Saturday, December 28, 2013

Cafe Mary Grace: Saving the best for last

This could well be my last post for this year, and I'd say it's about my best foodie find for 2013. Well, I'm really a late bloomer-foodie when it comes to this cafe and bakery that first opened its doors in 2006. Oh well, better late than never, so they say. I'm happy to have finally dined at Cafe Mary Grace last month and for the second time at lunch just yesterday. It was at the SM City North Edsa on both occasions. I fell in love with the food and ambiance at this cafe that I felt the first visit warranted a second. Last month, I was with a long-time-no-see-friend, who gave me a treat (thanks, Louie!). Sadly, I was only able to take pictures of my meal and not my friend's because she'd finished her lunch by the time I arrived (I wasn't late, she was just too early. No kidding! Haha!) I ordered the Classic Carbonara which was sooo delicious. It was saucy, with the right creaminess and with lots of meat (was it ham or bacon, or both, I can't remember). Even the garlic toast that accompanied it was good.The pasta serving was too big for me that I had some of my carbonara taken home. Louie and I shared a slice of Mango Bene cake, which I loved as well, and we both finished everything off with brewed coffee. What a lovely lunch it was, made more unforgettable by stories and laughter shared
 between my friend and I.

Classic Carbonara, P229.
Mango Bene, P130/slice
Americano coffee, P98.
That seemed like a bouquet to me but my friend said those were sea shells. I touched it and went, "oo nga!"
Lovely nook
Meanwhile, my office friend Pammy was my companion at lunch yesterday at Cafe Mary Grace. I went for an all-day breakfast fare this time - Fried Bangus with eggs and rice. For dessert, I ordered their Limone Santi cake and Americano coffee to cap my meal. Pammy, on the other hand, had Pasta Ametriciana with Italian Meatballs, Black Velvet cake and Wild Raspberry Iced Tea. Later on, I told Pam I didn't know there was a pasta dish by the name Ametriciana. Pam said she'd eaten it in Italy. Sosyal! Hehe. Anyway, I loved my fried bangus meal. The boneless milkfish was tender and delicious. I liked too that it was topped with lots of toasted garlic. What I enjoyed to the hilt, though was the rice - it was very aromatic though I'm not sure what herbs it used. Basil, perhaps, and rosemary. It was sooo good! I wish I could make this at home. My Limone Santi dessert was delish as well, a bit sour, thus a welcome change from the usual sweet cake. Again, it was a fine, unforgettable lunch that painted a huge smile on my face. 
(I used the Auto White Balance setting for the following photos, hence, the difference in color. Not sure, though, if it was a good idea.)

Pasta Ametriciana w/ Italian Meatballs, P232.
Fried Bangus with two sunny side up eggs and rice, P217.
Herbed rice. Super love!

Vinegar, sliced green mango and tomato that went with my fried bangus.

Black Velvet cake, P115/ slice
Limone Santi, P110/slice

Americano coffee, P98.
Wild Raspberry Iced Tea, P115.

Cafe Mary Grace has many stores in Metro Manila. Here's a link to their website to help you find a branch near your place: 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas is here!

Just a few hours to go and we're celebrating Christmas. Mmm..more holiday eating for Noche Buena and the next few days all the way to New Year's Day. The past weeks had been busy for the tummies already, weren't they, what with all the Yuletide parties and reunions we've gone to. Haha! What Christmas food have you so far had? Me, I've had "bibingka" and "puto bumbong" (no picture of the latter though), which are among the traditional Filipino Christmas fare. Bibingka is rice cake cooked both over and under live coal and served with margarine, grated coconut, salted eggs and sugar on top. Puto bumbong, that purple, elongated native snack or dessert, is also a type of rice cake cooked inside small bamboo poles and served also with grated coconut, margarine and sugar on top. During our company Christmas party and brother's birthday celebration last week, I had lechon, too.  For the affluent, Noche Buena is never complete without this pig skewered on a bamboo pole and roasted whole till the skin turns golden brown and crispy.

Bibingka with "kesong puti" at Antonio's  (SM San Lazaro)
Lechon at brother's birthday party..
..and at our office Christmas party
My second plate at our office party. The lechon skin gives off a wonderful crackling sound at every bite.

Oh well, more holiday binge eating to come. Throw dieting out of the window in the meantime and have a detox after the New Year celebration. Now that's one wise advice. Hehe.  Hey, just kidding! We don't want anybody spending the holidays on a hospital bed, 
so eat in moderation, okay?
Have a blessed and merry Christmas!