April 21, 2018

Poblacion Dining Room + Commune, Makati

I have the one whom my soul loves.

Café latte

Durban salad

Kimchi rice

Pork longganisa pasta

Peanut butter, guava jelly banana sandwich

Commune and Poblacion Dining Room are popular adjoined café, bar and restaurant in Poblacion, Makati, serving delicious comfort food and coffee latte art as cute as kitten.

Poblacion Dining Room + Commune
#36 Polaris cor. Durban Sts., Poblacion
Makati City

April 18, 2018

Deli de San Honore, Tagaytay

St. Honoré (also known as Honoratus) of Amiens in Northern France, is the patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs. Deli de San Honore, a homey bakery and gourmet restaurant of Chef Jeremy and Kate Joson in Tagaytay, was named in honor of the patron saint.

The couple are former New Yorkers (Chef Jeremy worked as a baker in New Jersey) but decided to return to the Philippines to establish their own food business and dream bakery. It later evolved into a restaurant upon the request of their regular patrons, who wanted a decent meal with pasta or rice, aside from their usual staples – the special country and sourdough breads.

Though many rave about their pizza, it was their Herb de Provence porkchop that captured my heart and palate. Served with side salad, garlic rice, and sweet pickles, it was cooked to perfection.

Complimentary bread

Stuffed chicken breast

House salad

Herb de Provence porkchop

Pizza Bianca

Lemon curd shortcake

I also like the ambience of the restaurant, especially their garden area. They grow their own herbs in their little nursery. Orchids and wild animals such as civet and Philippine eagle also co-exist in the place.

From Manila, take Nasugbu or Alfonso bound bus from Lawton, Buendia or South Terminal in Pasay. Get off in Brgy. Neogan (landmark is the Antonio’s Cabana signage on the highway). From the highway, ride a tricycle going to the Deli; or it’s a 5-10 minute walk.

Deli de San Honore
Purok 138, Zambal Rd.,
Brgy. Neogan, Tagaytay City
Tel. Nos.: 927-8649, 0915-9591675

April 16, 2018

Atelier de Clotilde: Mexican Bed and Breakfast

I’d like to paint you, but there are no colors, because there are so many, in my confusion, the tangible form of my great love.

These words of endearment were written by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo for her one great love and fellow painter Diego Rivera, when she was still young and crazy in love. Frida’s adoration for the man she harboured a crush since she was 15, was so intensely deep and epic that there were simply not enough shades or hues to capture her true feelings. It’s just sad that not all great love stories have happy endings. Marriages, no matter how strong, break off so easily if tainted by infidelity. But Frida turned her physical and emotional sufferings from her tumultuous relationship with Diego and from the near fatal accident that almost cost her life, into controversial, political artworks that made her one of the most intriguing women and famous artists of her time (a period during the post Mexican Revolution), and later on an icon of feminism and freedom. 

A self-portrait of Frida titled The Frame, c. 1938, hanging on the wall by the tree of life doorway, greets every guests and diners of the eponymous Atelier de Clotilde, a quaint and exquisite Mexican bed and breakfast in Alfonso, Cavite.

The owner, Clotilde Jovellano, a United flight attendant definitely loves Frida, Mexico and its vibrant, vivid colors. She named it Atelier instead of Casa, so I guess she also equally loves Paris. Apparently, her place, which she designed herself, according to Kuya Tony (Atelier’s manager, caretaker and chief cook), is a labor of love and passion, and built with finesse and artistic flair. Someday soon, running the place full-time will still keep Clotilde busy after her retirement from the aviation and travel industry.

The Atelier has been in operation for almost a year now, but I only got to know about it when I visited a famed Thai restaurant in the area. From the outside, it looks nothing extraordinary, maybe a little interesting for a curious passerby because of the cacti and bougainvillea in full bloom starting to dominate the facade; but when I stepped inside, almost all of my senses went to full alert.

As the name suggests, the four-storey house is a Mexican-inspired B&B, bar and restaurant, and art workshop place. Everything inside the house – the bright and colourful furniture, paintings, murals, rich-colored cushions and throw pillows on a cosy sofa, terracotta pot water fountain, candelabra chandelier, Our Lady of Guadalupe shrine and other santos, Day of the Dead decors, furnishings, and art pieces to the minutest details - was well-curated, giving one an authentic Latin-American feel, sight and sound.

As of the moment, Atelier is still below the staycationers and foodies’ radar as they don’t mass advertise and mainly rely on FB and by word of mouth to attract guests; they don’t even have an official website yet. This ensures that the owner is more into giving quality service and total enjoyment to its guests.

There are two available rooms with a maximum capacity of five persons each, that are being rented out via Atelier’s FB Page and AirBnb. They are named after (of course) the power couple Frida and Diego. The rooms are almost identical – have bright yellow walls, queen-size bed with drapes, two long daybeds, extra mattress, AC, private bath and toilet – except that Frida Room has this much nicer and fashionable classic red Nostalgia Electrics retro mini fridge.

Right outside Diego Room is a mini bar where Diego’s The Night of the Rich painting is prominently displayed. This is also where the complimentary intercontinental breakfast (which I wish was Mexican – quesadilla and coffee will do) is served to guests. Anyway, their French-pressed coffee and wild blue berry jam taste divine.

Nearby is a state of the art kitchen, where guests can use upon request and on special occasions.   

I also got a glimpse of the master or rather the mistress’ bedroom located on the topmost floor. Clotilde’s Room is captivating and elegant, which evidently mirrors her lifestyle and refined taste for life. It has a modern four poster bed; beside it are three decorative olive green wooden trunks and a cabinet hand-painted with a woman’s portrait. It also has a balcony overlooking the refreshing greeneries of Alfonso.

The main bar area is well stocked. I love one of its corner table where its mantel piece appears like a red skirt of a flamenco dancer and its four feet wearing black with red polka-dots dancing shoes.

Adjoining the bar is the restaurant (with indoor and outdoor seating) which is a spectacle on its own - colors splashing everywhere, Mexican music lively playing on the background, murals so stunning and lively, showcase of different hot sauce from around the world, and bottles, cups, dining utensils and floral lights in rainbow colors, fighting for everyone’s attention.

I was full already just looking, appreciating the dazzling sight around me, even before the scrumptious seafood paella, Mexican pizza, and churros con chocolate arrived. I thoroughly enjoyed the paella prepared by Kuya Tony; afterwards I was given a complimentary hot tea.  

After a satisfying meal, I browsed some of the travel magazines and Images of the Beatles coffee table book.  

Just below and overlooking the restaurant is an open courtyard with mini garden and fountain, that can be used for private functions and small, intimate celebrations.

Atelier is ideal for barkada nights, family retreat and bonding and food exploration. The staff and servers are warm and attentive. 

I appreciate everything about the place, including the breathtaking sunset that is best viewed from the restaurant or Clotilde’s balcony. It would make for a good dramatic backdrop when re-enacting into conversation the love letters of Frida to Diego and vice versa like “I loved her far too much to want to keep on inflicting more suffering on her. But she would rather endure anything at all than lose me entirely” or “I'd like to give you everything you never had, but not even then would you know how beautiful is it to love you”.

In a patriarchal world, cheating is easy and acceptable. I hope people try something more daring and challenging like being honest and faithful.

From Manila, take Nasugbu or Alfonso bound bus from Lawton, Buendia or South Terminal in Pasay. Get off at El Renzo Hotel (or Residence Inn/Zoori). From the highway, enter Sikat Rd. (right across El Renzo); it’s a 5-10 minute walk going to Atelier. Atelier is further down Marcia Adams and right across Ville Sommet.

Atelier de Clotilde Mexican Bed and Breakfast
#4821 J.P. Rizal St., Purok 4
Brgy. Sikat, Alfonso, Cavite
Tel. No.: (046) 552-0624, 0977-6205694