Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Tale of Two Ceasars



CEASAR'S SALAD AT 2ND'S

Yesterday I had two ceasar's salads. At lunch with my friend J yesterday at a new restaurant called 2nd's on Bonifacio High Street, I ordered a ceasar's salad which they'd playfully called Brutus instead. It was very good, with a tasty dressing, although my first attempt to cut a pretty large strip of crispy bacon resulted in it bouncing off the plate and onto the floor.

"So what's the difference between a regular ceasar's salad and that one?" J asked me. Since we both like food a lot, we inspected how they'd plated it; and then I said: "I guess you can call this the deconstructed version." It was bunches of lettuce with some dressing dashed onto it, with the crispy bacon on the side along with an extra container of sauce.

CEASAR'S SALAD AT AUBERGINE


Then last night, the Ambassador of Brazil invited me to dinner at Aubergine, also at the Fort. "Bring a chaperone if you wish," he'd said to me, although of course he meant I was welcome to bring a friend or two.

Of course I was very happy to have dinner with him by myself, but I just happened to think of one lady who I knew would be perfect company for tonight. She and I had traveled to India together about two years ago with a group of women, and we all had had such fun; and she was elegant, cultured and very sophisticated. I was sure my friend and the Ambassador would get along.

So tonight we had a long and very lively dinner at Aubergine. I was still full from lunch but I decided to have ceasar's salad again, and the salmon as my main course. The ceasar's salad at Aubergine was basically very traditional, but for a twist it came with very nicely done gravlax.

MUSHROOM SOUP FOR ME, TOO


Meanwhile, the Ambassador and my friend began with cream of mushroom soup. They both raved about it so much that -- in the middle of my salad -- I just had to hail a waitress and order one for myself as well. So I was still on my salad when my soup came, and it was just as they had described: very creamy but with bits of crouton for texture, and mushroom morsels for solid content.

FOREVER CURIOUS

But apart from the food, the conversation was very enjoyable. I think we discussed everything from what happened to former President Gloria Arroyo at NAIA 1 to the beauty of the Amazon, to tango in Argentina and traveling around the Philippines.

"You know so much about the Philippines," my friend said to the Ambassador. The Ambassador smiled, and replied: "That's because I'm always curious. If someone loses their curiosity, I think that's the end." We certainly agreed that a never-ending curiosity -- just like a never-ending Travelife -- is a wonderful thing, and we toasted to never losing our curiosity with a bottle of very good white wine.

Of course we also discussed Brazil and its similarities with the Philippines in terms of the traits of its people; but it was really the Ambassador's travels around the Philippines that got my attention.

ALL OVER THE PHILIPPINES


The Ambassador of Brazil is perhaps one of the few ambassadors who has extensively traveled the country -- and not always in comfort. He's been to some of the most far-flung places in the Philippines -- certainly enough to give us a lesson or two about our own country -- and he's even going by ferry to some island in a few days.

He'd recently been to Masbate to visit some Brazilians living on a farm called the Hacienda of Hope, where they're helping people who've lost their way try and reform themselves via hard work. Apparently the farm has attracted all kinds of troubled souls including drug addicts and prostitutes. The philosophy of the farm is simple: you can stay if you work. So everyone who comes and stays -- there are those who do leave after a while -- attempts to resume some semblance of normality to their lives via real labor.

A REAL TRAVELIFE

So the good Ambassador is almost on a plane or a car or even a ferry every week.

"Now that's what I call a real Travelife," I said to him. It was certainly more than enough to inspire me to think about doing more local travel soon. And hopefully sooner than later. Bohol is on the cards in a few weeks.

Just another evening in a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.

Aubergine Restaurant & Patisserie
32nd and 5th Bldg.
5th Ave corner 32nd st
Fort Bonifacio (Bonifacio Global City)
Tel. 856-9888

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