Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lunch at Masseto to talk about South Africa, and financial guru Suze Orman is in the next room

Today, in Manila living a Travelife, I had a long and long-overdue lunch with V, an old school friend, at Masseto.

Suze Orman, the famous financial guru, was in the private room next to us, having lunch with some Manila bankers.

They must've been discussing how to make a lot of money -- or perhaps how they're making a lot of money already? -- as I could hear their laughter way across the other side of the room.

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Anyway, V and I were really bad for each other today.

Chef Tippi Tambunting of Masseto came out to say hello to us, and she said to me: "You're having pasta again, aren't you?"

Worse, actually. I was thinking of having two pastas: the tagliolini with bottarga as an appetizer, and the new tagliolini with cheese and tomatoes as a main course. Talk about a carb overload.


V was just as bad, or even worse perhaps. She ordered two main courses for herself. But then she's slim as a reed so this didn't really matter.

And having lunch with her today made me decide to be good and just have one pasta.

But then V said: "Go for it."

I shook my head and said: "You're a bad influence on me. And the trouble is, you can afford the calories."

Anyway, we ended up having tuna carpaccio to start and then my bottarga pasta. I insisted on heaping half onto her plate to get rid of some of the guilt. Then I gave her some of my main pasta as well.

And with two glasses of Riesling wine, we were very merry indeed at lunch.


The last time V and I had lunch was just before my trip to South Africa.

She's a certified Africa junkie, and she gave me all sorts of good and humorous advice on how to deal with the "Africa experience," before I went on my trip.

Read more about South Africa
in the latest issue of Travelife Magazine.
On sale everywhere.


I still remember how, when we'd had lunch in late October at the Tivoli restaurant of the Mandarin Oriental, she'd mentioned "Africa fever."

At this lunch, she'd said: "When you go to South Africa, you're going to get Africa fever for a while. South Africa has beautiful things and you'll want to take everything back and turn your house either into a safari lodge or a Cape Dutch House."

I laughed when she'd said this. But it was true. I did get hit with a bit of Africa fever for a while.


Somewhere in those luggages that the porter is about to try to fit into that rental car,
are two trophy-grade zebra skins....

She asked me: "So, what did you buy in South Africa?"

Actually, I bought way less than I expected -- mainly because we were too busy sightseeing and eating to do any major shopping.

But I did manage to bring home a trophy-grade zebra skin, bought on the spur-of-the-moment at a local crafts shop, after a very nice steak lunch in Cape Town.

When I'd decided to buy it, I didn't really know what I was going to do with this, but the moment seemed just right for a zebra skin.

But now I have it on my living room floor and it makes such a nice accent for the home.

As well as a great reminder of my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.


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