Vegan's Chronicles + [restaurants]

ADO in Manila: Rizal Park, Manila Bay, & the Corner Tree Cafe

For our last day in Manila, we went to Rizal Park, which is a huge open, courtyard-like space with various gardens and big grassy lawns. Honestly, there wasn't too much to see at this park besides lots of skinny feral cats attacking each other, and a few geese lazing about.

These guys weren't too happy about me getting close... hehe.

A random 'Chinese Garden'.

We packed ourselves a little picnic of fruit salad and trail mix.

These flowers remind me of Ghana...

At the park, there were street vendors selling these green mangoes all over the place, so I bought some to snack on. They came with a little packet of spicy salt to dip the mango slices in. Interesting indeed!

On one side of the park, hidden in a bushy, unkempt garden, we found a vegetarian restaurant called 'The Orchidarium.' We all just wanted to get out of the midday heat, so we were glad to discover this little veg oasis.

Chris and Yunseo were hungry so they got some fried rice...

... and mushroom cream soup (not vegan).

Before we headed back home, we took a stroll along Manila Bay. I hate to say this, but it was not my favorite part of my vacation (to put it mildly). The bay smelled terrible, and you could see sewage and trash floating in the water. There were also so many street vendors calling to us to get our attention and numerous drivers asking us to take a ride on their malnourished horse-drawn carriages. It was incredibly upsetting to see so many horses that were clearly in terrible shape, some with foam at the mouth, and some without any teeth. :(

On a positive note though, we got to see a pretty sunset.

After spending the day at Rizal Park and Manila Bay, we were all hungry for dinner, so Chris took us to 'Corner Tree Cafe,' an absolutely amazing vegetarian restaurant. As soon as I walked in, I was in love with this place. It was a really small, intimate setting, and they had an impressive, creative menu of dishes. For anyone living in or visiting Manila, I couldn't recommend this restaurant more. The ambiance just oozes warmth and friendliness, and everything is served with so much care and style. It's the kind of restaurant-cafe that I would love to own myself one day... Serving up delicious, unpretentious veg food in a small, cozy space. Ahhhh!

This is the Corner Tree Starter Plate. Veggie sticks and toasted bread for dipping in olive oil, hummus, and sesame seeds. I love the presentation!!

What a delicious mouthful. (Sorry for the dark photos... the lighting wasn't so good.)

Another appetizer plate of spring rolls with a dipping sauce. I got a quick shot of the last one before they all got gobbled up!

Yunseo's Spinach & Pechay Chowder- it has a dollop of yogurt on top, but a vegan version is available.

Corner Tree Café’s Raw Organic Salad: This was a really fresh and simple plate of mixed greens, carrots, jicama, beets, and walnuts. The dressing was lemon mustard vinaigrette. It was super healthy, but I think it needed a lil extra sum'n sum'n to make it more special.

One of their signature dishes: their vegan Baked Tofu Walnut Burger with sweet potato fries.

I'm dying to know how they got the burger texture to be so moist and delicious!

To end an already fantastic dinner, we all shared a slice of delectable vegan chocolate cake. This just melted in your mouth, it was pure bliss.

The Corner Tree Cafe was most definitely a food highlight on this trip. Someone needs to open up a restaurant like this in Seoul, stat. The menu is so creative and diverse, there's something to satisfy every taste bud, from gourmet foodies and health nuts, to kids and even stubborn omnivores. I'm officially a fan of the Corner Tree Cafe!