October 22, 2010

Boulevard Series: Le Chalet

Friday, October 22, 2010 Posted by Mary , , , , 1 comment
I figured that there is no better to way to kick off my Boulevard Series than by blogging about my favorite restaurant in all of Dumaguete--Le Chalet. It's a quaint Swiss-style restaurant near the southern tip of the Rizal Boulevard, and is part of the Why Not complex, along with Why Not Disco and Chicco's, another restaurant.

Italian and Mexican on the menu

Le Chalet serves a wide range of international cuisine--from European, to Thai, to Mexican and Cajun. Never actually having been to these places, I really cannot tell how authentic their cooking is, but I do know that I love how food is cooked is Le Chalet. The flavors are subtle and nothing has ever been salty, which I absolutely cannot stand. The atmosphere is also just right for me, as it's got a cozy ambiance that will make you feel right at home.

A booth and a choice of wines

One thing I really like about Le Chalet is their salad bar where you can choose what to put in your salad. I'm not a big salad fan (I like my vegetables cooked), but since I can choose my own ingredients there, their salad bar works great for me. Their food prices average at 200 pesos for the regular menu, and around 400 pesos for the specials. This can be considered a little bit on the expensive side, but it's totally worth it. Their servings are huge compared to those of Philippine restaurants and two people can even share one dish.

The salad bar

Shrimp Curry
Spaghetti Carbonara
A side dish of mashed potatoes
Filipino Chopsuey
Cordon Bleu

Le Chalet is a regular hangout for expats in the area, and this could intimidate locals who are not used to the expat scene. It's a restaurant targeted at foreign customers, after all. Filipinos do not have to worry though, as I've never seen or felt any difference in the treatment of customers. I do wish the waitresses could be a tad more friendly, but that's to all customers in general, not just to Filipinos.

The bottom line is, I really like this restaurant. And until I am disappointed, it will be my favorite. I hope the disappointing does not happen though, because they have some nice food. Some of my favorites: a seafood spaghetti that is just heavenly (their Spaghetti Marinera), and the best pizza in town--for me, at least--their Quattro Stagioni.

This entry is part 1 of the Boulevard Series and is also posted at Everything Dumaguete.

October 21, 2010

Bo's, Coffee, Green Tea, and Me

Thursday, October 21, 2010 Posted by Mary No comments
I really envy people who love coffee. I make an effort to enjoy it, but no matter what I do, it doesn't work. There seems to always be this weird taste in my mouth after I drink the beverage. Bo's Coffee recently opened in Robinson's Place Dumaguete, and I thought I'd be converted with all the mouth-watering coffee drinks they have available. I have been spending quite a lot of time there, but it's to no avail. I still have the  same aversion. Some people tell me it's good that I don't have this craving for coffee, but sometimes it's a pain, too, especially when I need help in staying awake. It's during those times that I wish I had a coffee addiction!

There is a new drink I'm loving at Bo's, though: Green Tea Latte! I remember the first time I drank green tea. It was during my first day in Japan, and I had bought a cold green tea drink from a vending machine. I tasted it, spit it out, and threw the rest away. I couldn't stand it! If you're in Japan, though, you cannot stay away from green tea. You get used to it. I got used to it, and now I love it! The secret is to drink it hot (when it tastes better), If you drink it cold, you must add a lot of sugar. It is an acquired taste, but if you give it a chance, you enjoy it eventually. 

Green Tea Latte at Bo's is wonderful. You don't need to be a green tea fan to appreciate it. It's really good; it's made to taste that way. You should try it! The Starbucks Green Tea Latte is equally as good and was actually my first addiction. But since there is no Starbucks branch in Dumaguete, then Bo's it is!

I still wish I could appreciate coffee. A good mug of it is quite delicious, I have heard. But I just am happy that I have a substitute, one that has amazing health benefits. Most importantly, I'm ecstatic that Bo's in Dumaguete now serves Green Tea Latte. It makes up for all the fun those coffee addicts are having that I'm missing!

October 17, 2010

Dumaguete's Pride

Sunday, October 17, 2010 Posted by Mary , , No comments

If you are a tourist and you come to Dumaguete, there is probably one spot in the city that's going to stay in your mind--the Rizal Boulevard (named after the Philippine national hero who was said to have taken a stroll here while on the way to his exile in Dapitan). This is the stretch of boardwalk along Dumaguete's coast near the pier; a jogging destination in the morning that turns into a melting pot of lights, tempura vendors, expats, and SMB's at night. This where things happen; this is where the good restaurants are. This, for me, is Dumaguete's pride.

I have yet to see or hear of a lovelier boardwalk than the Dumaguete boulevard anywhere in the Philippines. I am really pleased that we have something like this here, which is the reason why I've decided to create the Boulevard Series, where I plan to blog about the people, places, and goings-on in the Dumaguete boulevard.

So sit back, relax, and allow me to take you on a tour of my favorite place in my favorite town... coming really soon!

tempura - different from the Japanese, the Philippine tempura is not actually a whole shrimp or a slice of vegetable, 
but is made of flour flavored with shrimp. 
It is deep-fried and usually sold in the streets in the late afternoon or evenings

Photos courtesy of revenui.

October 10, 2010

Panic Mode

Sunday, October 10, 2010 Posted by Mary , No comments

Tomorrow starts my comprehensive exams for masters, a series of 9 exams in total over 3 days for 9 of the 12 subjects I took up over the past 1 year and a half. I am panicking, because I really am not ready. I tried studying for a few hours last Friday at Bo's Coffee, but I covered very little only. That's my problem when the exam is still far (yes, 3 days before the date is far for me), my mind tends to wander... and instead of studying, I ended up starting to write a story involving coffee while I was there. Pffft!

I am a little bit upset because I have been somewhat busy with work the past few days (that comes first), but now, just 12 hours before the exam, studying is actually better. I breeze through the notes very fast, and it's like I can internalize them better. I've never been a studious person, but I'm really afraid that fact will someday bite me in the bum. I feel like I am never ready for exams, not like other people I know who study for hours and hours and hours. I'm sort of panicking... but not really... because I know this is my style. I just hope I won't have to pay for this tomorrow. And can you imagine I squeezed in time to blog? It relaxes me. Seriously though, I must be crazy for wasting the already little time I have left.

October 3, 2010

They're Real

Sunday, October 03, 2010 Posted by Mary , , , No comments
You know the "secretaries of Juliet" who answer letters in the movie Letters to Juliet? Well, they're real.

Verona, the "City of Love," is the setting of Romeo and Juliet. And while the star-crossed lovers are just a figment of the author's imagination, on Via Capello in this city, there actually exists a house with a balcony... said to be the house of the Capulets, the powerful Veronese family that inspired the Shakespearean play. This house is Juliet's House, the Casa di Giulietta.

Juliet's balcony

Juliet's House is a huge tourist attraction in Verona. It is a place where people can place love notes or graffiti on the walls. A statue of Juliet also stands in the courtyard, whose right boob visitors rub for good luck.

The story of Juliet is indeed an important part of Verona's charm, which is why the city has commissioned the secretaries of Juliet, a group of volunteers to promote the legend of Romeo and Juliet. They are known as The Juliet Club or Il Club di Giulietta. Just like in the movie Letters to Juliet, they answer letters addressed to the ill-fated heroine from all over the world. They give advice, support, or just listen to those who need to talk about love. Yes, they really do exist, and you really can write to them at The Juliet Club, via Galilei 3 - 37100 Verona, Italy. 

I think I will send them a note one of these days.

Photo taken from flickr.

October 1, 2010

Letters to Juliet

Friday, October 01, 2010 Posted by Mary 1 comment

'What' and 'if' are two words as non-threatening as words can be. But put them together side-by-side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life. What if? What if? What... if?
Do you have regrets in life? Are you wondering, what if? If you are, then this movie is for you.

I do not have a lot of what if questions, and I've seen my share of romantic comedies, but this movie struck me, and left me awed and speechless. It's exactly what I need right now--something to remind me that somewhere out there, fate is working. Or at least I hope it is.

Watch it. It is absolutely lovely.