26 May 2011

Americano at Cafe del Sol, Boracay

After that amazing omelet and great coffee find at Real Coffee, we had just a few hours left before flying out of Boracay, our white sunny, white sand, clear sea haven for the last 3 days. I thought I was done with coffee, but after all the shopping and sunbathing there was just this one more stop I wanted to make. Cafe del Sol. We'd passed that conveniently-located cafe so many times, whiffing the inviting aroma along the way, it would be a shame to not even have a taste of their coffee.

Although all the pastries looked so delectable, I could still feel my breakfast, so I opted to pass. What could they have that I couldn't get in Manila, anyway?

So coffee it was going to be, and coffee it was... I ordered an Americano, thinking I could sit outside and bask in the sunshine one last time, but all the tables were filled, so I plopped down the comfy two-seater couch at this one and only table inside the place to take a breather before heading back to the resort for a quick nap before packing up.
I ordered an Americano to-go, just in case we didn't find a seat.
My coffee, creamed-up.

While not the best I've tasted while on this particular vacation, their coffee had the right strength, flavor, and temp. I liked it enough to linger and enjoy, Ok, those are three sharp moves this place has made, and it's no wonder they're a hit in station 2.  Too bad I was leaving soon after.  I love Boracay, and I'm glad Cafe del Sol does, too *wink*

Real Coffee at Real Coffee & Tea Cafe, Station 2, Boracay

During my recent 3-day vacation on Boracay island, I had the opportunity to get my fix in several places, even in Starbucks! But I thought, why go all the way to another island -the world-renowned white sand beach- just to have the same things you enjoy everyday where you live? Where's the beauty of traveling in that?
So,ok, I had my standard grande soy mocha, but just that one time.

Apart from that one fix, I tried to get coffee only in places that are unique to the island. A friend who has been a frequent visitor for years, and knowing my love for the beverage, suggested a visit to Real Coffee. I totally missed checking out the place during my trips (for work) last year, so I swore I won't go back home this time without having tried their brew and breakfast.

My husband I decided to have brunch there on our last day. We were told it was on Station 2 (the more commercial and populated area), but very close to Station 1 (where the beach is not as crowded, and places more posh). We almost missed it, because several establishments have mushroomed and crowded the area, so it was a real mish-mash. Thank God we saw that relatively teeny-tiny sign, because we were already famished by then.

Go into a narrow alley where...
a larger sign tells you you've arrived.
It's a hut dominated by a bar/work station, made cozy with books,
photos, mismatched dishes, and artsy lamps.
Put up by a mother-and-daughter (Ms. Leigh and Nadine) team from San Francisco, this cafe has a cult following of Boracay residents and regulars. It's been around since 1996 (as the sign says),when the beach front was less cluttered and commercial. I think what really adds to its appeal is the mix of bamboo and rattan seats, barstools, wooden tables, and counters, make the cafe more ideally beach-front than most establishments' metro-looking appointments. Icing on the cake would be the pictures of past and fave customers displayed on an area above the kitchen prep/bar showing just what a "pioneer" this place is, Boracay-wise.

After a quick browse of their menu, I decided to order Real Coffee, a concoction of brewed Baraco and Arabica with a shot of Espresso, the latter, brought in from wherever the owners traveled to last, according to the staff. It was different, full-bodied with a kick, but very good. Good enough to jumpstart my day and a perfect match to my breakfast omelet of tomato, onions, and cheese, buttered toast (they bake the bread themselves), and mango jam. The omelet was heavenly - the eggs perfectly browned outside, but creamy, cheesy and moist inside, and the veggies cooked just right.

The place is known for their Calamansi (Philippine lemon) Muffins, which I had ordered for delivery to my resort-hotel during one visit last year. Since I didn't find it quite what people raved about, I opted not to have it this time. It didn't matter, because I finally tasted their coffee and discovered their omelet. Those were enough reasons to make a promise to myself:  another visit to enjoy the same breakfast, though at a more leisurely pace, and perhaps take a book to read while enjoying another cup of coffee, another time soon.

25 May 2011

Espresso at Lemon Cafe, Station 2, Boracay

It rained on our second evening in Boracay. Fortunately, we were done with our early evening dinner of tapas and wine at Dos Mestizos, and were going around just getting a vibe of the cultural mix and commercialization of what is today's Boracay beach front, hunting for some items to take home to the fam, when it poured. Even more fortunately, it was just a 15-minute interruption of the idyllic evening stroll.

To stay under a roof, we decided to stop for a coffee, choosing the closest uniquely Boracay coffee place we could find, and that was at Lemon Cafe at D'Mall on Station 2 (the most commercial clustering in the most populated among the island's stations).

The place carries Danesi coffee, and I chose the first item on their bev list... the espresso. It was very strong, of course, but very welcome during that short damp period.

Although the pastries looked inviting, we opted not to try out any, since we wanted to relish the sensations from our tapas experience earlier that evening.  There was quite a melee when the rain began, with people running for cover, parties breaking up, and groups suddenly texting each other for every member's whereabouts. It wasn't a very pretty sight, so I took another shot of the place early next morning.

Nice and bright. Next time, on a better day, with people in better moods, I will have another coffee in Lemon Cafe.

Brewed Coffee w/ Breakfast at Palay, Asya Premier Suites, Boracay

Finally, a vacation without the kids for the hubby and myself; the first since our honeymoon! We didn't want to waste any time so we caught the earliest flight out and was in the beach resort Asya Premier Suites before 9am. We were still in time for their buffet breakfast at their Palay restaurant. Asya has very good coffee, designed and delivered fresh periodically by Boyd Coffee Philippines, so that was first on my list.

My first vacay coffee w/ buffet spread choices of frittata, toasted cheese bread, and fruit
...then a refill with my main breakfast, Eggs Benedict.

and yet another one at the beach front, while waiting to be checked into our casita. Coffee, my vacation read, the sun, the sand....
For our second day, we knew we just had to have breakfast at the same place.
The view from our casita. Palay is somewhere past the pool area (Adlaw  lounge/bar and the beach)

 Coffee #1 bright and early. This time, I was having an American Breakfast after my buffet treat.

our view from Palay
Coffee #2 and #3

By then, after updating our kids online, we were ready for our second day of enjoy the white sand and clear waters, and exploring the shores and restaurants of Boracay.

24 May 2011

Early Morning Americano at Esspressamente Illy, NAIA Domestic Airport Lounge

We were at the relatively new NAIA Domestic Airport, having already checked in at a little past 5am, with about a couple of hours' wait till our flight out to Boracay for our little holiday at the beach. Probably still in that illy mode (or was it mere coincidence?), I chose to have my early morning brew at esspressamente illy among all the other cafes and restaurants (chai cofi, Mrs. Fields', Cinnabon, etc.) lined up at the departure lounge.

I had a muffin to go with my Americano, and wifi to help while the time away. It was an exciting trip, the first without the kids for the hubby and myself since our honeymoon, so it was important that nothing spoiled the trip, especially this early.  

We had fun waiting, even if the comfy chairs and tables had some crumbs and water rings from the guests waiting before us. Maybe it was the reason we were there, maybe it was the company I was with, or it could have been the rare early morning cup, but it was good coffee; they did not disappoint; esspressamente illy just won some more stars from me.

21 May 2011

Caffe Lungo at Segafredo

After spending enough time waiting and shopping at the Podium in Ortigas four evenings in a row --well, almost because there was a break between the last two-- I had enough time to have coffee at the mall's Starbucks, Figaro, NYPD pizza, Cafe Breton, and Cinnabon (I'll pass next time). By the 4th day, I felt the Segafredo Zanetti Espresso bar calling out to me from its lonely spot on the 2nd floor.

I've had coffee here before, but it was never this empty, so I wondered if their coffee changed or if they weren't such an attraction anymore, but then that wasn't a fair assumption, since the entire mall just had a few patrons. And I was right. After warming up the barista with friendly chatter, I found out that weekday evenings were not their strongest periods. People usually had their coffee there after lunch or on weekends. The rest of the day and evening, they lose the crowd to the more accessible Starbucks and Cafe Breton.

This time, I tried the Cafe Lungo, or long extraction of espresso coffee, a.k.a. Americano (about P90.00). It was just right temperature and consistency, and was full-flavored. I loved that they have maintained the mod Italian look of the Segafredo brand, from the standing umbrellas (which, on a bad day, might make you wonder, "but inside a mall?!") to the table tops, which have images of the ubiquitous high fashion coffee scene in Milan, perhaps.

I loved their coffee, and even if they are just an open area with a small service counter that doubles as food prep and display/order area almost tucked under the stairs, I love that they are right smack where one would suddenly feel tired of walking all over the mall to check out fashion boutiques, health and beauty outlets, lifestyle shops, and bookstores. While enjoying your cup of brew, you might also suddenly remember a drugstore item or two you could have forgotten about, since they happen to be in front of Watson's. If it weren't for the bright white lights and the openness of the Segafredo space, I'd almost say it was cozy. Almost.

I'm getting tired of having to wait for an available seat at Starbucks and sometimes having to walk to the far end of the entrance for a cup of Cafe Breton's caffeine fixes. For a quick fix, this is a great cafe to hang out in.

11 May 2011

illy brew at Chelsea Market and Cafe , Serendra, the Fort

I mentioned in my last entry that there were several restaurants that carry and serve illy coffee, and I've never been disappointed. Especially right after I found the esspressamente illy outlet in Power Plant Mall, I assumed illy can't be bad anywhere. So I chose to meet a friend over coffee at this restaurant in Serendra, the Fort (Global City), Taguig called, Chelsea, where they also serve... yes, illy.

My friend and I decided to share a (huge) slice of their banana cream pie or cake, and order our own favorite styles of brew. She got hers first, and after adding her cream/milk and having a sip, kept adding more milk. She thought it was quite strong, but only perhaps because she was not a coffee lover. So I tried my brewed coffee. Yes, it was strong. Very bitter and kind of thick, even after adding milk AND a bit of water. See below.

My forlorn cup of coffee. So strong, yet looking so defeated :(
So was it the coffee variant used, the manner by which it was prepared, or just their own style that made the coffee so unenjoyable? I don't know for sure. I may have to try it again some other time, but for now, I'm not looking forward to doing it quite yet. The food may be very good at this restaurant, and they do have quite a wine selection, and it's not easy to get a table for dinner and after on most nights. For coffee, though, if it's always the way it was that afternoon, I just think it was too expensive to try again soon just to find out for sure.

10 May 2011

Americano at Espressamente illy

The past couple of months I've been at the Power Plant Mall in Rockwell, Makati, I opted to have coffee where we dined. But having the time to stroll around for the first time in a long period, I just noticed just the other week, that Figaro, the good old fave coffee break place in the middle of the mall, was gone and in its place, a fabulously inviting chic cafe: espressamente illy. I was not able to resist.  

While I know about illy since a number of restaurants serve this coffee, is what's on its website: "a unique blend of high quality coffee originating from Trieste, Italy, made from 9 types of pure Arabica beans A careful balance of ingredients from South and Central America, India and Africa creates the unmistakable illy flavor: always identical in any espresso cup, wherever it is drunk around the world, and what I've tasted and liked, so far. This particular visit would be the first time I've had coffee in an espressamente illy cafe. 

First of all, I was impressed by the design of the place, which actually called out to me from an upper floor. Red and silver/grey -- how could one miss this place? 

Cove-like booths/banquettes
The view from the other aisle

It was the aroma of their freshly ground and brewed coffee that eventually pulled me in.  Having had a couple of coffees by that time, I decided to order an Americano. 
My mid-afternoon Cafe Americano

True to the promise of illy, the Americano was a blend of acidic, sweet, and bitter notes, and tasted very good without the milk (first sip), after the milk (next sips), and even with sugar (my last sips). I'm happy, too, that the order came with a little biscotti. And -- the place had wifi connection. Pleased with my find, I now know where to get my fix on my next visit to Power Plant Mall.

15 April 2011

Cafe Americano, Banapple

I got a couple more opportunities to go back to Banapple: first for their main dish menu items, which looked so temptingly delicious on other people's tables, we swore we would go back for a sampling (verdict: very good home-style comfort food!). Then earlier today today, right after an invigorating Thai massage, I had a few minutes to spare before heading home, and just couldn't resist a cup of coffee in what was just next door -- Banapple's original restaurant before they "grew". I just had to.

I ordered an Americano, which I was hoping to pair with their oh-so-creamy and so huge chicken pie (a to-share one, this chicken pie), having missed lunch a few hours before.

I got a banana-walnut muffin to go with my coffee, this time.

The coffee was very good. Now I know which to order, having given their house brew a not-so-good rating before. The chicken pie was sold out... boo! Now I am really craving for it. Now I know I will make another visit soon. Now I know which coffee to order.

12 April 2011

Cafe Americano at French cafe Alexandre

I've been meaning to visit this Parisienne cafe-lounge-patisserie since receiving posts about it via Facebook. I was so excited that I was finally able to do just that yesterday. What drove me? The promos they send VIP members via email. With the print out of the email notification (requirement to redeem the promo item for the month) tucked in my book, I headed out to their Mega Mall branch yesterday, ready to just take a peek, try their coffee, and go on from there, should the coffee be as good as they say it is.

I hesitated before going into the shop because it was empty. It was not exactly a lunch or dinner place, so there shouldn't have been a lull. Fortunately, the menu board with a list of items interspersed with photos of food items that looked very inviting was enough to get us through the door, because from then on, I was not disappointed. At all.

The decor was so loung-y, mostly black and white, with a near ceiling-height version of the Eiffel Tower greeting patrons by the entrance, black lucite sconces and lamps, a panoramic black and white shot of Paris (I think) behind the counter. The music matched of course.

I ordered a cafe Americano. It was smelled good, was served steaming, had the right consistency, and tasted very good. It came in a mug, so I had enough to last me though the delectable food we chose for our snack.

Our choices: Pizza Margherita, Croissant aux Amandes et Chocolat (Almond & Chocolate Croissant), and a slice of their Alexandre Signature Tarte Tatin (Thin crusted apple pie, served with vanilla ice cream on top and a dollop of whipped cream on the side).

The pizza was thin-crust and served on a chopping board. It was sooo light and delicious, we wolfed it down after our first enjoyable slow bites to savor the flavor.
my daughter ordered the pizza and had to share it.

The Almond and Chocolate croissant was so delightful. We had two, and we just had to, haha. The taste was enough, but what added to the experience of savoring each bite was the light, crunchy, chewy, moist mix in every bite. I am still experiencing a hangover of that sensory overload.

The Tarte Tatin was my husband's choice. He just has to have an apple pie (or whatever the version would be) in every cafe. It was different, but had that same light, rich, chewy-crunchy characteristic -- worth the price.

Before leaving, the very accommodating and charming manager Harrison (don't be fooled by his name because he is French) gave us a complimentary pair of what he called Cannele, small tubular pastries with a soft and tender custard center and a dark, thick caramelized crust. These were just like the others we  had - delicious, moist, with a very good caramelized bottom.

The History of the Cannelé
photo from www.alexandre.ph
After giving the French names of the pastry we ordered a shot with the help of Harrison, he happily announced that they plan to hold French lessons at the cafe soon --  Coffee, French food, with a little lesson of conversational French on the side.

Now that I know what a fabulous treat it is in this hip cafe Alexandre, I will make sure I visit their flagship cafe at the Fort very soon. Check out the lovely story behind the cafe, the warmth that goes into every recipe, and the branches at www.alexandre.ph.

P.S. So sad to find out that this cafe, after closing down its Mega Mall branch, decided to fold up altogether. I mourn the loss :-(

18 March 2011

R.O.X. Blend, Alamid Cafe Xpress

I met with one of the owners Bote Central, the company behind the famous Alamid (Civet) Coffee and my new find, 18 Days Coffee, a few days ago. I needed to get more details for my story on the Alamid Mt. Malarayat Trek for a travel magazine. Naturally, we agreed to meet at their first cafe, the ACX (Alamid Cafe Xpress), inside the expansive recreational outdoor shop R.O.X.at the Bonifacio High Street at the Fort. So, I had coffee. Of course! Nope, I didn't have a cup of their civet coffee. That, I had been introduced to shortly after coming back from the (I will share my review of that soon).

This time around, I was treated to their exclusive R.O.X. blend - Arabica beans from Mt. Matutum and Sagada, Mountain Province, and Robusta beans (P80.00 per cup). Even if these particular Arabica beans are supposed to have a bit of an acidic "wine-y" taste and the Robusta more bitter than most, I found the blend very good, needing very little milk or sugar to compliment the full-bodied taste. No sourness or unpleasant bitterness, even as an after-taste. As I've learned from many experts, there's nothing like the aroma and flavor of coffee that's sourced, roasted and ground as recently as possible.

Boni High Street is a place I frequent for work meetings, shopping, book-hunting, or hanging out with family and friends. Even if it's a long commercial strip with a coffee shop every few meters (should anyone be surprised that Starbucks has both ends covered?), and more coffee offered in a number of restaurants, I've already tried just about every single one; several, more than once. ACX as a new option, and in a different set-up (imagine being surrounded by travel gear, outdoor apparel, shoes, and accessories), is definitely a welcome addition for me. Taking a look at the menu, I think I have a few other reasons -- like sandwiches, pastries, and soon, I was informed, coffee events -- apart from my favorite beverage, to go back.

P.S. Sadly, this coffee station no longer stands. Another one gone too soon.

02 March 2011

Brewed Coffee, Sugarhouse

Sugarhouse, an old favorite since college, counted among the four places where my coffee love - ok, and habit - was developed, is still very much around. Although now reduced to a fraction of what it used to enjoy in floor space, you can still count on a Sugarhouse for their French Apple Pie (one of the best I ever had) and other fab desserts to have with their good old dependable coffee.

I know it's still around because I automatically do a quick salute every time I see one, which is mostly at Eastwood, Mega Mall (now just a small, walk-in with a few tables), and the Power Plant mall at Rockwell. I have to confess, though, that it's been some time since I actually entered and enjoyed anything in any of their branches. Sugarhouse is getting lost among the mushrooming and more du jour cafes people just want to try out, get to love, or love to be seen in.

Fortunately, last Sunday at the Power Plant, we just had time to do some "important" post-lunch shopping and a have quick coffee break before heading to our weekly dinner at my parents'. With the mall's usual family crowd, Starbucks, Figaro, and TCBTL were not options, so we kept going till our tired feet and our craving for apple pie (my own craving was for coffee, period) led us to their now smaller and cozier Cafe Sugarhouse in the mall's level P1 food court.

Man, the apple pie was soooo good, i had to watch myself. Oh, and we didn't stop with that, we also got a slice of their New York cheesecake, and loved it, too. And, of course, coffee. Aaahhhh. Just in time and just the right strength for that particular time of the day in a bustling food court. They serve full-bodied, mildly dense Danesi coffee, steaming and freshly-made per cup.  I need to make a mental note to visit more often. Sugarhouse should not fade away. Nothing as comforting as a good-old, good-old coffee place.

26 February 2011

House Brew, Banapple

My husband and I finally made a stop at this pastry shop that had grown from a small four-table affair to the entire 2-storey quaint structure you can't miss: a bright crayola-ish looking country cottage that has cars slowing down, fighting for parking space, and often, settling for leaving their vehicle in a second lane, on a very busy avenue. I thought the novelty would wear off, but it hasn't. 

That's what good baking can do. People swear by their banana cream pie. I love their cheesecake and apple pie. And these pastries are turned them into the traffic monster on Katipunan Avenue in the Blue Ridge area.

We were so hungry because it was way past the lunch hour, and we thought, might as well join those going gaga over Banapple. Much to our surprise, people were still enjoying lunch entrees that were large enough to share (and that's what most of them did... share), and had a slice or two of their cakes & pies waiting temptingly. We didn't know what to try first. Very good and filling comfort food, dessert, and of course, coffee. All reasonable priced.

Unfortunately, although the apple pie my husband and I shared was very good, the coffee was too strong and bold (more like bitter) for me -- and it wasn't an espresso; it was a full cup of brewed coffee, probably Americano. I finished an entire little cup of milk, added sugar, and watered it down twice. On top of that, the wait and food prep staff didn't know what kind of coffee it was, except that it was freshly ground roasted coffee beans.  I couldn't believe that they could have such good food, such a following, and coffee that was too bitter to enjoy. Could I have just come on a bad day? Probably, and I should make sure, so I'll visit again for weekend brunch with the kids soon, and get another taste.

16 February 2011

Batangueno-style Coffee, Kape de Malarayat

that's steam from the coffee migling with the fog close to the mountain top
I've had Batangas-grown coffee before (mostly Barako and Mountain-grown Arabica), but it was only recently that I got to first sample how Batangas folk had their coffee: freshly picked beans, roasted and ground but traditionally prepared by heating up the grains with water in an open pot, and served already sweetened. This was during a media outing sponsored by the Cafe Alamid group (the people behind the popular Civet coffee), R.O.X., and Moster Centaur, during which we were given a fresh insight on the exotic Cafe Alamid (more on that later), and treated twice with the farmers' very own Kape de Malarayat. A blend of Robusta, Liberica, and Arabica Exelsa, grown and picked from the mountains in their "backyards", this coffee is produced with love and hard work by the Malarayat Coffee Farmers and Consumers Cooperative with help and guidance from the Alamid group.

Looks like an easy leisurely trek from here, but that it wasn't.
My first cup of Batangas-style brew was at a small camp near the top of Mt. Malarayat in Lipa, Batangas (about an hour and a half-drive from the Fort in Taguig), where we were feted with a sumptuous reward of barbequed skewered pork, bangus stuffed with tomatoes and onions, and roasted veggies, after our 45-minute challenging trek up. By the time we were enjoying our lunch, I spotted the coffee already being cooked and stirred in a large open pot (we were at least 20 that day), over the campfire, and ladled through a sieve, into our disposable cups. Because I rarely sweeten my coffee (I usually have mine with some soymilk or powdered non-dairy coffee creamer), I was surprised at how sweet it was. I actually (ignorantly) thought it had something to do with a distinct property of freshly-picked, freshly roasted, freshly-ground, freshly-prepared local coffee. It didn't matter much to me at that time, since my last coffee was a Starbucks soy mocha before we left. It was time for another dose.

After once again dealing with the slippery, rocky walk, this time down the mountain, we were taken to where the farmers process the coffee, in the nearby Barangay Sto. Nino. There, once again, to my surprise, we had sweet black coffee. That's where I learned Batangas peeps (Batangenos) take their coffee black but sweetened. Although I prefer unsweetened coffee and won't see a change on this soon, this style tends to grow on you. Or was it because I got up so early for this junket, I just needed my fix more? Whatever, I just had to have another cup. It can be delish.

I got to take home a pack to enjoy at home, yayness!

05 February 2011

Cafe Americano at Blenz Coffee

I've started going back to Mega Mall after years of avoiding trips there. I hate the noise, the crowds, and the length I have to walk to get from one side to the other, on several floors. I mean, what if whatever you went to shop for or purchase happens to be at one end, and the other store you had to visit at the other?!

Then they opened that area at the center called the Mega Atrium, where many good restaurants and shops are, on all 4 upper floors (meaning excluding the basement), tucked away from the general melee. Strategically located at the opening of those pockets of wonder are cafes, one on each floor. Since Forever21, the Gap, Mango, Aldo, Promod, All Flipflops, etc., my favorite fashion haunts are on the 2nd level, I would always see this relatively new coffee shop:  Blenz (Canadian Coffee). It was always full, no matter what time I'd be in the area, so I thought, "hmm, must be good coffee."

So I finally tried hanging out at the place and sampling their coffee, and I wished my expectations weren't so high. Upon placing my order I already began to wonder why these people patronized the place. The baristas didn't make any eye contact and seemed a bit impatient when I asked for recommendations and explanations about their coffees. She had to consult a superior, who seemed like he couldn't care less. Hmm. And to think they had all this pride in their barista training.

Then I got my coffee, and it smelled so good. Oh, and a free table in spite of the crowd. Hopes went up! I started to get comfy and took out my book, ready for a nice hour at least, but the coffee kept spilling from between the rim and the lid *tsk*. It spilled so much, in fact, that I decided to drink my coffee without the lid. And yet more coffee bled on my next paper towels; I figured it had to be a leak in the cup. I asked the barista for a replacement; she put my cup into a fresh one and replaced the older lid. Still... coffee kept dripping. 

Ask help from the barista again? Never mind. She didn't look like she wanted to hear what was wrong and busied herself with arranging stuff far into the other end of the counter. 

The coffee was good, no doubt; actually, good enough for you to skip the escalator ride up to TCBTL, or another flight up to Starbucks, or venture even higher to Bo's Coffee Club. But perhaps the most obvious reason for the consistent crowd would more likely be the free Wifi and the enclosed smoking area. I mean, where's the next exit if you wanted a smoke with your coffee, right? On both ends of the long expanse of each floor. So there! 

31 January 2011

Tchibo brew at the French Baker

Oops, I just had to take a bite first.

Like I always tell myself, what's a bakery without good coffee? The French Baker, in most SM malls and some supermarkets, has this bold, flavorful coffee presented in a takeout box that also contains a tub of milk, sachets of sugar and a pastry. I love these extra touches, especially the tub of milk instead of a packet of powdered non-dairy creamer.

The day I tried their coffee (again, after years since my last cup), I got a yummy chewy brownie. 

Now I know how much their coffee has improved, I'm going back for more.