Thursday, August 14, 2014

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Cafe Hopping in (a small area of) Cebu

Coffee hasn't always been one of my favorite drinks and I suppose it never will be but cafes have always piqued my interest. I've been to my fair share of the more popular ones such as Starbucks and Bo's but it was the smaller, more quaint shops that made me want to explore and experience every coffee house that ever existed. So, I made it my mission to visit as many cafes as I can while I finish my internship here in Cebu City. I made it a point to visit a different one each week but I haven't been as regular as I would've liked so updates to this post will come and go. If anyone has a favorite coffee shop worth visiting, leave a comment and let me know.

Tomo Cafe: A Maid and Butler Cafe 
86 Gov. M. Cuenco Ave., Nasipit, Talamban

The view from my little corner of the cafe

This cafe was definitely number one on my to-go list (I mean helooo? Maid and buter cafe??) so I jumped at the timing and went straight to the cafe that weekend. It was cute, especially the way how the maid or butler on duty would rush to open the door for you before you entered/left. They'd greet you and thank you in Japanese which I thought was a nice subtle touch. I was expecting them to fawn and fuss over you like the many depictions of cafes of this genre on TV and in some anime so I was relieved that they'd more or less leave you to your devices unless you requested otherwise. 

I'm not much of a food photographer but I couldn't help taking a picture of the Omu Rice (the specialty of the house) message Hitomi, the maid assigned to me, wrote with ketchup.

1st at Tomo

I enjoyed myself in my little corner eating my meal, drinking my chocolate shake and reading my Startup Weekend Book. But if you're not into the whole "alone time" gig, they have an assortment of board games you can play, manga and anime magazines you can read and a flat screen playing anime series to movies all day so you have a lot to keep you occupied (free wifi too). So overall it was a great first visit.

The Brown Cup
Skyrise 1, Cebu IT Park, Lahug

The view from my little corner of the cafe

The Brown Cup was a sort of impromptu visit since it was the cafe closest to my workplace and I had to eat a quick lunch there. It was pretty cozy like most cafes but I relatively do not want to dine-in if given a choice. Their food is good and so is their coffee so I usually do take-outs from them.

The tables that I've sat in mostly are wobbly and make you spill you coffee as you eat, it occasionally has flies around and, it was a one-time thing so far but, their staff weren't that accommodating. One thing that I found endearing about the cafe though was that their chairs had cute ass-molds on them.

Ass-molds on chairs

Bo's Coffee
inside Fully Booked, Ayala Fairview Terraces

The view from my little corner of the cafe

I swore to myself that I wouldn't visit the more well-known cafes because that would just be boring but the moment I smelled coffee inside a bookstore (in this case it was Fully Booked)
I just had to know where the smell was coming from. I went up a floor and realized that there was a Bo's Coffee stall build inside Fully Booked, which I thought was awesome. You could take a book on the shelf, bring it to your table as you drink your coffee and enjoy the smell of paper and coffee mixing in the air (I know . Sounds gross but don't judge me, I like the smell)

I came with my own book, which was The Lean Startup, ordered a marble cake and a mug of cafe latte and spent a relaxing two hours before I had to to go to mass. The stool I sat in wasn't the most comfortable though since I had to flex my shoulders a bit after an hour (but that was because most of the other seats were taken)
. I was giddy and thanked the genius who thought of this glorious mix up and, even though it's against my personal rule of "different cafes every week", I might just spend an afternoon there again a few more times just to enjoy the fusion.

Topokki Man
ground floor of a building next to University of San Carlos and Donya Rita Village, Talamban 

The view from my little corner of the cafe restaurant

So technically this isn't a cafe but it was a fun experience and it was something new so I decided to add this experience to my list (As long as it's a good experience where I can eat and relax, I think I'll include it to this list). Topokki Man is aKorean restaurant not far from USC-TC and my first Korean cuisine experience. The menu made no sense to me except for a few titles like "Rice" and "Drinks". I was super hungry so I didn't feel that adventurous and settled with an ordinary spicy chicken rice topping. Topokki, which was the restaurant's main dish, is a Korean snack that consists of a rice cake, some vegetables and chilli sauce based on this food blog

Along with the spicy chicken rice topping I ordered, which shockingly smelled and tasted great by the way, I think they served something along with it as a side dish. I had no idea what it was, it looked like a bunch of leafy vegetables piled up and then dunked with chili sauce. I assumed it was kimchi so then I thought "how do we eat kimchi?". In the end, I didn't touch the side dish and I never found out what dish that was. The meal and feel of the place was great and, if I ever want to eat healthy, I definitely see myself ordering from them again. 

Cafe Talk
Gaisano Country Mall, Talamban 

The view from my little corner of the cafe

It seems like this week's theme is "Korean". Cafe Talk is an actual cafe this time with a more human menu like "Javachip" and "Vanilla" in their list. The cafe caught my attention last week as I passed by it while grocery shopping since I didn't see it have any tables from the outside and it said "cafe" in its sign. I decided to check it out this week and man was my expectations met. It was a clean, cozy place with two sets of small alcoves, the bottom ones having monitors available for customer's use (you were able to watch movies I heard)

The alcove I chose

I chose the quieter alcove at the back in the upper floor so I could eat my chicken salad and continue to read  The Lean Startup in peace. My only pointers if you decide to stay here for more than an hour is to wear cozy pants and choose a not-too-warm-but-not-too-cold alcove (in my case, it got too cold for me after an hour and thirty minutes).

Coffee Cat
JP Morgan and Chase Co, Cebu IT Park, Lahug

Unfortunately I didn't get to take pictures since I had lunch with my father there and he finds it weird.

I've noticed a lot of university students hang around there and study. The cafe itself is pretty quiet which is I guess the best place to cram for finals. The coffee was quite bland when I first tried it but the food, cakes and shakes were awesome. I ordered a Red Velvet Cheesecake for dessert and it was the creamiest most heavenly thing, you might get too bored with it though if you have too much.

I recommend going with a friend or two when visiting Coffee Cat, just to help you enjoy the food.

Ma. Clara St. Tagbilaran City
Entrance is near University of Bohol by a convenience store

The view from my little corner of the cafe

You might notice that I'm completely biased with this specific cafe since I obviously have more than the usual one photo of it. The reason is mostly because it was this cafe that inspired me to go cafe hopping around Cebu.

Acoustic structure and bookshelf

A few months ago we decided to shoot a music video for our friends Alexis and Cyril to help kickstart their musical career. We needed a place to shoot it, a music lounge most preferably. Aphet, one of the volunteers at StartupWeekend Bohol, owns a local music lounge in my home city, Tagbilaran, Bohol. Unfortunately it was unavailable due to equipment upgrades so he directed us to a place he was helping construct, Tambahayan Cafe. 

Small stage full of art and music

The cafe and music school right beside it is owned by Mrs and Mr de Juan, respectively. Kids from the music school often relax or perform inside the cafe. It's cozy and has a very relaxed ambiance, not to mention good food and coffee. They host art exhibits, karaoke and movie nights for everyone to enjoy. It's something fresh and new in our little island and is definitely worth a visit if you ever find yourself in town.

As much fun as I'm having visiting these cafes I feel they won't get the credit they deserve if I just post about them here in my run-of-the-mill blog post, so give the banner above some love and visit an introvert's cafe review blog. Unlike other food blog or cafe review blogs that cater the Bohol-Cebu area, Introvert's Dessert specifically targets a cafe's ability to house those that belong to the meager 40% of our population: the introverts. If you empathize with them or have a friend that is one, this blog is the one for you. Any suggestions on which cafe they should visit next, feel free to leave them a comment. Hail the introverts!


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