In which I take a break from writing about our Ilocos adventure and talk about something else (i.e., dinner and road trip with friends).
It was a holiday yesterday (Thursday, April 9) in honor of Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) so my friends Jesrell, Mark, Joan and I decided to have dinner on Wednesday because we can stay up late without having to worry about work the following day. Our new favorite place is Healthy Grounds Cafe, a quaint and cozy cafe/restaurant 30 minutes away from our subdivision. They have a wide range of menu and everything I’ve tried there so far was delicious. Their service is good, their prices reasonable, and the vibe of the place is also nice.
We met up at 8:00 PM and I got in the area a little bit early so I went to the nearby Robinson’s and bought myself three books at Booksale for only Php30. Oh I absolutely love that place. Anyway, I arrived at Healthy Grounds at exactly 8:00 PM and literally a minute after, Jesrell, Mark and Joan came in.
After some serious tummy deliberation, I decided to order the same thing I tried the last time we went there (which was just a week ago): the scrumptious yet very unassuming Grilled Fish with Rice and Salad.
Jesrell and Mark also ordered the Grilled Fish but they didn’t get the salad. They loved the fish as much as I did. Joan ordered carbonara and we all tried it and the thing that stood out for me was its smoky but not unpleasant taste.
For drinks, I opted to go for the no-caffeine Oreo Freeze because Oreo cookies have this strange power over me – I can’t seem to say no to it. (The last time we were at Healthy Grounds, I ordered their Oreo Cheesecake and it was heavenly.)
Sabi ni Joan while I was sipping my Oreo Freeze, “Nauumay ako sa inorder ni Tricia.” Understandable. With its vanilla base, Oreo bits and whipped cream, the drink may seem nauseatingly sweet, but surprisingly, it’s not. No threats of tonsillitis after. Good job, Healthy Grounds. (Let’s just not talk about calorie count. Hehe.) I can’t wait to go back there to try their other frappes and drinks.
Gotta immortalize the moments so we asked si Ate Waitress to please take a photo of us. She was so nice, she took not just one, but two photos.
Okay so here’s the plot twist: I invited Joemhel to join us for dinner but he said he was watching a movie but he’ll try to go. Lo and behold, he did try and the next thing we know, he was already there! What a fun and funny guy, that guy!
Joan has to go to work that night but we persuaded her to just stay with us. It’s her day off after all and reporting for duty is optional. She ditched work because friendship trumps work. Hehe. Joemhel said we should all go for a road trip to Tagaytay and the idea was so appealing, so exciting and so realistic and the next thing we know, we were already in Joemhel’s car on our way to Tagaytay a little before midnight. We live about an hour away from Tagaytay and maybe that’s why we take the place for granted. There was a scary moment while on the road when Joemhel suddenly swerved to the right and we all kind of screamed because wtf just happened. He said okay he wouldn’t do it again because “May mga alta presyon pala kayo.” Kalurks!
In celebration of the first time I went on a spontaneous road trip with friends, I decided to have a drink even though I told my Mom I wouldn’t.
Oh the conversations we had that night! I was laughing almost the entire time. If there was a happiness meter right then, I probably would’ve exceeded whatever mode of measurement it has.
Our photo above totally reminded me of this trio:
I kid you not, after I finished just one glass of the vodka with strawberry juice, I really felt dizzy and my heart was palpitating. Jesrell said it was OA, but I swear I felt it. It was the closest I’ve been to being drunk. It actually kind of felt good.
We wanted to grab some coffee before finally heading home so we crossed the street and tried the 7-11. Unfortunately, they don’t serve coffee. We went out and tried our luck at the nearby sari-sari store. Lucky for us, they do serve 3-in-1 coffee. Maybe because I haven’t had 3-in-1 coffee in months, or maybe because it was exceptionally chilly that time, or maybe because I was with some of my best-loved friends, but the Kopiko I had that night tasted so good and almost perfect. It certainly helped ease the dizziness and palpitations. We stayed for a while in front of the sari-sari store just talking and talking. The moment was glorious.
We finally headed home (because I wasn’t allowed to sleep over) at around 2:30 AM. Driving with the windows down, vodka in our system rinsed with coffee, roaring laughter playing as background music in my head, heart filled with warmth from the gift of friendship, I felt so alive with the taste of youth in my mouth. It kept bringing me back to that famous line of Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower: “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”