Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Our wonderful world in the current issue of Travelife Magazine




Good food is truly a joy in a never-ending #Travelife, so you can imagine what a happy time we had putting together this issue containing three of the most special experiences in the gastronomic world right now – plus one spontaneous foodie foray in Barcelona.



What a wonderful way to start 2015, as well, meeting revered chefs and tasting exquisite dishes created with genius, skill and inspiration.

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NOMA IN TOKYO 

Heading our delicious line-up, Jerome Velasco writes about THE MEAL OF THE YEAR at the temporary restaurant of Noma in Tokyo.

Noma, based in Copenhagen and considered the best restaurant in the world right now, closed shop in Denmark for five weeks to re-open in Tokyo using Japanese ingredients.


This is definitely the most coveted restaurant reservation so far for 2015, and understandably so.

Over 60,000 foodies reportedly applied for a table, and Travelife Magazine was among the first and the only at this meal of the year.


ONE OF THE HARDEST RESTAURANTS
TO BOOK IN THE WORLD

Also in Tokyo, I had the opportunity to book two seats at a small traditional restaurant that has courted Michelin-starred controversy and not really welcomed new diners with enthusiasm.

Rumour has it that the chef even turned down three Michelin stars.

Read about my 13 courses over AN AFTERNOON OF DELIGHT last month in Japan.

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FRENCH FOOD IN DANANG 

Meanwhile, Chris Dwyer, a former senior executive at CNN, took THE SLOW TRAIN TO A GREAT MEAL in Danang to observe culinary master Michel Roux in action at his only Asian outpost, in one of Vietnam’s top luxury hotels.

Chef Michel Roux in Vietnam

SEARCHING FOR THE BEST TAPAS 
IN BARCELONA 

Dondi Joseph delved into the foodie world as well.

In a story about CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MY KIND, he recalls his initially disheartening attempts to find a decent tapas bar on a Sunday evening in Barcelona, that ended fortuitously in a fantastic bar manned by Filipinos who offered him great food and warm service.

Exactly what he was looking for.



TRAVELIFE TO CAIRO NOW 

Our cover story was shot on a boat on a beautiful day in Egypt, which, incidentally, is one of hot destinations for 2015.

As always, Travelife Magazine, the leading travel & lifestyle publication, is at the forefront, way ahead of others in discovering (or re-discovering) some of the most amazing experiences in the world.



ALWAYS A NEVER-ENDING TRAVELIFE

TRAVELIFE General Manager Angelica Bayona, who has crisscrossed the globe more times than she can count for our magazine, led the team that flew to Cairo for this cover feature last October.

Every trip we at TRAVELIFE undertake is unique and memorable. 



I hope the happy excitement and awe we always feel, exploring the depths and breadth of this truly wonderful world, is evident in our pages, as we happily and most enthusiastically undertake a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful #Travelife.




About a black pork curry lunch at Paradise Gallery, and looking for men in Colombo. And the one thing someone will never do.



So last week, in Colombo, living a #Travelife, there we were having a very nice lunch at Paradise Gallery, which is one of the nicest casual but stylish restaurants in the city.


The atmosphere is Sri Lankan with a contemporary touch, and they make excellent desserts.

I go to Paradise Gallery every time I'm in Colombo, and I don't think I've ever had a dessert here that I didn't like.

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REMEMBERING PASSION IN A CHEESECAKE

Two trips ago, I tasted a passionfruit cheesecake here, for instance.

I love passionfruit, but I'm not really a cheesecake person and I don't usually like fruit desserts. My friends all know that I'll always pick the chocolate treat from the dessert list.

But even now, I still dream about this passionfruit cheesecake.



BACK TO AN OLD FAVORITE

This time, though, for lunch I went back to my old favourite for dessert, and had a molten chocolate cake.

I'd done up the lunch menu for our entire group of 13 ladies from Manila, Cebu and Madrid, and the two choices for dessert had been chocolate.

Fortunately, everyone enjoyed the meal, including the black pork curry I'd chosen for the main course.



LOOKING FOR MEN

And it was just about at the time of dessert that a fashionably-dressed Sri Lankan lady, who happens to be a famous chef and author on the island, as well as a good friend of one of my companions, walked in specifically to say hello to us.

After the usual niceties, I think she asked something like: "Where are all the men?"

WOMEN TRAVELING THE WORLD



Well, all the men had been left at home as this was a spa, arts and crafts and shopping trip to Sri Lanka -- and, as someone teased, they have to work to pay for all the bills.

This group of ladies travel together to some pretty exotic places every so often, and the men are always left behind each time. I'd traveled with them to South India sometime back, and last September, I'd taken them around Hakone and Tokyo.



So someone responded: "This is an all-ladies group."

The Sri Lankan chef didn't miss a beat. She smiled at us and said: "Aaah. Traveling just with the girls. Now that's one thing I'll never do."

This made us all laugh, on just another wonderful day in Sri Lanka last week, living a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful #Travelife.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Afternoon tea with the Mayor Mahindra Ratwatte of Kandy in Sri Lanka, and a VIP visit to the Temple of the Tooth Relic

Mayor Mahindra Ratwatte of Kandy

On Friday afternoon, in Sri Lanka, living a #Travelife, my friends and I went to the official residence of the Mayor of Kandy to have afternoon tea with him and his lovely wife.

Mayor Ratwatte comes from the most prominent political family in Kandy, and we were introduced by a friend of his father's, who happens to also be very prominent in politics and the academe.

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KANDY: SRI LANKA'S CITY OF CULTURE



Kandy is the second largest city in Sri Lanka, as well as the cultural capital of the country.

During our visit here, we stayed on a beautiful tea plantation about 90 minutes away from Kandy, and it was during this stay that Mayor Mahindra Ratwatte very kindly took time out from his busy schedule to invite us for afternoon tea in his home.

WHAT A BEAUTIFUL HOUSE

The official residence of the mayor is a lovely heritage house located near the very centre of Kandy. It has beautiful grounds and the structure shows evidence of Sri Lankan design and also of British design.


Madame Ratwatte prepared a delicious afternoon tea spread for us, including slices of lovely chocolate cake and some Sri Lankan pies.

Of course, this was accompanied by famous Ceylon tea, which was very light, with a pure and smooth finish. I could have drunk cup after cup.

LEARNING MORE ABOUT SRI LANKA.
AND ABOUT MANILA, CEBU AND MADRID.


We were so happy to meet them both, and we had a very animated discussion on Sri Lankan culture, as well as on the Philippines.

As our group consisted of prominent ladies from Manila, Cebu and Madrid, they had many questions for us as well.

AFTERNOON TEA PARTIES IN
COLOMBO AND KANDY,
LIVING A TRAVELIFE

With Sri Lankan State Minister of Child Affairs
Rosy Senanayake
in Colombo last week

So on this trip to Sri Lanka, we met many interesting Sri Lankans.

In Colombo, we had afternoon tea with Madame Rosy Senanayake, the Sri Lankan State Minister of Child Affairs, while in Kandy, we met with Mayor Ratwatte and his wife.

A VIP VISIT TO
THE TEMPLE OF THE TOOTH RELIC


To top off a wonderful visit to Kandy, Mayor Ratwatte arranged a VIP visit to the Temple of the Tooth Relic, which is the second most important Buddhist shrine in the world and Sri Lanka's most revered shrine.

There is always a very long line to enter this temple, so we were very lucky to enter the VIP way, as this is the shortest route.

The VIP entrance to the
Temple of the Tooth Relic

The Mayor also arranged for us to see a special performance of Kandyan songs and dances that left us mesmerized.

After this, we headed back to our lovely tea plantation for a relaxing dinner on just another wonderful day in Sri Lanka, living a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful #Travelife.