Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dinner at Masseto and getting the balance right in a Travelife

This afternoon, I was going home to change and head back out again to attend a cocktail party somewhere in the city, when I received a text out of the blue.

It was from the wife of one of my favorite ambassadors, who also happens to be the ambassador of a very important country to the Philippines.

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She messaged: "What are you doing tonight? Are you free for dinner?"

I wasn't free tonight, but I could certainly make myself so. It would be so nice to have dinner with them, I suddenly thought. So I quickly replied: "I have a cocktail party, which I'll happily cancel to have dinner with you."

That was exactly how I felt, and I'm not someone to mince words.


This was how we ended up getting together for dinner tonight.

And, as they let me pick the restaurant, I suggested Masseto in Salcedo Village. It's always been a favorite of mine, and I hadn't been in ages simply because I don't usually have the luxury of eating in restaurants in Manila for private dinners. It's either an event, or someone's house, or someone's invitation -- and I usually don't get to pick the restaurant, of course, when it's the latter.

And, lately, I've taken to entertaining a lot at home. Almost every dinner I've taken the initiative of organizing has been held at home, simply because I want to enjoy my home a little bit more.

But tonight, they were inviting and they were letting me pick the restaurant.

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Masseto was comfortably full tonight, and we had a nice table in a corner. I ordered my favorite dishes here, and when Chef Tippi heard what I'd ordered, she said to me: "You always order the same things."

Yes, I'm a creature of habit.


Then, when it came time for dessert, my initial choices were my usual orders: either the salted caramel ice cream or the chocolate tart, or both. But I decided to try something different. So I said to Tippi: "I'm going to get out of my comfort zone this time and try the chocolate cake with honey ice cream."

But now it was the turn of the ambassador's wife to say something. She was ordering exactly this, so she said: "Oh, order something else, so we can share and taste."

Tippi was about to suggest something very radical for me like a fruit-based dessert, but the chocolate cake was as far as I was willing to go tonight. So I said: "In that case, I'm getting back into my comfort zone and ordering the chocolate tart."

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The three of us had a lot of fun talking and catching up.

I hadn't seen either of them for a while now, as I've mostly been away in the past two months. But there was a time we saw each other at least once a week outside of the usual cocktail parties and dinners.

This was when I made up my mind to spend more quality time with my friends. I've been doing so this year, much more than in the past, and opting for more quiet dinners over big parties as well.

But it's still not enough, if friends are telling me they miss me.

It's a challenge to get the balance right in a never-endingly eventful Travelife. But I'm one of these people who really wants it all, so I'm certainly going to try.


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