Balai Isabel

Me and Mr. Jones

Tonight, after the opening of the Jewelmer boutique in Resortsworld, the Travelife team decided to have dinner at Mr. Jones, a new diner making waves in Greenbelt 5. It’s run by the Raintree group and it serves delicious and interesting dishes with influences from all over the world, created by group chef Kalel Chan.

Chef Kalel tonight was running back and forth between M Cafe, which is also run by Raintree, and Mr. Jones — especially as Thursday nights are big party nights at M Cafe and so it was a very busy night. If you like music and partying and you haven’t been yet to M Cafe on a Thursday, you should head on down there as soon as possible.
Some of our team are there every single Thursday, and tonight I joked that they probably go straight to office from M Cafe as I hear that the Thursday night partying over there ends pretty late. Or rather, pretty early — in the morning.

I’d had a massive lunch today and I was prepared to have ice water all night. But when I sat down, the food looked too good to resist. Pretty soon I was tasting everything and having seconds, and we were having a pretty merry time recounting the early days of Travelife and also what a Travelife really means.

I’d just arrived the other day from Japan, you see, and as anyone in Travelife can tell you I work on the airplane and then go straight from airplane to work and vice-versa, so I have no sympathy at all for people who think they need a day off from work just because they’ve returned from somewhere.
So our managing editor Carlo was in Paris for the last two weeks enjoying the best of a Parisian autumn but also shooting a cover for Travelife Magazine. And he arrived late last Tuesday night and was in the office early Wednesday morning, ready and raring for work.
And today someone had asked him: “You just arrived from Paris two nights ago. Don’t you have jet lag?”
I was with him at the time, so I answered for him: “No one in Travelife’s allowed to have jet lag.” Everyone laughed as it seemed very funny, but I was only half-joking. And tonight we had a discussion about it — what it means to have a real Travelife — and I’m so glad the people I work with are on the same page as me on this one.
If you have a holiday once or twice a year, then I believe people can give themselves allowances for jet lag and whatever else. But if you’re like us at Travelife — on a plane for somewhere almost every week — then you’d better get used to travel as a part of life rather than travel as another part of life.
Travelifers must have seamless work and travel lives because we do so much traveling; we need to find a way to keep working while endlessly traveling, and without interruption. Otherwise, it’s not a Travelife but a holiday — and you shouldn’t be working for a travel magazine. Or at least not for the Philippines’ leading travel and lifestyle publication.

So I try to spend as little time as possible in airports — checking in dangerously close to flying time — and then I’m on the computer in the lounge until final, final boarding. I never do duty-free or a coffee because I’m literally online and working until the very last possible second.
And from the airport, upon landing, it’s straight to appointments and work. Of course we find time for lots of fun as well (and yes, a couple of massages and spa treatments, plus some good meals, in every city); but that’s another story.
Back to me and Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones is a really cheerful diner that’s decorated in a pretty sophisticated way. It’s certainly not your run-of-the-mill diner. And the menu here is literally a novel. It’s a giant piece of cardboard filled with small fonts describing every dish. I didn’t dare count but there must be hundreds of offerings on this menu.
This is just one page of their 3-page menu
We sampled the best of the lot, beginning with a great milkshake. Of course. This is a diner, so it had to have a good (and fattening) milkshake. And the Mr. Jones milkshake even comes with extra helpings of chocolate or vanilla on the side.
For the main dishes, we had a really eclectic lot. The Buffalo Burger, which is really a chicken pattie with all the trimmings of a buffalo wings dish, is one of their bestsellers and it was also a big hit with the team.
The Korean BBQ Tacos

We also had a giant burrito, a very nice plate of crab cakes and a dish called Korean BBQ Tacos which had bulgogi meat, chips, shredded lettuce, salsa and a couple of other things all mixed together. I didn’t think it would work nicely, but this Korean-inspired dish turned out to be my favorite.
The crab cakes
After the peach melba dessert, however, I headed home to try and get to sleep before 1 AM for once. Some of my team were still walking over to join the M Cafe party but I begged off as it’s another long day tomorrow with double-booked events for opening parties — it’s 11.11.11 so everyone’s taking advantage and launching or re-launching their businesses — and then we have our Fully Booked Travelife travel-writing workshop on Saturday.
The travel writing workshop on Saturday is literally fully booked at Fully Booked. So many people are still on the waiting list but we really can’t add any more participants as the room is filled to the max. If we add even one more participant, I’ll have to talk from the corridors.
Just another evening — albeit a more casual one than usual — in our never-ending and never-endingly eventful Travelife.
Tel. 501-3111
Greenbelt 5, Makati
Travelife Magazine’s
Oct-Nov 2011 Issue

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