so this morning i wake up in manila, which is not something i thought i'd ever say, much more less be able to say it. luckily i had no coffee problems: i just brewed up a nice bit of jessica marshall's batdorf el salvador c.o.e., the santa julia, in my travel press.
then i visited the cathedral, which has some fine stained glass, albeit in a jaggy modern style. i particularly admired the icon of the virgin mary, robed in the spanish style, her heavy cloth-of-gold dress with a long train finely worked with red thread.
she wears a large real gold crown, with diamonds, and is adorned with much real pearl jewelry. the pulpit and the altar are fronted with nice bronze bas reliefs whose main figures are likewise covered in gold.
the pulpit figures -- of the animals that represent the 4 evangelists -- are particularly well-done i think. overall manila rather reminds me for some reason of cancun, but of course much much much larger.
a culinary highlight to my mind of filipino food is sans rival, a layered meringue cake lavishly covered with butter cream and chopped nuts. when well-made this is addictive.
and i had a piece today at the segafredo cafe; manila has a fantastic outdoor cafe culture, where people appear to spend most days working their way thru the cafes that lines the sidewalks near here just saying hi to all their friends.
i have yet to see an independent specialty coffee retailer. so far i have seen only mermaids, segafredos, seattle's bests, and coffee bean & tea leaf.
i'd say so far the seattle's bests appear to be the most popular among younger people; slightly older people (late-20s-just-30s) appear to me more into the mermaid scene. the segafredo has free wireless, so everybody was there when i was!
in exciting news for my chocolate and baking readers, i've found that one of the sous-bakers from nyc's own magnolia has returned to manila and opened a magnolia-like chocolate cupcake paradise. i'm on it a.s.a.p!