Eat And Cheer, The UAAP Is Here!

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July welcomes once more the UAAP Season! For college basketball fanatics and die-hard supporters of their alma mater, this means braving the traffic at Araneta Center, or squishing yourself amidst other 'color-coded' commuters in the Cubao MRT Station. Aaah yes, it's that time of the year again where people don bright and bold colors of their team; where alumni, students and fans all temporarily become rabid supporters, gnashing at other teams that come along their way.


Which color are you rooting for?


All that cheering and heart-pounding basketball action can really get to your system, and what better way to celebrate your team's victory (or to vent out its loss - you'll get 'em next time!) than to hunt down good eats around the area? Eating pre-game or post-game (haha, I sound as if I'm the athlete here) can be just as exciting as watching an intense game of ball at the Araneta Coliseum. It's also a fun way of bonding with your 'co-colors' through food, bashing the team that just beat you (or that just lost to your team, ha!) while enjoying a good meal.

From years of always sharing to friends about what goes on inside the Coliseum during the UAAP games, it's about time I also share some of my favorite places to eat at the Coliseum Circle. The restaurant lineup at the Coliseum Circle is a good mix of cuisine and different price ranges, offering different strokes for different famished folks.

Cafe Bola

The food in Cafe Bola is my ultimate 'UAAP comfort food'. My family usually dines there before or after a La Salle game because each of us have a favorite in the menu. Prices are also good for the portioning of their dishes.



Owned by chef Margarita Fores, Cafe Bola is a modern and casual setting for its Italian and Mexican dishes with a Pinoy contemporary flair. For first timers I highly recommend to try out their Bowl Rice of Adobo Flakes + Kesong Puti (P172.48). It has never disappointed me. Adobo flakes ranks very high in my comford food list and Cafe Bola's version is magnificent: very, very crispy, with the spices of the traditional adobo dish, and topped off with a chunk of kesong puti, which is just simply mouthwatering alongside the adobo. Spoon off a portion of kesong puti and eat it with every spoonful of adobo and rice and it's such a lovely experience for the palate: crunchy, rough, smooth, soft, salty, meaty... It's just very good.



Cafe Bola is also found inside The Dome, just a few steps away from the Cafe Bola of Coliseum Circle. For a snack to be consumed during the game, or for a starter to our meal, my Dad loves ordering their Home-Fried Shoestring Potatoes (P70.56, large - P128.80). It's just a lot of crrrunch in every handful! Dip it in a lot of the garlic-mayo and you've got a good combination.

Of course, Cafe Bola offers their trademark Bolas, all of which I have probably tried through the years with all the sauces offered, save for the Seafood Bola. I prefer my Bolas in Beef (P173.60 with rice, P180.32 with pasta) or Chicken (P173.60 with rice, P180.32 with pasta), with either Classic Tomato + Peas, or the Sour Cream Paprika. The tomato and peas is good with pasta, while I prefer the sour cream sauce with lots of rice. I order the very zesty Kamias Shake (P73.92) to go with my meal and it equals to an excellent Cafe Bola dining experience.

Rasa

I've enjoyed Rasa both at the Coliseum Circle and at press events in Gateway Mall, as the restaurant also does catering. In both ways, Rasa has delicious Singaporean dishes.



For a snack or light lunch, I suggest you try their Roti (P89) with curry, and also their Popiah (P89 - single, P145 - regular). The crispy yet soft Roti is so yummy! Also, the roti over at Rasa is not the usual thin kind, as it has layers that make it thicker. Let each of the slice swim around in a lot of curry sauce and it's truly a treat. The Popiah rolls can be a bit of a mess when eaten, but it's still a delicious mix of flavors and ingredients in the rolls. The mushroom is very soft, and the sauce drizzled on the rolls is savory and with a nutty twist.

Butter Diner

This place deserves to be mentioned even if it is not situated in the Coliseum Circle (it's by Shopwise). I first heard about it from my friend Phil, who blogged about their food a couple of years ago. Butter Diner looks retro-cute, reminiscent of old American diners and of Archie Comics' Chok'lit Shoppe. Butter Diner offers a whole lot in their menu: waffles and pancakes, egg dishes and steaks, pastas and sandwiches, milkshakes and desserts. Butter Diner is a fun and casual place where you can hang out with your barkada or family.



I found myself eating there recently, and started off dinner by sharing Flavored Butter and Bread (P75). There are a lot of butter flavors to choose from, and our order came with three scoops of our choice. We enjoyed the waiter's recommendation of Strawberry Butter, Crispy Garlic, and Smokin' Bacon. My dinner was served shortly aftwerwards, the Marilyn's Pan-Fried Fish (P195). After taking a bite of the sole fillet generously drizzled with buttery-lemon goodness, I instantly became a Butter Diner fan. So if you love butter and can completely feel guiltless consuming a lot of it, then this place is definitely for you. Choose among their many flavored butters to go along with your bread, or pick a dish that is swimming in sinful buttery glory.

Dairy Queen

What else is there to say about Dairy Queen? It is very obvious from their thousands of stores all over the world that their ice cream offerings have a huge following. Having DQ over at the Coliseum Circle gives you a good option for a dessert place, perhaps the best store to cool down your temper after a heated game?



What is your favortie DQ treat? Mine is the Blizzard, which you can get in 9oz. (P65 or P79), 12oz. (P75 or P99) or 16oz (P89 or P119) - oh, and add toppings if you wish. The Strawberry banana or the Banana Split, are my top picks from their Blizzard offerings. For a quick food fix, their hotdogs are also good - the Triple Cheese (P59) is both affordable and yummy.

Volare

My friend Eric and I discovered a yummy dessert over at Volare during one night of scouting the Coliseum Circle. Have you tried their creamy Panna Cotta (P95)? It's deliciously sweet, and comes in two flavors - chocolate and strawberry. For other sweet endings, they have the ever-popular Tiramisu (P95), Profiteroles (P95), and other cakes.



Known for their authentic Trattoria cuisine whipped up by Chef Giorgio of Amici fame, Volare also offers more than pasta and pizzas. We enjoyed our Strawberry Panna Cotta with a good cup of Lavazza Cafe Americano. Between sips of hot coffee and dessert, we got to make use of the free WiFi over at Araneta Center as well!

Yep, you heard that right, Araneta Center has free WiFi, I couldn't believe it at first either. The free Wireless Fidelity Service is available to select areas around the 35-hectare lot of Araneta Center. Another reason to hang out at Volare besides their good food? The WiFi signal is also good over there!

So whether you're going to cheer for the green, the blue, the red, the yellow, or whatever color you choose to root for this UAAP season, all is fair in food and hunger. If you happen to find yourself by The Dome for a game, concert, or to just look around, I hope my list of favorite eating destinations will give you an idea where you can satisfy your appetite. There are so much more places where you can eat - Araneta Center is such a huge place to scout around, and you've got shopping malls everywhere you look! Just let your stomach lead the way and if you discover something really great, do share!

Happy eating, good luck to all the UAAP teams, and see you all at The Dome!