This was the message I got from a friend last week, after I seemingly dropped off the face of the earth.
Truth is, this year’s Christmas season has been unusually frenetic for our family… Unusual amounts of travel added a certain element of chaos to the usual holiday rush of Christmas presents/parties, which is the reason why I haven’t been around.
To answer my friend’s question, here’s what I’ve been “upto”:
Christmas Gift Giving
It’s that time of year when my home office evolves into a part restaurant/beverage consultant’s office, part French student’s study nook/library, part beverage blogger’s writing haven, and Santa’s workshop. I have shopped for, wrapped, and delivered as much Christmas presents as I could before traffic and even more travel happen.
Those looking to give wine or coffee for Christmas can look at my previous entries (here and here) for recommendations (I would like to add Wine Depot as a great wine source as well… Bulk buyers can be offered discounts, and the items they have on sale are pretty good).
I was fortunate enough to catch a break and attend a multiple course “Modern Basque” themed dinner in the Tasting Room. Each delectable course was paired with beautiful Spanish wines, punctuated by great company and stupendous service… All in all, it was a fabulous treat.
Cocktails and Presidents
Chad and I attended the book launch of “Eldpidio and Alicia – The Love Letters”. Elpidio Quirino was the 6th president of the Philippines during the postwar reconstruction.
It was difficult to find literature on his wife, Alicia Syquia, who was killed (along with three of their five children) by Japanese snipers during the Battle of Manila in 1945. It was great to see their love story, and the life of the Filipinos during the American occupation, through these intimate letters.
The launch happened over cocktails on a Saturday afternoon in Ayala Museum (I highly recommend people to see their diorama on Philippine history). I couldn’t resist taking photos of the chicest looking sangrias I’ve ever seen.
I had a great (albeit short) time in Singapore… Chad had a meeting, and I took advantage of Singapore’s massive holiday sales to shop for Christmas presents (and stuff for myself, of course). I just HAD to buy a Laphroaig PX (a tremendously smoky, slightly sweet powerhouse of a single malt Islay… Just the way I like it), and a bottle of Hibiki Suntory Whisky Master’s Select (a fruity Japanese whisky with the smoothest texture on earth).
On a non-alcoholic note, I did find a lot of liquor infused chocolates, and ended up getting myself an Amarula chocolate bar. 😉
We also managed to catch up with some girl friends over coffee… I loved Coffee Club’s Aged Sumatra Mandheling. “Aged” coffee is made out of green coffee beans stored over time. This particular coffee has low acidity, extremely flavorful, and has quite the body.
What’s next on my agenda? Another trip out of the country, and part 2 of my “proudly pinoy” story arc.