Tag Archives: Philippines

Dinner party, part 2: The appeteasers

Where were we? Oh yes. The actual dinner.

Dinner started with a scrumptious bowl of French onion soup. Now, normally I’m not a big fan of French onion soup. It’s a long story that has to do with an unfortunate hospital confinement, three days of no food or drink except intravenous fluids, and then a first meal of heavily-spiced French onion soup that overloaded my taste buds. My tongue still has nightmares of that fateful night.

And yet, for some reason, I didn’t feel like gagging when the first course was placed in front of me.

That bowl was empty pretty fast. I won’t tell you just how fast. I have my pride. Well, at least some of it.

Next up was this beautifully presented gigantic rectangular plate of various appetizers. It was huge. And pretty. You really had to be there, because my pictures don’t do it justice.

See? It was so big that I couldn’t fit the entire plate in my frame. Spot that little bivalve mollusk up there, in the upper righthand corner? That’s a delicious scallop in its shell, with some kind of garlic-herb-cheese crust on it.

Excuse me while I drool all over again.

If I wasn’t battling the urge to attack this plate immediately, I probably would have thought of adjusting my aperture so that the smoked salmon rose there in front would be in focus more.

And you see that salad there? That perfectly dressed salad?

He decorated the lettuce with marigold petals. Both lettuce and marigolds were from his garden. Where he also grows his own herbs.

I found that out not long after learning that he made his own candles. I think it was right around that time that I pretty much bid goodbye to my pride.

Which subsequently was pretty much obliterated once the main course rolled out. Stay tuned if you could use some pride reduction as well. We happen to be running a special this week.

Dinner party, part 1

My cousin has the coolest friends. They’re funny, they’re divers, and they’re foodies. Need I say more?

One of them is an amazing chef, among other things. Some time ago, this chef named Boy hosted a dinner party at his house. And I got invited.

(Yes, I realize I said the chef was named Boy. That’s not my lame attempt at anonymity. That’s actually his nickname. Now, if you’re not from the Philippines, that may seem strange. But trust me. You’ll get over it soon enough.)

The first thing that struck me when we reached there was how beautifully designed his house was.

See that tall candle sitting under the frame? He made that.

See those horns? He didn’t make those. But I’m pretty sure he could if he wanted to.

I wish I took more photos of his place, because it was really beautifully done. Except, I didn’t want to embarrass my cousin by bringing my camera inside, say, the powder room. After all, the smells coming from the kitchen told me that I’d be hoping for a repeat invite.

So for now, these photos of the lovely decorative touches around his house will have to suffice.

Next up, the absolutely fabulous dinner. Brace yourselves for the gastronomic onslaught.

(I have no idea what that meant. Just ignore me. I’ve been looking at the food photos and the hunger pangs are making me light-headed.)

Old habits die hard

Yes, I’m still taking pictures from inside moving vehicles. Usually while being the one in control of said moving vehicle. Among my dear friends at Shrew’s place, it’s a stunt referred to as “pulling an Ivoryhut.”

Manila is known for many things. Among those are the horrendous traffic, ridiculously stressful driving, and gorgeous sunsets. Put them all together, then plop Ivoryhut in the middle of it all, and you get this.

Wonderful sunset taken from a car seat. Pretty, yes? I really couldn’t resist.

But don’t worry. Someone else was driving. Did I mention the ridiculously stressful driving here? No way I’m taking my eyes off the road for one instant, let alone take a hand off the steering wheel.

I haven’t gone that crazy. Yet.

Climb every mountain

You already know I have a special fondness for aerial shots. This recent flight did not disappoint, with some wonderful views of Asian mountaintops.

These were taken soon after taking off from Taiwan.

Then some stranger next to me started snoring something awful, so I quickly grabbed my earphones and pushed up the volume to drown out the sound. I don’t remember falling asleep, but fortunately, I woke up just in time to realize we had entered Philippine airspace.

As we flew into Manila from the north, I looked down to see this.

Wave hello to this mountain region. It’s important to remember not to scream say hello, at least not when you have music blasting in your ear, effectively disabling any ability to modulate the volume of your voice.

But I couldn’t help it. This was where I was born. Nineteen years ago. Give or take some twenty years.

Stop smirking. I can see you.