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Artlet Bites: Eat, drink, study, repeat

By REYANNE LOUISSE AMPONG, ALISHA DANIELLE GREGORIO, ANGELA SE, AND CARLITO TOPACIO

WE UNDERSTAND your pain. It is again the season of studying and drowning into piles of readings, burning the midnight oil, cramming projects to meet the deadlines, and staying awake just to finish all the chapters covered for the exam. And what adds to the academic stress is looking for a solace locale where one can simply study and relax without the hustle and bustle of crowded study places. The Flame takes you to cafés you might try this exam week.

“A bit of everything” in a cozy spot

It’s that time of the semester again when the library is full and cafes near the university have gone too noisy as students prepare for the exams. But it would only take a few good rides to save oneself from that trouble at Sweet Spot Café in San Juan!

The café’s warm-toned interiors of sunset orange and black with some accents of brick-work just give off a totally cozy vibe. The café also boasts itself a highly accommodating staff and their unlimited use of free wifi that just completes the cozy experience.

Although the café comes true to its name, their menu packs more than the usual coffee, tea, and baked goodies with their hefty offerings from pizzas to pastas and even all-day breakfast rice meals that are made with the freshest ingredients.

Head chef of Sweet Spot Café Elay Salas personally drafts the menu used in the café. He said that although they specialize in European food such as pizza and pasta, the Sweet Spot team still aims to cater to all customers by having “a bit of everything.”

Breakfast Pizza. photo by MARIANNE LORRAINE M. SAMILING

One for the books is their Breakfast Pizza that’s prepared with their homemade dough and smothered with their special sauce topped with bacon, mushroom, mozzarella cheese, and of course the sunny-side-up egg right at the center of the pizza—a solution to a pizza lover’s dilemma in the morning.

A perfect dish to complement their special pizza is their best-selling Sunny Side-up Carbonara. Mixing the poached egg, the yolk does an excellent job in enhancing the creaminess of the carbonara sauce. Combining their pizza and pasta is the best of both worlds with the creamy carbonara that tames the crunchiness of the crust.

Strawberry Wings. photo by MARIANNE LORRAINE M. SAMILING

To balance their carb-on-carb specialty, their Strawberry Wings is definitely a must-try. It is actually one of the cafés experimental dishes and although one would smell the sweet smell of strawberries, it does not overpower in taste but achieves an ultra-savory flavor.

The Sweet Spot stays true to the saying, “the costumer is always right.” They welcome special orders from customers who want to modify or give a little twist certain dishes in their menu depending on their customer’s personal request. The staff welcomes these requests not to only satisfy their customers’ need but it also gives them the chance to know their customers, and to learn from them as well.

That’s why their staff don’t really mind if students spend long hours studying or doing group works in their café because they understand that it is what their café is for-–to accommodate the needs of every customer just to make them feel at home.

Sweet Spot Café communes and shelters its customers that is why if you are in need of a place to work with your thesis revisions, or simply just to concentrate on the upcoming exams the following days, head right in and feel cozy that is just “a bit of everything” you will need.

Advocacy, community, and creativity at Commune

Gather thoughts and head over to the cozy Commune Cafe + Bar which boasts itself of their advocacy to promote everything local.

Commune Cafe + Bar. photo by KRISTELA DANIELLE S. BOO

The café is a perfect place for students who want to review or de-stress as it offers a laid-back atmosphere. At the same time, Commune is a place where one can go to meet other people. It challenges the notion of Filipinos being cliquish.

Rosario Juan, the owner of the café, said he is proud of their coffee. Indeed, they offer a wide coffee selection which is sourced from various farms all over the country.

photo by KRISTELA DANIELLE S. BOO

Get energized by drinking Iced Toddy, a cold brew with a smooth yet strong taste which will surely awaken anybody.

Work up your appetite with their take on Grilled Cheese.  This four-cheese brioche sandwich is perfectly paired with their homemade tomato ketchup and is served with chips and vegetables on the side.

For something heavier to equate with long hours stay, try their generous serving of Mushroom Cream Pasta. Albeit a simple dish, it does not fail the tastebuds for the creaminess of the white sauce and the old taste of parmesan cheese blend well with the subtle taste of mushrooms. Mix Pork & Chicken Adobo is one of the local dishes they proudly serve. Originally for breakfast, the rice meal can definitely be eaten at any time. The flavorful garlic rice is drizzled with adobo sauce and topped with a sunny side-up egg; tender cuts of pork and chicken and tomatoes are on the side.

Try their Calamansi Muffin for dessert or simply pair it with coffee or tea. The fluffy pastry plays on the borders of sweet and citrusy taste. Complementing the soft muffin is the gritty texture of sweetened calamansi zest sprinkled on top.

Commune café does not only offer good and affordable food but it is also a home. It is perfect for students, artists, or businessmen looking for a home away from home.

The café that never sleeps

Curricular activities or say group studies are logistical nightmares, putting everyone involved in a juggling act of practicality and productivity. The location, varying schedules, and resources are only a handful of dilemmas that students have to take into consideration when looking for academic Nirvana. One humble café, however, plans to change all that.

Claiming to be the go-to place for scholarly woes the Diligence Café is here to revolutionize out-of-school studying. Nestled in the street of Katipunan, this quaint shop is filled to the brim with every perk a collegian could possibly need.

Diligence Cafe. photo by KATHLEEN MAE I. GUERRERO

For those who plan on slaving away on their tasks for hours on end, this café allows students to stay for as long as they want, may it be studying alone or in a group study. All of which is inclusive of complimentary unlimited coffee, wi-fi (reaching up to 10 Mbps), and power outlet access.

Staying overnight in a café may seem impractical for some, but not with this café’s lavish facilities. With its locker rentals, drowning in a sea of clutter and materials will no longer happen. This café offers printing services for its patrons to end the search for nearby computer shops. And if a customer is ever in the mood to freshen up after a hard day’s work, their shower rooms and toiletries are yours to use at a certain cost.

But all of those researches are bound to work up to anybody’s appetite, fortunately, the culinary geniuses of this café have concocted some delectable meals for students. Their Aglio E Olio was topped with olives, capers, salted tawilis, and parmesan cheese all of which added a nice hit of salt to the dish while imparting their own distinct flavors. Cutting through the richness of the olive oil, were morsels of tomato which added a burst of freshness and acidity. The garlic bread served beside it was sliced to the right thickness giving it the crunch and textural contrast needed to round out the meal.

photo by KATHLEEN MAE I. GUERRERO

The Creamy Mushroom Chicken may be the dish for those craving a heartier course. With a serving of jasmine rice at the side, pieces of pan seared chicken breast were smothered in a rich cream-based mushroom sauce. The button mushrooms gave an earthiness to the meal which seeped through the cream giving the sauce a nice depth of flavor.

The Diligence Café’s White Chocolate Sans Rival, however, takes the cake. The layers of meringue were baked to absolute perfection, giving the dish a subtle chew without being leathery. Adding the luscious white chocolate to their buttercream, gave it a sinfully sweet flavor unique to this spin on a classic Filipino dessert.

The best way to wash down all of those dishes is with a cup of their famous Top Notcher’s Mug. Made with Benguet coffee beans, this cold brew is topped with a serving of whipped cream and chocolate sauce all contained within a mason jar. For those who like heavy hitting coffees, this blend is sure to wake everyone up!

Diligence Café is the mecca for all of the hustling collegians of today. Phenomenal food, student-oriented facilities, and accessibility, this place may seem to be the stuff of legends but nevertheless, it is a reality. In the trying times of a student’s life, this humble store welcomes each and every scholar with open arms, may it be for a day of research or a cup of coffee.

The study hub

Students normally have different preferences when it comes to studying, and everyone should be able to find their ideal place to focus. In general, home is the best place to study, because it is in a secure, familiar environment. But for others, Hub Urban Coffee could be the next go-to study place.

Hub Urban Cafe. photo by MARIELLE FRANCHESCA L. SANTIAGO

During an exam week, everyone will surely be sleep deprived and neck-deep in schoolwork. It is only appropriate for one to find comfort in their study area. Hub offers a nice homey vibe, wide spaces, tables for individual café-goers, and for big groups as well, and so to say, nearest to Artlets.

They take pride in serving fresh coffee with a variety of choices where everybody can find a match. One of their specialties is the Caramel Macchiato, a drink served hot with just the right amount of sweetness and caffeine to satisfy those with a weakness for caramel.

On the other hand, chocolate lovers will go head over heels for another specialty called the White Chocolate Cappuccino, a drink also served hot with minimal caffeine and just the right amount of sugar.

For the kids at heart, a classic favorite will never grow old. Hub’s signature Hot Chocolate will not disappoint for the chocolate enthusiasts. Served hot with the perfect amount of sweetness, it will be sure to chase those study blues away.

photo by MARIELLE FRANCHESCA L. SANTIAGO

For those who prefer food going with their meal, and to help the brain continue memorizing those mind-boggling terminologies, the Oriental Chicken Pasta is one of the best choices. Served with a special sauce, sliced mushrooms, chicken strips and a side of garlic bread, this delicious concoction will be sure to fill the hungry tummies.

Hub will surely be a great place to study and even spend time with a couple of friends. It also allows the customer to connect to a wifi for a maximum of three hours. It is unique for being so quiet and peaceful even though a lot of people are staying there. There’s a lot of space, moody music, and great ambiance perfect for students who are just looking for a perfect space to study. F

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