UP DILIMAN: Chocolate Kiss Cafe at Night

July 18, 2013

UP DILIMAN: Chocolate Kiss Cafe at Night

There is this nice cafe at Bahay ng Alumni at UP Diliman, Quezon City, that serves home-cooked meals. It's frequented by students and professors by day. By accident, I visited it at night. I never thought it's a nice place to hang out at night. The ambience is totally different at night, with dim lights and a fantastic duo playing the violin and piano while you quietly dine and enjoy their home-cooked meals.

These are the things I enjoyed most when I dined there at night while waiting for my daughter to finish her meeting:

1. The reasonably priced meals that has a flavor of  a home-cooked meal. 

Below is the sample menu: 

I ordered the spaghetti carbonara

2. The music

I was surprised that there was music at night at the Chocolate Kiss Cafe at night. It can be a venue for a date night for people who want reasonably priced meals and a romantic ambiance . Below is a sample of the music that Royce and Gary played that Thursday night. I actually enjoyed it so I'm sharing it with you: 

Apparently, music is played every Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Below is the schedule I got from their website. Music is played from 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM at the Second Floor of the UP Kiss Cafe:

Bong & Bobot
guitar duet

Gary & Royce
keyboards & violin

Rudy at the piano

Where it is  located

2nd Floor Magsaysay Avenue, Ang Bahay ng Alumni, UP Diliman, Quezon City 1101
(02) 433 9183 ‎ · thechocolatekiss.com

Other photos of the venue:
At the main entrance, where most cakes are displayed

The inner part of the cafe

The announcement at the front door as to who's playing tonight
Royce and Gary playing at the inner part of the cafe

Food Tripping at UP DILIMAN: The Dynamite at Vinzon's Hall

July 17, 2013

Food Tripping at UP DILIMAN: The Dynamite at Vinzon's Hall

What is the Dynamite?

The dynamite is green chili stuffed with cheese and few pieces of ground meat, wrapped in lumpia wrapper and fried. The green chili used is the chili used in sinigang and dinuguan, which Filipinos call siling mahaba (long sili) to differentiate it from siling labuyo (hot chili).

This is how they fry it.

The finished product with dipping sauce. 

What's inside: The green chili, the cheese and some ground meat

How much is the Dynamite

One serving of dynamite is 4 pieces for 24 pesos.

My verdict

I took a bite with the dipping sauce and it was a great combination of spice and creaminess. It's like eating spicy cheese sticks. And for 24 pesos, it's a very cheap and filling snack.

Where to buy the Dynamite

At the stall in front of Vinzon's Hall at UP Diliman. It's at the right side of the sloping road leading to the entrance of Vinzon's Hall

This is the stall. You can see at the extreme right is the College of Education building.
At the left side of this stall is the sloping road leading to Vinzon's Hall

A close-up of the stall and their food choices

View Vinzon's

SYDNEY: How to Choose Your Hunter Valley Wine Tasting Tour

July 11, 2013

SYDNEY: How to Choose Your Hunter Valley Wine Tasting Tour

Australia is known world-wide as a wine region. If you're visiting Sydney, Australia, the nearest wineries you can visit is located in Hunter Valley. Hunter Valley is around two hours drive from Sydney. 

I'm sharing with you what I discovered as I search for the right wine tasting tour for my husband who's visiting Sydney. You may have different tastes or preferences so I'm sharing with you the options I found so you can find the right wine tasting tour for you.

After looking at all the possible options for a wine tour in Hunter Valley, I realized there are three (3) styles of wine tasting tours that are currently available.

1. FIRST TOUR: Visit 5 different wineries in one day, taste 6-8 wines per winery, then go to a cheese shop and a chocolate shop.

2. SECOND TOUR: In the morning, visit an old and established winery (1850s era) in the Hunter Valley region, taste around 16 wines in said winery, visit the vineyards and see the wine-making process in a working wine cellar, then have in-depth wine tasting lessons with a wine expert. In the afternoon, visit a post 1960s winery, to taste 5 cool climate wines.

3. THIRD TOUR: A visit to the Walkabout Wildlife Sanctuary to see kangaroos, wallaby's, emus and koalas, then wine tasting at 3 small boutique wineries, then visit a chocolate factory, cheese shop and local brewery.

If you have an idea what tour you wish to explore, below are more details to help you decide:

Hunter Valley Tours

FIRST TOUR by  Hunter Valley Wine Tasting Tours

Price per person: $125 internet price

Price inclusive of: round-trip transfers from Sydney (listed hotel and non-hotel pick-up points), wine tasting, cheese tasting, chocolate tasting and gourmet style lunch at Hunter Resort, You cannot bring your own lunch.

Maximum Number of Guests per tour: 14

How many hours: 11 hours (4 hours round-trip travel from Sydney, 7 hours tour)


MORNING: 6:30 AM pickup at listed hotel and non-hotel pick-up points, stop at a coffee shop for morning stop before Hunter Valley, wine tasting at 5 wineries (6-8 wines per winery), lunch at Hunter Resort

AFTERNOON: Visit a cheese shop and chocolate shop, then return to Sydney by 7:30 PM.

Traveler's reviewsTrip Advisor review link

Who should do this tour: People who would like to taste 30-40 wines from different wineries. They can't inform you beforehand the wineries they will visit because the tour guide decides what wineries to visit only on the day of the tour. Therefore, it will depend on what bus you are assigned to at the time of booking.

Wine Country Tours

SECOND TOUR by Wine Country Tours of Richard Everett

Price per person: $150 

Price inclusive of: round-trip transfers from Sydney (pick-up at your hotel or accomodation), morning coffee, tea and baked goods at Pepper's Guest House, all wine tastings. Lunch at your own expense.

Maximum Number of Guests per tour: 2-8 guests

How many hours: 9 hours (4 hours round-trip travel from Sydney, 5 hours wine tour and tasting)


MORNING: 8:00 AM pickup at your hotel or accomodation, stop at a coffee shop for before going to Hunter Valley, wine tour and tasting lessons at Tyrell's (16 wines to taste), lunch.

AFTERNOON: Visit Hungerford Hills to taste 5 cool climate/high altitude wines. 5:30 PM return to Sydney

Traveler's reviewsTrip Advisor link

Traveler's blog showing how the tour was conducted: Hunter Valley with Wine Country Tours by Wine Monologues dated April 2013

Who should do this tour: Those who want an in-depth tour conducted by wine expert Richard Everett, which includes visiting and walking through the vineyards of Tyrell's, one of the oldest wineries in Hunter Valley, seeing the wine-making process at a working wine cellar, and having private sit-down wine tasting lessons conducted by a wine expert.  This  includes tasting 16 wines from Tyrells (1850s era winery) and 5 high altitude or cool climate wines from Hungerford Hills (post 1960s era winery).

THIRD TOUR by Kangarrific Tours

Price per person: $ 99

Price inclusive of: round-trip transfers from Sydney (pick-up is at designated locations), morning tea at Walkabout Wildlife Park, 3 wine tastings, cheese tastings. Lunch, chocolate tasting and beer tasting is at your own expense. You can bring your own lunch.

Maximum Number of Guests per tour: 13 guests

How many hours: 10 hours


MORNING: 8:00 AM pick-up at designated locations, morning tea at Walkabout Park to meet kangaroos, wallaby's, koalas and emus. Visit Hunter Valley chocolate factory. Visit 2 wineries and a cheese shop. Lunch

AFTERNOON: Visit a 3rd winery and a brewery. 6 pm return to Sydney

Traveler's reviewsTrip Advisor link

Traveler's blog showing how the tour was conductedHunter Valley Wine Tour with Kangarrific Tours by Diary of a Yorkshire Expat

Who should do this tour: Best tour if you have kids with you. They allow kids 7 years old and above to join the tour. The price is the same as the adult price.