I just came out of a 2-month hiatus due to a major health crisis I was facing. For 2 months I was feeling lethargic, anti-social, and hormonal. There were a list things that I wanted to do but I was too weak to accomplish any. But the worse part of getting ill is when you eat your food and your judgmental tongue can’t seem to tell the difference between good and bad taste. This experience has made me more appreciate the simple joys of life which are not that really “simple” after all especially for the sick and ill person. Simple is such an underrated word. I wanted to “re-experience” life again. So I made a pact with myself that when I get past my illness and start to feel better again I will try new things, discover new places, meet people, smell the flowers, follow my dreams and…blog! This time with no excuses. And since I am already feeling better those are what I exactly did last weekend.
If Eat, Pray, Love turned into a healing framework and broken down into 3 phases of healing, I would say that I’m at the “eating phase” of my life right now. For one, it is doctor’s order that I eat at least 5 times in a day to bulk up and start gaining back the weight that I’ve lost. Secondly, I’m quite happy savoring good food and the flavors of new experiences at the moment. Eating just makes me feel more alive. It is as if my taste buds have mutated both literally and figuratively speaking. I never thought that eating good food can be such an enjoyable and therapeutic experience. If there was something that came out good from my illness is that it gave me the license to eat and enjoy food however and whenever I want. So if you are reading this blog and want me to write a review about food and places, this is probably the best time to send me an invite, don’t you agree? *wink*
As I took toddler steps to becoming a more outgoing person, I turned to one of my favorite restaurants in QC that is within my reach. Here’s the first part of my weekend escapade.
SATURDAY (June 11, 2016)
Stopover #1: Likha Diwa Vegetarian and Seafood Cafe
Every QC-based vegetarian and health conscious folk probably knows this place along C.P. Garcia Avenue. It is where art, culture, and food collide. Since its opening on the full moon of June 1999, Likha Diwa has become a favorite hub among foodies, artists, cultural workers, and wellness junkies who lives/works in this side of the metro. A few years back I was under the impression that Likha Diwa was a vegetarian-artist mecca of some sort and to be a fully fledged artist and/or vegetarian one must dine at this small restaurant at least once in his/her lifetime to be “initiated”. I don’t know where I got that idea from but I am buying it anyway. Since then I’ve become patron of this humble restaurant–the price of stardom.
This is also one of those few places on the planet that I know where I would often bumped into a friend or acquaintance whom I have never seen for years. Of all places it has to be at Likha Diwa! Because of these few but consistent bumping incidents, I started to draw a conclusion that Likha Diwa is a lost-and-found section but only for people. Having said that, so if you happen to have a long lost friend who happens to be fond of shawls, wears dreadlocks, sees fairies, loves organic products, eats only veggies, and hums “aum…”, chances are you two will find each other here. However, if you don’t wish to be found, avoid this place at all cost (at least temporarily).
Good food, friendly staffs, affordable prices, and a simple cozy interior are what, I believe, set Likha Diwa apart from other establishments with closely similar niche. Unique to the restaurant is a a subtle bohemian vibe that is simply charming and non-discriminating as it promotes a spirit of openness, free expression, authenticity, and creativity–a place where you can simply be and celebrate your true self.
True to its name Likha (create) Diwa (spirit or consciousness), this is a venue not only where food is enfleshed but also where the creative spirit takes shape and form. It is just fitting that many creatives choose to hold their art exhibits here while some closeted artists (you know who you are!) that I know made their debut here. There is so much good vibes in this place that brings people of like minds to come and gather here.
Likha Diwa’s menu features some top Filipino favorite dishes with a vegetarian or seafood twist. They serve finger foods, sandwiches, soups, pita-wrapped dishes, salads, pasta, moussaka, and vegetarian meals that will surely leave you with a blissful belly. Some of my personal favorites include the vegetarian kare-kare (P115), creamy tuna fettuccine (P100) and buttered tuna (P130). The best part is they serve organically grown vegetables as much as possible and prepare food without the use of commercial additives and food enhancers as they stay faithful to their advocacy of promoting healthy eating. Likha Diwa continues to charm our palates as they re-create some of the best known dishes from both local and abroad in their Saturday buffet.
While foodies and art lovers are drawn to Likha Diwa for several interesting reasons, I, on the other hand, just can’t resist the call of Likha Diwa’s seductive vegan chocolate (lava) cake. And like a sailor charmed by a siren, I will almost always heed the call without delay. I can hold my pee but not my chocolate cravings. I just can’t avoid the call of the vegan chocolate cake. It is simply irresistible knowing that this is only the kind of cake I can overeat without any worries. Resistance is futile so I surrender.
Likha Diwa’s chocolate cake is completely vegan made with no egg, cow’s milk and butter, and sweetened with muscovado sugar. I like my lava cake served warm and moist. Every scoop is a guiltless pleasure that makes your taste buds sing with delight. It has a thick creamy texture and a deep chocolate flavor that I would often pair it with shiitake strips to remove the umay factor and balance the flavors.
Apart from serving good food, Likha Diwa also hosts art exhibits, workshops and private events.
Likha Diwa is located at 1 Lt. J. Francisco St. (along CP Garcia Avenue, Diliman), Bgy. Krus Na Ligas, Quezon City. They are open from Monday to Saturdays from 11am to 10pm. You can reach them through (02) 434.65.45 or 0923.819.1453. Add them up on facebook.
Stopover #2: Fruit Store at UP Shopping Center
My trip to UP Diliman wouldn’t be complete without stopping by at this very popular fruit store located at the UP Shopping Center. You know it’s like travelling between countries and at every entry/exit your passport gets stamped on by the immigration officer. Getting my cup of fruit shake every time I passed by UP Campus is akin to a passport getting stamped–the cup being proof of my visit to the holy grounds of my alma mater.
I am pretty clueless how long this store has existed but it has been there already since my college days and probably years prior to that. As early as the dawn of time, maybe? One thing I am certain though is that I rarely see this store empty. There’s always a long line of people waiting to be served.
Just as important as the right of suffrage is the right to choose your own food. What I love about this particular fruit store is that they serve a variety of fruits and veggies to choose from. Customers get to choose the ingredients they want and create the blend they desire. Some rely on the suggested combination sets posted at the door. Others opt for a single fruit only. But whichever you end up choosing, just remember to prioritize fruits in season as they only come once a year.
Whenever hunger pangs strike and I am in the area, I would grab a cup of fruit shake. This is a good way to avoid the temptations of grease and sweets that are so abundant inside the campus. Not only am I choosing wellness, I am supporting a local business with a health advocacy thrive and prosper.
Enriquez Fruit Store is located at the UP Shopping Center, Diliman, Quezon City. They are open daily.
Verdict: Mission accomplished!