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 :-(