Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ladies Who Lunch

What’s your most important meal for the day? For me, it’s lunch (not that you were asking). After a lot of consideration, I began to ask myself, am I one of those “ladies who lunch”? Well, I love lunch and I am a lady.

It seems like it has become like last year’s bohemian look to be part of this ladies-who-lunch-group. Am I feeling goose bumps admitting to myself I’m one of them? Are we out and do we stick out like a sore thumb?

I guess it’s a matter of opinion. First of all, a portion of the classiest cities, like in Spain and Italy, do love long lunches. Besides a lot of restaurants in town have the juiciest offers of price-worthy set lunches, the same menu would cost you double if you dine in during the evening.

Just to keep you guessing and identify if you are the stereotype lunch junkie, these are the palpable signs:
1. Did you just finish half a bottle of spray net on your hair before you left for lunch?
2. Are you wearing designer goods from head to toe?
3. Is your tailored suit made of the finest silk, even if you were not coming from a board meeting?
4. Do you have a bunch of gold cards from all major credit card company and five star hotels?
5. Did you brush up with the latest E-news in the internet at breakfast?

Well, if you answer yes to all, I’m afraid you are. Hey, no one can hear your thoughts so move on and read this like you were just trying to get amused and perhaps get some insider tips.

Five star hotels are the bat caves for the lunch ladies. Why not? With all the wonderful discount cards the best hotels in town offer, it’s like the fastest draw in the Wild West when the bill comes. The cost of the card is around 6,500B for the annual fee. Some even offer a free one night stay at the hotel aside from free a dinner or lunch and a booklet of discount vouchers.

Rossini’s at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit offers one of the best antipasti buffet that goes with a choice of 3 main courses and a dessert, plus coffee or tea (650B). The white table linens amaze me. When all the hip places have embraced minimalism and have replaced table cloths with placemats, Rossini’s have seemed to stay classic.

Hotel buffets along Sukhumvit and Ploenchit are most accessible and offer great deals, especially for hotel cardholders: JW Marriott (Sukhumvit Soi 2; Tel: 66 2 656770; Intercontinental (973 Ploenchit Road, Patumwan; Tel: 02-6560444); Grand Hyatt (494 Rajdamri Road; Tel: 02 254 1234); Plaza Athenee (Wireless Road; Tel: 02 650 8800). These places attract elite girl power groups like moth to a flame; you see them catching up and chilling out. (Lunch Mon-Fri, 750 – 790B++)

Naomi, a Japanese Expat, says she does lunch three to four times a week. Wives of Japanese businessmen are one of the most visible groups of lunch cliques around town. “Mornings are dedicated to self-improvement like: learning a language, honing a craft [like Ikebana and pottery] or doing a fitness regimen, then a reward of a nice lunch follows, after which it’s taking care of the kids from school and preparing a home cooked meal”, says Naomi.

The best restaurants in town are the watering hole of these modish “soccer moms”; they do offer the best deals for lunch (set lunches from 320B- 390B/person). Chesa Swiss Restaurant (Soi 20 Sukhumvit, Tel: 02 2616650); Rosanno’s (167 Sukhumvit Road 21, Tel: 02 260 1861): Ember (0 2652 2086; Langsuan Balcony Building, Langsuan Rd between Soi 6 & 7) are among the fine restaurants that offer superb set lunch menus as a preview to their dinner menus.

I enjoy lunch, especially since I love working up a sweat in the mornings so I do work out an appetite for lunch. Besides, there is still much left for the day especially in a town that never sleeps, like Bangkok. I’m proudly admitting I belong to these ladies, even if the last time I looked my hair is not coiffed by Edward Scissorhand and it moves when the wind blows. I tell you, they are neither the Stepford Wives nor grown Mean Girls. They mingle and blend in and they do wear brandless normal clothes, too.

I guess after all the fuss and stereotype about this bunch of seemingly endangered species of fine ladies, they do define a certain type of nobility and grace the social scene; defining a certain pop culture genre. Besides, they support the economy - ladies who lunch, also shop!

The next time you treat yourself for a nice lunch, look around for a group of ardent women who love lunch like it were kryptonite. And if you see a bunch of jolly ladies dressed to the tee or hear polite laughter while everyone seem to be eager to butt in the conversation, smile and nod, and if one of those ladies smiles back and winks, it might just be me.

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