February 23, 2011

Cafe Review: Cafe Antonio Los Banos

Rave Against the Machine – Café Antonio’s still kickin’ it, indie style in their new location

What: Independent set-up, young, artful with a talented line-up of baristas.
Where: Los Banos, the university town.
Price: Extremely reasonable (student reasonable – which is very reasonable)

Firmly settled in its new LB square location, Café Antonio has come out swinging with all the sass and independent spirit we’ve come to love – but with a brand new, expanded menu to boot. Part performance space, part living room, part café; Antonio’s has always stood as the antithesis to the vomit-inducing, status seeking, manufactured corporate machine of Starbucks. Only now, with a cracking line-up of cultural events and a swath of new snacky little things, Café Antonio’s is starting to prove that the traditional combination of tasty treats, excellent customer service and entrepreneurial spirit can still trump the bloated, consumerist herd of cafés and restaurants dumped (and for some reason, ‘loved’)  across Metro Manila. 

Despite all the rock bands and music gigs blasting out of the café at night, the first thing one notices when one steps inside is how quaint and homey the café feels. Bathed in a citrus yellow and lined with wood, the combination of shelves replete with books on art, history and philosophy, a smattering of board games and the dark blue couch make it feel like one has stepped into one’s postgrad, bass-playing, cum-artist uni friend’s living room. The eclectic blend of acid jazz and indie rock pumping completes the experience.  

Start by making a dash for the couch and grab the chess set, lest you sit at one of the tables where all the students jumble together, happily knocking elbows over coffee and pasta.

You’d be wise to start with a drink. The coffee is a real standout in an area (hell, let’s face it - a nation) renowned for bad coffee. Owner and barista, Jabez Flores and his barista team are a highly talented bunch, able to master a good Italian cup of coffee and create those indulgent dessert-like drinks that are more fun than coffee bean, so popular these days. The line-up runs the gamut from a well-polished macchiato and respectable cappuccino to the iced variety, coffee jellies, affogatos, blended drinks and said decadent desserts in a mug.

All the usual dessert treats are here – hazelnut, vanilla lattes and a rainbow of syrups to choose from. The team will do anything you ask – double shot, triple shot, jelly in that? You bet. Peppermint in your mocha? They’ve got you covered. But if you’re feeling truly indulgent, grab one of their original creations. The super sweet black forest frajelli, rocky road frothiccino and double shot Choco-Peppermint affogato are outrageous enough to let me toss aside that cup of chai and get down and dirty with some chocolate. Just don’t drink all three in one sitting. These drinks are so crazy that it’s obvious the baristas apply the same experimental and creative approach mixologists apply to cocktails.

If the coffee jellies, affogato and syrups weren’t enough to fill your sugar intake then scoff down a blueberries and cream waffle, fresh off the griddle from a home-made batter mix. Cakes and cookies abound from Yummings and a killer bigingkinitan is on the menu too.

No doubt, though, you’re going to be after the eats. The original menu had a modest selection of sandwiches and pastas, that has now flowered and matured into a thoughtful selection of focaccis, paninis and pastas that can easily make a meal.

Ditch the regular sandwiches and have the crisp and tangy lemon chicken panini, or go for the basil, tomato and mozzarella focaccia. The bread is to die for. The pasta dishes are worth a crack too. The penne Bolognese is generous, with the true home-made Italian taste of tomatoes, sans all the brown sugar and sweet drivel that passes for Italian food elsewhere. But our favourite is the pasta Antonio, served in a rich vegetarian sauce evoking ratatouille and arrabbiata in one spoonful – it truly hits the mark.

It’s not just the coffee machine and the kitchen swinging with both fists either. On the floor is Jabez with the entire crew all hands on deck, so no matter which way you turn, you’re pretty much surrounded by uncut, A-grade talent in a laid back, student-like package. The staff is incredibly affable, a couple of visits and you’ll feel like part of the family. If I’m in Los Banos, Café Antonio is my living room. I always wait, my fork poised and glass raised in anticipation for whatever the region’s brightest young barista talents are ready to throw at me.

What’s it got: Everything you need for a good day/night out at a café. Including the live music.

What’s Missing: Red wine and some sort of brunch deal with poached eggs, béarnaise sauce, sliced avocado and focaccia. Is that asking too much? Yes, it is – but if it did the whole wine and brunch thing, this place would be perfect – and exactly what this country is missing. Oh – and when can we Irish up our coffee?

Some pictures are from Cafe Antonio LB's website. I do not own some of them. If you want to know more about Cafe Antonio, visit their sites

Listening to : Trophy Boy by Reese Lansangan

             <3 : Got the highest grade on our exam
             =( : twats 

February 20, 2011

La Vie En Rose

Dress from Atmosphere, Irene Wedges by Parisian, bangles from The Ramp, earrings from Accessorize, blue studded bag from Hong Kong

"A dress makes no sense unless it inspires men to want to take it off you." 
It's been a very busy week and I didn't even have time to go out, dress up and have fun. I've been taking care of my mother in the hospital and the only amusement I got was watching Spartacus, Modern Family and Big Bang Theory while I call, PM people about scheduling stuff. So when a break was caught before our make-up class, I decided to grab it by the neck . One of my classmates started using our make-up products so I did the same and had a little make-over using Make Up For Ever for freeeeeee! I've been going to places, organizing events, attending classes that  I barely had time to be "fashionable". I'm usually in my leggings, loose shirt, havs/boots and messy hair--an ensemble that (I know) does not inspire any men to want to rip my clothes to pieces. If only sex-deprived gladiators were still around. lol. The result of this "dry/cold season"  is this outfit post of a dress that makes me feel sexy. I need to experience it once in a while. I'm starting to feel like a man.

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Listening to : La Vie En Rose

             <3 : vaccine shots
             =( : dieting 

February 19, 2011

UPLB Feb Fair 2011

Went to Feb Fair with my parents because they wanted to treat Sir Torreta who is my dad's old friend and brother in his org back in UPLB.

We visited Mello's mother first then I went around with Archie.
Ate with my parents and Sir Torreta at Palaisdaan.
Met with Gail and Jen.
Went around.
Went to Epchi's booth to say hello.
Watched CommArts Soc's gay beauty pageant which was just hilarious and brilliant!!
Absolutely enjoyed it!! Thank you Andy, Alex, Tata and everyone!!
Rode the Caterpillar just for fun.
Met with Cayo and Jocks. 
Cayo took me to our hotel where my parents' were waiting.
Thank you Gail, Jen and Cayo! :)

Listening to : Ferris Wheel, Michelle Shaprow

             <3 : Feb Fair
             =( : something something :)

February 15, 2011

It's Their Valentine's Day

Kamiseta brown cardigan, Paisley  dress from Bangkok, Charles & Keith snakeskin peeptoe, Mango clutch, Accessorize necklace 

Dad and Mum. Did mum's make-up here


My sister Margie

A funny shot where mum's sleeping lol

As you can see, we don't eat much, thus we're all kinda fit :)

Dad surprised mum after she did a little grocery. Again, she has very tired eyes. haha

Mum suddenly danced!! She must've been very happy that day.
So Margie's boyfriend is in New Jersey while "the Mark" is in Sydney so... me and my sister decided to treat our parents out on Valentine's Day. Since dad doesn't want me to drive and they just wanted somewhere near, we let them choose the restaurant. 

I originally wanted Vivere but they hated the food there (dapat Job kaw chef nila dati!) and they love Kanin Club so there you go. We went to West Gate early, me and my sis paid the bill then we headed to ATC for coffee. 

My mother did a little grocery while my dad brought flowers and Lindt choco to surprise her. We had coffee at CBTL and watched the aero class. My mother couldn't help it and tried dancing. She was very happy.

When we got home, it was skyping for both me and my sister. We were very happy that our parents had a great time esp my mother who is still a bit unwell. Some people actually asked me out on Vday but I was already set to make Vday special for my mother :)

Listening to : Mushaboom, Feist

             <3 : family
             =( : none really

February 11, 2011

Retro Romantic

Kamiseta brown cardigan, Naf Naf dress, Brown oxfords from my sister,  Vintage belt, brooches, jewelry from my mother and sister.

My mother loves brooches. She has several of them in her jewelry box which I managed to rummage while she's away. Hehe. She likes diamonds, pearls, silver and gold.

The rings are from my sister while the Swarovski and pearl bracelets are my mother's.

Vintage oxfords from my sister. I love the rugged, used and vintage look.
 There are a lot of vintage pieces in this post. My mother's belt, for example, is actually from the 70s. The brooches have been in my mother's jewelry box since forever and oh god, I'm just in love with these oxfords and their rugged, used look.. I sometimes wish we could all go back to a time where everyone actually dressed up everyday. Back to the 50s to be exact. I adore tight waists, beautiful dresses and the very feminine fashion, hair and make-up of women .

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Listening to : I Wasn't Prepared, Eisley

             <3 : Vintage stuff
             =( : none really

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