Tag Archives: hello kitty

Hello, Kitty Cafe!

25 Jul

I heard the news first from my friend Stacy when she tagged me in an album of pictures she took two weeks ago. I hadn’t heard that the Hello Kitty Cafe* would come to the North, so I was pleasantly surprised that it was back at the SM North EDSA after a long hiatus.

I knew it was coming, though. In December of last year, two pop-up stores opened at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City and at the Fiesta Duty Free Mall in Parañaque. Both had limited running dates till January of this year and served as precursor to the Hello Kitty Cafe** at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. Now, we Northeners don’t need to feel so left out of the good stuff. The Hello Kitty Cafe is back in town!

The last time I was in a local HKC, it was in 2000, shortly before the SM North EDSA branch closed. I remember because I have a memento of my last visit, a picture taken with a struggling eight-year-old boy who would not set foot inside the Cafe. Despite entreaties and bribery (with hefty servings of food which he ate, but outside the Cafe), my son refused to step in and had to be dragged inside for one picture with his Mama. Ahhh…memories!

kittymama with struggling child low res

I know I said I have sworn off Hello Kitty, but still, some youthful part of me longs for a little bit of her now and then. A♥, ever the enabler, suggested squeezing a quick visit to the Cafe during the last SM North EDSA 3-day Sale. We went in early Saturday morning to the mall to purchase shoes and some shirts for the boys and decided to drop in for a quick bite.

The new HKC can be found on the 3rd floor of The Block, and overlooks the main Atrium or Activity Center.

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The cafe, in keeping with Hello Kitty’s feminine, feline character, is done in mostly white and pink. The design is tasteful and elegant, almost minimalist with a touch of whimsy. White picket fences delineate the mall real estate it occupies. Seating is limited.

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Below, you can see Hello Kitty she lords it over the place. There is no mistaking that she is the center of the Sanrio universe.

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Even the pitchers had her face on them! Cute! (I didn’t check the table napkins.)

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But as concession to her friends, they can be found in cute doughnuts filling the display chillers. Below are My Melody doughnut faces with ribbon- themed doughnuts,

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Hello Kitty and Baad Batz Maru face doughnuts (why does Bad Batz remind me of Angry Birds?),

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and cheery Keroppi face doughnuts, with more ribbon doughnuts. You can’t get away from Hello Kitty and her ubiquitous red ribbons.

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The cafe also serve cupcakes and small cakes,

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and healthy green salads.

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Unlike its predecessor, the new Hello Kitty Cafe does not serve full meals.  It has a streamlined selection of sandwiches, salads, pasta and pastries. They also serve coffee and shakes. Since the Cafe is still on soft opening, some of the items on the menu may not be available but there is usually a sufficient stock of pastries on hand. The prices are a bit on the high side so be prepared to shell out serious money for Hello Kitty food.

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A♥ is not big on sweets and pasta so we deferred our Kitty date for another day. He did, however, buy me a souvenir of my visit, which came in this plain white paper bag sealed with a Kitty sticker.

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Who can resist a Kitty doughnut? Certainly not me!

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I’ll be coming back soon to stay longer. I hope to taste their salad, pasta, and coffee next time. In the meantime, let’s spread the word that the Hello Kitty Cafe is back!

~0~

*Hello Kitty Cafe SM North EDSA

3rd Floor, The Block,

SM North EDSA, Quezon City

 

**Hello Kitty Cafe BGC

Third Floor, Uptown Place Mall,

36th Street Corner 9th Avenue,

Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City

Hello Kitty Secret Garden

9 Mar

We couldn’t have found this place on our own, let me tell you that. As my husband and I get older, vacations usually mean one thing- sleeping in– though I often wonder why we have to leave the country to do that. (Okay, I remember- Alphonse!) And that’s another reason why I love my friends, because they’re the only ones who can drag us out from the comforts of our hotel room (and let me tell you, it was such a fabulous room!) to go traipsing around a city we’ve been to many times over the years.

HK 2015 ShangOur Horizon Club room at the 21st floor of Kowloon Shangri-La

Before this visit, I was also in Hong Kong in August of last year. It seems that in the past six years, I’ve been there yearly, sometimes even twice a year, without fail. That it is so near Manila makes it an ideal destination for people like me who can only squeeze in a vacation from the kids every so often. More than this, however, one of the best reasons I have for visiting Hong Kong is the pleasure of my dearest friends’ company.

Karen and I met for the first time in 2011 but we have been Facebook friends longer than that. Since then, the highlight of my HK trips are always with Karen, as she and her husband German generously share their time and effort to show us the best places in their city.

This visit, she and her husband picked us up at the lobby of our hotel to bring us once more around the city. Karen and I had previously talked about visiting the Hello Kitty Secret Garden, a stand-alone cafe in Tai Hang so that was the first priority of the afternoon.

The Hello Kitty Secret Garden Cafe opened in June of 2014, around six months after its sister cafe started operations. The pint-sized but equally cute Le Petit Cafe opened in December 7, 2013 at the basement 2 level of Sogo Causeway Bay. However, unlike Le Petit Cafe, which is a kiosk serving pastries and coffee, the Secret Garden is a full service restaurant with a more extensive menu. In Le Petit Cafe, patrons could only take their purchases to go or eat them standing up in the middle of the bustling aisles. At the Secret Garden, while seating is limited, customers have the luxury of enjoying their meals and desserts in a relatively unhurried fashion. Of course, this only applies when the lines aren’t too long, otherwise, most patrons are limited to an hour per visit.

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We went to the cafe on an early Tuesday afternoon, just a little past two. One would expect the place to be readily available on a work weekday but alas, this cafe commands a constant audience. Although the queue was shorter than it would have been on a weekend, it still took us an hour to claim a table. Good weather notwithstanding, there wasn’t much else to see or do while waiting, so Karen and I took pictures and played with her dolls.

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As you can see from our pictures, you can’t miss Hello Kitty in her Secret Garden because she’s everywhere! On the walls, in the roof, in the sidewalk, the glass facade- the cafe suffers from a really cute case of Hello Kitty mania.

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There’s even a Hello Kitty bicycle parked outside the cafe!

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As you walk towards the side, where the service entrance is supposed to be, there’s a hint of things to come. Another section of the cafe is said to open in the next few months, and this will not only be a venue for scheduled events, it will also serve as a cafe extension when not in use.

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A little farther down the side of the cafe is the Gaggia Barista Academy, said to be affiliated with the Hello Kitty-themed cafes. Since the Secret Garden serves a variety of specialty coffees, it does make sense for a barista academy to be right next door. I can just imagine all those baristas-in-training with their Hello Kitty templates, working on making the perfect designs on coffee and froth!

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This is the service door, which proved fortuitous as it made a perfect backdrop for Karen’s kimona-clad girls. 🙂

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A sample of our playtime pictorial: Aren’t these girls lovely?

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After a lot of pictures, we were asked to come inside the cafe. This is the first thing you would see when you enter. Inside the cafe, the garden theme is carried out with a lot of fake foliage hanging from the ceiling and more Hello Kitty cut-outs and designs.

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The POS system is located near the back, on a shelf of Hello Kitty bric-a-bracs.

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Over at the bar, a blackboard displays an overview of the cafe’s offerings, allowing patrons a chance to decide on their food even without seeing the full menu.

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A♥ noticed this little blackboard on the counter and immediately pointed to the “Kittymama” written on it. It seems I have a stake in this restaurant after all, in the form of “cheese.” Good thing Kittymama didn’t cut it while she was there, teehee!

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The cafe boasts of its burger as its special offering, and at HKD98, it wasn’t exactly an inexpensive burger. A Big Mac meal at McDonald’s Hong Kong, for example, costs only HKD37.60, based on its online menu, around 40% of the price of this specialty burger. Still, it was an experience we could not pass up so A♥ and I ordered this, not having had enough time to eat lunch that day.

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While waiting for our food, I noticed little details that made the cafe stand out more, such as this Hello Kitty engraved cutlery and napkins, the latter making perfect souvenirs of our visit.

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When the burgers came, it was a pleasant surprise to find each of them juicy and well-seasoned. The large cut fries were crispy on the outside and soft and moist on the inside. There was a hefty serving of vegetables (lettuce, tomato, pickles) and an even more generous heaping of bacon. It was just too large to eat sandwich-style, so we opted to eat it with utensils. Nom nom nom nom nom.

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Note that the egg was Hello Kitty- shaped! *squeals in delight* I would have expected the patty to be as well, but alas, no dice.

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Karen opted for something light in this strawberry tart with a topping of Hello Kitty white chocolate.

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She also chose a Rose Latte, so-called because it is a latte with rose petals.

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I chose a cold drink, an iced Cafe Mocha that looked absolutely cute with its cocoa ribbon on top.

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There were plenty of choices on the menu for the ravenous, from sandwiches, soups, and even quiche. If one is not in the mood for heavy fare (the servings are huge). any one of these appetizing desserts found at the refrigerated counters will surely delight the Hello Kitty fan. Prices range from HKD48 to HKD58.

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I should have tried an apple pie but the burger was heavy and filling already.

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This shot shows how little the cafe actually is. The limited seating (the cafe seats 16 comfortably, but can accommodate 20) is responsible for the long lines outside but with cooperation from both diners and staff, the flow of guests is fast and efficient. I suppose the experience would have been different if we were waiting in the sweltering heat of summer, but in late Febuary, there was enough chill in the air to make the wait pleasant and comfortable.

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All in all, it was a memorable experience for this reformed Hello Kitty fan. As much as merchandise is one way to go about being a Kittyholic, I have since discovered that making memories is an even better way to appreciate Hello Kitty. Morever, no one can beat Hello Kitty memories made with your best friends.

HK Secret Garden 18We ♥ you both, Karen and German!

If you’d like to visit the Hello Kitty Secret Garden in Causeway, you may opt to take the MTR to Causeway Bay and take a taxi from there, giving the driver this address: 19 Ormsby Street, Tai Hang.

Alternatively, one can go down the Tin Hau MTR station and walk 10-15 minutes to Ormsby. Just follow the stream of mostly young women (with the not-so-few dragging their significant others) and you’ll spot it easily. Still, a taxi would have to be my default for finding this, especially if one is not a Chinese speaker.

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The Hello Kitty Secret Garden Cafe is open Tuesdays to Sundays at the following times:

Tuesdays-Thursdays 12NN to 9 pm

Fridays 12NN to 10 pm

Saturdays 9 am to 10 pm

Sundays 9 am to 9 pm

Come and visit the next time you are in Hong Kong!

 

 

Halloween 2014

31 Oct

The moon is bright in the darkness deep
As stirring creatures in the silence creep,
And, once familiar, turn strange and leave
A scaring on this wicked night, All Hallow’s eve.

halloween 2014 a

 Happy Halloween from Kittymama, Nimes, and Freya Chocolate!

halloween 2014 b

 

Sanrio Surprises!

27 Aug

I haven’t blogged about Hello Kitty in a while but this batch of Sanrio imports was definitely something worth sharing: the Tokidoki x Hello Kitty Reunion Collection designed by Simone Legno. These items have limited availability locally and will not be restocked readily so if you want them, do get them before they run out!

tokidoki hkFrom left going clockwise: crossbody bag, shoulder tote bag, metal lunchbox, and backpack

(Not in picture but also available: a handbag)

The bags are made of durable woven nylon with lining and faux leather trim. Unlike their more expensive Tokidoki x HK collaboration counterparts which were made with genuine leather, these bags are meant for everyday use. Hardy, yet light on the pocket (and we all know collaborations usually cost a bit more than your usual Sanrio merchandise), these bags are perfect for  Kittyholics of all ages.tokidoki hk2

The crossbody bag retails for PhP2229.75 while the the shoulder tote goes for PhP3699.75. The handbag retails for PhP3349.75 (see picture on right, sorry for the lack of clarity).  Those who hanker for the good ol’ days of metal lunchboxes (think ’70s, teehee) may very well enjoy a bit of nostalgia with the embossed tin case for P1099.75. And if you’re thinking of hauling more than just the usual kikay kit, then a backpack may just be the one for you, going at PhP3299.75.

This collection is available at Gift Gate’s Sanrio Surprises at the 3rd Floor of SM Megamall Building A. Again, these items have limited availability so once they’re out, you might not see them again. Race you to Megamall then!

Wishing for Ribboneta

3 Mar

Ribboneta is 2009’s Hello Kitty x Blythe collaboration especially created to celebrate Hello Kitty’s 35th year. She is one of my dream dolls, a grail doll, if you will.

Back in 2012, when I first dreamed of getting a Blythe doll for myself, the very first thing I did was to search for her. Alas, even then, her price had soared to a point where you could easily buy two or three new Blythe releases. And because I was unsure then if I really wanted to start another collection, I let that dream go, but not without regrets.

Fast forward to 2013, and the day I received Slow Nimes. Who knew I would love Blythes as much as I do Hello Kitty and Sylvanian Families? These days, they (the Blythe girls) coexist happily with my other collections, forefront among them, my Sylvanian Families. 🙂

Now, back to Ribboneta. As most Hello Kitty collaborations go, she is one special girl indeed.

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She has reddish brown hair fringed with bangs. Her hair holds a slight curl at the ends.

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Her eye chips are special too, as they have been marked with a ribbon in one of the irises of the pink and green forward-facing eyes. Her eyelids are light pink. 🙂 Blythe ribboneta 07

She has one of the prettiest clothes ever, with a pink shantung silk halter dress and a magenta bolero which matches the ribbon in her hair. The dress also has a ribbon behind the neck and more colorful ribbons near the hem. Small faux pink pearls are seeded on top of the ribbons.

Ribboneta has a Hello Kitty bag with handles made of the same faux pink pearls and a Hello Kitty necklace (HK head in a gold chain). Matching pink stockings and shoes complete the outfit and scream “Hello Kitty!” from top to toe.

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When RW was released in 2009, she was pegged at JPY21000, or something like USD207 in today’s exchange rate. Today, a quick search of eBay shows the price to have gone remarkably from its original SRP to as much as USD700 for a never opened, MIB (mint-in-box) doll. Oh, my aching heart!

I’ve sort of resigned myself to never ever owning Ribboneta Wish. It’s just too much money for one doll, and unless I win the Lotto soon, I can’t justify spending that much money for her. Still, a part of me longs for that unattainable doll, and will always do.

There is a happy ending to this sad tale, though. Just when I thought I would never even see a glimpse of RW, here comes A♥ to the rescue! No, it is not Ribboneta, but close enough: RW’s stock clothes! *squeals*

And so, despite not having Ribboneta, I am ecstatic that Nimes can wear her clothes and pretend to be her, even for a short while. Moreover, being the recipient of such a thoughtful gift, well, that alone is a remarkable gift in itself, one I will always remember with love and gratitude.

Nimes as RW

Now, can anything be lovelier than that?

Mayor at Work

29 Jan

One of the responsibilities Mayor Kittymama does for her community is to do the hard jobs no one else is up to. Sometimes, it can be taste-testing a banana nut muffin all by herself  (best job ever!) or sometimes, it can be entertaining the odd new visitor that comes over to their little town (with a banana nut muffin- second best job!). On regular days, however, her jobs are nothing remotely exciting as banana nut muffins or visitors, but as mayor, she knows she has a duty to her constituents that she needs to uphold.

Yesterday, it was a real-estate transaction that involved the buying of prefabricated buildings for Misty Forest. Good thing Ms. Nimes was onhand to carry the large boxes (Kittymama dragged her out of bed for the heavy lifting, hehehe).

Kittymama real estate

Nimes: Where do you want these, Mayor?

Kittymama: (panting) Give me a minute to catch my breath, will you, dear? I’m tired from all the hauling we just did!

Nimes: But you were sitting on top of boxes the whole time!

Kittymama: Well, it wasn’t easy sitting on top of boxes at all! They were hard on the tush, as you know. Teehee.

Nimes: (thinking) I know I shouldn’t have gotten out of bed this morning. *groan*

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Today, Kittymama and her secretary, Ms. Shizue, are in for a “fitness” test. But it’s not just an ordinary “fitness” test.

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Kittymama: Hmm… Let’s see if this one fits.

Shizue: *giggles* Ahhh, this fitness test!

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Kittymama: Shizue, based on your analysis and computations, what is the official verdict of our “fitness” test?

Shizue: Mayor, these Nintendo pouches are suitable only for regular-sized Nintendo handheld consoles like the DS lite, the Dsi, or the 3DS. The xl’s are just too big and won’t fit.

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Kittymama: Any benefits to “spending” 500 coins for each of these pouches?

Shizue: Well, ma’am, these Nintendo pouches are made of durable nylon, they are not bulky like hard cases, and they do have a built in-pocket for a DS or 3DS game cart. Plus, they are cute!

Kittymama: Well, I’m sold on cute! Let’s make it official and make our endorsement to the public.

Shizue: Yes, Mayor. I’ll have the ad up and ready for your approval.

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Kittymama: As usual, you do fine work, Shizue! What would I ever do without you?

Shizue: Thank you, Mayor. I do my best. *melts into a puddle of fluffy yellow stuff*

Update: New Blog Header

20 Jan

Do you notice anything new about this blog?

Well, there’s a new addition to the header and she is a pretty, pretty girl. Meet Nimes, my first Blythe baby girl.

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I’ve updated the blog header to include her because among my many collections, I think Hello Kitty, Sylvanian Families, and Blythe dolls will be keepers, no matter how old I get. So, what do you think?