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chiu

Sure, there are big specialty coffee chains like Starbucks, CBTL, Figaro, Seattles Best, UCC, and Toby's Estate in the Fort. They make decent coffee, provide free wi-fi and newspaper, and a nice place to lounge. On the other hand, they cannot offer something that true coffee artists have.

Coffee artists are people who love coffee madly and truly, and they invest their time and money on it. They brew each cup with great care. When you talk to them, it is like you are talking to surfers, because they will talk about the first, second and third wave of specialty coffee for a long, long time. They are bold, constantly creating new flavors to challenge our taste buds. You can feel their enthusiasm for their craft oozing from their pores. And THAT is their charm.

Where do you find them?

Rent is high in Bonifacio Global City, therefore, you will not find many of them occupying a retail space with tables. Most likely, you will find a coffee artist running his stall in an event. Take Lanz (Lorenzo Casteillo) of Candid Coffee, for example. I met him at a community event held recently in a condominium building in Forbestown Road. He manned a pop-up coffee cart and made simple espresso based coffee from a professional coffee maker. Because of the low overhead, he could sell a decent handcrafted cappuccino for P80. He can also put a roasted marshmallow topping on your coffee.

You can find someone like Lanz probably in a lot of weekend events in Fort Bonifacio, and when you do, do not miss the chance to talk to them. If they are the real deal, you can get a free lesson on coffee beans, a story of their entrepreneurial journey, and a share of their zeal.

El Union Coffee

Recently, a specialty coffee outfit found a way to introduce their coffee to the residents of Fort Bonifacio without incurring an expensive overhead. El Union Coffee from La Union has opened a coffee stall at the ground floor of Kensington Place, Burgos Circle. It shares the retail space with a bar that opens only at night. So coffee is served from 8am to 6pm. Since that place is in my neighborhood, I chanced upon it one morning while going to the supermarket.

Even though the space they occupy is small, they put in a lot of machines, and all of them are metallic, giving the place a surgical feel, as if they were saying that their beverages are precision-made. There are three industrial grade coffee grinders, a 3-head coffee tap (the first of its kind in the Fort), and a two-group automatic espresso machine. There is space left for only two chairs for the customers.

El Union Coffee has all metal gear

The unique coffee tap is actually used for dispensing cold milk and other cold liquid for the beverages that they make. For example, I ordered a cinnamon milk drink on the recommendation of one of the two baristas there. It was made of cinnamon powder, rice milk and cow milk. The rice and cow milk mixture came out of the tap. As for real coffee, even though they have a high grade espresso machine, their preferred way of making coffee is by hand pour.

Indeed, the coffee profession seems to have come full circle, by starting with pour-over coffee in the old days, then went nuts with espresso drinks in the 20th century, now going back to hand poured coffee, albeit with better equipment and technique.

Barista Sylvester standing next to the nitro coffee tap and the price list

While deciding what to order, I asked the baristas, Sylvester and Josh, about the business. Sylvester said that their company came from La Union, and they used coffee beans sourced ethically locally and aboard. He explained everything in so much details that I had to ask if he was an owner of the shop. He said he worked for the company, but the company had a very flat structure, so everyone took pride in being part of the company. I looked up the Facebook page of the company, and found that it does look like a very progressive establishment. An interesting discovery during a stroll in the neighborhood.

In between the specialty coffee big chains and the small new coffee artists on the block, there are semi-independents, such as Single Origin at Bonifacio High Street (BHS), Kuppa at Commercenter Building, 4th Avenue, Luna Coffee at BHS and NAC Tower, 32nd Street, Local Edition at Serendra Piazza, Travel Bean and Coffee Empire at Venice Piazza, McKinley Hill. They are local specialty coffee companies with only a handful of outlets, so they have to really use all the tricks in their book to get enough business to pay for the high overhead of a full size cafe. 

One popular way to attract more customers is to have alcohol on the menu. In the old, old days, of course cafes had booze and coffee. Then the first wave specialty coffee shops like Starbucks focus just on coffee. Now the coffee and alcohol combo is back. Single Origin and El Union use it, and also the newest specialty coffee shop in Fort Bonifacio, Slurp, for example.

Slurp Coffee

Slurp is located on the third floor of Venice Grand Canal Mall, next to the cineplex.

It has wine and cheese alongside the coffee offerings on its menu.

Apart from wine, another feature that Slurp highlights in the cafe is the quality of the water used in making the coffee. Serious coffee drinkers know that the taste of water used in making coffee has a big impact on the flavor of the coffee. So the owner of Slurp displays the filters used to make the coffee.

In addition to filters to remove sediments and odor, there is even a filter to reduce scale in the water used to make your coffee

Other than water quality and wine, the owner also emphasizes the gold filter used in making the pour over coffee.

Instead of paper filter, a gold filter will be placed in the filter holder when making pour-over coffee.

A haven for coffee lovers

For coffee lovers, they should be able to celebrate everyday in Fort Bonifacio, as there are so many coffee specialists strutting their expertise to make you a cup of satisfying coffee.





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JPDL

I know that many people love dogs, but how about hot dogs? If you ain't fond of this beautifully-encased clumps of meat, maybe you just haven't found 'the one' yet. Worry no more, because I am the top dog to help you find the best hot dog in town!

Yesterday I visited two of the most well-known hotdog places in Fort Bonifacio: Pink's Hot Dogs at Shangri-La the Fort and Harry's at Uptown Mall.

PINK'S HOT DOGS: A BURST OF FLAVORS IN YOUR MOUTH

This restaurant has been around for more than seven decades already. They started out as a diner in the United States and last year opened their first branch here in Manila. Once you enter their branch at the G/F of Shangri-La, the ambiance will give you a feel of Hollywood. Their dining area is quite spacious and you'll love the neon signs! It almost reminded me of Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe in Archie's fictitious world of #Riverdale!

Their staff gave me a warm welcome.  I ordered one of their best-sellers called The Hollywood Legend a la carte at P280.00. It's a mixture of hot dog in a bun topped with chili con carne, minced white onions, and a generous amount of CHEESE!

I like how this sandwich gives you that tangy-salty-sweet flavor in every bite. I'm not really a fan of chili so thank God that the cheese on top somehow neutralizes the spiciness of the chili. The onion also does its magic by adding more flavor to the sandwich. Notably, the bun they used was fresh because the crust still gives that crackling sound when you press it. The let down is the tough casing of the sausage.

HARRY'S: SPICIER THAN THE SPICE GIRLS

Hailed from the land down under, this Aussie restaurant started out as a diner on wheels. Known as Harry's Cafe de Wheels in Australia, they have been serving piping hot pies and mouth-watering sausages for almost seven decades already. If you want to try out their world-famous menu, you don't have to book a flight to Australia because there's already a branch here in Uptown Mall at the Fort.


I ordered their best-seller, Chili Dog a la carte priced at P270.00. The service took quite a while since it was 12 o'clock already and there were many people having their lunch breaks. When the sandwich arrived, I immediately grabbed a bite because I was really excited to taste and compare it with Pink's.


At Harry's, a 2-piece chicken and waffle costs P160, while a hotdog is P280 and more

Overall, the sausage was well-seasoned and flavorful and the bun also tasted good because it was soft and it complemented the sausage. The chili con carne was meaty and I loved it. The only thing I hated was there was too much HOT SAUCE! I barely even tasted the flavor of the chili because I was literally holding my tears back because of the spiciness. The game "the floor is lava" has nothing on me, as MY MOUTH WAS LAVA! Though the staff gave me a glass of water, it wasn't enough so I asked for a refill. I believe they were understaffed because nobody refilled my glass for the next five minutes.

This should serve as a warning for those who are not that tolerant of spicy food: STAY AWAY FROM HARRY'S CHILI DOG! 

THE VERDICT

In my honest opinion, the hot dog sandwich that tasted better was The Hollywood Legend of Pink's - FOR NOW. But this dog ain't stopping the search for the best hot dog in town. That is my purpose of existence. And the hot dogs? Well, their purpose is to satisfy my empty stomach.

What is your hot dog experience? Share them below in the comments!

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newbie

Where else can you eat lobster from a street stall but in Fort Bonifacio? A new food stall opened in Fort Strip two weeks ago (mid April) and its name is "Lobster Station". Is it just a name, like 'rocket room', or it really sells lobster? That was the question that I wanted answered when I approached the stall this evening.


Lobster Station is located in the Fort Strip, facing a parking lot. It has three tables outside the box-shaped kitchen.

When I was there at around 6pm. I was the only customer. I checked out the simple menu, and found out that indeed, it had lobster on its menu! The top billed item was lobster roll, at P590 per order. Other lobster named dishes are: lobster fried/pried rice P150 per order, and lobster grilled panini P550.


I ordered the lobster roll, because it showed  a big lobster claw. I wanted to find out if indeed I would get a lobster claw, in case I could not tell how a lobster tastes like.


The kitchen is very simple. It was run by its owner and an assistant. He heated up a bread roll, put some butter on it, and then stuffed the bun with lobster meat. The order was served with coleslaw and potato chips.


The million peso question: how does it taste? It tasted lobstery, Very yummy. You may not want to spend nearly P600 on a sandwich, but it tastes so good that once you have tried it, you are hooked. According to the owner, the lobster was from Boston. I did not expect to get imported lobster, but then again, I did not think there would be really a street stall that sells lobster. 

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TheHungryEmployee

It was all about love and grandeur at that moment. No spooky surprises whatsoever. Just pure great food and ambiance at Kitchen’s Best.

The place is somewhat decked with the color red. Crystal chandeliers, white regal chairs, and gold details make this place grand and fit for a royalty. Amidst all those Halloween decors, their desserts and pastries still stay as the centerpiece. Now on to their sumptuous dishes!
My meal of choice was their Baked Salmon Florentine which came with this very flavorful rice. I don’t know if it was just me but the rice was smooth. Lying on a bed of spinach, the baked salmon was creamy topped with some herbs that paired well with the rice. It was a good thing that the spinach was there to balance out the dish’s creaminess. Overall, this was one good creamy dish!

Hungry for more of this article? I am! Check out the full article HERE on my blog. Go and get ready, set, CHOMP! :) 


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TheHungryEmployee

Really hungry and craving for some sumptuous meals? The Hungry Hound might just be the answer. Their dishes are really luscious that will fill one’s starving tummy.

Upon entering the place, it does feel like a pub but a very well-lit and classy one. They have these interesting light fixtures over by the bar, and eclectic pieces on their wall cabinets.

It really was a “oh-my-goodness-this-is-so-friggin-good” moment for me when I bit into one of the fries. Aside from the duck fat, their Duck Fat Fries had pimenton dulce, rosemary, garlic confit, and parmesan shavings. After having one bite, I’m sure that you’ll be back for more once you’ve tasted this. It’s quite tangy which was probably because of the paprika.


Hungry for more of this article? I am! Check out the full article HERE on my blog. Go and get ready, set, CHOMP! :) 

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eclara

I'm a night owl. I find it hard to sleep at night and I usually end up ordering food at 2am or even 5am. And then I thought, what would a a nighttime snack run in Bonifacio Global City go about like. 

One midweek night, I decided to traverse a portion of The Fort. I started at 9pm from SM Aura. I had to do a quick errand at Power Mac and then I tried to look for the perfect appetizer.

Frankie’s
SM Aura

I love buffalo wings. I think it’s the perfect companion to an alcoholic drink and at the same time, it can be eaten with or without rice. It’s the first time I tried the wings from Frankie’s and upon looking at the simple menu, I knew that I had to try garlic parmesan coated buffalo wings.

It took some time before the order arrived, but it was definitely worth it. I ordered half a dozen of wings, but I wasn’t sure if I will be able to finish it. The wings were coated with thick garlic sauce and heavily sprinkled with parmesan. The initial taste was overpowering but the moment you bite your teeth into the white meat, the overall taste balances it out.

At that time, I wasn’t sure if I would still be able to eat two more dishes, but since I made it a point to walk to my next destination, I thought the short distance would build up my appetite.

½ dozen of Buffalo wings P188


Luna Breakfast and Coffee
BHS

This was actually an unexpected stopover. I was saving coffee and desserts after a rice meal. But when I went inside the small café along Bonifacio Hugh Street, I knew that I could make time for a quick dessert and just eat the supposed rice meal after.

I wanted to try and grab their coffee, but knowing my body, I knew that if I drank even a milliliter, I would not be able to sleep a wink later. I decided on the Pastillas cupcake and the Leche yema.

Initially I thought the serving was too small and does not justify the bill that I racked up for two modestly looking desserts. But upon taking my first bite, I knew that it would take some time for someone to finish off the small sweets. The sweet pastillas and yema base of the desserts are surprisingly small in such small dessert place. It took a while for me to clean my plate of all the crumbs because both the desserts are too ssweet.

You see, Luna Café is this rustic looking place. Half the price you pay is probably the ambience. I could really see myself enjoying a cup of coffee and a small plate of dessert with a book soon (I plan on treating myself in the future). I might have raised an eyebrow at first for the price, but I think the desserts that I ordered are meant to be consumed for a little longer than it took me to devour them.
Leche Yema P65 ; Pastillas Cupcake P100

Shawarma Bro’s

The last time I had their shawarma, it was served to me from a food truck. I was really curious about what it would feel like to eat a meal from their own place. By the time that I put the metal plate on the table, I smelled that it was the familiar taste that I was craving for. I ordered a Beef Shawarma Rice meal with garlic and cheese (yes, my two favorite) sauce with vegetables on the side.

What I loved about this meal was the rice. It was cooked fresh, so it tasted warm and delicious. The meat was a little tough, but bearable. I found the dressing a bit too bland, not like the taste I remember, but still familiar, which was definitely a plus. I found this stop as the most comfortable. The restaurant exuded this chill vibe where I felt people coming from drinking could recover. And why wouldn’t they? Warm food and some meat will probably help hungover people get their feet back on the ground in no time.
Beef Shawarma Rice P179

 

Frankie's Wings at SM Aura


Frankie's Wings is located on 4th floor of SM Aura. It is opening a shop in Crossroads, 32nd Street.


Luna's pastillas cupcake and the leche yema


Luna Cafe in Bonifacio High Street 


If you have craving for shawarma while in the Fort, go to Shawarma Bros in Stopover Pavilion



Shawarma on a plate