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 – Hole in the Wall

For dinner on our second day, we decided to try out Century City Mall’s “food hall“. This is Hole in the Wall on the fourth floor. It consists of various food establishments inside a common dining area.

One of the dining areas during our visit.

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Where we sat during dinner time.

For dinner, we decided to eat at the most popular store there which was Bad Bird. They specialize in chicken. Apparently they won numerous awards in the Philippines.

My Dirty Rice Plate (390 php). Dirty rice (fried rice, chicken liver, bacon, tamago, and bonito), kimchi coleslaw, and 2 pcs fried chicken.

Inggo’s Waffle Plate (360 php). Sweet potato waffles, miso butter, maple syrup, and 2 pcs friend chicken. The 2pcs small balls are hush puppies (+ php)

BB Corn (190 php). Corn on a stick with kewpie, bonito, cheese, and toragashi.

Verdict? We understood why this restaurant is popular with the crowd. But for us, personally, we didn’t like it. We thought it was too expensive for the food. But maybe this is the “normal” price for the Makati crowd. I dunno.

This is just one out of 9 establishments inside Hole in the Wall. I hope we could try the other restaurants when we’re near the area next time.

The 9th – Le Petit Soufflé

On the first day of our 9th anniversary staycation, we discovered that Century City Mall is only a 5-minute walk away from our hotel. On the second day, we decided to try out the interesting restaurants there. ♥ Based on online reviews, Le Petit Soufflé is the #1 restaurant in Century City Mall.

Pretty interiors.♥

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If I were to describe the interiors, it would be french chic. I love their furniture. ♥

Our drinks: Iced Matcha Latte (130 php) & Hot Matcha tea (100 php). No strong matcha flavor, huhu.

Kinoko Frites (235 php). These are fried enoki and another mushroom. I loved these! But so expensive.

Hambagu with truffled cream & mushrooms. (595 php). This is Inggo’s dish. He craved for Jolibee’s burger steak after eating this.

My dish: Squid Ink Riz (395 php). This took a while. Its a small, but filling dish. I love the fluffy egg & squid ink rice.

Matcha souffle with vanilla syrup (350 php). Expensive! But worth a try. We loved the crispy edges instead of the fluffy insides.

Facade design. So cute huhu.

Verdict? Its worth a try. Not sure if we’ll come back though.

Le Petit Soufflé is located on the Third floor of Century City Mall.

The 9th – Little Tokyo

For our first dinner during our 9th anniversary staycation at Makati, we wanted to try the Wagyu cube buffet at Little Tokyo. This place features a group of restaurants which specializes in Japanese cuisine. We’ve been here a lot of times before (check out our old food blog!). But we didn’t get to try the wagyu buffet at Urameshi-ya before since they only offer this during Monday to Wednesday. But this time, we did!

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We walked from our hotel to Little Tokyo instead of taking an uber. The surge was insanely high for the distance. Well, at least walking was healthier (but tiring).

The “buffet” at Urameshi-ya is worth 500php + 10% service charge. We got wagyu cubes, wagyu spam, marinated pork belly, and some scallops. You have 45 mins to cook everything you ordered. But you can still stay after the 45min. mark to eat your food. The buffet comes with miso soup, salad, and rice.

The server gave us a plate of wagyu cubes. ♥

HUGE scallops! ♥

Sadly, there wasn’t any crabs/oyster/shrimp during our stay compared to the other review blogs. But since we went here for the wagyu cubes, we didn’t mind. The wagyu cubes were delicious! Service was great as well. Our server helped us cook the scallops. (Tip: you don’t have to remove the shell!)

Satisfied with Urameshi-ya, we went to their neighbor restaurant Hana for dessert: We always order the Matcha Kakigori + additional icecream here!

After our Little Tokyo adventure, we got an uber and went back to our hotel. ♥

The 9th – City Garden Grand Hotel

We celebrated our 9th year anniversary this May! ♥ Instead of going far away this year, we opted for a staycation instead in Metro Manila. I’ve decided to divide the posts into smaller parts. For the first entry is our hotel! We checked in at City Garden Grand hotel for 3 days and nights. I would like to note that this is the City Garden Grand Hotel. They have a sister hotel which is just nearby.

Reception area.

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Check-in was a breeze. You need to present your ID and pay a security deposit at the reception. Then you’ll receive your room card. We got the Superior King Bed room on the 29th floor.

Lobby.

Ceiling details. Love the 3 huge capiz chandelier!

I love our room!  ♥ The bed and pillows were so comfy. Both side tables have equal numbers of power outlets, switches, and telephones compared to others. Wifi was also free (up to 3 devices I think). It has a sophisticated feel to the interiors through the use of dark & neutral tones, accentuated by the use of lights.

Our king size bed with the comfiest pillows. ♥

Bathroom.

Bath tub : the #1 reason that we chose this hotel.

Left: View from our room ♥ | Right: Trump tower! (I did some of the interior plans in my previous job)

For our last day, we had breakfast at Spice Cafe on the 7th floor. You could go ala carte or do the breakfast buffet worth ~800php.

Sadly, the only photos that I took were below. I was too shy to take photos of the others because there were a lot of foreigners that morning HAHA. The breakfast buffet consists of the following: Bread station, fruit station, cheese, chocolate fountain, cereals and yogurt, salad bar, noodle station, egg station, maki station, viands from the Philippines and different countries.

I was satisfied of the buffet because of the bread station with blueberry jam. ♥ He was satisfied because of the unlimited olives & bacon. Service was very nice.

Overall, our staycation was great! No complaints on the room except for the aircon (which took a while to cool, but apparently they replied at our review on Agoda & said aircon was repaired). The hotel was nearby Century City Mall and other food establishments which was a plus for us. If we had a bigger budget, I’d like to try the Presidential Suite next time.  ♥

City Garden Grand hotel website.