Thursday, September 29, 2011

One down, 10,000 more to go...

Last night, I went to the Dusit Thani to attend the cocktail reception hosted by the US Embassy and the US Department of Agriculture to showcase the best of American food products. Actually there were two events at the Dusit yesterday, including a special Thai dinner at Benjarong, which we were supposed to follow to after the cocktails; but we ended up enjoying the first event so much that we never made it to the second event.

The food at the US event was wonderful. They had a big hunk of Black Angus beef on a trolley, which had absolutely no fat on it. I usually never eat any kind of meat without fat (don't tell my cardiologist) but last night I decided to give the lean meat a try. Wow. It was so lean but so tender I had to check twice if I was actually eating meat. Talk about steak without the guilt here.


I happily tucked into a couple of slices, even if I had strict instructions from Patrick at the Arogya Ayurveda Center -- where I am on Day 3 of an eight-day detox program -- not to eat meat. In fact, he said "don't eat restaurant food." But how can that ever be, in my never-ending Travelife? I eat at home without company only about six nights in a year, and none of those six nights for 2011 are in this month -- or in the near future -- so far.

So instead I tried to be good -- or at least better than usual. I had the steak, and of course a little bit of the Napa Valley wines, but the rest of the night I stuck to the smoked salmon and the flourless chocolate cake. The flourless chocolate cake was heavenly and a life-saver as I was craving something sweet. Everyone looked amused when I pronounced the flourless cake as healthier, but at least it didn't have any refined flour in it.


Sometime in that long evening, too, I was invited to decorate one of the 12 Christmas trees that will be displayed in the Dusit Thani lobby from November 15 to January 3. It will be a competition of sorts to determine the best Christmas tree, and the first prize winner will get to pick a charity of his or her choice, and Dusit Thani will donate P50,000 to that charity. Such a nice idea and a chance to put my creativity to a test, so of course I said yes. And this morning, I was brainstorming all kinds of ideas for our Travelife Christmas tree. And actually, it's quite fun to do so.


Back to my supposed detox and ongoing diet. It's actually not been very hard to keep to a diet of sorts as I shed quite a lot of pounds at The Farm at San Benito a couple of weeks ago and I've actually been able to keep them off so far. So I've had every incentive to keep on some sort of diet as I'm actually seeing results -- until tonight, that is, when I had dinner with some friends from Shangri-la and the Travelife team at Makati Shangri-la's famous Circles buffet restaurant.

10,000 MORE TO GO

Prior to heading for the Makati Shangri-la, I'd gone home to change and to my surprise, my La Sallite friend M had come around to my house while I was away and dropped off a long awaited envelope for me. I can't tell you how long I've been waiting for this, but today I was just about to start thinking that it would never come. When I opened it to find the cherished pieces of paper inside, I almost wanted to text him another tease: "Wow. One promise down. 10,000 more to go." But I got very busy and then forgot all about it until now. And actually, he's pretty good about most promises, even if I tease him mercilessly about keeping promises and being a La Sallite.


When I reached the Shangri-la, a second surprise awaited me. I saw so many friends just by standing for a few minutes in the lobby. And the surprise was that they were all eating at Circles as well, as tonight was the last day of Shangri-la's Indian food festival; and so many of them were actually on their return visit tonight.

"The food's so good," gushed one friend. "This is actually my third visit this week."

I then went in to talk to the master chef, who was visiting from Delhi just for the festival. He actually runs a famous restaurant in Delhi and comes from an illustrious family of chefs who have been cooking for the maharajas for over six generations.

We talked a little bit about Indian food and I got so hungry discussing biryani and tandoori with him that as soon as we'd finished talking, I quickly stood up to get a plate and heap it with everything he recommended: lamb biryani (the lamb was incredibly tender and the herbs and spices in the rice were so fragrant), my favorite dal, a wonderful cheese dish that one of my Shangri-la friends said she'd eaten everyday, and freshly made Indian bread.


Everything was so good and the dal was especially delicious. Rich, buttery but also light and flavorful. I threw my conscience out the window and had two heaping platefuls, which I followed with some excellent rose ice cream. I could've then gone home earlier, but one of the Shangri-la girls is going to Kuala Lumpur soon and so the Travelife team started reminiscing about the great fun we had last month when 10 of us spent 10 wonderful days in Malaysia.

"You guys seem to have so much fun," said one of the Shangri-la girls. We all nodded almost in unison because we really do have fun. Just tonight we laughed about so many funny things that had happened on our last trip together.

Just another day in our never-ending, and never-endingly eventful, TRAVELIFE.


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