Arroyo’s $15,000 dinner in D.C

THE New York Post and Washington Post reported on Wednesday yet another expensive meal President Gloria Arroyo and her entourage partook of during her recent working visit to the United States.

This time, it was at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse in Washington, D.C., on July 30, a few days before her $20,000 dinner in New York’s Le Cirque.  The bill: $15,000, including a “generous tip.”  And it was paid “underneath a table by a staffmember.”

The Washington Post said Arroyo’s 65-member entourage “dined on lobster, steak and fine wines”  at one of the restaurant’s private rooms and that the woman who paid the tab took money out of a “handbag stuffed with cash.”

The New York Post’s account, “Philippine Feast Frenzy, Part 2”:

“BEFORE their $20,000 meal at Le Cirque, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and an entourage of about 65 — complete with food tasters, Secret Service and a kitchen monitor to watch food preparation — dined at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse in DC on July 30. “The party spared no expense, and had lobster, steak and expensive wines,” said a source. “They paid their $15,000 bill, including a generous tip, with cash — which was counted out, unseen, underneath a table by a staff member.” Meanwhile, we’ve learned that Philippine Congressman Martin Romualdez, who allegedly paid for the Le Cirque feast, is a nephew of Imelda Marcos — who was exiled and acquitted in the US of racketeering charges before returning to her country.”

The Washington Post’s account, “Heartburn Over Two Big Meals”:

“Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s visit to the White House on July 30 didn’t draw much attention, and her dinner in Washington that night got nary a mention. And that’s how it might have stayed — if not for a controversial meal in New York City.

“Arroyo is under fire in her native country for a $20,000 meal at Manhattan’s Le Cirque on Aug. 2, which included caviar and several bottles of champagne. The dinner, first reported in the New York Post, has Arroyo’s critics comparing her to the extravagant Imelda Marcos.

“The Reliable Source has learned that three days earlier, Arroyo and an entourage of about 65 people (including security and food tasters) had dinner at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse on 15th Street NW hours after she met with President Obama. The group took over one of the restaurant’s private rooms and dined on lobster, steak and fine wines; at the conclusion of the meal, an unidentified woman opened a handbag stuffed with cash, counted out bills and paid the $15,000 tab — which included a generous tip.

“The Philippine Embassy did not return calls for comment Tuesday. “