Eat's my life
“Fratello, tell us about the food,” Charle’s Osmena asked Italian chef Moreno Benigno during an intimate dinner at the newly-renovated restaurant The Loft, at the CJRS building in IT Park. “Si,” Moreno answered, and all of us, amicos di mangata Charles Osmena, Dr. Nestor Alonzo, Doyzkie Buenaviaje and I, listened intently. As each plate came to our table, chef Moreno explained what the dish was, with some anecdotes thrown in, spoken in that Italian accent most of us associate with the mob. Of course, Chef Moreno is also part of our brotherhood of foodies, hence, fratello.
Yeah, call us Cebu’s food mafia. The three of us, the Doc, Doyz, and I get together pretty often, and while we don’t call hits on those chefs or cooks whose food we don’t like, we don’t really pull our punches either. Like, if one of us finds something wrong with the food we’re served, or the service, we kind of tell the proprietor, in a nice way, that we expected something more spectacular, or as Chef Moreno would say, fantastico.
I think of Doc as The Food Godfather, with me as sotto capo (an underboss), and Doyzkie, being new, as capodecina or head of a group, in his case, iluvcebu.com. Of course, Charles would also be a capofamiglia, the same with Moreno.
But when we taste something really great, like Moreno’s spaghetti in olive oil, garlic and tuna roe, we smack our lips and compliment the cook or chef. Ever imagine spaghetti, with no sauce at all, only the olive oil, garlic and tuna roe giving it flavor? Moreno did a pretty fantastic job on that, and the food mafia gave it their blessing.
So there we were, twirling strand after strand of spaghetti, Moreno telling us of his exploits in the kitchen, the Doc telling us of his, Doyzkie taking photos of food porn, Charles texting and Tweeting on his iPhone, and me just imbibing the friendship and atmosphere, with a glass of nice Italian wine.
Chef Moreno also prepared his marinated salmon for us. I’ve never been fond of salmon, but when I had a taste of it, BAM! I actually enjoyed it for the first time in my life. I mean, I’ve eaten salmon sashimi, yeah, and it never really did anything for me. I’ve tried the Norwegian kind, and I’ve never liked it either. I still don’t like salmon, I’ll choose tuna, or even sardines, over salmon anytime, but that night, I would have to admit, that salmon tasted unlike any I’ve ever had before.
As the evening progressed, the conversation turned from food, to movies, music, and even history. As the hours grew late, and as more wine bottles became empty, the bond between us became greater, and as our stomachs became fuller, Cebu’s food mafia resolved to have another night like this soon. But of course, all nights come to an end, and as the night and the bonding ended, all of us decided to take it to the mattresses.