Friday, July 6, 2012

Beluga caviar in my fridge and Carmen's Best Ice Cream for breakfast

Two guys and me in Sri Lanka:
This was our last shot for the road last night...

Last night I had dinner with the two guys I traveled to Sri Lanka with in March. We hadn't met up since I'd left for Europe and it was very enjoyable to just relax with them and eat good food, and talk and laugh about all sorts of things. They both also gave me some very good advice I really needed to hear.

I'd asked both of them to come along to Sri Lanka separately, and they didn't really know each other; so I had no idea whether they -- or we, actually -- would click or not, traveling together for a week in Sri Lanka. But it turned out to be such an enjoyable trip of laughter, teasing, jokes and very long lunches full of philosophical discussions.

So much so that even now we three still meet up for dinner every so often, and we certainly stay in touch via email and phone. Scroll down to read more...



BRIGHT AND EARLY FOR A RADIO SHOW

And then this morning I was up bright and early -- actually brighter and earlier than I would have wanted -- to make it to 99.5 RT for the radio show of DJ Neil Pagulayan. I still have jet lag so it took a lot of effort to haul myself out of bed, and I got myself to the radio station without any nourishment whatsoever.

Just my luck, I saw Paco Magsaysay there, talking on the radio before me; and in between commercials, he offered me lots of spoonfuls of his very delicious ice cream called Carmen's Best Ice Cream. He'd brought all the best-selling flavors and lots of spoons, so before I knew it, there I was eating a whole lot of ice cream. That was basically breakfast and lunch -- and, boy, was that good.



Paco makes what is probably the best ice cream in town, and you can't buy it anywhere. You have to phone in your order and they'll deliver it. His client list runs like a who's who of all the rich and famous in this town.

NEW PLAYLIST FOR MY iPOD

After Paco left, Neil and I were still talking about the ice cream. That ice cream had made our day, we decided. I always enjoy visiting the RT station because I get to pretend to be a DJ for a while. I also get a list of cool songs to download for my iPod.

I don't really keep up to date with music, you see, but whenever I'm on RT talking about Travelife Magazine, I bring my Mac and type out all the songs I like that Neil is playing. That's how I get my new playlist for the month.

BELUGA CAVIAR IN MY FRIDGE



Then, surprise, surprise. I decided to pass by home on the way to work, and a dear friend had dropped off a very nice gift of Beluga caviar. It was waiting for me patiently in the fridge. Oh wow. He'd actually already told me he was going to bring me some Beluga caviar, but I'd forgotten all about it until I saw the tin in my fridge, so nicely gift-wrapped. That made my day. Thank you. You know who you are.

Coincidentally, the 2 guys from the Sri Lanka trip and I had been talking about Beluga caviar the night before. We were comparing ways to eat it, and I'd said that I still prefer caviar with all the trimmings: the sour cream, a bit of lemon, some warm blinis, and just a bit of chopped onions. My friend D said he preferred to eat it as is, as in almost straight from the tin.

And this morning, there was this Beluga caviar gift in front of me.

AN AMBASSADOR'S DINNER

The afternoon was a continuation of the pretty horrible day from the day before, just because the evil of the world won't go away. And then jet lag started to hit me at about 4 PM and I was so tempted to just crawl into the covers of my bed and wake up next year.

But I had a dinner appointment to make, and it was at the home of a Scandinavian ambassador, who was hosting a farewell sit-down dinner for the ambassador of a South American country.

I know both ambassadors well, and -- just in case you don't know how diplomatic farewell dinners usually go -- the host often asks the honoree to pick a couple of people to invite for dinner. So I was on the guest list of the ambassador from South America, and that was how I got a very lovely formal invitation card for dinner in his honor from the Scandinavian ambassador for his formal sit-down dinner.

SIMPLE ELEGANCE

Madame's beautiful Caviar Pie Romanoff.
I quickly snapped this with my Blackberry, and Madame happened to see me across the table.

The Scandinavian ambassador has a lovely and very elegant home, which is just the right mix of antiques and decor. Everything is simply done but really so perfectly set up. I wish I could have snapped photos but it just wasn't right to do so, although I did manage one photo of the second course, which you'll see above. It's Madame's Caviar Pie Romanoff, and it was absolutely delicious.

If you'll see the photo, there's two kinds of caviar on top, and they cover a lovely mix of cream, cream cheese and chopped up smoked salmon. I ate every bit of it and I can still taste it now, as I write. So today, what a nice coincidence. My friend gave me a tin of Beluga caviar as a gift, and then for a second course at dinner, I had a caviar pie. What are the odds of that happening all in one day in Manila?

DARE NOT BE LATE

Anyway, on a business card that accompanied the invitation card, the good Ambassador had written down the following message: It's a sit-down dinner so please call me directly on my mobile, if you will be late. I guess everyone got this little card -- this is Manila, after all, where people are used to drop-by dinners and are often late -- because when I arrived, most people were already there.


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The ambassador had assembled a pretty stellar guest list of around 16 persons all in all, which included a couple of very important ambassadors, the editor in chief of a major daily, one of the biggest art collectors in the country, and a couple of other equally interesting guests.

We all stood around having cocktails. Then the dining room door was drawn open and we all looked at the seat plan the ambassador and his wife had prepared, to get our places right. Madame had set the table so beautifully in her very refined way. I was placed right in the middle of the table, opposite the editor in chief and the major art collector, and in between two very interesting gentlemen. One of them was flying to Afghanistan in a few days on a business trip -- can you imagine that?

NICE CONVERSATION

I can't go into details because of the privacy issue, but I can tell you that I had such a good time that it almost negated all the bad feeling from this afternoon's unpleasant experience with human greed. I was seated in between two very interesting gentlemen, and I spoke with one of them practically the whole night.

We talked about politics, the Philippines, finance, and my life story. Yes, he was very interested in my life story so I gave him the short version of it.

Then after dinner, I sat with our hostess and one of the other female guests -- a very gracious and cultured lady -- in the living room, having more sparkling wine. Many of the guests started to leave by then, but I was enjoying the conversation so much that I decided to stay on until the last, together with an ambassador of a European country.

STRESS, STRESS GO AWAY

It was a very nice way to end a rather stressful day, and I came away feeling that all will somehow be right with the world next week. Almost everyone in that dinner party is going to the Travelife Drum Tao Gala Night on July 12, by the way, and they're all looking forward to it. I told them I'd seat them all together so they could really enjoy.

About 250 of Travelife's friends and associates are attending the gala night and so we've reserved the entire VIP section for them. But there's still lots of other good seats around on sale at ticketworld.com.ph if you're interested to attend. I guarantee this show will blow your mind away.

If you haven't booked your ticket for Travelife Drum Tao Nights (July 12 to 22), I strongly suggest you do so as soon as possible via ticketworld.com.ph. This is one amazing show you shouldn't miss.

Just another day in a never-ending Travelife. And best wishes for a wonderful weekend from all of us at Travelife Magazine.



Dinner hosted by an Ambassador from Scandinavia
to say farewell for an Ambassador from South America

Lounge suit or barong

Gazpacho
Caviar Pie Romanoff
Braised marinated beef with grilled vegetables
Strawberries in Asti Spumante Gelee

Wines
Ventisquero Sauvignon Blanc Reserva
Ventisquero Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva
Asti Spumante 





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