16 November 2009

(Soy) Peppermint Mocha, Starbucks

It's here! It's back! Starbucks heard our wishes and hopes and gave us back the joy of Peppermint Mocha. I've had only this since I heard about the return. Will I go through the entire process of collecting stamps for the diary that will probably run out? 

The Starbucks diary is a secret fetish because I got one every single year but never got to use any of them beyond March. Well, once till June. Don't ask me why -- maybe it's the size, then when they made a skinnier version, it competed with a really fab notebook I got that Christmas. Maybe it's the lined pages. Still, I couldn't help but feel compelled to get one again this year -- sucker, I know -- because I like that it's covered with fabric and especially after the cute hard-sell of the barista: "We brought back the coffee coupons!"

Soon I will have for a collection, partially-filled in Starbucks diaries. One day, I will use them for telephone messages, scratch paper or as a scrapbook. Who knows? In the meantime, I will have a Peppermint Soy Mocha as much as I can this Holiday season. Then, I'll start hoping and wishing for the joy of Gingerbread Latte for next year.

07 November 2009

Brewed Coffee and Cappuccino, Mary Grace Cafe

Not once, in all the hours I've spent at Mary Grace Cafe -- for a meeting or to drop in to pass the time or take a break at any -- was never disappointed with the coffee. The brew is rich, bold, and flavorful -- such a comfort.

Each place is cozy in a country-homey way, even if their tables are  a bit too closely-spaced (that's not why it's cozy). I can't complain about the service. The wait staff is well-trained, friendly, and solicitous. Well, orders could come a little quicker, but who's in a hurry? The pastry? They all go fabulously with the coffees. Go for the apple pie -- one of the best I've tasted -- the rich ensaymadas and the signature melt-in-your-mouth cheese rolls. The sansrival is a bit on the sweet side, so I can get my fix elsewhere.

If there should ever be a day that you couldn't take another coffee, you should try their hot chocolate. Rich, dark, and so good for your soul.

06 November 2009

Brewed Coffee, Cafe Azul, Ateneo de Manila

Yep, they're one and the same. Sweet Inspirations, that Katipunan, Loyola Heights landmark and fave student hangout, is the coffee shop-restaurant behind Cafe Azul in Ateneo's Moro Lorenzo gym.

I always order coffee there, no need to move to another place for that after a meal. I also always have coffee there when I have a slice of their NY Cheesecake, a 'super pwede-na' not-necessarily-gourmet-or-the-best-in-the-metro good cheesecake, which I happen to love. 

That they are a no-pretenses cafe (group) that serves good food with student-friendly prices has always been a dependable fact. For under P150.00 you get a satisfying brewed coffee-NY cheesecake fix. While waiting for someone at the Ateneo, while taking a break from the traffic along Katipunan, to end one of their tummy busting meals (esp their famous mongolian barbeque), but please, not after working out at the Moro Lorenzo Gym.

Their coffee is always freshly brewed, very good, and for the price, I'm not complaining. When I'm in any of the two branches, I can fool myself into thinking I'm a student busy with a book instead of a mom waiting for her kids to come out of school or just needing a coffee-cheesecake fix.

Brewed Coffee, Cafe Breton

I love crepes. It's one dessert I can really whip up well, and the first I ever presented my then-future in-laws with. Easy to prepare comfort food. For me, they're better than pancakes.

So it's really a treat to have good old dependable Cafe Breton for both yummy crepes and excellent coffee. Is it a wonder they're a hit wherever they set up shop? Their coffee is strong but very good... freshly made all the time. There's also something about the dishes they serve the food and warm beverages in that add to the comfort feeling. 

A perfect combination for me, which I order all the time -- La Pinay and Breton's house brew.

House Brew, Cravings

I had the opportunity to try the coffee at Cravings again, this time during an interview over brunch. Without mentioning my previous bad experience and that I review coffees I get to taste, I ordered the basic brew. It was steaming, it smelled fantastic, and tasted really good. I just needed to get a refill to find out if it was a fluke. 

Nope, Cravings coffee as I remember it -- prior to my bad experience last year -- is as good as ever. My bad experience before was probably the fluke.

One more fab update is CCA, the school owned by the same group, just opened a branch in Eastwood, where they offer the same culinary programs, and -- ta-dah! -- food writing and coffee courses! Worth checking out, and definitely good news for me. 

What can I say -- I'm easy to please :))