Today, J and I decided to get out of cyberspace and have lunch at 2nd's, a new restaurant at one corner of Bonifacio High Street that has quietly been making waves among foodies.
It was actually funny how we'd decided to have lunch here today. Let's just say that a little girl got us together, and a conversation about her led to an invitation from J for lunch at 2nd's, exactly while he was at 2nd's last week having lunch with a bunch of people.
2nd'S TWICE IN A WEEK
Last week, we'd been BBM-ing while I was in the car and he was having lunch at 2nd's.
"Let's have lunch here next week," he said to me. "What's your schedule like?"
I'd replied: "Here, as in 2nd's? Is the food really that good?" J's quite picky about food, you see, so if he goes back to a place a couple of times, it usually means it's pretty good.
The BBM came back quickly: "I'll let you know in a few minutes." He was literally BBM-ing from 2nd's and ordering and tasting his food in the meantime. And true enough, a BBM soon came back from him: "It's pretty good. Let's eat here."
OUT OF MANILA
And that's how we ended up at 2nd's today for a very nice lunch. I'd been hearing about it from friends but today was my first time there. The restaurant has the kind of atmosphere that reminds you of some place in New York or Sydney -- it's all wood and dark and stylish, and perhaps the best part about it is that it has a very high ceiling that gives a feeling of space. You feel like you've left Manila even for a little while.
The restaurant was full today but it didn't seem cramped because of the ceiling. And very interestingly, in this small world of Manila and its two degrees of separation, the restaurant was full but neither J nor I knew anyone. I don't think this has happened before. Even in an empty Italian restaurant along Reposo St. on a Sunday evening, we'd known the people at the next table.
Still, it seemed a very nice crowd. Next to us was a young couple that I reckoned was on some kind of first date as they kept asking each other about their favorite restaurants and going through getting-to-know-you questions like: "So -- do you always eat lunch out?"
Meanwhile, in the middle of the room, I think some matrons where celebrating someone's birthday. "How interesting that we don't know anyone in this packed restaurant," I said.
RECOMMENDATION ON ADOBO RIBS
The menu was full of stuff I would have loved to try, but a friend of mine had already told me to order the adobo ribs so that's what I had. J had the same. It was just as good as my friend had said, with the fatty meat of the ribs in a pungent adobo sauce. Perfect with rice, although if this was my restaurant, I would probably have served garlic rice with it. But it did have atchara on the side which went very well with the adobo ribs.
And we both had a salad to start (I had a caesar's salad which 2nd's calls Brutus instead; read about this salad in my blog post entry for November 17 called A Tale of Two Ceasars), San Pellegrino to drink, and we shared a dessert as usual. Not for anything, but it's always convenient to share calories after such a big meal so we usually half the dessert.
HALF A DESSERT
Dessert was a molten chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream. Very good and sinfully caloric. But today wasn't a time for counting calories. I just had a whole container of adobo ribs to myself, and I'm having dinner with the Ambassador of Brazil tonight.
As usual, J wolfed everything down in a couple of minutes. I hadn't even begun to cut my salad and there he was across the table from me with an empty plate. "Blame it on the school," he said. I knew what he meant but I can't explain it in this blog.
"This is why we'll never get along," I joked him. Every time we eat together, he takes 1/100th of the time I take to eat. But it's probably good dynamics as he then gets to tell all his stories while I finish my food.
THE QUESTION OF J
And, boy, did he have a lot of interesting stories today -- lots of them related to travel. I wish I could repeat a couple of them but I've promised not to as otherwise some people will get an idea of who exactly J is. In fact, apparently lots of people have already asked him if he's "J in the blog."
"What do you say when you're asked that?" I asked him. He replied: "I say 'yes'."
I can tell you that I almost fell off my seat when he said this. I thought I was so studiously trying to keep his identity a secret because the whole point of this is that I can recount funny conversations publicly because his identity is private. Besides, it's rather fun to keep people on a guessing game.
"I've only admitted it to good friends, though," he said. "I can't very well lie to them."
All too soon, it was time to get out of the pretty comfortable darkness of 2nd's and back into the sunny afternoon of reality. On the way back to work, I sent him a thank you BBM.
He messaged back: "Glad you enjoyed. See. Even off the blog, J can be pretty nice and charming."
I replied: "Yeah, he's fun to hang around with." And then I added: "And to write about."
Bonifacio High Street
Oct-Nov 2011 Issue
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