Paring Down Patio Carlito

FOOD and drinks don’t matter when one has a great conversation with a kindred soul.

But when caffeine the morning after fails to shake off the intoxication, one can’t help but recall the food and drink shared before four hours of alcohol-induced sleep.

The drink is easily dismissable –it’s the tepid yellow brew labeled “light” made by a company now going into heavy power generation.

The food, well, that’s another matter.

The plate of sisig was served with half of it bopis, the waiter even proudly told me and fellow journalist Miguel Camus.

It was served on a sizzling plate on a canvass-covered patio where the owner parked deep brown square tables and straight chairs.

The absence of sizzle and smoke that usually accompanied such dish was expected since our order arrived 20 minutes late.

Maybe the waiters thought the nubile ladies in sleeveless shirts across our table were hungrier. The lesson there was to eye less cleavages and more on what’s not on the end of their forks.

We could have skipped ordering the five pieces of shrimp the bar dubbed “gambas.” Gathering from the speed the plate was cleaned, this dish fared better than our first order.

But Miguel, who paid for Friday night’s tryst with a geezer who incidentally dragged him to this haunt that just opened days after the new year, was indefatigable. He opted to ask for beef salpicao.

Either our appetite returned or a high-spirited discussion of journalistic future that only three of a dozen pieces of beef stock lay on the plate. They lay there inviting, begging to avoid the fate of the sisig: unwanted, left to chill in the al fresco world, and definitely going literally to the dustbin of its short history as pork.

I rejected the urge to clean the plate.

As ANC business reporter Paeng told us, people don’t go to Patio Carlito for the food.

“What’s exciting is the company kept,” he said before dashing off to his table.

Of course, a pocket of thirtysomethings in bedroom clothes add spice to the evening of the boys and their beer.

In a way, Paeng was right.

The evening was one of the best a business journalist could have after a day of covering the sashaying stock market and the solid insights of Jesuit priest Father Ben Nebres.

But it was all because of Miguel, who took care of the former, who not only had the temperament of a Benedictine monk but the courage to listen to a has-been Casanova ramble on about life in and outside the newsroom.

Food and drinks don’t matter if you have Miguel as company.

But I believe he deserves something better than Patio Carlito’s.

[Disclaimer: This post was written sans receiving compensation in any form from any entity interested in Patio Carlito bar’s present and future business. Photo from who, as can be gathered from the blog post title, may have been floored by the resto’s offering.]