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Cafe Lidia

Two of my church friends and I went to Cafe Lidia to have chit-chat over dinner. I've been hearing great reviews about Cafe Lidia -  most of them coming from my mom, that I didn't hesitate to agree with the girls when they decided to have our rendezvous there.

It's a little difficult to find at first. It's located at 64 Calderon St., Calumpang, Marikina, so if you're not familiar with area, and you're driving there, you might get a little lost. If you're a commuter, then it's easier for you. You just tell kuya tricycle driver to drop you off Cafe Lidia.

Cafe Lidia has this rustic appeal to it. Just outside, you'll see red bricks and arches. Kinda reminded me of a posh saloon. When you enter Cafe Lidia, it's like you've been transported to a different world. The interior is simple yet eloquent. It has this a simple, radiant, elegant ambiance that you don't normally find in Marikina establishment. People from Marikina are simplistic and have this homey-frugal approach when it comes to dining establishments.

Though Marikina is rich in food market - food peddlers, food kiosks, canteen-type or turo-turo, they usually don't decorate. Just a few tables, chairs, and an electric fan would do. Cafe Lidia seem to have deviated from Marikina's traditional food service and whipped up an affordable yet chic Italian restaurant.

The waiters were really nice. They're funny and chatty. They also know their products well because when you ask them what their best seller is, or what food they want to recommend, they have a ready answer, with an explanation. They don't answer the usual "lahat po masarap" (everything is yummy) when you ask them "ano bang masarap dito?" (which food is delicious here, or what's your best seller). I had a lot of questions about their menu since I'm not a huge fan of Italian food. I wanted to order buffalo wings, which from what I heard was their best selling appetizer, but thought that I'd save it for next time.

Being the fish lover that I am, I ordered the Parmesan Crusted Fish Fillet which was a pan-fried cream dory with parmesan cheese on the breading, topped with this Italian, semi-sweet red sauce.

My church friends ordered Baked Penne and Penne ala Vodka with Bacon

The Baked Penne had this Italian-Filipino zestiness to it. It was sweet, sour and meaty. A very hearty taste.

The Penne ala Vodka with Bacon leans on a more zesty, citrus-y flavor. I guess this is due to the vodka. You won't taste the vodka at all and it will definitely tickle your taste buds with this new flavor in pasta.

A friend suggested we order pizza, so we did. The house special has everything in it! It was so delicious! Too bad I didn't have too much room to eat more than 1 slice. What with dessert coming up?

I love dessert! My mouth was watering when I saw their desert rack. The cakes absolutely looked scrumptious! I had this triple chocolate dream cake. I dunno if I was just full or the cakes weren't that yummy as I expected. The cake wasn't that yummy. The chocolate wasn't that rich. It tasted a little flat for me.

 My friend ordered the almond marjolaine cake. The top's already been eaten in the picture though. I wasn't able to taste it, but from how it looked, it looked interesting

Over all though, I love the food and ambiance that Cafe Lidia offered. I sure will be coming back to eat more.

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Taco Bell Beef Grilled Stuft Burrito

I had a burrito this morning thanks to my super sweet brother who watched the Westlife concert last night. Maybe it's his way of appeasing me cause I can't get to see their concert. Boo!

Anyway, I discovered Taco Bell because of my boyfriend (he wasn't my boyfriend then). He asked me if I have dined there, I told him I haven't, so when the budget permitted it, he treated me there. That happened months ago, but my goodness! I have to say, hands down, the BEST burrito I've EVER TASTED!

I have this really long story about by quest for the perfect burritos. If you don't want to read it, skip to the review :)

My fetish for burritos started with cartoons and kid shows. Growing up I saw shows indicating characters getting LBM with burritos. I got really curious about it, cause why would people risk having LBM just to eat it, right? It must be really good.When I got older, this cute show came up, Kim Possible. Her bestfriend, Ron Stoppable and his naked mole rat, absolutely loved Mexican food, which revived my curiosity for burritos.

I had a classmate in college who bought  a burrito from a kiosk (I think it was Tia Mia or Tia Maria. I forgot) in the school carpark (Yeah, our school car park have food kiosks and even restaurants). I forgot if she bought me one or she just let me taste it, but I gotta tell you, it was awesome! That was the first time I fell in love with burritos. It had this nice "Mexican" taste that I call. I can't describe it fully, it's like this chilli-beef (not spicy beef okay, chilli as in the food chilli-con-carne). Too bad for me it was way out my budget. It was 90 pesos. And for a student on a budget, that's too much.

There came a time when a batch of students have their entrep week, so they're selling all sorts of stuff. One of which including a microwave-ready burrito. It costs 50 per piece (Cheap ha!). It was just a small burrito but it was bursting with the Mexican flavor that I told you earlier. Plus the texture was a little rough, like it had beans on it! (the first one I ate only had rice). I loved it so much that I ate one everyday, and after entrep week was over, I set aside a portion of my allowance to eat the burrito from Tia M(ar)ia.

After I graduated, I haven't had a burrito for more than a year. I didn't actually miss it since I was too busy with work, then one day, I saw this burrito in 711. I was like, OMG! Burritos! There were 2 types. One was a breakfast burrito and one was a "Mexican" burrito. I tried both, but to my dismay, it was a far cry from the burritos I had back in college, but it did revive my craving for burritos.

After a few weeks, my officemates decided to have food from Army Navy delivered and to my pleasant surprise, they were selling burritos! Even though I know I'm really short on budget, I had to try it out. It was so expensive. (145-165 pesos), but so what? It doesn't matter if I can't go home later, I have to try the burrito. To my disappointment though, there wasn't enough Mexican Flavor Oooomph to make me smile. I was really really disappointed.

I told my then future boyfriend about how disappointed I was with all the burritos I've been trying so he brought up the idea of Taco Bell again (he brought it up a lot of times before. He didn't know I was a burrito addict). By then I was so intent on finding the perfect burrito, so I said I wanted to give it a go. I had apprehensions before because I thought Taco Bell was a very expensive restaurant.

So we went in, and I was surprised at how it looked. It was going for a rustic-festive design. Polished cement floor with festive-colored walls and banderitas. I can't place the term for it. Not really homey, not elegant. But I know it was a happy place. As we approached the register, my eyes were widening with awe with the mexican food pictures. I can't wait to dig in.

The girl at the register was very helpful. I can't seem to find what I want, so I told her that I want a burrito with rice and beans, and she happily offered the Grilled Stuft Burrito. The price was 99 Pesos for the beef! I was like, WOAH! expensive much! But what the heck. The last one I tried was more expensive anyway. I stayed away from the chicken and the steak variants cause they were more expensive (their full menu). Future bf ordered a taco.

Bf was raving about how good the first taco he bought from taco bell was. He was reliving the story to me and I was getting really really excited. When they called my name I was jolted back to reality. I opened the wrapper of my burrito and I can smell how good it was.

My fingers were all tingly, I was shaking a little, I took a bite and flavor exploded in my mouth. It was like the angels were singing! Hallelujah! I found the perfect burrito! As I eat the burrito, bit by bit, the flavor gets better and better! It's the perfect blend of sauce, beef, rice, beans and veggies! I was in 7th heaven. In cloud 9! I was so happy I could have died!

Sure enough, bf and I set aside money to indulge in burritos. The 2nd time we visited there, I ate 2 burritos! bf had the Cheesy bean and rice burrito. I had the Beef Grilled Stuft and the Steak Grilled Stuft. YUM!
The price was totally worth the taste.

My Score:
Taste  - 25/25
Presentation - 23/25
Ambiance - 23/25
Price - 25/25
Total = 94

Scores Explained:
I'm giving the Beef Grilled Stuft Burrito
  • 25 for taste cause for me, it's the perfect taste of burrito
  • 23 for presentation because the burrito isn't messy to eat (unlike other burritos). The tortilla bread was properly wrapped, and the paper wrapper itself looks nice
  • 23 for ambiance because the restaurant looks good with its numerous couches and festive colors, but the place is too heavy for the eyes
  • 25 for price because the price is so worth the taste, and you'll definitely be full after eating one burrito. Only eating machines like me get to devour 2 burritos. But mind you, after that 2nd burrito, I couldn't stand up

Contact Details:
I usually dine at the Taco Bell in Gatway mall. I have tried eating in Taco Bell Trinoma too. Haven't tried the one in Food Express (Gateway mall) though.

You can check out their website here: http://www.tacobell.com.ph/our_menu.htm

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