Reflections and a cheat sheet for Buffet

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Photo by: Spenser195; Disclaimer: No edits / CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Around five years ago, going out to all-you-can-eat buffets was a treat, especially when buffets became a trend here in Manila. With my lanky frame, I would shock people with how much food I can put down in one go. Be it sushi rolls, sauteed garlic shrimp, or plates of rice, desserts and the like, I would make each trip worth it by taking on heaps of food and come out on top.

However, after I was diagnosed with heartburn, buffets weren’t as enjoyable as they used to be. In fact, it felt like a waste to bring me along. I simply wasn’t able to eat the same amount of food as I used to.

From then on, I had to change my lifestyle. Instead of gobbling things down in one go, I would chew slowly and thoroughly. Instead of taking on spicier foods and eating bird-eye chili whole, I removed these from my diet. I incorporated probiotics with my everyday meals. And most especially, I had to watch the volume of the food I eat. Less is more.

But recently, when my uncle came home for a short visit here in the Philippines and brought us to a well-known buffet place, I had a realization and came up with some tips for dealing with heartburn at a buffet.


Grilled beef steak in Cala Pí, Mallorca, Spain

By JIP (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (, via Wikimedia Commons

  • Heartburn is not the end of good quantity of food.

Initially, I thought it would be the end of mine. For more than a year, I felt I had to struggle with what kinds of food I can eat, even with the Team Glasses Food Blog project Kat and I have. Buffets felt like a waste of money, since I ate less than half of what I could scarf down back then. I even had to note down trigger foods, and rewire my brain to process my food on what seemed to be an agonizingly slow pace.

Eventually, I hit my stride with some help from Kat, and life has been relatively close to my old foodie normal. Heartburn eventually became something that wasn’t as big a monster as I put it out to be.



DougsTech at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

  • Stay away from the fried stuff.

Buffets, being a business still aiming to get a profit, have their ways and means in squeezing money out from us. One of them is serving deep fried food, such as tempura or breaded fried chicken.

Aside from getting you full as soon as possible, the oil which coats these types of food are a pain to deal with. The combination of oil and the breading is harder to digest. In turn, this leads to the acid shooting up quickly to compensate.


Sunday Roast Rib of Beef

Photo By: Roderick Eime ( [CC BY 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

  • Roasted meat is your friend.

If you’re like me and still like some meat along with your salad, sushi rolls, and other viands, go with roasted meat. Be it beef, fish, lamb, or chicken, the oils aren’t as saturated and you’d still get to enjoy the protein feast without the worry of burping uncontrollably.


Greek salad from supermarket

By Gesalbte (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  • Go easy on the dressing.

The point of salad is to enjoy a light appetizer to ease you in before a large meal. Drowning it in salad dressing is counterintuitive. Use those sparingly, or replace it with some grated hard cheese or feta if they have it, or maybe some salt and pepper, or alternatively, olive oil. Maybe you can even do without and just use greens along with the meat to form another good plate.

The dressing normally used in buffets is meant to be heavy in the first place. The same mechanics apply from No. 2.


  • Remember that a buffet is a marathon, not a race, your training matters.

Lastly, always remember that tackling a buffet is a marathon, not a race. It doesn’t matter who eats more at the get go, since the goal is enjoying the different viands at your own leisurely pace. Combine this mindset with keeping away from your trigger foods, the tips I’ve given above, and chewing your food slowly, and you should be set up for getting the most out of your time at the buffet.

Now go have fun with your next buffet and let us know what you think in the comments below!


The Great Brown Rice Switch



A meal cannot be said to be complete in many parts of the world without a heap of piping hot, soft white rice. In fact for many people, rice cannot be any other color but white. So when the idea of eating brown rice was first mentioned at home, for the sake of health benefits, I could not help but inwardly hope that this would only be a temporary state of affairs. After all, the idea was so alien, and literally not easy to swallow.


As it turned out, brown rice was not entirely unfamiliar. Brown rice is actually whole grain rice, which means that it is rice that has only its outer hull removed. Its color comes from the bran layer and cereal germ, which are also removed when milling white rice. In a sense brown rice is analogous to whole wheat bread, while white rice is akin to white bread.


One thing that takes some getting used to when it comes to brown rice is the taste. Unlike white rice, which has a soft and mild flavor, brown rice is nutty and occasionally with some earthy overtones. Brown rice also has a less polished consistency, which sometimes makes it difficult to partner with sauces and soupy dishes. In my experience, light cream sauces or curries go well on brown rice. Thick hearty stews such as sinigang, or rich gravies are also great with brown rice. Tomato-based stews have limited success on brown rice, while au gratin is a disaster!


Another challenge I face with brown rice is simply with cooking it. Unlike white rice, which is relatively easy to manage whether in a traditional pot or rice cooker, brown rice requires a little more care to get to the right consistency, owing to its more complex layers. It may also need more water to cook. This is one kind of rice that cannot simply be left to boil unattended. Nowadays I am able not only to boil brown rice, but to rejuvenate cooked brown rice by lightly frying in oil with garlic. This is a great way to take brown rice from dinner to breakfast.


What makes these trade-offs worthwhile? Compared to white rice, brown rice has higher amounts of rice, Vitamins B1 (thiamin) and B3 (niacin), Vitamin B6, and micronutrients such as selenium, phosphorus and magnesium. Brown rice is also considered a complex carbohydrate, which means that it takes longer to digest and metabolize than simple carbohydrates found in white bread, white rice, and candies. This allows for better control of blood sugar, which is excellent for preventing unexpected spikes and crashes. Brown rice is also a great source of fiber, which helps keep things running smoothly in the digestive system.


It’s been around eight or so years since I’ve made the switch to brown rice, at least for meals at home. My body can definitely tell the difference on the days when I do not have brown rice; for one thing I get hungry more quickly in its absence. Of course having brown rice as a healthier substitute to white rice does not mean I can eat as much of it as I like. Even with this, moderation is necessary to stay in good health.



And then in my case, it was a wake up call to be more health conscious. On a texture and taste standpoint, it isn’t as sweet as white rice and the texture is coarser in comparison. However, after plenty of times eating brown rice, it helped make my bowel movements feel regular during the times that I ate these. Admittedly, it takes a while to get used to, but once you’re used to it, it’s the type of rice you’d look for and it also helps set you up for other types such as red rice.


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Cafe Adriatico

A Team Glasses Food Blog Note: Due to our hectic schedules for the next few months, we’ve decided to post every two weeks, whenever possible instead of the weekly posts. Do let us know if you have any suggestions of possible topics, trivia, recipes, or restaurants / cafes you’d like us to try soon.


Even before the creation of the Team Glasses Food Blog, we’ve always aimed for having a date at Cafe Adriatico. From what we know and remember, Cafe Adriatico has been one of the few remaining hallmarks of the Malate food scene. And this time around, we finally got around to dining here after a long and tiring set of weeks.

Entering inside Cafe Adriatico felt like a time machine. The atmosphere inside was lively at the beginning of the dinner rush. It gave us the impression that one walked into an old Spanish-Filipino home, or even an Irish Pub because of the warmth of the wooden walls and furniture and the slightly dimmed lighting around the place. It set the tone for our meal, a casual and relaxed dinner together.

So for our meal here, we had the French Onion Soup which Kat swears by, I had the Lola Ising’s Adobo Flakes, and she had the Chicken Kiev.


French Onion Soup

Given that I’ve never tried French Onion Soup, I didn’t know what to expect until that first bite. It was savory because of the beef broth and had a slight hint of sweetness from the onions. And the cheese on top bound these two elements together seamlessly.


Lola Ising’s Adobo Flakes

After tasting Lola (Grandma) Ising’s Adobo Flakes, I’m tempted to actually ask how Lola Ising does it because it wasn’t as salty as the usual adobo flakes we get around here. One would still be able to taste the tender beef along with it. The fried rice and eggs were also a great complement to it because it was cooked to how I felt it ought to be in any iteration of a Filipino Millennial meal known as  Adobosilog.


Chicken Kiev

The Chicken Kiev, while unassuming at first glance, turned out to be a buttery and rich concoction worthy of being listed as a best seller entree. It was delicate enough so as not to cloy the tastebuds, but satisfying on the stomach. Definitely worth the try!

As a pre-valentines date, our stay at Cafe Adriatico was definitely one to remember.

Food Score: 4.5/5: The food we had here was excellent. From how it was prepared to how well it was seasoned, it was a delight to the tastebuds.

Ambiance Score 4/5: The place did age well like wine because it still maintains its Spanish-Filipino home look throughout the years. Its classy yet cozy interior makes it stand out from the razzle dazzle of its neighbors in the Remedios Circle.

Service Score: 4.5/5: And our experience here was made better by the attentiveness of the servers in handling our dining needs.Warm bread and butter were served with our meal, and we were given a choice of hot or cold water as well.

GERD Score: 3.5/5. The only sticking point to be had as far as GERD or heartburn is concerned is the serving size and perhaps lesser food options. Both of these can be addressed by chewing slowly, good posture, and some company to help you out.

Neurodivergent Score: 4/5. While some of these dishes rely on classic preserved meats and fish owing to the nature of the Spanish-Filipino cuisine, there are still plenty of fresh home-cooked entrees for the picking. And though wine goes best with the meals here, feel free as well to sample the non-alcoholic selections.

Team Glasses Score: 4/5. Simply put, Cafe Adriatico is a must go whenever you’re in Malate, looking for great food, and a nice quiet niche to enjoy it.

Kanin Club

For many Filipinos, a meal is simply not complete without a generous helping of hot, still steaming rice. It becomes a challenge for many establishments to bring new life to this staple, and one restaurant that is up to the task is the aptly named Kanin Club.

We chose a sleepy Sunday to visit Kanin Club’s branch at Greenfield District in Mandaluyong City. For this jaunt we were joined by two other hungry friends. It was just as well that the menu specified that dishes were good for sharing, since we had really worked up an appetite! Our lunch consisted of these four dishes: Crispy Tadyang, Adobo Combo, Bagoong Rice, and Sinangag na Sinigang


Our delicious lunchtime spread

Crispy Tadyang is Kanin Club’s take on beef spareribs. As the name suggests, the meat is fried to a delightful crispiness, which brings out the beef’s deep savor. This main entrée is served with three dipping sauces, perfect for sharing or just solo gorging.


Crispy Tadyang

The Adobo Combo is more than the everyday chicken-pork-chicken liver stew that is a household favorite. Kanin Club serves this up with a unique reddish-brown sauce that strikes a balance between salty, sour, and spicy; just the way adobo should be.


Adobo Combo

The Bagoong Rice is surprisingly not as salty as the usual bagoong rice most restaurants serve. At the same time, it also has strips of cooked unripe mangoes in the rice, which is a nice take on a Filipino classic snack, unripe mangoes and bagoong. The best part about this meal is that it blends well with most of the selections in the Kanin Club menu.


Bagoong Rice

Last but definitely not the least was the Sinangag na Sinigang, a one-of-a-kind fried rice dish that is succinctly described as a ‘dried sinigang’. This is a meal on its own, with a mountain of sour and savory fried rice laced with bits of pork, and then topped with slices of pork fat and crispy vegetable tempura. This plate is an experience in itself, necessitating sharing with a friend if only to have someone to share in the raving about this filling dish. One will never look at either fried rice or sinigang the same way again!


Sinangag na Sinigang

Other Kanin Club specialties include crispy dinuguan and loaded fried rice. We look forward to feasting on these and more in future visits!

Food Score: 4/5: The menu features classic Filipino dishes and household favorites, but these familiar entrees are done very well. The portions are great for sharing, perfect for family feasts and outings with friends.

Ambiance Score: 4/5: The feel of the place is like a traditional Filipino home, with stained glass decors and elegant but comfortable chairs surrounding large tables. The cozy yet classy feel is versatile and ideal for different occasions

Service Score: 4.5/5: The servers were friendly, polite and very accommodating. Our queries about food were readily answered, and bottomless drinks filled up promptly. The place was very clean, and kept in good order even during the lunch rush.

GERD Score: 4/5: The great thing about Kanin Club is that there are plenty of food and beverage options for people dealing with heartburn. However, one caveat is that, most of their menu items are good for sharing, so it is advised to bring in a couple of friends. After all, a Filipino meal is best shared with some company.

Neurodivergent Score: 4/5: A few of these dishes use processed meats such as sausages, or rely on a mix of seasonings. However there are vegetarian delights and other mildly flavored dishes that are ideal for sensitive diners. Non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic drinks are mainstays here.

Team Glasses Score: 4/5: Kanin Club epitomizes a great component of Filipino cuisine: hearty meals that are meant to be shared and cherished. We highly recommend this place for family gatherings and bonding sessions with friends. Thank you so much!

Kanin Club Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pi Breakfast & Pies

Before we started with my enrollment for the second semester, we decided to go with Kat’s suggestion of starting the day at a place called Pi Breakfast & Pies. After all, it was going to be a long day out and we needed something heartier than the usual Maginhawa Street fare.


Located at Malingap Street, Pi Breakfast & Pies had the relaxed vibe to it, which allowed us to just kick back and enjoy a casual meal. The repurposed chairs and tables was also a nice touch to the place being perfect for spending time with friends.

For this adventure, I took on Pi Breakfast & Pies’ interpretation on the classic Longsilog, while Kat went for a Bacon Mac & Cheese.



Their Longsilog was definitely as hearty as it appeared to be. Their longanisa (Pork sausage) packed a combination of flavors reminiscent of the well-known longanisas from Vigan, Lucban, and Cebu. The sinangag (garlic fried rice) was cooked to the right consistency, not being too garlicky, bland, or oily for my tastes. And surprisingly, the dish had a slice of salted duck egg and soft boiled egg (egg being itlog in Filipino, hence the name Longsilog), compared to the usual sunny side up or scrambled eggs. When mixed together with some pickled papaya (atchara), it summed up what a quality Filipino breakfast should be. It was hearty, filling, and gets one pumped up for the challenges of the day.


Bacon Mac and Cheese

The Bacon Mac and Cheese was topped with a coddled egg, which added some richness to the dish’s mild cream sauce. Although we would have liked a sharper flavor to the cheese in this dish, we realized that this mac and cheese had a light quality that made it great for a breakfast as opposed to a lunch or dinner entree.

And to top off our brunch, both of us also had a decent cup of hot chocolate made out of tablea chocolate. It was certainly a good brunch for Team Glasses Food Blog.

Food Score: 4/5: The flavors and the preparation for our meals are spot on and quite satisfying to say the least.

Ambiance Score: 4/5: Aside from reusing tables and chairs, the ambient lighting and subtle black hues evoke a sense that one’s dining in a fancier place without the need to be overly formal.

Service Score: 4/5: The servers here are attentive, immediately catering to our needs and orders, and letting us know if there are some changes that we needed to know with our food.

GERD Score: 3.5/5: An unfortunate fact is that, while there are some options within the menu that should be alright for someone dealing with heartburn, it is too few. One way of countering this is to have someone share a meal with you, especially when food volume is a lingering concern. And a perk they also have is the fact that they list down the ingredients they use in all the items within the menu.

Neurodivergent Score: 3.5/5: Some of the dishes use processed meats or other foods loaded with additives. There are not many sugar-free or reduced sugar options in both the entrees and beverages menu.

Team Glasses Score: 4/5: Even with some of our observations and concerns, Pi Breakfast & Pies is still a good place to dine with friends. And for those with health concerns, some precautions are necessary, but won’t ruin your time here.

Feeding the Speedy Brain: On Diet and ADHD

2017 was a year of plot twists, and one of my biggest would come in the last weeks of the year. Although I had known for some years that having epilepsy had certainly wired my brain a little differently, it did not explain everything that was going on in my everyday life like my inability to keep still for even a short period of time. After getting myself checked, I finally learned that I was one among several million adults worldwide coping with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, or more commonly known as ADHD.

Most persons living with ADHD have been diagnosed in childhood. In many cases, this arises from parents and teachers noting a child’s difficulties with schoolwork or other behaviors requiring much attention and focus. However, there are some persons (such as yours truly) who remain undiagnosed all the way into their adult years. This can be due to an adult’s increased insight and awareness about one’s behaviors and their consequences, or because seemingly ‘minor’ quirks and impairments in childhood become more apparent or a cause for concern in an adult’s environment. As of now, there has been no one cause or etiologic agent pinpointed for ADHD. Much still remains to be learned about this condition.

There are several approaches to managing ADHD, ranging from the use of medications and behavioral therapy, as well as lifestyle interventions such as diet and exercise. Yet there is still this question: what can people who have ADHD eat, and what foods should they avoid?

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One food that may be beneficial for people coping with ADHD is omega-3. Yes, that same fatty acid that is ‘good for the heart’ may also be ‘good for the brain’. Omega-3 may be found in fatty fish, as well as in flaxseed, walnuts, and soybeans. For most people, it would not hurt to have a few servings of these foods each week, to help both the heart and the brain work better!


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It has also been suggested that probiotics may help manage ADHD symptoms. However, there are still few studies regarding the connection of gut bacteria to ADHD, and whether probiotics do have any benefit. All the same, probiotics have other health benefits even for people without ADHD, as intake of these ‘good bacteria’ also help improve digestive function and the immune system.  

Previous studies conducted in the US and UK have suggested that food additives such as artificial colors were associated with hyperactivity in children. Other studies have also suggested that high sugar intake may also be associated with hyperactivity. At present though, this evidence is not yet strong enough to show that intake of these foods causes or worsens ADHD symptoms. Nevertheless, regardless of whether one has ADHD or not, it is still a healthy practice to reduce intake of foods that have high amounts of additives. Cutting down on sugar is also considered good dietary advice for all ages, especially as part of preventing heart disease and other disorders later in life.

Some people claim that caffeine intake may help their ADHD symptoms. While it is true that caffeine may work in synergy with some of the medications used to treat ADHD, it does not work the same for everyone. Other patients claim to have no benefits from drinking coffee, or claim that this only makes their situation worse!

Regardless of these prescriptions and prohibitions, the general advice for people with ADHD (or with most other conditions for that matter) is to continue to eat healthily: hydrate, have adequate intake of fruits and vegetables, have enough protein both from plant and animal sources, and avoid excessive sugars, fats, and above all trans-fats. That is advice that we can surely stand with!

So what does this mean for us at Team Glasses? As it turns out, nixing the soda, chips, and fast foods might have been one of our better ideas. All the same, we probably won’t be going back on coffee any time soon since this still triggers attacks of GERD or epileptic seizures.

Just like with all conditions, ADHD manifests differently for each person, and no two persons have the same exact treatment. It’s just one thing to contend with in this never-ending quest for wellness in the life of two gourmands. All the same, we began this blog to help readers like you to deal with this, while still enjoying great food.

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Old Swiss Inn

After a quick dental check-up due to a bad toothache, we sought out our usual remedy—food! This time we went to the Old Swiss Inn, a long-standing restaurant located near the Ayala Triangle.


Although we’d been here before on separate visits, this time we took the opportunity to really take in the feel of the place. The vibe was akin to that of a quaint dining hall somewhere in the Alps, with the added embellishment of Swiss flags on the ceiling. In short, this was a cozy but relaxed vibe for a casual meal.


For our dining experience, we chose an old favorite, goulash, to start the meal. We also opted for light entrees such as King Salmon and Chicken Forrestiere. Of course, we could not leave without trying the signature Classic Toblerone Chocolate Fondue.


Goulash: already ladled out for sharing

Compared to our previous experiences with goulash in other establishments, Old Swiss Inn’s  goulash has a stronger mix of tartness from the tomatoes and heat from the black pepper, making this concoction perfect for a crisp December day. This soup’s unique punch to the taste buds coupled well with the tender beef, potatoes, and peas within.


King Salmon!

I would have preferred the King Salmon to have a lighter treatment with a vinagrette dressing and a side dish of green salad, however I still enjoyed how well this dish’s cream sauce and au gratin  side dish were conceptualized and executed. The salmon was cooked exactly how I liked it: crisp on the outside, yet juicy on the inside. On the side, the potato slices were firm but were yielding under the knife, and the onion rings were not overpowering. The sauces underneath cut the sharpness of the melted cheese topping the dish.


Chicken Forrestiere

The Chicken Forrestiere was basically grilled chicken fillet with pepper gravy, on a bed of linguini pasta. This dish may have seemed simple, but Old Swiss Inn’s iteration is particularly thought-out. The chicken was well seared on the outside, locking in its natural flavors. The gravy had just the right amount of heat, with subtle flavors from a variety of mushrooms. This attention to detail is what took this dish several steps above home cooking.


Classic Toblerone Chocolate Fondue

We finished off our hearty meal with dark chocolate fondue. Unlike other fondue establishments in the city, Old Swiss Inn prides itself on using actual Toblerone. This was evident in the nougat and nut bits we found in the chocolate. Paired with a selection of dippers such as fresh fruits and cake squares, our dessert was enough to send us into a blissful ‘food coma’.

Food Score: 4.5/5: Our meals were superb from start to finish. Each ingredient and element was well balanced and in harmony with its companions, making every bite a treat. This is not just hearty cooking; it’s hearty cooking done well!

Ambiance & Service Score: 4.5/5: Some patrons may be put off by the Swiss flag decor, but nevertheless the establishment maintains its homey charm. The service here is top notch, with attentive staff who can anticipate diners’ needs and take note of any requests.

GERD Score: 4/5 : At first glance, the servings may seem intimidating for persons dealing with heartburn. However these meals are very much designed for sharing, so bringing friends is encouraged. The dishes in themselves though are not triggers, as the preparation and ingredients are varied and done very carefully.

Epilepsy Score: 4/5: Although a hallmark of Swiss cooking includes the use of sausages and cured meats, there are still so other many dishes at Old Swiss Inn that utilize the freshest ingredients and go easy on the additives. Some individuals who are sensitive to alcohol may need to skip some of the fondues, or at least request that they not be made with liqueur.

Team Glasses Score: 4.5/5: This classy place is excellent for special family occasions, corporate events, or simply celebrating the best of times. We cannot have chosen better for a place to cap off a most interesting year!  

The Old Swiss Inn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato