A Shoot Day in Antipolo

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Studying in Miriam, I had a couple of friends who called Antipolo home but I don’t find myself in that area ever. I know the city offers a lot but I’ve never been tempted by it. For one, I find it theoretically too far. However realistically there are buses, jeeps and fx-es that head to that area from Pasig so it’s not that difficult in actuality. When a day trip to Antipolo for work surfaced, I got excited.

We had two places in our itinerary and our first stop was Lanelle Abueva-Fernando’s café and pottery studio, Crescent Moon Café.

Crescent Moon Café, why did I want to go:
When terrific food mixes with art it emerges with an organic vibe. I’ve heard great things about the food at Crescent Moon Café so that was the real draw from me.

When I stepped into the compound, there was a calmness mixed with giddiness that came over me. It was a gloomy and rainy day when we visited but being surrounded by nature made up for the weather. Visitors are encouraged to go around the property. Kids and kids at heart will enjoy feeding the koi fish in the pond.

Crescent Moon Café, what did I learn there:

Ms. Fernando’s stoneware is all handmade. There is a mixture of different pieces you can buy or have commissioned at Crescent Moon Café.  Besides the usual dinnerware, you can purchase condiment containers, candlesticks, vases, oil burners and even sinks. There are a lot of companies, restaurants and resorts (local and multinational) that have their wares made here.

The workshop is located inside the compound as well so you can see the workers in action. I was able to see the different molds and chat with some of the workers.

Crescent Moon Café also has an “over runs” section where you can buy items by the kilo. The products sold here are items that have some imperfection and didn’t pass quality control.

I’m not much of a vegetable person but I liked the dishes presented to us. I don’t normally try veggies but with the visual feast upon us, who wouldn’t be tempted? Crescent Moon café offers set meals or buffet depending on the number of diners. Whichever way, it costs P350/head during weekdays and P500/head during weekends – not bad if I may say so.

The menu changes every day but 2 dishes are always present - the Alagaw and the suman with mango. The Aligao is similar to a lumpia, it’s a leaf that is oddly velvety in texture but works so insanely well with the other ingredients.

I like our suman. Crescent Moon Café make their own and it’s different from the usual Antipolo suman; it’s much sweeter which delights me. You don’t need to add any sugar or syrup to sweeten the dessert. The tangy taste of the mango complements the suman. It was was that good that a bought a pack (P290 for 24 pieces) to take home with me.

Vieux Chalet, why did I want to go:

Viuex Chalet is run by the Hassig family and has been around for over 20 years. It is an award winning and authentic European restaurant. I’ve heard only exceptional reviews about the places and have dying to try it out. I don’t know why I never made the effort to troop there!

In addition to their spectacular food, the restaurant’s ambiance spills with romance making it a regular date spot. Guys listen up, if you wanna impress the lady, a trip here will give you some brownie points.

Vieux Chalet, what did I learn:
My battery died while we were in Crescent Moon Café so I don’t have any photos using Guido at Vieux Chalet. =( We went to the restaurant in the afternoon so I can and saw that they expanded to having a pool and bed and breakfast so guests can opt to stay longer.
There is no other way to describe the food and the presentation but wonderful. I know people use that a lot but I was delighted with the dishes we tried. Not only were they a visual spectacle, they were also palate pleasing. Their staff exude the Filipino hospitality that our nation in known for.
I cannot narrow down my favorite to just one dish, everything was seriously extraordinary. I promise to visit the restaurant again before the year ends.

The other thing I enjoyed was the stories of Florence. It was enlightening, refreshing and entertaining to hear about her childhood, her family and the restaurant’s beginning. It is amazing how her parents raised their children. The kids literally worked in the restaurant as part of their duties in the family. Their father also trained them in the different aspects of the business like managing people, customer relations, procurement and even uhm “taking care” of the livestock. More than life inside the restaurant, the life lessons and experience Chef Florence shared are worthy of a tv show or movie. Their parents raised them to in a way that they could withstand a lot in life. =)

I look forward to visiting both restaurants in the feature in a non-work way. Wwwiiiihhh!!! It is best to make a reservation if you have plans of visiting these remarkable places in Antipolo.

Crescent Moon Café
Ascencion Road, Barangay Dalig, Antipolo City, Rizal, Philippines
02-6583866; 02-6305854

Vieux Chalet Swiss Restaurant
Taktak Road, Antipolo City
02-6970396; 0928-2888584

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