Everywhere We Ate: U.P. Teachers Village Food Crawl

5:17:00 PM

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Quezon City is slowly winning me back with its thriving foodie-friendly neighborhoods. I discovered Tomas Morato and Banawe when I worked in Timog Ave five years ago, while Katipunan piqued my interest after a few errand runs to the area. It took a while for me to visit Maginhawa (UP Teachers Village, to be politically correct)the most popular of the fourfor several reasons, top of which are its proximity, commuter-friendliness and, well, the hype.

But it had to happen, one way or another, and it took an invitation from two of my first friends from the blogging community, Smarla and Robbie. It's been a while since I sat down with them and the rest of Team Kaladkarin to catch up, so when Smarla proposed the idea at a Facebook chat, I just knew it had to happen.

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And it finally did, one Saturday morning of September.

I met up with Robbie at LRT-2 Anonas, and we were picked up by Smarla and her long-time friend Bet Bet, whose car saved us from a lot of walking as we went around UP Teachers Village until dinnertime. I really don't recommend doing an extensive food crawl by foot, especially since a lot of the famed restaurants are separated by some distance. (Kinda like Banawe.)

We DIY-ed our tour and Smarla laid down a pretty simple plan for us: drive around, point at random establishments and try their food. It was fun, a little spontaneous, but also a waste of gas if you're not decided on where you really want to go.

Here's a rundown of everywhere and everything we ate at UP Teachers Village:

RBy's Steak and Shake

Everywhere We Ate: Maginhawa | Awesome in Manila

What we ate: Philly Cheesesteak - Provolone (P195), Cheesy Bacon Fries (P155), Strawberry Classic Milkshake (P125)

There was nothing in the appearance and flavors of RBy's Philly cheesesteak sandwich that got us excited. The rib-eye steak was well-done, but it could use more cheese and seasoning and certainly they can do better than your regular hotdog bun.

I was really happy about the fries though! Smoky bacon bits <3 were sprinkled *generously* on top of crispy fries and, for the cheese, they use good ol' Cheez Whiz. I secretly wished I didn't have to share it with anybody.

RBy's milkshakes are well-deserving of the good reviews. It's easily one of the best places for milkshakes in the metro. They make it thick and creamy, like you'd know they don't use "extenders" (read: ice), only milk and ice cream! (But I have to say, Sweet X still does it better.)

I'll come back to try: all of their steak burgers, all of their hotdogs and the Philly Alfredo pasta

RBy's Steak and Shake
152 Maginhawa Street, 
Sikatuna Village, Quezon City


Everywhere We Ate: Maginhawa | Awesome in Manila

What we ate: Vegetable Kare-Kare (P165), Kale Malunggay Pesto (P165), Mango ice cream (P55)

Pipino was worth a try, but the chances of a second visit for me is somewhere between "no" and "pay me to go". I love meat too much. And my MSG. An all-vegetarian diet is out of the question.

The only thing I could tolerate was the pasta, but only because it's exactly how I expected it. If I ever get forced into Pipino again, the kale malunggay pesto is what I would have. It was a challenge to get the vegetarian kare-kare down. It was too sweet and I don't approve of bagoong that isn't made of shrimp or fish.

Pipino's mango ice cream is not ice creamit's sherbet. And not even a sweet sherbet. It was very sour. I took it as an offence because ice cream is supposed to be creamy and sweet even though it's soy milk-based! I don't consider this a proper dessert.

I'll come back to try: the cupcakes!

2F, 39 Malingap St,
Teachers Village, Quezon City

When Uan Met Sally

Everywhere We Ate: Maginhawa | Awesome in Manila

What we ate: Baked Mussels, Penne Truffle Pasta

This is a little premature but WUMS ishands downmy favorite of all the dining places we visited in the Maginhawa area. Like, OMG. The. Baked Mussels. Heaven in a shell! They don't hold back on the cheese, y'all. And I don't know what spice they use, but it might as well be prohibited because I'm addicted!

The pasta was okaysauce puts the cream in creamy (doh), but it's nothing spectacular. Makes it great to have alongside something as impactful as the baked mussels. Because OMG, I'll never be done raving about WUMS' baked mussels!

The interiors are an experience on its own, too. It's one-part art shop, so the place is littered with trinkets - even in the cafe side. Driving down Maginhawa, it's easy to miss When Uan Met Sally or dismiss it as cute, little art shop that will be of no value to your food trip (which is, LBH, why most people go to the area nowadays), but I urge you to make a quick stop for the baked mussels.

I'll come back to try: Vodka Spaghetti, cakes

When Uan Met Sally
39B Maginhawa Street,
Teachers Village, Quezon City

Me Love You Long Time

Everywhere We Ate: Maginhawa | Awesome in Manila

What We Ate: Pad Thai (P109), Fresh Spring Rolls (P99), Bahn Mi (79), Thai Iced Tea (P59)

Either Me Love You Long Time is overrated or I'm simply not a fan of Vietnamese / Thai / Malaysian street food. (Bit of alarming as I'll be flying out to one of those countries early next year.)

On my own, I wouldn't order fresh spring rolls (it's too healthy) anywhere, so I didn't have much expectations about this to begin with. Their pad thai was okay but I wouldn't go out of my way to get it from MLYLT, since Sen Lek at the Makati Cinema Square offers it at a cheaper price and practically the same experience. For some reason, their bahn mi was hard. I understand that it's what happens when you toast bread, but MLYLT's was rock-hard. WHY?

There are no words to explain how weird Thai iced tea tasted.

I'll come back to try: Tom Yum, Basil Ice Cream

Me Love You Long Time
The Zone, 33 Malingap Street,
Teachers Village, Quezon City


Everywhere We Ate: Maginhawa | Awesome in Manila

What we ate: Beef Shawarma with Hummus (P175)

One of Robbie's friends recommended Meshwe. I was already too full at this point so I just tore off a small piece from Smarla and Bet Bet's order. It's not enough to comment on. Plus I'm not really crazy about shawarma in general.

I'll come back to try: Falafel, Beef and Chicken Shawarma Rice

The Zone, 33-A Malingap Street,
Teachers Village, Quezon City

Hillcrest Wellness Cafe

Everywhere We Ate: Maginhawa | Awesome in Manila

What I ate: Mango Cheesecake (P140)

For our last stop, we wanted somewhere to chill, like a coffee or a tea shop. We had a few in mind: one was the cat cafe, there was also Nook and the last was Cool Beans. Nook was always full, Cool Beans had no electricity when we stopped by, and we couldn't find the cat cafe, which was good news to me because I can't stand cats. They're evil. Hahahahaha.

So we tried our luck at Hillcrest, since it had the least hipstery vibes. It sort of guaranteed that there was still a space for us inside. And we were right. Not a lot of coffee-shop going people would give it a thought because it's not up to par with the hipstery cafes propagating Maginhawa.

It doesn't mean they don't have much to offer. They do serve mountain brew coffee, which I can't review because I avoided caffeine that night. :) :) :) Their mango cheesecake wasn't too bad. I read on looloo that the food is great.

I'll come back to try: Mountain Brew

Hillcrest Wellness Cafe
48 Malingap Street,
Sikatuna Village, Quezon City

We split most of the orders. All in all, I spent more or less 800 pesos at seven different food joints, which wasn't bad considering how much I hated myself for overeating by the end of the trip.

BTW, we had a quick stop at Bookay-Ukay, which turned out to be Book Sale with a cooler name. I swear I saw a lot of pictures floating in the Internet that made it seem bigger and hipster-er than it actually is.

Okay, so I now know that Maginhawa is not as far as it sounds as when people associate it with UP. It's accessible if you live near an LRT2 station - just get off Anonas. From there, find your way to St Joseph and look for the line of jeepneys heading to SM Fairview or Litex. Ask to be dropped off at V Luna Extension.

Oh, and yes, the Maginhawa experience does live up to the hype.

There's still a lot that we missed during our trip. When I come back, Friuli Trattoria would be top priority. Pino Resto Bar (same owners as Pipino) comes in a close second, followed by Bagneto and Magpie Cafe!


Do you think I write weird? I think I write weird sometimes. 
I have a very faulty attention span. Like a squirrel's. And it reflects in my writing. 
I hate transitions, introductions and conclusions. I really do talk the same way I write.

Sharing time!

Have you ever been to Maginhawa? If so, what are your recommendations and if not, what are you most excited to try?

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