Strawberry Cheesecake at Bag of Beans, Tagaytay

Take Two at Bag of Beans, Tagaytay City

Love is sweeter the second time around. We can start a whole new round of debate on whether love is indeed sweeter the second time around, but we’d rather focus on something else: food. Is food better the second time around? We’ve visited Bag of Beans before, you see, and we’re trying to figure out if things have changed for the better.

It wasn’t a conscious decision to go back and visit Bag of Beans. On the way to Stilts Calatagan Beach Resort to take a weekend off and enjoy its natural seaside beauty, including the beautiful Calatagan sunset, we found ourselves at the doorstep of Bag of Beans in Tagaytay.

We thought of passing through the Star Tollway, the longer route to Calatagan, in order to escape the expected heavy traffic of Tagaytay. We chose to go up Tagatay because, we thought, maybe it would be our lucky day and traffic won’t be as bad. We really don’t know why traffic is now horrendous going up Tagaytay through Sta. Rosa, Laguna. They’ve constructed these expansive residential subdivisions in Sta. Rosa and the Sky Ranch in Tagaytay City, expecting a log of people to go visit. The swarm of humanity, of course, needs transportation. Expect an exponential increase in traffic and forget to build more or wider roads, and what do we get? Horrendous heavy traffic. It’s amazing how our beloved planners decided to forget about it. Anyway, it was not our lucky day. Traffic was horrible. We had to draw out every grain of patience from our soul.

What ordinarily takes under 30 minutes to navigate, from the Sta. Rosa NLEX exist up to Tagaytay, took us two hours. Terrible.

Patience was growing thin and hunger was starting to creep in. Bad combination. But as {little} luck would have it, by the time we continued soaking heavy traffic at 12 noon, we were in front of Bag of Beans. The old Bag of Beans, not the new one near the rotunda. We abandoned the plan to have lunch in Calatagan. Traffic is more bearable with a full stomach.

We were bracing for some waiting time to get a parking and, after that, to get a table at Bag of Beans. The only available parking years ago was the stretch of side streets along the main highway. Years ago, there were only a few dining tables, around eight.

A lot of things have changed in Bag of Beans. Now, there’s enough parking to fit the entire Metro Manila. We’re kidding, of course. Seriously, in addition to the old parking beside the street, there are three more parking lots beside the restaurant, with parking attendants. We truly appreciate this level of thoughtfulness on the part of Bag of Beans management. For this reason alone, and we’re not yet talking about the food, Bag of Beans skyrocketed to the top of our favorite restaurants list.

And Bag of Beans, let’s just call it BoB at this point, has grown by leaps and bounds. There was once a time when the only dining area consists of open-air tables, under the canopy of bamboos and trees. It’s like enjoying dinner under the stars, except that it’s open during the day where the sun shines brightly. No worries, though, because the green tree canopies provide ample shade as guests feast on coffee and good food. Round tables and stone-covered earth. It’s quiet and romantic. Refreshing and relaxing. It’s the Tagaytay atmosphere that guests, including our family, love to visit again and again (there you go, guests like us are the ones to blame for the heavy Tagaytay traffic).

There’s a covered white cottage beside the open-air corner, standing beside the concrete staircase from the street, taking the other side of the main street-level bakery store. Then they opened up the entire lot leading to the parking areas, erecting two larger covered structures. It can now accommodate a lot of guests. More hungry souls will be served at the same time. But the ambiance in the new wing can never match the ambiance of the tree canopy-covered original wing under the concrete staircase. The old swing chair, which can comfortably four people, is still there. We suggest you guys wait your turn in this area.

A coffeeshop-looking counter now stands on the foot of the stairway. The main ground has since been covered with concrete blocks, the restroom refurbished into something that befits a great restaurant. It’s so nice can bring our plate and eat at the waiting area of the restroom. And we have no problem with that.

The items of main course at BoB’s taste good. Not spectacular, yes, but really good. Something else pulls us towards BoB every time, like a potent potion against any traffic-induced madness. Let’s get into that later. For now, let’s just say that the Pork Chops of BoB is not a typo — there are two chops of pork on the serving plate. You can’t call it simply Pork Chop, can you? Tastes good.

The Norwegian Salmon Steak came on board. Healthy option. Or trying to think healthy, with emphasis on the “trying” because, in the first place, we’ve ordered pork chops and something else totally decadent. The salmon tastes good as well. So does the Fish and Chips, for the kids.

We’re really adventurous when it comes to food. We could try anything. Save, perhaps, for buro and…ok, not everything. Point is, we’ll try other items in the menu just to check how they taste. There was once a time when we can stuff any amount of calories into our body and we remain, uhm, healthy. And thin. Or fit. Or however you’d call it. Nowadays, because food has a different effect on the body when youth is slowly waning, most of the time we’d stick with the tried and tested. Conserve calories and go straight to the pièce de résistance (wow, it so much easier to write that down than to actually say it).

We went straight to our two most favorite items at Bag of Beans, or our BoB — the cheesecake and the barako coffee. We can repeat what we’ve said years ago, but that’s not exactly a good idea, so we suggest you proceed to the previous post on the Cheesecake and Kapeng Barako at Bag of Beans.

A lot has changed at the Bag of Beans. New structures and new menu items. Bigger dining area and more parking space. Change is one of the constants in life, they say, though change may not necessarily mean growth. Bag of Beans has clearly grown by leaps and bounds. We’ve already said that. No matter how it grows, no matter how it evolves, we do hope that Bag of Beans maintain the core ambiance and keep the taste of our two most favorite items, the cheesecake and the coffee. This way, no matter how many times we come back and visit BoB, we’d always “take two”.

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