Of Food and Happy Memories

Leave a Comment
There are food that we will always associate with Christmas but the ones that will stand out on a personal level will be those that tickle our taste buds a little more than the rest. Personal food preference can also be a result of a positive experience in the past which evokes happy feelings. My personal holiday food list is more of the latter.

Roasted Chestnuts/ Castanas

If there is any smell that can instantaneously bring me back to my happy childhood Christmas memories, it would be the smell of roasting chestnuts. Images of vendors cooking and selling chestnuts along the sidewalks of Quiapo remain vivid in my mind. For the past several Christmases, I have contented myself in buying from supermarkets but the feeling is not quite the same.

Chinese Cooked Ham

This perennial pining for truly delicious ham, specifically for the Excelente Chinese cooked ham, is still an offshoot of my memories of Quiapo. My late father always made sure that we have it on our Noche Buena table even if we had more than enough food from our own restaurant kitchen. I like it best in thin slices, lightly fried and sprinkled with sugar and partnered with hot pandesal.

Rellenong Bangus/Stuffed Milk Fish

The best rellenong bangus I ever tasted in my life came out of the kitchen of our restaurant, Ambos Mundos. It was not offered regularly to customers and was sold by special order. It is the one viand on the Noche Buena table that I will never say no to.

Chicken Pork Adobo with Liver

I am not really fond of organ meats like liver but I make an exception with this viand. Mashed chicken livers are used to thicken sauce and having them mashed made it a lot easier for me try it and actually like it. The usual adobo we sold in our restaurant had no liver and I usually get to have it during special occasions in our home and family.

Buko Salad

Making the buko salad for Christmas has always been my turf at home. On Christmas Eve morning, the buko will be delivered while the rest of the ingredients have been bought the day before. Once complete, I focus all my energy into it because I had the task of producing a great quantity of it in anticipation of the arrival of our relatives from all over. What I especially like about it are the green and red sago that makes it look so festive. 

So there you go, my personal list of holiday food that I wish I can enjoy especially during Christmas time. I used to exert every effort to have all of them on our own Noche Buena table at home but time and physical constraints usually prevent me. I don't have much luxury of time and energy to prepare them as I remember them. Once I am able to, I hope to add images of my own creation in this post. A trip to Quiapo is just what I need for the first two while some work in the kitchen will be needed for the rest.

Good food and happy memories, they so fit well together.

Max's Innovates Delivery Service to Delight Customers

1 comment
Max's Restaurant has come a long way from its beginnings in 1945. From a small cafe serving chicken, steak, and drinks that gained its strong foothold in the Philippine food service industry courtesy of its delicious, juicy, and crispy fried chicken, it has now become a network of branches and franchises bearing a proud Filipino tradition. Recognizing the vast opportunities in food delivery service. Max's Restaurant has recently relaunched and innovated its delivery service to delight customers.

From Past to Present

Max's Restaurant was conceived in the home of Maximo Gimenez who regularly entertained the American occupation troops stationed in Quezon City whom he befriended after World War II. It was his niece Ruby however who created the special chicken recipe that would make history. Through the years, Max's has continuously sought to serve its customers in more ways than one. Max's Delivery is one such way which allows its customers to order online or via its delivery hotline 7-9000

Nostalgia at its Best

The event that relaunched Max's Restaurant's food delivery service held at Whitespace in Pasong Tamo, Makati last September 18 can be described as nostalgia at its best. From the music, the ladies in 40s outfit and hairdo, and the menu card that reminded us that a whole fried chicken costs only six pesos then, it was a travel to a time when everything was a lot simpler. 


The entertainment numbers were quite impressive...

The program was ably hosted by Iya Villania and the new Max's Delivery jingle was sung to perfection by True Faith lead singer Medwin Marfil...

The top performing branch was awarded with Max's top executives in attendance with the special appearance of Coach Chot Reyes...

The main stars of the event were the Max's Riders who came in full force sporting their new gears and outfit culminating with their recitation of the "Panata ng Isang Max's Rider".

Delight - The Keyword of the Night

There was much emphasis placed on the word "delight" to signify Max's Restaurant's aim to make its food delivery service a delight to their customers. Delight means bringing the service a notch higher through personalized service and quality products.

The Pride of Max's Restaurant

Gourmet Sandwiches of CafeFrance

Leave a Comment
Coffee and food have always been part of the passion of CafeFrance. Bread preparation is something it takes to heart as it chooses to go beyond the usual bread and sandwich preparation as it goes gourmet. It has recently introduced 6 new gourmet sandwiches in addition to its 3 existing offerings. 

What is a Gourmet Sandwich?

By definition, gourmet is closely associated with refined and elaborate preparations of food and drinks. A gourmet sandwich therefore can be said to be the more sophisticated versions of our everyday sandwiches. CafeFrance has been offering at least three gourmet sandwiches before the introduction of its six new variants.

3 Existing CafeFrance Gourmet Sandwiches

Smoked Norwegian Salmon with Lemon Mayo

Succulent pink salmon with lush Lollo Rosa lettuce, fresh tomato, laced with lemon-mayo dressing

Farmer's Ham, Brie, & Raspberry

Farmer's ham, creamy Brie cheese and sweet raspberry jam with fresh tomato and lush Lollo Rosa lettuce

French Dip Roast Beef

Premium choice roast beef slices with luscious French dip

6 New CafeFrance Gourmet Sandwiches

Mandarin BBQ Beef

Tender slices of brisket with a sweet and tangy barbecue citrus sauce, complemented with orange slices

Rib Eye Steak

Sliced, baked rib eye steak in a delectable balsamic garlic sauce, with button mushrooms and shitake mushrooms, with sauteed onions, fresh lettuce and tomatoes

Crispy Shrimp

Crunchy beer-battered plump shrimps smothered in a sweet and tangy honey-mustard sauce with fresh tomatoes and lettuce

Hickory Chicken

Lean, pulled chicken in a luscious barbecue sauce, topped with crunchy alfalfa sprouts

Oriental Baked Chicken

Baked chicken fillet in sweet and spicy garlic sauce, with an omelet, fresh tomatoes, lettuce, and mayonnaise spread

No Meat

Grilled, seasoned white onions, green bell peppers, eggplant and zucchini in olive oil, with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and pesto dressing

Take your pick and get one of the best gourmet sandwich experiences. Check out the CafeFrance Facebook page.

A Real Treat for Popcorn Lovers

1 comment
Popcorn has always been my favorite snack. I like all kinds and will try any, given the chance. Recently, I discovered popcorn from Chicago Popcorn Shops and I love it.

What has gotten me really excited is that I got to know while searching online that their popcorn comes in different flavors and packaging sizes. I saw in their Facebook page that they offer plain, caramel, chocolate, butter, and cheddar cheese flavors. 

I have only tasted one variant in the red tin can so far and it came with a delicious assortment of nuts. It seems that this popcorn has been available for quite a while already and I didn't know it.

This popcorn is only available in their shops usually located at malls. That probably explains it as our family rarely go to malls. The next time we have the chance, I'll ask my mommy if we can try the other flavors. 

She thinks that the popcorn in cans would make very nice gifts to family and friends especially this coming holidays.

This is a real treat for certified popcorn lovers like me.

Krispy Kreme Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Donuts

The Krispy Kreme Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Donuts are now available just in time for the showing of the latest TMNT movie. Last night, my daughter and I were in Greenhills Cinema 7 for the movie's special block screening. What could be better than watching a good movie and eating delicious donuts? 

Limited Offer

These special donuts of course feature the four main characters of the movie: Donatello, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo. They are available from August 4 to September 7 although the movie itself premiered last August 13 only. A box of Krispy Kreme Teeange Mutant Ninja Turtles donuts costs PhP 395.00 or PhP 45.00 each.

Movies and Donuts

While popcorn remains that hands-down favorite movie theater snack food, a lot of other choices have emerged. Moviegoers of today usually have limited time to spare. Thus, it is very common to see people buying more filling snacks like sandwiches, pizza, and donuts, before entering the movies. 

It is interesting to note that luxury theaters in other countries are leaning towards a more gourmet level of theater dining where cooked food such as sliders and flatbreads are being offered. Here in our country, a lot of food items being sold in the movie theater vicinity appeal to children. Food vendors know just how powerful children are in making decisions about what food to buy. The most successful are those that use popular characters in their design on food that by itself can sell based on taste. This is why these Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles donuts from Krispy Kreme are sure to be a hit not only with children but with adults as well.

About the Movie 

This 2014 TMNT movie reboots the film franchise after it was bought by Viacom in 2013. It stars Megan Fox as April O'Neil and is produced by Michael Bay. It is definitely a fun movie and I particularly like the fact that it offers an explanation to the origins of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I have been wondering about that for so long.

Food Ingredients Without Nutritional Value

One of the most important reasons why we take in food is to get properly nourished. That is precisely the reason why we give special attention to the nutritional value of ingredients we use in preparing food we eat. Nutritional value can be defined as the component of an ingredient and the impact it will have inside the human body. 

The ingredients we put in determine what our food will be made of. Do you know that there are at least 10 food ingredients which do not have nutritional value? Here they are:

1. Color Additives (Food Color)

Color additives or food color is added to food for several reasons. One is to offset color loss. Another is to enhance colors that occur naturally. The main reason why there are so many colors used in food is to make them attractive especially for "fun" food targeting children. 

2. Flavor Enhancers 

Flavor enhancers are intended to bring out flavor from meat and vegetables. They are chemical substances used to improve quality and taste of processed food. Monosodium Glutamate or MSG is an example.

3. Emulsifiers

Emulsifiers are chemical additives that work to suspend one liquid in another. These are used to make food more appealing. Without emulsifiers, the oil and water in mayonnaise will separate before it is used rendering it unappealing to eat. 

4. Stabilizers

Stabilizers are likewise chemical additives that work similar to emulsifiers. They help maintain consistent texture in food like margarine, ice cream, and mayonnaise. Pectin and calcium chloride are examples of these.

5. Thickeners

Thickeners make food thicker in consistency. They are mostly based on starches, vegetable gums, and pectin. They are also sometimes referred to as gelling agents.

6. Sweeteners

Sweeteners work to enhance the flavor and texture of food. Non-nutritive sweeteners are much sweeter than sugar. These are the zero or low-calorie alternative to natural sweeteners.

7. Antioxidant

Antioxidants are added to food that contain unsaturated fat to prevent them from turning rancid. 

8. Preservatives

Preservatives are added to food to prevent growth of mold, fungi, and yeast. They are commonly used in cheeses, bakery products, and dried fruit preparations.

9. Curing Salt

Curing salt is used in food preparation to prevent or slow down spoilage. Pink Prague powder is commonly used as it blends well with the color of meat.

10. Ascorbic Acid

Ascorbic acid, more commonly known as Vitamin C, is added to processed food as an antioxidant stabilizer.  

These ingredients which are all chemical additives are included in food preparation primarily for 3 reasons:

1. To improve the appearance of the food
2. To preserve the prepared appearance of the food
3. To prevent or delay spoilage

The inclusion of food additives in manufactured food is closely monitored by the Food and Drug Administration.

The Four Restaurant Types Offered to the Dining Public

Leave a Comment
The dining public has at least four general restaurant types to choose from - Fine Dining, Casual Dining, Fast-Casual, and Quick Service. Each is actually self-explanatory merely by the terms used. It would useful though to take note of the differences between them so you will know exactly what type to look for the next time you decide to dine out.

Fine Dining

Fine Dining restaurants are full-service establishments usually identified with the upscale market. It is true that dining in these establishments usually costs more. This is probably the biggest challenge for fine dining restaurants especially in the face of tight economic conditions. This higher cost though can be attributed to the service style and ambiance provided. 

Personnel working in fine dining restaurants are very well-trained and experienced. The atmosphere denotes elegance and prestige which add to the perceived value of the restaurant and its services. Excellent food presentation, service efficiency, and impressive cleanliness are just some of the elements expected to be seen in  a fine dining restaurant. Anything less will not be deemed worthy of the price.

Casual Dining

Casual dining restaurants present a lower-priced version of a full-service food establishment. The demeanor of restaurant personnel is less formal than in fine dining restaurants but without sacrificing efficiency and professionalism. Because of the less formal atmosphere, families who are still looking for unique food choices find this a preferable restaurant type.

Servers take the order of customers after they are seated by a host. Restaurants belonging to this category usually seek to differentiate themselves from the others through unique themes and food offerings. Competition among restaurants can be very stiff thus the tendency towards specialization.

Fast-Casual Dining  

Fast-casual dining restaurants are considered the mid-range between casual dining and quick-service restaurant in terms of service style and price range. Although almost similar to quick service restaurants in ordering food from a service counter, the quality of food offered by fast-casual dining establishments are often perceived as better. It is the same thing with the offered service.

This type of restaurant attracts a wide base of customers because of the flexibility and relative affordability. Customers generally want to enjoy good food minus the somewhat slow pace of service that characterizes more formal restaurants. They prefer to have the convenience of speedy service.


Quick-service is the equivalent of fast service and maximized convenience. People know this as fast-food restaurants. Customers expect to be served freshly-cooked food sometimes at an instant. Thus, quick-service restaurants typically have made prior preparations for fast cooking.

Some display their complete range of viands in food equipment that continually warms them, ready to be plated upon order. Assembly-line food service also falls under this category which is typical of hamburger chains. This type of restaurant appears to be the most popular choice because of the very hurried pace of living of most people.

Family Heirloom Recipe - Continuing the Tradition

1 comment
Do you have a family heirloom recipe you treasure and guard with your life? You've probably written it somewhere - in a piece of paper, an index card, a notebook perhaps? Some have it in their hearts where it will stay until it is time to pass it on to the next generation.

Sense of Unity

It is such a waste for family heirloom recipes to be buried along with their creators. While many hold on to faded and smudged copies of written recipes, it would be best to pass the knowledge by having the older and younger generation cook together. This way, what is passed on is not limited to recipes as memories and experiences are also created.

Seal of Approval

The fact that a family heirloom recipe is passed on from generation to generation signifies the stamp of approval given by family members. It wouldn't endure that long if it did not carry the family seal of approval.  Younger generations may sometimes try to modify the recipe to make it their own  but the original will always have a special place.

Sentimental Value

More than the monetary value which a family heirloom recipe can represent, it is the sentimental value that families give more weight to. Its flavor and taste evokes nostalgia. It is that one food that will have its presence felt on dinner tables and family members could go on for hours telling stories about it.

Which is Better - Butter or Margarine?

The argument as to whether which is better between butter and margarine continues as each side tries to present supporting proofs of their superiority over the other. This question has been hanging over our heads for quite some time. To help us all come up with a wise choice, here are some interesting information about butter and margarine.


Butter is usually made from cow's milk. It can also be manufactured from other mammals milk like sheep, goat, yak, and buffalo. Margarine is typically made from vegetable oils, water, and sometimes milk. Here lies the contention of why many believe margarine is healthier than butter. Butter contains animal fat thus the notion that it comes with cholesterol and high levels of saturated fat. Not all margarine however are healthy because of the presence of trans fat which has the same effect as saturated fat.


Butter is made by churning fresh or fermented cream or milk. Its color is dependent on the animal feed. Food color is used to produce a color ranging from white to deep yellow. Margarine is produced by emulsifying a blend of vegetable oils and fats. Some refer to this as a "chemical" process as opposed to the "natural" making of butter. It is also dyed yellow to make it more appetizing since it comes out white as lard.


Butter generally fares better in the taste category. Margarine enthusiasts however are quick to point out that taste can adjust for health's sake. Butter fans on the other hand swear by its sublime flavor.

The Butter-Margarine War

The war between butter and margarine has been raging for over 100 years. This is not about to change. The main issues are nutrition, flavor, and the process involved in making them.

Hansel Premium Biscuits: Luxury in Taste and Feel


I have been eating the Hansel Premium Cheese Sandwich for several years now. For the first time though, I ate it in an atmosphere of premium elegance, inside a running hummer limousine, with a goblet of wine on one hand and a Hansel biscuit on the other. This I did while engaging in a relaxing chitchat with representatives of the Republic Biscuit Corporation (Rebisco), the makers of Hansel, and six other bloggers.

I was quite happy to discover that Hansel Premium is also available in the Peanut Butter variant. I haven't seen one in any of the supermarkets and groceries in our area. This is why this bloggers' event organized by Rebisco is quite timely to create more awareness for a product that consumers should really try, that is if they hadn't done so yet.

Hansel Premium biscuits have the advantage of being backed by an established name in the food industry. Rebisco is now going on its 51st year, making not only biscuits but also cakes and breads, nuts and seeds, candies and gums, chips and curls, chocolates, rolled wafers, and gelatin. Its mission: To provide quality snack food that will satisfy the world.

From the very time I tasted the Hansel Premium Cheese Sandwich, I knew it is a cut above the rest. Its taste is comparable to a popular imported brand. Of course, this is not to say that imported brands are better than local brands. The comparison simply points out to the fact that consumers can get products comparable to the taste and quality of international brands for a much lower cost. Most cost-conscious mothers like me who would still like the family to enjoy good food can readily appreciate this option.

It was fun going on this ride. Seeing the many awed stares of the people we passed while riding the hummer limousine was priceless. Many thanks Rebisco for this exciting experience. 

European Culinary Season 2014 at The Aristocrat Restaurant, Manila

Most of the time, we have to travel far and wide just to sample authentic foreign dishes. Fortunately for me, it was not so last June 30. I had the pleasure of attending the European Culinary Season 2014 Culmination at The Aristocrat Restaurant in Roxas Boulevard, Manila and found myself sampling Greek food at its best.

Greek Cooking Demonstration

The event started off with a cooking demonstration by Chef Anthony Kouroustsavouris of the Culinary Institute of Aristocrat. The audience which was mostly made up of culinary students and cooking enthusiasts learned how to prepare Greek salad, shrimp saganaki (appetizer served with shrimp, feta cheese, and tomatoes), chicken pie, and kataifi (a popular Greek pastry made with a special form of shredded phyllo dough). Chef Anthony also shared some tips in the Greek way of food handling.

Enchanting Greek Cocktails

The cooking demonstration was followed by a Fil-Greco cocktail reception hosted by Ms. Priscila Reyes Pacheco, President of the Aristocrat. Lending their presence in this culminating event are EU ambassadors and cultural counselors including EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux as well as chefs and representatives from partner restaurants. Invited guests were treated to sumptuous Greek food comprising of tzatsiki, pita bread, salad, spentsofai, mousaka, and the 4 dishes demonstrated during the cooking demo. Filipino food was represented through The Aristocrat Restaurant's pritson kawali, chicken and pork barbecue. 

No event will be complete without hearing words from the people who made this event possible. Ms. Maryjo Reyes Feraren, Ms. Priscila Reyes Pacheco, and Ambassador Guy Ledoux, each expressed their gratitude for those who have actively participated in the event. Ms. Pacheco also shared her thoughts about how much alike Filipino and Greek food cultures are. Both are family-oriented and special occasions are given much attention to ensure that food is thoroughly enjoyed. 

Rediscovering European Food Culture and Heritage

Every detail was Greek-inspired. From the women clad in Greek muses' attire to the "breaking of plates", the guests were given a glimpse of Greek culture. The European Culinary Season however which ran from May to June 2014 also allowed Filipinos to rediscover European food culture from other countries including Austria, Czech Republic, France,Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Potentials of Culinary Tourism

Culinary tourism refers to trips primarily made by travelers for the purpose of sampling authentic food and beverages identified with a particular place. Since most food can easily be transported from one place to another, culinary tourism throws in the whole package of food experience in an authentic setting. Such experience must be in such magnitude as to make it worthwhile for people to travel and spend.

Image Source

What are some of the reasons why travelers would be willing to take the effort?

Place of Origin

There is something so interesting about getting a specific food in the place which has been identified as its place of origin. Origin connotes authenticity in taste and presentation. In assessing the taste of any food, there is always the tendency to compare it to the original or the acknowledged best.

Place of Rebirth

It can happen that an existing food can be resurrected in some other place with some modification or innovation. Sometimes the results can be better than the original. It can also be a cultural variation that has managed to gain prominence.

Place of Total Experience

If there is one thing that cannot be completely approximated in a different setting, it is the total experience of authentic cooking, culture, people, and many other unseen factors. This provides the greatest motivation for culinary travelers to come and visit. The main goal is to pursue unique and drinking experiences that cannot be equaled. 

Know Your Food Facts and Fallacies

Food is certainly a favorite topic of human beings. This is not at all surprising, considering that it is part of our everyday lives whether for survival or enjoyment. It is important that we know how to differentiate between food facts and fallacies so we will be guided accordingly with our choices.

Image Source

Here are some of the reasons why:

To Be Safe

When a food fad hits the market, the tendency for most people is to ride in the bandwagon. Delightful eating experiences have often resulted from trying something new and this isn't a bad thing. Consumers will have to be more discriminating however with newly introduced food that comes with some health benefit claims. While most would be relatively harmless and could be merely a promotional hype, some claims can be deadly.

To Avoid Unnecessary Deprivation

It is highly possible that many of us are unnecessarily depriving ourselves of enjoying or benefiting from certain food items due to misinformation. In the same manner that we are careful with what we take in our body, we should likewise be more scrutinizing of any food before we outrightly reject it. This would entail doing some research and asking around for personal experiences from other people.

To Know

We'll never really know when we will be able to use food information we have come across in our readings or interacting with other people. What is important is that the information is already there for the picking. Knowing is power.

Grocery Shopping as a Family Activity

Once upon a time, weekend marketing or grocery shopping was a task performed by the primary homemaker in a household. Today, that is no longer strictly true. A typical grocery day will have families, even with the youngest member, in tow. 

Image Source

This interesting development has much to do with the immense improvement in the set-up of supermarkets. They do not only sell everything under the sun. They also do so in a very comfortable ambiance usually within a mall. Thus grocery shopping has become an enjoyable family activity, almost akin to a toned-down shopping spree for food and household necessities.

So what has this resulted to?

Democratized Decision-Making

Children, no matter what age have learned to exert their influence on what to buy. Parents or the mother no longer have the sole power to choose. This can go both ways depending on the budget and the children's insistence for a preferred item.

Highly-Targeted Promotion

The packaging of products, the sample booths on the side, and the give-away items attached to products all aim for one thing - for the products to be bought by consumers. Most will be targeting either the whole family or particular members of the family. Manufacturers try to second-guess how purchasing decisions are made in groceries and supermarkets resulting to highly-targeted promotion towards the family.

Centralized Convenience

Almost everything can now be bought in groceries and supermarkets. Families need not go to different stores for their every need except for the highly specialized ones. What they don't find inside the grocery, they will surely find within the mall. This has given families more time to spend together while having the opportunity to decide as a group what to fill their cart with.

Eating Out: Signs of the Times?

No, we're not referring to any religious meaning when we ask this question. Rather, we are asking if eating out is actually just a manifestation of how the eating habits of people living in the modern times have been revolutionized. Why are more and more people choosing to eat out instead of dining at home?

There are several reasons why:


What could be more convenient than hauling your family to the nearest restaurant and just ordering away according to individual preferences? No cooking, washing, and cleaning up after, right? We are living in a time when 24 hours just don't seem enough to get everything done so every form of convenience is welcome.


Wouldn't it be fantastic to have every choice of cuisine available to us? While we can have this as well at home, it does require more effort and preparation. Thinking of how to come up with at least 3 balanced meals a day is challenging enough but creating variety for family food can really be difficult especially if the homemaker is also holding a regular job.

Special Occasions

This is not of course to say that home-cooked food is not good enough for special occasions. Most of the times though, special occasions also require the homemaker to have some time off cooking and preparing food for the family. Eating out on special occasions relieves one person of the burden of having to attend to everything. After all, special occasions should be for every member of the family or group. There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying a different ambiance and good restaurant service once in a while.

Signs of the Times

Preference for eating out is one of the signs of the times indeed. Many individuals and families are rushing all throughout the weekdays thus eating out or buying cooked food to go can be the easiest option. Households however need to be conscious of its effect in the budget. One other major consideration is ensuring that the family's health is not compromised with our choices.