Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Girls' night out at Masseto

My favorite chocolate tart

Photo of one of the pastas last week

For my third meal at Masseto over the past seven days, I had dinner with my neighbor and we actually did a very long girls' night out that involved more chitchat and very little food. I'd actually been psyching myself up for one of chef Tippi Tambunting's pastas -- especially as I'd had an assortment of her pastas as a starter last Friday and I'd loved it -- and I'd also been gearing up for her delicious chocolate tart.

I'm a creature of habit and so I rarely digress from the stuff I like. But my neighbor was on day 2 of her diet and this pretty much inspired me to count calories tonight as well. So I made up my mind to have just one dish for dinner, and that was to be one of Tippi's fresh handmade pastas. But when Tippi came over to say hello, she so strongly recommended the foie gras with sweetbreads (they have a foie gras festival ongoing right now) that I just had to have it.

Foie gras and sweetbreads tonight

With my neighbor's help, we were both able to have our cake (figuratively) and eat it too. After the holidays, everyone's on some kind of resolution to eat healthier and lose weight and we're no exceptions. But she's of a firmer mindset than I am. If I had not been with her, I would probably have been on a carbo overload tonight.


But, as luck would have it, we were able to spend the evening in a nice restaurant and still have a good dinner without breaking either the bank or the scales. Tippi made her a fat-less and oil-less salad and steak, while I stuck to my unhealthy foie gras and sweetbreads -- but at least I had neither starter nor dessert.

Aside from the food, the best part about the evening was the conversation. I don't do a girls' night out very often so today was quite a rare event. And we giggled for most of the evening and caught up on each other's lives. Or at least I told her about my life -- and I hope I didn't bore her to death with the details.

We also talked about our travels and the places we want to visit. She travels almost as much as I do, if not more, and we both agreed that our wish lists never get shorter. She said: "I want to go to Botswana or Rwanda when it's safer. I'm really up for adventure." I stared at her open-mouthed. She's Ms Luxury personified, after all, and her usual idea of slumming is a five-star hotel without the word "deluxe" in it. As in just five stars. It was really hard to imagine her in Rwanda and loving it.

One of these days...

Meanwhile, I said: "I'm going to Myanmar and Kenya this year. But one of these days I'm going to find the time to do the most far-flung outposts of the Silk Road."


We're both big cruise fanatics as well, and interestingly she's only been on Seabourne cruises while I've only been on Silversea cruises -- and we both like our respective cruise liners a lot. They're both about the same level in the small ship category, although Seabourne is a smaller and therefore more intimate experience. This is better for some people and not so good for others. A smaller ship means a more congenial and yet also exclusive atmosphere, while a slightly larger ship means there's more capacity for better dining options and better entertainment.

But, of course, both cruise lines are still way smaller than the big daddies of cruises like Crystal and Celebrity, which can hold thousands of people. They're really almost like floating countries, I like to say.

"Haven't you ever thought of taking another cruise line? Exchanging Silversea for Seabourne?" My neighbor asked. But just like with my food and restaurants, when it comes to cruises, I stick to what I already know and like. Why fix something that's not broken?

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

* * *

To commemorate the resilience of the Japanese people
one year after the Great Earthquake,
and to celebrate the beauty of Japanese culture.




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