093014; The Urban Tracker (In Cavite): The Unexpected Food Gallop In Tagaytay

Parking at the pebbled entrance to Nurture Spa
anding on this pebbled parking lot going to the entrance of Tagaytay's hidden getaway that one morning, something felt absorbing by the time we reached the reception area as opposed to our earlier waiting game in Crossing. 

An impeccable quietness settling as we were ushered to the tables. And out of nowhere, a woman in her svelte figure appeared greeting us with unassuming warmth and delight.

Briefing with Nurture Spa founder Mam Kathy on her new cultivation project.
She's Mam Kathy. Her skin glowed on her unwrinkled visage but when she started talking, you could sense the immediate maturity, decency, and refinement - a tag she kept as she spearheaded the rise of one of the renowned spa resorts in Tagaytay - The Nurture Spa. All the while I was trying to tune up the Canon A60 DLSR while we were led to her latest diversion. The smell of the air was anything but fresh as we heaved a sigh with the sight of those man-made straw huts rising above the cultivation.

Nursery of kales in one spot of Nurture Spa up for renovation
Mam Cathy showed us initially the spa’s latest renovation of the parking side. It was converted into a mini garden where fresh kales were being transferred and cared for to flourish. She was explaining her idea of farm-to-table experience along with other Pinoy viand classics which she's planning to incorporate on their dining experience like no other. Nurture Spa is a noted high-end spa destination in Tagaytay sitting on the rolling part of Bgy Maitim Pulong Sagingan. And she was doing this diligently early on for the next year’s APEC Summit where her place has been chosen to be a part of the delegates and dignitaries' itinerary.

Tarragon Lemon Tea, a feature refreshment of the day
I was once in a getaway mode when I discovered this wellness village availing their acupuncture service. It was a stress relieving one, not to mention their traditional massage, electro massage, and other specialized services. But this morning, Mam Cathy invited us to try the goto she's bannering as a must-try among the menu list. Her age-defying looks were matched with her pleasantries as she went on instructing the waiter to prepare the tea drinks.  The waiter politely offered us a unique tea concoction while explaining its contents. The guy server called it Tarragon Lemon Tea, such a perfect match with the slice of zucchini cake.

Zucchini cake slice in plating for glorious breakfast.
With no less than When In Manila's resident foodie blogger Mae Ilagan, It's the same pleasure to meet the other collaborators. The first girl who looked like Pops Fernandez came from a Perlas PR then the 2 girls from Avida Land, one lady was obviously on her way.

Briefing for the day's agenda of invading the recommended dining spots of Tagaytay.
Then the order of the day started over a late breakfast with the briefing by our host. After the sit-down breakfast, Mam Cathy oriented us in an open air about our planned destination of the day of what she so-called Tagaytay’s hidden treasures. The marketing peeps of Avida came with the help of PR on their plan to publish a magazine as part of the marketing campaign of Avida. They enjoined Nurture Spa for this project as a media appreciation event scheduled to befall next month. In short, we had the privilege of an ocular of these unexplored places or restaurants in Tagaytay that's part of a highly-recommended list to visit and try their specialties.

Lime and Basil, our first destination without appointment
Such a balmy morning in a home-themed restaurant.
Lime and Basil's  - The Thai spring rolls - an awe to palate
Pad Thai by Lime and Basil 
So off we gathered in one van to start the unexpected crawl. The party of 6 first gone thru the deeper lower section of Tagaytay and from a gate that looked like a vacation house unveiled a sprawling garden, farm, and a restaurant. The restaurant on the signage read  Lime & Basil and it’s a Thai restaurant by appointment. The owner cheerfully received us as we explained our intent. Later on, she served us authentic Thai dishes that really matched to the ambiance of the cottage atmosphere of the place. She let us tried their spring rolls and Pad Thai,  both oozingly flavorful. At the back of the house revealed a plantation of dragon fruit that's just an adorable sight.

Baek Yuen Korean Restaurant sits along Aguinaldo
Side dishes for appetizer inside the authentic Korean restaurant
Hotpot Korean Style 
Omelet the Korean version
Our next stop was Korean restaurant which is called Baek Yuen Korean Restaurant along the Aguinaldo Highway. Since we heard this one was authentic that we decided to sample their hit dishes. This Korean place owned by a Korean expat who made sure this restaurant was themed the way original like the ones in Korea. It’s like a home and reminded me of Koreanovela dining settings.  Nevertheless, in between our non-sensical chats, our food tripping enjoyment peaked when they served the hotpot with side dishes.

Cafe Amadeo is a coffee shop borne out of the cooperative spirit of the locals.
Coffee brew selections for visitor's take home. 
Not all restaurants in Tagaytay are open in regular hours or days, as we learned from some reliable source. We skipped the 2 restos since it required us for another drive of 15 minutes to the interiors of Amadeo to find the Café Amadeo. This restaurant according to one of the storekeepers was formed by a cooperative and manned by locals in their hopes to make Amadeo coffee lucrative to both residents and encourage them to pursue the tradition of planting. They also sold a variety of coffee like the Alamid variety and some deli goods.

Incubated in nets are the kales of a different variety.
For the last stop, we were taken to a big farm that's being expanded and renovated where the kale nursery was being incubated. Kale comes in varieties like the American kale and the Asian kale which were starting to have increased market demand. The intermittent trains made our path muddy to take a glimpse on how the farming was being rendered. Utmost care was noticeably provided for the kale as they needed attention and nourishment to grow in Tagaytay as they were not accustomed in this soil condition.

Water hyacinths filling up the irrigation pool.
So after the hop and the kale, it’s breakaway time after a wrap up back in Nurture Spa. The clock struck 4 pm and there's no time to spare going back to Manila due to traffic woes. The runaround was worth the time as we were consumed with so many discoveries and awakenings on what more Tagaytay could offer that not many could experience. And good thing while on the road, I had a chance to share insights with a new found friend -  Mae Ilagan of Eat’s A Date. Driving back, we were left but divine talks for the remains of the day.