Baguio is a good 4 to 5-hour drive from Manila, so when E and I go for a visit, we make it count by hitting as many foodie finds as possible. I love going around and checking out new flavors in the city. There's always some new joint popping up making food bloggers re-do their lists of top restos in Baguio, which only makes it easier for me to map out an itinerary.

Here are some places I've enjoyed in Baguio-- from blogger recommended to accidental finds.

1. Cafe By the Ruins
Pinikpikan, Scones and Ernie's Camote (camote bread), Baguio Bounty Salad (with strawberry vinaigrette), Baguio Bagnet (served with padas bagoong), Chocolate de Agua, Iced Tea
First up is the crowd pleaser Cafe By the Ruins. Long queue aside, I enjoyed everything about this place. Festive but quiet ambiance, attentive servers, and really good food!

I especially loved the clean taste of their Pinikpikan flavored with watercress and celery, and their super soft camote bread. Not a fan of the Baguio Bounty Salad because I didn't like the strawberry dressing, but I appreciated that they didn't scrimp on the shrimp, chicken and fruits in the salad.

2. Baguio Craft Brewery

As a beer lover, Baguio Craft Brewery is hands down my favorite spot in all of Baguio. From the varied selection of beers to the bar grub served with impressive flare, this place has got me coming back for more.
Over our multiple visits, I noticed that their menu changes periodically. Is that intentional or just an availability issue?

 I love that they are not afraid to kick up the heat in their food. Way too many restaurants are hesitant to bring the heat on even for food marked "very hot" or "extremely hot" or whatever. But Baguio Craft Brewery packs on the heat and I love them for it.

3. Tsokolateria Artisinal Cafe

 This is a cozy and intimate al fresco-only restaurant located along a downward sloping compound in Upper Session Road. They are primarily a hot choco place, but their food menu piqued my interest as well. Unfortunately, we were too full from an underwhelming dinner at the nearby Hill Station to order anything more than the Sili Labuyo Choco Blend. The chocolate was rich, thick and leaves a nice heat as it travels down your throat.    
Sili Labuyo Tsoko Blend

4. Canto Ketchup Community's Lomo Ribs
Lomo ribs, hot chocolate, lychee gulaman
As recommended by every other food blog, we ordered the Lomo Ribs. It was juicy, tasty and nothing short of wonderful. I'm not even a fan of any kind of barbeque sauce, but this just hit the spot for me.
Their drinks were pretty, but a huge disappointment. For one, their hot chocolate is without a doubt, just a packet of Swiss Miss. Now this is not necessarily a bad thing, but since they are in Baguio, I never would have expected them to resort to commercially available chocolate powder.
The lychee gulaman tastes nothing like lychee or gulaman and tasted exactly like sugar diluted in water.

5. Sage
Creamy Bulalo Steak, Baked Shrimp with Garlic and Herb Cheese
I wasn't too keen on trying this restaurant because I wanted to try the more laid back, more Baguio-unique establishments. But Sage turned out to be a gem, and I'm glad we tried it.

I loved my baked shrimp and pasta. The shrimp was cooked to perfection (at least by my standards) and the pasta was al dente, but served a bit too dry. The meal wasn't perfect, but the attentive servers, charm of the place made up for it. 

6. Ili Likha Artist Village's Lihim ni Maria
Lihim ni Maria
This treehouse is home to several small stalls that sell an assortment of food and drinks. We came here for Balbacua and Urban Kamote's Balbacua which was highly recommended by some of the blogs I follow.
Turned out, I'm not a fan of Balbacua. We did find something delightful here though. Lihim ni Maria is green glop that's not very pretty, but is totally wonderful. It's a concoction of basil and mint, and is like a shake version of mojito.

7. Hill Station's Death by Chocolate
Death by Chocolate
Hill Station is a crowd favorite that just miserably disappointed me. From the service to the food, everything was just a huge miss for me. I found the servers impolite and generally inattentive, and food takes forever to be served. And note that this was around 6pm, early dinner time where not a lot of people are coming in yet. In fact, the restaurant was close to empty when we came in.
The best and only thing i enjoyed during our first (and most likely last) dinner here was their very popular Death by Chocolate -- a luscious, creamy, smooth and properly gooey rich, dark chocolate brownie topped with vanilla ice cream. It was so spectacular that I will probably go back to Hill Station not for a full meal, but only for this.

8. Tea House's Chona's Delight
Chona's Delight
Another chocolate dessert to die for! Two layers of smooth chocolate cake with generous dollops of cream in between. It might look like a huge mess unceremoniously crammed into a clear plastic bowl, but I loved it so much I came back to Tea House before heading back to Manila to get 3 more!

9. Solibao's Puto Bombong
Puto Bombong
Freshly-made puto bombong served with butter and sugar melting all over its warmth. While I'm generally not a kakanin person, I thoroughly enjoyed snacking on this. 
The Smoky Bastard bar is the best seats in all of Hole in the Wall! They sell local beers, no food, but they will gladly let you sit on their bar whatever grub it is you're chowing on.

I'm all about supporting local businesses and I love that Smoky Bastard carries local craft beers. During my very first visit when Hole in the Wall just opened, they only had around 3 beers. Now they have an entire lineup! Oh and they made my day when I found out they had Pedro's Elementary English Ale right when it first came out.

You'll want to sit at the bar. It can get very stuffy in the little nook where their tables are.

More and more I find myself gravitating towards neutral lip colors and these two from Mac are the ones I'm reaching for the most: Cosmo (Amplified) and Mehr (Matte).
While these are not really neutrals, but more on the pink side of the spectrum, I find both to be MLBB shades that's wearable everyday compared to my brighter pinks, reds and oranges. 

Left: Cosmo (Amplified) | Right: Mehr (Matte)

Cosmo is a creamy light brown shade that hints ever so slightly of peach with a yummy shiny finish that makes my lips appear plumper, while Mehr is a deeper blue-based pink. The difference in the two is pretty obvious (to me, at least) when I wear them on my lips. But looking at my photos, I was surprised to see that the colors look almost exactly the same! Makes me think that owning both might be a superfluity.

Left: Cosmo (Amplified) | Right: Mehr (Matte)

I love the creamy finish of Cosmo! It's a true MLBB that doesn't wash me out. It glides on smoothly and applies evenly. My only issue is that the color isn't as long wearing. But oh I am so in love with its shiny finish!

Left: Cosmo (Amplified) | Right: Mehr (Matte)
Taken under natural lighting

Mehr is a deeper pink that's a shade away from burgundy when applied heavily. The formulation feels comfortable on the lips and applies evenly, compared to other mattes from Mac like, say, Pink Noveau, which I find to be very drying and difficult to apply.

Left: Cosmo (Amplified) | Right: Mehr (Matte)
Taken indoors

I find Cosmo and Mehr to be MLBBs in spite of not being neutral shades because they strangely look like one's true lip color. They're not screaming divalicious shades, they don't wash you out, and they go with absolutely everything! 
I usually go for Mehr when I have a full day of meetings because it makes for a more polished and professional look, or when I have a ton of work and cannot be bothered with touch ups. Cosmo is my pick for days when I'll just be sitting around the office buried under piles of files.

The boyfriend and I were excited to try out the new pop-up store in Hole in the Wall called Fire in the Hall by Wrong Ramen. We heard they have some really spicy stuff so of course we had to check them out. 

Fire in the Hall serves three (3) noodle soups which can be served in mild, spicy or flaming hotness level: Hot Prawn and Fish Head Laksa, Thai Red Curry with Braised Pork Rib and Korean Army Soup. I was able to try the Hot Prawn and Fish Head Laksa and Thai Red Curry both in flaming hotness level.

Hot Prawn and Fish Head Laksa (PhP390.00) | Hotness Level: Flaming
 I LOVED this! Although I found this lacking in spiciness, everything about this bowl was great!  There was a generous serving of all things I love in my soup-- cilantro, leeks, and chillies-- in rich laksa broth. There were also shrimps, fishcake, clams, sprouts and an entire fish head staring up at me.
Other than creepy fish head, I enjoyed every bit and drop of this hearty noodle soup which I paired with Procrastination Pale Ale by Pedro Brew Crafters.

Thai Red Curry with Braised Pork Rib (PhP390.00) | Hotness Level: Flaming
The Thai Red Curry shared the same tonkotsu base, and was served with the same nice bouncy hakata noodles and generous heap of leeks, chilies, sprouts. This one, though, was served with okra, tofu and had a slightly minty taste.  
While we liked that this was loads spicier, I prefer the Fish Head Laksa. The pork in the Thai Curry was tender but fatty in a way that turned me off so I couldn't finish my bowl even if I came to HITW starving. 

Fire in the Hall will only be at HITW until December 2015. I'm not sure if they will be replaced by another pop-up store in 2016, or if a more permanent joint will be taking over. I am really hoping that there will be a series of pop-up stores at HITW. That will be really exciting. It'll be refreshing to have new food items there every so often. 
Wagyu Japanese Beef is a hole-in-the-wall tucked in the back portion of Sunvar Building along Amorsolo. This joint is hidden from the road, so don't expect to be able to spot it while you're driving.

First things first. Call ahead and make reservations. This place is tiny and can only seat about 12 people on the first floor. For dinner reservations, they can accommodate diners in 2 batches: 6-8pm and 8-10pm.

Our table for two was tiny! To not crowd our table too much, we decided to order one item at a time starting with this beautiful melt-in-your mouth Wagyu Sashimi (Omi) (PhP990.00).
It was so smooth and so crazy good! Hands down my favorite for the night. Eating the meat this way lets you really taste the delicate and mildly sweet flavor of the meat.
Wagyu Sashimi (Omi) | PhP990.00
Next we had the Steamed Tenderloin (Kago) (PhP1,375.00) which was served with some steamed vegetables. I also enjoyed this extremely. Every single bite was flavorful and fatty, but not too rich to the point of being too overwhelming.
Steamed Tenderloin (Kago) | PhP1,375.00
Next we tried the Stone Grilled Ribeye (Kago) (PhP1,595.00)
 and the Stone Grilled Karubi (Standard) (PhP777.00). We got two orders of stone grilled meat because E loved it so much. Personally though, I prefer the steamed wagyu.

Whenever I get to choose the doneness of my meat, I'll always have it medium rare. In this case, I think it was a mistake to do that. I should have let the meat cook a wee bit longer on the stone grill considering that these were bigger hunks of meat, hence, bigger slabs of fat. 
When we were on our second stone grilled dish, it began to taste too much and too fatty for me haha.
Stone Grilled Ribeye (PhP1,595.00) and Karubi (PhP777.00)
And of course we had to have sake! We had a bottle of draft Sake Hakutsuru (PhP450.00) and another of Open Bottle (PhP550.00)

Oh and we also ordered Crushed Okra with Konbu (PhP154.00) and Green Salad (PhP374.00) as our anti-umay precaution. E loved the Crushed Okra and easily finished two orders. On my part, I treated the veggies as what they truly are-- side shows to main event that is the glorious wagyu.