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Sweet Little Alfresco Spot

8 Apr

Break muna sa nobela ko. Allow me to blog about something light and happy lang for today.  🙂 I just want to share about this sweet little alfresco corner in Greenbelt that I am loving more and more by the day… or by the weekend should I say?

This is at Single Origin, Greenbelt 3. It has just recently opened. It used to be a pizzeria and I’ve only tried it once then. But ever since it got transformed into this very rustic/country kind of place that serves hefty sizes of food and nice-tasting lattes, I started to frequent this part of Greenbelt more often.

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As I grow older, the things that I truly love and want are starting to get more defined. I guess I can safely call myself an old soul because I feel like I gravitate towards hobbies which are not necessarily explosive and exciting but are rather slow, unpopular and quaint.

Sometimes, I wonder why unlike other millenials, I don’t have the inclination to travel the world and see as many countries as I can. And unlike other millenials, I do not covet the latest gadgets available in the market. My phone has had a shattered screen for the longest time, and my laptop has been showing some signs of malfunction but I cannot find the desire to upgrade them.

I cannot however let a weekend pass without visiting a nice coffee shop.

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But who can blame me right? My coffee shop escapades are the best down-time! It gives me an ample time to contemplate about life, read a book leisurely, write on my blog, review the things I’ve done the past week, and it’s the chance to have a one-on-one talk with myself for when I feel down, sad, or lonely. Hanging out in cafes allows me to push the reset button of life. For someone like me who believes she is more prone to melancholy, this is a very crucial savior of an activity.

 

It also makes the need to finish pending work on a weekend more tolerable. Somehow, it doesn’t feel as burdensome as it actually is because once in a while, some lovely birds will sing my stress away, and sometimes, some handsome stranger would share the long table I occupy and would start a random cute conversation. I mean, I don’t mind pausing work if that’s what the universe serves my plate! haha

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I especially love cafes that love my kind of music. Serve me latte and play some Bossa Nova, or those soft, dreamy 80s love songs that take me to some kind of wonderland — and I am yours forever! I cannot fully describe the love affair I have with coffee shops, especially the one with perfect alfresco spots!

P_20180331_133806_1.jpgAlmost done with coffee! Almost halfway through with my current book!

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Spending some alone-time in coffee shops is such an underrated recreation. More people should do it, and they should do it more often. 🙂

 

 

 

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Dreaming of… Aubaine Selfridges

7 Mar

Currently daydreaming about this restaurant in London.. Aubaine Selfridges.

One of the few places abroad I would like to see.

I’ve never been to London, but when I get the chance to go, I am definitely paying this a visit.

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I mean, just look at that ceiling. I cannot even breathe….

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and look how the sun rays generously illuminate the place…

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And the white walls… and chic white framed chairs and tables…

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wow… wow… wow….

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The flower-clad ceiling matches exquisitely the monochromatic and Morrocan-inspired tiles of the floor, and the french charm of all other things displayed inside.

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Ahhhh… someday, please! ^_^

But for now allow me to bask in all the pretty thoughts and vibes this dreamy restaurant has been giving me for days now! Ciao!

*photos are not mine. image source indicated below each photo. Please click on such links to view more of this pretty, pretty restaurant.

Sulo Riviera

4 Mar
The photos I’m sharing today are taken at the Sulo Riviera Hotel in Quezon City. I was there to attend a 2-day work-related event a few months ago. I fell in love with the place because of it’s super chill, beautiful and quiet ambience. It is also very much in touch with nature… and so  I thought these pictures would perfectly match the topic that I want to talk about today:

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se·ren·i·ty 
səˈrenədē/
noun
the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.

p_20161117_085313_bfSerenity, i think, is a concept frequently misunderstood.  The word comes from the Latin term serenus, meaning clear or unclouded (skies). By extension it thus means calm, and without storm.  I find this etimology funnily inaccurate though! I read a quote that said serenity is in fact not the absence of storm, but the presence of peace amidst the storm. And I think I like that definition better. 😉

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p_20161117_085714_bfOftentimes, when people pray to God for serenity, they are actually meaning to ask for God to take away all their pains and sorrows, their troubles and their problems, and give them a peaceful, stress-free life instead. I have learned however that asking for some sense of serenity should actually mean asking God for strength to endure any chaos, for the ability to go through struggles without losing yourself, and for the will to remain grateful for life, despite being confronted with all the reasons to hate it.

p_20161117_074227breakfast by the pool. Ain’t this awesome????? ^_^

p_20161117_074302When I pray to the universe for some serenity and peace, my heart knows that what it needs is the skill to face life’s not-so-good mood with gracefulness. This is not to say of course that I do not snap or stress even a bit at all. I do.. easily in fact! But the important thing I guess is I know how to ask, and I definitely know the right thing to ask for.

p_20161117_091150_bf When faced with any kind of inconvenience or challenge,  I’ve learned to stop asking my God to take them all away. Instead, I ask for the right weapons to help me make it through the battle. I ask for the will to go on, for some inner peace to preserve my sanity, wisdom to make the right decisions when things are starting to get out of hand and most importantly, discipline when the situation calls for any form or degree of sacrifice.

Anyways, allow me to talk about this hotel a bit more for a second. It definitely deserves some review!

15135879_1872172743018178_1625826160009430518_n Sulo Riviera is a hidden oasis in the middle of a busy city. It is a perfect place to reflect, to eat slowly and to just read a book. 

p_20161117_091007_bfThe hotel also has a great selection of food, which btw are very reasonably priced. I was instantly brought to heaven upon seeing the dessert section! hahaha EVERYTHING TASTED SO GOOOD!

Collages2.jpgTheir banoffee pie and strawberry shortcake are to die for!!!!15078896_1871738849728234_6317510754790284811_n

Actually lahat ng food nila masarap! I wouldn’t bother describing each one na.. basta lahat masarap! haha. Sobrang nakakahappy lang yung feeling! ^_^

p_20161117_085831_bfSerenity is not freedom from the storm but peace amid the storm.

The important thing to remember is that peace comes
from within your own heart and mind, not from
some outside source, and when you refuse
to be disturbed by things about you, life
will flood your being with dynamic energy.

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Serenity is the balance between good and bad, life and death, horrors and pleasures.

Life is, as it were, defined by death. If there wasn’t death of things, then there wouldn’t be any life to celebrate.

-Norman Davies

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15027602_1872674622967990_4066267839795842761_nThe final wisdom of life requires not the annulment of incongruity but the achievement of serenity within and above it.– Reinhold Niebuhrp_20161117_090647_bfWe have to realize that life will always have its ups and downs. It’s a non-negotiable. Thus, I believe that we all should start praying for help, not for an escape. This way, we wouldn’t be blaming or questioning God/the universe for all the so-called misfortunes that we experience. Everybody goes through hardship, the only difference lies with how we deal with it. 🙂

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p_20161116_184446That is all for today! thanks and have a great weekend everyone! 🙂

Girl, Put Your Records On

15 Nov

Three little birds, sat on my window
And they told me I don’t need to worry
Summer came like cinnamon
So sweet, little girls double-dutch on the concrete

Maybe sometimes we’ve got it wrong, but it’s alright
The more things seem to change,the more they stay the same
Oh, don’t you hesitate

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Typical Saturday morning for me consists of hanging out in a coffee shop and enjoying a cup of frappe with a book, or with my thoughts. Lately, I’ve been dealing so much with the latter.

Recent events have got me feeling a bit down. Friends and colleagues getting married left and right; others are successfully meeting serious partners from Tinder, Happn or other dating sites; even the ex-girlfriend of Vina Morales’ current boyfriend who I’ve been stalking on Instagram because of their flavorful cat fights and heartbreak induced drama has suddenly quieted down, and is suddenly going to have a new baby and now getting back on track, while I remain the single girl for what? 5 or 6 years now? and the girl who just can’t find the right one who will stay. Oh the tragedy.

wp-image-2093676394jpg.jpegBut then, three little birds sat on my window, and they told me I don’t need to worry. They came to remind me that life is not just about finding the right guy and falling madly in love with him and then marrying him. In fact, a married life, according to them, is so far from the fairy tale concept that most girls, including me, have about it. They said that marriage is hard. relationship is hard. and that they terribly miss being single to be honest.

They miss being able to spend their money however they want. They miss hanging out in nice, expensive alfresco restaurants. They miss leaving the house on weekends, and at any time of the day at that, just to enjoy a serene, peaceful, stress-free moment with a cup of quite the no-longer-affordable frappucino in hand. Basically, they miss everything that I am currently doing effortlessly.

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‘Twas more than I could take, pity for pity’s sake
Some nights kept me awake, I thought that I was stronger
When you gonna realise, that you don’t even have to try any longer?
Do what you want to.

How easily did I forget that mine is a life that others covet as much as I covet theirs. While I drown myself with the depressing idea that I might not ever get married and I might grow old all alone and what’s fucking wrong with me and why am I so unlucky when it comes to dating and relationships, these exact people who I’m comparing my life with would actually do anything to be able to live my life (again) for one weekend or even one day.

P_20160622_111816I swear my friend almost slapped me. I’d complain about being 27 already and still single, she’d pound on me that I’m JUST 27 and 27 is STILL YOUNG – The perfect time to enjoy singlehood because I have (relatively) so much money, time, and freedom.

Sometimes, it is good to hang out with the people who are in the situation that (you think) you are dreaming of. They give you a very grounded perspective on the matter.

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I had the opportunity to reflect on this subject further while I was brunching solo at Mary Grace last Sunday, and here are the questions I brutally asked myself:

Is it just my ego pushing me to somehow envy married people or people in relationships? Am I subconsciously thinking that successfully landing a relationship is like successfully accomplishing a project and am I seeing a man by my side as a matter of prize? Do I desire to finally be un-single because I truly want love, or is it because I just want to be like everybody else?

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Blue as the sky, sunburnt and lonely,
Sipping tea in a bar by the roadside,
(just relax, just relax)
Don’t you let those other boys fool you,
Got to love that afro hair do

Why do I even have to try to be someone I’m not, or seek validation of the meaning of my existence from an outward experience? I seem to be forgetting what I’ve constantly been reading from a book on Taoism: that I am a beautiful creature of God, perfect in every way despite the human imperfections, complete as it is on its own.

By making a big issue out of my being single, I am creating a problem in my life that doesn’t even have to be there. So I guess I’m writing this to tell myself to calm down and chill on the whole “i wanna have a boyfriend” thing. This is to remind myself that my life is awesome!  That a life filled with food, and alfresco restos,and  books, and cold coffee on a cool sunny morning, and friends and loving family is just as wonderful as a life with a boyfriend.  🙂 And while it’s okay to dream about true romantic love, it’s not okay to measure one’s life only by its presence.

wp-image-1377426280jpeg.jpegGirl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams,
Just go ahead, let your hair down.

So my dear self, Janica.. cheer up na! Just live your life one day at a time. Do all the things that you love doing. Try all the things you’re scared of trying. Focus on the things that are already present in your life, not what’s lacking in it. There are so much to be thankful for…

and clearly… there is so much re-reading of Taoism to be done. hehehe.

You’re gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow.

Happy Birthday Girl :D

7 Nov

For my birthday, a very dear friend of mine treated me to a breakfast buffet, a refreshing lunch, a sumptuous dinner and a lot more eating in between, and made sure I had a great time despite the fact that I couldn’t celebrate with my family (until 2 days after) because of our difficult schedules.

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frozen margarita and apple mojito

Of course, since it’s my birthday, it was a no-brainer that we would eat out, al fresco at that, in Greenbelt – my favorite hang out place in the metro, even tho he is not a big fan of the place hehe. We had dinner at Italianni’s and a music duo (singer and guitarist) was playing lovely songs for the entire duration that we were there. Simple but perfect night! All the things I love were there to celebrate with and for me!

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some sort of napa valley salad, some sort of garlic bread, and salmon and cheese pizza. (no idea how these are called in their menu!)

Ahhh food was great! company was great! music was great, outside dining is always great, my old sky blue floral dress still looking pretty and flowy, the good stories, my being able to celebrate without spending a single dime! Thank you, universe, for making sure I had fun! 🙂

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We also had lunch at the Wholesome Table, in Salcedo, Makati which serves organic food. It was my first time there and I instantly fell in love with the place. The restaurant was so beautiful and comfy, what with the rustic-beach cottage ambience which I was really digging. I want all their furniture in my future beach house!

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Food was also delicious. We ordered their carbonara and a bowl of salad, and then indulged in their refreshing drinks. I loved the chai tea frappe! Waiter offered to replace the pasta because he thought bacon in it was a bit too burnt but we didn’t think it was necessary. I appreciated the initiative tho. 🙂

Wholesome Table’s a bit pricey but this is understandable considering the resto’s advocacy to only use organic ingredients.

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Well, I could say that my 27th birthday did not involve any grand party but I nonetheless had a very amazing time… eating… eating… and eating… for free. So thank you, Rene! I want you to know I appreciate being fed like a queen on my birthday! 😀 hihihi

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I would also like to thank my friend/office mate, Ago, for buying me pancit so we could somehow celebrate my birthday in the office even though salary was delayed. We only had the said pancit and this cake I bought at a local bakery for only Php250.00 to share but these were good enough to make my day at the office special. Thank you office mates for celebrating with me! You’re the best! 😀 thank you! I really appreciate it! 🙂

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What do I say? It was indeed a happy birthday for me ^_^ thanks to the good people around me! ^_^

Le Pradier

24 Jul

While in Switzerland, I got the chance to try out several restaurants with really good dishes but the best among them all would definitely be Le Pradier.P_20160706_014012Le Pradier is located in the heart of Geneva. This is where the Philippine Delegation headed to right after our Constructive Dialogue to feed our hungry stomachs and celebrate all our hard work. Good call omg! 🙂

geneva 41The alfresco area of the restaurant is sooooo nice with the hanging plants and all. (Photo above was taken from their website) The inside is equally alluring with its sophisticated presentation.

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P_20160706_014459Based on my research, Le Pradier means “The Meadows” or “The Fields”. I must say that it is a very fitting name because we were literally in a field of orchids (real orchids at that).

P_20160706_032332_BFI suddenly remembered my mom. She would love this resto as much as I did.  I think i  uttered “It is so beautiful here” a hundred times while we were there lol. I also felt that I dressed so suitably for the occasion. Bagay ang red dress ko sa romantic ambience! ^_^ ahaha.

I was giddy all throughout dinner. My fascination was just too much. hihi. It was indeed the best way to end a very exhausting and work-heavy day. Whoever from the Philippine Mission in Geneva chose Le Pradier, I salute you! I adore your taste! LOL I think I was the gladdest person in the house that night. I truly appreciated the place. 🙂

And then there was the food!

IMG_20160706_035911Did I mention that Le Pradier was a buffet restaurant? You read that right! It was a buffet of seafood, cheese and dessert! There were other sorts of food that you could find but to be honest, I was already sold at the sight of the cakes! OMG OMG OMG T_T

IMG_20160706_035322Yes, the first batch of food on my plate are the strawberry flavored sweets hihi. ^_^  But as they say, Life is short so eat desserts first! 😀

P_20160706_014347The table setting was very elegant and colorful. The resto’s interior decor was a little eclectic which was a good twist to the overall romantic vibe it was going for. It wasn’t your usual romantic-cute or romantic-sweet restaurant.  The plates, for example, are cliche-defying.

I told myself, this is the kind of restaurant I will own one day!

P_20160706_023210But for now, allow me to just enjoy being a patron…

And allow me to dive in to this wonder:

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P_20160706_014546tadaaaaa!

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P_20160706_020013_BFLe Pradier’s sponge cake was the best sponge cake I’ve tasted so far. I don’t know about you guys but when I taste something superb, I automatically close my eyes and I savor that moment when the food is still touching my tongue and giving my taste-buds a good orgasm lol.  ONE OF THE BEST FEELINGS IN TH WORLD. Shallow Euphoria indeed! 🙂

P_20160706_014705A variety of cheese spread on one corner of the buffet table. Lovely! Switzerland is known for its good cheese. And I got a taste of each of that and I approve of the trademark! LOL

P_20160706_014714I think I should also mention that the waiters in Le Pradier were all very nice. They were always smiling and always asking us if we needed anything. One of them didn’t speak English but he tried so hard to comprehend what I was saying when really, I was just asking where the ladies’ room was. We kinda spent 15 minutes talking in vain. He kept on guessing what I wanted “The bill? The spoon? The fork? Another cake?” hahaha. Good thing the other waiter who spoke a little English arrived. When the first waiter finally got it, we all just laughed out loud. hahaha.

I don’t know what is with Swiss people but they are surprisingly really kind and friendly and interacting with them is very light to the heart. 🙂

P_20160706_032507It goes without saying that I left the restaurant full, fat and with diabetes! hahaha. That’s okay though! I had an amazing time! It was worth every pound gained and every sugar sustained. haha.

P_20160706_032958_1So, if you ever go to Geneva, Switzerland make sure to try Le Pradier out. It is not a very spacious dining place but it is lovely I promise! ^_^ You would enjoy eating here if you are like me who scores a restaurant not only by the food, but also by the service and the overall feel of the place.

geneva 4That’s all for today! I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend! 🙂

Wear Your Happy Hat

13 Feb

“With all it’s sham, drudgery and  broken dreams… it is still a beautiful world.” – Desiderata

There are a lot of things that I wish I have right now. There are a lot of dreams awaiting to be realized.There are so much that I’ve done in the past that I wish I did not do, and there is something about the uncertainty of the future that is giving me slight anxiety. My friend Tin calls me paranoid all the time because while I don’t meddle, judge or worry about other people’s lives and decisions, I am quite hard on myself when it comes to my own actions. I constantly assess if I am doing the right thing, if I am not disappointing my parents, or my bosses at the office, or  if I am being the responsible adult that I’m supposed to be now that i’m in my early late-20s.

But in the most occasional of times, during my, so to speak, lucid interval, I get to sit down and feel strangely optimistic and carefree. Today, I just feel happy. And I feel alive. 🙂

P_20160207_104632_BFI admit I’ve  not been a very positive person. I’ve actually known this since forever. But today, I sit here at the corner of the coffee shop feeling so good about myself, sold in the idea that whatever tomorrow brings, I will be okay.

Better, rather.

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“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” – Alice in Wonderland

I would like to be this positive and carefree more often. I’d like to be able to see the bright side of just about anything all the time. It may be hard to turn away from my old (and bad) habits, but I do think that I can do it. I would like to be a full time lover of my own life, my own journey and my own adventures (no matter how subdued lol). And I’d like to do it more effortlessly by the day.

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I’d like to stop caring so much. I’d like to stop beating myself up for my mistakes. I would like to fully embrace the idea that even though things may go wrong, or my life might make unexpected turns, all of these will just be part of my colorful life when I look  back ten or twenty years from now. I gotta stop being afraid of challenges, for now I see that mostly the reason why I am often hard on myself is because of my fear to fuck up, fail and “suffer”.

I just have to repeat to myself every single day that my life is beautiful… regardless of what happened in the past, or what is about to happen in the future.

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Last week, I did something that I seriously regret. I broke my own rules and let myself give in to temptations. I could barely forgive myself for that mistake and my paranoid self started projecting worst-case scenarios in my head. Over that short period of time though, through the help of a few real friends, I was led to realize that I am worrying for something that hasn’t even happened yet. And i am preparing myself to lose something when all cards seem to show otherwise. Typical pessimistic me.blog17Dress from a thrift shop in Intramuros, Bag borrowed from mom, hat from Vigan

After that, I went to pray but not in the manner that I used to. Instead of saying “please God, spare me from this or that”, I asked that “He give me peace of mind to remain calm, enough will to forgive myself and strength to face whatever challenge that might come my way as a result of my mistake.” When I changed my prayer into something more positive, I knew I was doing something really good for myself as well.

This is the context of my reflection for today. The past week gave me a glimpse of how nice it is to live with so much positivity and faith and I would really like to make this paticular way of thinking and viewing my world more permanent. There is so much good in me and in my life that it is actually such a nonsense to obsess over a mistake that I ampredisposed to commit as I am, after all, just a human being.

Every morning is a chance to forget the pains of yesterday, and see the change of a brand new day. To dance and laugh again, to make up for the wrong things done. And most of all, It’s God’s reminder that He is sending another blessing called ‘LIFE.’

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Speaking of blessings, allow me to share with you some wonderful pictures from my dining experience I had last weekend with my family — aaah one of my few favorite things in the world! Forgive me. lol. I originally intended to just write about our second visit at Antonio’s Breakfast but there’s something about this Saturday that prodded me to reflect on my life out loud. haha. anyways, eto na po! haha

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Now isn’t this place something? 🙂 The restaurant, as always, looks really cozy and almost romantic if only there were fewer patrons. LOL. The crowd’s noise was a bummer but I could live with it. All in all though, it was a beautiful day. It was another gift from the heavens that ought to remind me that I have every reason to smile and be happy and be positive about life.

blog18“Life is so much brighter when we focus on what truly matters.”

P_20160207_113119Antonio’s House Salad with pineapple vinaigrette.

P_20160207_115540_BF“Although time seems to fly, it never travels faster than one day at a time. Each day is a new opportunity to live your life to the fullest. In each waking day, you will find scores of blessing and opportunities for positive change. Do not let your today be stolen by the unchangeable past or the indefinite future

Recently Updated4Breakfast set for each one of us (except my brother).

When mostly the trouble of your life is whether to eat pancakes or eggs for breakfast, you really don’t have anything to complain about. Once in a while though, perhaps it is healthy to encounter more serious problems so that we do not get detached from the real world. Just a thought.

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Burger with bacon and fries on the side for my bro.

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The gift of family. Another reason to be thankful and happy and relieved knowing there will always be people who got your back. Dear self, I hope you realize now that the journey to optimism isn’t gonna be that difficult. Hold back no more. 🙂

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 That is all for today! I hope we all have a positive, bright and colorful day! 🙂