A Tale of Two Foodies. And about the best restaurant in Austria and how I ate at Noma Tokyo twice.

With Juan Mari Arzak of Arzak,
in San Sebastian, Spain

So yesterday in Manila, living a #Travelife, I just happened to be exchanging messages with two of the top foodies I know in this city.

Many people love food and eat in good restaurants. But out of all the people I’ve met in this city, these are the only two guys I can describe as the real deal in terms of being fine dining connossieurs.

No one else I’ve met in this city appreciates food at this level of refinement and subtlety, and consistently dines at a truly world-class level simply for the love of it.

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Foodie #1 and I talk about all kinds of things, and yesterday we didn’t talk about food at all.

But Foodie #2 keeps up with me via Instagram and Facebook, and when he knows I’m in a certain city and he’s not so busy, he sends me a list of his favourite restaurants or some suggestions on where to go.

When I was in Copenhagen in July, for example, he sent me a list of his current favourites in Copenhagen in real-time. His choices are really excellent.

That’s me with the Roca brother of El Celler de Can Roca,
currently the best restaurant in the world

Interestingly, I don’t think they know each other but they sure are alike. They have the same tastes and even the same favourite restaurants in the major capitals of the world.

In fact, it’s so uncanny to the point that we three were all in the same impossible-to-book restaurant on the same day in a foreign city.


Foodie #1 had very kindly and generously taken me to Noma in Tokyo for lunch back in January, at the time when it was the hottest restaurant reservation in the world, and we had flown to Japan just for this and a couple of other good meals.

On that same day, Foodie #2 actually had a dinner reservation at Noma Tokyo and he’d sent me a message on that day to tell me, as he’d seen my Noma Tokyo photos on Facebook and Instagram in real-time.


That’s me with Chef Rene Redzepi
at Noma Tokyo for the first of my two meals there

Yesterday, I reminded Foodie #2 about this.

We were all eating in Noma Tokyo on that same Saturday,” I said to him.

But then he was quick to point out: “Yes, but you ate in Noma Tokyo twice.

It’s true. I’m probably one of the lucky handful of people in the world to have eaten in Noma Tokyo twice in a span of a week, as two people had very kindly invited me for a meal there, including Foodie #1.


Then just as we were ending our conversation about some great restaurants in Europe and Japan, Foodie #2 said: “You must eat in XXX when you’re in Austria.

He said this out of the blue, actually, as we were talking about a restaurant in Paris that I also like, and that is also the favorite of Foodie #1.

Again, an uncanny coincidence, because this very restaurant in Austria is Foodie #1’s favourite restaurant in Austria. I fell off my seat when he said this, and not because of the coincidence again.

At a private dinner with the Queen of Malaysia
in Langkawi sometime back.
We didn’t eat in one of the best restaurants in the world,
but the food they served for this private royal dinner
was excellent. I flew to Malaysia just for this dinner.

Some friends and I are going to be in Austria in December and I was assigned the task of securing tables for us at this very restaurant.

However I’d been too busy choosing menus in restaurants all over Morocco this week to focus on booking any other restaurants elsewhere on the globe, so I still had not lifted a finger about it.

But my friends and I had already set our minds to eating at XXX in December and so within minutes of talking to Foodie #2, I was on the phone to Austria, to book another wonderful dinner somewhere in this wonderful world, living a never-ending, and never-endingly delicious #Travelife.