Category Archives: Drop-In

Didi’s Pizza

Pizza Box

Filipino Style Pizza

Filipino pizza is an animal all its own. It’s definitely not suited for most Western tastes but Filipinos eat it up and Didi’s Pizza has been serving up their own version of pizza in Angeles City since 1972.

History

Some key differences versus between Filipino style pizza and Western style pizza are:

  • Filipino pizzas typically uses a sweet tomato sauce
  • Locally produced, processed cheese is used
  • Meat toppings are usually of a Filipino variety

While the flavors and toppings may be unusual to foreigners who are used to 100% mozzarella cheese, Italian style sauce and imported meats, the Filipino style pizza is unique and can be a nice alternative. In any case it’s still pizza and even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.

Deluxe

Didi’s Pizza

Jollibee is the safe Filipino food stop that will impress any Filipina if you suggest it as a meal option. But if you really want to blow her away tell her you want to treat her to Didi’s Pizza for dine-in or delivery.

Rest assured, you may not like the pizza but Didi’s has a least one menu item that you will likely enjoy and return for: BBQ pork ribs.

I’d heard about Didi’s Pizza and stopped in one day to give it a try. I ordered a small combo pizza and a snack portion of the BBQ ribs. While the pizza was ok for my tastes, the ribs were spectacular. I’ve had ribs at numerous restaurants in Angeles City. Two things have always been true:

  1. They were exepensive and overpriced
  2. They were average at best in taste

Didi’s ribs were meaty, cheap and they are covered in a delicious sauce that reminded me of homemade barbecue sauces I’ve tasted at rib houses in the U.S. I was immediately impressed and knew I’d be back again for the ribs.

BBQ Ribs

Dine-In or Delivery

Dining in at Didi’s can be extremely difficult. It’s one of the most popular restaurants for local Filipinos. I highly suggest utilizing their delivery service. One night I suggested to my girlfriend that we order Didi’s Pizza for delivery.

Home Service

She looked at me with utter shock and surprise that I would suggest this restaurant. She immediately ran to the room to get the menu before I changed my mind or told her I was only joking.

Didi’s Pizza has very fair prices and a nice sized menu offering pizzas, ribs, fried chicken, burgers, spaghetti, Filipino noodle dishes and other Filipino dishes.

Many Foods

On this occasion we ordered 1 large Combination pizza, 1 BBQ Ribs dinner and 1 order of Pancit Canton. Total price delivered was 521 pesos (approximately $11.84).

Pizza, Noodles & Ribs

While I personally prefer Western style pizza like S&R serves, Didi’s has a good tasting, thin crust that I really enjoy. I added some real 100% mozzarella cheese the next day and popped some left-overs in the toaster oven and was extremely impressed with how well it turned out for a small meal.

Didi’s Pizza is a good, cheap option that will make your Filipina happy and it’s a nice change of pace from Jollibee. Let you girl order what she likes, try a Filipino style pizza if you’re adventurous and make sure to give the BBQ ribs a try for yourself.  You won’t find better ribs for less money in Angeles City and you might find yourself ordering them again and again.

Didi’s Pizza is located in Balibago, Angeles City just off of MacArthur Highway on Mon Tang Avenue between Marlim and S. Rivera Lim Avenue near Diamond Subdivision.

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Rating: 7.4/10 (7 votes cast)

Coffee Na

Streetview

Beat the Heat & Get a Seat

It’s April in the Philippines and that means it’s hot. Malls are overcrowded with window shoppers looking to cool off and coffee shops are filled with people sitting around and drinking iced beverages to beat the heat.

Iced Drink

It’s nearly impossible to find a seat to sit back and relax in the malls or at your favorite coffee shop because they’re so crowded. It’s even harder to find a coffee shop that has a large, indoor, air conditioned seating area. Many places have outdoor seating, but with the heat and humidity it’s very uncomfortable.

Hand Drip Coffee Na

Fortunately there is a fairly new and large Starbucks style coffee shop on Friendship Highway (just before Timog Park Homes in Barangay Anunas) called Coffee Na. This is currently my favorite go to spot when I want to sit back and relax in a quiet coffee shop to work on my laptop or just relax with a delicious cup of Joe.

I know I’ll get exactly what I’m looking for:

  1. A great coffee or juice beverage
  2. Large air conditioned seating area
  3. A quiet, not overcrowded environment
  4. Nicely decorated, cozy ambiance

Non-Smoking

Coffee Na prices are extremely reasonable and they have a large selection of coffee and non-coffee beverages. Prices range from 70 pesos (approximately $1.57) to 240 pesos (approximately $5.39) for exotic blends. Most drinks average around 170 pesos (approximately $3.82).

Coffee Na

Roasting Whole Beans On Site

One thing that really stands out at Coffee Na is that they have a coffee bean roaster right in the front of the store. I can’t recall ever seeing any of the major chains or local coffee shops I’ve been to actually roasting their own beans! This alone is worth the trip and the aroma that fills the cafe is incredible when it’s in operation.

Whole Beans

Coffee Na also sells whole bean coffee. The days of only being able to get Nescafe powdered coffee in the Philippines are over. Coffee Na has several types of whole beans to choose from:

  • Coffee Na House Blend roasted on site — 100g for 250 pesos (approximately $5.62)
  • Arrabicca — 100g for 150 pesos (approximately $3.37)
  • Kenya — 100g for 350 pesos (approximately $7.87)
  • Mandheling — 100g for 300 pesos (approximately $6.74)
  • Ethiopia — 100g for 250 pesos (approximately $5.62)

Snacks & Deserts

Coffee Na also serves some pretty fancy and tasty snacks and deserts. Their selection of snacks includes English Muffins with ham and egg, Ciabatta with cheese and ham, Bagels with cream cheese and Honey Bread with whipped cream.

Breads

The deserts are little masterpieces of confectionery goodness and vary from day to day. Cakes wrapped in fondant come in various flavors like Oreo, black forest, chocolate, blueberry, carrot, red velvet and tiramisu. The macadamia nut chocolate chip cookies are also excellent and my desert of choice when I visit and are available.  I’d advise getting there early as supplies of these deserts are limited and sell out quickly.

Delicious

Additional Information

Coffee Na has all the bells and whistles of name brand coffee shops without the trendy name and is a great spot if you’re looking to avoid huge crowds. Their location in Korea Town keeps away most tourists who think this area is too far away or for Koreans only. They are open from 8am to 1am everyday and also have free Wifi.

Smoking

They have outdoor seating with less than 10 chairs and a very large indoor, non-smoking area. The indoor smoking area is a smaller section far enough away from the non-smoking area.

Puff Away

More importantly they are serving up great coffee and non-coffee drinks at reasonable prices by a friendly and knowledgeable staff of baristas.

Friendly Staff

If you find yourself in the Friendship area of Angeles City and are looking for a spot to grab a drink and snack to beat the summer heat then be sure to check out Hand Drip Coffee Na for a refreshing and tasty beverage. And don’t forget to stock up on their selection of whole coffee beans for home brewing.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

S&R Pizza

Combo Pizza

The Quest for U.S. Style Pizza in Asia

One food that is never quite right in Asian countries is pizza. In the Philippines there’s strange toppings like canned tuna, canned corn, pineapple and processed cheese instead of mozzarella. Hawaiian pizza is the pie of choice in the Philippines.

I was born and raised in the Chicagoland area and was brought up on some of the best pizza in the world. The best you can do in Asia are places like:

  • Pizza Hut
  • Shakey’s
  • Sbarro
  • Greenwich

Once in a while you can find an Italian restaurant that does a nice pizza. While these choices are ok, they are a far cry away from a Chicago deep dish pizza or even a New York style pizza. It can be extremely frustrating and disappointing if you live in this part of the world for an extended period of time when you have a pizza craving.

S&R Warehouse Shopping

S&R is a warehouse shopping experience almost exactly like Costco or Sam’s Club in the United States. There is a yearly membership fee that costs 700 pesos (approximately $16.00 per year). A branch near Angeles City finally opened in neighboring San Fernando. Before this you had to travel all the way to Manila with coolers of ice in a day long, traffic induced, 4-hour round trip nightmare.

But it was always worth the traffic and distance to bring home a pizza that looked and tasted just like the one’s you can get at Costco or Sam’s Club. Fortunately that trip now takes about 1 hour round trip with the opening of the San Fernando branch.

S&R Prepared Foods

Like Costcos and Sam’s Clubs, S&R has a food kiosk and eating area after you check out. They carry many similar items you’ll be familiar with if you’ve ever eaten at Costco or Sam’s Club.

Lines

Some items you can get are:

  • New York Style Pizzas (Pepperoni, Combo, Cheese, Garlic Shrimp & occasional specialty flavors)
  • American Style 100% Beef Hot Dogs
  • Calzones
  • Baked Rolls (Chicken & Beef)
  • Cheeseburgers
  • French Fries
  • Salads
  • Soup
  • Roasted & Fried Chicken
  • Ice Cream & Deserts
  • Coffees

More Foods

New York Style Pizza

First, this is not New York style pizza but that’s what they call. I for one am thankful it’s not New York style pizza. There’s nothing worse than that sloppy, floppy, greasy New York style pizza in my opinion. What’s great about trying to pick up an over-sized piece of pizza and watching the toppings slide off onto the floor before you even get a bite?! But maybe that’s the Chicagoan bias in me. 

The pizza at S&R is virtually identical to what you get at Costco and Sam’s Club. If I didn’t see them making them behind the counter I’d swear they were importing them in from the States. The crust is not too thick and not too thin. The sauce is your typical, familiar Italian style and the toppings taste exactly like you would expect from an American pizzeria. In fact, this is the closest American style pizza you can find in the Philippines. More importantly they are using a quality mozzarella cheese and aren’t being skimpy about it.

Cheese

While I enjoy the hot dogs as my go to meal when I’m there, the pizza is the best thing on the menu and I usually order 1 or 2 to take home to freeze. They reheat amazingly well in a toaster oven and I always try to keep a steady supply in stock.

Pizza by the slice costs 99 pesos (approximately $2.23) with whole pies available for 499 pesos (cheese, approximately $11.21), 549 pesos (all other flavors, approximately $12.33) and 599 pesos (specialty/seasonal, approximately $13.46). The slices and whole pies are huge, larger than a typical American large pizza. If you’ve eaten Costco or Sam’s Club pizza you’ll understand.

Other Flavors

A membership at S&R for access to the pizza alone is worth the $16 per year plus you can shop in the warehouse store. The 30 minute drive to San Fernando is well worth the trip. I hope the success of this S&R branch reaches corporate heads and they open a branch on the Global Gateway Logistics City complex in the Clark Freeport Zone near Angeles City. I think they would do well in pizza sales alone due to the number of foreigners and ex-pats calling Angeles home who can only get mediocre, expensive pizzas here.

If you’re missing great American style pizza then S&R is the spot that will bring back memories of home!

S&R is located near SM Pampanga on Jose Abad Santos Avenue in San Fernando is open to members 7 days a week from 9am to 9pm.

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Rating: 7.0/10 (3 votes cast)

J. Co Donuts & Coffee

Donut Franchises in the Philippines

Donut franchises in the Philippines and South East Asia are big business and the latest player to enter the marketplace is Indonesian company J. Co. They are expanding rapidly across the region and competing successfully with more well-known brands in the area like:

  • Krispy Kreme
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Mister Donut

Currently J. Co is opening roughly 30 stores a year and have a presence  in Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and China.

Peacock

The J. Co Phenomenon

Pampanga saw the opening of their first J. Co store at SM Pampanga in San Fernando, a short 20 minute drive from Angeles City. Signs at Marquee Mall in Angeles City suggest that construction of a J. Co store is “Coming Soon,” which could mean anything from a few weeks, months, years or not at all.

Based on what I saw the first few weeks when the SM Pampanga branch opened, customers can expect 2 hour long lines at the Marquee Mall branch when it opens until the hype winds down.

San Fernando Location

I recently dropped in to the SM Pampanga branch again and was able to walk right in, order my donuts and coffee in less than 10 minutes. I even found a seat inside which was nearly impossible on the first visit. While the hype has certainly died down, the donuts remain a special treat that everyone should experience at least once.

Artisan Donuts with Clever Names

The donuts at J. Co have names like Alcapone, Tiramisu, Choconuttzy, Jcoccino and Mona Pisa. While the names may seem a little goofy, the donuts are artistic masterpieces that are just as pretty to look at as they are delicious to eat. Their flavors are unique, unexpected and delightfully different than what you get at other chains.

Artisan Donuts

Individual donuts are 42 pesos (approximately $0.94) each, 1/2 dozen 230 pesos (approximately $5.15), 1 dozen 350 pesos (approximately $7.74) and 2 dozen 550 pesos (approximately $12.30).

Store Interior

The decor of the store interior is very warm and cozy. Comfy faux leather bound seats and wood and iron legged tables are inviting resting spots to enjoy your donut creations and beverages. For some reason this chain seems more inviting and comfortable to me than any Krispy Kreme or Starbucks I’ve visited.

Warm & Cozy

Italian Coffees & Frozen Yogurt

J. Co is not just donuts. They have an extensive drink list of Italian blended coffees, cappuccinos, lattes, frappee cappuccinos, non-coffee drinks, teas and frappes. They also have some frozen yogurt selections with various toppings, but the donuts are the real draw.

Drinks

Continued Expansion & Success

J. Co seems to be in a position to continue their successful run due to their unique brand and flavors of donuts. Their success in infiltrating surrounding Asian countries is somewhat of a rare feat that is usually only attained by large, Western corporations.

Donut Creations

It’s refreshing to see a quality product and success story originating in this part of the world. Perhaps J. Co will even spread to the U.S. as their success continues and branches like Krispy Kreme continue to die out in the United States. In my opinion J. Co is the best donut chain in the world right now. If you find yourself in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philipines, Singapore or Shanghai, China make sure you stop by for a delectable donut from J. Co.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (5 votes cast)

Walter’s Bistro

Drop-Ins

I eat a lot of meals at home, but I often find myself running errands and stopping by smaller restaurants and cafes for a quick snack or even a full meal. In most of these cases I’m unprepared or just not in the mood to do a full SleepEatGolf review.

Sometimes these places really don’t warrant a full-on review, but that’s not to suggest that they aren’t putting out delicious food. I’ve decided to do some smaller reviews I’m calling “Drop-Ins.” These will be my initial thoughts and impressions of places I drop-in to when I’m out and about.

If they really pique my interest or I think they’re something special, I’ll head back at a later date and do a full SleepEatGolf review.  At a minimum, I hope these Drop-In reviews provide you with some new information of places you may be overlooking.

Dropping-In on Walter’s Bistro

One day while trying yet another Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich at a place called Banh Mi Ngon, I noticed that next door was a small cafe with six or eight Europeans eating, drinking and talking in what I perceived to be German. I was immediately intrigued by this place as I love German food, but don’t eat it nearly as much as I’d like. I decided to head back there the next time I was looking to eat out in order to investigate further.

Tonight I dropped in to Walter’s Bistro. I was surprised that there was no indoor seating and at the small size of the menu. There’s a breakfast menu featuring American, German and Filipino breakfast plates and a snacks menu.

The snacks menu consisted of:

  • Hungarian Goulash Soup with bread — 145 pesos (approximately $3.25)
  • 2 Vienna Sausages with mustard and bread – 145 pesos (approximately $3.25)
  • Toast Hawaii (ham, cheese & pineapple) — 155 pesos (approximately $3.48)
  • German Bratwurst with bread — 130 pesos (approximately $2.92)
  • Käse Kreiner with bread – 130 pesos (approximately $2.92)
  • Currywurst with french fries – 185 pesos (approximately $4.16)
  • Nürnberger Bratwurst with sauerkraut and bread — 160 pesos (approximately $3.60)

On Saturdays there’s a special schweinebraten dinner available for 290 pesos (approximately $6.50) that includes salad and dumpling as well as daily specials. Alcoholic drinks and imported German beers are also available.

My order was the Nürnberger Bratwurst with sauerkraut and bread for me and Currywurst with french fries for the girlfriend with 2 bottles of soda. The waitress grilled our sausages on the gas grill right in front of us.

Nürnberg

Both dishes were much better than we both expected. The bratwurst were small, but full flavored. The sauerkraut was delicious and was a great accompaniment to the sausages. German brown bread is always good.

The Currywurst was plump, juicy, mildly flavored and had a nice, slightly sweet and spicy curry sauce on top. The fries were crisp.

Plump Sausage

While the portions were rather small, the price was right. I wanted to try the Käse Kreiner with bread, Hungarian Goulash Soup with bread, or Vienna Sausages with mustard and bread but unfortunately all were sold out for the day.

The total bill with tip was 445 pesos (approximately $10.00). I think Walter’s Bistro is great little spot for a light German meal, quick snack or a place to enjoy a few specialty beers. I will definitely be back and hope the other sausages are just as tasty and authentic as what I tired tonight.

Walter’s Bistro is located on Perimeter Road in Angeles City between The American Hotel and ABC Hotel, next door to Banh Mi Ngon. Look for the German man holding a mug of beer statue out front.

Beer

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Rating: 4.3/10 (3 votes cast)