% Arabica

Last month, Rico’s Lechon finally opened a branch in Manila. We’ve tasted the original Rico’s Lechon in Cebu way back in 2013 (when I wasn’t blogging yet and the food blog was on hiatus at the time). So when we heard the news, we immediately scheduled a trip to BGC.

But before going to the said restaurant, I asked that we stop by first at a coffee shop that’s recommended by people I follow on IG lol. We attempted to try this cafe the last time we went to BGC, but we learned that they close WAYYYY TOO EARLY on weekends.

I present to you, % Arabica!


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This Japanese coffee shop specializes in Arabica beans. They offer their drinks with either a Blend (two different varieties of arabica beans) or a Single Origin which comes from one source. You can learn more about them on their website.

You can buy your own beans here!

We ordered a tall Single origin Spanish Latte (190php) and an Americano (150php). I asked what’s the difference with a Spanish latte with a normal one and the barista said a spanish latte is sweeter.  How’s the taste for us coffee lovers? Hmmm. The interiors look nice though!

The Japanese Minimalism aesthetic. ♥

Wood. White. Soft lighting. ♥

The second floor offers benches only and an exhibit of their beans from around the world.

Will we come back? Unfortunately, no.

Huggle Hub Food & Drinks

A blog post that is long overdue is about my interior design freelance project last year. My classmates from High school contacted me late July 2017 to do an interior design proposal for their restaurant project in Zambales.

The first proposal

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As with any interior design project, this didn’t go as smoothly as I wanted. A lot of problems were found on site and with the travel time of 4-5 hours, it was difficult to monitor the construction progress.

The expected final outcome.

Nevertheless, we did the best of the situation The restaurant had their soft opening on September 2017 and grand opening around November 2017. Their food is about comfort/happy food. And not being biased here, their food is delicious!

HS classmates effort.

I was also requested to do the mural outside of the resto. They asked our classmate Kat (leftykatletters on Instagram) to do the lettering. She was also my seatmate back in 4th year! This was actually our first time to do a mural. For first timers, I think we did great! ♥

Left: My attempt at lettering HAHAHA. | Right: Kat’s amazing first time brush lettering.

Please follow Huggle Hub Food & Drinks on Facebook & Instagram !

工筆 Art Tambay

A few weeks ago, Ivy invited Hannah and I to an Art tambay at Binondo. Since this was the first time that Ivy initiated an art tambay, we agreed right away. In case you’re new to my blog – we usually do our art tambays at public places like cafes or coffee shops where we hang out(tambay) and paint.

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Ivy also mentioned that it was going to be an art tambay slash 工筆 painting workshop. Hannah and I thought it was an art tambay with an option of joining the informal workshop. Another funny thing is that I invited my friend Anj thinking that this was an art tambay. BUT NO HAHAHA. It really was a workshop conducted by one of the attendees’ churchmates. In fact, we three (Hannah, Anj, and me) were the only peeps who weren’t from the same church.

There’s a coin there to prevent the paper from flying awayyyy.

工筆 or “Gong Pi” is a Chinese technique /style of painting that uses highly detailed brushstrokes. It uses the thinnest paper not suitable for the watercolorist me HAHAHA. The first part was to trace the drawing on Shuen/Xuan paper using the smallest mopit brush and ink. Hannah and Ivy were already joking that I wouldn’t listen to the workshop because I hated tracing lines (or I would trace and not follow it eventually).

Thank you to the organizers for the free food. ♥ We had lunch first while waiting for the ink to dry. After drying the ink, you’ll start adding in the colors! I used my Holbein Carmine color for the flowers. There were rules in adding /painting the colors I’m not even sure if I did this right HAHA. They said to put the darkest/solid part of the colors in the center or end of a petal. You’ll then spread the color using another brush with loaded clean water. Uncle said that my watercolor skillz were showing – I don’t know if that’s a bad or good thing though!

Loving the color so far!

For the leaves – they said to put a watery black layer first. In gong pi painting, they don’t use greens! They use what they call “Chinese blue” after layering first the black shadow base. There were rules also in painting this. Something about leaving (heh) whites to imitate the veins.

My final output. ♥

Since I don’t have what they called “Chinese blue”, I used @seamountainco ‘s Philippine Indigo & a bit of Ultramarine. For the yellow stamen, I used a very thick Naples yellow. I also glazed a bit of yellow on some of the leaves to have that green-ish effect.

Close up!

Overall it was a fun & new experience! Painting on the thinnest paper + using watercolor = CHALLENGING! But I liked the challenge. I think 工筆 would help you gauge your skill level in watercolor. You’ll discover if you’re comfortable with your current materials (brush and watercolor) here. Especially the brush, the thin paper is brutal if you don’t know how much water is loaded on your brush. One thing I hated were the rules. There were so much rules I think I broke all of them HAHA. Uncle said my final output was not the traditional 工筆  painting, but its okay!

Uncle said that I should try the opposite of Gong Pi, which is 寫意 or Xieyi painting (freehand brush work style painting). If I can find someone to teach me that style, I’m game for it HAHA.

And that’s it for now HAHAHA. It’s been 2 months since my last blog post. I’m so sorry. The workaholic me is trying her best to update this blog of mine. Huhu. Until next time!

Huggle – Valentine day decor

One of my pending blog posts! This is wayyyyy overdue. I was requested to design the Valentine’s Day decor for my restaurant interior design project that I haven’t blogged about yet – Huggle Hub Food & Drinks. This was a labor of love – as everything was DIY!

Hello. ♥

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As to why I haven’t blogged about this restaurant project yet – I’ll tell you soon HAHAHA. The clients asked me to do the visual merchandising for their restaurant & milk tea franchise with a budget of 1k pesos. I suggested that we DIY it all way to save on costs. It took a day to make 2 medium-sized roses. I made 6 pieces! I even asked help from my mom to do the leaves & pompoms.

A mock-up at home. HAHA.

This was also the time that my high school best friend came back to the Philippines to visit. Since all of us were classmates wayyy back, we brought him to Zambales too to relax.

SO PRETTY. ♥

Took this photo during the evening.

I think we stayed there for about 3-4 days. When we were installing the flowers at the restaurant side, we estimated that I didn’t made enough for the milk tea side. So we bought more cartolina (and a glue gun). The client wanted a bigger rose, so a bigger rose it is! I used up 4 cartolina for the giant rose on the right.

They left me all alone making this rose while they were talking business. HAHA.

Installed. ♥

Milk tea side. ♥

Making the roses was super challenging! I didn’t have any experience with making paper roses that time. But I took the challenge and watched youtube videos HAHAHA. I loved the results! I want to do this again in the future. But next time, I hope I can do it faster!

Coffee Project revisit

A few weeks ago, I revisited a cafe that I used to go to when I was still working near the area. I was surprised that they’ve expanded their interiors! And it’s still so pretty huhuhu. This is Coffee Project at Wil Tower.

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They are known for their garden-inspired interiors. With faux flowers everywhere, wood furniture, bicycles, and metal accents. I’ve said before that this is a good place for an art tambay, and I still agree with that statement! The weird thing is that I haven’t done that YET with my friends, why?! Just look at the photos:

Their tables. ♥

Full of garden-style decor!

Decor beside me. ♥

Hi Zinah. ♥ HAHAHA.

I had a funny story that day. While I was talking those interior shots, there were 2 ladies who kept looking at me. Thinking that maybe they thought I was a weirdo for taking pictures, I paid them no heed. After a while, the girl in blue (pictured above) approached me and asked:

“Hi ikaw ba si Paulina?”

It was my batch mate from college. HAHA. So I moved my things to her table to catch up on each other’s lives. Apparently she was one of the designers for Coffee Project!

Those are my stuff. Sorry for the mess HAHA.

And after 2 months, I finally bought my own hue&ai #NoPaintNoGain watercolor pad! My friends recommended this pad to me thinking that it would suit my painting style. I got this at Common Room Katipunan for 170php.

Pretty decor! ♥

Of course I tested mine when I got home. I always turn to sunflowers or peonies when testing paper. The reason for this is that I’m so used to painting sunflowers that it became my painting style: a mixture of wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry. For the peonies, I could test my very wet-on-wet painting style so I could see the bloom effects.  I’m liking it so far!

My paints of course are seamountainco. ♥

Messy peony bloom. ♥

Now the reason that I revisited this place is because I asked Hannah to meet up with me here. I met up with Dandi of Agueda Manila at Gateway because I ordered two boxes of her brigadeiros – one for me & one for a client. I got the mini box of 15pcs briggies in custom flavors (matcha, barako, and cacao) for me, while the other box contains their best sellers. I offered Hannah and Zinah to taste my personal box haha. They loved the matcha one!

Whenever there’s a Just Add Water event, we always buy from her lol. (JAW2 / JAWInk).

What’s left of my box LOL.

We went home a few hours later after talking all night. We really should plan an art tambay for this place. Anyone up for that?!

SGD Coffee Appreciation Workshop

Last Sunday, Inggo and I went to SGD Coffee again. They offered a free coffee appreciation workshop because it was their first anniversary. ♥ It was on a first come, first serve basis. We were lucky that we got a slot for their 4-5pm class.

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The coffee lab.

What I picked. Sadly this wasn’t chosen as one of the three coffee that we tasted that day.

Coffee bean grinding!

Smells good already. ♥

Cafe Lipa. Bacofo. Verve.

To appreciate coffee, we first smelled the freshly ground beans & described our first thoughts about it. It was funny because I had similar views with an older classmate while Inggo had similarities with the millennials.

After that, we smelled & tasted the coffee with hot water at different intervals. It was interesting! Some first impressions during the smell test were intensified with hot water, while some disappeared completely. But it still depends on the person.

French press. ♥

After that, we tried the french press method for all types. We also got to smell & taste a fourth coffee – which is their SGD coffee blend. ♥ Our group is not biased in any way, but we all loved the SGD Coffee HAHA. We also got to try their lemon bar and buttercream bar to pair with their coffee. I liked that it enhanced or complements their coffee instead of overpowering it.

Overall, we learned a lot during the workshop. We also got to experience grinding, weighing, and using the french press for our selected coffee. I also realized during the workshop that I like dark, bitter, chocolate-y tastes compared to light, sour, acidic/”sinigang mix” types. But I also like sagada coffee because of its woody, balanced, familiar taste HAHA.

Congratulations to SGD Coffee on their first anniversary! Here’s to many more to come. ♥

SGD Coffee + Commission

A few weeks ago, my friend commissioned me to make her a watercolor family portrait painting as a gift to her husband. I gladly accepted since she was a close friend way back in elementary. I wanted to paint outside of the house, so I asked Inggo to accompany me to Maginhawa.

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We had lunch at Friuli Trattoria because we were thinking of having coffee at Negative Space Coffee after. Unfortunately, the cafe has closed operation. I was distraught because this was my favorite coffee shop in Maginhawa! I didn’t even had a chance to blog about it properly huhu.

So we decided to look for another cafe around Maginhawa. Then I remembered Tricia Gosingtian’s blog post about her adventure around this area where she recommended a coffee shop called SGD Coffee. Thanks to the internet and google maps, we easily found our way there HAHA.

Coffee round 1!

We ordered the SGD Black (120 php) and SGD Cold (175 php) for our drinks. Inggo also wanted a snack so I ordered a Lemon Bar (65php) for him. The place was packed full but we found a corner space on the second floor.

We were amused with the plating for the lemon bar. (ehem, /r/WeWantPlates). We’re not coffee connoisseurs, but sagada beans is our favorite Philippine variety because this one has a smooth, non-metallic, and not burnt taste. But it will still depend on the coffee shop. The drinks here were good! It has the same taste with other shops with sagada beans, but this one is much smoother.

Progress.

My table setup: watercolor pouch, power bank, and my seamountainco set. ♥

I also liked the interiors of the store. It was an old house converted into a coffee shop and learning center. I loved that it had large windows bringing in natural light inside. Perfect for me since I needed it for painting.

Another view of my table setup: Seamountainco set, portable mixing palette, and my w&n cotman set.

I also decided to paint another portrait of my friend because of our conversation. She mentioned that I made her a portrait when we were in Grade 6. Sadly, she lost the portrait due to constant moving. So I made a new one for her. ♥

We shared this plate. ♥

While doing the second painting, Inggo ordered food and drinks. He ordered the Longganisa (220php), Cappuccino (145php) for him, and Flat White (145php) for me. The food was really good and filling! I liked the runny egg yolks mixed with the etag and black rice. The veggies were also delicious. I think these are all Sagada products.

Coffee round 2!

His cappuccino had cinnamon powder on top instead of the usual chocolate powder. He said his drink was good. I don’t usually drink flat white, but this was also good. You could still taste the smooth sagada brew in it. The only pet peeve I think is that they serve hot drinks on glass cups. But that’s just my preference.

Finished! ♥

Overall, we had a good time here in SGD Coffee. It’s the perfect place for art tambays with the natural light. The food and drinks were good, although a bit expensive for the student crowd. They also teach everything about coffee, so do check out their Facebook page and website for more details.

Is this my new favorite coffee shop in Maginhawa? I’m still not sure.

Further reading:

SGD Coffee wants to make Sagada coffee among the best in the world.

Coffee from Sagada is challenging the way we think about local beans.

Tim Hortons

It’s planner season once again in the Philippines. I’ve already started my CBTL stamp collecting, but I’ve been craving the coffee of a new player in Metro Manila: Tim Hortons! The Canada-based fast food restaurant is finally here! The first time I tried it was at Eastwood with Inggo.

Interiors. They’re beside Ippudo at Eastwood.

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We ordered the Large Hot Mocha (130php) & French Vanilla (125php). The hot mocha is what you would expect it to taste. But the French Vanilla… oh my! It was heaven at first sip. ♥ Too bad that it was Inggo’s drink huhu. Price is competitive also, they’re wayyy cheaper than their competition. The only thing for a coffee connoisseur is that their coffee is not that strong. It’s too creamy for the experienced. But we don’t mind. ♥

He also ordered a Croissant with Cream Cheese. (75php).

I ordered an Apple Fritter. (Forgot the price, sorry! But it was also not bad for the price.)

And for every receipt, there’s a promo code where you have to answer their survey form. Once filled up, they’ll give you a code for a free donut when you buy a drink. ♥ I’ve already used 3-4 receipts HAHA.

Another thing is their iced drinks are different from their hot drinks. I always order the iced coffee (95php) with an add-on of vanilla shot (20php). For a large drink of 115php, I’m already happy with my creamy drink. Ughh! I’m craving for it now.

Once the planner season ends, and once they expand to the northern side of Metro Manila. I think I’ll become a regular at this place HAHA. ♥

Heat

A few weeks ago, we celebrated Inggo’s birthday at Heat, Shangrila. ♥ We were looking for a buffet around Ortigas area this time. After a lot of research, we discovered that they still offer their Wagyu Buffet every Saturday for 2,600 php. Please click the link above to book a table.

Shrimp! ♥

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For those who don’t have a vehicle, the entrance that you need to go to is beside Shangri-la Mall instead of the one at St. Francis street. It was a good thing that we had an errand at the mall! We arrived 15 mins before dinner service. The staff ushered us to our seats & we waited inside admiring the interiors first.

Sashimi ♥

Shrimp! ♥ You can eat it as is or you can ask the cooks to re-cook it however you want. (We asked for garlic butter shrimps!)

Mussels & Snails.

Crab! ♥

Plate after the sashimi. Asparagus Salad, Antipasti, Cheese.

Inggo’s plate. The redder meat is US Angus Beef. At the back is the famed Wagyu meat.

My plate.

My favorite at their dessert station. Maple pecan ice cream with pistachio toppings.

Was it worth it? Well, it depends on your preferences. We realized that day that we preferred a different way of preparing the meat. The seafood had to be re-cooked so its not as tender as we would want.

Will we try another expensive buffet again? Maybe. But we’ll try the best next time.

The 9th – Seda

For the last entry of our 9th anniversary staycation , we stayed at Seda – Vertis North. Our anniversary blog posts took 3 weeks to blog about, I’ll tell why on the next blog post.  On our last day at City Garden Grand hotel, we didn’t want to go home yet. So we looked for hotel deals online. One of our friends commented that Seda was already open (since April 2017) and they currently have an introductory price for an overnight stay. So we booked the Deluxe room with 2 free breakfast buffet for 4,665 php.

The spacious reception area. ♥

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From City Garden Grand Hotel, we booked an Uber to Glorietta 5 instead of going straight to Vertis North. It costs around 300+ for an uber ride from Makati to Quezon City that time. So we tried the P2P Bus at Glorietta 5 that will drop us off at Trinoma. Its my first time riding a double decker bus, and it was exhilarating! From Trinoma, well, we walked all the way to Seda.

Another view.

Lighting fixture.

The lounge at night.

An Ann Pamintuan piece near the stairs.

The lounge at the left side of the reception area.

Kenneth Cobonpue’s Bloom chairs! ♥ My favorite!

Check-in was a breeze. Our deluxe room was located on the 5th floor. Here’s how it looks like:

King-size bed. ♥

Lamp was not adjustable huhu.

Another view. ♥

Since we didn’t get to swim at City Garden Grand hotel, we took the opportunity here at Seda. The pool is located on the 3rd floor. The gym was also open but we didn’t try that. The other amenities on the 3rd floor were still under construction. I love the furniture here!

The pool was only 4 feet though. But the view makes up for it. We had clear skies that day and you could see the quezon city buildings. ♥ For dinner, we tried out the food at the ASEAN Food Festival at the parking area of Vertis North. The said mall is still under construction though.

Vito Selma’s Cara-boo. ♥

Obviously.

The next day, we had breakfast at Misto, their in-house restaurant. I love the interiors here, especially the abstract artworks! I wonder who is the artist. I also love their service staff. ♥ They were welcoming and accommodating. The breakfast buffet consists of the following: antipasti, bread station, egg station, noodle station, various local and international viands, desserts, cereals, and juice.

Middle plate: Various longganisa, croissant, and hakaw.

Inggo’s plate: antipasti, cheese, and bread.

Mine: antipasti, bread with blueberry (my favorite!), and scrambled eggs.

I knew we had more food but I forgot to take photos of that. After our breakfast, we relaxed in our room while waiting for our check-out time.

Yes let’s ride again the Cara-boo.

We had a great stay here. Interiors were beautiful, using local furniture designers for most of items in the hotel. We had a broken electric kettle inside our room and they quickly replaced it for us. One problem that we experienced was that there wasn’t any shuttle service to and from Trinoma. We had to walk all the way there to shop. But I think this is only temporary since the Vertis North will open soon. And there’s Uber for the lazy.

And that’s it for our 9th anniversary post. ♥ Thank you to Inggo for everything huhu. I love you!