338 – On Corner Cafes: Triptych 61

I have had the chance to leave the house ever since Manila loosened COVID-19 restrictions late last year. From the looks of it, the Philippines is on the way to reverting to the pre-pandemic normal. Just eschew the masks, and it’s like the days before March 2020 all over again.

(As of this writing, masks have been dropped for outdoor settings here in the Philippines. However, they are still required for indoor settings, public transportation and outdoor scenarios where physical distancing cannot be maintained.)

Thanks to these “research” trips, I managed to publish several posts over the past few months. Today’s triptych features three corner cafes I’ve visited during these trips, alongside the menu items I tried from them. My visits to these cafes were all first-time visits, and they definitely left an impression.

Originally located at a space with limited parking, Bade Café later transferred to the Congressional Town Center commercial complex. I first heard of this café from the baristas of The Brewman Coffee. Apparently, they frequent this joint on Mondays – when their workplace is closed.

I visited Bade Café right after having lunch at Tom Sawyer’s Old Fashioned Krispy Chicken, which has a branch on the same floor. The Iced Latte I ordered paired well with the Blueberry Cheesecake made in-house. Bade Café‘s Iced Chocolate was also a runaway favorite, with the right balance of milk and chocolate.

Bade Café
2/F Congressional Town Center,
23 Congressional Avenue,
Brgy. Bahay Toro, Quezon City 1106

Xocolat had been a much-lauded establishment even before I landed in the university I graduated from. The joint known for its hot chocolate and savory picks transferred to two locations before settling at its current spot. My visit to its third location at the corner of the 88 Esteban Abada building was a long-delayed one, occurring 10 years after I got my undergraduate degree.

I paid Xocolat a visit after having dinner at fried chicken joint TETSUO just right beside it. The Sugar-Free Taza De Xocolat jived nicely with the Churros Con Xocolat – both best-sellers. The PB & X shake, meanwhile, countered the dominant chocolate taste with its peanut butter content.

G/F 88 Esteban Abada Street
Brgy. Loyola Heights
Quezon City 1108

I managed to stop by Habitual Coffee at the Vertis North mall after coming from Mom’s former office to receive her award. This coffee shop is unmissable as it’s located at the corner of the mall’s topmost floor. Its spot also provided a fantastic view of the Seda Hotel across the street.

For my inaugural order at Habitual Coffee, I got its Spanish Latte and a slice of the Basque Burnt Cheesecake. The colonial combination surprisingly worked well, with the coffee tempering the cheesecake’s taste and texture. I also ordered the joint’s Hot Chocolate that had the right amount of sweetness to wash everything down.

Habitual Coffee
4/F Vertis North Mall, North Avenue
Brgy. Bagong Pag-Asa
Quezon City 1105

And that wraps up this post; here’s to more chances of venturing outside the house to discover other food establishments.

Until the next entry, bon appetit!


44 thoughts on “338 – On Corner Cafes: Triptych 61

    • Oh my…really? 😮 I never expected that cheesecake is more expensive there before you told me. ☹️

      If you get to fly to Manila, do hit me up and I’ll bring you to some of my favorite cheesecake spots. 😁

      • Well, I’ll leave the judgment to you if the cheesecakes here in Manila are cheaper than in Bali! 😁

        You know, what you shared reminded me of Siargao in the central part of the Philippines. It’s this surfing enclave that Caucasian expats from different countries now call home. But the prices of food there, unfortunately, almost cost the same as here in Manila.

  1. It’s interesting to hear what the Covid situation is like currently in the Philippines. In the UK, our government put the wheels in motion before the end of 2021 to brush Covid under the carpet. It then wasn’t long before they took safety measures away and let so many with no choice but to risk it or forever stay home. There are no restriction requirements or masks now, though some places may put their own preferences in place (such as to use hand sanitizer before entering a store). It’s weird, and not weird at the same time. I’m not there yet thinking Covid is over and my brain hardwired itself into new ways of thinking and behaving during these last couple of years so it’s not going to be easy to go back to “normal” for a lot of people.

    I’m glad to see you’ve been getting out and trying new places! What a selection – the photos are mouthwatering! Mmm cheesecakes and hot chocolate. All any human needs for survival. Do you have anywhere in mind that you’d really like to try out next? There were so many cafes I never got to because life always got in the way – I thought once it was safer I’d take my mum to them and we’d start doing more cafe trips. Sadly a lot of them have now closed because of the financial strains of late! Get to the places you’re really tempted by or curious about when you can and have a great time. And take more photos, especially of chocolate-related goodness 😉

    Caz x

    • Thank you for stopping by, Caz!

      It’s almost the same situation here in the Philippines, but mainly driven by economics. COVID-19 restrictions had been loosened since early 2022 by then-outgoing president Duterte, and it had mainly continued for most of the year. Even Marcos Jr., Duterte’s successor, refused to tighten pandemic measures. In fact, the Philippines has just resumed face-to-face classes (albeit in a limited capacity) last month.

      The move to maintain relaxed protocols arose from economic advisers that warned of total economic collapse, should another lockdown be imposed.

      To answer your question, I’ll be focusing on establishments near me for the meantime. Apparently, the area where I live is riddled with various coffee shops and dining establishments. It’s one way for me to support local businesses (which often have better quality food items) and create content for the blog. Most restaurants here closed at the height of COVID-19, but have reopened since. 🙂 (Though, my country unfortunately now faces a shortage of different ingredients.)

      • I’m sorry for the way things have been and the shortage of certain things, too. I think economics drove the decisions made here as well, though we now have a “price of living crisis” where gas/electric is twice the price it was and is still rising, food has increased in supermarkets 25-75% (our media still isn’t reporting the reality of how bad that is!), etc. Everything has gone up. A few shortages here as well over the last year, but more recently it has been for some weird things like chlorine for swimming pools.

        I’ll look forward to more blog posts on your coffee shop travels! It’s great to be able to support those small businesses too while enjoying your food & drink 🙂

        Caz x

    • It sure is, Doc! Actually, isa siya sa mga “best-kept secret” ng Katipunan haha! I’ve been hearing about Xocolat since I was in college (studied in Katips from 2008-2012), pero di ko nabisita. Inabot pa ako ng 10 years bago ko napuntahan 😆

      Hope you enjoy! Just to add: The building where Xocolat is located is behind Regis Center.

  2. Oh, I think Xocolat looks exactly like my kind of place ahah! It’s great that you get to discover new local places that you didn’t know before – I feel like the pandemic has at least had something good in this regard, and even small trips to a nearby cafe can be local adventures!

    • You ought to visit if ever you find yourself in Manila! 😊 On my end, I’d like to visit your country — as it’s the home of the best chocolate! 🍫

      Interestingly, that’s actually my plan for now until the end of the year: Checking out food joints that don’t require me to drive far out. I’ll publish some by November haha!

  3. Glad that things are returning to normal (kinda), as the rules in the Philippines seem to mirror Malaysia’s. I could’ve used your blog the three or so times I was in the Philippines. Would’ve been great to check out these nice-looking spots you always bring up. Thanks for sharing!

    • You’re welcome, Stuart! You know, there’s always time — I mean, you’ll still fly to Manila in the future, and I don’t plan on hanging up my boots just yet. Who knows, I might have written about a destination here that you plan to visit haha!

  4. I love the idea of following the barista’s tips about where they drink on their days off. The experts won’t settle for bad coffee! It reminds me of a travel tip I was given- for an authentic look at a destination, never ask hotel staff where they recommend, ask them where they actually go when not working.

    Oh and the Basque cheesecake looks divine!

    • Definitely! Just like Anthony Bourdain did when he was still around; he never visited the all-too-common spots. Instead, he checked out the unassuming holes-in-the-wall, the joints where the locals often hang out.

      Thank you! Though I just discovered another joint that sends this one to the No. 2 spot. (Might publish that before Christmas haha!)

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