Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Humble List of Ways to Cut Down on Waste

The cardboard sleeves still obviously looks recycled but we'll work on that, we'll work on that. :)

* We've been listing down ways on how we can cut down on our solid waste. So far we have come up with the following:

- Recycling old cardboard boxes and turn them into coffee bag sleeves and coffee cup sleeves (I got this idea from Joy Ann Chua of Coffee Academy. Checkout her blog:

- Recycling milk cartons and fashion them into eco-bags (I still have no idea how to do this but I have a bunch of cartons already)

- Recycling used order slips and turn them into new paper. I have a bucketful of paper pulp right now that looks like poop and three trays of recycled paper drying in the sun). We cut the paper with a pair of scissors since we don't have a paper shredder and then I used an old blender to turn the strips of paper into pulp.

- Eco bags! Refuse to use plastic bags in supermarkets! I learned that from Ms. Earth 2012, Cathy Untalan. I know that plastics are no longer allowed here in Los Banos but supermarkets still keep a stash under the counters for wet goods like chicken or fish. That's why I bring a bayong for that. 

- I bring home all the vegetable and fruit scraps at the cafe. I put it in my compost bin and my compost pit because I have a backyard organic garden in my apartment ( When the organic agriculture industry booms, I hope all cafes and restaurants would adopt a garden or farm and supply it with organic inputs.

- Bottles and cans go straight to the junk shop. Give our garbage collectors a break and simplify their work by segregating beforehand. I know that our garbage collection schedules are messed up and are not practical or realistic so let's do our part to reduce what goes into the landfills.

Reading the book "An A-Z Guide for a Green Pinoy" by Annie Pascual-Guerrero really inspired me to be conscious of the amount of waste that goes into our trashcans. Thanks to Raoul de Peralta of Coffee Academy for giving me a copy!

What's Up, MARCH?!?!?!

March 7 - 9: International Women's Day Fair @ IRRI. 
* COFFEE UNPLUGGED, our touring manual coffee brewing station, will be showcasing their newest coffee blend roasted by our friends from 18 Days Coffee Roaster, the GABRIELA BLEND--smooth, gentle, and comforting and yet strong at the same time! Just like the Filipina heroine, Gabriela Silang, who was the inspiration for this blend. The blend is made from 4 locally-grown coffee species, Robusta, Excelsa, Arabica, and Liberica. The Gabriela Blend was the coffee used by our barista, Elmer, last February 1 in the Philippine National Barista Championship at SM Megamall. Coffee Unplugged will also be selling and displaying HANDMADE QUILTS by a women's livelihood group from Rizal, Laguna.

New Chef's Specials and Lenten Season Menu 
* We're very happy that our Rib Eye Steak in Garlic Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce and Pan Seared Salmon in Spinach specials were a big hit this month of February. Say goodbye to those dishes and welcome two new dishes this March. We will release the official Lenten Season menu next week. Product photo shoot is tomorrow! Woohoo, free food! 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Stay Fit and Eat Right!

Everybody has done this before: workout at the gym like hell and then eat at a fastfood like there's no tomorrow. What options do we have anyway? Good health is not just about exercising and breaking a sweat. At the same time, good health is not just about eating right. Good health is a lifestyle, not a diet or a weight-loss program. Our lifestyle revolves around the numerous establishments that surround us. These establishments are our options, and these establishments consequently determine our lifestyle. Take for example, a student. A student goes out of the apartment to go to school and then goes to a fastfood restaurant to get temporary nourishment. And because lunch time is short and schoolwork sucks the life out of a person, it is logical to go to an establishment that serves quick, cheap, and filling meals. This practice goes on for 5 to 6 days a week. That's how establishments, especially the food business, determine our lifestyles.

Red Gloves Boxing Gym in cooperation with Cafe Antonio have come up with a way to support anyone who is struggling to stay healthy and fit and yet is limited by their options. This is not THE solution but it is a step towards a very good one. We prepared special meals and drinks that comes with a FREE boxing session coupon at Red Gloves Boxing Gym. It's a way of rewarding our customers for choosing to eat right and it is also a way of encouraging them to exercise and stay fit, for free! Hopefully, we would be able to encourage other local food establishments to partner with us in this endeavor to help promote healthy and practical lifestyle choices to everyone in Elbi. 

Meals with Free Boxing Session Coupon:
Rib Eye Steak in Garlic Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce (Php 305)
Pan Seared Salmon with Spinach (Php 320)

Drinks with Free Boxing Session Coupon:
Mango Basil Smoothie (Php 99)
Banana Mint Green Smoothie (Php 99)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine's Week Menu

* Have a laid back and yet romantic Valentines' Day celebration at Cafe Antonio with our healthy food alternatives! An acoustic band will provide some soothing background music on the 14th. Make sure that you reserve a  table on that day. Our regular menu is also available all throughout the week. Please contact 0906-4550522 for your reservations and/or advance orders, and preferred seating. Special requests are welcome! :) 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Elmer's Coffee Journey in Photos

* WHEW, AT LAST! After a month of intense training for the recently concluded Philippine National Barista Championship (Cafe Antonio would like to congratulate Kevin Fortu of Craft Coffee Workshop for winning!), Elmer and I were just too happy to have experienced it all. All the hard work paid off and I was very happy to see Elmer being up there on stage and facing his fears head on. You see, Elmer couldn't even stand being in front of our guests and taking orders before we started training. So when January came, we switched duties at the shop. He was the cashier, waiter, and lead barista while I was inside the kitchen doing what every barista hates to do: making milkshakes and ice-blended beverages. The competition definitely transformed him into a better barista and a model employee. He was also glad to have met several new friends during the competition. Here's a photo blog of his training sessions, field trips, and amaaaazing experiences:

This was one of our intense 1-hour speech practices. That's me showing Elmer how to speak confidently in front of a video camera. Every other day, a team of speech coaches (Ate Joyce, Jason, Jorge, Mon, and Ate Marisse)  would teach Elmer about syllabication, listening to the beat of his playlist, hand gestures, pronunciation, and eye contact for an hour. After that, Elmer would go to the kitchen and practice his spiels (which we co-wrote together with the speech coaches) with the kitchen staff.  
In the evening, before we close, Elmer practices his lines in front of our staff, OJTs, and friends while familiarizing himself with the judges' table and the bar. Sometimes he would only practice workflow and speech and sometimes he would only practice making drinks.
Elena Tence and her brother Vince of 18 Days Coffee Roaster helped Elmer develop his espresso blend for the competition. We spent a day blending the 4 species of coffee that we used and then we conceptualized the theme of the signature beverage. Prior to this meeting, I did my homework and researched on the components of the drink.
Since 2010, Cafe Antonio baristas have developed a training regimen called "shadowboxing." This timed routine practices muscle memory and fluid movement from making espressos to cappuccinos. It's also a good way to practice at home together with your playlist pumping in your headset. 
Elmer practices explaining his signature beverage in front of the OJTs. Every prop on the table should have a specific function and should be used to visually enhance the performance. 
Elmer goes to Gourmet Farms together with Elena, Vince, and our friend Edu so that he would see how coffee is being roasted.

Then Elena brought Elmer to roaster, Michael Asuncion's coffee farm also in Cavite.
After seeing the coffee trees and meeting the farmers, the group went to Michael's Silka Coffee roastery.
Elmer did some pourover coffee with a Chemex brewer for the group to enjoy. Too bad I wasn't there! :(
On the week of the competition, Elmer had one last dress rehearsal together with some friends and family, complete with mock judges, emcee, timer, runner, and the whole she-bang! It was the first time Elmer actually felt nervous!
Introducing, contestant number one from Cafe Antonio, ELMER UMALI! Good job bro, you did very well and we are very proud of you. The start of your sophomere year as a barista couldn't be much better! To God be the glory!
Special thanks to all the people who made this possible:
Joyce Flores-Fellizar - speech coach (diction)
Rick Jason Obrero - speech coach/mock sensory judge
Jorge Milano - speech coach/mock emcee
Mon Garcia - speech coach/mock runner
Ralph Palacpac - spectator/photographer
Grace Flores-Osio - spectator/critic
Herbert Osio Jr. - mock sensory judge
Edu Foronda - mock sensory judge/driver
Marisse Bonita - mock sensory judge/speech coach
Elena Tence and Vince - roasters/tour guides
Michael Asuncion and Silka Coffee - green coffee beans
Gourmet Farms - green coffee beans
CAnton Kitchen Staff (Mabel, Maricel, Cathy) - spectators 
CAnton OJTs from UPHR-Calamba (Jayna - photographer, Jana, Nikka, Aimee, Alayssa, Aerol, Aljohn, and MJ)
Philip Flores, Nick Umali, Inigo Diaz - drivers/transportation
Alec Inciong, Noel Casubha, Rikki Mendiola - spectators
and to all our customers who prayed for Elmer

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Rib Eye Steak with Cilantro Garlic Chimichurri Sauce

Cafe Antonio food just keeps getting better! This month try our Rib Eye Steak with Cilantro Garlic Chimichurri Sauce served with herbed rice and vegetables (Php 305). Also try our fresh Banana Mint Green Smoothie (Php 99) or our newest local coffee blend, the Gabriela Blend, made from 4 locally grown coffee species (Php 300 per bag). More exciting things to come this month!