Mom and Tina’s Bakery Cafe

 

 

On some days when we wish to start off early, but at the same time avoid the lunch crowd, brunch becomes our best solution. A place that has been on our radar for some time thanks to its pastry and confectionery selection is Mom and Tina’s Bakery Cafe, located right in the heart of the Makati CBD. We took advantage of a free morning to head over and put its heartier entrees and breakfast fare to the test.

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For our repast, we had a choice of all-day breakfast sets, pastries and cakes, as well as different entrees. Eventually we decided on the Sundried Tomato Pesto, and the Beef Stew. Since this was a rainy morning, we also asked for hot chocolate on the side.

 

The Sundried Tomato Pesto came with a side of two hefty and well buttered rolls. The still warm bread was fragrant and very light on the tongue, but heavy on the stomach. The pasta itself had an interesting balance between tart and nutty, owing to the rather chunky tomato pesto mix. By itself it would have been a light snack, but with bread it was a complete meal.

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The Beef Stew was as hearty as they come. The beef chunks were tender and the gravy base was lightly seasoned with pepper, which reminded me of shepherd’s pie. It made for a heavy breakfast that was perfect before our day’s adventure.

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As it turned out, the hot chocolate was a great choice. It was both rich and creamy, with a deep chocolate flavor.

 

Were it not for the need to head out and get moving, it would have been wonderful to linger a little longer in the cafe, thanks to its cozy and inviting interior. Perhaps another sleepy morning will lead us back to Mom and Tina’s Bakery Cafe, ready to put more dishes to the test.

 

Food Score: 4/5: The menu is comprised of local and ‘continental’ breakfast and entree selections, with few signature or outstanding dishes. In terms of quality though, the food is very tasty and serving sizes are adequate for one. Platter options exist among the starters, good for sharing.

 

Ambiance Score: 4/5: This is what one would expect from a brunch dining spot: cozy, airy, and with many comfortable seating spots. The feel is like eating in one’s home kitchen, sans the mess and bustle. Very great for meeting with friends,

 

Service Score: 4.5/5: The servers were accommodating and prompt, considering that the place soon filled up for the early lunch crowd. They were very timely and quick to set up tables, and attend to both incoming and outgoing diners.

 

GERD Score: 4/5: The variety of options here at Mom and Tina’s Bakery Cafe leaves any diner, even those with GERD, satiated without the worry of the acid acting up badly. For some dishes though, it’s still best to share with a friend.

 

Neurodivergent Score: 4/5: There are many options with natural, non-processed ingredients, which is a plus for those with sensitivities to additives. The balance between non-caffeinated and caffeinated beverage options is pretty optimal.
Team Glasses Score: 4/5: Mom and Tina’s Bakery Cafe is not only an excellent source of desserts and bakery delights, but it is a great place to consider for leisurely brunches with friends, or even for a solo stop with a good book and some music. This place serves as a haven of calm in the busy metropolis.

Mom & Tina's Bakery Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Triple Header: Tambai Alley

For our latest food adventure, we decided to delve further into the lesser travelled haunts of the Poblacion area. Since Tambai Alley is situated farther from its rambunctious counterparts at the main strip, we thought it was worth a visit for our date before our finals exams and presentations.

At first glance, Tambai Alley doesn’t look much to any passerby during day time as the place blends around its surroundings. At night however, it figuratively puts on its lipstick and comes to life. It is well lit and even has makeshift counters and stools by the walkway. Tambai Alley has three dining spots within. The innermost dining area is EBI 10, at the middle one is Wantusawa, and at the front is Tambai. At the top of the house is an intimate bar named Kampai,  but since we do not drink we had to skip this last place.

 

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We started our night adventure here by dining at EBI 10 first and worked our way outwards. I selected a piece of small Ebi Tempura and an order of Scallop Popcorn with some rice, while Kat decided to test their mettle with some Gyoza and rice.

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While waiting for our food, I glanced around and found the place lively with Japanese-themed murals on the wall, evoking the feel of a cozy ramen and sushi spot.

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Small Ebi Tempura and Scallop Popcorn

If someone were to ask me about my thoughts on 55 pesos on ebi tempura, I normally look at the person in disbelief. In this case, I simply ate my words because the ebi tempura here was a treat. Each bite was crunchy, the dipping sauce was served hot and complemented the tempura perfectly. The rice complemented the other two wonderfully as well. However, I’m not a fan of the scallop popcorn as it was too rubbery for me.

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Gyoza

The gyoza had just the right balance of natural flavors, all enclosed in perfectly cooked wrappers. They were not too crunchy (a sign of being overcooked) or soggy (a sign of being left out too long). These dumplings plus rice were already enough for an early dinner.

Stepping outside, we were again greeted by the neon blue light of an open oyster shell at Wantusawa which caught our attention a little earlier in the evening. The place was set up as a bar, with chalkboard writings of their menu filling the empty space of the walls. Coupled with the dim lighting, one would find the place perfect for unwinding after a long day at work.

The thing that sets Wantusawa apart from most bars in the area is the fresh oysters from Aklan. They serve these oysters fresh, baked, and even as a ceviche. Aside from this, Wantusawa also has other selections like spicy scallop and crab fat pasta and grilled prawn laksa, along with the typical hard liquor, beer, and wine.

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The fiery ceviche

In my haste, I chose the ceviche without asking them to cut back on the heat. Because of this, I unfortunately wasn’t able to enjoy the other ingredients aside from the oysters. That one was a classic case of mea maxima culpa on my part.

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To make up for this, I also ordered a freshly-shucked oyster, served with kalamansi juice and hot sauce. A quick squeeze of the kalamansi and that oyster went down smoothly on my palate from the shell.

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Kat wanted to try the Hiyayako “Cold Tofu” Salad. Much to her delight, this was topped with bonito flakes and drizzled generously with a sweet sauce. It was just the perfect dish to clean the palate after the hearty meal from next door.

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We ended our night at Tambai, Tambai Alley’s take on a yakitori spot. By the way it’s set up, one would eat by the tables and chairs on the pedestrian walkway after ordering some booze, yakitori sticks, and even merchandise at the nearby hole in the wall.

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The Tambai haul

This time around, I ordered a stick of Quail Egg wrapped in Bacon yakitori and US Beef Isaw (intestine) along with a small bowl of their take on Japanese rice (typical fluffy rice with a dash of those instant rice toppings). Kat wanted some cold soba and Japanese Sausage yakitori.

While the Quail Egg and Bacon was a pleasant experience on my palate combined with their fluffy rice, I’m not a fan of their iteration of isaw and peanut sauce put together in one plate.

The soba was rather limp, and the sauce needed a little more flavor. The Japanese sausages though were a treat, with a mild spiciness like no other. These would have been great with a cold drink to wash them all down.

To sum it up, our triple header adventure at Tambai Alley left our tummies full and we had a fun time together with one less item on our bucket list.

 

Food Score: 3.5/5: Even with some stars of the show, the place really is meant as a casual drinking spot with friends than a dining place.

Ambiance Score: 4/5: The place here is really something special, from casual with Tambai, private with EBI 10, and chill with Wantusawa.

Service Score: 4/5: The servers here were attentive and our food came in rather quickly. Overall, these are all good places to unwind, even on a warm summer night.

GERD Score: 3/5: I find the places slightly too limited for people with heartburn / GERD, aside from your typical salad and some exceptions.

Neurodivergent Score: 3.5/5: While some ingredients here may be highly seasoned, there are enough fresh and unseasoned selections for finicky diners. Alcohol though is a main attraction of the alley, and there’s little in the way of non-alcoholic beverages and mixes to quench one’s thirst.

Team Glasses Score: 3.5/5: For those with health conditions like ours, we highly recommend the place for a light snack, with several friends who can imbibe to unwind after a long day at work. But if you’re looking for a meal, there are some options which you can still enjoy here, though not many.

Watami

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A quick look at history shows that, Watami has around 700 branches within the Asia Pacific region. According to their facebook page, it actually opened its doors here in the Philippines on 2012. Six years later, they now have four branches in the country. (Mall of Asia, Greenbelt 2, Shangrila Mall, and Uptown Mall)

We decided to try the branch at Shangrila Mall, Mandaluyong with our party (Me, Kat, Hiyas, Gabby, and Francis) before the day’s dungeons and dragons’ session.

For this Team Glasses and D&D partymates trip:

Kat – Cold Soba with Chicken Skin skewers.

Lee – Tonkotsu Ramen

Gabby – Cold Soba with mixed tempura

Francis – Pork Katsudon

Hiyas – Volcano Roll, Pork and Enoki skewers, and Chicken Liver skewers.

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Tonkotsu

Watami only has two selections for their ramen set, the Tonkotsu and the Spicy Miso. Being the ramen-lover of the group, I decided to partake in some Tonkotsu. The noodles were firm and chewy just the way I like it. The  pork slices were just the right amount of tenderness, though my personal preference is to thinner slices. However, the broth didn’t cut it for me since it came out too oily, possibly a combination of the broth base and the fatty pork slice. The egg did soften the blow to the tastebuds a bit with its own milder creaminess.

The great thing about their Mixed Tempura and Soba combination was that it offered a good deal of variety and textures to one’s palate. The portion of noodle to sauce was a bit imbalanced, but that was more of a matter of preference.

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Pork Katsudon

The flavors of the Pork Katsudon were spot on with just the right amount of spice and crunch, but were unfortunately too thick for easy and balanced bites.

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Volcano Roll

I would say that their Volcano Roll was the star of this food trip, since it was well thought out and created. The heat of their mayo’s mixture complemented the subtle creaminess of the raw salmon slices. The Pork and Enoki skewer was a close second because the crisp bacon with enoki was a savory treat all in itself. If one added some rice in, one would consider it a good Pinoy meal for the daily grind.

With the chicken skin and liver skewers, these were as one would expect, typical fare but done rather well.

We ended our meals feeling satiated and ready towards the day’s adventure, dice rolls, role playing, and copious amounts of shenanigans to liven up the day.

Food Score: 3.5/5: Eating Japanese food is both a matter for the palate and eyes. Watami doesn’t hold back with their visually appetizing rolls and tempura but misses the mark with some of the others. Though I would say that the food here is typical fare flavor-wise, good for a casual dine.

Ambiance Score: 4.5/5: Set as a casual Japanese restaurant, Watami’s layout has modern touches to the typical reds and dark red tones set off the vibe of a place to kick back and relax.

Service Score: 5/5: The service here at Watami is top notch to say the least. When our designated server wasn’t immediately available, another took up the mantle and took care of our needs for our stay here from start to finish.

GERD Score: 3.5/5: Even with the Tonkotsu experience, it could be safely stated that Watami is still great for people with GERD because there are different selections

Neurodivergent Score: 3.5/5: Some of the spices used may be less than ideal for people who are sensitive to condiments. However there are many non alcoholic and non caffeinated selections for people with dietary restrictions.

Team Glasses Score: 3.5/5: All things considered, Watami is a decent place to hang out with friends and family for a casual meal, provided that ones with health considerations should keep an eye out with their choices.

Watami Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Morganfield’s

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It was a idyllic sunday afternoon and Team Glasses Food Blog wanted to try something new at Mall of Asia, just before the Ed Sheeran concert. In the midst of the groups of people moving to and fro, we saw Morganfield’s and thought, ‘why not give this a shot?’

Stepping inside, the place is reminiscent of a pub by the sea with its wooden chairs and tables, and dim lighting for the mood. These makes the place a good place to hang out with friends for a drink (if we could still drink in the first place).

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Bacon-wrapped meatballs

To whet our appetites (and for our bacon cravings), we started our meal with some bacon-wrapped meatballs. The meat was well seasoned and the bacon added a layer of saltiness.

For our late lunch, I ordered the Seafood Basket and Kat had the Bacon and Egg Aglio Olio, and we had a glass of Ginger Pop each to wash it all down.

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Seafood Basket

The Seafood Basket consists of beer-battered shrimp, fish, and calamari with a bed of french fries, tartar sauce, and coleslaw on the side. Personally, I would have liked a wee bit more pepper or paprika on the batter, but it was alright in itself. The shrimp and calamari are cooked well but the fish wasn’t as impressive. In my opinion it’s better as a snack with four or more people than an actual meal for one.

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Bacon and Egg Aglio Olio

The Bacon and Egg Aglio Olio was generously flavored with toasted garlic, with a little zing from some chili flakes. The egg was a bit too well cooked for our tastes though, and we would have preferred it a bit runny.

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Ginger Pops

The Ginger Pop is a nice balance to clean the palate with the mint subtly toning down the sharpness of the ginger, and the sweetness of the honey and brown sugar mix.

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Just before we left, the scent of their ribs tickled our senses. We dare say that the Carnivore is worth a try sometime, from the Home of the Sticky Bones.

Food Score: 4/5: The meals we had here at Morganfield’s are great for filling up our stomachs for the long night ahead, without making it feel like a chore.

Ambiance Score 4/5: Its overall look from the wooden furniture and walls, hues, and decor gives the place a cozy and warm feel to it, a place to unwind from the daily stress in a casual environment.

Service Score: 4/5: The servers we have are attentive and the food arrived at the right time and temperatures, a sign of a freshly prepared meal.

GERD Score: 3/5. Unfortunately for people with GERD, unless you have company and try their less fried meals, there are barely any options here that one can enjoy by their lonesome, or even in a group.

Neurodivergent Score: 3/5 : Oily options, grilled sausages, and full on fat make for comfort food, but not for a happy brain. This is just the sort of thing to have after a hangover, not to focus! That being said, there are plenty of fruit juices and non-alcoholic options such as the Ginger Pop that are great for health-conscious neurodivergents.

Team Glasses Score: 3.5/5. Weighing everything, the place is great for a casual meal for those that don’t have health conditions to worry about. However, for one that deals with neurodivergence or heartburn, the place has fewer options to offer.

Morganfield's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cafe Adriatico

A Team Glasses Food Blog Note: Due to our hectic schedules for the next few months, we’ve decided to post every two weeks, whenever possible instead of the weekly posts. Do let us know if you have any suggestions of possible topics, trivia, recipes, or restaurants / cafes you’d like us to try soon.

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Even before the creation of the Team Glasses Food Blog, we’ve always aimed for having a date at Cafe Adriatico. From what we know and remember, Cafe Adriatico has been one of the few remaining hallmarks of the Malate food scene. And this time around, we finally got around to dining here after a long and tiring set of weeks.

Entering inside Cafe Adriatico felt like a time machine. The atmosphere inside was lively at the beginning of the dinner rush. It gave us the impression that one walked into an old Spanish-Filipino home, or even an Irish Pub because of the warmth of the wooden walls and furniture and the slightly dimmed lighting around the place. It set the tone for our meal, a casual and relaxed dinner together.

So for our meal here, we had the French Onion Soup which Kat swears by, I had the Lola Ising’s Adobo Flakes, and she had the Chicken Kiev.

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French Onion Soup

Given that I’ve never tried French Onion Soup, I didn’t know what to expect until that first bite. It was savory because of the beef broth and had a slight hint of sweetness from the onions. And the cheese on top bound these two elements together seamlessly.

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Lola Ising’s Adobo Flakes

After tasting Lola (Grandma) Ising’s Adobo Flakes, I’m tempted to actually ask how Lola Ising does it because it wasn’t as salty as the usual adobo flakes we get around here. One would still be able to taste the tender beef along with it. The fried rice and eggs were also a great complement to it because it was cooked to how I felt it ought to be in any iteration of a Filipino Millennial meal known as  Adobosilog.

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Chicken Kiev

The Chicken Kiev, while unassuming at first glance, turned out to be a buttery and rich concoction worthy of being listed as a best seller entree. It was delicate enough so as not to cloy the tastebuds, but satisfying on the stomach. Definitely worth the try!

As a pre-valentines date, our stay at Cafe Adriatico was definitely one to remember.

Food Score: 4.5/5: The food we had here was excellent. From how it was prepared to how well it was seasoned, it was a delight to the tastebuds.

Ambiance Score 4/5: The place did age well like wine because it still maintains its Spanish-Filipino home look throughout the years. Its classy yet cozy interior makes it stand out from the razzle dazzle of its neighbors in the Remedios Circle.

Service Score: 4.5/5: And our experience here was made better by the attentiveness of the servers in handling our dining needs.Warm bread and butter were served with our meal, and we were given a choice of hot or cold water as well.

GERD Score: 3.5/5. The only sticking point to be had as far as GERD or heartburn is concerned is the serving size and perhaps lesser food options. Both of these can be addressed by chewing slowly, good posture, and some company to help you out.

Neurodivergent Score: 4/5. While some of these dishes rely on classic preserved meats and fish owing to the nature of the Spanish-Filipino cuisine, there are still plenty of fresh home-cooked entrees for the picking. And though wine goes best with the meals here, feel free as well to sample the non-alcoholic selections.

Team Glasses Score: 4/5. Simply put, Cafe Adriatico is a must go whenever you’re in Malate, looking for great food, and a nice quiet niche to enjoy it.

Kanin Club

For many Filipinos, a meal is simply not complete without a generous helping of hot, still steaming rice. It becomes a challenge for many establishments to bring new life to this staple, and one restaurant that is up to the task is the aptly named Kanin Club.

We chose a sleepy Sunday to visit Kanin Club’s branch at Greenfield District in Mandaluyong City. For this jaunt we were joined by two other hungry friends. It was just as well that the menu specified that dishes were good for sharing, since we had really worked up an appetite! Our lunch consisted of these four dishes: Crispy Tadyang, Adobo Combo, Bagoong Rice, and Sinangag na Sinigang

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Our delicious lunchtime spread

Crispy Tadyang is Kanin Club’s take on beef spareribs. As the name suggests, the meat is fried to a delightful crispiness, which brings out the beef’s deep savor. This main entrée is served with three dipping sauces, perfect for sharing or just solo gorging.

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Crispy Tadyang

The Adobo Combo is more than the everyday chicken-pork-chicken liver stew that is a household favorite. Kanin Club serves this up with a unique reddish-brown sauce that strikes a balance between salty, sour, and spicy; just the way adobo should be.

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Adobo Combo

The Bagoong Rice is surprisingly not as salty as the usual bagoong rice most restaurants serve. At the same time, it also has strips of cooked unripe mangoes in the rice, which is a nice take on a Filipino classic snack, unripe mangoes and bagoong. The best part about this meal is that it blends well with most of the selections in the Kanin Club menu.

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Bagoong Rice

Last but definitely not the least was the Sinangag na Sinigang, a one-of-a-kind fried rice dish that is succinctly described as a ‘dried sinigang’. This is a meal on its own, with a mountain of sour and savory fried rice laced with bits of pork, and then topped with slices of pork fat and crispy vegetable tempura. This plate is an experience in itself, necessitating sharing with a friend if only to have someone to share in the raving about this filling dish. One will never look at either fried rice or sinigang the same way again!

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Sinangag na Sinigang

Other Kanin Club specialties include crispy dinuguan and loaded fried rice. We look forward to feasting on these and more in future visits!

Food Score: 4/5: The menu features classic Filipino dishes and household favorites, but these familiar entrees are done very well. The portions are great for sharing, perfect for family feasts and outings with friends.

Ambiance Score: 4/5: The feel of the place is like a traditional Filipino home, with stained glass decors and elegant but comfortable chairs surrounding large tables. The cozy yet classy feel is versatile and ideal for different occasions

Service Score: 4.5/5: The servers were friendly, polite and very accommodating. Our queries about food were readily answered, and bottomless drinks filled up promptly. The place was very clean, and kept in good order even during the lunch rush.

GERD Score: 4/5: The great thing about Kanin Club is that there are plenty of food and beverage options for people dealing with heartburn. However, one caveat is that, most of their menu items are good for sharing, so it is advised to bring in a couple of friends. After all, a Filipino meal is best shared with some company.

Neurodivergent Score: 4/5: A few of these dishes use processed meats such as sausages, or rely on a mix of seasonings. However there are vegetarian delights and other mildly flavored dishes that are ideal for sensitive diners. Non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic drinks are mainstays here.

Team Glasses Score: 4/5: Kanin Club epitomizes a great component of Filipino cuisine: hearty meals that are meant to be shared and cherished. We highly recommend this place for family gatherings and bonding sessions with friends. Thank you so much!

Kanin Club Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pi Breakfast & Pies

Before we started with my enrollment for the second semester, we decided to go with Kat’s suggestion of starting the day at a place called Pi Breakfast & Pies. After all, it was going to be a long day out and we needed something heartier than the usual Maginhawa Street fare.

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Located at Malingap Street, Pi Breakfast & Pies had the relaxed vibe to it, which allowed us to just kick back and enjoy a casual meal. The repurposed chairs and tables was also a nice touch to the place being perfect for spending time with friends.

For this adventure, I took on Pi Breakfast & Pies’ interpretation on the classic Longsilog, while Kat went for a Bacon Mac & Cheese.

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Longsilog

Their Longsilog was definitely as hearty as it appeared to be. Their longanisa (Pork sausage) packed a combination of flavors reminiscent of the well-known longanisas from Vigan, Lucban, and Cebu. The sinangag (garlic fried rice) was cooked to the right consistency, not being too garlicky, bland, or oily for my tastes. And surprisingly, the dish had a slice of salted duck egg and soft boiled egg (egg being itlog in Filipino, hence the name Longsilog), compared to the usual sunny side up or scrambled eggs. When mixed together with some pickled papaya (atchara), it summed up what a quality Filipino breakfast should be. It was hearty, filling, and gets one pumped up for the challenges of the day.

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Bacon Mac and Cheese

The Bacon Mac and Cheese was topped with a coddled egg, which added some richness to the dish’s mild cream sauce. Although we would have liked a sharper flavor to the cheese in this dish, we realized that this mac and cheese had a light quality that made it great for a breakfast as opposed to a lunch or dinner entree.

And to top off our brunch, both of us also had a decent cup of hot chocolate made out of tablea chocolate. It was certainly a good brunch for Team Glasses Food Blog.

Food Score: 4/5: The flavors and the preparation for our meals are spot on and quite satisfying to say the least.

Ambiance Score: 4/5: Aside from reusing tables and chairs, the ambient lighting and subtle black hues evoke a sense that one’s dining in a fancier place without the need to be overly formal.

Service Score: 4/5: The servers here are attentive, immediately catering to our needs and orders, and letting us know if there are some changes that we needed to know with our food.

GERD Score: 3.5/5: An unfortunate fact is that, while there are some options within the menu that should be alright for someone dealing with heartburn, it is too few. One way of countering this is to have someone share a meal with you, especially when food volume is a lingering concern. And a perk they also have is the fact that they list down the ingredients they use in all the items within the menu.

Neurodivergent Score: 3.5/5: Some of the dishes use processed meats or other foods loaded with additives. There are not many sugar-free or reduced sugar options in both the entrees and beverages menu.

Team Glasses Score: 4/5: Even with some of our observations and concerns, Pi Breakfast & Pies is still a good place to dine with friends. And for those with health concerns, some precautions are necessary, but won’t ruin your time here.