Misadventures: Back in Baguio – Day 1

It’s been 10 years ago since I last step foot in one of the coldest place in the Philippines. Baguio sure is the Summer’s capital, as people would flock this place to escape the scorching heat of the city.

I’ve been planning this trip since forever, so when a friend asked me to go with her, I immediately started planning. Unfortunately, not all plans go as you want them to, so instead of cancelling everything, I decided to go ahead with the plan, even if it means I’ll go alone. As they said, change the plan and not the goal.

I left the office early in the morning to catch the bus going to Baguio at 3:30 AM. I decided to board the JoyBus Executive coach, since the travel time is lesser.

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What I love about the bus is that there is so much leg room. There is a comfort room inside the bus, and it took just 4 hours to reach Baguio.

I arrived the City of Pines at around 7 AM. I went to where I had my hotel reservation, which is Bloomfield hotel. Good thing there is already an available room, and although I had to pay extra since it’s an upgrade – I’m originally booked in a deluxe room without balcony, and I had to upgrade with the one with balcony.

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The room I had is just right for a solo traveller like me. It’s clean and feels homey. It has the basic necessity that I needed during my stay.  I resisted the urge to lay down on the bed and sleep, because I wanted to visit as much places as I can before sleepiness takes over my body (I came from the night shift, so I’m gonna be knocked out soon, that I know).

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It was a good thing that I chose to stay in this hotel, because it’s right at the heart of Session Road. It’s near SM Baguio. It’s surrounded by nearby restaurants, and bus terminals. It was easy for me to get a cab to roam around the city.

After I checked in, and settled my things inside the room, I began my Baguio misadventure. Since I just came from my shift, I decided to have breakfast first at Cafe By The Ruins, but then the taxi driver also didn’t know where that is. Instead, I decided to head to the Wright Park and The Mansion first.

The Wright Park is located in front of the The Mansion, which is the President’s residence in Baguio. The first thing that got my attention was the array of beautiful  flowers being sold by the entrance. This park also  has horses, which you can ride on. Unfortunately, I was not able to take pictures of the pink haired horses, just the flowers.

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There is a stairs from the park that leads up to the pool of pines and the mansion. When I was told that I need to walk up the stairs to get to the other side, I was shocked. I am scared of stairs and heights, and I’m not even sure if I can get there without being too breathless.

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Good thing I was able to reach the top. From there, I was greeted by the Wright Park circle. A few steps away form is the pool of pine. It was on my way back that I realized that the pool has Kois in it.

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At the other side of the street stands The Mansion. I was able to enter the place, but only just behind the gate.

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Before I go to my next destination, I headed to Pizza Volante, which is right across the park, to have a quick breakfast. I ordered the Kenny George Pizza, Hot Chocolate and Mama Lou’s Apple Pie.

The pizza I got is a 6 inches one, since I also have the apple pie. The Kenny George pizza contains sausage, pepperoni, onions, bell peppers, and mozzarella cheese. Although the pizza is small, it made up for the toppings. I was already on my third slice, and I somehow felt full, but there’s still the apple pie.

Mama Lou’s Apple Pie was a big one. I was surprise how big the serving is, and how much the apple filling is. It was served hot and with a side of maple syrup. I’m not sure how it stated without the maple syrup, but the apple pie and maple syrup combination tasted great, although I think I have put a little more syrup than I should that’s why it tasted too sweet.

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Plus, the staff is very accommodating and helpful. They were able to answer some of my questions regarding getting around Baguio.

My next stop is the Mines View Park. I was a little bit hesitant going to this park, because the last time  I was here, I got a little bit dizzy. Plus, looking below the deck makes me scared.

There is an observation deck in the park, where you can view the mountains of Benguet. But before you can reach that, you need to go down the stone stairs. My shoes were quite slippery, so I had to be careful with my steps, or I may end up falling on the ground, or worse, down the deck.

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The view of the mountain is breath taking and very relaxing. I love feeling the cold wind from the deck. There were a lot of people in the park, so it’s hard to take better pictures of the view, or even go down the deck. I spent most of the time by the gazebo to just look at the mountains.

The last place I went for my first day in Baguio is the Baguio Botanical Garden. This is just near Mines View Park and Teachers’ Camp.

From the entrance of the garden, you can have your picture taken together with the Igorot for a certain fee. As you entered, you will be greeted by beautiful flowers. Basically, since this is a garden, expect a lot of plants, trees and flowers. There are also huts, which are replicas of the traditional houses of the Igorots.

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It was very relaxing to roam around the place. A lot has changed since the last time I was here. There were more structures and status for photo ops, and the landscape has changed. The place is also being improved, as I noticed some construction at the back. I was expecting more flowers around the area, since this is a garden, but there wasn’t much flowers. However,  it’s almost zen look makes me feel at peace.

I was supposed to go to one more place before heading back to my hotel, but I’m about to get knocked off because of lack of sleep. So, I decided to end my day one and take my rest.

Stay tuned for day 2!

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Food Trip At Kantorini

It’s been a long time since I met up with my college buddies. I think the last time we met up was back in 2016. We didn’t have a chance to meet up last year due to our busy schedules.

So we decided to meet up yesterday and go to a food park. We’ve been wanting to go to this food park in Katipunan called Kantorini,, and so we went ahead with our plan. Kantorini is a small food park situated near Ateneo. Its aesthetics is inspired by Santorini in Greece. And the since this is right next to a street corner, hence, it was called that name (“Kanto” (corner in Filipino) + Santorini = Kantorini).

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Signage at the entrance

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Greek vibe

My friends wanted to go here because it was featured in a TV show. I got curious as well. I checked the menus of the stalls there, and the food they sell sounds promising. Unfortunately, when we got there, only a handful of food stalls are open. Some of the open food stalls had really pricey food. We’re not sure if all the closed stalls are already for rent, or they’re just closed because they know that not a lot of people will flock the area on a Saturday night.

We decided to order at Pizzanista, Bingsu Desserts and Potato Hub. We first got our Mango Cheesecake Bingsu at Bingsu Desserts, which is their best seller. We got the large serving for the 3 of us.

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Mango Cheesecake Bingsu

We liked how it was filled with so much mango bits. The ice was shaved very finely, and the whipped cream cheese topping has just the right sweetness. As my friend put it, the mango just takes away all the stress she had. This is actually the very first bingsu I was able to finish.

We ordered the sample platter at Potato Hub. I’m not sure what the toppings are, but it seems like spaghetti sauce, cheese sauce, and sour cream.

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Sample Platter from Potato Hub

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fries and bingsu

I like how abundant the sauce are. The fries were very filling, as we kept on eating them as we waited for our order from Pizzanista.

Although we ordered first at Pizzanista, our food arrived after we finished our bingsu and fries. I joked that our dessert is pizza and chicken wings. A lot of people were ordering at Pizzanista, so our orders came late. We ended up waiting for the chicken wings for 2 hours.

We had Quattro Formaggi pizza and Honey Mustard chicken wings.

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Quattro Formaggi Pizza

I think they bake their pizza by charcoal oven. I like how the crust is charred. I was surprised how soft the dough and crust is. I love the savoury and tangy combination of the sauce and the pizza.

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Honey Mustard Chicken Wings

As for the chicken wings, we waited for more than an hour for this to arrive. However, it was worth it. We ordered 12 pieces, thinking that the wings are small. But we were again surprised to see how big the wings are. I love how sweet and saucy the chicken wings are. It tastes good together with their sauce. I think we were too full from the pizza and fries, or the wings are just big, that we were not able to finish everything and ended up taking it home.

It was fun to hang out at Kantorini. It’s vibe is very relaxing for anyone who is stressed out from work or school. It’s both for people who just want  to go  on a food trip, and for people who  wants to get a drink or two. It would have been nice if there were more options, and more food stalls are open. I enjoyed my food trip here, though.

Coffe Shop Saturday: SweetBlooms Cafe

Sometimes, you find a little treasure when you least expect it. Just like what happened to me this week. I only went to Miniso in Gateway Mall this Wednesday to hoard buy some pens, but after I came out of the store, I found a new little cafe hiding in one of the nooks of the mall.

I liked how the cafe was designed, even if they only occupied a small space. Again, I was not able to take a picture because I was scared the staff would find me weird. I like how their shelves were filled with pastillas flowers. Not only were they displaying their product, but it also made the place pretty.

Since I was in a hurry last Wednesday after my trip to Miniso, I only ordered their Iced Cafe Americano. The coffee is not that strong, which is to my liking since I had acid reflux that time. I’m not sure if it’s because of the number of Splenda sachet I put in my coffee, but it was a little bit sweet. Well, maybe it is anyway.

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So this Saturday, I decided to come back to this coffee shop. I was supposed to go to Megamall to meet my best friend for dinner, but she bailed out. And since I have so much time to spare and not much money to spend, I decided to stop by this cafe and order the other drinks and try out their cakes.

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Because I still have acid reflux, I stayed away from caffeine and ordered their Strawberry Smoothie. I also ordered the rainbow cake because it looks cute. Honestly, I ordered a cake, because the last time, their unicorn cake caught my attention.

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The strawberry smoothie tasted fresh. It wasn’t too sweet as I expected it to be. It was milky yet tangy and citrusy.

The rainbow cake, however, was on the sweeter side. The cream cheese frosting tried to balance the sweetness and tanginess of the cake. I like how vivid the colors of this cake is. It wasn’t only mouthwatering, it’s an eye candy as well.

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The price for the drinks and the cakes are just right. I bought my iced coffee for Php 65, while the strawberry smoothie and rainbow cake were at Php 85 and Php 135. The place is also relaxing, as it was almost at the hidden part of the mall. I think it’s only new, so there are not many people hanging out there. The interior is cute and whimsical, which also relaxes my eye.

So for those who are in Cubao area and would like to try out a new coffee shop, give SweetBlooms Cafe a visit.

 

Coffee Shop Saturday: Gift Avenue Cafe

I think I found a really nice coffee shop to hang out.

I’m browsing through my IG, when I saw a post about this new coffee shop in Gateway Mall in Cubao called Gift Avenue Cafe. Since I frequent Cubao and that mall due to my long commute, and because I was a little pissed off about something,  I decided to check it out today.

What brought my attention to this coffee shop is their nicely designed lattes, and that there are other knick-knacks (jewelries, stationeries, planners, art sets, etc) that you can buy from them, aside from coffee and snacks.

However, being familiar with the mall, I’m not sure where exactly in the ground floor they are located. Good thing I asked the guard where they are, I got to figure out their location (They are right next to BDO).

It’s a small cafe, quite homey in my own opinion. It’s not as crowded as the well-known coffee shops in the area, so there are a lot of available seats. I chose to sit at the table right next to their gift shelves.

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There’s also a lounge area with a nicely painted and hand drawn wall. I wanted to sit at that side, but there are some people in that area, and my social anxiety kicked in again. The lighting is very nice, and I like the design of their ceiling lamps.

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I ordered the Hazelnut Latte and Classic Sansrival. I like how nutty the sansrival is, but I had a little problem scooping the bottom part of it. The sweetness is just right.

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The latte is also just right. It was not too sweet and not too bitter. It suits my tastebud.

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I actually liked how the latte complimented the sansrival. I think I found a really good food combination with these two.

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Although I had a short stay here, I enjoyed the atmosphere, as well as the food. I think this will be my new favorite hangout.

 

 

Choco Diaries: My Favorite Choco Candies

Who doesn’t love chocolates? Unless, of course, if one is allergic to it. I admit, I’m a chocoholic. It’s may go-to food when I’m hungry, when I’m stressed and when I need to stay awake.

Over the years, there are brands or types of chocolates that I have come to love. Most of them are the ones that I include in my grocery shopping list, others are the ones that I request from friends who go abroad. Here are some of my faves.

Cloud 9

This has been my favorite ever since I was young. It is a classic. It was my companion during sleepless nights during my finals. The combination of chocolate and nougat made this chewy concoction a hit for me.

Image grabbed from topten.ph

Big Bang 

Not the K-pop boyband. Big Bang is as classic as Cloud 9. It’s like Cloud 9, except that instead of peanuts, you’ll get rice crispies. Recently, they added a new twist to this chocolate, and they now have a blueberry and cheese flavor.

New find #bigbang #bluberryandcheese

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Dutch Treat

This is the chocolate that doesn’t break my budget. At Php 30 (well, at least here in Montalban), you can buy a pack of 12. It has the kind of sweet that kids would love. I love how the krispies makes this a little crunchy.

Peborit #chocodiaries #foodgram #foodgrammerph

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Dual Choco

What I like about this chocolate is the surprise inside – it’s peanut butter (me thinks)! This is like the small and cheap version of Reese’s. This chocolate reminds me of the candies I used to buy in the mall back in 2005-2006, where they set the price by weight.

Dual choco #chocodiaries #keisieats #foodgram

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Caramilk

Ahhh… the gooeyness goodie that is Caramilk. I always always buy a bar of this whenever I stop by the grocery store to buy dinner. Caramilk is life for me. I love that when I take a bite of this rich and milky chocolate, golden sweet caramel oozes out of this treasure. I sure hope my friend would bring me back some a couple of this when he comes home from Canada.

Rolo

If Cadbury gas Caramilk, Nestle has Rolo. One of the chocolates that made me sane during my stint in Canada. It’s like Caramilk – inside is the golden delicious caramel that drips down when you bite it. If you make me choose between the two, I will choose both.

Dont mind the Reese’s bar

Rolo not only comes in bar, it also comes in time round candies like below. Still, it’s filled with caramel.

Mini rolo #chocodiaries #sonyxperiac3 #xperiagraphy #xperiatography

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Meiji Choco Baby

Let’s go Japanese this time. Choco Baby is one of those Meiji chocolates I really like. These babies come in tiny bits, and you can’t help but take a bite after another. Soon after, you’ll find yourself with an empty box (?). Seems like the smiley face on this chocolate candy has a hint of caramel.

It's been a long time since I had one of this baby #chocobaby #chocodiaries

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Venus

Honestly, when I first saw this in 7-11, I thought this chocolate is expensive. But I was wrong. It was very affordable! The one I got, which is Toffee flavor, has a toffee or caramel inside the milky chocolate sqaures. It’s like Rolo, but cheaper. They have other flavors too, which I have yet to try.

Meiji Apollo

These little chocolate cones come in blueberry and strawberry, but I guess the most common here is the strawberry. What I love about this is that it’s not that sweet, and it tastes more of strawberry than chocolate. You know life is good when you open a box of this, and you smell the scent of this strawberry-infused chocolate.

In threes #meijiapollo #chocodiaries

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Choco Power

Another 7-11 find. This is rather difficult to eat. It’s like melted chocolate inside the tube, and you need to push it to the top (like what you do with a toothpaste), and then suck the chocolate. The difficult part is when there’s a few more choco liquid remaining inside, but you can’t push it to come out. Still, one of the good chocolates I found.

Dark choco version of chocolate power… like thus one better #chocodiaries

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Aero and Cadbury Bubbly

It’s crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. No, just kidding. It’s hard on the outside, but soft inside, just like me. I love sinking my teeth into the bubbly inside of this chocolate. It is light, crumbly and velvety. However, Cadbury has the richer chocolate and less crumbly. What I like about Aero though is it’s different flavors. Just like the strawberry flavor below.

Flat Tops and Curly Tops

I seriously have no idea what’s the difference between the two. They both tastes the same. Maybe it’s because flat tops is flat and curly tops has a curly swirl on top? Still, this is a childhood favorite. If I want pure and decadent milk chocolate, without any add-ons like nougat, nuts or rice crisps, I go for this one.

Image from tsikot.com

Image from topten.ph

There are a lot more chocolates that I love, but I’ll discuss it on another day. How about you, what’s your favorite chocolate candy?

Coffee Shop Saturday: Kopi Roti

Back when I was working in Makati, when I needed an iced coffee fix and I don’t have money to buy Starbucks coffee, my go to place is Kopi Roti. It’s just a stone’s throw away from my office – all I have to do is just cross the street.

What I liked about Kopi Roti is that their drinks are very affordable. It has that kick that could make me awake throughout the day. Their food is affordable as well, that’s why most of the time, I prefer to buy here than the other expensive  coffee shops.

Sadly, when I moved to another company, I was not able to got to buy nor taste their coffees again. Having an acid reflux made it difficult for me as well. Although there are a few branches of Kopi Roti near my previous place, I wasn’t able to visit it because I don’t always have the time.

I realized that their Tomas Morato shop is near the building where I pay my house amortization is. And so, I decided to pay it a visit and get a taste of my favorites.

I  ordered their Set B1 Meal, which is coffee and kaya toast. I changed the coffee to Iced Choco, since I need to sleep when I get home. Aside from that, I also ordered their french toast, with a side of kaya jam and butter. I wanted to order kaya puff, but unfortunately, it was not available during that time.

The taste is the same as I remembered it. The french toast is soft and fluffy. I love the kaya jam so  much. It has the right amount of sweetness. It does pair well with their french toast. I remember asking the staff a few years back  if they sell the kaya jam, but unfortunately, they don’t. In case they do, I’d probably be buying a jar of it.

French toast with kaya jam #keisieats #foodgrammerph #foodgram

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The kaya toast, on the other hand is on the borderline of soft and crispy. The combination of the toasted bread, butter and kaya jam is superb. Although some of the slices has more butter than kaya jam, nevertheless, I enjoyed the toast.

The iced choco capped  off my meal. It just has the right taste  of chocolate, and it’s a good way to cool off.

#keisieats #foodgram #foodgrammerph

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Overall, I enjoyed my meal here. I feel so nostalgic as I tasted the food, as it took me back to my 20s, when I was starting in the IT industry after a career shift. Kopi Roti gives you a good taste of Singaporean coffee, and some of  its food without having to break a bank.

Payday Lunch: Slammin’ Mini Burger + Omakase + Carousel Creamery

After the hot air balloon fiesta, my best friend asked me if I wanted to watch a movie the day before Valentine’s day. And since I am on vacation leave, I agreed. We planned it as our Valentine’s day, since we both don’t have dates for that day.

We met at the Promenade in Greenhills. Since she message she will be late, I decided to get something to eat first since I didn’t have any breakfast. I chanced upon Slammin’ Mini Burger. I’ve been seeing them in Instagram before, and I’ve been wanting to get some of their burgers.

I ordered Bacon N’ Mushroom, Fries with cheesy dip and blue lemonade.

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I was ready to buy more food in case it didn’t satisfy my hunger, but I was surprised that I got full. The burgers were very filling, and it didn’t feel small at all! I wish all burgers are like this.

After the movies, we met her daughter, and decided to have early dinner at Italiani’s. However, we were not able to find it. We settled to have dinner at Omakase instead.

What caught my eyes were the big Japanese dolls installed on the walls. The place has a kawaii vibe in it.

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Kawaii doll

I’m not a fan of sushis and makis, however, there are some Japanese food that I really like. The only sushi I got to enjoy was the one from Kingsway Sushi in Canada. We ordered the Seafood Crepe Salad, JSC Platter, and okonomiyaki.

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Seafood Crepe Salad

I really enjoyed the salad. I like the texture of the tuna, crab, squid and shrimp. It’s very creamy, and the tuna tastes fresh. The serving is just right for the three of us, and it’s very filling.

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Okononmiyaki

Our next order is the okonomiyaki. To be honest, I only ordered this because I’ve been seeing this in Japanese movies and J-doramas. This is the part I got full. I only had one slice, and before I know it, I only have a few room in my tummy. It has an eggy, pancakey texture, and the taste is exactly how I imagined it to be – not sweet, and not too savory. It’s just right for my picky tongue. I didn’t manage to finsh a second slice of this, though.

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JRS Platter

Now, this one got us all really full. Although I don’t like sushi, I did quite enjoy the maki in this platter. I’m not a fan of their mayo sauce, as I feel it made the sushi much sweeter.

After we had our dinner, we decided to have dessert somewhere near. We wanted to have cake or ice cream, as we already had coffee before we watched a movie. We were supposed to go to Conti’s, but we found Carousel Creamery just outside Promenade.

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Just a portion of their many ice cream flavors

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It’s hard to choose from their 101 unique flavors, and ordering which ones we like is a big challenge for the three of us. We settled on 2 orders of Triple. Finally, we decided on the flavor of ice cream that we wanted to try.

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My best friend ordered Red Velvet and Mango Speculoos, her daughter ordered S’mores Wine and Chocolate Cookie Dough, and I ordered Maple & Bacon and Cherry Cheescake

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Mango Speculoos, S’mores Wine and Chocolate Cookie Dough

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Cherry Cheesecake, Red Velvet, Maple and Bacon

The ice creams were flavorful. It tastes exactly as what it’s named after. I liked the Maple and Bacon, because it tastes like pure maple syrup. The Cherry Cheesecake is filled with chunky cherries, and I could taste the cherry liqueur. There is really wine in S’mores Wine. We love how sweet and chunky the Mango Speculoos, and the Chocolate Cookie Dough tastes like the batter of the chocolate chip cookie.

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Banana Cinnamon, Baileys, Toffee Vanilla

We craved for more, so we ordered three more scoops of ice cream. Banana Cinnamon was too sweet. There is a kick of alcohol in Baileys. And the Toffee Vanilla was a surprise, as the combination of toffee and vanilla was just right.

We were very full and satisfied by the end of the night. We enjoyed our pre-valentines date. Who says you need a special someone to be happy on hearts day? All that matters to me is good food, and company of my best friend.