Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cafe Maru (Part I: Fail)

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I fist passed the new coffee shop a few months ago and I was already dying to drop by. Who couldn't resist a Cafe Maru coffee shop. It sounds so foreign. I really didn't have an idea what it was until last week when I already decided to drop by. I searched for the cafe and found a blog. That was the time I knew it was a Korean cafe.

I went there along with the boyfriend. We asked a close friend to come with us but he was hesitant. Good thing was, he changed his mind and came. He also tagged along another friend which was happier. 

Their mini freedom wall. Cute!

The place was cool and overwhelming. It was filled with little knickknacks on the walls and on the shelves. It had a really cute design. I must commend whoever designed the interiors of the place. It was all cuteness! No wonder why most of the people who are in the cafe were girls.

Teach me how to dowgy?

There were usual tables on the cafe, but what we tried were those little tables made for squatting. Of course, we have to take our shoes off. It was a fun experience. There were puzzles and board games available for bored guests like us. We decided to take  the scrabble to test our knowledge for words. This was probably the best scrabble game I've ever had. It was really fun. It's funny how words also came due to desperation. (See above photo)

White mocha on the left. Choco mocha on the right.

The boyfriend got himself a cold choco mocha. It tasted good and was served in a cute glass with adorable stirrer. My "choi" friend, Jay, ordered white mocha. He said it was okay. It was also served with the same cute stirrer and glass.


Another friend, Chardey, ordered this certain drink which I failed to ask about. Sorry! It was a really cool drink with an exquisitely tall glass. It looked like a pitcher. It was so interesting.

There's a unicorn! *little girl shriek*

Cafe Maru is a really great place to hang out in especially when you just want a good ambiance. Although the place is filled with lots of cute stuff, it's relatively pricey. The drinks cost as much as Starbucks. But in my opinion, It's not as satisfying as Starbucks. Undoubtedly, they have good drinks but it doesn't seem to justify the price. I think the customers are paying for the place. I was also disappointed that they had this policy of not allowing anyone to come to the cafe without that person buying anything. A friend of ours came over and he didn't buy anything, the barista asked if he was only staying for a while and I said yes. So you can't really group study here when not all of you will buy drinks.

The bill.

The boyfriend and the cute wall displays. ♥

So, that's it. That's what I have to say about Cafe Maru. I'll be back though next week with some friends who want to try out the place. I promise to take more pictures so I can give you an idea how the place looks like. I'd also note the prices next week so you know why I think it's pricey. Maybe, I'm just being too frugal. Anyway, watch out for the part II of the Cafe Maru reviews. Teehee!

PS. For those who are loyal readers of this blog, no it's not a giveaway, I already have a Facebook like page. Yaay! I created the page a month or so ago but never had the courage to let other people know. I  was hesitant, I think. If you have time, please check it out. And please, give us some love: like! ♥

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Art of Cheap Date (Part II): Korean Ice Cream

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So, we got nothing to do and I just wanted for us to hang out. Like the old saying goes: idleness is the work of the devil. Not that I believe in devils, idleness is an uneasy feeling that makes me want to chew my hair out. Good thing, I (or we) didn't. 

We decided to visit the grocery store and grab something that I haven't really tried. TIP: When you are in a budget, you can find great treasures hiding among the shelves of your local grocery store.

We got ourselves Korean ice creams. Do't get me wrong, I'm not transforming myself into a Korean or some sort. It's that I wanted to try something new. It's like experiencing Korea at your own country. The boyfriend is already into Korean ice cream since he has tons of Korean friends here. Mine have gone back and so far, I've only tried homemade Korean food and drinks courtesy of my former student.

Our picks for that day.

Anyway, I was having a hard time figuring out what I really wanted. There were a number of Korean-looking ice cream displayed that it got so confusing. If only I tried to learn Korean I wouldn't have any issued with choosing which one said it's the best Korean ice cream. I picked up the watermelon-looking ice cream just because I have no idea what the others were. The boyfriend got himself the sandwich-looking cream.

We sat down at the Suisse Cottage just near the grocery department. I also ordered the intriguing chocolate silvanas. Since I first tried silvanas at Sans Rival, I've already had this thing for silvanas from different bakeshops.

Watermelon-y! ♥

I was so happy with my watermelon ice drop of some sort. It looked like a watermelon! You can't imagine the beam on my face when I opened the wrapper. It was just so cute. It was shaped like a cut watermelon. It has red and green colors like just a watermelon. It also has seed-like candies, just like watermelon! The ice drop was fulfilling. It was sweet as expected and tasted much like watermelon flavored candies. It's also interesting to note that the the green and red parts have different flavors which are complementary. The change of flavor is quite fun.

Weird ice cream . xD

The boyfriend's ice cream was queer. It looked like a sandwich. It doesn't really look as yummy as you want it to be. But when you take a bite, it has a good mix of soft sandwich at the outside and the sweet ice cream at the center. Talk about good looking food.

Chocolate silvanas.

The food I was really excited about was the chocolate silvana. I was intrigued since it was cheap (P14) and also looked yummy. The chocolate toppings fell when I took a bite. It was difficult to eat the entire piece clean. With every bite, the silvana breaks apart. It seemed too fragile to even hold. It was good but they didn't keep it cool enough to keep everything intact. If the silvanas were kept in the fridge, then the real taste would come out and eating it wouldn't be an ordeal.

The boyfriend's signature look (in his school inform). LOL.

So all-in-all, we spent below P150 for the fun snacks we had. My watermelon ice cream costs around P40 and the boyfriend's weird ice cream costs P 60ish. It's not bad for having something new and interesting. It was exciting to try out ice cream that you can't read. It's like an experiment and it's so much fun!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

OT: Happy Day Special: How to Make your own Nachos

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Nachos and tostados are addicting. Once tasted, you'll be back on the stall the very next day. Believe it or not, for the past few days I've been all about nachos and tostados. I think of these two everyday. Going to Ayala without eating either is such an ordeal. Although I'm the type of person who really spends when craving, this consistent and regular craving is not that good for the budget. A single order does not satisfy me. So, I thought, why not make my own.

Today is a special day and instead of having ice cream like we used to, I just asked the boyfriend why not make our own salsa and chips like that of nachos. And, the supportive boyfriend agreed. 

We really had no idea what to do. All we know is that we can use molo wrappers as chips. We just searched online for info and barely got something. We copied the ingredients and just cooked on impulse.

What we bought:

  • ground pork
  • molo wrappers
  • tomato sauce
  • cabbage
  • tomatoes
  • onion (optional)
  • cheddar cheese

I know, I know. We should have gotten the ground beef but unfortunately, there wasn't any at the grocery store we went to. So, we opted for the next thing that was available. We got the tomato sauce with cheese flavor (?) in it and the biggest molo wrapper we could find. Cabbage is a cheap substitute for lettuce and we were on a budget, so why not. We picked up some tomatoes and cheddar cheese to add taste. There isn't any rule on how much you should buy. We just estimated. It really depends on your preference. If you're into vegetables, like us, then by all means get a lot. What we failed to buy was hot sauce to make it spicy. 

Tomato! Tomato!


We first cut the tomatoes, cabbage and onions into small bits. Cut them as you like. You're the one who will eat it anyway. We prepared the sauce with the help of our cooking savior, Eunissa. She was the one who flavored the meat before mixing it with the tomato sauce. She added a bit of lemon, soy sauce, and seasoning (Magic Sarap) to the ground pork. She fried it and added the sauce. She let it simmer for a while until we got the consistency that we wanted. The molo wrappers were fried. Make sure that you don't go frying-happy with the wrappers. They get burned easily. 

Onion: what the boyfriend wanted.

Say (cheddar) cheese!

When you're done, it's already time for munching. We separated the ingredients into different bowls in order to allow each person to get as much onion, cabbage or tomato as he/she wants. It's also the easiest way to fake the we-know-what-we-just-cooked look. Surprisingly, everything tasted great. I was afraid that it would taste bad, but it was really delicious. Everyone who tried our mini-dish loved it. Not bad for our first try. It just lacked the spice. But, we'll surely try to cook another one. 

It's not corned beef. It's meat sauce!

Fried molo wrappers. 

This is surely an easy meal for those who have a love-hate relationship with the kitchen, like us. If you are on a budget on a special day and you crave for nachos, better cook your own. It's cheaper and you get to eat as much as you want. Plus, it's a way to bond and practice teamwork as well. Teehee!

The final product. Yum! ♥

Happy cooking! ♥

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cool Savers: A Great Discovery

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Just last Suday, we had an acquaintance party for our org in DBTC. It was fun and somehow tiring so after the event, I thought of inviting my outdoor friends to this place I wanted to try out for a long time. What took me by surprise is that a friend owned the place.

Cool Savers is located in C. Padilla. I never even knew about it despite the fact that I pass by the area on my way to my cousin's place. It was the boyfriend who told me about the place, last year. We wanted to try the place for so long but we didn't have the time. 

Their menu.

Cool Savers is a small carenderia-ish shop that you'll see along the streets of C. Padilla. You'll  be mistaking it for a real carenderia since they are set up to look like one. The shop is small and simple. There are a number of plastic tables and chairs. It doesn't look as impressive as it seem. It looks so ordinary. But wait till you order their desserts and you'll see what I mean.

Mais con Yelo. 

Since I haven't really tried this place, I wasn't expecting much. I was with a group of friends (the owner included) and we just got our desserts. Four of my friends, including the boyfriend got the Super Special (halo-halo). This is their biggest serving of halo-halo for only P48. I got the Special (halo-halo), instead for just P38. I couldn't really finish off even a glass of halo-halo, what more a bowl? And I like this one better since it doesn't have mongo. I love mongo beans, I just don't like it in halo-halo. Another friend got Mais con Yelo. 

Super Special. 

I loved my share of halo-halo! I'm not really a fan of halo-halo, except Razon's. But when I  tried Cool Savers' halo-halo, it was different. I don't like really to have a lot of things going on with my halo-halo but this is added to the list of exemptions. I just love how the things blended in with each other. I love the ingredients they put in and it's without mongo!I also love their ice. It's not coarse. It has a smooth texture that melts in your mouth. It's even way better than the overrated ChowKing halo-halo that's even more expensive. This is the first halo-halo that I've finished all by myself ever! I even cannot finish off Razon's. 

My special halo-halo. ♥

This is certainly a must-try place. If you want a simple date with good food, Cool Savers is the place to be. You're sure that you get the value out of your money. You can tag along a couple of friends or even have date here. If you want to try out their cool stuff, they are just located in C. Padilla area before you get to Jai-Alai. They also have a branch in Talisay. My friend said that most customers drop by their place most often during Sundays, but you can pass by here Mondays to Sundays. Just ring the bell you see in the counter and you're ready to be served.

The front of the small shop.

Note: I'm not paid by my friend to do this. She can attest to that. We paid for our halo-halo ourselves and had the same great experience. ;)

OT: Panic of Near Adulthood

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In a couple of days I'll be turning 21. This realization brought panic to my once calm system. I noticed how the days quickly change from Sunday to Wednesday. The weekend is fast approaching and so are the deadlines for work and school projects. 

While I was doing my laundry a while ago, I realized that I had a lot of things to do for this month. I have to finish a script for a documentary, publish two news articles, finish my writing projects for work, study for exams, clean the house, and the list goes on. Because of these responsibilities, I've let time pass by me. I realized that I have't really done something that made me really happy, except for doing outreach. I somehow let time pass by without even relishing the moments. I look back at my previous years and realize that I've only been REALLY happy and fulfilled for a couple of times.

My #1 fan! ♥

Another sight that added to my contemplation mode was our neighbor's wounded cat. This cat's not ours but we've come to somehow "adopt" it by feeding it when we have leftovers. He's a healthy and big cat but just recently he wounded his eyes that made him weak. I realized that life is indeed short. You'll never know when your time is up. You may be healthy now, but be extremely sick tomorrow and die the day after. I know it's sad, but this is reality.

The crazy friends who always got my back.

When I die, would I go in peace? When time's up,  can I really say that I've done what I really wanted in life? Can I say I have been living a fulfilling life? Have I been really leading the life I wanted? 

These questions, although stupid, are what I'm asking myself now. Have I done everything I wanted to do? For the past 20 years, I guess I've been going in circles. Torn between doing what I want from being what my family wants me to be. I'll be honest, I've been caged for most of my life. My fake independence is all that I have. I cannot go out and stay up all night with friends because I'm not allowed to. My latest curfew is 12mn once a year during Sinulog. I need to leave by 11pm in order to go home the same day. I cannot stay overnight during trekking because I'm not allowed. Trekking at daytime will even have their own sets of questions, what more an overnight or a few days trip?

The trek that started it all. 

What I really want to do is travel and experience the world. There are lots of food I haven't eaten, placed I haven't been, things I haven't experienced, people I haven't met because I let the walls come down on me. I need to walk on my feet and  get out of the nest. It's a big world out there and it's screaming right at me. I've been at home for most of my life. Nothing's wrong with it, but is it really the fulfilling life I want? Does this make me happy?

For this new decade of my life, I will begin a real travel. I don't want to die and not be able to live my life as I wanted it to be. I will lead it and relish the moments that I've had. I will take the path that I've always wanted. I will no longer accept the barriers around me. I will die and know that I've been through the places and met the best people in the world. Life is indeed wonderful.