Where dates, breakups and marriage proposals happened | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Quel Acuin documents one of her Chocolate Kiss dates.

(Second of a series)

This week, more customers share their favorite moments in the beloved University of the Philippines (UP) restaurant which is saying goodbye after 23 years.

Karl de Leon
Wedding photographer

For De Leon, The Chocolate Kiss is a second office.

Chocolate Kiss was like a second home. We’d pop in and we’d be greeted by familiar faces of the staff and Chocolate Kiss regulars. We’ve celebrated birthdays, reunions, baptisms at Chocolate Kiss. When our kids started preschool on campus, Chocolate Kiss would be our second office, too. With school schedules overlapping, we would be there from morning until afternoon; sometimes we’d go back in the evening and have a get-together with friends. Literally, we would be there the whole day.

My favorite thing to order was the gamberi or the taco salad and always a bottomless iced tea. The kids loved the Chix in a Basket or molo soup. My wife loved the beef stroganoff and pesto penne with chicken.

For the cakes, we usually ordered the Kahlua, devil’s food cake and queso chiffon.

They just launched a Maroon breakfast plate, and I was looking forward to having it become a breakfast regular.

What we would miss most is the tambay time, grabbing breakfast after a morning walk, sipping on bottomless iced tea, and bumping into friends.

Mimi Abesamis and Karl de Leon celebrate their son Kalvin’s first birthday at The Chocolate Kiss.

Mimi Abesamis
Wedding photographer

Heard about Chocolate Kiss closing a few days ago, but was still in denial. Our family of four grew up in that place.

Our favorite table was the second to the last window table. Karl, my then boyfriend and now husband, was sitting there in that exact same spot on my birthday in 1997, with a dozen or so red roses in—wait for it—a vase! That was my fondest memory of Chocolate Kiss.

We’ll miss their food that always brought comfort to us, and their staff who already knew our usuals at may iced tea na agad sa lamesa.

You were our go-to tambay place and default choice for kitakits with UP friends. Salamat, The Chocolate Kiss Café.

Ron Gerald Cabug
Finance senior manager, Procter & Gamble

Ron Gerald Cabug and The Chocolate Kiss celebrated their 18th birthday at the same time.

I got introduced to Chockiss when I was a freshie in UP. Predictably, I tried their famous devil’s food cake which later became my guilty pleasure, aside from their fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs. I would reward myself after six-hour-long accounting exams or share a slice with a friend over a cup of coffee while catching up about uni life. Sometimes we would eat by the track oval behind the restaurant when the sun was about to set. I also celebrated my 18th birthday there, which coincidentally was also the 18th year of Chockiss. Even in the five years that followed after graduation, I found myself always stopping by the restaurant and grabbing a bite whenever I was in the campus.

Thank you for the fond memories, Chockiss. You will be missed.

Jorja Almendrala-Molina

Jorja Almendrala-Molina and friends at The Chocolate Kiss

The Chocolate Kiss is one of my favorite hangout places with our friends from the south. We have celebrated so many occasions with them. We’ll surely miss chicken a la Kiev and devil’s food cake and most especially their kind workers.

Paolo Aguas
Digital marketing manager

It was my first time in the UP Diliman campus and a friend told me that there was this excellent café in the Bahay ng Alumni, and so we went. We had the sans rival and the butter cake. Aside from the excellent cakes, I will miss the ambiance and the design of the place. It’s something that I’ll never forget.

Quel Acuin
Mom of Luna

Quel Acuin documents one of her Chocolate Kiss dates.

Chocolate Kiss has been a big part of my life since I started college life in UP. The iced tea and the blueberry cheesecake became my instant favorites. Whether it was a bad day in school or a good one, I always found a reason to get a slice or two of their cheesecake and bring it back with me to my org tambayan at the Engineering building. Eventually, I learned to love their other cakes, too.

Chockiss also became the hangout lunch place of my high school best friends who were studying in different universities. Despite the distance and the different schedules, every end of the semester we always found a common free time to spend lunchtime and the rest of the afternoon just catching up with each other. Chicken a la Kiev, Chix in a Basket and the taco salad were my usual orders—along with a dozen refills of the iced tea, of course.

After graduating, it was an annual date place where I always ended up taking photos of the food instead of my date. Life has become busier as I’ve gotten older and more recently, I’ve always found time to order cakes to go. I’ll definitely miss catching up with dear friends in Chockiss and ordering my favorites. Best of all, I will definitely miss the homey service they always provided since I first stepped in Chockiss back in 2002.

Thank you so much, Chocolate Kiss. You will definitely be missed!

Jennie Agcaoili
UP alumna and owner and founder of Plant Project PH

Jennie Agcaoili (center) with friends

Writing a tribute for Chocolate Kiss made me look back at the beautiful memories built there through the years. Its walls had heard our conversations seasoned with hope, dreams, rants, cries, laughter, and even recollections of when life was simple and all I knew were beef stroganoff and bottomless iced tea. Chocolate Kiss had been there for me through thick and thin, literally and figuratively. There were many memories at UP Naming Mahal tucked in that beautiful and memorable spot.

Chocolate Kiss is Tatak UP for every Isko and Iska. I remember having lunch at Chocolate Kiss after my Saturday classes at NCPAG (National College of Public Administration and Governance) when I was already taking up my graduate studies. Back when I was in college, Chocolate Kiss was quite intimidating when my money was just enough for my lunch, photocopying of readings and fare for my jeepney and FX ride. The moment I stepped into Chocolate Kiss after college, I knew that somehow I was a step closer to my dreams.

Chocolate Kiss became my go-to place to celebrate special occasions with family and friends or for eating after a long walk at the campus.

One of the most memorable Valentine’s Days I ever had in my life was at Chocolate Kiss. My close friend reserved a table for our single ladies Valentine’s date. A marriage proposal happened right beside our table.

Chocolate Kiss and the memories we shared there will forever be etched in our hearts.

Clarisse Faith Buday
Research associate, Center for Research and Communication

Chockiss was my safe haven during my stay in the university. As a dormer who had been away from my family for most of my undergraduate years, I found that their cakes were the best cure for my homesickness.

I used to set aside a portion of my salary as a working student to treat myself to a delicious meal there. But the most memorable moment I had was during my father’s first death anniversary. My best friend, who knows very well that I was feeling down that day, treated me to a slice of their blueberry cheesecake. When she asked why I suddenly started crying, I said, “This cake is just too good.”

It’s disheartening that Chockiss is closing.

Gari A. Acolola
Researcher and graphic designer

Chocolate Kiss has been an integral part of my life even before I became a student in UP and after I graduated, too. As a child I’d spend hearty meals with my Isko parents. As an undergraduate and now researcher, I’d study all afternoon by the window and hold meetings at night. On top of the yummy food (Devil’s food cake! Unli iced tea! Spinach dip! Salisbury!), friendly service and homey atmosphere, it bore witness to happy memories with plenty of loved ones—lunch dates with crushes in between classes, coffee runs and meriendas with wise mentors and profs, endless kwentuhan with barkadas and org mates, and rare celebratory dinners with family.

Thank you Chockiss for being everyone’s go-to. We love you!

Liezl R. Stuart del Rosario
UP Diliman alumna

One of my fondest memories of the café was when my closest girl friends and I had dinner there, then dessert and many rounds of coffee until we were asked nicely to “lounge around” their waitinng area because it was closing time already. We were taking our sweet time chewing over love, life and other existential issues we were facing then. We thought conversations like these were best held in Chocolate Kiss. And oh, my second breakup (2007) took place here also, over Kahlua butter cake and coffee.

I personally love the small Kiss Suite, a sampler of their classic cakes. I will miss the food, the friendly service crew with genuine smiles on their faces, and the sweet (and bittersweet moments) Chocolate Kiss has always offered.

Cathy Rosel
Recruitment manager

Cathy Rosel’s photo of the famous iced tea

I was so saddened when I heard the news that one of my favorite go-to restaurants would be closing its doors after serving nothing but good stuff for more than two decades.

It was the late ’90s when I first dined at Chocolate Kiss. Over the years, I still went back even though so many restaurants had opened everywhere.

What I loved about that place aside from the food was that after all those years, the quality didn’t change. Everything I ordered always left me satisfied.

But good food isn’t the only key in making a restaurant successful; it’s the service, as well. Familiar people always attended to my dining needs. The people behind Chocolate Kiss valued everything, from the quality of food that they served down to the people.

I’m going to miss the dishes that put a smile on my face whenever I felt down. I’m going to miss the opportunity to spend quality time and important events with people I care about in front of a feast. And I’m going to miss terribly the fact that fantastic, first-rate meals don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg; they just had to be prepared with passion and love.

Before we say goodbye, I want to say thank you for filling our tummies and hearts with love especially with my favorite dishes: french onion soup, chicken fingers, baked potato, hickory spareribs, kalbi chim, chicken a la Kiev, bottomless home brewed iced tea and chocolate chip cheesecake. I still believe that this isn’t a real goodbye, but more of “I’ll be seeing you around.”

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