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.