April 10, 2013

TGAT: A Pseudo First Date at CAFE 1771

Cafe 1771 from the parking lot | The Whimsy | The Lounge | The Winebar
The Whimsy Area in a Whim
Details and All The Little Things
Menu card & Popcorn | Sparkling Water
Pasta chorizo (Php420) | Orange Pork Spareribs (Php450)
 Walnut Chicken Salad (Php420) | Cafe 1771 Desserts Selection

I don't even remember the last time I bothered researching for a place to go to for a date, let alone go on a date. It's probably because the chance never came up before or the whole thing simply doesn't exist. So when my then-superboss particularly asked me to search for a place around the Ortigas area for our long-time-coming-get-together, I had to put my non-existent skills to good use. I was once and originally an Ortigas Girl, it was along Emerald Avenue where I spent the first years of my young professional era, so it was just but appropriate to come back around the area for one night. Somebody say nostalgia. 

I was looking for a cafe because you know how fascinated I am with coffee shops, its ambiance, interiors and whatnots, but it's not going to happen since it was supposedly an early dinner date, his words not mine. So when I chanced upon this cafe while browsing the numerous list of food places around Ortigas, one that caters almost everything - from appetizers to main courses, desserts and get this - even wine at any time of the day, I couldn't believe my luck! I might even had Taylor Swift's Begin Again playing on my mind while browsing the menu and the whole venue.

Cafe 1771 is a quaint, oddly picturesque cafe located in El Pueblo in the heart of Ortigas Avenue, also known as a Cafe in Ortigas based on their Twitter handle. Its old fashioned ways and structures are also its charm and beaut since you can easily spot it amidst the busy streets. It is like entering an entirely different dimension, that of a certain era in Paris, France. I have never been but based on what I see in photos and postcards, it's a fair comparison. The cafe is divided into 3 parts - The Lounge, The Whimsy and The Winebar. The Whimsy takes most of the 1st floor area and where we actually dined, by the glass windows overlooking the whole place. This one's a diverse place fit for an all girls afternoon day out, an altogether friendly date, and also ideal for group meetings and the likes too as it provides a long table for about 8, I think? The Lounge is located further into the corner of the cafe, a spot that looks like a posh library and coffee shop in one! I also noticed the younger generation flocking this area, if only for the carefree, low-key vibes it possess. The Winebar is located on the second level and all I got to see was the staircase leading to it! Which can only mean one thing, I will have to come back for it!   

The general whiteness of the whole place with the contrasting touches of dark-hued pink and blue interiors and furniture are the first ones I fell in love with. It seriously looked like a setting pulled out straight from a vintage dream - every girl's dream! And the owners surely know how to pay attention to details and all the little things that matter - from the glass windows to the baroque inspired frames and my most favorite detail of all - the ghost chairs!

And finally, the food! As expected, the popcorn was initially served upon choosing our table. It was such a cool idea that I literally chatted and chewed the waiting hours away! For the drinks, I asked for sparkling water and superboss had lemonade. It took me quite a while to order since I wanted to try everything on the menu - which is divided into several categories! But when your date remembers and suddenly asks, "You like pasta right?", the decision-making is made easier and the choices become slimmer. So I finally came up with Pasta Chorizo, spaghetti tossed in chorizo sauce reduction and Parmesan cheese. He had Orange Pork Spareribs, stewed in a long-simmered sauce made of soy sauce, orange juice, garlic and ginger which I now know, is best ordered with rice on the side. And then we both decided on getting one salad dish and I am so grateful we picked the Walnut Chicken Salad - mixed greens, grilled chicken breast strips, caramelized walnuts, celery and green apple vinaigrette.

A total of three dishes and would you believe we weren't able to finish them all, we had to have them packed for take away? Such a shame I know! But it's only because the servings were meant for sharing and even after that there'd still be left of it. The salad was good enough for a main course meal and those caramelized walnuts were so tasteful! The pasta though were too dry for my liking until I had my first bite! I have a special place in my heart for cheese so that did the trick! Now now now, the main dish! It was so yummy and so rich! The pork was steamed to perfection and the sauce, it's a perfect match! Have it with rice and you'll be full before you know it. And that's exactly what happened. I had to skip the dessert part simply because there's no room for it in my tummy anymore and buying one at that moment just for the sake of isn't an option for me! I wanted to enjoy the moment and since I won't be able to that time, my superboss kindly offer a second date and this time, it'll be exclusively dessert oriented. By then I will surely be dining in The Lounge area, it's a perfect scenario what with the desserts and the ghost chairs combined, and the desserts will have my equally undivided tummy attention!  I have heard a lot of things about their cakes and that's why I am definitely looking forward to my next visit already!

Being the gentleman that he's ever been, the superboss told me to walk around and take photos of the place before we put an end to one of the most surprising nights of my life to date. Mad props to the cafe crew too for being so friendly and accommodating with just the right amount of humor to keep a light conversation going when called for. So girls, if by any chance you'll be in charge of the date deets for the night, I highly recommend you consider looking into Cafe 1771. If the too-pretty-to-resist interiors did not tickle any of your fancy, I don't know what will! And boys, listen up! Trust me when I say you can never go wrong with a Parisian-inspired venue for a first date with your lady, for we all dream of going to Paris one day! The whole Cafe 1771 experience was worth all the anticipation and effort I've put into it, not one disappointment for the night! Like I said earlier, already I'm looking forward to my next visits and who knows, I might see you there!

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