I've been working pretty hard all this week. But today I set aside three hours to accept the invitation of a friend for lunch at Tivoli, one of my favorite restaurants in Manila, and the fine dining restaurant of the Mandarin Oriental.
I arrived past 1230 PM and the restaurant was completely full. Perhaps it was because of the holidays, but there were lots of people I knew, including a prominent politician I've known for the last 22 years or so.
WHY I LIKE THE TIVOLI
I like the Tivoli for their three-course business lunch, which I find excellent value considering the quality of the food. I love the oysters in the buffet -- yes, that's all I eat, actually -- and the daily carvings are pretty good as well.
Actually, my friend asked me where I wanted to go, and I gave him three choices. At the top of my list was Tivoli because of this business lunch and because of the very nice and relaxing atmosphere at lunch. But I was too polite to push it further since he was doing the inviting.
But call it serendipity. The other two places I gave him were full and so we ended up at Tivoli after all.
OYSTERS AND CHAMPAGNE -- AGAIN.
The oysters today were so fresh and really excellent. I must've had five plates by myself. Even my friend liked it a lot, because he said: "This calls for champagne or some very good white wine."
No complaints there. He didn't find the champagne he wanted, though, so he ordered a bottle of excellent white and we ended up finishing everything over lunch. Down to the last drop.
For a main, the carving today was a porchetta, and again it was very tasty.
CAN'T EVER RESIST DESSERT
I'm trying to be very good about my weight, but if there's one thing I can't ever resist at a good restaurant, it's dessert. And I usually want my own, unless I'm having a meal with someone I'm used to sharing a dessert with.
So today I ordered a trio of eclairs with walnut ice cream -- and wasn't that fantastic, especially with a pot of Moroccan Mint Tea from TWG afterwards.
We were the last people in the restaurant at 330 PM. And the best part was that he gave me a hundred good ideas for what to do with Travelife, to take it further, next year.
"I'm doing mental housekeeping between now and the year-end, so this is the perfect time to think about how to take Travelife bigger," I told him. I was literally sitting at the edge of the seat -- perhaps partly due to the wine -- thinking about the grand possibilities for the Travelife brand next year.
NO ONE TRAVELS LIKE US.
OR WRITES LIKE US.
"No one travels like you. Or writes like you," he said to me. "You've got to take this further. You've got no competition when it comes to real traveling and great writing."
Wow. Where have I heard that before? I couldn't have put that better myself. Wine or no wine. Just another day in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.
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