Friday, February 8, 2019

Rediscovering Tagaytay (2 of 3): At Sentro Botanikos

Yummy veggie meals!
Our next stop was Sentro Botinakos. This was our first time to visit the organic farm where food is served farm to table style. We had reservations made a week before our visit so, the owners knew we were coming. They greeted us with a warm welcome.

Sir Noel, an organic farmer and his wife, Ma'am Ruth explained how they grow their herbs and vegetables. The mushrooms have been harvested early that morning.  They highly recommended that we try their mushroom dishes. We obliged, of course.  We all loved the mushroom tempura served as our appetiser and the two variants of vinegar as condiment. Their menu are all vegetable and vege-meat dishes. Health buffs will truly enjoy dining in Sentro Botanikos. The price is very affordable too when compared to the older and commercialized organic farms-cum-restaurants in the district. We tried the veggie kare-kare, adobo, sisig mushroom and tofu and more mushroom tempura. My hobbit heart is happy!

The selection of rice can be brown, turmeric and moringa. There is brewed coffee in the menu as well as herbal green tea. The pineapple shake was served fresh but we missed tilbok, a local dessert popular in Cavite and Batangas. On the display rack are more veggie goodies: crispy mushroom chicharon, D' Bagoong, veggie seasoning, cassava cookies, chilli sauce and pinya-chilli suace.

Sir Noel, organic farmer, is also a storyteller.
Sir Noel regaled us with stories of how they built the cafe and restaurant and how they pooled their resources with two more friends in setting up Sentro Botanikos. He was happy and proud talking about his farm farther down Alfonso, Cavite. How different were the harvest and yields of his organic farm from that of the veggies they plant and harvest up in Sentro Botanikos. Altitude and the kind of soil they have at Sentro are two factors that determine a higher and plentiful harvest. He further amazed us with the story of the rare black mushroom of Cavite that grows aplenty when it is struck by lightning. Now that is a piece of story for a children's book, right?

We also met Ma'am Ave who runs the place like your provincial "hermana" - matronly but pleasant and welcoming. The cafe at Sentro Botinokos is ideal for the conduct of small and intimate workshops. Once the bed and breakfast service is ready, Sentro Botanikos would be a good place to hold arts and writing workshops in. Besides, the materials used to build the cafe were all recycled and the roof is heat resistant. There are lots of inspiration to draw from the site itself.

We learned that there was a tree house in the yard and we invited ourselves in. It was a perfect place t take a nap. Needless to say, we learned the delicate art of doing nothing at Sentro Botanikos.

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