December 8, 2022

Vanilla is more than a flavor with a sweet scent, it is a quaint café in an old Baguio home with picture window walls for the young graphic Tik Tok energy.

Someone got away with mix matching furniture upholstery, putting all kinds of chairs together, and accentuating each nook and cranny as a different space in time. To describe it in terms of meals, it is like a buffet. You can have a color to match or complement your outfit of the day (OOTD).

It becomes amusing when you put some logic into the sequence of items around you and find out that everything is two of a kind. This boutique hotel, Kamiseta, is a class on its own after transforming the Cosetengfamily house into this visual marvel.

My memory of this café was the novelty plate that had a tiny relieffigure on it,which was used to serve my cake. The coffee cup matched this plate with a similar figure. This time, there were no quaint plates to perk up the meal. After the 18 months of having no business, it opened anew and repurposed the other parts of the house for al fresco dining and the other details of service.

The simple menu is in a gadget. There are not too many items listed but it has food that the millennials enjoy and the frothy drinks that they delight in. We had a pitcher of lemon iced tea and a strawberry tea being members of the auntie gen.

The apple walnut salad was interesting because this had kale. Kale is a superfood according to vegetable literature because this green is packed with protein, calcium, iron, vitamin A, fiber, and anti-cancer properties. It has more vitamin C than any other leafy green. There are about seven varieties they say, and the thinner bitter version is nice when baked to a crisp and eaten as a snack.

This was a break from the lettuces that are common in green salads, these are not crisp and juicy but thick and velvety in texture. They used balsamic vinegar in the sweet vinaigrette for this. The apple bits and walnut with the greens, a bit of blue cheese, and the sweet-sour vinaigrette is a delightful change from the regular mayo dressings of salads. I am sure to say you will clean the plate and use up every drop of the vinegar. The sharp pungent blue cheese flavor (if that’s what you call it) adds a savory adventure to the salad.

I have some natural attraction to crispy things and got caught with ordering crispy kare-kare. part of the adventure in food testing is discovering the diverse preparations to this common Pinoy favorite in different places. The twist is what many call it, that little signature of the chef is sought.

Amazed is what I was when I saw the fried eggplants, the boiled knotted string beans and pechay (or bok choi). The deep-fried half inch slice of pork knuckle with crispy skin curled like a cup was presented on a plate with the veggies and a cup of rice. The rich and thick peanut sauce lined the plate and not slathered over the vegetables and the meat as the common practice. Meant to be a meal for one, the exercise of rolling the vegetables over the sauce and adding the sweet shrimp paste in the spoonful was unusual but nice.

The meat was perfect in size and portion. I liked the sweetness of the fried slices of eggplant instead of boiled pieces and the knotted string of bean which was bite size. The boiled bok choi was juicy but not mushy.  This is a must try for those who like some crunch to meals.

The beef bourguignon is soft and tender beef braised in red wine was our other choice. This is a French inspired dish cooked with the red wine from bourgogne, until tender.

My usual benchmark for good food is the tender beef. The beef cubes with a little fat and a thick gravy are divine. The red wine they say tenderizes the meat too, this dish is described as melts in your mouth. The broccoli, corn, and carrots on the side add some color and texture to the meal. There is a choice of mashed potatoes or fries that go with this dish.

Dessert was cupcakes because  the café was not ready for the influx of customers. We got two of the last four, one vanilla and one chocolate. The chocolate cupcake was moist and undeniably made with good choco powder. Some cupcakes look good but leave you wanting for a missing taste or flavor, but these signature cupcakes are delightful and the reason for being sold out at midday. Vanilla with a V was symbolic of the café and of course, very perfect.

But there is more to this unusual restaurant, there is a billiard hall in what used to be the dining area. The walls are painted with all sorts of sayings and other parts are patchwork designs. But most stunning is the lavatory with its blue chandelier and walls painted with tulips. No wonder some people stay longer because they must be reading the messages on the walls.

This site inspires the vloggers to don their OOTD or dance or sing for you with pine trees in the foreground or the tapestry of designs and colors in the furniture and walls. You must become part of this happy confusion soon.

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