Saturday, October 12, 2013

Chef Lau Introduces Max's Dinner Specials : A Festive Evening of Great Food and Heartwarming Stories

Wazzup Pilipinas!

October 15 will be a very special day for Max's Restaurant customers as this will be the first day when Max's Dinner Specials will be available to most of its restaurants.

Many will soon be able to taste the truly special dishes conceptualized by Rockstar Chef Rolando Laudico, more popularly known as Chef Lau.Yeah!, that long-haired guy, alongside celebrity Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo and other Filipino Chefs Fern Aracama and JP Anglo, in the previous hit cooking reality show called Junior MasterChef Pinoy Edition, an ABS-CBN spin-off based on MasterChef, featuring Filipino contestants aged 8 to 12.

Max's Dinner Specials were revealed to a few members of the media during a very rainy night that reached already Typhoon Signal No. 2. We were fortunate to be spending the night with a celebrity culinary expert who doesn't only know how to cook but is a great story-teller as well. We were actually entertained by his interesting life story and how he infused humor so naturally.

Max's now has a few more "Sarap-to-the Bones" delicacies adding to their existing heirloom dishes like Fried Chicken, Kare-Kare, and Crispy Pata which people have loved throughout the years.

Max's was actually my very first commercial restaurant that I got to try when I was still a student. I could still remember fond memories of my first dining experience at their Greenbelt branch. It was the very first fried chicken that I got to know, and is still frequently a lunch or dinner favorite every time we hunger for some chicken meal. We now often visit their Megamall branch after our mall shopping with my wife and kids.


More videos of Chef Lau will be uploaded soon at the YouTube channel of Pinoy tekkie

I really loved their existing dishes, especially their fresh lumpia next to the ever so delicious fried chicken, so much that I chose them to be the reception venue for my first new-born's Christening or Baptism a few years back.

There are really so many great reasons why Max's Restaurant is still the number one choice for affordable Filipino meals that is perfect for the budget. Though I am into food review, and have tasted many similar dishes from many providers already, every now and then, I still keep coming back to the very first chicken that made such an impact on my life. You could say that there is a sentimental value (that's confirmed), I would also say that it was a very special moment because their dishes were the very first set of meals that I really appreciated.

Now Max's, with the help of Rockstar Chef Lau,  introduces an "opulent aray of mouth-watering meals for its avid diners with highly discriminating taste". Chef Lau takes inspiration from Max's world-famous Fried Chicken recipe to come up with other dishes that would complement our favorite fried chicken.

We started the evening munching on deep-fried yellow sweet potato or "kamote" chips spiced with tamarind or "sampalok". They are calling this the Tamarind Spiced Sweet Potato Chips. It was definitely something new for me since their traditional peanuts ("mani") and kamote fries were only using salt and sugar to taste. The distinct taste of sourness from the tamarind made the chips extra special.

This is the first time I really enjoyed an entire salad dish. The Ensaladang Pinoy with Bagoong Vinaigrette was an awesome combination of fresh lettuce, ripe tomatoes, oninons, julienned green mangoes, singkamas, basil leaves, and grilled eggplants made more flavorful with "bagoong" vinaigrette.

The Creamy Chorizo Pasta was served next along with the Seafood Tinapa Pasta.

I also experiment on new ways of cooking spaghetti and have tried using smoked fish or "tinapa", sardines, mushroom,  instead of the traditional hotdog and ground beef.

The creamy sauce of Spanish chorizo sauteed in extra virgin oil, garlic, onions and fresh eggs and highlighted by Parmesan cheese and basil leaves on top brought out a flavorful Creamy Chorizo pasta dish.

The Seafood Tinapa Pasta uses smoked milkfish or "Bangus" as the primary taste complemented by other sea favorites like shrimp and squid then sauteed in extra virgin oil, garlic, onions, red and green bell pepper, fresh tomatoes, and chopped siling labuyo. This is also topped with Parmesan cheese and thinly sliced fresh basil leaves. I loved how the siling labuyo bits added the minimum amount of spice. Plus the serving was indeed large enough to satisfy a hungry stomach.

They say each serving of the two dishes is good enough for four, but I wouldn't tire of eating an entire plateful of these pasta.

The Adobo Fried Rice has pan-fried pork belly bits, diced salted eggs or "itlog na maalat", fresh tomatoes and sprinkled with chopped spring onions. The "sinangag" is sauteed in garlic and seasoned adobo sauce. Though I admire attempt to come out with something new to spice up the Filipino staple food, I like my fried rice with crunchy ingredients and not sauced to make it all soggy. I guess with the delightful taste of the viands, matching it with flavored rice will be distracting to the taste of the other meals.

In fairness, I like my rice plain so I could really appreciate the taste of the viands, so I am biased to plain rice rather than fried rice. Though when ate by itself, the Adobo Fried Rice can do without any other dish and can stand on its own successfully. The best partner would be the Original Fried Chicken which complements with the taste.

Though the Original Fried Chicken is not part of the new dishes, it was still served because it is no doubt the real star of the show. I wouldn't get tired of eating this especially the spring chicken. It was the fried chicken that made Max's famous, and its still the reason why people keep coming back to their restaurant.

Now joining the ranks of the Crispy Pata and Kaldereta is a new dish that would definitely be a new favorite for me. The Beer-Braised Pata Tim or slow-cooked pork pata marinated in savory beer, soy-based sauce, special spices and dried banana blossoms was heavenly.

Indulge on the soft meat that easily gets off from the bone, and the wonderful taste we loved with braised-beef recipes. If I was not watching my diet, I swear I could have eaten more. There is truth in the saying that most tasty dishes are the most life-threatening if over-eaten.

The 7th dish was supposed to be the Grilled Salmon Head and Belly but it was not available that night. The fish parts immersed in traditional inasal marinade and served with soy vinegar dipping sauce with a zest of atchara. I will be returning to Max's to try it out as soon as it is available on the 15th of October.

I am actually grateful already for the opportunity to try out for the first time the new Max's Dinner Specials. It was a night that will be added to my fond memories. It was an honor to hang-out with Rockstar Chef Lau who shared with us stories about how he started back then at his first job, meeting his wife, asking permission from his wife's mom,  working with Judy Ann and the other chefs at the reality show, and a lot more were somehow inspirational even though they were humorous.

What is admirable about him is that he is generously sharing the stories with people he met for the first time to inspire us that everything can come out well and all right if you keep the persistence and the sincerity to do your best no matter what. Though he had some frustrations in his life, he continued to go after his dreams and believed in himself despite all odds. No grouchy boss, shameless kitchen crew, or fear for her mother-in-law will bring him down.

We were also served with four kinds of dessert to cap off our meal by serving us with their dessert sampler.

The Ube Creme Decadence is one of the more popular Italian desserts that literally means "cooked cream." It is light, smooth, creamy egg-less custard with ube halaya (purple yam) filling served cold, topped with ube cake crumbs. This has to be my faborite among the four that was served to us since the buko-pandan, leche plan, and ice cream were already some of the common desserts that I usually encounter.

The Buko Pandan  is a refreshing dessert made of fresh buko strips, green gulaman and cooked tapioca. It is then flavored with sugar & pandan to give that appetizing aroma.

This is ice cream with a caramel bar at the bottom plus a chocolate wafer stick on top.

The Leche Plan was a creamy and rich, melt-in-your-mouth dessert made from egg yolks and milk topped with sweet caramel syrup.

Just like Max's Dinner Specials, if its truly great, it will surely mark its taste to the Filipino people as gastronomical delights that could even become great conversational topics while everyone dine with friends, families and colleagues enjoying the palatable flavors of these premium dinner feasts.

Thank you to the Max's management for inviting us to this wonderful event. Thank you Chef Lau for sharing with us a piece of yourself.

Be sure to drop by the nearest Max's restaurant as soon as the 15th of October hits. You will not be disappointed.

Watch out for more announcements at the Max's Restaurant Facebok page :

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