My life. Your resource.

{October 22, 2010}   Thoughts about Max’s Restaurant

Max’s of Manila to me was a rest stop on our way to visit family after a 20+hour flight into Manila from the New York City area. It served Filipino dishes, but it is most known in the Philippines for its fried chicken recipe.  It is sometimes playfully called “The House that Chicken Built.”

Because California and Hawaii have much larger Filipino populations compared to New York, Max’s followed its clientele to open up stores throughout the two states.  As a Filipino-American living in New York City, I always felt that when it came to serving our community in the east coast, we were always getting the short end of the stick.   ABS-CBN, Jollibee, and Max’s are examples of those establishments that catered mainly to California Filipinos, while here in New York, we were years behind, but luckily, locally owned Filipino businesses catered to our needs.

Well, Max’s is now open in Jersey City!  After much anticipation, I finally had the luxury of attending last night for dinner.  It was all that I had expected, and was happy to see that the locals were flocking to check it out.  I ordered their pancit canton, which was delicious, and along with it, I had a San Miguel and a halo-halo for desert.  Very typical Fil-Am–yes, it was!  The restaurant is currently in its soft-opening phase, but they are ready and able to serve their full menu.  The portions are of family size, and therefore, I could not eat my entire plate of pancit, so I ended up taking it home that night.  I do highly recommend you go.  This is a must-visit venue if you are ever in the Philippines, but for now, you don’t need to go there if you want to sample dishes that are a part of the Filipino way of life.

I do caution however for you to wait a few more weeks before going.  The soft-opening period is also a time for them to make the necessary adjustments so that they can run a more efficient establishment.

Max’s of Manila is located at 687 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ

(201) 798-2700


Okay, so that was a little corny.  It’s been ages since I’ve entered a post, but after coming back from “My Little Secret,” a speakeasy that recently opened in Manhattan’s Little Italy, I found the inspiration to write again.

Located on 149 Mulberry Street, you won’t find this place if you are looking for a sign that reads “My Little Secret ” because it’s a speakeasy.   Rather, you need to look for a big burly bouncer standing by a red velvet rope that opens to a staircase leading to a basement entrance.  There is no secret knock, or code to get in.   Once you’re inside, you will find yourself in a bar with low ceilings and the ambiance of a wine cellar noted by the wooden barrels on the wall.

Basement Entrance to My Little Secret. Photo Courtesy of B. Teh

Photo by B.Teh

They have a unique cocktail menu with each drink costing $13.  Wine and beer is also available.  Try the “Smoking Secret Cocktail” which consists of Mekhong, Domaine de Canton, honey, Fee Brothers and Angostura Bittters.  I liked this drink because it didn’t have the usual syrupy sweetness that I find when I drink Cosmos and Martinis.

The waitstaff was friendly and very accommodating.  They even shared with us an additional secret to the venue, but I won’t give it away, you have to speak to Vinnie or Daniela.

My Little Secret is located on:

149 Mulberry Street; 646-448-4535;

I love Atlantic City.  It’s a place where I can bridge my love for being by the seaside with the comforts of urban living.  I can choose to bask in the sun at the beach, or enjoy a night out at one of the many hotel bars and lounges.  I don’t very much care for the gambling, but the option of shopping, spas and restaurants motivates me to return to this New Jersey city periodically.

On this most recent trip, I discovered two places in the Tropicana Hotel and Casino.  They are Alto Vino and Red Square.

Alto Vino is the newest addition to the Tropicana’s menu of things to experience apart from gambling.  Located on the the top of the North Tower, it offers wine from the world’s leading producing nations, California, and New Jersey.  Yes!  New Jersey produces wine.   To complement your wine, charcuterie, cheeses, and desserts ranging from $3-$6.  You can sip wine and admire the view as this wine bar boasts one of the best views of the Atlantic Ocean and Boardwalk.

At Alto, I tried New Jersey red wine produced by Tomasello Winery.   I am familiar with their product, but can only find it South of Middlesex County.  I also ordered a prosciutto and helped myself to cheese at the bar–it was complimentary that night.

At Red Square, located at the base of the Trop’s Havana Tower, I dropped by briefly to sample their Chocolate Martini.   At the entrance, you will be confronted by Lenin’s statue, its likeness not at all intimidating as the larger-than-life original formerly located in Moscow’s Red Square.  It has an encyclopedic selection of vodkas from around the world and boasts a frozen bar and a vodka vault.  You can order entrees and caviar if you are having a craving for a little luxury.   If you want to expand your vodka vocabulary beyond Grey Goose, Absolut, and Stoli, try their sample flights.  You will learn about less familiar brands that only a connoisseur would know.

For more information on Alto or Red Square, please visit:

et cetera