Friday, February 28, 2014

My Kind of Dead End

Tipping brought me back to Sto. Nino Subdivision. Jade, a friend who lived in the neighborhood when we were then colleagues, recently left a comment on Facebook and mentioned that other than 10 Dove St., she also frequented Cul de Sac in the same vicinity. Her fond recollection of the place sent me googling for articles and images. Soon enough, a schedule was set and together with hungry companions, we headed off to the subdivision.

At the entrance, the guard will tell you "turn right at the first curb". Cul-de-Sac sits right at the "dead end" which, by the way, defines its very name.

The Dead End (Cul-de-sac)

Come in..

After stopping to take a picture, we entered into the shop. Inside, you will notice around 7 tables. Behind the glass wall from the inside, lines another row of tables for customers who prefer natural ventilation. At the bar, stands a staff who stays ready to take customer orders.

For our menu, we ordered Osso Bucco, Fish fillet in Lemon, Fish nuggets in Tartar Dip and Rhapsody in Blue. We sided our orders with Spicy Tuna Aglio Olio just to satisfy curiosity.
Mushroom Soup

Fifteen minutes passed, then, came the creamy mushroom soup. It was delightful as it had the right amount of salt, but it didn't come as creamy as I thought it would.

Rhapsody in Blue
Ten minutes later, the main dishes started coming in. Rhapsody in Blue looked very much like my fish nuggets that i almost screamed "it's mine!" (thanks to the waiter who clearly pronounced it's name). The only apparent difference, I must say, is that the the former had lavish sauce poured all over it while mine came with a separate tartar dip. Nonetheless, both plus the Fish Fillet in Lemon, are similar in the sense that all three seemed to use the same type of fish (possibly a Dover Sole or Cream Dory) for a main ingredient.

Fish Nuggets in Tartar Dip

Fish Fillet in Lemon
Osso Bucco, the only item that wasn't fish in our orders looked and tasted nice too. I just wonder if it would taste better had it been a cut from the prime part of the beef shank rather than being just a cutlet from the smaller portion of the bone. I know how the marrow tastes and that oily substance form the bone cavity makes so much difference and would have boosted the flavor of the starchy beef stock.

Osso Bucco
Just when everyone's done with the main course, the dessert was served. It was a scoop of flaky mango ice cream. It must have melted at some point and then frozen again, hence, the separation of water from the mix.

Mango Ice Cream

It took us over an hour to finish all three meal courses. All for the price of P200. Service was okay especially that we had the crew monopolized as we were the only ones in the restaurant then. Will I go back? Why not? Like my friend Jade, it's a dead end (cul-de-sac) I wouldn't mind finding myself in once or twice in this lifetime.

Tip: Spy on a nearby restaurant in the same village. Click here.
Extra: Know how Dimsum Break is linked to Cul-de-Sac.

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Home Away from Home

The taxi stopped at the guardhouse. "10 Dove St.", we answered when the security person asked. Smiling, we waited while the driver took us a few right and left turns until the final halt in front of the door of a subdivision home.

It's funny how intrusive I felt opening the door of an unfamiliar house. However, as soon as we went in, the mood changed. It was in fact indeed a tiny restaurant with tables, chairs, and diners happily chomping. There were just about 5 tables fit in a small area that is barely comfortable for 30 people. At a tiny corner, almost pushed to the wall, is a bar for a crew of two:  a butler (older guy) who sometimes wait on tables wearing what looked like the modern short-sleeved barong and a full-time waiter who always looked busy as if the butler's eyes are on him all the time.

Soon enough, the man in-charge came to us with a notepad and a pen. At P220 I had to complete the task of choosing my seemingly 4-course meal starting with the soup, salad, sandwich and then a cake for dessert. I ordered my first onion soup, shrimp salad, a hamburger and a slice of their chiffon cake.


15 minutes and the onion soup was served. I hardly had the strength to pick my spoon up as I imagined how awful onions must taste being the only main ingredient in a stew. Yet, I did. How could I not? It looked meaty with a slice of cheese on top. I dug my spoon to find croutons instead of meat. Surprised, yet, I went one spoonful to another. And still another. Now onion stew wasn't at all that bad.


As if the waiter knew I was almost finished, he served the shrimp salad. It was an elbow macaroni salad topped with a leaf or two of lettuce and mixed with skinless shrimps. At first, the shrimp didn't fit the mix, however, the more I chewed one after another in spoonfuls of macaroni, I realized it was delectable and healthy. I could eat a serving more.

Third of the entrees is a hamburger. The bun looked plumped and fresh. My appetite was really yearning for it the moment I smelled mayonnaise, cucumber and grilled meat patty. I am keenly familiar to the odor since I used to making my own at home too. The burger was dry at the exterior. You need to sink your teeth into the freshly cooked patty to savor the burnt meat juice and smokey flavor. I also compensated the lack of mayonnaise with catsup for its sour-sweet taste and tobasco for that lingering hot and spicy sensation.

Finally, the dessert. The butler mentioned three flavors and ''MANGO YOGHURT" said we, in unison.

It was a full lunch and the neighborhood of Sto. Nino Subdivision was quiet and mindless of sojourners who had to walk lazily to the highway because their pockets are empty and can hardly pay for another taxi ride.

Home is where doves come back to even after distances of travel. No wonder people find 10 Dove St a place to return to in Cebu.

10 Dove Street
Santo Niño Village,Banilad,
6000 Cebu City, Philippines
Contact No: (032) 346 0618

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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Sunday, 2PM Specials

There is a chocolate cake I go crazy about. The type that makes you drool even at the slightest thought of it. It was by no means a Sunday, but I was up to hunt for Sunday 2PM Cafe*.... Yeah! You read it right.

Sunday 2pm is how that Korean coffee shop is named. Sheltered at the ground floor of Sarrosa Hotel this coffee shop looks pink and dainty. I wouldn't have gone had it not been for the persistent and insistent invitation of another blogging friend** whose affair with cafés can drive you nuts. But I did go and it was all worth the ride to F. Cabahug St., (a street I would usually avoid going to as there is only one jeepney (03-A) that passes through it). It was a visit I will remember Cebu for because of a sinful delight. Must I go into further details?...

Of course. It may not be our first to hear about cakes being called "devil" or "sin", but, their Chocolate Sin Cake is "the one to reckon with". I didn't let audacity drive me to the point of asking their attendant if the owner did the baking but I was already letting myself sink into the luring sweet other-worldly dimension. The kind of world where nothing else matters except that subtle sweetness and bitterness blending in harmony as the creamy dark chocolate melts in the mouth and bursts into a glorious "hmmmm" spelled in the walls of  imagination. It is so transporting such that a loud distraction is necessary to snap you out from the quiet.

Chocolate Sin Cake.... Spellbinding!

(tinkles and loud conversation..!)
I hate to take you back to reality but the sin cake is not their only food. They do have a wide selection of "snackables" to choose from: toasts, flavored and blended drinks, hot and cold coffee mixes, panini, and many more. All those either handwritten or cut and pasted on a worn out, ordinary "notebook". Seriously? How outdated can you get? But ain't the "old" and "simple" the latest new and posh?

(left) a page of the Slam book Menu | (center) "THE cake" and a Taro Blend | (right) library, post-its, interior

Obviously, these type of cafés proliferate lately. In the list of good Korean contributions to Philippine trends, this is certainly one of it. Filipinos go back to the shop for many reasons: for the library of books, laze on comfortable and raw interiors, to catch local gossips and stories from post-its, spelling and grammar patrolling. I go back to Sunday 2PM to sketch and scribble... and sin (embarassed). Darn! That Chocolate Sin Cake's put a spell on me!

* the name is taken from the owner's (Sean Yoo) favorite day and time of the week. Details from here.
** photos here are courtesy of Laagholic.

Sunday 2PM Cafe
Sarrosa International Hotel and Residential Suites
F. Cabahug St. Cor. Pres. Quirino
Ayala Access road, Mabolo
Cebu City, Philippines 6000

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