I had the honor of having dinner with my one and only Pinoy (now ex-)colleague, Ariane, at one of her favorite Italian restaurants in Amsterdam. Coincidentally, one of my first Italian meals over here was in this same place way back when we still called Rotterdam home. I even remember us having to take the long train trip back and wishing we lived in Amsterdam. Those were the days.
That meal was also at night but the atmosphere then was the complete opposite. Compared to the previous time when we hurried to get out from the rain and cold, entered a crowded dining room and got stuck in a cramped corner near the kitchen, this time with most of the clientele opting to eat al fresco, Ariane and I enjoyed the quiet and relative isolation in our staked out corner by the window. Even at 8 p.m. the sky was still clear and bright, giving me this strange feeling that it was a leisurely lunch. It could’ve been the wine from earlier but the moment our Italian(!) waiter served us our fresh bread and tapenade, I felt the same heady feeling I had the last times I was in Italy and Greece. I was on holiday mode and it felt perfect.
The linguini con le vongole turned out to be fantastic, simple, and honest. The waiter even showed us a fresh bag of clams they imported all the way from Italy, obviously very proud of the fact. I cleaned out my plate and was tempted to wipe out my colleague’s as well – but thankfully restrained myself. It was still light out by the time we left close to 9 p.m. and with just a tinge of sadness I bid my colleague goodbye for the moment, pretty sure that she’ll be back pounding the pavement in her wedge heels again soon. I’m quite confident this won’t be our last dinner…so long as she doesn’t leave the country!