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Monday, April 18, 2016

Cafes in Naga City: Cafe '91

Naga City - I guess we shall never stop having new cafes here in our city. I have written many reviews and I'm running out of words to uniquely describe each new coffee shop. But as long as there is something unique in the cafe, then there will be no difficulty as to how we can showcase them. Since we cannot control the growth of cafes, we need to look for their uniqueness and show to everyone how they differ and how they are competitive to one another. The more options there are, the happier the customers are.

Here's one cafe in Naga exploring on the cranky and creative side of drinks and food. More like events and persons becoming names of drinks and food. Just like the Birthday Frappe or Debutante Frappe. But let's start first as to where this cafe is located.

Cafe '91 is located at Glam Theme Boutique (GTB), right in front of Tapsi Terminal along Magsaysay Avenue  now located at the second floor of Avenue Square since February 2017. Technically, GTB is the first boutique with an in-house cafe in Naga City. This cafe will never go wrong as to its location since it's right in the gastronomic and entertainment strip of Naga. The concept of GTB is basically SHOP, DINE and CHILL. The boutique is not entirely for ladies, they also have apparels for men as well as kids. Accessories of all sorts from well known and trusted online sellers in Naga comprises the shop. HERE's a blog post featuring Glam Theme Boutique.

Menu of Cafe '91 starts with The Eats like: Nachos, Fries, The Carbonara, The Red Pasta, Grilled Cheese Sandwich, S'more Sandwich, Rocky Road Brownies. Price ranges from  P35 to P109. The Nachos and Fries which are best sellers, come with black beans. So, if you're not fond of them, you can always tell them not to include black beans in your order. 

For Frappes, Cafe 91 offers: Birthday Frappe, Boozy Banana, Mango Yogurt, S'mores Frappe, Brownies Frappe, Coffe and Donut Frappe, Snickers Frappe, Happy Birthday Frappe and the Debutante Frappe. Price ranges from P99 to P149.

They also have lemonades such as Blueberry, Strawberry, Green Apple and Fruit Punch for only P79.
Flavored soda is only at P89 with choices like Blueberry, Strawberry and Green Apple. 

What I really enjoy in this cafe is the opportunity to do multi-tasking lol. I know the ladies can support me on this, window shopping is already therapeutic, shopping in a very affordable boutique is a medicine for the budget conscious plus having presented the food of Cafe '91? It's just pure satisfaction guaranteed. At least ladies, your partners will never get bored waiting for you to choose your clothes because they can order a drink or food, right?

Now here are some of the actual offerings of Cafe '91

Snickers Frappe and S'mores Sandwich

The Red Pasta

Your choice of lemonade and The Carbonara or any other combination

One of my faves, S'mores Frappe

Another favorite too for the non-coffee based drink, Mango Yogurt Frappe

Birthday Frappe perfect for the birthday celebrant or just when you feel like a vanilla based frappe.

Nachos, Grilled Cheese Sandwich and The Carbonara. 
For best taste, consume the Grilled Cheese sandwich while still warm.
Flavored soda are now in glasses instead of plastic ones

The Anatomy of the Specialty Frappes
The Happy Birthday Frappe, an overloaded frappe with all the sweetness of chocolates and special biscuits
My top recommended food will be the S'mores Frappe, Snickers Frappe, Mango Yogurt Frappe, Grilled Cheese Sandwich, The Red Pasta and also the fries. It's really amazing how the owner just adds up something new on the menu as the days pass by. Personally, the menu seems to fit the personalities of our teenagers and the young at heart. So there, if you haven't visited this shop, Cafe '91 is so easy to find along Magsaysay Avenue and tell us your feedback and your favorites too.

Cafe '91 at Glam Theme Boutique
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/cafe91ph/
Instagram: @cafe91ph
DSI Building, Magsaysay Avenue
In front of Tapsi Terminal
Store Hours: 12 nn to 12 am

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Getting a Car in Naga, Bicol

Getting a car in Naga and Bicol has been very convenient for us Bicolanos nowadays. With most of the showrooms located in Choose PILI, showroom hopping has never been this easy. (No wonder why the volume of cars is increasing here in Bicol)

It's the time of the year for us to scout for our next family car. We have options now, but the question is, who can offer the most competitive price 😁. 

One Saturday afternoon, we managed to visit at least 6 showrooms here in Naga and Pili such as Ford, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Chevrolet and Subaru. We still haven't checked out Suzuki Auto Naga Hyundai Naga City Hyundai - Naga City Branch and Mitsubishi Naga/Caleb Motor Corporation. 

Considering that our "choosing stage" usually takes a year just like with our existing car, we still have a few more months to go. Number one consideration is the budget and of course the use of the car so to speak. We are not rich, we just make sure to make ends meet comfortably. 

In just a matter of time, perhaps to TEST DRIVE them is a must and then share to you guys the best options that we can get as customers is something that I also envision (plus to tick off my bucket list in driving different kinds of cars lol 😂).
And so I guess, stay tuned on how everything will go in the next months to come.

Related Links:
Ford Everest 4x2 Titanium Review CLICK HERE
Ford EcoSport Black Edition Titanium Review CLICK HERE
Getting a Car in Bicol CLICK HERE
Ford EcoSport on Food Trip to Albay CLICK HERE
Chevrolet Sail Review CLICK HERE

Friday, April 1, 2016

Where to eat in Albay: Balay Cena Una

Daraga, Albay - You may have heard of Culinaria Albay in the news or saw it on any online social media. Albay through the leadership of Gov. Joey Salceda, has been very active when it comes to social media promotion of what is there to offer in the province of Albay. When visiting Albay, particularly Daraga, you might want to consider visiting this beautiful restaurant aesthetically and culinary wise. This is just a small part of Culinary Albay.

Balay Cena Una is a restaurant in Daraga Albay famous enough to be known as one of the best kept secrets. It's a secret since it's not located in the main thoroughfares of Daraga, but then again it's not really that far. The name of the restaurant basically means "Sinaunang Bahay" or perhaps a not so exact translation in English would be "(One of the) first house/s".

How to get there (lifted from the website of Balay Cena Una: F. Lotivio Street intersects Rizal St. near the Daraga Covered Court, Honda Motortrade, and Daraga Bakery. These establishments are all at the corner of  F. Lotivio Street. If you turn into F. Lotivio, the restaurant is about 250m from Honda Motortrade. It is across the street from the Abaca factory of Shelmed Cottage Treasures. Alternately, you may also turn into Arboleda St, with Caltex Daraga as the landmark. This street curves  toward F. Lotivio. The restaurant is at the very end of Arboleda street. 

Image Source: http://www.balaycenauna.com/

I am almost always mesmerized by old structures andhouses. Balay Cena Una is an ancestral house beautifully restored and converted into a fine dining restaurant. A traditional structure but with a world-class gastronomic menu awaits you. Dishes are beautifully presented, again both with a touch of being international but with sense of being locally flavored. Use of local ingredients is highly noticeable in this restaurant. 

From the outside, the house is already lovely. The restaurant is on a corner road, easily noticeable as it gleans with so much story, just by how it stands with exquisite windows. We were at Balay Cena Una for an early dinner. After ordering, we decided to roam around the restaurant. Our table was on the ground floor near the collections of various kinds of the nativity scene (btw, we visited one December Saturday afternoon). We were told that the usual displays are miniature and wooden toy cars. They also have a collection of different kinds of owls. Seems like it that many are even sourced from abroad. According to one of the staff, kids who visit the place would usually count the number of owls on the display. 

The whole place is air-conditioned. I just love how the management is able to maintain the "freshness" of the place. This really is an Albay gem, no need to go to Vigan or even Intramuros just to have a feel of an old but exquisite place. One more thing that makes it more attractive for me is the coolness of the place plus the smell of the wood, makes me feel like I'm in Baguio too. The smell may not be that of a pine tree but it's the same feeling anyway.

House Chef's Salad
All available in-season greens, tomatoes, cucumber, ham, cheese, and other ingredients that the Chefs deliciously create for an appetizing healthy opener.

Now let's go to the menu. Balay Cena Una might be a fine dining restaurant and you might be thinking that the tags might be pricey. Well personally, with this kind of set up and ambiance plus the serving size of the food and friendly staff? The rates per dish are surprisingly decent and still affordable. They serve Appetizers, Salas and Soups, Entrees and Desserts.

Of no doubt nor to exaggerate, the food that we have tasted were darn good. Truly unique flavor using local ingredients partnered with international culinary practices. Close to perfection!

Pasta Bolognese
Italy's favorite dish from Bologna. The secret for authentic cooking is the long simmer in milk of ground beef and lean pork combined. Notice the soft, cotton-like texture of the sauce. Pasta is al dente and, if preferred, freshly made from our kitchen.
I had this Pasta Cena Una Especial, and boy this is DEFINITELY A MUST TRY. You won't find this in ANY restaurant in BICOL.
Pasta Cena Una Especial
The sauce is not the usual, but a perfect marriage of coconut milk and saffron, thus the brilliant golden color that gives it is appetizing look. With a shrimp on top to complete the dish.
Chicken/Pork Adobo in Rosemary
Exclusive from Cena Una, this is a take-off from France's famous Coq au Vin. Their version has additional secret ingredients that make it taste more like a local dish.

Beautiful stairs with intricate wood works are all around you.

I was with my Bicol Bloggers family last December and we really enjoyed dining at Cena Una.
Even though it was my first time to dine in Balay Cena Una, this experience was totally different from what we have here in Naga City. Locals say that they also serve the best desserts in town. Hoping that I'll be able to visit Cena Una again in the future. I might be biased in saying that it is the best restaurant in Albay, but hey can you blame me? I had a very nice experience in this restaurant and as of the moment, yeah they are the best in town.

 A seat for two, perfect for partners. Romantic, really.

Sunday Lunch buffet as of March 2016 starts at P420 as posted on their Facebook Page with more or less 15 or more dishes to choose from.  Imagine a buffet with all the best from their menu. I bet this price will be justifiable. 

Thank you Balay Cena Una, it was really a fun and heartwarming experience in Daraga, Albay because of you. Hope to dine again with you soon!

Balay Cena Una
F. Lotivio St. Bgy. Bagumbayan
Philippines 4501
Restaurant Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm
Sunday: 11:00 am to 9:00 pm Sunday Buffet: 11:30 am to 2:30 pm
Tel: +63.52.435.4338
Mobile: +63.917.827.9520
Visit them at: www.balaycenauna.com