Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Cocktails at Rockwell Club and dinner at Stockton Place

With Madame Paula Moreira, wife of the new Portugese Ambassador to the Philippines,
Marivic Rufino and Miguel Realmonte,
at the Rockwell Club

Tonight began with a cocktail party at Rockwell Club, hosted by Tony and Mita Rufino, for the new Ambassador of Portugal to the Philippines, H.E. Joaquim Moreira de Lemos.

The Ambassador of Portugal is based in Jakarta, but he has also been appointed Ambassador to the Philippines -- so the Rufinos hosted a party to introduce him to Manila society.

It was a very nice party, and I so enjoyed meeting the new Ambassador and his wife Paula. In fact I told them: "I wish you were living in Manila instead."

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DINNER JUST LIKE OLD TIMES

A very old friend of mine had also invited me to dinner tonight, so I arranged for him to pick me up after the cocktail party was over at Rockwell Club.

But as Madame Moreira, the Portugese ambassador's wife, and I had talked a very long time about our favorite places in Lisbon, and about the beaches of Bali, where I am headed next month, I was late for our rendezvous.



When I got out of Rockwell Club, he'd been waiting in the driveway in his car for a good ten minutes. Fortunately, he has the patience of a saint.

CLAIMS TO FAME

His other claims to fame include the fact that he is related to over half of all the families within a small circle in Manila.

I kid you not.



I could throw a toothpick up in the air at a cocktail party in Forbes Park, and the chances of it landing on a relative of his is about 90%.

He has one of the biggest family networks I have ever seen.

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HOLIDAYING WITHOUT ME

His other claim to fame is the fact that he used to get along terribly well with everyone in my family.

They'd all met him through me; but when I left for abroad to study for a couple of years, they'd taken him in as part of the family -- and pretty soon he was holidaying with everyone, even without me in the picture.

So we're very good and old friends.


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HAVING DINNER. SOMEWHERE.

When he invited me for dinner tonight, I hadn't had time or leisure to even ask him where we were eating. It had been a terribly busy two days.

And all he'd said was that he'd made reservations somewhere at 8 PM.



IT'S THAT FAMILY THING AGAIN

Finally, when I was in his car, I learned that we were going to Stockton Place, a small and well-regarded restaurant that I'd been hearing about for awhile but had never had the time to actually go to.

He said to me: "A relative of mine owns it."

That figured. I already told you how he's related to practically everyone in this small world.

JUST LIKE ABROAD



Stockton Place looks like one of those casual and trendy restaurants abroad.

It has one small and straightforward menu that has never changed since it opened, but I liked everything we ordered.

There are two seatings and it's full for the 8 PM seating almost every night -- unless you happen to be related to the owners, I guess.

A DELICIOUS DINNER

What did we have?



We shared the foie gras salad and a vongole pasta to start.

The vongole pasta was very different from what you'll find in Italy as it's very buttery but with a slight lemon taste -- and it certainly grows on you.

For a main course, I had the chicken with truffles and mashed potatoes, which was a winner in my books. I ate every single thing.



NO SHARING

Then my friend said: "You're not sharing dessert with me, are you?"

I shook my head and said: "Nope."

So we each got our own dessert, and I ordered the chocolate tart with peanut butter cream on the side. It arrived looking very presentable, and the taste didn't disappoint at all.

I especially loved the chocolate tart and I could have done without the peanut butter cream.

THE BAR WITH NO NAME



We then walked over to the bar without lights or a sign next door.

It's also owned by Andrew Escaler and his wife, who are the owners of Stockton Place.

Andrew recommended some cocktails for us, and he sent me a drink that resembled a mojito, but it had a very long name I can't even remember anymore.

Again, I'd been hearing about this place for a long time but I'd never had the time to go.

It's reminiscent of a speakeasy in almost every sense.

And as it's getting very late, that'll have to be another story in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.

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