Friday, February 16, 2007

A party and a towing incident. Not fun to have in one night.

It was a rather full day to begin with and I was just looking forward to drinks in the evening. I had my hands full preparing pitch materials - "thought starters" and a few briefs to share with our regional planning director who was in town for his country visit (I hope he hasn't regretted dropping by, after being made to ingest ox balls that night…).

Our drinks would be coming from the Adobo anniversary party which was held at Fiamma (Adobo Magazine is a Philippines publication on the advertising industry and brand communications). Other than the promise of “overflowing” drinks, there’s going to be a “culinary remix of adobo” by Chef Rolando Laudico (Bistro Filipino), Chef Pol Poblador (Kusina Salud), Chef Ed Quimson (Delimondo), Chef Melissa Sison (Mr. Rockefeller), and Lydia Go (“food-styling queen”).

I left the office past seven thirty with some of our accounts guys. Crisela wanted to change into a party-appropriate outfit so we made a quick stop at her flat along Aguirre. Cindy didn’t want to be early for the party and that was reason enough for her to tag along. We were also planning to tour Bunny’s place, which was in the same building as Crisela’s.

Because my feet were hurting from being in three-inch heels the entire day, I changed into my todo worn-out driving slippers when I went down. How old and ratty were these tsinelas? They’re five years old, washed a few times, and terribly frayed from my dogs’ chewing.

An hour later, we went back to the car, only to discover it missing. The tell-tale chalk scribbling on the sidewalk was your only clue that those bastards from JJVS struck again.

Me: “Oh my gad, where’s my car?!”

Me, one second later: “Oh my gad, yung sapatos ko!!!”

I turned ditz in zero to one second.

Good thing Bunny hasn’t sped off and was able to bring us to Yakal St. where all the cars towed in Makati are brought in. I was fuming, pissed, and my ditzy side rearing its ugly head. (Eh paano ako maghi-hysteria na ganito suot ko? How can you take anyone seriously in a dress and ratty tsinelas?)

The funny thing was, when I got there, I saw Nandy (an industry colleague and one of McCann’s top guns) who was with his folks and Poptart. Apparently, his mom's car got towed as well.

Because it was past eight in the evening when I parked, I had no idea what my violation was. My car was in the proper slot, I wasn’t in front of a fire hydrant, nor was I blocking a pedestrian crossing.

According to my “Notice of Apprehension” under “others,” I was parked “against the traffic violation of counterflow.”

I was parked on a two-way street. And this was the first time I’m hearing this. I demanded to see the law that imposed this, and all this jerk from the impounding site told me was that “Eto o, andito lahat.” It was a dubious-looking sheet that supposedly lists down traffic violations.

(I have searched the Internet (including the LTO, MMDA, and Makati City websites), asked the Makati City Hall, and consulted a law expert regarding these traffic codes. Finding information to help you understand our laws is like extracting an insight from a client.

I am making it a personal quest to get hold of this “magic” paper and share it to drivers in the area. May this help decrease the number of hapless victims that JJVS has milked for money.)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

An Afternoon at Charley's.

A bunch of foodies, a road trip to Batangas, and the promise of a sumptuous meal. That was how the day was going to be like. And it turned out to be much better than that. The weather was perfect – nice and sunny, and there was still the lingering cold in the air. Not nippy, but balmy.

The ahensiya carpool was rearing its competitive head (feeling Amazing Race). We were the only ones who didn’t get lost en route to Malvar, which was the municipality where Charley’s was at. Hehe.

Driving up to the house...

... and greeted by a few horses on the lawn. (Di man lang aso.)

While waiting for everyone else to arrive, we had a short tour of the premises, which found us at the horses' stables. Who would have thought that horsey breaths smell ten times worse than my pug's laway?

Hee, hee. Kundi ka lang cute...

Retreating back to the house, we started the course with a light tomato-potato soup garnished with basil.The starter was a steamed seafood custard that was just so tasty, Gino and I shared another serving later during the meal. We were served two entrées - a pan-seared mahi mahi with tomato farcie; and the Batangas beef stewed in rosemary and wine which we had with rice pilaf.

For the piece de resistance, we had Crêpe Suzette, which Popit, our resident chef, prepared in front of us. Cold glasses of lemon grass iced tea made a refreshing accompaniment to the meal, and it reminded me of trips to Thailand.

A nice, hearty table to hold hungry guests.

Mmmm. Steamed seafood custard.

A delight to eat. Pan-seared mahi mahi and tomato farcie.

Savoury. 'Angas beef stewed in rosemary and wine.

Tarragon tea. Aids digestion.

The secret to the Crêpe Suzette? Gran Matador Brandy.

Shazam! Always fun to watch the flames.

The baby is
not the next meal.

We had a tour of the estate after our long meal, which was also a good thing because we needed to walk off all the food we ate. A trip to the stables (again), guest houses, the viewing decks, as well as the herb garden (yes, they were all good herb) were just some of the places we were shown.

Charley, gracious hostess.

Driving to the south was definitely a welcome change. More than the call of food, there was something about leaving Manila for the greens of Batangas. Before we left, there were already talks of the next foodie trip to some places in Luzon. Can't wait.

Interested in booking your own trip to Charley's? Call 0917-8931938 or 813-6658 for reservations. To get there, take the South Luzon Expressway to Exit 50 (Batangas). Take the route until you reach the Star Tollway. Exit at Bulihan/Malvar. This is where it gets tricky. Make a left immediately after exiting the tollway to Malvar. At the end, take a right (Ayala) and continue on until you see Balete Drive (also known as Gov. F. Leviste Highway).