Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dinner at Malcolm's Place

Tonight the Travelife team had dinner at Malcolm's Place at the Fort. It was sort of a get-together before everyone flew off again to different cities or countries, just to celebrate a very good upcoming issue and to wish each other bon voyage.

After lots of last-minute changes in itineraries and schedules, it seems I'm finally all set to fly to Sri Lanka this weekend for what I hope will be a couple of fun days of work coupled with sightseeing and shopping. Then two of our sales & marketing teams are heading off to Kalibo and Ilocos Norte -- two very opposite but equally interesting places, while our creative director Bryan is flying to South India to shoot some stuff for Travelife Magazine in Mumbai and Kerala.

And, yes, while all this is happening at Travelife, Gel, our director of business development, and Carlo, who is now heading Travelife TV, are going to be in CamSur for fun (and work) in the sun. And, oh yes, our editorial team sans me is headed for Taipei sometime soon too.


That's a Travelife for you, and everyone who works at Travelife really does get to travel. We're just on a plane or any moving vehicle practically all the time, so it's already second nature to be going somewhere all the time. The other day, I was on my computer, and I suddenly looked up and asked Meg, our marketing associate, very matter-of-factly: "Meg, are you free to come along to Sri Lanka this weekend?"

It seemed a perfectly natural question for me, and I was actually worried that she might have made weekend plans already, resulting in some difficulties in joining me in Sri Lanka. The entire office was quiet and this included Meg.

So all the while -- for those few seconds of complete silence -- I was thinking that she already had plans for the weekend, and so Sri Lanka was a no-go. It turned out that everyone was surprised to hear such a question -- apparently I'd suggested Sri Lanka in the same way that someone might have said "Are you free to come along to Greenhills this weekend?"

But, again, that's a Travelife for you. It's second nature so Colombo is almost the same as Greenhills or Bulacan to me, although of course it takes slightly longer to get there, and I need to remember to bring US dollars in case I can't find an ATM machine.


Anyway, tonight was a sayonara dinner of sorts at Malcolm's Place in the Fort, a casual restaurant I'd been meaning to try for a while since I'd heard good things about it. They'd gotten a new chef sometime back and the food was being tweaked to California cuisine with simple techniques and simply good ingredients.

I was late in arriving so when I got there, everyone else had ordered stuff they liked so I didn't feel the need to order anything more. I was just going to taste everyone else's orders -- especially as today was actually Day One of my latest Juju detox. By the way, Juju is great. I did the first day today (Well -- sort of. At least until this evening...) and I did not at all feel hungry. I was able to concentrate on work and not have to think about food or lunch.


But unfortunately, I let myself go tonight after seeing all the luscious treats on the table at Malcolm's Place. Someone had ordered burgers, and there was sisig, buttermilk pancakes, roast beef sandwiches, corned beef with eggs benedict and tapa with garlic rice on the table. All the beef served here, by the way, is either Australian wagyu or local wagyu from Bukidnon.

Everything was very nice and I could see myself coming over for brunch a lot -- which is apparently a very popular thing to do. Malcolm's Place is open from breakfast with a lot of old-fashioned favorites, and it gets pretty full at lunch. Interestingly, many people having lunch order breakfast favorites like the wagyu tapa with garlic rice or the wagyu corned beef with eggs benedict. Yum.


The chef in charge of Malcolm's restaurants -- the Fort is their casual eatery and they have a fine dining outlet in Salcedo Village -- lived in the States for over 25 years, and he studied cooking at CCA in San Francisco and then trained in various great restaurants including French Laundry.

"I want to replicate the best of Californian cuisine," he said. "It's all about simple food with very good ingredients."

I was trying to be good but he made me try his buttermilk pancakes, which he said he'd spent a lot of time perfecting so that they were dough-y but fluffy, and certainly not thick or greasy. I can't explain it but you just have to eat them -- they're very good indeed.

"How often are you in Manila?" He asked. I answered, almost with a sigh: "Never often enough." And then it was time to go home and start semi-packing for Sri Lanka, Japan, Korea and China. Yes, it's four trips all in succession with different wardrobe requirements for each; so I actually have four suitcases lined up on one side of my bedroom. The next time I'm really going to be home in a significant way will be May.

And the verdict on Malcolm's Place at the Fort? No fuss comfort food, reasonable prices, simple decor and great burgers. Nice for a casual brunch or for one of those nights after a long week when you just want your meat and carbo. But the next time I eat there, I'll make sure I'm not on the Juju detox.

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

GF, Fairways Tower
5th Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
Tel. (02) 556-3186



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