Have a break. Have a… Coffee Break

For the last part of this edition of the two-part Vigan special, I decided to retrace the steps of an adventure four years ago in the city and picked to cool my heels in Coffee Break near Calye Crisologo. Ironically, this is also the same place I tried to cool my heels in when I was caught in a middle of a storm in August of 2013.

Now, it’s almost the same as I remember it from then, a warm and welcoming ambiance with its wooden chairs, neutral hues, and the whirring sound of the espresso machine in the background. Of course, also a usual haunt for groups of students and tourists in the city for a quick cup of coffee.

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Mint Tea

Since I couldn’t have their coffee, I decided to get their pesto and a cup of mint tea. Now, as you readers may have noticed, we at Team Glasses Food Blog take our mint tea seriously and thankfully they have an excellent set there to cleanse the palate during and after the meal.

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Coffee Break’s Pesto Pasta

As for the pesto, it’s a nice blend of natural flavors that run-off-the-mill pesto could never quite capture since they prepare the meal there as you order. My only suggestion is that they should really lay off the cheddar into the pesto and could either go entirely without that or replace it with parmesan, but that’s more a preference than anything else.

Overall, the place has plenty to offer anyone looking for a relatively quiet place to stay and relax in one’s own Vigan tour. On another note, if you’re actually able to drink coffee, Coffee Break sells bags of fresh coffee beans.

Food Score: 3/5. There’s definitely room for improvement food-wise but since this is Vigan, a great stop for an Ilocos gastronomic journey, maybe a fusion of local and coffee shop staples wouldn’t be remiss and can be added or incorporated into the menu.

Ambiance / Service Score: 4/5. Thankfully the place is still as spacious as I remember it to be and in my experience at least, the staff were cordial and polite throughout my stay here.

GERD Score: 3.5/5. Besides tea, there’s also a variety of options one can choose from for food and drinks. Although dependent on one’s trigger, it’s safe to say that one can still enjoy a meal here.

Epilepsy Score: 3.5/5. As far as menus go, this place has a pretty good one in terms of food. However aside from mint tea, what else can one wash this food down with if coffee is a no-no?

Team Glasses Food Score: 3.5/5. Overall, Coffee Break is a good place to rest one’s feet and literally take a break after a long day walking around Vigan. But to dine here, the options are quite limited for people with conditions.

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A step back in time at Kusina Felicitas

For part one of the short solo Vigan trip, I decided to take on a suggestion from our good friend Carmel and try out a place she ate in before. A place called, Kusina Felicitas located in Grandpa’s Inn just a pebble’s throw away from the main line of Spanish houses in Calye Crisologo.

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Tapang Ilokano

Native Tsokolate

Tsokolate

An hour or so after landing in Vigan via bus, I went there to try out their breakfast menu, specifically the Tapang Ilokano, Itlog ken Kinirog, a lightly-flavored and soy sauce-marinated strip of beef with a sunny-side up, garlic and spring onion fried rice, atchara (pickled papaya), and a sweetened banana. The meal itself was plain for me, not as flavorful as I expected it to be. Could have skipped the banana though. However, that cup of native tsokolate is pure goodness in a cup.

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Vigan Longanisa

While I was a bit disappointed with my breakfast, I gave it another shot for a spot of late lunch, ordering some Vigan longanisa (sausages stuffed with pork and garlic) and Gamet soup (seaweed soup with clams and vegetables). I think I ate my own words before eating when I said, “I won’t order rice for this one.”

The longanisa is, lightly fried but not oily and the small portion of fresh vegetables balancing the palate. In summary, just the way I like it.

Gamet Soup

Gamet Soup

The star of the lunch on the other hand is the soup. The tomatoes and spring onions liven up the umami taste of seaweed and the small clams. These complex flavors reminded me of a fresh sea breeze in a mid-afternoon stroll by the beach. And the rice is fluffy, and perfect for the two dishes above

My entire stay at the restaurant can be summed up in two words. Cozy and Rustic. The wooden furniture and enclosed living space exuded the visage of an old spanish dining area during a feast, and the meals fitting a prayle.

Food Score: 4.5/5. Besides the slight hiccup of the morning menu, the food is worth coming back to if one wants a taste of what Ilocos cuisine is all about. Illocos cuisine has its fatty side, but there is a strong emphasis on use of local vegetables, which gives it a healthy spin.

Ambiance / Service Score: 3.5/5. The place is a quaint experience and in some ways, a nice step back in time. The attending servers were mostly trainees for that day and not as attentive as I would personally like but get the job done nonetheless. Definitely some room for improvement there in my opinion.

GERD Score: 4/5. While one should stay away from the bagnet for obviously oily reasons, most of the fare here is heartburn friendly, with their wide range of vegetable and seafood options such as the gamet soup I had.

Epilepsy Score: 4/5. Unfortunately most longanizas, even the famed Illocos longaniza, are made with preservatives such as salitre, thus one should limit intake of these meats. However other fresh foods in this restaurant and the region are rather safe, and very healthy for those with health conditions.

Team Glasses Food Score: 4/5. In its entirety, Kusina Felicitas here in Vigan is one of the best places one can go to for a culinary adventure into Ilokano food. A place on top of our list when Kat and I decide to go to Vigan together for a vacation.