Wednesday, August 3, 2016

HILLSIDE CAFE AND JUICE BAR: A HEALTHY HAVEN IN THE HEART OF QUEZON CITY



THE BACK STORY:

I love organic gardening.  I am super happy when I see my basil, lettuce, arugula and kale growing healthy outside.  If I can only wave a magic wand and instruct them all to grow FAST so I can have a constant supply of organic produce, hay....






So what’s the next best thing?  To discover and explore the neighborhood for alternative places where the family can get our healthy dose of organic food.  And guess what... I recently discovered Hillside Cafe and Juice Bar – a healthy haven in the heart of QC.  It is actually just a short walk from where I used to work (abs-cbn) and just beside my one of my favorite hang out places – Cedarhills garden center, where I buy most of my gardening tools and plants.






So the BACKPACK SQUAD headed off to Hillside Cafe and Juice Bar, to get a taste of their organic and healthy offering...


FIRST IMPRESSION






The place was very cozy.  Aside from the lush greenery that surrounds the place, what makes Hillside Cafe and Juice Bar a place to go to when you want to de-stress, is its relaxing interior design.  



Marble table tops, white brick wall, stamped wall pattern by artist Alessandra Lanot, including works from renowned potters Lanelle Abueva and Ugu Bigyan.  







It is not only for the health enthusiasts, but also for the art lovers as well.  And did I say that my teens were super happy because of the wifi? 

ITS TIME TO TASTE THE FOOD  

CHICKEN PARMIGIANA ON ZUCCHINI PASTA  (Php 435)
This is pesto crusted chicken parmigiana that is crispy and crunchy to the bite. The cassoulet of chickpeas, edamame and sweet corn gives it a rich, flavorful taste.  And since the chicken is set on zucchini spaghetti aglio olio, it is packed with nutrients but low on calorie. 




OAT AND RYE CRUSTED SMOKED LABAHITA  (Php 495)
Oat and rye are known as excellent sources of fiber, vitamins and minerals.  They also give the protein rich “labahita” a crunchy, healthy bite.  When prepared with mussel emulsion, organic lettuce and aglio olio pasta with a hint of spiciness in it – the dish ends up to a totally satisfying, balanced meal.


BRAISED PORK BELLY  (Php  395)
Lightly fried and stewed to perfection, just the right balance of sweet and saltiness to the pork.  Served with bokchoy, leeks and shitake mushroom, with brown rice risotto and soft boiled organic egg.  The creamy texture of the risotto blends well with the taste of the pork belly.   
         


SQUID INK SEAFOOD PASTA  (Php 265)
This is the perfect dish for the seafood lovers.  The rich, flavorful taste of linguine in natural squid ink is truly pleasing to the palate.  Embellished with a mix of shrimps, clams, mussels and squid, all very fresh ingredients – makes you clamor for more.



BEEF SHORT RIBS   (465)
The surprise of this dish is in the tender, easy-to-slice, melt in your mouth meat of the short ribs.  The thick consistency of the polenta or corn meal porridge popular in Italian cooking, and the buttered vegetables enhances to perfection the rich flavor of the short ribs. 

THE VERDICT

Thumbs up for the BIG serving of each dish.  I actually think, each serving is good for sharing. The dishes are carefully thought of, with focus on creating a balanced meal with meat/seafood/chicken + fresh healthy vegetables + pasta or rice. 



My son’s favorite was the chicken parmigiana, especially the camote chips on top.   My daughter liked the braised pork belly to the max.  She liked the variety of textures of the shitake mushroom, the risotto and the soft boiled egg.  Me and my hubby liked the beef short ribs.  We were intrigued with the polenta that we didn’t stop eating it. LOL!




We were lucky to have a taste of their latest smoothie, is the Aloe Vera Pineapple Mango  (Php 195). It is packed with nutrients and vitamins.  One glass is enough to sustain you through the day.  Aloe Vera is good for weight loss, detox, healthier skin and boosts the immune system.  It also comes in a big tall glass, perfect for sharing. son’s favorite was the chicken parmigiana, especially the camote chips on top.   My daug






I DID SOMETHING.... WEIRD, AND I LIKED IT!

Before eating, PJ Lanot, one of the owners of Hillside Cafe asked me to try any one of their cold pressed juices.  I felt adventurous that day that I chose the CHARCOAL LEMONADE.  It is a detoxifying mixture of coconut juice, coconut sugar, lemon and activated charcoal.  Yes, you read it right... CHARCOAL.  



I must admit, when I opened the bottle and poured it on ice, seeing the black concoction made me want to back out.  But because I was curious on how it will detoxify my body, I went ahead with the drink.  It was surprisingly refreshing, I tasted the lemon, not much of the coconut juice.  But I did feel the charcoal powder in my mouth.   Two days after, I don’t want to gross you out, but it really did detoxify my system.  If you know what I mean  :)




When asked where they source out their organic ingredients, PJ shared, “we have accredited organic suppliers from all over the country. We also use grass fed beef of superior quality.  The prices of our dishes maybe a bit expensive compared to ordinary restaurants, but you get your money’s worth when I say, we only use the freshest, organic ingredients for our dishes.  We are also very proud of our juices, smoothies and detox drinks.  I can claim that we have the best healthy smoothies in Quezon City.”

PJ also reiterated the importance of a healthy and natural diet, “I would like to clarify that we do not promote crash diet. Our dishes are not for those who want to lose weight fast.  We promote healthy diet and lifestyle, by using fresh, organic and sustainable ingredients.  We also want to break the notion that healthy food is boring and bland. We put in a lot of effort to make our healthy food, delicious and flavorful. 

Their cold pressed juices are of excellent kind.  No water added, just the purest ingredients.  The juices displayed in the cafe are prepared on the same day.  The maximum shelf life of these healthy drinks are three days.  (Php 165 for 240ml / Php 340 for 500ml)



         
lowers blood pressure and is an electrolyte booster
immunity booster, skin cleanser and lowers cholesterol
kidney cleanser, improves metabolism and aids in digestion
CLEAN AND GREEN, 
anti-inflammatory properties and balances the digestive system
Hillside Cafe and Juice Bar also sells the Daily Detox Package at Php 2400 with six 500ml of cold pressed juices in a reusable thermo bag and ice pack.  So you can bring home these energy drink and even share it with your family. 





HILLSIDE CAFE AND JUICE BAR
at CedarHills Garden Center
#57 Mother Ignacia Avenue, Quezon City
between Sct. De Guia & Sct. Dr. Lazcano
(beside St. Mary's College & Crossfit Infinitas)
Open DAILY, 11:30am-9pm

For table reservations and for food pick up:   (02) 374-1117
For food delivery:  (02)  87878

IG:  @hillsidecafeph