I didn’t guess who else was coming to dinner

18 12 2009

This display on the second level greets shoppers from the escalator landing.


Victorinox Swiss Army wristwatches has an ongoing show at The Podium.


I love all the drama of these golden Christmas trees hanging from the ceiling.


ONE THING that people get about me off the bat is that I am unorthodox.  But that is not to say that I’ve totally broken all sense of convention and tradition.  Because I haven’t.  One such tradition that I’ve observed since a couple of years ago is a December dinner night out with The Dark Knight – both because it’s his birthday on the 21st and it’s Christmas time.

Barring all the draining effects of the recession, I’ve managed to get two gifts still for Batman.  I wrapped the presents myself, bearing in mind just how finicky he could be with the gift-wrapping.  That’s yet another tradition I keep.  Gift-wrapping everything by myself, that is.  I’m saving talking about that on another post.

Normally, in the grand scheme of things, one would think that the balance is tipped favorably to Batman’s side as he gets two gifts against one he gets me for Christmas.  But no, once I put onto the scale all the other gifts he would give me just because, the balance tips my way.  But no, I’m not in the business of counting gifts.  It just so happens that I’ve never met anybody else who could put my own brand of generosity to shame.

Batman's gift!

Yet another one of Batman's great book gifts! Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point.

Here are two gifts I myself wrapped for Batman!

Presenting to Batman the second gift.

We met up at the Megamall like we usually do, then walked our way to The Podium.  His cellphone rang and that was when I realized that the gifts weren’t the only surprises for the night.  There was a mystery guest.  I checked my personal cellphone and saw seven missed calls, all from the same number which wasn’t on my directory.  All from the same person speaking with the Caped Crusader at that very moment.  All from someone who came all the way back home from Korea – the Harryboy himself!

Crossing St. Francis Square, I glanced at Batman and before I could even finish my asking as to where we’d have dinner, my tongue curled from the last consonant sound I made and in one smooth rolling action said, “Indian!” in unison with the superhero to my right.  So off we went on our way to The New Bombay Authentic Indian Cuisine at the topmost level.  But not without first making requisite stops at shops I love – the Philip Stein boutique being foremost on my list.  With the ultimate “kunsintidor” (loosely translates to “enabler” in Englsh) beside me, I feared for my own limited resources.  Hahaha!  After the amiable sales associates rattled off the retail prices of two models I loved from the Prestige Collection, I knew it was time to remove myself physically from the premises.  Besides, they were still out of the yellow lizard leather strap I’ve been lusting after.

Comfortably seated at the restaurant, Batman and I first asked for drinks.  As expected, he asked for just house water, while I asked for steaming hot Indian tea with condensed milk.  Exchanging of gifts was the first order of business.  I hope Batman liked the simple gifts I came up with – with one actually taking more than two hours of unceasing staring at a host of options at Powerbooks at Town weeks ago.  Looking back now, I think I kept on babbling about all the effort I put into the gift-wrapping.  Hahaha!

We were in the middle of really animated conversation – one of my “binabasag ang katahimikan” (shattering my silence) moments – when a celestial being deigned to finally grace us with his glorious presence.  The Harryboy had landed.

Batman captions this photo: "Nagpapaliwanag."

Yes, that's the Harryboy. And Batman captions this one: "Nagpapaliwanag pa rin!"

Harryboy's wristwatch has my name written all over it! I want!

Harryboy and his wristwatch. Me likey that bling!

Unfortunately for Batman, I got gifts from the Oil Rigger.  (Hahaha!  Sorry, Batman.)  Finally, I laid my eyes on red string, rock crystal and sterling silver bracelets he got me from an online store in Korea.

Reminiscing seemed to be the theme of the night as we recollected good times from when we were all still working at the same company – where and when I wasn’t friends yet with their circle. But I knew them from afar and they knew me from afar.   I couldn’t imagine there was that time!

As Batman and Harryboy launched into catching up – as they really do have a lot of that to take care of – I took it upon myself to do all the ordering.  It was easy because The New Bombay happens to be a fave.  At one point, they even joked that I didn’t allow them to have a say on the evening’s gastronomic delights.  Anyway, I just made sure Batman and my usuals were part of the spread, plus a couple of new items.

We started with Chicken Soup (Php 85.00, already good for the three of us) and Butter Tandoori Roti (Php 75.00).  The soup was like a stew with the perfect blend of soy sauce and vinegar – but more on the sour side.  It was chockful with white chicken meat.  The chopped coriander leaves perfumed the dish with just the right amount of pungency.  I loved it.  And I think Batman did too (as Harry kept offering him his share.)  The bread was the traditional roti, baked to a chewy crisp in the tandoor.  Soaked well in good butter, it was good on its own.  But nothing prevented us from mopping the plentiful curry sauce with each piece we tore from the huge roti.

For our main courses, we asked for the Chicken Tikka Masala (Php 195.00), the Shrimp Goan Curry (Php 195.00), and the Mushroom & Green Peas Masala.  Of the many rice options, we decided on the Saffron Basmati Rice (Php 175.00).

Chicken Soup (with lots of fresh coriander leaves)

Butter Tandoori Roti

Shrimp Goan Curry

Chicken Tikka Masala

Mushroom & Green Peas Masala

Saffron Basmati Rice

As this dinner was Harryboy’s third of four mall stops for the night – having first gone to Galleria, then to TriNoMa – we had to let him go ahead to meet The Girlfriend at the nearby Megamall.

Batman and I continued our own catching up while taking a leisurely stroll of the fantabulously decorated The Podium.  At one point, I even managed to squeeze in checking on the services of a watch repair store at the basement as I have been meaning to have a vintage automatic wristwatch serviced.  But first we had to get Starbucks – really hot Starbucks.  I earned yet two more stickers on my way to snatching myself their 2010 planner.  No, two plus those that were already on cards Batman and Harryboy gave me over dinner.

This is it!

The best part of the night?  Harryboy demanded that he’d pay for dinner.  And Batman wouldn’t hear a word of me arguing the point as to why I should pay for coffee.  Oh, the joy of friends!

Copyright © 2009 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MuchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

Wonderful newspaper read

18 12 2009

THIS POST is about breaking my ultimate blog rule.  Eversince this page’s inception, I’ve resolved to only post my own writing.  However – for the first time – an outgoing link deserves mention on this page.  Thanks Sagewin for sharing this most wonderful read.  You are such a “wonderland.”  Hahaha! 

One of my favorite guitar men, the John Mayer, is a wristwatch afficionado!  Read David Colman’s “The Time Keeper” in The New York Times.

Even a brief brush with Mayer’s wrist will tell you that the man has done his homework. He got through childhood and adolescence with two watches — a “Star Wars” -themed Armitron, followed by a Casio Databank. (There was also a Swatch or two in the mix, but nothing memorable.) In college, before he dropped out to pursue music full time, he had a Timex Ironman. It wasn’t until 2000, when Mayer was 23 and making it big, that the collecting bug really bit.

“When I started to make a little bit of scratch, I thought it was time to get a Rolex,” he said, recalling the swagger with which he picked the Explorer II, with a white face. Although buying it was a marker of success — like his first Grammy, which he’d won for “Wonderland” — it wasn’t long before it was not enough. “I get very into something. I want to research it and check it out,” he said. “The Rolex was just kind of the first rung on the ladder. I remember people saying, ‘Oh, Rolex is all right, but IWC makes a great watch. Audemars Piguet makes a great watch.’ So I go, ‘What’s IWC?’ ”

Copyright © 2009 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MuchTime™©.  All rights reserved.