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:

 

The Jelly List: Healthy Eats in QC

Healthy eating helps promote overall health and wellness by ensuring that we get the necessary nutrients our bodies need.

Well within Quezon City, there is an abundance of wholesome and nourishing, yet also tasty eats.

Check them out:

Salmon Sriracha Poke Bowl (Php230 for regular bowl| Php150 for junior bowl) at Poke Shack

Poke (pronounced as POKE-KAY) bowls originate from Hawaii, where pieces of fresh fish are chopped into small pieces, marinated in flavorful sauces and served on top of freshly steamed rice along with chopped fresh vegetables, nuts and other toppings that add flavor and texture to the dish. This Salmon Sriracha Poke Bowl, for instance, is made with tempura flour mix, ebiko, furikake, sesame seed with sriracha mayo.

Poke Shack, Libis

Poke Shack is located at Ground Floor, Tera Tower, Bridgetowne Business Center, Ortigas Avenue Extension corner E. Rodriguez Jr Avenue, Libis, Quezon City, open Mondays to Thursdays from 10am to 10pm, Fridays from 10am to 11pm and Saturdays from 11am to 8pm. For inquiries, call +63 926 0718992 or +63 929 3173857.

Read more about Poke Shack.

Tantanmen (Php220) at Wabi-Sabi

Inspired by the Dan dan Noodles of Sichuan cuisine, Tantanmen is characterized by its rich slightly spicy peanut-flavored broth, made richer and thicker by miso paste. Here, the traditionally used ground pork and chicken stock are substituted with veggie meat and vegetable stock, and sesame seeds are used to flavor the slightly sweetish sauce instead of peanuts.

Wabi-Sabi, Tomas Morato

Wabi Sabi is located at Ground Floor, POS Building, Scout Mandriñan Street Corner Tomas Morato, South Triangle, Quezon City. For inquiries, call +63 918 9622935.

Read more about Wabi-Sabi.

Traditional Banh Mi (Php185) at Saigon Corner

The Vietnamese took the French baguette and made it their own by adding to the usual cold cuts and mayo/butter spread of the French colonizers the distinct flavors of their local ingredients such as cilantro, chilis, daikons, carrots and cucumbers, bringing about the Banh Mi Thit or the traditional Banh Mi.

Saigon Corner, Tomas Morato

Saigon Corner is located at 40 Sgt. Esguerra Avenue, South Triangle, Quezon City, open Sundays to Thursdays from 11am to 11pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 11am to 12 midnight. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 3680795 or +63 998 8491763.

Read more about Saigon Corner.

Vegan Nachos (Php199) at Salamangka

Toasted pita chips topped with ground tofu and drizzled with a mixture of Yummza pesto hummus, lemon and oil served with yoghurt on the side. If you want something healthy to munch on while on a night out with friends, this is your best bet.

Salamangka, Eastwood City

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

Read more about Salamangka.

Spicy Tofu (Php165) at HidN Lounge

Tofu cubes stir-fried in a sweet and spicy sauce. This is a great as a starter dish or bar chow. Truth be told: this dish had me reaching for the bowl again and again.

HidN Lounge, Tomas Morato

HidN Lounge is located at 21 Scout Rallos Street, Barangay Laging Handa, Quezon City, open Mondays to Saturdays from 6pm to 2am. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 9824422, +63 917 8592355 or +63 917 8850718.

Read more HidN Lounge.

Vechon Belly Rice Meal (Php250) at Pantry by Rub Rack

The Filipino guilty pleasure – the lechon – in this dish is not made of sinful roasted pork. Oh no! It’s made out of vegetables, painstakingly fashioned by Chef Lui to resemble slices of that decadent dish. The resemblance to the real thing in appearance and flavor is positively uncanny.

Pantry by Rub Rack, Katipunan

Pantry by Rub Rack is located at the 2nd Floor, 225 Katipunan Avenue, Barangay Milagrosa, Queson City, open daily from 10am to 9pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 929 4886734.

Read more about Pantry by Rub Rack.

Vegetarian Option (Php320) at Pookaberry Cafe

When this dish was initially served to me, I thought this was a pork tapa rice meal. Imagine my amazement when I realized it was made of sauteed mushrooms partnered with rice and crisp veggies. It’s so yummy you won’t believe it’s also healthy.

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe is located at 36-B Scout Ybardolaza corner Scout Rallos Streets, Bgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City, open daily from 7am to 9pm. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 917 9685414.

Read more about Pookaberry Cafe.

Portobello Mushroom Sliders (Php280) at Pound by Todd English

Every once in a while, I like to veer away from the usual quarter pounders made of beef. These sliders are made of juicy mushrooms accompanied by caramelized onions, fried onions, lettuce, tomato and cilantro aioli. A complex blend of hearty but healthy flavors in every bite!

Pound by Todd English, Eastwood

This Pound by Todd English branch is located at the 2nd Floor, Eastwood Mall, Libis, Quezon City, open daily from 11am to 10pm.

Read more about Pound by Todd English.

Mushroom and Tofu Salpicao (Php180) at 13 Ubay Street

This dish brings a mix of button and shimeji mushrooms sauteed with deep-fried tofu cubes in a garlicky sauce. As good, if not better, than its beefy counterpart in other restos.

13 Ubay St. QC

This resto is located at No 13 Ubay Street, Santa Mesa Heights, Banawe, Quezon City, open daily at 11am to 2pm and at 5pm to 11pm.. For inquiries and reservations, call + 63 2 5796484 or +63 917 8762692.

Read more about 13 Ubay Street.

Bulletproof Mocha (Php130 small | Php140 medium) at UltraKappu

Bulletproof coffee is a drink consisting of brewed coffee, grass-fed unsalted butter and medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) coconut oil, all healthy ingredients that are low in sugar but high in good energy. I didn’t expect to find this so creamy! While it’s not as sweet as my regular coffee drinks, I can definitely taste a certain milky richness.

UltraKappu, Old Balara

UltraKappu is located at 2nd Floor, Bali Garden Residences, Zuzuarregui Street, Matandang Balara, Quezon City, open daily from 11am to 10pm.

Read more about UltraKappu.

Pink Sala Fruit Tea (Php75/Php95) at Jelly G Thai Milk Tea

Sala (also known as snake skin fruit) is a type if palm native to Indonesia and cultivated in other Southeast Asian countries like Thailand. It is a good source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, dietary fiber, iron, calcium, phosporus and carbohydrates. Jelly G combines the sweet pink-hued juice of the sala with black tea and brown sugar as well as a few spoonfuls of popping strawberry balls for added bursts of fruity sweetness.

Jelly G Thai Milk Tea, UP Town Center

This Jelly G Thai Milk Tea stall is located at Ground Floor, UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City (in front of National Bookstore).

So if you’re in Quezon City, check out these options for good eats.

Do you know any more healthy food options? Share them in the comments.

Photo Credit: Header image by Carissa Gan of Unsplash

Comfort food and whimsy at Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

If you venture into one of the more out-of-the-way streets near the foodie-friendly haven Tomas Morato, you might chance upon this colorful little cafe.

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Called Pookaberry Cafe, its facade and interiors are marked by whimsical depictions of a baby alien named – you guessed it – Pookaberry, who just happens to be the imaginary friend of Ollie the Octopus.

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Photo Credit: Jocen of BoodleBearPH

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

These drawings and characters are works by renowned New York-based pop artist Peter Marco, co-owner of the cafe along with his wife Jeanette.

While the cafe’s wall-to-wall artworks will stimulate you to flights of fancy, its menu, developed by Jeanette from the family’s own recipes and mirroring their cosmopolitan tastes and Pinoy roots, will comfort your tummy and spirit. Check them out:

Jams: Chili Mango and Chili Orange. Great to spread on buttered bread for that bit of extra sweetness that will put a smile on your face.

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Paninis: Adobo (Php220), Bacon (Php240), Pork Loin (Php240) and Avocado (Php230). Grilled breads stuffed with flavorful filling, my fave was the savory avocado panini which veers away from my usual avocado fare which tend to be sweet.

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Breakfast: Breakfast ni Juan (with beef tapa and scrambled egg – Php290), Uncle Sam’s Big Breakfast (with bacon, sausage and scrambled egg – Php310) and Vegetarian Option (with mushrooms – Php320). A hearty way to start the day is to have a bit of fried rice, a bit of vegetable salad and your preferred proteins to fuel you up. I was surprised to find that I actually love the Vegetarian Option: the sauteed mushrooms were flavorful, savory and went well with the rice.

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Cakes: Very Pookaberry (Php130 slice | Php1,300 whole), Walnut Carrot (Php140 slice |Php1,400 whole), New York Cheesecake (Php140 slice | Php1,680 whole) and Matcha Green Tea (Php140 slice | Php1,400 whole). Delectable desserts to indulge the sweet tooth! My fave was the rich and creamy New York Cheesecake.

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Cookie Shots (Php125). Cookie cups to hold your preferred shot among espresso, fresh milk or chocolate milk options.  Cheers!

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Photo Credit: Diane of Fried and Prejudice

Cosmic Cookie (Php80). Cookies baked in fun cosmic-shaped muffin cups.

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Choco Walnut (Php120). A humongous piece of chocolate chip and walnut cookie to give you your sugar fix for the day.

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Ice Blended Drinks: Very Pookaberry Ube, Jurassic Milo, Strawberry Cream Cheese Oreo and Matcha Oreo.  Refreshing icy drinks, perfect for a hot summer’s day!

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Aside from its fun and whimsical ambiance and the yummy treats on its menu, Pookaberry Cafe also has its own advocacy project. Proceeds of the cafe go to the Basilia Women’s Foundation which helps women and children who are victims of domestic abuse.

Check out its gift shop for fun merchandise and bags of its locally sourced coffee beans.

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

So the next time you’re in the Tomas Morato area, drop by Pookaberry Cafe, for fun times and yummy treats.

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Thanks to Aileen of AileenLFoodAdventures for extending the invite!

Pookaberry Cafe is located at 36-B Scout Ybardolaza corner Scout Rallos Streets, Bgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City, open daily from 7am to 9pm. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 917 9685414.

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

Disclosure: Together with other foodies from #AileenLFoodieEventBuddies, 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.

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

 

 

4 Things to Like About The Pallet, Poblacion

The area of Makati called Poblacion, previously known as the city’s red light district, has evolved into a pretty happening place. It has given rise to concept restaurants, quick chows and bars that offer Makati workers and residents alternative choices for dining, hanging out and entertainment away from the usual malls.

One such place is The Pallet.

The Pallet, Poblacion

A food park located at the corner of Dona Carmen and Jacobo Streets in Poblacion, backroads to Kalayaan Avenue, The Pallet is an off-the-beaten track venue.

For my first-ever Looloo Rendezvoos, I was invited to check this place out and experience the various possibilities it affords to its patrons. I found a lot to like about it so I summarized them down to a list which will hopefully help fellow foodies discover a new favorite place to hang out and dine.

No. 1: Ample parking space and helpful security guard.

Having braved the rush hour all the way from QC, I was relieved I didn’t have to worry about where to park my car. Manong guard was quick to assist me in finding a spot and guiding me while I park.

No. 2: Chill surroundings.

Being located in backstreets away from all the hustle and bustle of Makati’s busy streets and surrounded by a residential area, The Pallet has a chill and relaxed atmosphere that distanced me from the usual stresses of work and traffic.

The Pallet, Poblacion

The Pallet, Poblacion

The Pallet, Poblacion

No. 3: Lots of food choices!

Given its relatively small area, I’m surprised at the number and variety of dining choices available. I’ll blog about them in more detail later but suffice to say that the foodie in me got quite excited with The Pallet’s tenants and their offerings. These include:

Mang Jose’s Ihaw Ihaw – for yummy and fuss-free grilled meats and pulutans

The Pallet, Poblacion

Antojitos – for a taste of Mexico from cheese-filled nachos and quesadillas to filling burritos and more

The Pallet, Poblacion

Asian Hawker – for a taste of Singaporean street food from the Char Kwai Teoh rice dish to the creamy Laksa

The Pallet, Poblacion

Uncle Moe’s Shawarma Hub – for a taste of Middle Eastern cuisine from the flavorful kababs to hefty shawarmas

The Pallet, Poblacion

Takohub – it was my first time to see takoyaki balls this huge!

The Pallet, Poblacion

Heath Burger – because healthy cam be tasty too, especially those mushrooms masquerading as chicken nuggets

The Pallet, Poblacion

Ramen Attack – that Tantanmen was a revelation! And the Steak & Rice got me craving for more!

The Pallet, Poblacion

Creamco Creamery – rolled ice cream that’s as pretty as it was sweet and yummy

The Pallet, Poblacion

Inum Bar – cocktails for that relaxed after-work buzz

The Pallet, Poblacion

No. 4: Live music!

On Wednesday nights this November, enjoy live music from up-and-coming artists such as DJ Aryan (90’s Night) on November 21 and DJ SP (Hiphop Throwback) on November 29.

These are just some of the reasons why The Pallet appeals to me. Check it out and see if it might grow to be your favorite place too!

The Pallet is located at 5804 Dona Carmen corner Jacobo Streets, Poblacion, Makati City. For inquiries, email thepalletpark@gmail.com.

Disclosure: Together with other Looloo users, I was invited to join a Looloo Rendezvoos held at this venue.  All the food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.