Last night my friend B and I had a wonderful dinner at Masseto and a long-overdue girls' night out. This was my second dinner for the night so I was really full, but I just couldn't resist an opportunity to get together with B as she's leaving for New York soon; so I went through the motions of a second dinner and spent the next three hours picking on fresh pasta with slices of bottarga followed by a really delicious and rich chocolate tart.
We had such a wonderful time chatting away and catching up on each other's lives as if we hadn't seen each other for years -- when in reality, I hadn't seen her for a week. But in that week, it seemed a million things had happened to us both.
A TRAVELIFE PHOTO SHOOT
And today, the last working day of the week, was a really busy day that began with an ayurveda massage and a fun photo shoot at the Travelife Magazine office with the whole staff participating. We put on some lounge music from Armani Exchange and this created a really cool atmosphere that put everyone in the mood for the photo shoot. Afterwards, with the shoot still in progress, I rushed over to Benny's on the ground floor of Rustan's for a very late lunch with the Rustan's girls as we're planning a big travel project together.
"The Filipino food is really good here," said Amor Maclang of the famous Geiser-Maclang PR agency, who was fresh off the plane from Palawan. She was seated beside me and she immediately rattled off a list of favorites dishes. She knew the entire menu by heart so I had a feeling she ate here practically every day. "The chicharon is to die for," she added.
A FILIPINO FEAST
We all ordered what we wanted and this was supplemented by food that others ordered to share. Basically lunch was one big cholesterol buffet and each time a tantalizing new dish was placed in front of me, I groaned with despair. "I'm blaming all of you for the 10,000 calories today," I announced to everyone, but they all just giggled back at me since I kept complaining but I kept eating anyway. There was a kare-kare to my left (my order), a pinakbet rice in front of me, and a palabok on the right.
And those were just the dishes that were in my immediate vicinity. The saving grace health-wise was a plate of pla-pla, but even that was deep-fried. Everything was indeed very good, and we finished up with a dulce cheesecake and a chocolate cake.
How ironic that this arterie-clogging meal came after an ayurveda massage that supposedly helped eliminate toxins from the body. And it was 4 pm when I finally stood up from the table to leave.
"If these are the kind of meetings we're going to be having for this project, count me in," I said, only half in jest. I think people who like food are generally really fun to be with and to work with. And, yes, we all ate very well but we also all work hard as well. We've promised to work through Holy Week via email to brainstorm on this exciting project we met about today.
"I'd like to brainstorm through the holidays as we don't have much time and I'm the type who doesn't have much patience with slow schedules," I explained. "I always like things done yesterday." Yes, everyone who's worked with me knows that I work very, very quickly and have absolutely no patience with people who take their sweet time. In fact, I hate waiting for anything and anyone; and how I always want everything done yesterday is a fact of life at the Travelife Magazine office and a running joke of sorts with the Travelife TV team.
Fortunately, the girls around the table all nodded their heads in agreement. One of them said, "We're certainly going to get along."
A SRI LANKAN ENCOUNTER
It was late afternoon and many offices in Makati had already packed up and left for the beach or the airport by 1 PM. But we at Travelife still had one more important appointment to go to before calling it a day -- or rather, a week. I had a meeting with the Sri Lankan ambassador this evening to interview him for Travelife Magazine's upcoming June-July issue (on sale from June 15) and also to discuss the visit of the Sri Lankan prime minister to Manila next month. For this visit, I brought along my editorial team, including one of our summer college interns from Ateneo, as I thought it'd be a good experience for everyone to visit an ambassador's home and see an interview in real-time.
Over tea and New Year cakes specially handcarried from Colombo for the Sri Lankan New Year last week, we discussed Sri Lanka and everyone really had a great time. Of course I enjoyed it very much since I had just returned from Colombo the previous week and could relate to everything the ambassador was saying; even the long names rolled off the tip of my tongue with ease. But it seems that my staff enjoyed the experience immensely as well, and everyone's now really looking forward to the ambassador's invitation to an authentic curry dinner for the Travelife Magazine staff next month.
DINNER AT HOME
After the interview tonight, my cousins cam over to my home for a home-cooked dinner of pasta with puttanesca sauce, roast chicken and freshly-baked apple pie. The puttanesca sauce was spicy and rich, and made with beautiful Italian tomatoes; while the roast chicken was crispy and full of garlic. Meanwhile, we ate the apple pie with a wonderful cinnamon and pecan sauce. We hadn't seen each other in a long time and we peppered one particular cousin with lots of questions about her colorful life. They just left about 20 minutes ago and now, finally, I'm ready to sleep. Good night from Manila.
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