My favorite restaurant in the Makati area just got better :) Last January, we celebrated my son's birthday in Je Suis Gourmand ( see Aidan's Je Suis Gourmand Birthday Dinner ) and I've complained about how small the place is. Last June, the place just got bigger and I would dare to say more romantic. I'm glad that they can accommodate more people already because before you would usually need to reserve to eat here at night. They now have two private rooms for celebrating special occasions -- how I wished they renovated earlier :) This is my favorite restaurant because you can't go wrong with any of the dishes you order here. Secondly, I love places where the Chef is always in the restaurant and interacts with his guests. Lastly, it is has a cozy environment conducive for chatting with friends and co-workers. To top it off, the waiters are very friendly and parking is never a problem.
I always love to find secret restaurants. The ones that are out-of-the-way quaint places and you have to find it like having a treasure map with X marking the spot. I also want to surprise my wife every time with these few secret places that's becoming rare these days. I always love it when you really have to drive and maneuover your way through the city maze not knowing exactly where the place is. My wife would start to sermon on how expensive gasoline is but I just had to satisfy my thrill of looking for these places specially if the only clue I have was "it is just along shaw boulevard." Even though we traversed the entire shaw boulevard, we cannot find Cook book kitchen and it is just a stroke of luck when we just happen to pass by the place when we are becoming desperate.
Once you arrive in the place, you would instinctive realize why it is called cookbook kitchen. The place is right in the middle of a residential community in Mandaluyong with a house turned into a cozy restaurant. It was a dream of Chef Gen Capati to open his own restaurant that serves home-cooked dishes and it came true almost one and a half years ago. Beside the restaurant, there is a home-based gym that one of the son is operating and it probably make sense to co-locate them :) The lovely couple is always there with the husband cooking the best sellers of the house and with wife, Liza, manning the cash register and entertaining the guests. We had fun chatting with Liza and I caution you not to start a conversation with her because she has so much stories to tell :)
We were planning to eat healthy food last night, and we were looking for this literally hole-in-the-wall vegetarian restaurant called Latasia Fusion in UP. It is a small carinderia place but there was no parking near it to our disappointment. We did not want to risk to park in the dark specially with the heavy rains so we just decided to drive along Magsaysay blvd to visit the famous Chocolate Kiss Cafe of Bahay ng Alumni in UP. It was our first time there and we were excited to finally get a chance to taste "the good stuff" that it was famous for. The Bahay ng Alumni reminds me of my college days (in another university) and the ambiance of solid straight line structures with tall pillars in the facade of the building. Since Chocolate kiss is hidden at the second floor of the building, we were doubtful at first whether it is open or was it the right place. The ground floor appeared deserted after what appears to be a wedding event that was just finished.
The food was indeed good and we all agreed that the Gamberi Pasta was a sure winner. The small sauteed hot shrimps with large garlic and green chili slices with lemon juice is a must eat dish here in Chocolate Kiss cafe (CKC). The servings are generous and is good for 2. It is a very good value considering that the P210 is a net price already with no hidden additional charges of VAT or service charge. We were also surprised how big the place is inside because you only see a small restaurant in the second floor from the door. On saturdays, you get live piano music to add an overall romantic ambiance of the place which it is famous for. Also, we were happily surprised that they gave my 18 month old son a free chocolate chip cookie which the mom enjoyed eating because her reasoning was chocolates are not yet for toddlers especially near bedtime :)
The only thing that bothered me is the staff, particularly the manager. I would normally start to talk to the one in charge of the place and get his / her recommendations which is usually a lot better than talking to the waiters. To my disappointment and shock, as I was talking to her she told me, "Maybe you should ask the waiter so that we will know if they are trained very well" and then immediately looking the other way. This reminded me of the snobbish treatment one would receive in Fat Michael's. To top it off they have this paranoia about people taking photographs. She said that they were traumatized by a young group of people who took pictures and wrote a whole page bulletin write-up criticizing Chocolate Kiss Cafe. So this cafe is the first No-Photography-Allowed Cafe in my one and a half years of blogging experience and hopefully the last! I still managed to take some photos of CKC's good stuff but I guess this makes it as my first paparazzi photos.
Just one piece of unsolicited advice, the good stuff should be complimented by a good staff !
I await with great anticipation for the opening of Piazza at Serendra. I've been driving along Market Market these past couple of days waiting to see a glimpse of this great place soon to open in the heart of Serendra. I can still remember the excitement of people when The FORT opened in the middle of vast empty land space and it was THE place to be. At that time, it feels good to say "Lets go to the FORT" to your friends who does not have a clue where it is. The opening of Piazza at Serendra will have the same excitement and feeling specially with a few signature stores opening including the Chef Miguels @ Mezzaluna. Also, can you still remember the long line when Go Nuts Do Nuts opened their first branch in the FORT? Sonja's Cupcakes may be the next dessert craze and hopefully will have the same effect. At last, the FORT would have an alternative dessert place other than Cafe Breton, UCC or crepes and cream.
I'm really not connected with Piazza at Serendra, and most of my knowledge about this place is through word of mouth. I've seen a few names like Gaudi, and Zhongnanhai opening here within the year. The opening was delayed in August. A few more weeks, and I'm dying to check this place out. Would you know of any cool restaurant opening here in Piazza at Serendra?
Our Awesome Planet: The Perfect "Dampa" in Seaside Macapagal Blvd! (Dec. 23, 2005)
Foodfor2.com: Dampa at Macapagal Ave - Shylin Tating Restaurant (April 19, 2006)
Have you been plagiarized before? How did you deal with it?
UPDATE 8/22/06 --- Finally the guy revised all the posts already! Even just an apology would do but I guess he is scared. I'm glad he also changed the plagiarized Lori's posts and starting to come clean. The google DMCA complaint did it :)
About the Founder & Author:
Anton Diaz is the founder of Our Awesome Planet, the #1 Food and Travel Blog in the Philippines and co-founder of Mercato Centrale, successful weekend night food market in Manila. Read more
My Favorite Blog Post Series:
- AWESOME DUMAGUETE: A Weekend Getaway Itinerary to the Best of Dumaguete!
- BAGUIO: Top 10 Most Awesome Restaurants in Baguio (2016 Edition)!
- BEST OF BOHOL 2016: 7 New Awesome Experiences You Should not Miss!
- CALAGUAS: The Waling-Waling Eco Resort Experience...
- SAGADA Itinerary: Definitive Food & Travel DIY Guide to Sagada (2017)!
- PAMPANGA: Top 10 Most Awesome Restaurants in Pampanga! (2016)
- ROMBLON: 8 Awesome Places You Should Visit in Romblon!
- CEBU Like Never Before! (10 Most Awesome Experiences)
- 11 BIGGEST BUSINESS TRENDS in the Philippines 2014! (*Must Read for Every Filipino Entrepreneur)
- FESTIVAL GUIDE to the 10 Most Awesome Fiestas of the Philippines!
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