On Cloud 9: Dinner with Adrian Joffe
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“The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is the abstract painter Mark Rothko, though I am not a collector by any means. I tend to like art where it is—in museums, or in public spaces. I don’t need to own it.”
— Comme des Garçons CEO Adrian Joffe in How To Spend It.

Adrian Joffe
Photo: Lea Crespi

When Jappy Gonzalez, Managing Director of H&F Retail Concepts, which owns Comme des Garçons in the Philippines, asked me to interview Adrian Joffe—also known as the husband of CDG founder Rei Kawakubo—what I really wanted to say was, “I don’t need to interview him. I just want to shake his hand (and Instagram him, hehe).”

Truth to tell, I was really nervous about the one-on-one interview that was supposed to happen at Univers in One Rockwell.
But when Joffe’s jetlag started to kick in mid-afternoon, it was decided that he should rest instead so he can join us for dinner that night.
I sighed in relief that the interview was canceled. I took my time getting dressed. Then the rain started to pour.
I thought that if I left the house at 6:30 PM, I would make it safely in time for the 7:30 dinner at Lusso in Greenbelt 5.
But I still had to pick up Mich Dulce in Ortigas.
Traffic was a bummer. Mich and I chatted in the car while I played Candy Crush to keep sane.
This was the traffic on EDSA.

Friday night traffic jam on EDSA

Mich said we would be lucky if we made it there at 8:30 PM.
Then we heard a siren. An ambulance was trying to inch its way out of the traffic. We seriously felt bad for the patient and prayed for him or her.

Friday night traffic jam on EDSA

On the other hand, we had a way to get out of traffic! We followed “Zachy” until we were halfway out of EDSA, only to get stuck again. But God is good! We made it to Lusso at 9 PM in time for salmon sinigang.
This special menu—your the usual Lusso offering—was prepared by Margarita Forés.
Dinner for Adrian Joffe

This August 2013 Metro magazine features my Comme des Garçons collection, with a photoshopped Amazon that doesn’t look like me, hehe.

Metro, August 2013

I owned my first Comme des Garçons in 1985. My dad bought me a sweater at Matsuya Ginza, which I wore through 1995.
“When I grow up, I want to wear Comme des Garçons everyday,” I told my husband many years ago.
Now in my 40s, that dream is coming true. I’m lucky to have a husband who supports it.

So you can imagine what it means for me to meet the husband of my idol, Rei Kawakubo. That’s the second best thing to meeting Rei Kawakubo herself or maybe Junya Watanabe.
The first thing I did upon arriving was to make sure I shook Adrian’s hand.
But my hand wouldn’t stop shaking as I force-fed myself with salmon sinigang.
This was our table: Thelma San Juan, Mich Dulce (in bridal wear), Dr. Gerard Henson, Adrian Joffe, Margarita Forés, Tara Santos

Dinner at Lusso

Jim and Mavis Fuentebella

Jim and Mavis Fuentebella

Also there, at left: CDG Philippines Manager Joan Cantemprate, Remo Hallauer of Comme des Garçons Paris, Agnes Desiderio, Suzy Calma
Seated at right: Dr. Tere Henson, Raymond Ang of Rogue magazine, H&F Retail Concepts Press & Communications Officer Mano Lotho, H&F’s Erik Posadas
Standing: Jappy Gonzalez and Ed Calma

Dinner at Lusso

After soup, my hand was still shaking. I decided to step out with Mich Dulce while the others started the main course. Lehcon is my favorite food on earth—but I couldn’t get myself to eat.
Mich spotted Ely Buendia with his friends outside Lusso. The last time I saw Ely was at the Smart Music event, where I ambushed him with my camera.

Ely Buendia at Smart event

“Sorry for the ambush,” Mich apologized for me. “But we needed proof we were at the event.”
Not too long after, Adrian Joffe stepped out to talk to us. Finally we had him to ourselves!
I thought it would be brilliant to take a picture of Adrian with Ely, because it will probably never happen again.


Those who know me well know I rarely take pictures of myself with celebrities, but this time, I just did.
I know I look like a mamaw, but thank you Tara Santos for the pic!!

Cecile van Straten and Adrian Joffe

Adrian was so nice, he agreed to a shoe shot, with me, Mich Dulce, and Jappy Gonzalez. His are the Nike trainers.

Adrian, Mich, Jappy, me

We went back for dessert. I had the fried suman and mangoes, which were delish.
No longer on interview-mode, I got to ask him some Comme-related questions, but no personal ones about him or Miss Rei.
Dinner ended around midnight and for me, it was magic. Towards the end I actually forgot he was Rei Kawakubo’s husband. He is such a lovely, lovely person.
I got home at 1:30 PM on Cloud 9. Sleep was impossible so I took a tranquilizer. The tranquilizer was so potent, I slept again the following day after my workout.

Such an honor to have met the CEO of the one brand I truly love. Pardon me for gushing, but Lola Rei chose well.
All the guests were behaved. Most of the pictures were taken after dinner and not during.
Here’s Remo Hallauer of Comme des Garçons Paris with Adrian Joffe after dinner.
Guys, you should all dress like this.

Remo Hallauer and Adrian Joffe

Thanks again to Jappy for inviting us. Thanks for a wonderful evening.

Adrian Joffe and Jappy Gonzalez

Comme des Garçons MANILA is at
Unit 102, Ground Floor, One Rockwell East Tower, Makati City, Philippines
Tel : +63 2 8693528

Ginza Bairin opens at the new Glorietta
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Is Manila ready for another tonkatsu brand?
Ginza Bairin is the latest tonkatsu restaurant to open at the new Glorietta 2.
What sets it apart is heritage that goes back to 1927, when the first Ginza Bairin opened in the now-posh district of Ginza in Tokyo.

Ginza Bairin

It was founded by Mr. Nobukatsu Shibuya, who formulated the first tonkatsu sauce, prior to the invention of Bulldog sauce. Watch this:

Last Tuesday we got to meet the founder’s grandson, Mr. Masaya Shibuya, who was in town to open the first branch in Manila. At right is Mr. Tetsuya Oyabu of Ginza Bairin Japan.


We started off with a bowl of ligtly salted edamame

Ginza Bairn

and got acquainted with the sauces on the table

Ginza Bairn

Grind your own sesame seeds

Ginza Bairn

Add the special sauce

Ginza Bairin Special Tonkatsu Sauce

Also on the menu is this unique-looking gyoza

Ginza Bairn

Eel katsu

Ginza Bairn

Kushi katsu with meat and onion inside

Ginza Bairn

Meet my lunch: a sampler set of prawn, rosu, and hire katsu. The price is surprisingly affordable (around Php 475) for this and unlimited unlimited Japanese rice, fresh cabbage salad and dressings, miso soup, seasonal tsukemono (Japanese pickles), and genmaicha (Japanese brown rice tea).
All teishoku (set meals) also include a serving of seasonal fresh fruit.

Ginza Bairn

Ginza Bairin uses only the freshest meat using Japan-approved quality standards.
For its Kurobuta Tonkatsu, it uses Black Berkshire pig—prized for its marbling, juiciness, flavor, and tenderness. For frying, they use only cottonseed oil, a healthier alternative with zero trans fat.
The panko (breadcrumbs) used to coat the katsu is imported from Japan, made from an exclusive, in-house recipe especially made for katsu.


International Head Chef Yoshijiro Miyakozawa flew in to Manila to train the Philippine chefs the Ginza Bairin way

Ginza Bairn
Ginza Bairn

Now you can enjoy authentic katsu in three delicious ways:
First, as tonkatsu, or pork cutlet

Ginza Bairin dishes

Secondly, as Bairin Katsu Sando, or hire katsu sandwich

Ginza Bairn

Third, as katsudon, particularly the Ginza Bairin Special Katsudon, often hailed as “Number One Donburi in Japan.
It combines tender hire katsu, Japanese rice, special sauce, and farm-fresh eggs.

Ginza Bairin dishes

From a small store in Ginza, Tokyo, Ginza Bairin has branched out to Honolulu, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, and now in Manila.
And for Scott Tan, Philippine Managing Director, Ginza Bairin is a passion project. “I recall eating at Ginza Bairin as a young, katsudon-obsessed boy on family trips to Japan. Ginza Bairin pioneered the katsu house as we know it—and today, I am deeply honored to have been chosen by Shibuya-san to be part of his family’s legacy.“

Ginza Bairn
From L-R: Mr. Yukio Hayashi (Ginza Bairin Philippines head chef), Scott Tan and Jimmy Tan of Ginza Bairin Philippines, Mr. Masaya Shibuya (President of Ginza Bairin), Mr. Yoshijiro Miyakozawa (Ginza International Head Chef), and Mr. Tetuya Oyabu, also of Ginza Bairin.

Ginza Bairin is at the Ground Floor, Glorietta 2, Palm Drive, Ayala Center, Makati City.
For inquiries and reservations, call 553-7350.

How to win a special giveaway from Taguig
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When I first met Lani Cayetano in 2007, I knew her as the wife of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano—or the woman behind the man

Alan Peter and his wife Lanie

Through the years I’ve gotten to know her a little better, and got to like her

Jeroen, Alan, Lani Cayetano

I like that she has remained simple—she is never garbed in designer labels—even with her change in stature

Mayor Lani Cayetano with Cedric Cid at Muji

Since 2010, she has been the beloved, respected, and hardworking Mayor of Taguig.

Manny Villar swears in Lani Cayetano

When she’s not cutting ribbons, she is working behind the scenes to make Taguig a better place

Ribbon cutting at Bench Tower
Lani Cayetano at work

Very recently, I found out that students in Taguig public schools enjoy free head-to-toe school uniforms, shoes and other school supplies, apart from the free education.
AS a mom, I find these so touching, knowing that many parents in Taguig needn’t worry about their kids going to school.
Taguig's free school supplies
For me, it sounds unreal! I really want Lani for President or First Lady!!
This year the Taguig notebook was extra special IMO, because my sister Ana was asked to design them for free.
Each Taguig public school student gets a set of these for the school year. You can check Ana’s site HERE.

Lani Cayetano's notebooks by Ana Maria Zamora

There’s the back and front cover. Try to spot Mayor Lani at the bottom of the back cover

chuvaness giveaway

I like them so much, I asked Lani if she could spare some for my readers, and she sent me a box! (they were extras)
To make the giveaway extra special, I packed them in five faux-leather train cases from Korea

chuvaness giveaway

I added some CarbTrim iced tea mixes—a great weight management solution

chuvaness giveaway

And threw in a couple of random Mich Dulce x BENCH hair accessories (items may vary) and a Botong Francisco x FREEWAY mousepad. The train case also comes with a removable shoulder strap.

chuvaness giveaway

Here’s how to join:

1) You must have a Philippine address.
2) Must have a Twitter or Facebook account.
3) Share this story by clicking on the Tweet or Like button at the bottom of the entry.
4) Register HERE for the electronic lottery.
5) Deadline for entries is on Friday, July 26, 2013 at 11 PM.
6) Winners will be chosen via electronic lottery and posted on this blog.
7) Winners will be emailed for verification.
8) Prizes may be shipped or picked up, depending on winners’ location.

New dishes at Mandarin Oriental’s Tivoli
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You guys are so lucky.
When I was growing up, there weren’t many cool places to dine in.
During the early ’90s, the Mandarin Oriental’s Tivoli was the place to go.
At that time I was a lifestyle writer at the Philippine Daily Globe. Of course I couldn’t afford it!
I do have fond memories of Tivoli during the ’90s: once when my friend Tonyboy de Leon treated me and Jenny Gonzales to a fancy dinner. Another time, when Inno Sotto and Richard Tann invited me for dinner.
So special were those occasions, I even remember what I wore.

So, when the Mandarin Oriental’s Director of Communications, Charisse Chuidian invited us to try The Tivoli’s new dishes, I couldn’t say no. Lunch was served at The Tivoli’s Roxas Room, named after former President Manuel Roxas

The Tivoli's Roxas Room

We met the Mandarin Oriental’s Food & Beverage Director, Peter Pysk and The Tivoli’s Executive Sous Chef Remi Vercelli—dying to know if there is a rat under that hat

Peter Pysk and Chef Remi

And then we were told to order anything on the menu!
I’m a simple girl, so I started with bread and butter, which came in the form of a cone

tiger bread and butter

The Tivoli is known for steaks—of course I had to have that. This was my US ribeye

US Beef Tenderloin Rossini

with the best side of hot and bubbling potatoes au gratin

potatoes salardaise

The rest of the guests went crazy with foie gras, such as Tivoli Foie Gras Terrine and pickled mushroom salad

Tivoli Foie Gras Terrine and pickled mushroom salad

Sauteed duck foie gras, asparagus, mango and green papaya chutney

foie gras

US beef tenderloin Rossini with potato Sarladaise

US beef tenderloin Rossini with potato sarladaise

Some of the braver souls ordered Australian kidney a la dijonnaise vol au vent

Australian kidney a la dijonnaise vol au vent

Others on the menu: Grilled Australian lamb chops

Grilled Australian lamb chops

Steamed Dover sole paupiette with seafood stew and lobster broth

Steamed Dover sole paupiette with seafood stew and lobster broth

Chicken “dodine” stuffed with dried fruits, braised cabbage

Roast chicken sage butter and rosemary , Potato galette with pancetta, mushrooms  and asparagus, chicken jus

We ended with lots of very unique desserts, care of their new Executive Pastry Chef Darren Harding

Executive Pastry Chef Darren Harding

These you have to try: Baked espresso tart with Baileys Mascarpone ice cream

Baked espresso tart with Baileys Mascarpone ice cream

One of the guests was celebrating his birthday—Scott Garceau’s birthday cake was a work of art

Scott Garceau

You can buy a larger version of this at the Mandarin deli on the ground floor

Scott's birthday cake

And finally, I’ll never forget the chocolate bomb they served us—Tivoli’s signature dessert.
Hot chocolate is poured over a chocolate ball to reveal surprise fruits of strawberry and basil.
Don’t miss this!

Aside from the ala carte menu, a good way to try as many of Tivoli’s dishes is through a degustation menu that highlights The Tivoli’s specialties—available in three or six courses, at PHP1,980+ and PHP3,180+ respectively.
The Business Lunch menu—a three-course menu consisting of an appetizer buffet or soup, a main course from five choices, and dessert—provides a smart option for diners who have an hour for lunch.
This weekly-changing menu is offered from Monday to Friday and is priced at PHP 1,818++.
An option to avail of two courses is priced at PHP 1,518++, while the Salad and Appetizer buffet, a favorite of ladies who lunch, is at PHP 869++.

The Tivoli is open for lunch on Monday to Friday and dinner on Monday to Saturday.
For more information call 750-8888 or email

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