Quibranza: The best time to visit cafes

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EBI KATSU
EBI KATSU

It’s a secret we all are aware of but fail to acknowledge. Personally, it was a college hack: I would have lunch at either 11 in the morning or one in the afternoon — never 12 p.m.

In the context of meals, rush hours exist. Dinner time would probably have restaurants packed around 7 p.m. This is also the reason why hotels have breakfast meters outside their buffets — 8 to 9 a.m. would be red-hot busy, 9 to 10 a.m. considered moderate and with 6 to 8 a.m. considered least busy. I rarely wake up early when in hotels, unless it’s required due to an itinerary or a morning flight. That said, I’m a fan of late lunches and dinners at eight.

BIBIMBAP
BIBIMBAP
COMMON FRIED CHICKEN
COMMON FRIED CHICKEN
ORANGE CHICKEN
ORANGE CHICKEN

How does this all relate to my title: “The best time to visit cafes.” Well, for me, walking into cafes at 12 noon or 7 p.m. has been a blissful experience. You have the liberty of choosing your seat (the comfy ones near a power socket, with your back against the wall and a view of the entire cafe). Yes, head into one during lunch time or dinner time.

Now, that works for me because my diet consists of alternating between black coffee and pure fasts (if you’re still doing intermittent fasting in 2024, congratulations). But for some who need to eat something at 12 or 7 — and somehow, want to experience a crowd-less coffee shop — I’ve rounded up a couple of cafes in town that serve good food that goes beyond heated sandwiches and pastas.

Disclaimer, these aren’t your culinary standouts and they cost a bit expensive. Some of them also, if you have decent cooking skills, can be prepared at home. But at least, it’s good to know you can have lunch and coffee at the same place. You don’t need to transfer to another location for good coffee after a meal.

Commonly Uncommon

Coffee

Here’s a coffee shop that tries to define itself apart from competition. Aside from its popular coffee specialties, its food game is notable. I was a Pork Belly Aburi Don fan at first, the cafe’s take on pork belly chashu served with ajitsuke tamago and tare sauce on top of multigrain rice. Then I liked the Crispy Pork Belly served with bagoong fried rice and fried egg. But all this time, I would wonder why they would allow customers to bring KFC takeout with them and eat it at the cafe. I only learned recently that I mistook the boxes for KFC when it was rather the cafe’s playful take on chicken thighs glazed with Korean sweet chili sauce and rice. Common Fried Chicken, they call it, served in a takeout box with pink details rather than red. And yes, I christen CFC the best of the bunch.

Zero-X cafe

For those into the world of cryptocurrency, you would be delighted to try and visit this cafe on V. Rama Ave., Cebu City. Imagine dining under the logo of the most tokens you hold just for kicks, BTC, ETH or XRP. But other than the cool concept and a variety of drinks, the place’s food game is also noteworthy. Its mains include Orange Chicken, Bibimbap and a Gyudon Bowl, among others. That’s already a sampling of Chinese, Korean and Japanese food under one roof.

The best part of all? Parking is free for both establishments. I hope this article does not trigger paid parking or crowds during lunch and dinner time. Drink and dine well!

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