnished candy sprinkles.

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

I also got myself a Red Velvet Vixen Cupcake (Php95). Did you know that Cupcakes by Sonja was the first store to offer this classic Southern American cupcake flavor in the Philippines? I remember having my first taste of this confection in this very store more thab a decade ago, and this cupcake still holds its appeal to me. With a decadent Belgian chocolate cupcake base, colored with that deep red hue, and topped with a luscious cream cheese frosting, it has become quite a local favorite.

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

I had a lovely return to this wonderful store for my morning sweets.

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

Cupcakes by Sonja, BGC

This Cupcakes by Sonja branch is located at Ground Floor, Serendra, Bonifacio Global City, open Sundays to Thursdays from 8am to 11am and Fridays to Saturdays from 8am to 12 midnight.

Other branches are located at:

  • Ground Floor, Mega Fashion Hall, SM Mega Mall, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City
  • Second Floor, Glorietta 2, Ayala Center, Makati

Cupcakes By Sonja Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

Work and Hot Chocolate at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Venice Piazza, Taguig

While passing the time before a foodie meetup at Datang in the Venice Piazza, I decided to do some work and catch up on my emails.

CBTL, Venice Piazza

Fortunately, there’s a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf branch near the parking area that seemed like a nice and quiet place to while away some hours while immersed in some work.

My treat to myself while poring over my workload? (Because every source of motivation counts and chocolate is always good for motivation.)

CBTL, Venice Piazza

A nice cup of frothy Hot Double Chocolate with Marshmallows. Made with CBTL’s proprietary Special Dutch chocolate powder, combined with carefully steamed non-fat milk and topped with a thick layer of foam, it is a perfectly rich and decadent pick-me-up concoction.

CBTL, Venice Piazza

I wish I could stay longer and leisurely enjoy my drink.

CBTL, Venice Piazza

But, alas, duty called.

Until, next time then, my chocolate treat!

CBTL, Venice Piazza

This CBTL branch is located at the Ground Floor, Venice Piazza, McKinley Hill, Taguig.

Other branches in Taguig may be found at:

  • B8 Bonifacio High Street, BGC
  • 32nd Street corner 11th Avenue, Park Triangle, BGC
  • Third Floor, BHS Central Square, BGC
  • Third Floor, Uptown Place Mall, BGC
  • Every Nation Building, 32nd Avenue corner University Parkway, BGC
  • Ground Floor, BGC Stopover Pavilion, BGC
  • Burgos Circle, BGC
  • Fifth Floor, SM Aura Premier, BGC
  • Shell Logcom, CP Garcia Avenue, Greater Taguig
  • Ground Floor, Vista Mall, Greater Taguig

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my other CBTL blog posts:

Barkada Brunch at Sunnies Cafe, SM Megamall

Being an introvert, I am happy to keep a small group of trusted friends who I can hang out with and dish on our pet peeves while enjoying good food. Our weekend meetup was several weeks in the making so we grabbed at the chance to come together when our schedules allowed it.

We decided to meet up for brunch at Sunnies Cafe at SM Megamall since it’s the location that’s easily accessible to most of us.

The cafe has a very posh vibe to it, with floor-to ceiling glass windows that lets diners look out into the bridgeway (and passersby to take in the IG-worthy decor of the resto).

Sunnies Cafe, Megamall

My daughter, #ExhibitA, even tagged along to hang out with us #TitasOfManila (well, one of us is a Tito, hehehe!) as she claimed Sunnies Cafe as one of her favorite hangouts.  She ordered a plate of Chicken and Pancakes (Php280) from the All-Day Breakfast Menu, which consist of country style fried chicken served with bacon and thyme pancakes, a sunny side up egg and some maple syrup, and a plate of Truffle Taters (Php190), which consist of large crisp potato cubes tossed with some parmesan and truffle oil.

Sunnies Cafe, Megamall

Sunnies Cafe, Megamall

Sunnies Cafe, Megamall

Sunnies Cafe, Megamall

I, on the other hand, opted to try something new: a Sunnies Risotto (Php370). A risotto dish made with grana padano cheese, bacon, an egg cooked sous vide, caramelized onions and homemade gravy, it turned out to be a bit too hearty for a breakfast meal.  The caramelized onions also seemed too overpowering after a few bites.  Fortunately, I got myself a cup of Hot Chocolate (Php140) to sip on; its rich chocolatey flavor is the dash of sweetness I needed as a break for the savory flavors of my meal.

My friends ordered Chicken and Pancakes similar to my daughter.  One of them ordered  Steak and Eggs (Php390) which we had to help her finish.

Sunnies Cafe, Megamall

Sunnies Cafe, Megamall

Sunnies Cafe, Megamall

Sunnies Cafe is an excellent venue to meet up with friends for a leisurely meal.  I would suggest ordering some of the lighter offerings like the Salmon Poke Quinoa (Php280) as the food may be too rich for most tastes.

That said, our group took full advantage of the laid-back atmosphere to chat up a storm and the cute interiors for our group photo opps.

This Sunnies Cafe branch is located at Second Floor, Bridgeway, SM Megamall, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City.  For reservations, call +63 2 7181862 or +63 917 7025829.

Other branches are located at:

  • B3, Bonifacio High Street, 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City (Tel: +63 2 9492251 or +63 917 7021158)
  • Corte de Las Palmas, Alabang Town Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa City (Tel: +63 2 7776319)
  • Ground Floor, UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City

Sunnies Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

This post contains affiliate links.

Want to learn how to give your family’s breakfast a new twist? Check out these books from Amazon.com!

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Recovery Food at Pi Breakfast & Pies, Ugong

I admit, there are times when I’m in no mood to worry about breakfast, especially when my (gasp!) three-in-one coffee is already waiting for me at the dining table (courtesy of my ever-loyal yaya, of course).

I keep hearing that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day… yada, yada, yada…” but we shouldn’t eat breakfast for its own sake.  Breakfast should be a gastronomic pleasure too.  (That way, more people will take eating breakfast to heart!)

After my first attempt to return to running for fitness (or to be more honest, walking around the track just to burn off some calories), I, together with Hubby who is more serious about running than I am, decided to stop over at Pi Breakfast & Pies at the Rockwell Grove in Ugong.  For our breakfast – slash – recovery food, we ordered:

  • Caramelized Spam (Php265).  The classic spamsilog is given a more premium twist.  The hefty cubes of spam, tossed in the pan until they achieved a nice caramelization, were accented by garlic fried rice, kimchi, pesto, a five-minute egg, scallions and sesame seeds.
  • Queso de Bola Ensaymada (Php55).  And I used to think those big red balls of cheese are only good for the Christmas season!  The sharp saltiness of the cheese has a nice interplay with the sweetness of the bread.  I would prefer it to be a bit puffier and have a smoother texture, though.
  • Hot Chocolate (Php85).  I’m not sure what I expected but I would have thought that the resto could have added a new twist to this drink to make it special, maybe a drop of peppermint or some chocolate shavings?

All these said, I wouldn’t mind returning to Pi Breakfast & Pies to sample their other All-Day Breakfast Options such as the Eggs Benny (Php275) and the Beef Brisket Corned Beef (Php275).

This branch of Pi Breakfast & Pies is located at The Grove By Rockwell, E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue, Ugong, Pasig City, open from 7am to 10pm everyday (Tel: +63 915 2583314).  Its other branch is located at 39 Malingap Street, Teachers Village, Quezon City, open from 6am to 10pm everyday (Tel: +63 2 9312337 or +63 2 4411773).

Pi Breakfast & Pies Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Want to learn how to give your family’s breakfast a new twist? Check out these books from Amazon.com!

Want to try some recipes today? There’s no need to leave home to shop for ingredients.  With Honestbee, just order your groceries online and you’ll get them delivered right at your doorstep at your preferred time. Use this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.  You can download the Honestbee app on iTunes or Google Play.

(By the way, Pi Breakfast & Pies also delivers via Honestbee). 🙂

If you’re in the US and an Amazon Prime member, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Fresh to get your groceries delivered to you.

DIY Gift: Hot Chocolate on a Stick

Every holiday season brings the same struggle: what to give to all of the family’s relatives, friends and co-workers for Christmas that will be unique, can be useful to or enjoyed by the recipient, and won’t go over the family’s gift budget?

Last year, we gave out over 100 bags of Chocolate Chip Cookies which my daughter and I baked and packed as our gifts. Thankfully, I know a baking supplies store nearby so I was able to save considerably on ingredients.

This year, while surfing through Pinterest, I discovered a new gift idea: Hot Chocolate on a Stick!

The recipe below is further simplified from the one I found on Pinterest, but still quite yummy! Best of all, ingredients and tools are easy and cheap to come by, thanks the nearby baking supplies store.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint oit
  • 15 large marshmallows
  • additional milk chocolate chips and candy sprinkles as garnish

You will also need:

  • Coffee stirrers or plastic straws to serve as sticks
  • Individual plastic wrappers
  • Gift ribbons
  • Gift labels

Procedure:

  • Melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave. (Medium high power for 30 secs and High power for 15 secs; resulting melted chocolate should be thick and have a nice sheen)
  • Mix in the the peppermint oil.
  • Pour the mixture into 2 tbsp chocolate molds (I used a small ice cream scoop to measure out and pour the mixture into small puto molds)
  • Spear each marshmallow with a plastic straw then placed it in the middle of each mold
  • Place in the refrigerator for 5 hours or until set.

I wrapped these with individual food-grade plastic wrappers decorated with red satin ribbons. I included a tbsp of milk chocolate chips and 1/8tbsp of candy sprinkles per package as garnishes. The label should indicate that the hot chocolate on a stick should be stirred into a cup of hot milk until the chocolate is melted.

This recipe yields 15 sticks.