More Than Just a Bag of Beans

Bag of Beans in Tagaytay is known far and wide for their coffee- the house blend, the wide selection of local beans, and the sale of the rare Alamid coffee (aka cat poop coffee). Because they have stayed put in Tagaytay all this time, many traverse the roughly two hour drive from the metro to partake of their wonderful all day breakfast meals and of course, their coffee.

Tagaytay's Bag of Beans: More than just cat poop.

But more than just bacon and coffee, Bag of Beans also triple as a bakeshop. They’ve got pies, biscuits, breads, loaves- all baked fresh daily. They even have homemade peanut butter and other various spreads. With all the variety to choose from and the quality of their goods, it’s no wonder why Bag of Beans is one of the favorite tourist destination spots in the country’s second summer capital.

Tagaytay's Bag of Beans: Coffee, bacon, and more!



A Japanese Resutoran called Don Don Donburi

Don Don Donburi Japanese Restaurant isn’t exactly a happening place to be. Located in the inner streets of Barangay Pio Del Pilar in Makati, it’s not exactly the place where you’d find hungry yuppies (or the restaurant eating public) searching for a place to nom. With Little Tokyo just around the corner, Don Don Donburi faces a challenge in pulling customers in. But like small Makati restaurants 8065 Bagnet, 101 Hawker Food House, and TTK Singaporean Restaurant, Don Don Donburi has gained a loyal following. Mainly because of their food.

Oh, it's a Japanese restaurant? We didn't notice.

The restaurant space is tiny, with a small bar for single diners and a handful of tables for groups. We sat behind the bar that night because all the other tables were full. And because it’s more fun. Behind the bar, you can watch the staff carefully preparing your salads and sushi. Like this appetizer, the Kani Bou Salad, one of my favorites from any Japanese restaurant.

They took their sweet time preparing this salad- grating the cabbage, grating the cabbage, grating the cabbage. It really did take a long while before it got to us but it was well worth it in the end. It arrived in the middle of our meal (instead of before) but it was so delicious and fresh that no hungry tummies complained and everything was all good.

Kani Bou Salad (p160)

Donburi in Japanese literally means bowl, but nowadays it is also known as rice in a bowl. Opting to emphasize on the don, I have been led me to believe that Don Don Donburi has a lot of the stuff. Of course they do!

A staple in most Japanese restaurants, here in the Philippines at least, is the Gyu Don. This donburi has strips of beef sauteed in onion and a mild sweet soy seasoning on sticky Japanese rice, sometimes topped with a fresh egg. This one has tsukemono (pickled ginger) on it, and was a nice palate cleansing garnish. This gyudon is a particularly safe one, for when you want an old reliable.

Gyudon (p145)

Another not uncommon dish is the tonkatsu. It’s currently hot commodity in ouru food loving country. It has become so popular that there are restaurants dedicated solely for this Japanese dish. Don Don Donburi’s tonkatsu comes in a bento box with a side of veggies and some tsukemono. Sure, they have no unlimited rice (but there’s plenty!) nor cabbage salad, but it still a pretty solid dish.

Next we have Japanese restaurant staples- the Tendon (short for tenpuradon, or tenpura on top of a rice in a bowl), Ebi Tenpura (shrimp tempura), and Katsudon (fried pork sauteed in egg and onions). Nommy pictures below!

Tonkatsu (p170)
Tendon (p155)
Ebi Tenpura (p200)
Katsudon (p155)

The good

  • Authentic Japanese noms!
  • Authentic Japanese noms for cheap!
  • Authentic Japanese noms for cheap in the city!

The bad

  • Location is out of all the ways.
  • Teeny tiny dining area.

The bacon

4 bacons! We tried majority of the Japanese staples, but besides those, they also have an assortment of sushi and sashimi that are made fresh from behind the bar counter. They also have a ton of other things on the menu in Japanese that were written in Japanese. If you’re a fan of true Japanoms, you have got to try Don Don Donburi, I’m sure you’d be sat sat satisfied like I was. You know how I said they have a loyal following? That includes me, in case you haven’t figured it out.

Don Don Donburi

Address: 7563 Santillan St. Pio Del Pilar, Makati, Luzon, Philippines
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1,845 Calories for a Starbucks Planner

So it’s that time of the year again, eh? If you’re not aware of the mechanics (which rock have you been hiding in?), coffee shops all over the metro release an annual Christmas promo where you collect a number of stickers by buying a drink and at the end you get a limited edition planner. This year, the Starbucks planner comes in 4 colors- yellow, brown, magenta, and the generic black. From November 2, 2013 until January 8, 2014, you need 9 Christmas drinks and 9 other drinks of your choice to get one.

Did you ever stop to wonder just how much you’ll be spending and how much calories you’ll be ingesting for one? The people over at created this infographic below to show you the gory details (haha).

Cost of the Starbucks 2014 Planner

After seeing this, are you still getting one? Or all of them? Personally, I prefer the Coffee Been and Tea Leaf ones this year. If Starbucks had the Orange Mocha flavor (offered as a Christmas drink in Switzerland), I’d be all over it in an instant.

Starbucks Switzerland's 2013 Christmas Drinks

I don’t care what the millions of naysayers say, being a fan of orange chocolate (am I the only one??), I really, reallly, reaaally want this drink to be available here.

Thanks for the tip, DJ!


Breads and More at OVN Bread Co. SM Aura

Once the crowds have dissipated, SM Aura has become my favorite little mall. It’s not too big, so that I don’t have to transfer buildings just to get to a specific store I’m looking for; it’s accessible to me, not longer than a 5-10 minute drive from where I work; and it has mostly everything I need (and don’t need), save for a J.Co Donuts & Coffee branch.

Since I’m there at least once a week, by now I’ve tried most of the foodie places they have (except Slappy Cakes and Love Shack, just you wait). OVN Bread Co. is one place I find myself drawn to for its clean and no fuss interior. It’s a tiny little bakery that sells breads, pastries, pies, and other baked stuff.

Gift box options for when you need to make it up to your significant other. ~_~

What actually drew me to the place were their familiar goods on display. I say familiar because the Almond 3-bite Bun reminds me of the famous J.Co Al Capone donut. OVN’s version is a little bun drizzled with white chocolate and sprinkled with almond flakes. Baked instead of fried, it’s probably healthier, and it is less sweet.

Another familiar baked treat is OVN’s Chocolate Yema Muffin, reminiscent of Slice’s famous Yema Cupcake. Because it’s a muffin and not  cupcake, OVN’s version has a denser and less moist crumb, but the yema frosting is just as yummy (and sinful).

OVN Bread Co. SM Aura

Food is the perfect token to give out if you’re going to a housewarming party, or if  you’re visiting a sick friend, or if you want to bring something home to your little sister, or maybe if you need to make it up to your significant other for a petty misunderstanding. OVN Bread Co. has elegant gift boxes in several sizes for you to customize your little gift, depending on the gravity of your sin (Keeding!).

Besides the two familiar treats I highlighted, they also have a nice selection of bite sized tarts, and a handful of plain and flavored breads to choose from, all at pocket friendly prices. If you’re in the area, you gotta check out the breads and pastries  at OVN Bread Co.


J.Co’s Coffee and Donut Combo

J.Co is known for their donuts- those fluffy rings of fried dough in various flavors is what people patiently line up for. We here at BaconTunaMelt are suckers for their not-too-sweet-gloriously-cottony donuts, our favorite being everyone’s favorite, the Al Capone. What some people don’t know is that J.Co also doubles as a coffee shop, with more than a few caffeine based drinks in the menu to go with their sweets. And the coffee is pretty darned great, who’d have thought?

A perfect pair. (I mean the coffee and donut, not the two donuts.)

Their drinks take a backseat to their more famous donuts, but I’d even go so far as to say that their coffee is one of the better ones that are readily available (it’s not the free donut that makes me say this). The house blend is strong, smooth, and aromatic, while the espresso based drinks are nicely blended and perfectly comforting. It’s good enough to rival that of famous coffee shops, and is priced similarly too (they should start giving out planners), but the bonus is that J.Co gives you a free glazed donut to go with your coffee. What other coffee shop does that? Thumbs up J.Co!

Here’s the link to our post on J.Co donuts last year- What’s the fuss about J.Co Donuts?