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Coffee and tears on Independence Day

If there’s one thing you should know about me — other than what you already know, i.e., my wanderlust, my dream of becoming a published author, and my thirst for good coffee, of course — it’s that I am a huge bookworm. HUGE. I’m talking hours spent glued to my Kindle, forsaking sleep to finish that nth novel, lone wolf living in the land of make-believe kind of huge (okay, maybe not so much the last one).  There’s a catch, though. I prefer to read stories with happy endings. I don’t mean happy endings wherein people part ways on a hopeful note. Nope. I mean happy endings a la Disney, wherein the people who should be together do end up together and things are tied up in a neat little bow by the time I hit the last page. I want an escape from life’s messed-up crap, not another reason to cry buckets (because, yes, I am a total crybaby).

Which is why I have yet to read John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars despite all the great things I’ve heard about it. I did, however, commit the book lover’s cardinal sin of reading spoilers (cue the horrified gasps). I’m sorry. Haha.

In the weeks leading up to the release of TFiOS the movie, I kept wondering if I should read it before watching it, watch it before reading it, or simply not read OR watch the darn thing. Well, yesterday, on our Independence Day, my brother surprised me with a ticket to TFiOS at the new Bonifacio High Street cinemas (the movie was his girlfriend’s idea, of course). How could I refuse?

I thought I was  sufficiently prepared to withstand its much-buzzed-about tearjerking factor. Alas, it had me tearing up about halfway through the film and red-eyed (literally!) and stuffy-nosed by the end credits. I can’t compare it to the novel, but TFiOS the movie was  wonderfully made, with beautiful cinematography, haunting music, and a great cast. It left me feeling all wrung out and exhausted. I loved it and hated it at the same time.

And those words. If anyone needs convincing about the power of a perfectly crafted line, watch this movie — or better yet (I’m assuming, at least) read the novel. Too bad I’m a wimp who’s still putting off reading it. Someday.

But before the cryfest that was Hazel and Augustus, I got to try a new coffee place in Rockwell called Refinery. Like most third-wave coffee shops, it boasts of a lovely interior with wood and tile accents, mismatched furniture, and unique lamps.

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But my favorite design feature was definitely its ceiling. The high ceiling, with all its exposed pipes, is painted completely in white while the wood trusses add an interesting contrast and a cozy vibe.

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One wall features a shelf of different kinds of wine, while another highlights the store’s impressive  supply of Lamill coffee and other coffee paraphernalia.

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Now let’s talk about the coffee. Based on our waitress’s recommendations, we ordered the Black Velvet pour-over coffee, Valrhona mocha, and their specialty hot Salted Caramel Latte with a side of Double Truffle Fries.

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The first to be served was the Black Velvet coffee. My brother found it a tad too light for his taste, but I liked it exactly because it was light and smooth with pleasant hints of chocolate and caramel.

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Black Velvet coffee

Then came the Valrhona Mocha. I’d originally thought of ordering it, and when I tasted it, I wished I’d gone with my gut instinct. It’s the perfect balance of chocolate and espresso. Not too sweet and not too chocolatey so you won’t get sick of it after the first few sips. Definitely one of the best mochas I’ve tried so far.

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Valrhona Mocha

Last came my Salted Caramel Latte. The first few sips were pretty good. I enjoyed the toasty sweet caramel and the touch of sea salt. Then I stirred my coffee. Bad idea. It brought out the overwhelming taste of caramel, and I couldn’t detect the ‘latte’ part of the drink anymore, only the salted caramel. I had to switch drinks with my brother at a certain point. Maybe it’s better iced — and unstirred — but I found myself disappointed with this drink.

Salted Caramel Latte

Salted Caramel Latte

That’s not to say that I won’t be coming back, though. I definitely recommend the Valrhona Mocha and the Black Velvet (oh, and the double truffle fries were delicious too!), and I’m looking forward to trying their other specialty drinks like the 18-hour cold process iced coffee and the Bliss Tiramisu. A woman at the table next to ours ordered the tiramisu, and it looked crazy decadent. My brother and his girlfriend also recommended Refinery’s cocktails, and I’ve read that the brunch fare is a must-try. Guess this just means I’ll be visiting Rockwell more often!

So, how did you spend the Independence Day holiday? 🙂

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