Friday, February 24, 2017

Caffe Piansa... for when you need to Go To Jail without collecting 200... Ikain mo nalang

I love Monopoly, ever since I was a kid, it has always been one of my favorite board games... I love it less now, because Sofia loves it too and sometimes she wants to play and it just takes forever.

At the start of the game, I hate it when you get the Go To Jail card... but when you're short on cash and your opponents already own buildings, Jail is a good reprieve so you can earn from rent without paying any.

Anyway, I digress, but when I was researching where to eat in Marikina, one of the places I found, was the jail themed restaurant. I thought it was similar to Industriya Markina, which was an old shoe factory converted in a shoe themed restaurant, so I was quite surprised to see it located in a residential area. I think the server was more surprised at how gullible I was when I asked if it used to be a jail and she had to explain to me it was only a theme. Hahaha. No worries, I came for the food. 

I visited over the holidays, so I could see what people in big groups were ordering, but I couldn't do the same.

I opted to start with cappuccino which was a steal at Php75 because it came with yummy cookies too.

My one phone call was to fat brother, which he ignored.

Good thing, I totally loved prison food...
I ordered the Gas Chamber Meal which is very reasonable
for Php260 since it has a slice of Chicken Schnitzel with
Cheese and a side of Squid Ink Pasta.

A for Effort. The waiter even in wearing his Judge robes.
Hilarious though how I seemingly captured them in each other's arms.
Totally circumstantial evidence if I may add. No Photoshop skills involved.
Just excellent timing.

That was a thoroughly entertaining meal for Php335.
Or what I'd automatically calculate as SG$10!

The judge and alleged his mistress even willingly played
photographer for me.

I agree.
The the jury is in. The verdict is, this place is definitely
worth another visit. just saying.

Caffe Piansa
2F DEMREY Bldg, Street, 
Midtown Subdivision, Brgy., 
57 Dragon, Marikina, 1801 Metro Manila
Phone: 0916 577 6546
Hours: 11AM–10PM

Monday, February 13, 2017

Where locals eat in Hydra, Greece

You can say that I have saved the best for last, because this post concludes my series of posts on Hydra and while I'm not any more willing to jump on a budget airline to get there, writing this has just helped me confirm that I will be going back, I just don't know when yet, but some time in the not so distant future.

I have one requirement for a place to make it to my favorite, and I want to keep coming back list. It always boils down to the food (yes, not the shopping). And Hydra has good food in spades. It might have helped that I have a friend with a friend (you know the drill) who loves Hydra and was nice enough to share with us her favorite places to eat so all we had to do was follow her list to enjoy Greek Island life like a local.

Here are her recommendations and our top pics:

1. Isalos
Isalos provides the best welcome to Hydra. It's located directly in front of Hydra Port (where the ferry docks) and you can't help but want to grab a table, order some food, and just enjoy looking out on the harbor.

This was where we had our first meal in Hydra, while waiting for our room at Glaros (which you can read about here).
The waffle to share was yummy... 

But I've always been an omelette kind of girl...

The brunch fare more than made up for the sad food available at Pyreaus Port, which you can preview here. But I guess, Clint was too hungry for brunch food.
My general observation is that food is generally more expensive in Hydra,
compared to Athens, but together with the Island Living ambiance, the small
difference is worth it.

2. Kodylenia's Taverna
Our next meal was on this lovely Greek Taverna which went to on the way to Kamini beach. It's quite a trek so we recommend that you do the same.
The view is so beautiful, we even came back after the beach for sunset with

We had a spread with prawn and rice similar to paella,
2 types of squid and lamb and I'm pretty sure the food was
good enough for us to come back on the same day.

It's a good thing we are mostly like minded when it comes to food.
Kodylenia's at Sunset
Dessert to share, but I remember the view more. But I'm sure we weren't
complaining as we gobbled this down.

Since no vacation is complete until you have 3 full meals in a day, with unlimited snacks in between... Dinner was at Xeri Elia, a restaurant you need to google to find, because it is hidden somewhere in the middle of the island (not too middle, you can find it on foot, no need to call a donkey), and it's nice to get a chance to explore the small streets of the island.

3. Xeri Elia
This is what I mean by hidden, you do through small alleys that twist and
turn, then suddenly you find this courtyard. 

Something wrapped in Grape Leaves (I am personally not a fan).

But Fried Saganaki I definitely love.
I love how island life makes you appreciate the basic simple Greek Dishes like grilled lamb and moussaka.

4. Karamela Zaxaroplasteion (across Anita's)
For Ice Cream and Baklava
It was okay. But I had a high bar to compare it too. Nothing beats
Hafiz for me. But I never say no to Baklava...

5. Pirate Bar
Since we are a bit past the partying age, we decided to brunch at Pirate Bar instead, when the rest of the youngsters would choose to go partying here instead. It was still a nice place to see the Island wake up as things start to get busy.

One of the few vehicles on the island. This is one of the rubbish trucks.
A more common site are guys pulling carts or donkeys carrying the load.
My favorite meal is always brunch and they have a good spread here.
We were even able to take the leftover bread and butter for our beach picnic.

The only thing I won't order on Hydra is their sandwiches.
I think it looks sad. Hahaha.

They do Yogurt (they don't call it Greek Yogurt when you're in Greece)
and honey quite well. The fruit and muesli is a nice touch.

Our beach day was probably the only one where we didn't have 5 meals, but I need to come clean and admit that in between brunch and dinner, there was a picnic on the beach, probably a couple of cheese pies we snacked on when we got back, and yes, Pork Souvlaki too... A winner find for €2 that I just absolutely had to try and I was happy I did with no regrets. You can read about that here.

6. Annita's
I have no idea about how I managed to eat dinner at Annita's but I'm sure I managed. Hahaha.
The food was similar to the rest, and believe me when I say that when you're there, a weekend is not enough to get sick of it. I think the only difference is that Annita's has set meals, based from what I remember anyway.
You never get sick of fried Saganaki and Salad (like yogurt, they don't call
it Greek salad here). But you don't need to order a side dish, the set meal
already comes with a generous serving.

I don't think I'll ever get sick of Grilled Meat, Feta with greens (as the feta is always served with a generous portion) and calamari.

To conclude this post, I will end it where it all started. Our last meal was again brunch at Isalos... hahaha.
I couldn't leave without ordering another cheese pie.
(especially if it comes discounted with the coffee!).

Sucker for a sale that I am, I ordered it to share. Hahaha.
You know the waffles are good, when you order them a second time.
And yes, the (Greek) Yogurt and Honey too!

This was actually our last meal, before we started our long journey home, via Mati which you can read about here.

Well, Isalos is definitely the perfect place to sit in front of the port, wait for our ferry... I can just say I definitely will be back with Fi. And I'll try not to take too long, because I want to go back before more people discover this island that I feel so at home in. just saying.

Isalos Cafe
hydra attiki 180 40, Greece

Phone: +30 2298 029661

Kodylenia's Taverna
waterfront in the area of Kaminia, Hydra
Open only March to October

Xeri Elia Douskos Taverna 
Πλατεία Ύδρας, Hydra 180 40, Greece

Phone: +30 2298 052886

Karamela Zaxaroplasteion (Baklava)
Ikonomou, Hydra Town 18040, Greece

Pirate Bar
Votsi, Idra 180 40, Greece

Phone: +30 2298 052711

Annita's Taverna
Votsi, Hydra Town 180 40, Greece

Hole in the Wall Souvlaki Place in Hydra
also known as Nostimomania (Νοστιμομανία)