I’m sure you wanted to hear about the juicy details. You’ll hear about it first in this post. Not quite $20,000, but yes it fed some 25 people. The “linens” were of exquisite natural fiber, in a stunning shade of green. They draped over an enormous custom designed mahogany dining table. No caviar was served, but instead a beautiful salad of aubergines. The main course was amongst the best of its class on the entire planet, rich yet comforting… Dessert included cake. And at least eight liters of liquid “gold” was consumed in less than an hour…
We were celebrating the birthdays of three colleagues of mine at the family office in Cebu. E who celebrated her birthday yesterday, C whose birthday is today, B who is celebrating tomorrow and me, the fourth, whose birthday is later this week… Hahaha. Sorry if my opening paragraph misled you a bit, but this is the “scoop” on our own EXTRAVAGANT office birthday bash for four celebrants, consumed just a hour or so ago! :) And yes, I (and my four siblings) paid in cold cash and treated them all to the lunch, like all “bosses” are expected to do; not waiting for some subordinate or flunkie to whip out their own bags filled with cash to “stumble” over themselves in an effort to ingratiate themselves to their supreme leader of the moment… :)
The silkiness of freshly harvested banana leaves, cut from a tree some 10 meters away, was uniquely stunning. It is a shade of green unlike any other. For filipinos, a signal of good things to come to the table foodwise. It is totally organic, all natural, local and depending on your point of view, either completely free, or if you impute the cost of the land, the planting of the tree, the gardener’s 5 minutes labor to harvest the leaves, some P1,000 at most. Though you could purchase the same amount in a nearby market for say P50. :)
These patterns on the youngest part of an unfurling leaf are things I have never noticed before. Forget a beautiful damask tablecloth, or silk or linen, overlapping layers of banana leaves were the perfect setting for our own extravagant lunch.
Each celebrant was honored with a piece of the crispest lechon skin, savored just seconds before everyone else dove into the lechon.
Whole square foot sections of the crispest skin just peeled away from the roasted pig, and we lay them down straight onto the banana leaves, so guests could take as much as they wanted, or their cholesterol counts would allow.
The meal included lechon, rice, pancit or noodles (for long life), an eggplant (aubergine) salad, and sauteed eggplants (below) as well.
We ended with a chilled fruit salad and slices of birthday cake from Ruban Rouge (Red Ribbon, hahaha!). Two liters of Chateau Coca Cola Original, two liters of Chateau Royal Orange, two liters of Chateau Diet Coke and two liters of Chateau Seven Up were sipped with ice. Leftovers were apportioned to all staff members who will take it home and some 24-30 people will enjoy this meal that cost a total shocking sum of say P7,500 ($156) for 30 or P250 ($5.21) each. The rough equivalent of two Sabrett hotdogs with mustard and kraut on a busy New York City midtown street corner, with a large Diet Coke thrown in. And, ahem, I don’t think Anthony Bourdain ever said the pork, beef, duck or lamb he had at Le Cirque was “the best” in the whole wide world. Hahahaha! Happy Birthday E, C and B! Thanks for putting up with such a nutty boss. :)