Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cafe Juanita: Kitschy and Kewl

Dates could get a tad bit routinary, I realized. But then again, nothing's wrong with routine as long as you know how to color it up a bit. So I have a plan that every month, my friend and I would hold a Discovery Day and visit restaurants I researched on the net. The first on the list is Cafe Juanita. The original restaurant is in Kapitolyo and I was told it was homey as it was Oriental-esque. The Cafe Juanita we went to is the one in Burgos Circle, The Fort.

My companion and I never even knew there were hidden gems in Burgos Circle. The restos up in Bonifacio High Street have been hogging all the fame. Parking was convenient (underground) and since we were early for the lunch crowd, we immediately found space to park. One short flight up (this was important to me and my friend), and we were on the right side of the circle and gustatory delights were at hand.

Upon entering the restaurant, one would be accosted by color -- LOTS of THEM. There are chandeliers with fabric hanging artfully from the spines, drapes and drapes of cloth, flowers and leaves growing from chairs and tables and walls. For a split moment, I was worried the place was too girly or date-y for my guy friend. But it helped that there was a family dining at the first table and the men looked comfortable enough. Fancy that. This is the view of the main entrance from where we were seated.

There were plenty of tables for two people --- right, we get it, it's a date place. I could only imagine the place at night, when the chandeliers are all lit. Here's our cozy space, near the books.

I loved this simple candle holder. Reminded me of Old Filipiniana pictures.
Someday, I want a picture taken of me holding this, and only this. :))

There were only two of us so we could only order two viands for fear of not being able to finish it; more importantly, we were also on a budget. We decided on a pork and fish viand plus dessert.
This is the Bagnet on top of Pinoy Salsa. Crunchy, just the right level of salty and made interesting by the weird green veggie on top. Have no idea what that is though. Maybe Kutchai? Sorry, I don't know my vegetables. Hehehe :D

Making a right contrast, we also sampled the Fish in Kare-Kare sauce. It's like taking the 2 best traits of 2 well-loved dishes: the peanut butter soup on steamed fish. I thought the serving was small, at first. But then I realized the fish meat was so packed that a normal serving would be only half the dish. Perfect for two. And did I mention it comes with really, really good bagoong? We actually requested for more because tit went well with everything.

Dessert put us in quite a quandary. Cassava Cake or Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream? We decided on the latter. And we weren't disappointed at all! I planned to share the dessert with my friend, but it was so good I finished it all before he could even taste a spoonful. So we ordered another one and still, I couldn't help but get one more spoon in. Hehe, May baon naman akong gamot eh.

The staff were also very courteous, offering a mini-stool for my bag and making sure our water glasses are always filled. They offered to clear the table, but refilled our drinks indicating that we aren't supposed to hurry up. It's a good place to just sit and talk and tell funny stories with tummies full and satiated.
The cost isn't that expensive, but would still need some saving up for, especially for beleaguered NGO workers like us. But it's worth it. I suggest that if you're on a date, don't make like us -- go at night. But just like us --- bring lots and lots of stories.

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