Girl Bonding Places

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

I am lucky to have a good relationship with my girlfriends and cousins. Do you ever have those moments when you just need to see them? I’ve had a lot of those in my life time. I’ve also been asked to give recommendations of where to meet up. To make things much easier, I’ve compiled my fave girl bonding places and their respective situations. 

Power lunch in between work: Yabu House of Katsu and Pho 24
This situation makes me feel like such an adult whenever it occurs! Haha I am lucky not to be chained to a desk 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Whenever I find myself in an area where I have a friend that works there and have a work function, I try to squeeze in a lunch with a friend if possible. I’ve power “lunched” in these 2 places in the past.

Ortigas may be my hood but if you find yourself with a craving for some Katsu with good service in your work hood, Yabu is the place for you. Be warned, the place gets packed so if you plan to grab lunch here, best to make a reservation.

When you need to squeeze in good food in an hour in Makati, I wouldn’t mind having Pho 24. My love affair with Vietnamese coffee, pho and fresh spring rolls make this power lunch perfect in every way: good food + good company + good use of time. 

After work dinner (with the possibility of drinks): Friday’s and Sidebar 
We all get stressed and at the end of a work day, meeting with your girlfriends is a good cure. Add your fave girls, food to gorge on, mad drinks to accompany you’re ranting or elation and you’ve got a good end to the night. Both places can get busy but are conducive for the task at hand.

Even with its extensive menu, I find myself gravitating to the same thing. Hand me a plate of Chicken Fingers and I’m a happy camper. My choice of poison, the Ultimate Mudslide or the Mojito. 

Before it was renovated, I spent a loooot of time here. It may not have ambiance but it had cheap (and good) cocktails, great pizza and our group fave – sizzling tofu. I’ve only been to the new Sidebar once and was disappointed. The drinks were no longer cheap (read: no more 3 for the price of 1 promo) or delish plus the famed sizzling tofu wasn’t available. I’ll probably give the new version another chance.

Weekend Brunch: Café Mary Grace and Sweet Bella
It would take something spectacular to wake me up for brunch. I like the homey and relaxed atmosphere of both places that make you feel like you can stay here all day.

It’s no secret that Café Mary Grace is one of my comfort food restaurants. I’ve never had a bad experience here. Just thinking of their iced teas and cheese rolls and I’m raring for brunch. Wait, I don’t eat just those 2 things okay. They are usually part of my Café Mary Grace Meal plus an entrée of course. 

More than their desserts, I actually find the brown and pink interiors of Sweet Bella calming. Barely awake, you can drag me here and my mood will lighten as I wake up and spend time here. Their delicious selection of “real food” is good enough reason to frequent Sweet Bella.

Weekend Lunch or Dinner: 2nds
After a busy week, I sometimes hibernate at home during the weekend. Once in awhile, I can make an exception and meet you outside. One of these exceptions is 2nds. You can make me troop all the way to the Fort for their food. With its sophisticated atmosphere and fabulous food, this is one restaurant I would gladly bring my girls over and over again. 

Good food + Major Catching Up: Casa Roces and The Cake Club
Girls like to talk; we like to catch up on each other’s lives. There are certain restaurants which get too noisy or you feel pressured to leave the place right away. Casa Roces and The Cake Club aren’t like that at all. In fact, I would highly suggest these 2 places if you need to share major life events with each other.

If you want a change in scenery, you will be surprised to find the gem that is Casa Roces in the Malacañang compound. Like most of the featured establishments here, I have nothing but good things to say about their food. Besides keeping each other in the loop, you and your friends can explore the restaurant and be surrounded by beautiful Filipino memorabilia. Oh, don’t forget to order the Frozen Soufflé! The price may worry you but trust me - every spoonful of that dessert will make you smile.

I could forego “real food” for dessert. Fortunately the Cake Club offers delicious real food on top of their drool-worthy and lustful dessert selection. I’ve been here twice and I’ve enjoyed both visits. I get too excited when thinking about the Cake Club. Make sure to read my post about this beauty to truly understand what I mean.
Indulgent Meal: Sambo Kojin and Chocolate Fire
There are occasions when your barkada needs a break and don’t care about your diet. There are 2 places I instantly think of when such a mission is needed. Indulge in different Japanese and Korean dishes at Sambo Kojin and swim in the lovely dessert pool of Chocolate fire. 

Sambo Kojin may have a fast paced atmosphere since the place is in demand. However if you want scrumptious dishes at a good price, your whole barkada will enjoy this restaurant. Sambo Kojin has an assortment of meat, fish and vegetables for everyone in the group to demolish. My chocolate loving soul is in heaven at Chocolate Fire. The good thing about visiting this place with friends is that you can try and share more chocolatey goodness. Expose your friends here, they will thank you for it. 

All of the Above: Borough
Yes, I love Borough. It encompasses all the possible scenarios, seriously! This 24 hour restaurant in my hood can accommodate you for breakfast, brunch, lunch, merienda, dinner, and late night meals. They serve some of my faves in terms of meals, desserts and drinks. The place can get a bit crowded and noisy during Friday and Saturday nights but all of the people I’ve brought here loved the place. Oh, did I mention the 6-8 PM Happy Hour where cocktails are 50% off? Loves it!!!! 

Additional photo from:

Yabu: House of Katsu
2nd Floor Mega Atrium, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City

Pho 24
Powerplant Mall, Rockwell Center, Makati City
Ayala Avenue, Ayala Triangle, Makati City

T.G.I. Friday's
Various branches.

El Pueblo Complex, Julia Vargas Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City

Cafe Mary Grace
Various branches.

Sweet Bella Cafe
Burgos Circle, Rizal Drive, Global City, Taguig

2nd Floor, Wumaco Building 1, Quadrant 3, 9th Ave, Bonifacio High Street, Taguig

1153 J.P. Laurel corner Aguado Streets, San Miguel, Manila (just across Malacañan Palace)
02-7355896, 02-7084020

The Cake Club by the Diamond Hotel
BGC East Superblock, 7th Avenue,  Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
02-5283000 ext. 1121

Sambo Kojin
Eastwood Citywalk, Quezon City
02-4210145 to 46
EDSA Greenhills Mandaluyong City
02-7264466; 02-7264520

Chocolate Fire
PDCP Building, Corner of Leviste Street & Rufino Street, Salcedo Village, Makati

Ground Floor, The Podium Mall, ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City

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