We made it a point to eat in places that are “ownable” to Baguio—NO to fast food, NO to Manila-based restos. My shortlist included the relatively new Hill Station, “walang kamatayang” Café by the Ruins and PNKY Bed and Breakfast. In general, we enjoyed the offerings of Baguio, it being a veritable source of the freshest vegetables and exotic upland rice.
Café by the Ruins is a an old favorite and “walang kamatayang haunt”—I was there when I was single, I was there when I was pregnant with my second child and we continue to go back with 2 teens in tow.
I was so happy with my salad, a Must Try: puting keso with greens and lovely, lovely watercress. My husband enjoyed his crispy tapa. And my teen boys who are usually meat eaters thoroughly enjoyed their vegetarian dishes: familiar and different all at the same time like the tortang talong with white cheese and 3-mushroom pasta. These are comfort food with a Café by the Ruins spin. And reasonably priced, too. (sulit) Their breads are as yummy as ever. So much so we went again, to bring their Saigon and Basil bread back to Manila. These replaced the proverbial raisin bread of Baguio Country Club. Strawberries are at their peak, so we ended the meal with chocolate fondue.
Café by the Ruins has expanded in terms of space and even offerings through the years, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, on the day we were there, the kitchen couldn’t catch up with the crowd. What saved us was the consolation that our table was under the tree and it was such a beautiful day, cool and nippy.
Then, there is Hill Station. Heard good reviews about the place and how Casa Vallejo was revived wonderfully. The interiors are beautiful and the space comfortable. There was a wedding reception in the main dining hall and so a waiter greeted us so we could be seated and attended to immediately. We ordered our appetizers of artichoke and spinach dip and Portugese style salpicao. Their whole wheat bread was yummy and their beef, tender. My husband was ok with his laing and lechon kawali meal, Miggy was happy with his fish, Jam was happy with his Shepherd’s pie (which I thought was good, but a bit small for the price). I opted for their reco which was a simple fresh tomato and garlic pasta. Too simple for my taste because if I were to count the tomato in my dish—it would be… one.
Must Try: Homemade dark chocolate ice cream with cayenne pepper (unforgettable!) and strawberry sorbet.
If there is one thing that lingered with me is that their service was personalized by no less than the owner herself. And her dining staff is friendly, courteous and always on their toes. Kudos to that!
Finally, there was PKNY. First off, I miss the old showroom. This is the place where I got my beautiful wooden candle holders and a wooden container which I use to put sugar sachets when serving coffee to guests. It’s now on the second floor. Maybe I just miss the way it was. Like the way you miss an old friend.
At first I was thrilled that there was no long line and the fact that it was such a cozy place, perfect for dinner. Alas, it ended there. My family got their meal, but my vegetarian meal never came. They completely forgot to cook it. By this time, my family had finished their dinner. Sigh.
Must try: What is memorable though is the ube crepe which helped alleviate my hunger. It tasted as good as it looked- creamy ube with macapuno threads.
Alas, we can never say never to Baguio.
Perhaps on our next visit— the planets will finally be aligned.
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