Friday, June 1, 2012

Great steak at Oakwood and a discussion on Sri Lanka over an Iraqi dinner

This week is quite unusual as I’ve got every lunch and dinner booked. Usually I like working through lunch and then just having a dinner or an event as I’ve discovered it’s almost impossible to have a long lunch and an equally long dinner, and to still actually get some work done in between.

But this week, I just couldn’t resist saying yes either to good friends or good food. I have a small window of opportunity before getting on a plane again, and so I’m trying to live hard and work harder as much as possible.


Yesterday I schlepped over to the Ortigas area to have lunch with Oakwood general manager Rick Erdos and his senior executives. They have a very nice and relaxing restaurant called the Oakroom, which I’ve already written up in this blog as having just about the best lechon kawali I’ve tasted in a long time.

The lechon kawali is the carving for their Wednesday buffets, and if an unhealthy but incredibly delicious piece of fatty pork is what floats your boat, I suggest you head over to Oakwood’s Oakroom on a Wednesday lunch. Don’t miss this.

Today, however, it was Thursday and there was no sign of the lechon kawali. In it’s place was a very nice three-course set menu that could have been two dinners and a dessert I should never have had.

We began with a large salad of asparagus, potatoes and assorted greens in a balsamic vinaigrette dressing, served with a hefty piece of roasted, smoked salmon on it. In many countries, this alone would be lunch.


 But no, we had the piece de resistance, which was (what I like to call) Oakwood’s version of surf and turf: a nice piece of US Angus tenderloin beef coupled with a large jumbo prawn. It was a picture to pretty to eat, served with three onion rings piled up on high, mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus.

However, I’m glad I walloped the chef’s work of art because the US Angus beef was delicious.

Oakwood is rolling out a 20-day steak promotion called Steak Out, by the way, featuring US Angus beef cut to your liking. Of course, at the top of the list is the massive 21 oz. Cowboy Steak, a rib-eye with bone that's generously marbled, incredibly juicy and tender. They're also offering a classic Porterhouse, T-Bone, rib-eye and tenderloin -- all grilled under the watchful eyes of Oakwood's talented but PR-shy chef, Chef Jerome Cartailler.


Unfortunately it felt like I’d eaten two lunches in one sitting. I was almost not going to have dessert until I saw what was on the menu for us: a super brownie sundae full of honest-to-goodness delicious cream. Completely sinful but I finished everything as it's even more of a crime to leave the remains of a perfectly good sundae behind.


Then last night, I was invited by the Ambassador of Iraq and his lovely wife Nadja to a small dinner of six or seven tables in honor of the visiting Iraqi Foreign Minister, H.E. Hoshyar Zebari, at the Shangri-la Makati.

It's been one event after another and so very little time to think about clothes recently; but as it was a dinner in honor of the foreign minister of Iraq, with our own foreign minister, Secretary Albert Del Rosario, in attendance together with ambassadors from all the major countries, I decided to wear a formal terno.


Makati was terrible traffic last night so I arrived midway for this sit-down dinner, successfully slipping into my seat unnoticed just as my companions at the table were enjoying the first round of mezze appetizers.

The seats had all been pre-arranged and I was happy to find myself next to my good friend Michael Ang, honorary consul of Jordan and president of the Sri Lanka-Philippines Friendship Association. We'd been discussing our planned tour of Sri Lanka for the diplomatic community and Travelife friends in bits and pieces but we'd never managed to get the time to sit down properly for the details. And last night, in between great entertainment and interesting speeches, we finally pinned down a date and a basic itinerary.

Sri Lanka's a go for February next year, and it will be a very special tour to the three major UNESCO World Heritage sites plus some equally major opportunities for shopping. Lots of people in the room last night have already signified they'd like to come along, and a couple of high-profile ladies have their hearts set on going home with some of Sri Lanka's famous blue sapphires.

Someone said: "No one knows Sri Lanka better than you. Of course we're going with Travelife if you're creating a tour." It's true. Sri Lanka is a jewel just waiting to be discovered, and Travelife Magazine was there ahead of everyone else. As usual.

Travelife Magazine in the Jetwing Sigiriya Resort
in Sri Lanka. Boy, did we have fun....
Read all about Sri Lanka in our upcoming June-July issue, on the newsstands on June 15.

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


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