Tag Archives: Katipunan

Seeing the Flight: Wingman UPTC #ThursdayQuizNight

Wingman quiz blogger review uptc

Chicken Wings have soared amongst its finger food brethren that it has become a commodity in the appetizer universe.

Wings with beer, bar delights, or simply finger licking forget-my-date moments are the best way to enjoy those bony numbers.

The only thing that can top this wing bling moment is to enjoy these Chicken Wings in countless various flavours. On second thought, I can top that even more… flavoured wings with spud-delights and Thursday Quiz Night!

What better way to savour those wings while chaneling your inner Google!

Wingman trivia night uptc

Wingman at U.P. Town Center recently launched its Quiz Night, initially unveiling it big time with the Bloggers Quiz Night. Four competing teams became even more competitive as the event was speckled with spuds and wings, and the occasional beer for round winners.

Trivia quiz night qc

Our team, the Kool Kids, with the intentional K, tried to the best of our capacity, life experiences, pop culture knowledge and residual caffeine to answer the trivia questions.

It was a combination of teamwork, effective brainstorming (for some people I just met for the first time) and dexterous handling of the chicken wings (all served with carrot sticks and ranch dip).

Qc quiz night wingman

This was my first time to join Quiz Night, so it was a mixture of panic, mental block and hunger—all happening at the same time. However the Kool Kids were just as cool, so the overall experience was interactive and enjoyable.

I felt quite old though, having guessed ChumbaWumba in a second—while the rest of the team was hmmmm-kay. #90sKid

Wingman_wingman appetizer

The appetizer sampler was a vast collection of sides: onion rings, shoe string fries, potato wedges, and curly twists. The pretty assortment just makes you want to shove everything in your mouth at one point—and drown them all down with beer!

Wingman trivia night up town

Flavoured chicken wings qc

Chicken wings qc up town center

For the chicken wings, Team Kool Kids tried Classic Buffalo (medium), Garlic Parmesan, Mango Barbecue, Jamaican Jerk, and Ragin’ Cajun. Not much into the “sweet” wings, the Classic Buffalo, Garlic Parmesan and Jamaican Jerk made the top choices, while on my next visit, I do hope to try out the Moroccan Chermoula. Sounds intriguing, right?

The wings are bathed in their sinister sauce, and strangely all go well with the ranch dip—especially the spicy ones.

The Kool Kids did not win; we were somewhere in between, so we had no shots or beer rewards. We did get to have awesome fun though, and dessert—so that was a sweet bonus!

Wingman dessert

For dessert, we were graced with the Black Pepper Brownie topped with vanilla ice cream. It’s the type of dessert that you forget the name, then after the first bite, as you fan your mouth in bewilderment, you realize, oh yeah, it’s the black pepper! You can call it the McCormick lava cake, but inside it’s dry and peppery—so eat as much ice cream as you can!

Wingman trivia night

Overall, it was a fun Thursday night experience which deserves to be christened #ThursdayQuizNight.

Try it out if you’re near the area, and get the chance to win shots, or if you’re on the losing end, at least learn some cool trivia on Justin Timberlake.


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Don’t Walk.. Skip to Mama Lou’s Kitchen!

UP town center restaurantUs Northern folks have been dying to try Mama Lou’s Kitchen for ages and are glad that a branch has finally travelled all the way to U.P. Town Center!

Literally went UP! We have been waiting for you, Mama Lou’s. Skipping music please.

Situated in the same complex as Merkado (the supermarket), Mama Lou’s is quite easy to spot, since it houses (and invites) the most patrons.

What’s not easy to traverse though is the Katipunan traffic, but that’s an entirely different sob story to be reserved for a churros party!
mama lou's italian restaurant

Mama Lou’s Kitchen has the homey Italian vibe, complete with brick walls and  complimentary bread for the hangry. That’s right, if you’re hangry and on a first date, best to calm down and have a bruschetta.lazy black cat blogThe photo stating “Stay dreamy, stay creamy” is no joke. I got it from Mama Lou’s and succeeding dishes will testify to this undying creaminess of a feast. jenina gonzales blog

Starting off with the Oriental Salad, you will realize that this is the “diet” food in the bunch. I speak of diet but it does have a smorgasbord of Asian fusion toppings: kani, apple slices and soy  sesame dressing reminiscent of Kewpie.
mama lou italian restaurant

Bacon Poutine in an Italian restaurant may be a bit left-out but this was received ample Ahhhs probably because it was topped with mozzarella cheese and bacon .

Something you’d want to take along in a movie and eat alone… with all that cheese!

j.anne gonzales blog When the Escargots came, I nearly fell off my seat in excitement!

How sophisticated and they came in their special scooping container–and every bite was filled with a buttery cheesy concoction!

Food coma in the making, and I didn’t even reach out for the equally buttery bread.

pasta where to eat quezon city The Truffle Mac and Cheese is my favorite from our evening roster, since cheesy truffle cream sauce is just something that makes you forget calories and just chew some more.

Seriously that awesome, I could eat it alone and forego dessert. Or maybe eat both!

italian restaurant manila qc

The Spaghetti Seafood Olio is brimming with shellfish and other seafood, so it is just right to serve it oil-based. Buttery oil-based best topped with parmesan still.
italian food katipunan

The “meaty” dishes were just as resplendent and succulent.

where to eat quezon city italian

The Marbled Rib Eye Steak was gone in a matter of seconds, whilst the Chicken Fra Diavalo‘s herbed chicken concoction gives off that irresistible roasted flavour that goes well with the mashed potato.

mama lou's las pinas bf homes Another heavy and creamy dish was the Risotto Tartufo Funghi. Delectable and cheesy, but make sure you bring a giant appetite if you wish to challenge this rice dish!

Pizza is, of course, an inevitable order and with Mama Lou’s roll-it-up-with-alfalfa-and-arugula, the more fun it is to eat!

pizza pasta quezon city

Bianca Pizza, as the name suggests, is the cream-based white pizza made for bacon and mushroom lovers.

where to eat pizza manila Mama Lou’s Pizza has prosciutto, arugula, mango slices and balsamic cream, so that’s like attacking a myriad of flavours in each satisfying bite. On the side, it looks amazing!

Despite an already heavy dinner, there is always room for more cream… yes, dessert!
dessert cheesecake UP town center

The Blueberry Cheesecake was pitted against the Chocolate Cake but the vote seems divided.

where to eat up town center The Chocolate Cake is not killer sweet, as it is tempered by the layers of cream. However the Blueberry Cheesecake retaliates by offering smooth creamy cheesecake for its gooey blueberry topping.

Best to just eat them in alternate bites. Everybody happy!

restaurant up town center Capping off the meal was the Mango Crepe with hints of hazelnut and topped with ice cream.

Don’t forget to order tea, since Mama Lou’s has an extensive offering–so I had peppermint tea!

Now if this meal still does not make us dream of creamy cheesy splendor, I don’t know what will!

Mama Lou’s Kitchen certainly warrants future visits, whether we’re craving for yummy Italian fares or just in plain need of a happy-creamy-gooey meal.

Stay creamy, stay dreamy!

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Into Tahir’s Kitchen

persian restaurant katipunan

Tahir’s Kitchen along Katipunan is painted in blue and white, and could easily be mistaken as a spawn of Vanilla Cupcakes and a shisha. The near-UV blue light is not too picture-friendly and let me warn you that the first batch of photos seemed to have been taken using blue filter. Had to severely edit the photos just to get them back to their realistic state of color.

For a Persian restaurant that ought to be filled with orange-y hues and hints of spice, the blue lights paved the way for what seemed to be an icy meal.

Pardon the metaphor but when Tahir’s is opposite Hassan and Darya – you may end up on the other side of the road, so to speak.

On to the food. Guessing that this was some kind of soft opening, we pardoned the kind waiter for very disappointing words such as, “No falafels today, ” and “We don’t have lava cake yet, ma’am.” Oh Tahir, if you knew I had a weakness for falafel and lava cake – both of which were not available.

On to what were available.

quezon city mediterranean

The Appetizer sampler (Hummus, Green and Black Olives Tapenade, Tzatziki, Tabbouleh (?) + Pita) showcased the dips which is good for the indecisive, but a downfall to learn that not all dips are created equally delightful. Case in point, we gravitated towards the olives tapenade (sooo awesome) and hummus, and left the rest to bathe in the blue light of doom.

meditettanean food quezon city

As much as I love salad, we can always do away with the Mediterranean Salad which is the appetizer sampler in salad form. There was not much novelty as to the taste and the lettuce was not that crisp and lively, so pass.

katipunan restaurant

The Chicken Tandoori was all right. Grilled and tasty but with the same tzatziki and pita bread, you end up wondering why they stock up only one kind of bread. Under the blue light it was getting a bit boring. Good thing the tandoori was a zesty welcome compared to the boring salad.

Tahir's Kitchen kebab fish

The Fish Kebab was presented in the same way as the tandoori, but crumbled once hit by the fork. The saltiness was not addressed by the same set of sauces and pita bread, so it ended up being a seafood mush. Compared to the chicken tandoori, this was not too fun to eat because it slithered on my plate.

And the sauces, say it with me… Again!?!

persian food review

Since the lava cake was not available, we had to settle with the Kulfi Ice Cream which thankfully was a refreshingly novel dessert–one unfazed by the blue hue. Made of homemade yogurt and drizzled with chocolate syrup, it was a redeeming dish and noteworthy in its pure and simple presentation.

However I am a creature of novelty and spicy kicks, and with Tahir’s tamed flavors and atmosphere, this bring down Persian food down to a bland notch.

It may sit well with some folks, but I’d be off to more, say, saucy and zest-filled adventures!

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Take a Lucca

UP Town Center Bread Pastry Dessert

My name is Lucca, and I live on the first floor of the U.P. Town Center – the busiest part of Quezon City.

Lucca is this newly sprouted bread-pastry place; call it a bakery or local pastry shop. Name it your sweet hang-out or whatnot, just don’t sing about Luka because she lives on the 2nd floor!

Since this name-calling business can be stressing, I will just let Lucca be Lucca. You can liken it to Bread Talk-meets-Slice-meets-French Baker. Go figure.

pizza food sweets lucca

Even if it serves all sorts of pastries, cookies, and cakes, Lucca is not just that dessert place. I believe there are other unsweet items in the menu, but those fail to register in my interest radar at the moment. I hear the pizza is so-so, so you can skip that.

cheesecake quezon city katipunan sweets

The cookies and brownies though (they have Oreo brownies–cool), for their price range, are reasonably worth it. Hefty enough for a meal and pretty enough as gifts, Lucca can be my new Mercato, if you know what I mean.

Up Town Center food restaurant

They have cakes too, and I bravely had a slice of the 5 Layer Chocolate Cake to-go. Being new, they packed up my slice in that plastic microwaveable container that makes me look like those moms who bring home left overs from friends’ parties.

And it sucks to look like the hoarding kind, so I ate my to-go slice outside of Lucca, as curious passers by stared at my ugly plastic box, probably wondering which home I stole that from. Cake thief!

Lucca 5 layer chocolate cake lazy black cat

The 5 layers of chocolate are all the SAME ganache-like creamy chocolate that was on the safe yet delectable side. It was crusted with what I first thought was Oreo bits, but turned out to be more like crisp cake crumbs. Still, the cake was moist and veered from the too-sweet-teeth-chattering episode, so buying a whole cake is something I may do when I get stressed, depressed or just plain bored.

Lucca does serve cheesecake, cupcakes and other cakes worth trying.

Cheap and lovely to look at, even if you drop them, you can very well afford them anyway! 

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ROKU and Roll (Katipunan)

QC ramen manila

While ramen houses are abound and everywhere, it is of life threatening importance to maintain a set of standards when slurping on these heavenly slivers of ramen noodles. Amen.

Never believe in promises like “home-made”, freshly made, delicious, authentic. Should you fall for the verbal trap, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Just because a bowl costs more than P300 does not equate to a premium item; oftentimes price is proportional to rent.

japanese lazy black cat blog

Over boasting and trying too hard to seem Japanese-kawaii can be a double edged samurai. When your ramen comes without the zing, pang and kick, it’s hara-kiri for that ramen house.

And so we sentence hara-kiri for Roku (Katipunan). Overpriced, overkill yet simply mediocre, it was an expensive meal for trying to be authentic.

ramen blog philippines japanese

In the lazy mood to write, the experience is best expressed as:

The ramen was bland, forgettable and abnormally bare. The tuna salad was speckled with carbs and onions—the word salad was nowhere to be enjoyed. The sushi rolls were zzzz. And the yakitori, I watched, as my cousin swallowed in disdain.

The ramen, in particular, was a disaster as the chicken karaage provided no pleasure whatsoever and the absence of other potential embellishments made this a last resort meal along the strip of Katipunan.

Japanese food katipunan

And so Roku may mean six but did absolutely nothing for my ramen fix. I can’t believe I’m saying this but: Better off with Ramen X!

Oh and if you think Serenitea, post ramen, will address your woes, think again. I simply ended up with a very bad stomach.


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Cheesecake Challenge 2: Sweet Inspirations

Sweet Inspirations makes cheesecake so cheap, my previous P100 Cheesecake Challenge @ Parvati has been put to shame. At P71 per slice for the New York Cheesecake and P81 for the Blueberry Cheesecake, why there’s enough change to even get myself a drink (or give out as alms to the Bieber-haired beggars outside)!

Amazing what economical treats this Katipunan joint harbors amidst serving the Blue Eagle market.

Sweet Inspirations also serves cakes (memorable are Cookies and Cream, Strawberry Shortcake, Tiramisu, Chocolate Cake), silvanas and sans rival that fall below the cheesecake price range. The Cookies and Cream, in particular, fetches P53 per slice—what a steal!

I’ve been raving like a diner girl, proud of this frugal find, but that’s not enough to bring home a box. Time to start sampling the goods.

New York Cheesecake

The New York Cheesecake was served crumbly and dry, as if hard cheese was used to create that cheesy center, to our disappointment. The top layer glistened with what seemed to be a thin slab of caramel, while its crust composition had this araro-like texture that’s best described as, well, araro. Since the crust was white, thin and powdery, best to leave it as is. A cup of joe might complement and bring more life to this parched slice, as well as water down the dehydrated quality.

Blueberry Cheesecake

Adding P10 more provided the luxury of the purple topping, better known as the Blueberry Cheesecake. Topped with blueberry and whipped cream, and sitting on top of the traditional graham crust, this cheesecake was beginning to taste more like home. The cheesecake itself wasn’t as crumbly as its New York counterpart, and was gifted with moist and comfort food goodness. While it wasn’t the kind that would make one scream “Hands down, best cheesecake ever!” it was still a good value (and taste) for its price. The cheesecake wasn’t watered down or overly creamy, making it a bargain cheesecake for those with a diner girl’s budget.

Just beware of the golden edge—it’s not toasted cheesecake. It’s cake! Brace yourself for what I found weird.

Other than that, everything else was just frugal, frazzled, with cherry on top. If that didn’t make sense, you might as well pay a visit to Sweet Inspirations. Not on a school day, unless you prefer the Katipunan traffic challenge.






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Sweet Inspirations and the Mongol Empire

It was the Mongol Empire that welcomed us to their little hideout called Sweet Inspirations, along Katipunan. We came in peace, just for another round of their Mongolian Buffet, but eventually learned the art of warfare involving chopsticks and ceramic bowls in our quest to eat.

In an attempt at my preserving life, it was hard to stay put so I apologize if most photos appear fuzzy and war stricken.

You and whose army?

While force was not deemed necessary, tactics and formation were – particularly in the queueing system, as we learned the hard way. The Mongol Empire is quite adept at this department, rushing in when the buffet lines were empty and clawing all the noodles and cabbage at the point of refill.

Food Fight

If Gengis Khan were around, he’d probably be enjoying this food frenzy and hollering, “Welcome to Saturday Fight Night at Sweet Inspirations! Fight!” More of Saturday Night Fever.

No need to fight over food or bowls though, as waiters rushed, served, refilled food, drinks and emptied tables as if they were high on Red Bull. Don’t bother ordering for an energy drink because only softdrinks and iced tea are on the menu.

Lined with vegetables, noodles, rice, viands and sauce choices, the buffet provides a gratifying assortment to the hungry and cooking-deficient. Choose between sotanghon and rice, then top them with chinese cabbage, tofu, carrots, bean sprouts,  peppers, leeks, onions, tomatoes, sesame seeds, garlic, ginger, among others. There’s chili (sili) for those wanting to spice up their bowls (hopefully not your heads) and peanuts for those who want to enjoy every bite with a crunch (though my dentist would hate that).

All About Chemistry

Next came the tricky part, especially if you hated chemistry: sauce making! The instructional recipes were posted, too hard to miss, but involved lots of numbers and fractions which could be detrimental to the math averse. For the impatient and lazy (me and maybe half of the Mongol Empire), the recipes were ignored. Well, I read part of it then stopped when I saw “1 scoop brown sugar”. No thank you.

I made my own mix: Teriyaki Soy. 

Not to be ignored, the meat section was another sprawling niche – with beef, pork, chicken, fish balls, squid and fish. Last time we dined there, there was no fish (fillet), so bells were ringing when I saw the fish from afar. Maybe because it’s Lent, and fish was a major request by the Mongol Empire.

My bowl was complete, and while the waiting time was long, stories were abound and thoughts on dessert swam in my head.

Pescatorian's Catch in Teriyaki Soy

Finally my bowl came, I named it: Pescatorian’s Catch  (mainly noodles, cabbage, tofu, onions, fish, sesame seeds, garlic, chili). I had the right to name it; I made everything from scratch. From a heaping pile, it was reduced to a steaming three-quarters of a bowl. That’s how much cabbage I placed!

My cousin looked at my Pescatorian’s Catch as if it was a bowl from Hades, and I likewise stared at her bowl in disdain: Bowl of all Trades. Well, she did dump everything on it.

Prepare for battle!

In front of me was the Beefy Boo-yah, since I spied this kid’s bowl brimming with beef, beef and only beef. Beside me was Blue Eagle Risotto – ah yes, aka growing up-I-need-rice boy. I could go on forever but then again, my “empire” occupied four tables so this might take all day.

All in all, I downed bowls and enjoyed this mighty meal. It was a triumphant battle, with no leftovers that pleased the Red Bull men. In case we are called back for duty, we have learned to be at the battle site as early as 6pm. The Mongol Empire would be so proud of us.

As for dessert, that’s another battle to contend with – in another post. The Pescatorian’s Catch got me all hungry, so I have to rush to the Battle of the Fridge first.


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Moshi Moshi or Sayonara?

It wasn’t the catchy restaurant name that got us barging in Moshi Moshi at Regis Center, Katipunan. Neither was it the green and white interior that dared to scream animo verde in Blue Eagle territory. It was gluttony, really—the Japanese Kitkats that decorated the walls sucked us like a magnet, as we hoped would be freely given out as we made our googly-eyed, kawaii entry.

However there were no Kitkats or even mochi to spare, only J-pop that was more sappy Saizen than bouncy One Piece. With that chirpy reception, it was difficult to detect what the actual humans bellowed in welcome, whether it was a Moshi Moshi, banzai or even Baka! (“stupid”).

With this line-up-and-order method, it was midway between fastfood and fine dining or simply put, the BonChon Chicken style of speeding things up. BonChon Chicken, coincidentally, happens to be the neighboring stall, so this must be a Regis Center Oriental-mad-dash-express-eating trend.

I did learn one lesson: Never flip the placemat, expecting more food, or suffer, stare at and endure the Moshi Moshi mascot’s evil grin.

Moshi Moshi has a limited menu assortment and sadly, does not offer my Japanese cuisine staples: tofu and noodles. It was a purely rice-and-viand feast, a splendor to the rice eaters but devastation to those upholding I-want-something-else-but-rice. Do not expect maki or sashimi to make a cameo either because this place is fast food, express meals for the third world diners, devoid of gourmet, sake and Kitkat.

In an effort to maintain harmonious relations with our manga mates, I forbade my brother from sneaking in food from nearby Bonchon, despite the nagging temptation of cluck-cluck chicken. It was Moshi Moshi all the way, grease streak and carbo fest, and meals finished in a couple of minutes.


The Takoyaki was cheap, perfectly seasoned and topped with gigantic bonito flakes. I spied bits of tako (octopus) that were not consistently spread among the 6 plump balls. This led me to think that my octopus meal was born with only 3 legs. Poor thing. The batter was too soft and rather undercooked, that if takoyaki would come in sashimi form, this is how it would taste and look like. Since I’ve developed this strange fondness for the three-legged octopus and its offspring, I choose to promote its longevity and abstain from octopus dishes from now on. Tentacle swear.


The Okonomiyaki was thoroughly baked and more nourished with greens, which at least made me feel like I was finally ingesting something aside from dough. Still, the same set of seasoning made it feel like eating takoyaki again, except that this require more chewing power. Interestingly, the okonomiyaki was the most expensive item in our receipt and so the hopes on this one were sky high. If there’s such thing as typical okonomiyaki, then this marks the tiny spot. However if I were to pursue the real okonomiyaki, then we’d have to drive far South (ahem, ahem Pasay Road) for that.

Chicken Karaage

I expected the Chicken Karaage to be plump, breaded and filled with soy goodness. What we got were flouredchicken chops leaving grease stains on bond paper. The mini mayo siding served more as an ornament than an actual sauce, leaving a dry and papery after taste which water alone cannot save. It was the excess Takoyaki sauce that saved the day, now if only it was available in thermoses as well.

Tendon Bowl

The rice bowls are available in regular and level up, which is of no consequence or appeal to me since the thought of “more rice” can only bring horror and muffin tops. The Tendon Bowls purchased by my closest kin did seem to do the job of filling them up, but as for gastronomic satisfaction, the fact that my Ossan kept on mentioning “un-fresh oil” can only mean the negative. However Onichan did take his time finishing his bowl, giving rise to the conclusion that oldies may have a thing for grease, but the Blue Eagles will always have a hungry welcome for Moshi Moshi.

As for me, it’s more of “Ja ne, Moshi Moshi!” After all, with so many interesting restaurants sprouting along Katipunan, there are so many others that this Maroon-blooded, green archer can choose from the blue highway. Do I hear cluck-cluck or something sweet and inspiring?


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Saint’s Alp Teahouse

If you’re going to make saintly references to teahouses, you might as well serve drinks that are so heavenly, people would squeal, “Holy cow, I love it!” in delight. Saint’s Alp Teahouse at 2F Regis Center, Katipunan didn’t get us close to squealing, isn’t situated on a snowy hilltop or is even close to one and is far from heavenly as far as taste goes. We might as well call it Mortal’s Alp, though this particular mortal will think twice before coming back.

So to answer a potential question: No, I don’t suppose Saints congregate and have tea at this place. I surely didn’t see one when I went there. They’re afraid that if they do linger, they’d choke on the tapioca pearls and become mortals again.

(L) Green Tea with Milk and (R) Oreo Milk Tea

The Green Tea with Milk (Regular P105) came with tapioca pearls voluminous enough to clog my esophagus. The milk tea’s sweetness was on the median side, but tasted more like jasmine. I sprinkled a bit of Matcha powder on top, with the hope of bringing out more green tea flavor, but it turned to jelly the moment it hit the liquid. I ended up having messy green residue that wouldn’t stick to the straw and tapioca pearls that I wished the Saints had never invented. The Oreo (Black) Milk Tea (Regular P115) obviously tasted like oreo, barely the tea. The pearls have a way of hogging the spotlight from the oreo bits, which is a really a nuisance especially for the oreo lover. And I admit, the place doesn’t offer pudding, the only add-on I recognize, so my bias is sure to reach the heavens.

Saint’s Alp veers away from the common milk tea trend by 1) Offering unusual add-ons such as agar and wheat germ, but not my favorite pudding, 2) Having no customizable sugar/ice settings, 3) Serving drinks in real glasses (making me Mother Earth’s killer having opted for a plastic cup), and 4) Displaying an extensive selection that includes breakfast, salad, toast, rice, milkshakes in its vast menu with font not-made-to-be-read by the near-sighted.

On a Saturday afternoon, the place was half full with a reasonable turnover of wi-fi seeking and chatty youngsters, who seemed to love their pearls as much as their highlights and gadgets. Good for them. With other milk tea places closer to home and at the malls – cheaper and provide a more delightful experience – I don’t suppose I’ll be climbing this Alp again soon. Unless you call it something more relatable and appropriate, like Mortal’s Mountain or Cat’s Alp.

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