Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The lucky bastards club



Yesterday I went to the Peninsula Manila for a very nice lunch with new general manager Sonja Vodusek at the Old Manila, still one of my favorite restaurants in this city.

I've been traveling so much since May -- or actually since about 65 months ago at least -- that I haven't been able to have a meal at leisure at the Peninsula for a while now. But today I was reminded again of why I liked Old Manila so.

CRUSHED ICE, SHAKEN NOT STIRRED


First, the service at Old Manila is impeccable. When I sat down, I was immediately offered sparkling water and a glass of freshly crushed ice was placed next to me. My penchant for crushed ice is fairly well known in many restaurants, and at Old Manila, they never fail to provide me with a glass of crushed ice and a spoon unasked.

The menu is slightly different now, but lots of the old favorites are still there -- including the beef cheeks ravioli that was once my favorite dish at Mi Piace, the Peninsula's Italian restaurant in the space that is now the Salon de Ning.

MY FAVORITE DISH

Beef cheeks ravioli

"Do you know that I used to eat at Mi Piace at least several times a week, just to have this beef cheeks ravioli?" I said to Sonja. This dish was my absolute favorite at Mi Piace -- so much so that I ate at Mi Piace almost everyday in the last two weeks before its closing. Fortunately they brought it over to Old Manila and so far it's been on the menu as an appetizer ever since.

For my main dish, I opted for the wild salmon, steamed and placed on the bed of tasty risotto and fresh greens. It was truly delicious. After the first bite, I actually broke off our very interesting conversation about everything under the sun to say: "Gosh, this is so good."

"When was the last time you were here?" Sonja asked me, because apparently the food had changed in the past few months. I had to admit it had been awhile, but simply because I'd been on the road so much lately. There was a time after all when I was at the Peninsula Manila almost every day for one thing or another.



THE LUCKY BASTARDS

Over our meal, we discussed so many interesting things. One of the most interesting topics that came up concerned the Lucky Bastards Club, an association of men who have very successful working women as spouses or partners, and who spend their time literally following their women around the world on jobs or postings. The women work and the men just enjoy all the perks of a high-powered life courtesy of their spouses or partners.


Apparently, not a few members of the club had lived in Manila until recently, although neither of us was sure whether they were still around as we both didn't know much about this club save for their existence.

"They would be lucky bastards indeed," I giggled, thinking about the men who were playing golf or having a massage everyday while the women went through the tedious motions of another board meeting or corporate presentation.

Before we knew it, my truly enjoyable lunch -- my first relaxing lunch in quite a while, actually -- was over and, yes, we had to go back to work. However, just in case you're wondering, our "bastards" aren't so lucky as to be enjoying a 24-hour life of leisure while we spend our days at the office.

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