Fuelling Up at Cafe Racer Diner

Cafe Racer is a new diner at North Reclamation area that is beginning to draw foodies, gearheads and Instagram lovers into one place. My sister and I are foodies and I am an Instagram lover while my son is a gearhead (because he loves cars and bikes) so we were excited to try it for ourselves and find out what the buzz is all about.

The minute we pulled into the lot of Cafe Racer Diner, a 1951 Chevy Bel-Air car welcomed us and we immediately felt like we were transported back to the 50’s. It was also like stepping into an old US diner just by looking at the facade of the diner.

Cafe Racer Diner

Cafe Racer Diner Facade

Everything has a vintage vibe and the whole place carries an automobile/racing theme. We learned that the place used to be the Jetti Gasoline Station. How ingenious of the owners to tie it up with the automobile-inspired concept as they transformed it into a diner! There’s even a car wash station at your service if you want to have your car cleaned up while you dine. I wasn’t able to ask though for their service rates.

Cafe Racer Diner - Car Wash Station

I fell in love with these oil barrel seats. Who would have thought that you can turn them into something useful aside from storage purposes? Even my son enjoyed seating on them.

Cafe Racer Diner - Oil Barrel Seats

I was surprised to know that this red vintage gasoline pump tank is actually working. You will also be surprised to know that instead of spewing gasoline, it dispenses draft beers for those who want to satiate their alcohol thirst. This red gas pump is the highlight of Cafe Racer’s beer drinking area which is perfect for those who just want to chill and drink with their friends.

Cafe Racer Diner - Gas Pump

As you go inside, the automobile-inspired theme continues. You can see that the oil barrels have now been turned into mini couches. The wall poster is also perfect for selfie backgrounds, LOL! Unfortunately, we were not able to take selfie shots here with my sister as we were too busy taking Instagram-worthy shots.

Cafe Racer Diner

Cafe Racer Diner

You will also notice that they added an industrial touch on the interior because of the bare ceiling that shows the ventilation tunnels and metal support bars. Then there’s also the cashier area enclosed in an old Volkswagen camper van.

Cafe Racer Diner

I must say that this place really takes you to a unique dining experience because of the novelty touches they added even up to the minutest detail. Just take for an example this mini vintage racer which my son enjoyed to the fullest.

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Now for the foodies out there, I will share with you how their food scored.

I ordered their Monte Cristo Sandwich (their best seller according to the waitress) and Carbonara. Let’s start with the Carbonara which I didn’t get any decent shot because it lacked in presentation. You can see a portion of it on the photo below.  I liked the sauce but I didn’t like the pasta they used. It would be yummier if they used the classic spaghetti noodles. However, I got to give them a plus point for not scrimping on the bacon. Meanwhile, the garlic bread needs more toasting and some parsley for a touch of color. If you notice it looks blah.

As for the Monte Cristo, it tasted good but it would be better if they added a cranberry sauce or maple syrup on the side. Between the Monte Cristo of Casa Verde and Cafe Racer, I prefer Casa Verde’s. The fries were a bit soggy too. So out of 10, I give both dishes a 7.

Cafe Racer Diner - Monte Cristo and Carbonara

Monte Cristo – P175; Carbonara – P150

My son on the other hand had his all-time favorite fried chicken. I must say their chicken is quite good but again it lacked presentation in my opinion.

Cafe Racer Diner - Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken – P120

My sister meanwhile had the Baked Back Ribs. She and I both agreed that the ribs were dry and overcooked despite the abundance in sauce so it was kinda chewy. It was such a letdown because it was okay taste wise.

Cafe Racer Diner - Baked Back Ribs

Baked Back Ribs – P160

For the drinks, we had their Vanilla Milkshake. Since Cafe Racer is a diner, our expectation was too high on the milkshakes since most diners (particularly in the US) have these as one of their cold beverage specialties. Presentation wise was okay because they served it an recycled mayo jar with a cherry on top. But taste wise, it was nothing special. It was too watery and too sugary. It’s like drinking water with lots of sugar. I was expecting it to be thick and creamy, we couldn’t even taste the vanilla ice cream.

Cafe Racer Diner - Vanilla Milkshake

Vanilla Milkshake – P85 each

Overall, I must say that I was more impressed with the interior and ambiance of this diner than the food they served. If you just want to chill with your friends after a hard day’s work, then I guess this is a cool place to go. But if you are more after the food trip, it’s not worth the trip at all.

Verdict:

Pros: Instagram-worthy interiors and details; spacious parking space; cool ambiance; lots of outdoor seating for barkada hang-out; car wash service while you dine; affordable food with big serving size.

Cons: Food attendants lack customer service; food is not impressive.

Cafe Racer Diner
Location: North Reclamation Area, Mandaue City 6014
Contact No.: (032) 511 7798
Parking: Yes (Parking Lot)
Store Hours: Mon – Sun (11:00 am – 2:00 am)

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Craft Time: DIY Bag Tag

My son’s class is having a tooth brushing activity this week and the parents were told to prepare a bag or container with items related to this activity. To identify which one belongs to whom, we were instructed to put names on the bag/container.

Now being the DIY Queen, I just don’t want to write my son’s name on his toothbrush pack. That would be so boring. So I thought of creating some kind of a cute pre-school label or tag that would identify my son’s pack from the rest. I enlisted the help of Mr. Google to get some inspiration on my idea and boy he really never fails me.

I found this free printable DIY bag tag from www.andersuff.com. Apparently, this same website was my source for the cute birthday banner during my son’s 3rd birthday party. They have lots of free printables so I really recommend that you check them out.

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I just downloaded the bag tag template from the website (the template is editable), printed them in color and went to the mall to have it laminated. Lamination costs only Php20. I love the blue checkered background. Most of all, I fell in love with the retro cars motif because my son loves anything that has something to do with cars. The bag tag really describes my son’s preferences. There are options to choose from at Andersruff if you don’t like the retro car motif and checkered background. They also have cute bag tag designs for girls.

As I was creating the bag tag, I thought of printing another one on a sticker paper. So I cut the template in half, peeled it off and stuck it onto yellow bag. Talk about ingenuity! Not only did I create a bag tag for my son but also a sticker label for his school things. Isn’t that neat?

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Please feel free to share this post if you find it useful. Enjoy DIY-ing!

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Isaiah’s Nautical 4th Birthday Party

It’s amazing how time flies so swiftly. My son Isaiah is growing up so fast and he is now on his fourth voyage around the calendar. Because he is now learning to set sail on his own, I think it is just timely to do a nautical-theme party for his fourth birthday.

Personally, his birthdays are my favorite time every year because I get to wear my event organizer’s hat and I get to be creative through arts and crafts. Before I get to the nitty-gritty details of his nautical-themed party, here’s a throwback on the parties I’ve organized for Isaiah:

 

 

Train-themed 3rd birthday party

Train-themed 3rd birthday party

 

The only time, I didn’t get to wear my organizer’s hat was on his second birthday since we opted to stay in a resort to have a quality family bonding. If you also have noticed, his past birthday parties were both non-character themed. I prefer it that way because I am not to keen on using cartoon characters or superheroes as they are too common already. Unless my son will specifically tell me he wants a Superman or a Mickey Mouse themed party, it will be mama’s choice as of the moment. Lol! So this year I chose the nautical-theme.

The Venue

Since Isaiah’s favorite activity is swimming, I thought of organizing a pool party with a nautical-theme. I initially inquired with Villa Teresita in Talisay and Tubod Flowing Resort in Minglanilla (a few blocks from my house) but gosh their rates are costly. You need to pay for the venue rental, catering and entrance per head if you want to use the pool which is not for exclusive use too. Budget wise, I almost gave up on the idea of a pool party. But after searching painstakingly for an affordable pool venue over the internet and Cebuano forums, I’ve finally found the perfect venue – The Metro Park Hotel.

Aside from function rooms, this budget-hotel also offers a poolside venue which can be used exclusively for four hours complete with sound system. The best part is you do not have to pay for venue rental nor entrance fees. However, the catering has to come from them. You can choose between the P260 per pax or the P360 per pax packages. Not bad eh?! They also have the complete kiddie party package good for 50 pax which includes food, a clown host, loot bags, invitations, game prizes and simple venue decorations. I took this package but I told them that I don’t need their loot bags and invitations because I have my own and they do not have a nautical-themed items in their party inventory. So what they did, they exchanged it for more game prizes. They also offer add-ons such as lechon and food cart which I had availed too. Don’t be fooled by the modesty of this hotel because their events board are lined up with parties due to their unique selling point: budget-friendly.

Pros:

  • Affordable.
  • The staff has excellent customer service. Tetchie (the events manager) and Maricor are patient with my never ending inquiries and they are very accommodating.
  • Poolside venue is covered so you don’t need to worry if the weather is bad.
  • Exclusive use of the pool.
  • The lechon was very tasty.

Cons:

  • Taste of food is not outstanding. It could be improved.
  • Some parts of the hotel needs tidying up especially the parking lot.

Metro Park Poolside Venue

Metro Park Hotel Poolside Venue

 

The Balloon Decoration

Since Metro Park Hotel’s balloon decoration is simple and only limited to a few stick balloons, I contacted Cebu Balloons for my additional balloon requirements. I only transacted with them via email but I was impressed by how they handled my email inquiries. They were quick to respond to my queries and they were able to materialize what I wanted for my ground balloons and pillars. I ordered two 5ft balloon columns, two dozen balloon on stick and two balloon ground decors. My goal was to spruce up the venue without being over the top and exceeding my budget. I definitely achieved my goal thanks to Mark and Lisa, the couple behind Cebu Balloons.

The Candy and Dessert Buffet

Nautical Theme Candy Buffet Setup

Nautical Themed Candy Buffet Setup

Now this is my labor of love. Because I’m so busy in between, it took me two months to conceptualize and prepare for it. The setup might look expensive to you but it didn’t cost me a lot because most of them are DIYs. I mostly spent researching for inspirations over the internet and I also looked for free nautical printables from party blogs which I can just print at home. I also have a graphic designer sister so I asked for her help especially on the beautiful tarpaulin.

One of my favorite elements of the set-up is the birthday cake. The cake was also a labor of love and was baked by my youngest sister Chesca who is a pastry chef.

Nautical Cake

The design of the cake was inspired by a nautical cake I saw on the internet. Talk about a cake design hack. LOL! I tell you Google is my bestfriend when it comes to sourcing out inspiration for my son’s parties. Learn how to create the paper boat topper here.

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The red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting were also baked by my sister Chesca. I bought the 2 cupcake stands in Carbon Market for P200 a piece. Great bargain eh!

Cupcake Tower

Choco Cookies

Personalized Fibisco Choco Crunchies

Personalized Jelly Beans

Personalized jelly beans mini bottle

I’m giving you for free the sails I created and used for the Fudgee bars. You can download the sail printable here. Moreover, the printables I used for this party can be downloaded for free at www.ianandlola.com.

Fudgee Boats

Fudgee bar boats

I got these cute glass containers at Gaisano Tabunok for less than P130 a piece.

Candy Jars

My DIY lighthouse on display. Learn how to create a DIY lighthouse here.

Lighthouse

My DIY wall art decors on display. All of them were downloaded and printed from the internet. You can download the ‘Let your dreams set sail’ art for free here.

Wall Art Decors

For the giveaways, I got these cute tin buckets and its contents at 168 Mall in Divisoria with the help of my ninang who is based in Luzon. The shop’s name is Trophy & Gift Shop (stall no. 2HB 05-07-09) that sells birthday and party needs. I then placed a thank you sticker label to personalize it.

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My another favorite element in the set-up is the decorative letters and the paper mache life ring and anchor. I bought them from an Instagram seller based in Manila and then I just covered the letters with washi tapes and then hand painted the life ring and anchor by myself. You can learn how to cover the letters with washi tape here.

Nautical Theme Candy Buffet Setup

Lastly, a party will not be complete without capturing photos. Instead of renting a photo booth, I thought of creating a lifesize Instagram frame prop. I got this idea from the internet too. I just asked my graphic designer sister Xan to layout a lifesize Instagram for me (3x4ft in size) and then went to printing shop to have it printed in tarpaulin. Then, I stuck it onto a foam board and viola!

Instagram Photo Frame Prop

Since everyone is into social media already, it was a big hit with everyone.

Instagram Photo Frame Prop

In behalf of my husband and family, I would like to thank everyone who joined us in celebrating the life of my son, Isaiah. Thanks also to April Mae Valencia-Carillo of First of April (Event and Photo Styling) for lending me a few nautical-themed stuff. Most of all, a big thanks to our Heavenly Father, the Giver of life.

The birthday boy - Captain Isaiah

The birthday boy – Captain Isaiah

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Craft Time: Washi Covered Paper Mache Letters

I just heart decorative letters. They look simple yet chic and liven up a room or space. Just see how cute they are!

So while I was planning for my son’s birthday party, I thought of incorporating these cute decors on the dessert buffet setup at the party. And I’m so glad I did.

Desert Buffet Setup
Desert Buffet Setup

To do these lovely decorative letters, you will need:

  • Paper mache letters
  • Washi tapes (1 washi tape can cover two paper mache letters)
I got these 8″ paper mache letters from Bee Happy Crafts – an online arts & crafts seller based in Manila. The letters cost me P70 each plus shipping fee since I am based in Cebu. The washi tapes, meanwhile, were bought from Paper Blush – a Manila online seller too. I got the washi tapes for P75 a piece.
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Here’s how to cover the letters with washi tape:

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Lemon Grass at The Terraces, Ayala Center Cebu

If you want a taste of Thailand and Vietnamese cuisines, you must try Lemon Grass at The Terraces. This Asian-fusion restaurant, managed by Laguna Garden Cafe, had me at first bite when I dined there for the first time with my college friends. Their delectable dishes got stuck in my mind and palate so I got this huge desire to come back for more. I did come back, this time with my son and my sister who just arrived from Abu Dhabi.

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I highly recommend ordering Lemon Grass’ Banh Mi, a Viet-grilled Beef Sandwich with veggie slaw, pate in crispy baguette. It is really to die for. The baguette is perfectly crispy and definitely not chewy while the beef slices are oh so tender. The veggie slaw which consists of cucumber, carrots and lettuce provides a refreshing twist to the sandwich and the pate gives a mix of sweetness and a hint of tanginess

Banh-Mi

Banh-Mi

Their Thit Nuong is also commendable. It is a Vietnamese grilled pork  BBQ marinated in lime, lemongrass and other herbs. It is very tender, juicy and does not have the usual BBQ taste you often get in BBQ stalls and restaurants, which are usually overpowered with sweet BBQ sauce. The Thit Nuong gives a zesty take on pork BBQ.

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Vietnamese Grilled Pork BBQ

We also ordered Gai Hor Bai Toey (a deep fried yet juicy boneless chicken seasoned with Viet spice and lemongrass then wrapped in pandan leaves) and Pineapple Fried Rice (a Jasmine rice with minced shrimp, pork and pineapple topped with basil). These two dishes are also must-try.

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Pineapple Fried Rice and Chicken Pandan

For refreshments, we ordered two glasses of Citrus Herb and Lemonade. Forget about the other beverages in their menu because this one tops them all.

Citrus Herb and Lemonade

Citrus Herb and Lemonade

I’ve also listed here some of the dishes I’ve tried there with my college buddies which are also commendable (too bad I was not able to take photos):

  • Pad Thai or Thai spicy rice noodles with chicken and shrimp topped with roasted peanuts, sprouts and herbs.
  • Kaeng Curry Thalay or seafood red curry which is a combination of grouper fillet, squid and shrimp cooked in red curry with pineapples, kaffir lime leaves and basil.
  • Suon Nuong or charcoal-grilled spare ribs seasoned with coriander roots and herbs.

Overall, Lemon Grass did not disappoint me at all. Their waiting staff are alert and fast plus you get your money’s worth on the quality of food that they serve. I am really looking forward to dining their next time.

Lemon Grass is located at the first level of The Terraces, Ayala Center Cebu.

 

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