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Saturday, August 15, 2009

My Neighborhood Oasis

One of the many good things of having household guests is that you get to have an excuse to go out of the house and show off your town and the many charming secrets it holds. In such situations, my family will most likely introduce our guest/s to the nearby Crescent Moon Cafe. The operative word here is "nearby".

I remember the first time we noticed the simple signage along the national road towards Teresa, Rizal, where it directs you to go down a narrow street right off the road. We promised ourselves that we'll check it out one day. The next weekend we went by, it was when we discovered that this narrow road is a shortcut towards the subdivisions of Maia Alta and Mission Hills, among others. This was when we found out where the cafe was exactly located. It was fenced off from the street with a chicken wire fence and surrounded lots of foliage.

It was on our third trip to that narrow street that we actually went in and were greeted first by a pottery barn and next, by such verdant scenery of trees, plants, and man-made ponds and waterfalls. It was indeed a refreshing sight. It was similar to the unfolding of a peaceful secret place that rejuvenates the senses instantly.
In the middle of it all was the cafe, similarly constructed as the pottery barn by the entrance. The first time visitor such as I will notice first the pond full of koi leading to the cafe main entrance. Then, the waterfalls further on. Upon entering the cafe and choosing a table, one can get a 360-degree view of the garden as the walls are surrounded by screens. The cafe interior is charm itself - here and there are batik and other indigenous Filipino textiles either covering the tables or hanging from the ceiling or down one side of a wall.

Of course, there being a pottery barn, there is a nook devoted to assorted ceramic items for sale and at reasonable prices.

The cafe opens between 10 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon only, and their menu is limited to what is being prepared that day by the cook. One has to call in advance to be sure that you can be served because sometimes, there are events that they cater to as well. The first time we were there, we only had an afternoon snack of suman with fresh mangoes and coffee. On other occasions, we brought our own bottle of wine to accompany the 3-course meal.

That day, we were served this plateful of leaves which we use to wrap an assortment of fillings - there were diced green mangoes, fried alamang (shrimp fry), siling tagalog, basil leaves, onions, ginger, toasted and fragrant coconut and doused with this special blend of peanut sauce. Next was the creamy mushroom soup, unforgettable for its freshness. Then the main dishes of prawn curry, mixed vegetables, and fried fish fillets with chili sauce. Everything was fresh and flavorful and served on the ceramic plates made and produced by the owner herself. The dessert was the ever reliable suman and mangoes of course, which we capped of with a cup of coffee or tea, for our guest.

Each visit is truly a special experience for us and never fails to impress our guests. It is indeed a delicious secret to be shared.

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