Café by the Ruins (Bittersweet Hellos)

I’m sure you do have a favorite restaurant in every place you’ve been to. My favorite in Baguio is Café by the Ruins. It is low-key, yet fabulous. I think the charm comes from the word Baguio itself. The city, famous for its bountiful harvest of rice, fruits, vegetables and blooms, established by the American more than a century ago, used to be the site of an Ibaloi vllage. Ruined in World War II, Café by the Ruins is the former home of Phelps Whitmarsh, the first governor of Baguio City and his Ibaloi wife. The remaining bougainvilleas planted by Mrs. Whitmarsh still adorn the cafe’s entrance.

Cafe by the Ruins aka ruins cafeThe café’s menu bespeaks Baguio’s evolving culture… woven like a colorful Ibaloi fabric, the Cordilleras’ best produce, as well as those of other regions, cooked in distinct contemporary style. Not only vegans and vegetarians love its kitchen; there’s something for everyone.

Without fail, the husband always gets Lola Pilar’s ground beef and pimientos stuffed in buttered pan de sal. Lola Pilar is Pilar Hidalgo Lim, an active supporter for women’s suffrage, co-founder of the Girls Scouts of the Philippines and former president of the Centro Escolar University. Café by the Ruins, which used to be her summer house, was put up by her descendants, the Mapua-Lims, in the 90s.

Celebrating like we were in a cañao, we got more than enough, and yet not enough to make up for the long years we had not eaten at the café.

Cafe by the Ruins Lola Pilar's sandwichCafe by the Ruins' BreadsKamote Bread with Kesong Puti (White Cheese) and Basil

We had kesong puti (white cheese made from carabao’s milk) with creamy kamote (sweet potato) bread and fresh basil leaves — a perky blend of contrasting flavors and textures.

My home-style spinach fettuccine with 2-sauce (tomato and pili nut pesto) was utterly lovely. My only complaint: the serving is rather small:)

Spinach Pasta with 2-SaucePasta Carbonara

Carbonara for Alexa. The chunks of bacon put her into a flurry:)

A soup lover, hubby endlessly raves about the duck soup with noodles. I had a sip… omg!

Cafe by the Ruins Duck Soup with NoodlesArtworks by the ruins

A supporter of the local arts, the cafe is an artwork by itself.

Gentle Dragon

I could not decide which one to have last. Brewed coffee, Ruins iced tea or soda with homemade strawberry syrup… in the end, I had fresh lassi and sprinkled it with salty goodness. Yay, extracreamy perfection!

Absence makes the tummy grow hunger. In dream mode…

CoffeemakersFresh Lassi

Café by the Ruins 25 Chantug St., Baguio City, Philippines Tel No: 442 4010, 446 4010
Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012

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