Date With Nate

Being plugged into the food scene, I hear stuff really fast.

Like when Heston Blumenthal came to Manila and was spotted in Rambla over at Rockwell? (Hold your breath – he was on holidays or a stopover or something) That spread like wild fire and before I knew it I was stalking him. Just kidding.

I first saw Nate Appleman’s pics on JP Anglo’s Instagram feed. “Holy cow,” I thought, “what’s he doing here?”

Nate Appleman

Nate Appleman

I knew him as the guy behind bustling San Francisco restaurant A16, a gig that led him to win a James Beard Award for Rising Chef. Lately he’s been working for Chipotle, a quick service restaurant that I Love. Yes, with a capital “L”. Of course I was curious what he was doing in Manila! Who wouldn’t be?

So imagine my surprise when I was told I was taking him out one night for dinner (Thanks Ines for hooking us up), and that he had been coming here for over 10 years already (he’s married to an Ilongga from Bacolod.)  

I was feeling just a bit pressured because I wanted to feed him well and leave a good first impression. I started to relax the minute I met him. One mustn’t get too star struck with celebrity chefs – after all, celeb chefs are a creation of the media. Most of the time, they’re just like you and me – except way more popular and on TV.

His thoughts on things Manila – things were changing, he could see. And he loved that technologies like Uber were on board here – a sure sign that things were going to become more efficient: all fantastic things to my ears. That says to me that people are watching, and people are interested.

I had planned an evening of restaurant and bar hopping, but as it turns out, this early riser and runner tucked himself in early, so we wound up in the Legaspi Village area.

Hotspot Your Local fed us both with food and with pure buzz, as it was hopping (mind you, this was Wednesday night!). It’s only been my second time to eat there, but it was a place one can easily crush on: the vibe was incredible. My seatmate Mr Nate looked surprised --- he didn’t know places like this existed in Manila. After dinner, off we went to Yardstick next door for a quick coffee and a bit of quiet after YL, and finally a peek at The Curator.

Good times, indeed.