Guiltless goodness in Tagaytay: Koomi

One of the happiest discoveries of the family’s Tagaytay sojourn is the presence of one of our favorite yogurt drink stores at the nearby Ayala Malls Serin.

Koomi is an Australia-based chain which specializes in combinations of natural probiotic drinking yogurt with various fresh and wholesome ingredients to produce yummy and icy drinks.

Koomi Tagaytay
Koomi Tagaytay

If you haven’t tried Koomi drinks yet, you definitely should mainly for two reasons:

  • They are so good for you. Yogurt aids in digestion, boosting immunity and is rich in nutrients that promote bone health.
  • They taste so good. Flavored with natural sweeteners like fruit honey and enhanced with fruits, nuts and other healthy ingredients, Koomi drinks are yummy concoctions meant to be heartily enjoyed.

I took the opportunity during a supply run in Ayala Malls Serin to take out some delicious Koomi drinks for the fam, such as:

Koomi Tagaytay
Avo Nice Day (Php170). Yogurt flavored with rich avocado, my all-time fave!
Koomi Tagaytay
Mango Cracker Rocker (Php155). My daughter’s go-to drink made with yogurt, mango bits and crushed graham crackers.
Koomi Tagaytay
Cookies ‘n Cream (Php135). A treat for my son who loves the combo of yogurt and chocolate cookies.
Koomi Tagaytay
Banana Dance with Some Berries (Php175). For my health-conscious Hubby, this combo of yogurt, bananas, blueberries and strawberries is his smoothie!
Koomi Tagaytay
Nuts About You (Php155). I introduced Koomi to my mother-in-law with this not-too-sweet mix of yogurt, almonds and pistachios.
Koomi Tagaytay
Boppin’ Boba (Php135). I treated my nephew (and my son’s bestie) to the yogurt version of his favorite milk tea.

I opted for the Aussie blend, resulting in drinks with a very pronounced tanginess. However, Koomi also offers a Filipino blend which has cream added to the mixture, a flavor profile more aligned to the Pinoy palate.

Koomi Tagaytay
Koomi Tagaytay

Tagaytay vacationers (and residents, of course!) sure have some guiltless goodness to enjoy with this Koomi branch.

It’s located at Ayala Malls Serin, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo Highway Brgy. Silang Crossing East Tagaytay City, Cavite 4120.

In Metro Manila, Koomi branches are located at:

  • Pasig: The Podium, Unimart Capitol Commons
  • Mandaluyong: SM Megamall
  • Quezon City: Robinsons Magnolia, Eastwood City Mall, SM North EDSA, Robinsons Galleria, Z Square Mall, Ali Mall, Ayala Vertis North, SM Fairview, Timog Avenue, Mezza Residences, Fisher Mall QC, Hemady Square, White Plains, UP Town Center, Maginhawa
  • Makati: SM Jazz, Glorietta 4, Salcedo Village
  • Pasay: SM Mall of Asia, Double Dragon Plaza
  • Manila: SM San Lazaro, SM Manila, Lucky Chinatown
  • Taguig; SM Aura, Uptown Mall
  • San Juan: VMall Greenhills
  • Muntinlupa: Festival Mall
  • Las Pinas: SM Southmall
  • Paranaque: SM City Bicutan, BF Homes
  • Malabon: Fisher Mall Malabon

2D Themed Cafe in QC: Kurimi Milk Tea Bar

Nope, entering this milk tea bar doesn’t magically land you into a cartoon world.

Instead, it welcomes you into a place where you can take Instagrammable pics while enjoying your freshly made milk tea.

Check out Kurimi Milk Tea Bar!

Kurimi Milk Tea Bar, Tomas Morato
Kurimi Milk Tea Bar, Tomas Morato
Kurimi Milk Tea Bar, Tomas Morato
Kurimi Milk Tea Bar, Tomas Morato

This little store in the foodie-friendly Tomas Morato area in QC serves up the Pinoy’s new favorite beverage – milk tea, of course – in a quaint and picturesque setting. Every wall, nook and cranny has been painted white with thick black outlines to give that interesting 2D effect. Yes, it’s walking into a cartoon!

Here you can enjoy a wide array of Japanese style tea drinks, from Kurimi’s signature milk tea, cheesecake and cream cheese series as well as specialty drinks that include:

Kurimi Milk Tea Bar, Tomas Morato
Kurimi Mil Tea with Pearl
Kurimi Milk Tea Bar, Tomas Morato
Cocoa Cream Cheese with Pearl
Kurimi Milk Tea Bar, Tomas Morato
Honey Peach Fruit Tea
Kurimi Milk Tea Bar, Tomas Morato
Honey Peach Fruit Tea with Cream Cheese and Mixed Jelly
Kurimi Milk Tea Bar, Tomas Morato
Cheesecake Kurimi Milk Tea with Pearl
Kurimi Milk Tea Bar, Tomas Morato
Taro Cream Cheese
Kurimi Milk Tea Bar, Tomas Morato
Taro Cheesecake with Pearl
Kurimi Milk Tea Bar, Tomas Morato
Matcha Cream Cheese

Hang out here with your frinds and take a pic: you and your drink will be the pops of color against your cute 2D background.

Kurimi Milk Tea Bar, Tomas Morato
Kurimi Milk Tea Bar, Tomas Morato
Kurimi Milk Tea Bar, Tomas Morato
Kurimi Milk Tea Bar, Tomas Morato

This Kurimi Milk Tea Bar branch is located at 88 Scout Limbaga Street, Barangay Sacred Heart, Quezon City, open for dine-in, takeout, curbside pickup and delivery via GrabFood.

For inquiries or orders, call +63 951 3558571.

Sammy’s Weekend Quick Bites

Don’t you just love weekends?

It’s that time when you can wind down and recover from the hectic work days that precede it.

It’s also the time when you can treat yourself and the fam to a few indulgences.

Some of my favorite weekend memories are those I spent with my foodie friends hanging out at Sammy’s, a hidden gem of a restaurant located in Cainta.

There, we enjoyed great Indonesian-inspired dishes, along with a lovely post-meal serenade from Chef Sammy and his wife Dorothy, amidst the restaurant’s beautifully cozy interiors.

Sammy’s, Cainta
Sammy’s Interiors
Sammy’s, Cainta
Sammy’s Indonesian-inspired Food
Sammy’s Cainta
Post-meal Serenade
Sammy’s, Cainta
Together with foodie friends

Recently, Sammy’s brought food lovers another reason to love weekends: its Weekend Quick Bites!

Sammy’s Weekend Quick Bites
Sammy’s Weekend Quick Bites

On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, Sammy’s offers yummy and highly snackable treats to sate our food cravings.

Being a mom to two budding foodies, I decided to have some of these munchies delivered to our home for the fam’s weekend merienda.

Korean Corndogs.

That sausage-on-stick that we love so well as kids got a significant upgrade, thanks to its thick coating of crunchy-on-the-outide, chewy-on-the-inside batter and further jazzed up with various fixins and condiments.

Sammy’s Weekend Quick Bites
Sammy’s Weekend Quick Bites

I got the Classic (Php99) for me, the Cheesedog (Php125) for my son, the Mozza (Php130) for my daughter and Overload (Php150) for Hubby.

I barely had time to take pictures of these corndogs as the fam was raring to get at them!

We weren’t able to try the Potato (Php125) but that’s what next orders are for!

Milk Teas.

Of course, we have to have something to drink together with our snacks, right?

Sammy’s has already got that covered with its refreshing milk teas that come in a variety of flavors with yummy and chewy tapioca pearls.

Sammy’s Weekend Quick Bites
Classic Pearl (Php60 16oz | Php70 22oz)
Sammy’s Weekend Quick Bites
Okinawa (Php65 16oz | Php75 22oz)
Sammy’s Weekend Quick Bites
Chocolate (Php65 16oz | Php75 22oz)
Sammy’s Weekend Quick Bites
Cheesecake (Php79 16oz | Php89 22oz)

I actually already sampled these milk teas a few months ago when these were launched together with a special offer of a free slice of banana bread for every purchase.

Sammy’s Weekend Quick Bites
Dark Choco (Php79 16oz | Php89 22oz)
Sammy’s Weekend Quick Bites
Cookies ‘n Cream (Php65 16oz | Php75 22oz)
Sammy’s Weekend Quick Bites
Red Velvet (Php79 16oz | Php89 22oz)
Sammy’s Weekend Quick Bites
Launch Promo

Other milk tea variants available include: Wintermelon (Php65 16oz | Php75 22oz) and Taro (Php65 16oz | Php75 22oz).

Aside Korean Corndogs and Milk Teas, other snackable items included in Sammy’s Weekend Quick Bites are fries, nachos and floats.

Sammy’s makes weekends even better with its Weekend Quick Bites, wouldn’t you agree?

Weekend Quick Bites are available Saturdays and Sundays, from 3pm to 6pm.

Drop by Sammy’s at 14 Raspberry Bend Street, Valley View Executive Subdivision Phase 3, San Juan, Cainta to dine in and snack on these treats.

To enjoy these at home, order by calling +63 939 1483960, and book your delivery via Grab or Lalamove.

Follow Sammy’s on Facebook and Instagram to keep updated on its latest offers.

Yaki Yaki now in my neighborhood!

What’s your newly discovered snacking fave?

Mine is takoyaki, those chopped octopus-filled balls made from batter cooked in a special molded pan, then drenched with takoyaki sauce and Japanese mayo before topping with bonito flakes.

Yaki-Yaki, Countryside Pasig
Yaki-Yaki, Countryside Pasig
Yaki-Yaki, Countryside Pasig
Yaki-Yaki, Countryside Pasig
Yaki-Yaki, Countryside Pasig
Yaki-Yaki, Countryside Pasig

First introduced in Osaka, Japan by street vendor Tomekichi Endo in the 1930s, the takoyaki (from “tako” or octopus, and “yaki” or grilled) has reached well beyond its origins, even reaching our shores where it is sold in establishments ranging from specialty restaurants to food stalls.

While I’ve been encountering takoyaki for decades now, I’ve only recently learned to appreciate it: the chewy balls given texture by the bits of octopus, the mixture of flavors from the sauces and the umami from the bonito flakes.

When I sometimes get tired of the usual contents of my pantry, I now experience a hankering for these tasty snackable balls.

And lucky me, a takoyaki joint just opened right in my neighborhood!

Yaki-Yaki, Countryside Pasig
Yaki-Yaki, Countryside Pasig

Despite being a business born from the pandemic, Yaki Yaki (from YAKIsoba and TakoYAKI) has grown and is now open to franchisees to bring its delicious Japanese streetfood treats to more communities.

Its newest store opened just a stone’s throw away from my home.

Yaki-Yaki, Countryside Pasig
Yaki-Yaki, Countryside Pasig
Yaki-Yaki, Countryside Pasig

Its menu, of course, includes takoyaki in wondrous variety.

Yaki-Yaki, Countryside Pasig
Tako (Octopus Bits)
Php45 – 4pcs | Php89 – 8 pcs | 125 – 12 pcs
Yaki-Yaki, Countryside Pasig
Yasai (Vegetable)
Php45 – 4pcs | Php89 – 8 pcs | 125 – 12 pcs
Yaki-Yaki, Countryside Pasig
Chizu (Cheese)
Php45 – 4pcs | Php89 – 8 pcs | 125 – 12 pcs
Yaki-Yaki, Countryside Pasig
Bekon Chizu (Bacon and Cheese)
Php55 – 4pcs | Php99 – 8 pcs | 145 – 12 pcs
Yaki-Yaki, Countryside Pasig
Kani (Crabsticks)
Php45 – 4pcs | Php89 – 8 pcs | 125 – 12 pcs

As can be gleaned from its name, Yaki Yaki also offers yakisoba, a dish made of noodles stir-fried with meat and vegetables in a sweetish sauce, which can be enjoyed on its own or partnered with the store’s signature takoyaki in one delicious serving.

Yaki-Yaki, Countryside Pasig
Chizu-Soba
Php99 solo | Php189 sumo
Yaki-Yaki, Countryside Pasig
Yasai-Soba
Php99 solo | Php189 sumo

Aside from its filling takoyaki and yakisoba combinations, Yaki Yaki also serves handcrafted milk beverages.

Yaki-Yaki, Countryside Pasig
Tokyo Iced Kohi
Php69 medium | Php79 large
Yaki-Yaki, Countryside Pasig
Blueberry Mirukuru
Php69 medium | Php79 large
Yaki-Yaki, Countryside Pasig
Strawberry Oreo Kurimu
Php69 medium | Php79 large
Yaki-Yaki, Countryside Pasig
Butterscotch Makiato
Php69 medium | Php79 large
Yaki-Yaki, Countryside Pasig
Mango Cream Tanoshi
Php69 medium | Php79 large

These snack and beverage offerings are not only tasty and filling, they’re quite affordable too!

It sure looks like I have a new go-to snacking destination that’s right in my neighborhood! And if I’m in no mood to venture out of my home, I can always order through FoodPanda, yey!

Live nearby? Do check it out!

Yaki Yaki is located at Unit 2, Landex Apartment, 3rd Street corner Countryside Avenue, Countryside Village, Bgy. Sta. Lucia, Pasig City, open from 11am to 8pm.

Interested in this business? Call +63 998 2431707 to inquire about becoming a franchisee.

Non-dairy and fructose-free milk teas from Grillin’ Ape

As a sweet tooth myself, I have to admit that I do have trouble saying no to sugary treats.

There’s nothing like a l bit of sweetness that I can enjoy in various parts of my day to give me that little kick of energy so I can power on or get out of a slump.

Grillin’ Ape

However, said sweet treats may have an impact on my health.

Milk teas, for example, are some of my perennially favorite drinks but these have high sugar levels and make heavy use of dairy products which may lead to difficulty in weight management as well as other potential health problems.

If only there was a way to enjoy my milk tea fix without its troublesome components, right?

Grillin’ Ape

Well, the Japanese street food joint in Eastwood Grillin’ Ape has expanded its product line to include fructose-free and non-dairy milk teas under its new brand: Ape Tea.

With exciting flavors such as Honey Dew Cheesecake and Strawberry Salted Caramel, Ape Tea brings that sweet and creamy goodness of milk tea without the use of fructose-based sugars and dairy products.

Grillin’ Ape

Grillin’ Ape

Grillin’ Ape

Try it with some of Grillin’ Ape’s tasty Takoyaki for a light and delicious snack.

Grillin’ Ape

You can also enjoy it as your dessert after feasting on Grillin’ Ape’s heartier offerings.

Grillin’ Ape, Eastwood

Grillin’ Ape, Eastwood

Ready to indulge yourself with a new milk tea experience and more? Order now through the Grillin’ Ape website or via Facebook. You may also call in your orders at +63 2 83677135 or +63 956 1504450.

Grillin’ Ape

Grillin’ Ape is located at Eastwood Cybermall level 3, Bagumbayan, Quezon City.

Get “Cool for the Summer” at Moonleaf, Novaliches

Ooh, summer!

There was a time when it was the most awaited season among the metro’s denizens. It used to signal a time to take a break from the daily grind of school and work.

Now, though, with the country still in quarantine and restrictions on travel and mobility still in effect, you might think that the pervasive heat will be the only thing noteworthy about this season.

Moonleaf, Novaliches

Moonleaf, Novaliches

Well, the Moonleaf Tea Shop in Novaliches is all set to bring new reasons to enjoy the summer with its new line of drinks, aptly named “Cool for the Summer.” With these drinks, harried city dwellers can enjoy refreshing beverages that bring a moment of Zen while tickling their tastebuds. Plus, accompanied by chewy add-ons and topped with a dollop of thick and foamy wintercream, this drinks also provide opportunities for sheer indulgence.

Moonleaf, Novaliches

Moonleaf, Novaliches

Moonleaf, Novaliches

Wintermelon Milk Tea with Pearls and Wintercream

Moonleaf, Novaliches

Lychee Strawberry Tea with Rainwbow Jelly and Wintercream

Moonleaf, Novaliches

Mango Black Tea with Nata and Wintercream

Moonleaf, Novaliches

Watch out for these refreshing drinks this April!

Want something to nibble on as you enjoy your drinks? Why don’t you indulge your sweet tooth with some pastries?

Fudgy Dark Brownie (Php49)

Moonleaf, Novaliches

Moonleaf, Novaliches

Blueberry Cheesecake (Php110)

Moonleaf, Novaliches

Moonleaf, Novaliches

As the summer season rolls by, don’t sweat the small stuff. Starting this April, you can get cool for the summer at Moonleaf Tea Shop!

Moonleaf, Novaliches

Moonleaf, Novaliches

Moonleaf, Novaliches

This Moonleaf Tea Shop is located along General Luis Street, Novaliches Bayan, Quezon City, open daily from 10am to 8pm. For inquiries, call +63 926 7007720. It delivers via GrabFood and soon, via FoodPanda, too so you can enjoy your drinks and nibbles without having to leave home!

Moonleaf, Novaliches

Moonleaf, Novaliches

Moonleaf, Novaliches

To know about its latest offers and promos, follow Moonleaf Tea Shop Novaliches on Facebook and Instagram.

Disclosure: Product samples were provided to elicit my honest feedback.

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

Check out my reviews of other milk tea joints:

Give in to your tummy’s rumblin’ at Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Foodies, if there is one thing you can count on, it’s the fact that your Tita Jellybeans is always on the prowl for new and exciting gastronomic experiences to share with you.

And, boy, do I have great news!

There’s this restaurant along Mayon Street in La Loma, Quezon City (a place I’m a bit unfamiliar with but I didn’t let that stop me from going on this foodie adventure) that specializes in takoyaki and milk tea called Gulu Gulu.

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

If you’re thinking that it’s just another snack bar or street food stall, you’ve got another think coming. For one thing, the place is not a stall at all but a beautifully designed and well-appointed cafe. Floor-to-ceiling windows bathe the interiors in bright, natural light while Japan-inspired murals add color to the interiors. Tables and cushioned chairs are spread in the sprawling space, giving diners comfortable seats in which to enjoy their food. Comics and short story books are also displayed, adding to the relaxing cafe feel. Almost every nook and space can be an Instagrammable spot.

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Plus, you can watch Gulu Gulu’s takoyaki masters in action in the open kitchen as they prepare the food fresh upon order.

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu’s real claim to fame, of course, is its food.

With a name derived from the sound of a rumbling stomach, Gulu Gulu strives to satisfy hunger with delicious and filling fare that are definitely worth several return visits.

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

First of these is its takoyaki, claimed to be the best ones in town and unlike any other takoyaki balls you may have tasted. I really can’t argue with that claim. Made with the freshest ingredients like chopped octopus, cabbages and onions, they come in wondrous and creative variety, giving even the takoyaki connoisseur new ways to enjoy this delicious snack.

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Available takoyaki flavors include: Classic (Php65/3pcs | Php120/6pcs), Pork Floss & Nori (Php70/3pcs | Php130/6pcs), Tuna Floss (Php70/3pcs | Php140/6pcs), Roe (Php70/3pcs | Php140/6pcs), Seaweeds (Php70/3pcs | Php140/6pcs), Chizu-Yaki (Php70/3pcs | Php130/6pcs), Spam-o-Yaki (Php70/3pcs | Php130/6pcs) and Crispy Takoyaki (Php130/6pcs).

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

If you feel like having something more substantial, you can always opt for a sushi roll. Here, Gulu Gulu does not scrimp on the variety either. Take your pick among these sushi flavors: California Roll (Php220/8pcs), Crazy Maki (Php280/8pcs), Cheese Mango Roll (Php260/8pcs), Crispy Maki (Php250/8pcs) and Salmon Aburi Roll (Php230/8pcs).

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

You can also mix ’em up by getting a 12-piece sushi box with 4 pieces each of California Roll, Crazy Maki and Cheese Mango Roll for just Php230!

If you’re feeling really peckish, you can always go for a Rice Bowl, consisting of a Japanese meat dish topping a steaming bowl of fluffy Japanese rice. Choose from these rice bowl options: Torikatsudon (fried breaded chicken cutlet – Php210), Katsudon (fried breaded pork chop – Php210), Ebi Tendon (shrimp tempura – Php210), Gyudon (beef strips – Php230), Grilled Salmon Steak (Php290) or Japanese Curry (Chicken or Pork – Php240).

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

You can also add a serving of Ebi Tempura (deep-fried batter-coated shrimp – Php150/3pcs | Php240/5pcs), Yakisoba (stir-fred noodles – Php200) or Kakiage (deep-fried batter-coated veggies – Php125) to complete your meal.

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Now, what to drink as you eat your fill of those delectable Japanese food? Gulu Gulu’s got you there as well with its extensive line of teas that make use of the finest and first-boiled black, green, red and jasmine tea leaves, lusciously chewy black pearls, nata de coco, grass jelly and other add-ons to bring you the highest quality drinks in amazing variants.

Milk tea flavors include: Original with Pearl (Php100/700ml), Milk Tea with Nata de Coco (Php110/700ml), Milk Tea with Grass Jelly (Php110/700ml), Taro Milk Tea with Pearl (Php115/700ml), Chocolate Milk Tea with Pearl (Php110/700ml), Matcha Milk Tea with Pearl (Php115/700ml0, Original Cheese Tea (Php130/500ml | Php150/700ml), Chocolate Cheese Tea (Php135/500ml | Php155/700ml) and Brown Sugar Milk Tea (Php120/700ml).

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Definitely not to be missed is the Salted Egg Milk Tea (Php130/500ml | Php155/700ml) which should appeal to the Pinoy’s penchant for sweet and salty combos.

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

If fruit teas are more your thing, you can select your favorite blends from among: Signature Fruit Tea (Php130/700ml | Php160/1000ml), Special Lemon Tea (Php80/500ml | Php100/700ml | Php130/1000ml) or Orange Tea (Php80/500ml | Php100/700ml).

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

You might also want to check out the new fruit tea flavors Mango Gulu, Strawberry Gulu and Dalandan Tea.

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

So if you happen to be in the area and you feel your tummy rumblin’, you know where to go!

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Don’t miss out on these special offers you can enjoy in this Gulu Gulu branch until February 28:

  • 15% off on sushi rolls and rice bowls
  • 2 Taro Milk Teas for Php165

To know its latest promos and offers, follow Gulu Gulu on Facebook or Instagram.

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

This Gulu Gulu branch is located at 405 Mayon Corner Calamba Street, La Loma, Quezon City, open daily from 10am to 10pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 83595787, +63 916 2125964 or +63 932 6144675.

Other branches are located at Savemore Nagtahan, SM North EDSA, SM San Lazaro, SM Sta. Mesa, Sto. Domingo Avenue, QC and Dapitan Street corner Maria Cristina Street in Manila.

Don’t want to leave home? Have your takoyaki and milk tea delivered right to your doorstep by coursing your Gulu Gulu order via GrabFood or FoodPanda.

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Gulu Gulu, La Loma

Disclosure: I attended a food tasting here together with fellow foodies. Food items mentioned here were served to let us sample the fare and elicit our honest feedback.

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

Check out my reviews of other Japanese restaurants:

Cheers to new beginnings at Sakura Hanami, Maginhawa

At last, we have come to the end of 2020 and we are all looking forward to new beginnings in the coming year.

Did you know that the sakura-cha (cherry blossom tea) symbolizes new beginnings? Because of this, it is a popular drink during weddings and other celebrations in Japan.

Sakura Hanami

Since cherry blossoms can only be harvested once a year, the Japanese began pickling them in salt and ume plum vinegar. This allowed them to enjoy the distinct sakura flavor throughout the year.

Sakura Hanami

At Maginhawa QC tea shop Sakura Hanami, tea lovers can bask in the presence of these cheery cherry blossoms.

Sakura Hanami

Here, they can also enjoy a Traditional Cherry Blossom Tea (Php195). With this clear and pink-hued drink with a floral aftertaste (made by steeping pickled cherry blossoms which seemingly blooms in hot water), sweetened with rich golden honey, tea-tahs like me and my foodie friends can sit together, reminisce about past great times and look forward to fun adventures ahead of us.

Sakura Hanami

Sakura Hanami

Sakura Hanami

For those who want to cool down with a tasty beverage, they can check out Sakura Hanami’s signature flavors in XL cups.

Sakura Hanami

Lava Pearl Latte (Php180). Sakura Hanami’s flagship drink featuring the smooth and silky combination milk, coffee and lava syrup infused with black sugar.

Sakura Hanami

Peach Paradise (Php195). Refreshing green tea with a sweet fruity taste and real peach slices, topped with chia seeds.

Sakura Hanami

Cookie Butter Milk Tea (Php250). For the dessert lovers out there, this concoction of flavorful tea, creamy milk and cookie butter may sate your sweet cravings.

Sakura Hanami

You can enjoy these extra-large drinks by yourself or better yet, share them with friends!

Sakura Hanami

If you want to take the Sakura Hanami experience home with you, get yourself a DIY cup or two such as a Choco Overload Milk Tea (Php79) or a Hokkaido Caramel Milk Tea (Php79). To craft your your refreshing cup of milk tea, just steep the black tea leaves in hot water for ten minutes, take out the leaves, pour in the flavorings, stir and you’re done!

Sakura Hanami

Sakura Hanami

Sakura Hanami

Sakura Hanami

Sakura Hanami brings that refreshing feeling of spring to lea lovers anytime of the year. We know that we can always surround ourselves with the cheeriness pf cherry blossoms anytime, helping us welcome our new beginnings.

Sakura Hanami

I had a lovely time with my fellow tea-tahs Jen of SandUnderMyFeet.com, Nix of IEatAndIWander.com, Anj of AnjColumna.com and Chryz of Chryzpontaneous. Thanks to Midz of GastronomidaPH.com for extending the invitation!

This Sakura Hanami branch is located at 168 Maginhawa Street, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City, open daily from 12 noon to 9.30pm. It recently re-opened for safe dining with protocols in place for the New Normal such as the mandatory use of face masks and face shields inside the premises, provision of hand sanitizers and contact tracing.

Other Sakura Hanami branches in the metro are located at:

  • 1021 P. Ocampo Corner Arellano Street, Malate, Manila
  • Second Floor, Fusebox Food Park, 1254 Asturias Street, Sampaloc, Manila

Sakura Hanami also delivers via GrabFood and FoodPanda.

Disclosure: Together with fellow food bloggers, I was invited to sample Sakura Hanami’s offerings.  Beverage items mentioned here (except for the DIY milk tea cups) were served for us to taste the fare to facilitate our honest reviews and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Sakura Hanami Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other milk tea joints:

At Tantea with the #Quarantitas

Hello, #Quarantitas! (Or should I say #QuaranTEAtas?)

While I usually claim that I’m made for quarantine, I know it can be hard to be cooped up and feeling isolated for so long. Sometimes, you long for a change of scenery, for some actual faces to look at while having spirited conversations.

Together with my fellow Titas of Manila (East) – Jen of Sand Under My Feet and Nix of I Eat and I Wander – I ventured up north for lunch date which we capped off by having our post-meal drinks at Tantea.

Tantea, Tomas Morato

Tantea, Tomas Morato

Located along Tomas Morato Avenue, this flagship store boasts of clean and elegant interiors with an Instagram-friendly rose wall at the second floor where tea-tas can take pictures of their teas.

Tantea, Tomas Morato

Tantea, Tomas Morato

Tantea, Tomas Morato

Tantea, Tomas Morato

Tantea, Tomas Morato

Tantea, Tomas Morato

Thankfully, Tantea’s adoption of sanitation and physical distancing protocols did not detract from its aesthetic and relaxing vibe. It’s still the perfect place to hang out and chat with my friends as we enjoy our drinks, which included:

Popping Boba Strawberry Yogurt (Php140). A blend of sweet strawberries and tangy yogurt with popping boba.

Tantea, Tomas Morato

Brown Sugar Pearl Milk Tea (Php150). Strong black tea mixed with creamy milk accented with black pearls cooked in brown sugar.

Tantea, Tomas Morato

Mango Cream Cheese (Php180). I’ve had a love affair with cream cheese for most of my life. Add to that richness the sweet fruitiness of mango and I’m hooked.

Tantea, Tomas Morato

For one afternoon with my friends, I was able to leave the stress of working from home and overseeing my kids’ online learning to have a leisurely tea and talk session.

Tantea, Tomas Morato

Tantea, Tomas Morato

This made the trip so much worth the effort.

This Tantea branch is located at Tomas Morato Avenue Corner Scout Castor Street, Laging Handa, Quezon City.

If you prefer not to leave the safety of your home, you can still get your drinks and more from Tantea by ordering via its website or Facebook Messenger.

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

Check out my reviews of other milk tea joints:

Bon Appetea Milagrosa Katipunan celebrates first year

There was a time, before the pandemic struck the metro, when I anticipated visits to milk tea cafes. I find these places quote relaxing to hang out in while sipping my chosen drink.

One such place was the Bon Appetea branch in Barangay Milagrosa along Katipunan.

Bon Appetea Milagrosa

Bon Appetea Milagrosa

Located at the crux of Quezon City, Pasig and Marikina, it offers the metro’s denizens a haven where they can de-stress and enjoy their milk tea of choice as well as nourishing servings of comfort food.

Bon Appetea Milagrosa

Before the pandemic, I dropped by to enjoy a cup of Salt & Cheese Foam Wintermelon (Php135). I’ve long been a fan of salted cheese topping on my drinks and I was glad I was able to get a taste. I also brought home a pair of Nirvana Milk Tea (Php80 regular | Php100 medium | Php110 large | Php140 extra large) for the kiddos. This refreshing combination of assam black tea and wintermelon already came with chewy black pearls.

Bon Appetea Milagrosa

Bon Appetea Milagrosa

Bon Appetea Milagrosa

A few weeks after that visit, the pandemic changed the restaurant scene forever. Bon Appetea Milagrosa was able to transition to this new normal by partnering with delivery platforms to supplement its own delivery service. It applied strict sanitation and safety protocols such as twice-a-week disinfection, footbaths, temperature scanner and alcohol dispensers as well as socially distanced seats for the riders.

With these in place, Bon Appetea was able to continue servings its customers, not just with its signature drinks but also with satisfying dishes such as its Sirloin Tapa (Php149). Tender and flavorful bits of marinated and fried beef sirloin served with garlic fried rice and scrambled cage-free eggs.

Bon Appetea Milagrosa

Bon Appetea Milagrosa

Bon Appetea Milagrosa

Bon Appetea Milagrosa

Bon Appetea Milagrosa

It also supported its local community by donating meals and face shields for the medical and security personnel of nearby Quirino Medical Center.

With dining in at restos now making a comeback just as Bon Appetea Milagrosa celebrates its first anniversary, it’s all geared up with a strong WiFi connection and spacious dining areas, ready to receive customers who will visit its premises.

Those who prefer not to leave home can still have their meals delivered via GrabFood, LalaFood and FoodPanda.

Bon Appetea Milagrosa

As part of its anniversary celebration, Bon Appetea is giving Buy One Large, Get One Medium deals on its House Pearl Milk Tea, Lemon Yakult Tea and Tropical Passion Fruit Tea until November 30.

This Bon Appetea branch is located at YDG Building, 219 Katipunan Avenue, Barangay Milagrosa, Blue Ridge, Quezon City.

Download the Grab App and get a discount on your first food order when you use my code: GRABJELLYBEANS.

Use this link to download the FoodPanda app and get Php100 off your first order.

Download the LalaFood App and get a free delivery coupon when you use my code: BEINGJMR53.

Bon Appetea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other milk tea joints:

#QuarantitaTreats: Pinoy and proud bubble tea drinks from Boba Unibers

Rain or shine, it’s always a good time for a boba tea.

These delish concoctions can give us a much-needed sugar boost to get us going, or refresh us after a hot or grueling day.

Boba (“bubble”) gets its name from the chewy pearls made of tapioca soaked in sugar syrup that look like dark bubbles which add texture to your drink.

Boba teas originated from Taiwan in the 1980s when the smaller pearls were used for milk teas. An enterprising shop owner then decided to use larger pearls in a bid to make his offerings stand out.

Boba teas then made their way across the globe and soon established a foothold in the Philippines with new shops offering all sorts of bubble tea variants opening every month.

The newest of these boba tea shops is Boba Unibers, managed by twenty-seven-year-old Jacques Michael Buenviaje together with his partner, twenty-six-year-old Katrina Mikaela Laygo.

Boba Unibers

Both were working in a five-star hotel in BGC when the pandemic struck the metro. They decided to leave their hotel jobs and forge new paths for themselves, which, luckily for us boba tea lovers, includes launching Boba Unibers.

As you can discern from their business’ moniker, #PinoyPride infuses their business and product concept.

By incorporating local flavors and ingredients to their boba tea offerings, they bring milk tea fans like us fresh ways to enjoy our favorite drink while tapping into our sense of nostalgia (plus they also help local farmers by sourcing their coffee beans and muscovado from them).

Being good to the environment is also high on their list of priorities. Not only do they eschew the use of single-use plastics, they also made use of reusable glass jars and edible straws (made with rice and tapioca) which scored major points with my environmentally-aware daughter, #ExhibitA.

Now let’s talk about Boba Unibers’ drinks, shall we?

Wintermelon (Php75). Made with BU’s special tea blend, caramel-y wintermelon syrup, milk, house syrup and boba. #ExhibitA reserved this boba as soon as she saw it.

Boba Unibers

Taro (Php75). Made with BU’s special tea blend, taro, milk, house syrup and boba. A creamy masterpiece of a drink! (And cutely light purple too!)

Boba Unibers

Champorado (Php85). Made with BU’s special tea blend, tablea rice milk, house syrup, powdered milk and boba. Who would have thought that our favorite chocolatey breakfast item would taste so good in boba tea form? My son #ExhibitB snatched this up as soon as I was done taking photos.

Boba Unibers

Pandan Yema (Php85). Made with BU’s special tea blend, milk, pandan yema syrup and boba. A mix of the mild taste of pandan and the milky salted caramel-like taste of yema made for a candy-like sweet drink.

Boba Unibers

Salted Pistachio (Php110). Made with pistachio syrup, caramel sauce, caramel syrup, Kievit and Lipton Tea. This milky and slightly nutty drink will satisfy pistachio lovers.

Boba Unibers

Cold Brew Milk Tea (Php85). Made with BU’s special tea blend, milk, cold brew coffee and boba. This woke me right up from my mid-afternoon stupor.

Boba Unibers

These are just a sampling of the many possibili-teas that Boba Unibers has launched into the milk tea stratosphere, with more flavors to come as Jacques and Katrina continue to experiment with new flavors and ingredients.

Boba Unibers

So #quarantitas (or #quaranTEAtas?), let’s help these young entrepreneurs raise our flag and bring the spotlight to the unique flavors we Pinoys love by supporting Boba Unibers.

Boba Unibers

To order, call +63 906 3485071 or message Boba Uniberse on Facebook or Instagram. Cashless payments via GCash, Metrobank and BDO, as well as cash on delivery, are accepted. The jars of milk tea can be delivered from Cainta to Rizal and Metro Manila areas via GrabExpress, Lalamove, Mr. Speedy, Angkas and Joyride (to be shouldered by the buyer).

Disclosure: Product samples were provided to facilitate an honest review.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

Your moment of Serenitea can be so sweet

Hello, foodies!

Have the past three months of quarantine been getting you down?

How about a nice long cup of your favorite tea drink from Serenitea to give you that sweet little piece of bliss?

Mine was a Cookie Brulee Milk Tea (Php120 medium | Php135 large) which I enjoyed while hanging out Eastwood Cybermall with my fellow foodies.

Serenitea, Eastwood

One of Serenitea’s Cookie Brulee series, it combines two desserts with milk tea: cookies and creme brulee. With this concoction’s creamy milk tea base layered with thick and velvety creme brulee and crunchy cookie bits, you can have your dessert and drink it too. Now, how’s that for a sweet moment of bliss?

Serenitea, Eastwood

To bring you that moment of Zen that only Serenitea can give during these stressful times, Serenitea opened several of its branches for takeout and delivery via GrabFood and LalaFood. Check out Serenitea’s Facebook Page for a complete list of open branches.

Serenitea, Eastwood

Download the LalaFood App and get a free delivery coupon when you use my code: BEINGJMR53

This Serenitea branch is located at Ground Floor, Eastwood Cybermall, Eastwood City, Libis, Quezon City.

Other branches in the metro are located at:

  • Quezon City: Eastwood Cybermall, UP Town Center, Scout Rallos Street, Ayala Vertis North, SM North EDSA, Congressional Town Center, Banawe, Belfast Road in Novaliches, Ayala Malls Balintawak
  • San Juan: Greenhills Shopping Center
  • Pasig: The Exchange Regency, Estancia Mall, Robinsons Cyberscape Alpha
  • Mandaluyong: SM Megamall, Greenfield District, SM Light Mall
  • Makati: SM Jazz Mall, Glorietta 3, Glorietta 4, Ayala Tower One, Greenbelt, Rada Street in Legaspi Village
  • Taguig: Bonifacio One Technolog Tower, Burgos Circle, Venice Grand Mall
  • Pasay: Butterfly Garden in Newport City, Resorts World Manila, Shore Residences, Two E-com Center, ASEANA Square
  • Manila: Robinsons Place Manila, Elements Building
  • Paranaque: SM Bicutan, Ayala Malls Manila Bay, BF Homes
  • Muntinlupa: Alabang Town Center, Filinvest Mall
  • Las Pinas: SM Southmall

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

Check out my reviews of other milk tea joints:

Cool down with Paper Moon Cafe’s Milk Tea

Oh, temperatures are definitely rising!

And with the rising temperatures sometimes come heated tempers.

Personally, a bit of a cool drink goes a long way towards cooling down my temper. Make it sweet and milky, and soon I’ll be on my way towards a good mood.

Have you tried Paper Moon Cafe’s Milk Tea series?

Paper Moon Cafe is the pastry shop that brought us the Mille Crepe (Php225) – the delicate dessert made of layers of paper-thin handmade crepes in between light pastry cream and topped with a caramelized crust.

Paper Moon Cafe

Now, it has an offering for the hordes of milk tea lovers in the metro!

Its Classic Milk Tea (Php120) is made with a premium blend of fresh tea leaves and tapioca pearls, a sure hit for milk tea connoisseurs.

Paper Moon Cafe, Vertis North

Paper Moon Cafe, Vertis North

Paper Moon Cafe, Vertis North

Want to enjoy Paper Moon Cafe’s sweets and drinks at home during the enhanced community quarantine? These branches are open for delivery via GrabFood, LalaFood and FoodPanda.

  • Araneta City: +63 917 1303303
  • Ayala Malls Trinoma : +63 917 6228653
  • Ayala Malls Glorietta : +63 917 6202630
  • Molito Alabang: +63 917 1006555
  • Robinsons Place Manila: +63 917 6288676
  • Scout Madrinan : +63 945 8628755
  • Tektite Ortigas: +63 917 8059385
  • UP Town Center: +63 917 5972956

Download the Grab App on the App Store or Google Play. Get a discount on your first food order when you use my code: GRABJELLYBEANS.

Use this link to download the FoodPanda app and get Php100 off your first order.

Download the LalaFood App and get a free delivery coupon when you use my code: BEINGJMR53.

This Paper Moon Cafe branch is located at Level 2, Ayala Malls Vertis North, Bagong Pag-Asa, Quezon City.

Paper Moon Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other milk tea joints:

Dessert drinks from Black Scoop, Tomas Morato

I admit: I do have a sweet tooth.

This is why I’m always on the lookout for ways to sate my craving for sweets.

Then one day, while I was running errands near my office, I came across this cafe along Tomas Morato called Black Scoop Cafe.

Black Scoop Cafe, Tomas Morato

Black Scoop Cafe, Tomas Morato

Black Scoop Cafe, Tomas Morato

Founded on love for coffee, tea and ice cream, Black Scoop Cafe combines the choicest ingredients, technology and know-how to come up with fresh takes on drinks and desserts.

It’s no wonder, then, that I found myself returning to this cafe to get my sugar fix with:

Brown Sugar Latte (Php140 medium | Php150 large) with Cream Cheese. Chewy boba pearls cooked in brown sugar syrup that also lines the cup of this milky drink topped with a layer of frothy cream cheese.

Black Scoop Cafe, Tomas Morato

Black Scoop Cafe, Tomas Morato

Hershey’s Cream Cheese (Php140 medium | Php155 large). A chocolatey concoction made even more decadent by the cream cheese topping.

Black Scoop Cafe, Tomas Morato

Black Scoop Cafe, Tomas Morato

Being a dessert lover, I have a strong affinity for cream cheese, which made these drinks extra rich and indulgent.

What’s your drink indulgence?

This Black Scoop Cafe branch is located at CKB Centre, Tomas Morato Avenue corner Scout Rallos Street, Barangay Laging Handa, Quezon City.

If you’re craving for a bit of sweet refreshment but can’t go out due to the enhanced community quarantine, order your Black Scoop drinks from these branches which are still open for pickup and delivery:

  • Rey-lor Building, Felix Avenue, Cainta (+63 966 7747853)
  • L&Y Plaza, 120 E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue corner Ortigas Avenue Extension, Barangay Ugong, Pasig City (+63 920 8251234)
  • 561 Shaw Boulevard corner Princeton Street, Barangay Wack Wack, Greenhills East, Mandaluyong (+63 905 2114424)
  • 42 Esteban Abada Street, Loyola Heights 3, Quezon City
  • 625 NS Amoranto Sr. Avenue, Banawe, Quezon City (+63 917 8888328)
  • 939 Banawe Street, Barangay Manresa, Quezon City (+63 2 82813596)
  • One Raffles Place, Congressional Avenue, Project 8, Quezon City (+63 915 7047837)
  • 1630 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Hill, Taguig (+63 917 3289266)
  • Ground Floor, Villa Building, Jupiter corner Makati Avenue, Barangay Bel-Air, Makati (+63 916 6068749)
  • 1229 Navarra Street corner UST Dapitan, Sampaloc, Manila (+63 932 5833666)
  • One Archers Place, 2311 Taft Avenue, Malate, Manila (+63 2 77283118)
  • 2436 Leon Guinto corner Kapitan Tikong Streets, Malate, Manila (+63 917 3242436)
  • Unit 345 RLV Building, Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Paranaque (+63 916 6550636)
  • BF Resort Drive, JB Tan Street, BF Resort Village, Las Pinas (+63 2 89005689)

Black Scoop Café Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other milk tea joints:

Have a Sweet #MomentOfSerenitea

Serenity is that feeling of peace and calmness from having an untroubled mind.

And soothing one’s thirst would go a long way towards soothing the mind.

Tea has long been touted as a way to relieve stress. For centuries, people have been drinking tea as an aid to meditation or to help achieve a peaceful state.

It’s no wonder then that tea brand Serenitea has made the achievement of inner peace its central concept. Established in the country in 2008, it helped usher in tea drinking amongst a coffee-drinking populace by brewing teas using an espresso machine and customizing drinks according to sweetness levels and by adding sinkers.

Serenitea, Greenhills

It recently launched its a new line of drinks – the Brown Sugar Series – which adds the luscious sweetness of brown sugar to its tea drinks. The Brown Sugar Frost (Php180), in particular, combined chewy pearls drenched in brown sugar syrup mixed with a rich and creamy premium farm-fresh milk topped with Serenitea’s Signature Cheese Frost and sprinkled with muscovado sugar.

Serenitea, Greenhills

It’s a truly indulgent treat that can chase your troubles away.

To bring you that moment of Zen that only Serenitea can give during these stressful times, Serenitea opened two of its branches – Congressional Town Center and The Exchange Regency Ortigas – for takeout and delivery via LalaFood.

Download the LalaFood App and get a free delivery coupon when you use my code: BEINGJMR53

This Serenitea branch is located at Ground Floor, Connecticut Carpark Arcade, Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan.

Other branches in the metro are located at:

  • Quezon City: Eastwood Cybermall, UP Town Center, Scout Rallos Street, Ayala Vertis North, SM North EDSA, Congressional Town Center, Banawe, Belfast Road in Novaliches, Ayala Malls Balintawak
  • Pasig: The Exchange Regency, Estancia Mall, Robinsons Cyberscape Alpha
  • Mandaluyong: SM Megamall, Greenfield District, SM Light Mall
  • Makati: SM Jazz Mall, Glorietta 3, Glorietta 4, Ayala Tower One, Greenbelt, Rada Street in Legaspi Village
  • Taguig: Bonifacio One Technolog Tower, Burgos Circle, Venice Grand Mall
  • Pasay: Butterfly Garden in Newport City, Resorts World Manila, Shore Residences, Two E-com Center, ASEANA Square
  • Manila: Robinsons Place Manila, Elements Building
  • Paranaque: SM Bicutan, Ayala Malls Manila Bay, BF Homes
  • Muntinlupa: Alabang Town Center, Filinvest Mall
  • Las Pinas: SM Southmall

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

Check out my reviews of other milk tea joints: