binky is a girl, not a doormat
there was NO way you could have told me in all the years i've visited manila, that hanging out on the sidewalk right next to makati avenue would be something i would ever do--and maybe even find enjoyable. but funnily, that's where i found myself one night, at max brenner, a "chocolate bar" and café based in israel, with shops in london, australia, israel, singapore, and manila. go figure. the manila shop is nice--creamy walls, dark woods, warm light, high ceilings, with pipes of hot chocolate running the length of the ceiling (wonkish!). the outdoor seating shares space with the next door coffee bean and tea leaf, and sits right on the very busy makati avenue. i doubt i would sit here in the day, but at the end of the evening, it almost seemed like a good idea.
i don't know if it's like this in the other cafés, but all the male servers are bald. is this a requirement, as the slogan is "chocolate from the bald man" (i assume that's max, that is, but you know, in accordance with the theme and all that)? and they wear sweatshirts, which looks hella uncomfortable in manila heat, even at ten in the evening. maybe that's why they were lethargic and unresponsive. it's a good thing we didn't order food (there is a full menu, along with the chocolate stuff), as it took over half an hour to receive our hot chocolate drinks.
i ordered the equador dark chocolate with orchid flowers oil, in a "hug mug", which is meant to be cradled between your hands (it also looks like a bald head). "hot" is a misnomer as it was just lukewarm, but considering the ambient temperature hovering in 'preheat' mode, it wasn't too much of a concern to me. i am the first to tell you i know nothing about chocolate, except the difference between nasty and not. this was not. i don't know if i could actually taste anything special about the orchid oil, except for considering that vanilla comes from orchids, this had some definite vanilla overtones, but nothing particularly flowery.
since this was the only thing i ordered, i wasn't going to blog about it, but i decided to because of one event: as we were sitting there, a group of people walked by, and an elderly gentleman suddenly collapsed. within seconds, the servers had propped him up, fetched him a chair, and called security. our server was, with us, lethargic, but for the concerned group, calm and steady. in a couple of minutes, two security guards secured the area, and within five minutes from that, an ayala center ambulance (okay, less of an ambulance than a jeepney) worked its way through the traffic and whisked the group away. anyway, i just found it very reassuring that should i drop dead in the middle of greenbelt, the ayala corporation is prepared for it.
and, although i'm not a chocoholic, i did buy quite a few of their treats to take home as i am rather partial to the packaging of max brenner products. kawaiiiii!
L1, greenbelt 3, makati