Author: Norah Knight

Newton Circle, Geylang and Lau Pa Sat are some places well-known for their lip-smacking delicacies, but you can always go beyond these. If you travel into the heartland of the local residential areas, you are sure to chance upon a little haven that serves great food. One of these areas would be Kovan. It used to be a part of Hougang. Today, it is regarded as a food haven by many.

The region of Kovan borders the Upper Serangoon Road. It is quiet during the day and on weekdays, but comes alive on weekends, particularly at night, as people come to look for late-night treats. There are many family-run businesses here along with a number of small cafés and restaurants. At these cafés and restaurants, one can get a taste of Western cuisine and a variety of desserts.

Kovan Hougang Food Centre is a must-visit for any tourist touring the country for the first time. Such places are also called hawker centers. This place is filled with Singapore’s local flavor. Here you will also find food that most Singaporeans grew up eating. Speaking about meal rates, the food is good and cheap. Teochew Porridge and the Nasi Lemak are the specialties of this place. There is another hawker center that sees long queues for its Fish-ball noodles and Charkway Teow.

While these food joints are deeply rooted in their Singaporean flavors, the non-local Nakhon is the real crowd puller in this area. It is located at a short distance from Hougang Bus Interchange or Kovan MRT. It serves Thai cuisine which is a hot favorite with most Singaporeans. Being very popular in the area people visiting are prepared to wait in a queue for long periods to have dinner there. So, if you want to dine there, you will have to go early to get yourself a table before the crowd starts coming in. The biggest drawback of this restaurant is that it does not offer customers the privilege of advance reservations.

In recent years, the Kovan Hougang Food Center and all the eateries in the surrounding areas are also enjoying better business as more and more residential developments are being built in addition to the large number of tourists that flock to the center to get a taste of the cities local flavors.

DO: From the get go, sit where the host seats you.
Unless physically you are not able to sit there because of a handicap or your too cold so sit close to the door, the host operates on a system where they rotate the tables so they can evenly give servers tables. It is widely understood that some people may not fit in booths and that is perfectly fine. If you’re noticeably upset for little reason, nine times out of ten the message will immediately get relayed back to the assigned server, who in certain situations might not want to spend too much time at your table.

DON’T: Stiff your server.
In other words, don’t leave a tip of zero dollars. Although some service is terribly awful, the staff is working to keep you happy and belly full while trying to feed their own. The average server makes close to 5 dollars an hour, which in hindsight, is about 40 dollars a week if it weren’t for tips. They make their money off the tips that the customers leave. When they get stiffed, it’s almost like that entire table and all that energy was a waste of time. If you’re a regular that doesn’t tip, you probably notice that you’re receiving mediocre service night in and night out. That’s because in the servers mind you aren’t worth their time if you’re not going to tip. They rather have the couple in the corner that are first-timers that are going to leave a nice couple bucks for the server.

Verismo System Pros

The greatest advantage the Verismo system has over K cups and their ilk, is its ability to make barista quality lattes. Verismo uses a pod system called K-fee, which originates from Germany. The K-fee pods allow for lattes by combining an espresso pod and a powdered milk pod. The ending latte is quite delicious and is equivalent to ordering one in a Starbucks store. Plus you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home to enjoy a great latte.

The Verismo system also allows Starbucks to brand and sell their many different blends of coffee. Most of the blends are strong and acidic, like the brewed coffee in a Starbucks store. My personal favorite is the Veranda blend, which also happens to be the lightest blend currently offered.


The greatest challenges facing the Verismo system are the price of the pods and the variety of said pods. A box of 12 pods tends to average $12 with some blends costing slightly more. It’s hard to find the pods for less, because they are almost exclusively sold at Starbucks stores. K cups for example can cost significantly less, due to the many K cup utilizing brands competing with each other. More competition lowers the price for the consumer. Since Verismo chiefly only competes with itself, there is less of a need to make the prices ultra competitive.

Variety, while improved since the introduction of the Verismo pods is still greatly lacking compared to K cups. Verismo pods are currently offered for coffee, lattes and some teas. While selection is bound to improve over time, don’t go with Verismo if you favorite coffee blend or tea currently isn’t offered. You could be waiting awhile for it to become available.


I recommend the Verismo system to anybody who enjoys a latte above all other coffee drinks. Verismo pods and machines consistently produce a delicious and barista rivaling latte with the convenience of never having to leave your kitchen. Plus if a daily latte is your habit, using the Verismo system will actually save you money in the long run when compared to going to a Starbucks store everyday.

We wake up from a dead sleep caused by a Saturday night of too much everything, settle into the car, and tune the radio to one of the acoustic sunrise stations and drive while Radiohead carries us to Solstice Cafe in Grant Park. There it is at the north end of a strip mall, next door to an vacant space, a dirty, old, rundown laundromat, and a small Mexican food market with a ceiling lined with pinatas, Solstice Cafe is a quaint, bohemian food spot easily below the foodie radar.

Simple metal tables painted over with an amateur painter’s touch, walls lined with paintings in various media and a bar serving both omelettes and alcohol, this is yet another secret spot unvisited by the hordes of breakfast feeders searching for another order of biscuits, grits and pancakes.

Solstice Cafe is what would happen if you turned an excellent bohemian coffee shop into a breakfast and lunch spot and then gave it a liquor license. The staff is friendly and on this particular Sunday morning, everyone seems to be gripping the hours before tomorrow as they sip their coffees and enjoy Sinatra crooning over the speakers.

The menu is lite, mostly consisting of eggs, sandwiches, potatoes and other simple fare. No pancakes, no super size servings. Just a quiet space away from the lines at the Flying Biscuit, Thumbs Up, and Crescent Moon – all with a huge painting of Elvis behind the bar.

Review Summary: 4.3 out of 5

562 Boulevard SE

Atlanta, GA, 30312

(404) 622-1976

  • Serves Great Food: As I said, this is far more than just a cafe. So even if you are not a coffee lover but are hungry anyway and want a fill, then the Coco Cafe Coffee Shop is a great place to drop by! Their pizza is extremely tasty although a tad too expensive given the average price range of food items around Boracay. Their coconut coffee is something that you must not miss at all at any cost; the one negative thing of the coffee is that it is low on cream content, which was not a major issue for me, by the way. One decent food I can recommend for you is their cream smoothie; their cookies and cakes are also quite delicious.
  • Serves Real Drinks: Food and coffee are not the only stuff you can get here; like any reputable bar of Boracay you can get plenty of awesome drinks here too. I am not a booze lover myself but speaking of drinks, I loved their milk: it was so fresh and yummy! Later on I learned its name too: they call it ‘coco milk’! If you are in a party mode then drop by there on Friday, Thursday and Saturday when the joint rocks with hot girls! I found it rather weird that all the bartenders there were well-built with toned physique; one looked like as though he was a former boxing champion; he showed us his well toned biceps rather proudly!
  • Friendly And Helpful Staff: Like the hotels, restaurants and bars of the rest of the Boracay, you would find friendly and helpful staff here too. I wish I could take some of the staff from here back into my country and get them employed into my own business. They really know how to treat customers and make them feel at home well. No matter how crazy your order and timing is, the staff is always there to serve you with a smile.
  • Great Location: If you want to take a good look at the White beach while sipping your coffee then the Coco Cafe Coffee Shop would be an ideal location for you. This cafe enjoys proximity to the beach; no wonder it has so many footfalls

Overall, if you want to go someplace for a little coffee, gorge on some hot and tasty food, indulge in a little fun and party, all the while enjoying the cool breeze of the ocean nearby, then this is one place you simply cannot skip visiting!

  • Heart Benefits – Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and antioxidants like chlorophyll, carotenoids and vitamin E. The Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) also known as the “bad cholesterol” transports and deposits cholesterol in the tissues and arteries, which can eventually block the arteries leading to deficient blood flow and all kinds of heart problems. The high levels of monounsaturated fats found in the oil not only lower LDL levels protecting you from atherosclerosis, but also allow the High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) the “good cholesterol” to clean the cholesterol away from the arteries.
  • Inflammation Benefits – The healthy fats in olive oil are used by the body to create natural anti-inflammatory agents which help reduce the severity of both arthritis and asthma. Cell membranes that are not inflamed are able to transport healthy nutrients into the cells and move the waste products out.
  • Cancer Benefits – A study published in the January 2005 issue of Annals of Oncology (which is a peer-reviewed medical journal of tumors and cancers), showed that a monounsaturated fatty acid found in olives called oleic acid, has the ability to reduce the affect of an oncogene. An oncogene is a gene that in certain circumstances transforms a cell into a cancer cell. Another research which included over 36,000 participants conducted by the University of Athens revealed that high rates of olive oil consumption, is associated with lower odds of having any type of cancer.
  • Diabetes Benefits – A Spanish study published in the Scientific Journal Diabetes Care revealed that a Mediterranean style diet, rich in olives, reduces by almost 50% the risk of type II diabetes when compared to a low fat diet. Previously it was prescribed that a low fat diet can prevent various diseases such as heart diseases and diabetes, whereas it now appears that it is the “type” of fat that counts rather than the actual amount of fat. Adding olive oil to your diet can also lower your triglyceride levels. Many diabetics live with high triglyceride levels which increases their risk for heart diseases.
  • Weight-Loss Benefits – Being overweight goes hand in hand with high levels of cholesterol, heart disease and other ailments. In a study conducted and published in the September 2003 issue of the British Journal of Nutrition, it was found that a significant loss of body weight and fat mass can be achieved by changing only one eating habit; the substitution of saturated fats with olive oil.

Experiment is something that your taste-buds would definitely love and Stalactites Greek Restaurant is the best place to do just that! It’s considered one of the most popular Greek restaurants in Melbourne which is known for its delectable range of food and excellent service. Then we have Gazi, one the rather most interesting Greek restaurants in Melbourne where you can expect some delicious yet light Greek cuisines in an exquisite fine-dine setting. And when you are going crazy to have some authentic dips, octopus, saganaki, calamari and hot pita bread, you would be making a big mistake if you’ve not booked your tables here! Don’t forget to indulge in an inviting orange cake dessert at Salona at Swan Street., one of the which is known for its amazingly warm ambience and friendly service, apart from the traditionally prepared Greek Cuisines that they serve. The bar tables and the outdoor lounges at Bahari The Hellenic Palate is always bubbling with excitement and hence it’s always advisable to book your tables when you’re planning to enjoy a Greek meal here. And when you’ve finally made it there, don’t forget to try the chargrilled octopus; it’s simply mouth-watering, and we bet you would come back to try it again. No wonder why they are considered to be one of the best Greek restaurants in Melbourne. If souvas is on your mind, you would have never encountered a variety of souvas, like the ones that are served at Kalamaki.

  • Stalactites Greek Restaurant
    Cuisine: Greek

One of the most popular places in CBD, Melbourne for Greek cuisine, Stalactites is a family business that has been running for the past 38 years. The staff is extremely efficient and even on busy days you can find yourself a seat with their help. Don’t take our word for it, though…

  • Gazi
    Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean

When patrons wish for great interior decorations in the restaurant and a light meal over fine dining, they head out to Gazi. They simply can’t get enough of the fast food! The service is touted as one of the best and you can sit in the bar while enjoying the sight of the cooks at work, rolling out 1 master…

Chef Marchell commented, “My work in public education was cut in the downward economy of the last few years and my health was suffering.” This is a situation that so many talented people have experienced and all can relate to the stress in life that it creates. Fast forward quickly, Chef Marchell realized that this provided her the inspiration and perfect opportunity to share her passion for delicious raw foods, so she dug in and opened her natural foods restaurant. Chef Marcell stated, “I wanted others to know just how healthy and delicious raw food could be.” This vibrant, smart and intuitive woman really knows how to cook with some very unique and interesting raw food dishes. Many of the dishes are served hot, not cooked higher than 118 degrees. This is the official cut off for maintaining raw food and its nutrients.You will find hot soup, veggie burgers and many delicious dishes such as Pesto Pizza, Cucumber Wheels and Romaine Tacos. I particularly enjoyed the raw Classic Guacamole Burger with mega-healthy ingredients including nuts, hemp seeds, mushrooms, “grilled” onions, spices and kale. And it’s served with tasty sesame and herb natural crackers and freshly made salsa. The menu is culturally interesting with popular dishes such as Buddha Bowl, Pad Thai and Hole Mole Enchiladas. You will also find many fresh and tasty beverages including a Green Tropic Smoothie with spinach, orange juice and mango.

Au NatuRaw is unique in that they prepare hot DoMatcha green tea Japanese style. Complete with a tea bowl and bamboo whisk, they whip up a hot cup of tea or latte right at your table. Fresh, green and good, the hot frothy tea is an excellent way to finish a meal. I haven’t seen another place in Orange County, that prepares this special tea right at your table. Chef Marchell also adds the tea powder to desserts such as her key lime pie.

The environment is extremely pleasant and is located at 206-A North Broadway, Santa Ana, Ca. in the heart of the Artists Village downtown. With high ceilings, a hanging garden, art, natural colors, quaint tables and fresh natural flowers, Au NatuRaw serves up a natural environment right along with very tasty dishes. If your destination is Orange County, Ca., and you want a healthy natural meal, try out Au NatuRaw for a toast “to your health!”

Natty Greene’s

For those of you that like a good beer every once in a while, Natty Greene’s is the place to go. This local brewery offers beer, food, and fun. Greene’s is right in the heart of Downtown Greensboro and the atmosphere is delightful. Not the typical downtown ‘dive bar’, Natty Greene’s is a great place to stop on a Friday night.

Kabuto – Japanese Steakhouse

Of course there has to be a Japanese steakhouse on the list! This hibachi style restaurant offers a full sushi bar as well as a dining room and “teppanyaki” tables to enjoy the show watching your food cooked right before your eyes. The service is excellent, but early arrival is a must if you don’t make a reservation. The fun and excitement keep people laughing and talking for hours! Don’t miss out on this gem.

Romo’s Pizza

Running home from work, picking up the kids, and realizing you forgot to set out dinner or prepare anything at all can be a nightmare. Good news is, if live in the south Greensboro area or drive around south Greensboro, you can order Romo’s. I may have a biased opinion because when I first moved here, this place was the first local restaurant/pizza delivery that I ordered, and ever since this is the only pizza delivery I order. The delivery guys are super nice, and always quick on delivery.

Country Bars

These were old English countryside pubs that served ale with a brief menu. The contemporary forms have diversified the menu vastly, and serve a variety of liquor-based and non-alcoholic drinks. However, most of these have preserved the ambience, with classic wood furniture, light and jovial country music. These often feature live performances and an environment that is suitable to engage in conversations. They are apt for an after-work get-together with friends, where you can sit and chit-chat. The way you dress up should be casual and stylish. A quick party can be planned at these.

Night Clubs

These are the all-time favorites of most people amongst bars. As the name suggests, these are apt for late night parties. The ambience is that of dim lights, dance floors and a professional DJ to get you on the groove. The menu usually enlists a variety of cocktails and mocktails with starters and snacks in the offer. A low-lit interior with neon light bar stools and adept bar tenders are typical of such places. You would want to look your best while going into one of these, so consider putting on your best clothes and visiting a beauty salon to help you groom as you look forward to enjoy the evening. Since the nightclubs are housed within malls, there are various salons and parlors under the same roof to give you a touchup.

Sports Bar

These are specially designed to become ‘the guy thing’ in town. With rustic interiors, classic wood décor and huge plasma screens, these offer the perfect ambience for cool dudes to hang out with their friends. Here you can enjoy your favorite game along with your gang with chilled beer. The big screen experience of viewing your favorite sports and to hang out with friends has made these popular amongst men. You can dress up the way you want to as you are amidst your friends or colleagues. The menu is loaded with fun starters and munchies, along with some filling dishes as well. The variety of beverage is more on the non-alcoholic side with an exception of beer as people go there to enjoy and not to get drunk.