An evening of elegance and excellence at Xiu Fine Cantonese Dining

Welcome to Xiu Fine Cantonese Dining

The older I grow, the more I appreciate the art of fine dining. A lot of people turn away from it because they look only at the monetary aspect, but they forget that the best food always comes with a price. It’s only fair after all. When you use the best cuts of meat, the best kinds of seafood, expel so much effort to make the smallest things from scratch, it’s worth so much more than things you can buy from a supermarket.

However, the promise of a fine dining experience is not always worth it since many restaurants sadly do not execute it well. And that is the biggest test for Xiu Fine Cantonese Dining.

Xiu Fine Cantonese Dining is yet another brainchild of HTCG Premium Food Concepts, which over the years has found much success with their always packed mall restaurants: Lugang Cafe and Tuan Tuan Chinese Brasserie. This time they’re venturing into the fine-dining arena, and with what I’ve experienced in their other restaurants I was quite optimistic about this one, to say the least.

Their goal is simple: To give you a fine and authentic Cantonese dining experience without the need to fly all the way to “Gourmet Paradise” Hong Kong.

At a glance, you instantly know HTCG have really stepped up their game with Xiu Fine Cantonese Dining. Every inch of the restaurant is exquisite, embodying its name– Xiu 秀– which is the Chinese word for ‘elegant’.

Of course, the mark of a restaurant more than its decor is the food, as well as the service. I saw that there was a healthy number of staff milling about the tables while the guests slowly came in this evening. They were attentive and quick on their feet, moving with a grace that befitted the restaurant’s ambiance.

I spent quite a bit of time photographing the picturesque ground floor. The paintings and the wall decor all came together to exude refinement and luxury while not forgetting to lend a bit of warmth at the same time. Old-World charm was successfully combined with modern elements, and Asian elements like the Chinese phoenix make an appearance as well, to symbolize harmony and virtue.
Read about the Fine Cantonese food at Xiu! >>

DeLonghi PrimaDonna Elite puts coffee making at the palm of your hand


I’ve been a lover of coffee since that first time I got a taste of it. Only, the difference between then and now is that my more mature mind has caused me to become more curious. As with everything that I’ve been discovering in the world of food, I’ve gone from the mere act of enjoying to actually wanting to learn about the where’s and how’s and why’s.

In the past, I was obliviously just drinking coffee, but now I find myself searching for the best brands and roasts, and actually wanting to learn things about coffee. How is it produced? What beans possess the best aroma and earthy flavour? Heck, I’ve gone so far as to wonder if I have it in me to learn latté art! Learning about coffee is in my foodie must-do list for sure.

This was one of the reasons why I was so game to attend the DeLonghi PrimaDonna Elita launch. As we all know, DeLonghi is a top brand when you talk about coffee machines. Creating a coffee machine that is able to fully capture the essence of a particular coffee bean or roast is tough and requires a lot of understanding of coffee, so I figured DeLonghi might be able to share with me some tips. Or at the very least, it would be able to satisfy my cravings for a good cuppa.

Well I was not disappointed, both in the coffee I drank that afternoon and the machines that the coffee came out of. In fact I was pretty impressed with the technology of DeLonghi coffee machines. Each one of them is fully automatic, and the buttons are laid out in an uncomplicated manner. All the models look sleek, well-built, and shiny– basically the kind of kitchen appliance you lust after if you, like me, have an idea of what your dream kitchen would look like. (Hint: Filled with shiny things haha!)

Since I still had a bit of time before the main event, I couldn’t resist making my way towards the row of coffee machines displayed at one side of the venue. I was very excited to see how one machine could do what baristas created by flitting from one station to another.

Technically, if you owned one of these DeLonghi Coffee Machines, you don’t even need to move. Just fill the machine with coffee beans and milk, and watch as it creates coffee customized to your liking with just a push of the button!
More coffee talk with DeLonghi! >>

I could munch on these Lemon Pistachio Cornmeal Muffins all day

Lemon Pistachio Corn Muffins 1

I can’t remember the last time I did anything for the sake of purely unwinding.

Lately I’ve forgotten how to allow myself to relax. I mean, I still do many of the things that I consider my relaxation activities, but I haven’t been doing them whole heartedly in a while. I’m always multi-tasking; always thinking up ways to squeeze in work or blogging when I’m supposed to be unwinding.

Before, I could read or draw for hours on end, thinking about nothing but the words or the lines. I had no troubles surrendering my mind to the world of whatever I’m reading or drawing without distraction. Recently, every time I’ve started a book or a sketch I can’t last even an hour before I think I need to do something for the blog. Even though I’ve done more than enough for the week.

For whatever reason, I keep thinking I have to keep abreast of the passing time every moment I’m awake. I keep thinking I have to be working on things at the same time to accomplish more. But I keep realizing every time I stretch myself too thin that time is impossible to chase down.

So now I’m constantly drained of energy. My unnecessary exhaustion has been turning me into a zombie at night and a cranky old hag in the morning. I’ve always known being a workaholic when it comes to things I’m passionate about is my tendency, and I like to keep myself busy all the time. If only nonstop work work working will earn me as much as Rihanna or Fifth Harmony does just by singing those words. When did I lose the ability to know when to stop?

The good new is I seem to have found a little compromise to this problem of mine when I opened up a cookbook again in the past week. My intention was to catalogue the recipes I wanted to try or tinker with for the blog, but I had forgotten how much poring through my cookbooks betters my mood. They inspire and motivate me, and it just feels so damn good to stare at those food photos. Relaxation under the guise of work! 😁

One of my favourite cookbooks of all time is Baked Elements by the duo from Baked NYC. This cookbook in particular features recipes based on their 10 favourite ingredients, which are mostly my own favourite ingredients too! It’s why I love looking through this book so much.

Unfortunately I was not able to pay a visit to their bakery during my previous trip to New York, but I’m happy that owning their cookbooks makes me feel like their goodies are at arm’s reach. But what I really admire about the Baked boys is how they have such unique takes on classic baked goods, and the twists they add are so clever and tasty!

They have the ability to turn something simple like corn muffins we eat without a second thought into more attention-grabbing Lemon Pistachio Cornmeal Muffins, just by mixing in things you normally wouldn’t imagine to.
Get the recipe! >>

Bringing love to the kitchen with Nestle All Purpose Cream #CreateWithCream

Nestle AP Cream 1

Food has always played a distinctive role in society. On a bigger scale, it’s something that identifies specific cultures or groups of people. In everyday occasions however, it’s simply something you prepare at home for your loved ones to enjoy.

I’ve always felt that food is one of the best ways to express affection. It’s something painstakingly prepared, well thought out, seasoned with love. I know it sounds kind of cheesy, but it’s the truth: There’s no simpler way to say ‘I love you’ than cooking for someone. I really have to agree on that one.

Thankfully, Nestle and I seem to be on the same page on that aspect. In fact they believe in that idea so much they even organized an event last July 9 to help us bloggers increase our repertoire of dishes, so that we may have more things to cook for our loved ones. So that we may have more ways to say ‘I love you’ beyond words.

To help us do just that is the No.1 Cream, Nestle All Purpose Cream. What the ‘Create With Cream’ slogan encourages us to do is to think up creative ways to add a twist to old favourites by incorporating Nestle All Purpose Cream into the recipe. And apparently we were going to be in for a nice surprise today!

The event was held on a rather rainy Saturday morning, but the mood inside the Blue Leaf Events Place in Taguig was rather bright and energetic. I took my bestie and usual partner-in-crime Gilbert (his blog here!) with me, and as expected, the first thing he approached after snapping some photos of the venue was the snack bar!

It’s always a pleasure to bring someone who appreciates food as much as Gilbert to any food-related event. He enjoys food with more gusto than anyone else I know. To tell you the truth, he returned to the snack bar twice before the event went into full swing!

Some of the snacks here were actually made using Nestle All Purpose Cream, such as the dips for the melba toasts and the filling for the sandwiches. You could ask Gilbert and he would tell you they were tasty enough to merit a round 2! I took this as a good sign of what was to come, because if the snacks were yummy already, what more the highlight dish of the day?
Let’s Create With Cream! >>