Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Manly Men and Fine Dining

Real men love food. I love steaks, seafood, barbecue, pasta, pizzas. Veggies? I hate them, but I treat them as medicine: i.e. I may not like how it tastes, but I need to consume lots of it to live.

Don’t blame me, blame evolution. Manly cavemen were hunters before they became gatherers and farmers. Eating meat is etched in every manly man’s genes. After all, there are no ancient cave paintings showing early Homo sapiens spearing a carrot.

"Uuuuummmm….ummmm….me go to forest….we get broccoli….ummmm…ummmm. ..brocoli."

Which leads me to my next point: where do manly men go to eat out? Manly Men will eat where food is served in huge portions, cheap and preferably greasy or cooked over an open fire.

Which excludes the obvious places? Like a French restaurant named “Le Chardin”, where food comes in a nice porcelain plate with some garnish on the side. Where you are serenaded by a violinist while you dig into your soufflĂ©. Where a snotty waiter brings you a cork for you to sniff and to make nonsense chitchats:

“…ahhhh…..1989….a good year Renee….I remember this year. It was the year Kris Aquino did Fido Dida. Yes…one bottle please”


Manly men eat at places like Napoli’s Pizzeria (Fairview), or Colasa's Barbeque, or Snackaroo Eatery, or “Ulo-ulo sa Sikatuna”..or even Mang Jimmy’s in Balara near UP. The common denominator for these places are these are places where men can simply be themselves.

No piano playing. No dressing up. No polite chatter, no beso-beso. Just brutally good food.

Going back to Mang Jimmy’s. This is got to be the ultimate place for the manly man to eat. It is a converted house at the back of MWSS near UP in Balara. Upon entering, you will be greeted by its sheer ruggedness. Plastic chairs, linoleum covered wooden tables. Spoon and fork dunked in a bucket. Worn out white china dishes and plastic drinking cups. Damn..I’m getting a hard on just thinking of it.

The menu will make any manly man cry. Tapa supreme, Grilled Squid, Fish Steak with Gravy, T-Bone Steak, Sisig. All served greasy on a hot plate, all the same price. No veggies (except the occasional chopsuey or pakbet). The ultimate kicker: Eat all the rice you want!!!

On the walls of Mang Jimmy is a celebrity wall, where Mang Jimmy post snap shots of celebrities who have graced his eatery. The crowd is a mixture of UP and Ateneo students, the occasional Taxi driver and office workers from the nearby MWSS.

Mang Jimmy himself is always there to greet the guest. A badge of honor in this place is when you know Mang Jimmy himself. Yep, Mang Jimmy is known to give complimentary “ulam” to his favored clients. If you see him. please say hello (libre na Kare-kare mo!!).

Women are not necessarily excluded from Mang Jimmy or any other manly man place I mentioned. My wife loves eating at these places.

Here is a hint to the dating single women out there. If the guy you are dating brings you to “Le Chardin”, forget it. He is not sincere and he only wants to have sex with you. If he is truly sincere he will bring you to one of the places where he will eat and make a fool of himself.

Thus according to urban legend, when Edu Manzano was dating Vilma Santos, he would bring her to Metro Manila’s best eateries.

After all, nothing shows the sensitive side of a manly man more than a hot plate full of Mang Jimmy’s tapa. No pretentiousness here.

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