Monthly Archives: July 2017

Putting Up A Resto

My grandfather used to say that if you are planning to put up a business, always put up one that concerns food because they never come up empty handed. And its true, people always have to eat and somebody hungry is bound to find your restaurant sooner or later. In this article, we will discuss how to put up a restaurant business.

The first thing that you have to decide on that would be crucial to your restaurant would be the target customers. Would you go for the class A or the rich and famous who do not have to worry about maintaining a job? Or maybe you want to target the class B or the middle class. Or maybe you want to target the class D or the blue-collar types.

Once you have decided your target population, you could now find a suitable site or location for your restaurant. Of course, it is suitable to locate your restaurant at the business section of the city or town you are in. If you are targeting the class B to class C, then its suitable if your location is accessible from the street. It should be somewhere between a bus or subway station and a business district. Somewhere there is pedestrian traffic so that your restaurant sign would serve as subliminal advertisement for people passing by it.

Once you have found a suitable location, let an architect or an interior designer draw up plans for the place. They would know how to arrange the components so that the orientation is satisfactory. You are going to need dining furniture. Not the type for residential dining rooms but tables and chairs, usually seating four. You can also go for the cubicle type seating wherein back-to-back seats are interspersed with tables. There is also a circular arrangement for cubicle seating.

The lighting is very important since it helps to create ambiance. Dramatic lighting can be achieved with spot lights and other mood lighting. An over-all theme should be created that will be consistent in every aspect of the restaurant. For example, you choose to utilize a minimalistic Zen design. The colors chosen would be black and white with accents of red. The tables and chairs should be colored black and white alternately then maybe some sort of red cloth would be placed on the table-tops to achieve that red accent. That would also follow with the napkins, alternate black and white with red trim and so on and so forth.

Secrets to Premium Grilled Food

Despite the rapid upsurge of restaurants that serve grilled food in the metropolis and different provinces, Congo Grille remains to be one of the favorites of families and office yuppies since it holds the secret to premium grilled food. From a typical Filipino restaurant seven years ago, Congo Grille has gone global in terms of the food it serves which its loyal patrons would describe as first-rate, generous and affordable. “Compared to other grilling resto, we make it a point to add a premium on every serving. We serve the biggest portion of crispy pata and inihaw na pusit. You pay the same price but get a bigger portion or serving of the food that you order for,” explains Dex Frayco, kitchen operations manager of Congo Grille.

Each of the 240 items listed on Congo’s menu, most of which came from the customers, is guaranteed to satisfy three to four persons who need not worry about forking out big bucks.

“We have a ‘customer comment card’ which customers fill up whenever they dine at Congo. We consolidate their suggestions in our monthly meeting then we study whatever is predominant and improve that,” adds Frayco. Because of constant and tireless monitorship of what Congo’s customers want, Frayco and everybody else running Congo Grille discovered that people can’t get enough of their sizzling delights such as Pork Sisig which is priced at P160, Baked New Zealand Mussels cooked in cheese, garlic butter and Rockefeller Sauce (P260), and Congo Rice topped with calamares, spring onions, dried ginger and rye (P160). Other Congo favorites are Tex Mex Nachos, Crispy Pata and Grilled Pusit.

“Our Crispy Pata is good for five persons because it’s really big. We’ve got a lot of suppliers for pata because it’s hard to source out pata that weighs 60 kilos. That’s why we get our supply of pata from as far as Laguna,” reveals Frayco, adding that they go out of their way to please their customers because Congo Grille wants to live up to the special trait of a silverback gorilla.

“You’ve noticed that our restaurant is represented by a silverback gorilla and that is so because if you research on it, you’ll realize that this type of creature is the most caring and playful to its young. This is the image that our restaurant exudes because our standard of taste is always based on our customers’ preference,” he explained.

Out In The Big Mango

As a traveler, my worst fear has always been that I’d find myself on some lee shore, far from home, dead broke, with no money, no traveler’s checks and useless credit cards. And to top it all no air ticket home or friends to lean on. It’s a nightmare that doesn’t bear thinking about. It’s never happened, but I dread it and to cover such a catastrophe I always travel with an emergency fund of last resort in the form of three gold coins, Canadian Maple Leafs, stashed in my belt.

As a writer, I’ve always been interested in coming across anyone who had experienced such an event. I’ve met only one. He was sitting on a shop front step some fifty meters from the Nana Skytrain Station on Bangkok’s busy Sukhumvit Road: not unusual for a farang in that notorious part of town and he barely registered as I descended the steps to the street. But as I passed by him, my eye caught the crude cardboard sign stating:

DESTITUTE NEED MONEY FOR FOOD PLEASE HELP

A tin cup stood by the sign. I paused in my stride. I put him around fifty five. Dressed in a khaki shirt, shorts and a wide rimmed bush hat, he reminded me of a photograph I’d seen of the film director, Francis Ford Coppola on location for the movie, Apocalypse Now. He returned my gaze with a sheepish smile. It was two in the afternoon and 39 degrees in the shade. Now, a farang, pan-handling the streets of Bangkok is wasting his time. As Thais firmly believe that farang are rich, all farang, he could expect little pity much less money from the amused throng passing him by. Of course, the sign, being in English, was aimed at foreign expatriates and tourists and the Nana area does teem with them. Even so, I put his chances of success as a little less than an ice cube in hell on a very hot day. I picked up the can: it contained a fifty baht note and some coins. I tossed in another hundred. “Would you like a beer?” I asked him. He smiled widely, grabbed his pack and came to his feet. We shook hands. His name was Alain and he was from France. I found a bar close by, took a table and ordered a pitcher of Chang beer. It was a quiet, well air-conditioned place and we were the only patrons. A pretty service girl brought the pitcher and filled the glasses. Alain drained his in two long pulls. “Nectar,” he said, with a smile. “Thank you.”

“So, what the hell happened to you?” I asked, refilling his glass. “It is a long story,” he said, wiping his face with a serviette.

I suspected a woman was involved somewhere in the mess he’d found himself in and I was eager to hear about it. “We have time,” I said. “Tell me.”

He took a long draught of beer, settled back in his chair and closed his eyes; he looked very weary. I noticed the heavy beard stubble, the matted hair and he smelled rough. I decided to wait for my story. “Are you hungry?” I asked.

“I am,” he replied. “Very.”

From the bar menu I ordered for him khao phat gai, fried rice with chicken, nothing for myself; I settled for the beer. Normally, I never drink before sundown, but I was in the mood and this Chang was going down like cold, fresh cream. Alain ate like a Frenchman, with measured gusto. His plate cleaned he went back to his beer. “When did you sleep last? In a bed?” I queried.

He shook his head. “I can’t remember.” He looked well and truly bushed, and I sensed a little disorientated.

“You’re tired, Alain,” I said. “You need some sleep. I’m going to get you a room.” I ordered another pitcher.

“You are really very kind,” he said. “You don’t know me at all.”

“True,” I said. “But I’ve always dreaded ending up like I found you. I really couldn’t leave you there. But the price is you tell me your story. We can do that tomorrow, after you’ve rested. Is that a deal?”

“That’s fine,” he said, smiling. “It’s a deal.”

Back on Sukhumvit, I purchased for him a shirt and some shorts and underwear from a market stall. Then, I booked him in the Bangkok Inn Guesthouse and arranged to meet in the lobby at noon the following day. I went back to my hotel feeling good about myself. I’d played the Good Samaritan and done the decent thing. I’d made merit and pursued good karma. I showered and changed and set out to attend to unfinished business and then meet a lovely Thai lady, my future wife, for supper.

Normally up at first light, I slept in the following morning and was late for our rendezvous. Alain was waiting in the lobby reading the Bangkok Post. A different man, he’d bathed and shaved, his thick auburn hair was washed and brushed back and he was wearing the clothes I’d bought for him. He smelt clean and of fine cologne. “Paco Rabane,” he grinned when I commented. “I have a little left. But, it’s almost gone.”

Sleeping late, neither he nor I had taken breakfast, so I suggested a good lunch was in order. We dined at the Food Center on Sukhumvit. Then, we repaired to a resto-bar on Soi 7 I often frequent that serves decent wine. We took an outside table in shade and relaxed in seats of well cushioned wicker beneath a fan. I ordered a bottle of Italian white on ice. I put Alain at ease by telling him of myself, my work, my home in Canada and the guesthouse I was building near Chiang Mai. He spoke excellent English in a careful, circumspect manner with a strong accent. He was from Bretagne and fifty nine years old. He’d taken early retirement following a career in civil engineering that had taken him world wide, working freelance, with high remuneration and paying little taxes. He’d worked five long years in Saudi Arabia, hated it (no, wine, no women!!), but made big, tax free, money.

“I can’t complain about the money,” he laughed. “But I couldn’t stand the place. Every few months I’d take an exit visa and get back to France to maintain my sanity.”

Though an engineer, he had many interests and over the years had taken university courses on such diverse disciplines as history, political science, philosophy and social anthropology; he was intelligent and exceedingly well read. I felt that Alain had reflected often on the meaning of life and why men are born. We had much in common. And the wine had the desired effect and we both became increasingly expansive. We discussed many things, but mainly we spoke of travel, South East Asia and Thailand. We talked of women, Oriental women and especially Thai women and the hypnotic, Siren like, allurement they have held for Western men since sixteenth century European sailors and adventurers returned home with tales of their captivating beauty. He was also aware of the dangers of involvement; like me, he knew the stories and we shared some.

Alain first came to Thailand after the death of his wife. She’d died of ovarian cancer leaving him with a daughter, Lisa, who had graduated from university with honors as a medical doctor a few months after her mother’s death. Grief stricken, and on Lisa’s advice, Alain decided on a year of travel and Thailand was on the itinerary. He came for three weeks and stayed three months. He returned again the following year for four months. He liked Pattaya and began spending the European summers there. Then, Lisa came across photographs of her father with young Thai women which led to a bust up.

“She called me a sex tourist and hasn’t spoken a word to me since,” Alain chuckled. He took a photograph from his pocket and slipped it across the table. I picked it up. It was a professional studio portrait of a Thai woman, a very beautiful lady, with a superb smile. “Kab,” he said. “She is very lovely,” I said.

“Yes,” he smiled. “She was.” He fished out more snaps of her. Some were with Alain, others with a small child, a girl, and others with Alain and the child. They looked a happy family. But this was the woman, I was sure of it.

“Where did you meet her?”

“In a Jomtien bar, a good bar.” he said. “I’d started to favor Jomtien, the town south of Pattaya because it was quieter, less raucous. I had a sweet apartment there near the beach and quite inexpensive. The bar was on a nearby street. I’d dropped in for a few beers and to watch some football,” he smiled. “Chelsea and Liverpool. She was working there. She was the manager and mamasan. It was a quiet night with few customers and she was going to close when the game ended. She spoke good English and looked so lovely in her back business suit with shirt and tie. Her figure was superb. I bought her a drink. She invited me to select a girl. But they were a dull bunch of bargirls, non attractive. But she was.”

“So, you hit on her,” I said.

“Yes. She seemed shocked. ‘I’m thirty six,’ she said. ‘I’m old.’ I told her she was lovely. Yes, I bar-fined her. She put the money in the cash box, sent the girls home, closed the bar and came back to my place.” He smiled. “And I never saw the ending of the football game.”

“And that was the beginning?” “Yes. I saw her again the next night and again bar-fined her. Within a week she’d quit the bar and was living with me. I decided to upgrade and signed a lease on a furnished house with three bedrooms, a home gym, a pool and lovely garden. I paid for everything, of course, and gave Kab 8,000 baht a month to spend as she wished. I also set her up with a market stand selling clothes and shoes; it made a little money on top of her allowance and gave her an interest.” I smiled.

“She must have liked that?” “Yes, she did. But soon enough my time was almost up. My visa was expiring and I was due to fly home to France, but I didn’t want to go. I made a snap decision and let the ticket expire. I went down to Penang, Malaysia and got another visa for a year.”

On his return they traveled north to Issan where he met her family in a remote village. He refurbished her parent’s house and bought her father a Honda scooter. Kab’s daughter, Fon went back with them to Jomtien for the school holidays. Life seemed idyllic and he privately debated whether he should ask Kab to marry him. A month later a debit card was declined at an ATM. As he used four, he thought little of it. He’d experienced ATM computer glitches before and they normally corrected themselves. But this did not. Two weeks later a second card was declined. This time he was concerned and annoyed. He kept note of all withdrawals and was well aware of what the balances should be and he knew he was well in the black. He composed handwritten letters to both French banks asking for explanations and posted them registered mail. Then, in quick succession, his remaining two cards failed, the last one while he was in Bangkok visiting friends; he now had serious problems. Unable to make headway by e-mailing and telephoning the banks, he needed to fly to France. Unfortunately, Alain used only debit cards and had no credit cards. But, as a careful man, he had a reserve of cash that would purchase his ticket.

“I can interrogate my bank accounts on the internet.” I told him. Could you not do that?”

“No,” he said. “You have to fix it with your bank personally before leaving home. I neglected to do it. You can’t arrange it from overseas.”

Alain headed back to Jomtien where any anger he held for his banks and their system soon dissolved into shock. Kab was not home. He phoned her, but her phone was dead. Preparing to shower, he noticed her toilet articles were gone. And in the bedroom a further shock; her entire wardrobe was cleared out. She’d left him. At his desk he found the locked drawer where he kept his personal things had been forced and the reserve fund, 50,000 baht, was gone. He realized now that the debit card problem was not a bank computer glitch. Kab was the problem.

“But I don’t know how,” he said. I never let her use the cards. I never disclosed the pin numbers, nor did I ever write them down. The numbers are in my head. Only I know them.”

I couldn’t begin to imagine how he must have felt. Cleaned out by a woman he had loved and trusted. He needed help badly. His French friends in Pattaya were found wanting. “Drinking buddies,” he described them bitterly.

“What about your daughter, the doctor? She would fly you home, surely,” I said.

He laughed. “She would, no doubt. But I would never live it down. Could you imagine the triumph, the contempt? I’d got what I deserve, the wages of a sex tourist. I’d be under her thumb for life. No, Lisa was out. My only hope was Sacha, my brother. But Sacha is on a six week long canoeing vacation in northern Canada: he’s not contactable. And he won’t be home until the end of this month.”

“What about friends in France?”

“I do have them, but I could not stand the shame, the humiliation. They would need to know how I got into this mess. And it wouldn’t be long before Lisa would get wind of it. No, Sacha is my lifeline.”

With his rent due, Alain moved out, ditched most of his things and moved to Bangkok. His plan was to pan-handle sufficient money for food and if possible lodgings until the time his brother would be back in France. He worked the Khao San Road and the backpackers before moving to Nana. It was hard and humiliating, but worked to some degree as some days he picked up enough to get a dormitory room in some rough dwelling. He was doing that when I’d found him.

Two days later, in an act of trust, I put Alain on an Air France flight to Paris. He promised he would refund me when he got home. And he did. Two weeks after he left a deposit covering the ticket cost arrived in my bank. He followed this with a letter thanking me for my help and trust.

Almost a year passed before I heard from him again. It came in the form of an e-mail; he was back in Thailand, in Jomtien and invited me down. I bussed down the following week and we met for lunch at the Pattaya Beer Garden. Alain, immaculate in ivory slacks and a blue tropical shirt and loafers and exuding the familiar Paco Rabane, looked the picture of health and contentment. He gripped my hand vigorously. “Good to see you. Wine or beer?” he grinned.

“Wine,” I replied. “White.”

“And pizza?”

“Of course.”

He ordered the wine, a fine white Wolf Blass from Australia to be followed by a large all dressed pizza. We made small talk and bantered in general on many matters. He had healed the breach with his daughter and they were back on speaking terms. But he’d found France cold and miserable and the people, in contrast to Thais, as unpleasant as the weather. He’d been back in Thailand for three months and glad of it. But, impatient to know the endgame of the Kab affair, I changed the subject. “What happened about your money?”

He paused, drank a little wine. “It was devastating,” he said. “My bank statements showed Kab had withdrawn huge amounts of money, some days the daily maximum on the cards. I couldn’t believe it. Inside a month she’d almost emptied the accounts.”

“But how, if she didn’t have the pin codes?”

He chuckled. “Oh, but she had the pin codes. But I never gave them too her.” He refilled the glasses. “It took me a while to figure out how she’d done it.”

Intrigued, I said nothing, sipped wine and waited.

He gave me a long smile. “She used the child,” he said.

“Her daughter?”

“Fon. Yes, she used her.”

“How?”

“Whenever I went to a bank ATM to make a withdrawal, I’d often take Fon with me. Afterwards we’d maybe take a walk on the beach and I’d buy her ice cream. I enjoyed the girl and having her come along. And sometimes, at the ATM she’d ask me to lift her up and watch me work the keypad and out would pop the money. This was magical to her and made her laugh. Sometimes I even let her push the buttons. You can guess the rest.”

“Fon then told her mother the pin codes,” I said. He nodded.

“Christ,” I said. “You’re positive?”

“It’s the only valid explanation. I kept the numbers in my head as we all do. I never needed to write them down. But I foolishly gave them to the kid. It was a game to the child, but serious business for Kab. Arriving home, Fon gives her mother the pin number as part of the game. And at the first opportunity when I’m not around, Kab takes a card and makes a big withdrawal, 10 to 15,000 baht: a lot of money. I do believe she brought Fon down to stay with us just for that purpose.”

I thought I’d heard all the stories, but this was a new one, using a child in that way; definitely one for the archives. Alain never disclosed to me how much he had lost which leads me to believe it was a very heavy amount, many thousand Euros. Yet, he remained cool about it and displayed no bitterness. Seeking Kab and retribution did not enter into his mind. He no doubt realized it would be a waste of time. He’d moved on. The pizza came and was promptly devoured and a new bottle ordered. As we drank, he announced that he had a new lady. “She’s from your territory, Chiang Mai,” he said. “Her name is Sunisa, nickname Kung. She’s a schoolteacher. You will like her.”

I met Kung that night and liked her immediately. She was forty two, divorced with an adult son and daughter. She had a lovely condominium, low rise and spacious. We sat out on a balcony terrace that overlooked the bay and enjoyed a fine meal consisting of many Thai dishes washed down with copious amounts of wine from France. Kung was small with an athletic, shapely figure and a pleasant intelligent face. I enjoyed watching her going about her house business and fussing over Alain and myself. I found her very attractive, though not even close to the surreal beauty of Kab. But then Alain wasn’t looking for that anymore.

I returned to Jomtien four months later for Alain and Kung’s weddings: there were two, a Buddhist ceremony and a Catholic one. And six months after that they came north to Chiang Mai for mine. We keep in touch and meet often. We have a true and lasting friendship..

Alain’s story illustrates how a kind, decent, trusting, but foolish, man can often be taken advantage of, in his case, by a ruthless woman. It also serves as a lesson to travelers especially in South East Asia and especially male travelers in Thailand. In sultry climates, in the languid seductive atmosphere of the tropics there is a tendency to drop one’s guard. I’m tempted to say: trust no one, but that would be unfair and make for an un-enjoyable travel experience. But a man should keep his wits about him and take sensible precautions. Lastly it is a story of trust and having faith in a fellow man. I took a chance, offered a helping hand and was well rewarded for it.

Raining Good Food in Delhi

It is rightly said that variety is a spice of life. In a country like India, one can find ample variety in various food specialties. From north to south, east to west, India is rich with agriculture, which has led to a greener India. This is one reason why Indians are big-time foodies. May it be the royal Rajsthani thali, the heavy and stuffing Punjabi cuisines or the authentic Hyderabadi biryanis, we can find all types of food varieties in India. But from the past few years we can see that restaurants now have a menu of not only the Indian food but as well as a menu for those who’d like to try out Thai, Chinese, Italian, Mexican and American cuisines. So today I’ll be sharing a little trivia on some of best Chinese, Italian and Mexican restaurants of Delhi.

To start with the Chinese restaurants, then Buzz Punjabi Bagh, Yo! China and Noottee Resto and Lounge are taking the lead. Buzz Punjabi Bagh not only specializes in Chinese but has an ample variety of other menu like North Indian, Thai, Lebanese, Italian, Mexican, Asian, Continental, Mediterranian and Japanese cuisines. Yo! China is said to be India’s first and largest chain that serves an authentic Indian Chinese menu in an international feel of the ambience in its restaurants. Noottee Resto and Lounge of Rajouri Garden also is a suitable choice to try out a high standard in Chinese cuisines. A couple of other good Chinese restaurants are Bikanervala, Pinch of spice, Hammer Club and Lounge and Just Baguette.

Looking forward to the Italian cuisines, restaurants like Grub House, The Sky Bar and Terrace Garden Lounge and Resto Bar are an easy choice over the rest. Grub House is well known for its architectural design and its rich variety in the menu. They have a café on the ground floor, a restaurant on the first floor and a lounge on the second. The Sky Bar is a good alternative for having a delicious Italian meal. Along with the culinary, they also have live music and bar service made available to its customers. Terrace Garden Lounge and Resto Bar is also a very good restaurant that’s a must try. Some other restaurants like The Royal Spice, Big Yellow Door and Sakley The Mountain Café are also worth a try.

Resto Other Category Of Sauce Pan

There can be a lot of indoor activities that can be made at home. But if you want to have a different kind of activity that you and your family can enjoy, and at the same time bond with each other, one of it is cooking together. This is actually not common among the family to do this kind of activity.

Most people are fans of cooking foods especially their favorite ones. Children are one of the fans of eating foods. And most of the children are fans of eating spaghetti. That is one of the most commonly cooked by their mothers for special occasions like a birthday party.

There are a lot of cooking wares that are commonly found in the kitchen. And with those cooking wares there are also different uses of it. One of these is a saucepan. Do you know what a saucepan is? Saucepan is a metal or enamel pan with a long handle and often a lid used for cooking food. This is also can be defined as a cooking vessel usually used on top of a stove. You can use sauce pan in many ways like frying, boiling, and especially in making sauces. But do you know that sauce pans are made into a variety of materials. There are aluminium and stainless steel that you can choose from.

In finding a good sauce pan you can actually ask yourself first “What is my first consideration in choosing a sauce pan? Do I need a good quality? Does the size of a sauce pan really matters? Or do I need to choose the most expensive one for the surety of a good quality?” For these kinds of questions one of the categories of sauce pan is the “resto” if you’re too conscious about the handle the resto has a stainless handle and you are very secure every time you’re holding it. Quality of the resto sauce pan is very fine. When it comes to the size there are a lot of sizes for you to choose. If you want a small one we have it, if you want the medium one we also have it and if you want to prepare food for a bigger number of participants we also have it. This resto sauce pan is expensive and not cheap but this is very affordable for all the people who are willing to have this.