Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Kampoeng Tempoe Doeloe: A Flashback of Childhood Memories

La Piazza yard was transformed into (what feels to be) a big schoolyard full of jajanan pasar*, bringing some of my fondest childhood reminiscence back.

I wasn't born that long ago, I had to admit, compared to some of my peers. Therefore I'd like to claim no expertise in talking about the oldies Jakarta. Yet, I can claim that I have a pretty solid memory of the street food snacks I ate growing up in the city.

Kampeng Tempoe Doeloe is a part of the Jakarta Fashion and Food Festival held in La Piazza, Kelapa Gading on May 14-29, 2011.

I've never really been a fan of a site that makes me do a lot of scrolling, so here are the pictures in a slideshow format (no, no tacky ballad song that auto plays simply when you didn't ask for it).

*jajanan pasar = street food snacks.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Going Back to My Roots Pt. 1

A plate of roasted duck from Grand City Restaurant located inside Sunlake Hotel, Jakarta

It's been pouring cats and dogs lately-- which almost works like a curse sent by nature. The city's traffic is already detrimental and inescapable by default. A lot of times my evening plans are at the clemency of the weather; that particular factor itself has potential to increase my already-uncivilized- travel time by double.

The all-time classic black pepper beef

In case it's not obvious enough, finding the drive to putting my fingertips to work and writing again has been tricky. Oh yes I have been taking pictures of food. I just haven't been putting it up for consumption. My taste buds are spoiled more than ever, mostly with grubs that take me back and remind me of the family festivities I used to go to when I was a little kid (sans the annoying aunties and uncles part).

Szechuan-style string beans

These photos were not recent, I'd have to say. These were taken during the Chinese New Year weekend in which several family gatherings took place. These were exactly the kind of food I had missed during my stay in the U.S. My relationships with these folks go waaay back.

Breaded pork ribs with slices of orange in a cointreau sauce

Seafood soup with mushroom

A cup of melon sagoo dessert with little sago beads, chunky melon balls, and coconut milk.

A smile-generating mango pudding-- with its tanginess as a refreshing wrap up to the entire meal.

Nevertheless, I'd like to make it clear that I would never whatsoever recommend anyone to spend a fortune at this place. It's unwise to judge the way these folks taste from the way they look. It will do an injustice to some street food out there that truly deserves to bear the 'mouth-watering' title. The restaurant service was outstanding yet too bad the price tag doesn't reflect the quality of the food.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Starting up the engines...

A beautiful work of art by Sapto Djokokartiko, Indonesia's young and talented fashion designer -- a souvenir from Elle Style Awards, edited by my partner in crime, Clarissa Kwok.

Ok- I guess five is the magic number here. It's been five months since the last time I blogged. FIVE whole months. That equals to about 150 days. Which is lots of hours. Enough time to train for a half- marathon. Or to build a Japanese garden complete with a gazebo in it in my mom's case. Have I been hibernating? Not physically neither mentally. I went through a few changes and just needed some new air.

I am now back in my hometown. That's Jakarta, Indonesia, the mall and traffic capital of the world. I started my new job about three months ago in which it takes me a painful 90 minutes to get to my downtown office. And I have rekindled with my old friends. All in all, everything's good. Some things are better. And by some things I meant food, food, and food. But not all of them. Some are still better back in the States. There, I said it.

I have also been thinking to change my blog name, but still haven't found the one that fits me the most. Some that I thought do, happen to have been taken by other peeps that, I guess, are faster in doing things in life than I am. Thoughts?

As for now, I am having a good time running and hopping around with Jakarta as my playground. There will be more proofs. In less than five months I promise.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

They wished me many happy returns..

The 24th of this month, Christmas Eve, was the day I got older. I have no intention whatsoever to whine aimlessly about the worrying thoughts of quarter-life crisis that's going to hit me soon, though it might require a great deal of self-control. To be safe, let me just cut it off right here. Here's my birthday cake, courtesy of Yoshiko of Cakebelle. Ain't it lovely? Thanks so much, Yoshiko!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sugar Coma Festival {Better-Late-Than-Never Ed.}

First of all, hooray, my blog is featured as this week's Featured Blogs by Foodie Blogroll.

Second, I know this is totally lame that I am just now posting this, but in the heat of lavish! event this past weekend in Atlanta (which I wasn't able to attend because I thought I was going to be somewhere at that time but I apparently I didn't have to be -- and of course, by the time I realize that, it's all too late, the tickets are sold out. Oh life.), this was another swanky soiree held by The Broke Socialite (she's such a nice and funny lady by the way) called Sugar Coma festival and I was lucky enough to snag a ticket at the time.

Third, I'd have to admit, this quick post is my way of cutting corners. It has something to do with the very fact that everything in my life is such a whirlwind right now. I haven't been eating at cool places and have taken zilch pictures lately. Plus, it's the week before Christmas and I am far from being done with Christmas shopping. That's how bad it is.

Anyways, hope this would make a feast for your eyes.

These cupcakes are from Cami Cakes. I got to meet little Camille herself, such a cutie! Also, as a self-proclaimed connoisseur of red velvet cakes, I actually adore these babies. Moist, velvety, and topped with rich frosting.

Caramel-filled. Chocolate-drizzled. Cheerful taste buds.

Margarita cupcakes. Need I say more? FYI, the margarita did not get baked off. Let me repeat once again that it did not get baked off. Ahemm, I had mine straight up. These sassy treats were provided by Pink Cupcake Dreams and Peachy Treats.

Caryn's Cakes' strawberry cupcakes are one of the best strawberry cupcakes I've ever had. It's such a simple goodness and the frosting is just right: a tad sweet, not too rich, and still maintains that classic strawberry flavor. I actually bought a few to take home with me.

Sip the Experience is what would happen if Barnes & Noble got married to Starbucks and had an affair with your full- of- homemade- goodness neighborhood bakery. I wouldn't mind sitting there all day getting some work done. It'd be kinda hard to focus with all those luscious desserts calling out my name every five minutes though.

We had to take a break to prevent our glucose levels from going through the roof: by showing our savory spot taste buds that we still care about them. Chicken skewers by Bradford on Bishop on the menu.

See these gorgeous vanilla custards topped with fresh blackberries? Yum. Chris Arpante's mad dessert skills are responsible for them. It's ok to judge the book by its cover this time - because it fully represents the quality of the content.

Nah, these are not jello shots. They're even better.

I didn't actually get a chance to try these, but I'm guessing they're molten lava chocolate cakes?

This Cuban espresso flan is a work of art by private chef Bren Herrera. If you're a coffee lover like I am, you'd appreciate it very much. It's very fragrant and ahh, the texture - it sort of just glides in your mouth.

In the name of (sugary) festivity we trust.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Jolly Slice of December

I can't believe it's December already. I was just talking to my friend about this the other day: the moment it actually occurs to me that the holiday season has arrived is when I see Starbucks red cups popping up all across town. For some reason, it's like they bring out the holiday spirit in me. And strangely enough, they gently provoke a lot of beautiful memories, those little cups. But really, this mini post has nothing to do with Starbucks or their effective seasonal branding. It has something to do with all the little things that - however fast life's images flash through our eyes due to our crazy busy schedule dominated by everything that has a screen and buttons - can still make us stop for a second, look around, and smile. Because 'tis the season to be jolly.

Here are some of the things that make me smile (and scream for joy). I don't have a whole lot explanation for these beauties other than they're available at the White Windmill Bakery in Atlanta. Thanks to Yoshiko of Yoshiko Photography for sharing some editing tips!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Culinary Treats I'm Thankful For {Thanksgiving Ed.}

Durian. I know. A little bit intimidating, ehh?

Thanksgiving weekend has always been exhausting for me. The dinner part, the gathering part, and the part where we all religiously participate in a glorified commercial conspiracy by purchasing goods that we're not even sure we need - called Black Friday. So I think it's always nice to step back and count our blessings.

As for me, I'm immensely thankful for the strong network of support I have. Personally and professionally. Be it my family, friends, mentors, or professional acquaintances, I truly am grateful for the inspiration and comfort they have provided me. Without them I would be nowhere near where I am today.

Now that I'm done with the sarcastic and the mellow part, here are the twelve most amazing culinary treats ever created in this world (that I was lucky enough to have tasted) that have constituted a gastronomic euphoria in my dictionary. I am thankful for the very existence of:

1. Roasted Peking Duck. This one needs no introduction. With its crispy skin sheltering a generous layer of melts-in-your mouth fat, supported by a vulnerable bed of succulent meat on the bottom, this one is a true winner.

2.Chasiu/Barbecued pork meat. It's an undoubtedly pure form of beauty.

3. Bakut Teh/Pork Bone Tea Soup. Great-tasting, traditional ingredients nurtured by long hours of labor and love. This dish is very comforting - almost sacred - to me.

4. Kepiting Saus Padang/Crab in Padang Chilli Sauce. Hot and spicy. This one's pretty similar to Singaporean Chilli Crab.

5. Nasi Padang. A traditional Indonesian rice dish accompanied by a myriad variety of options: ayam pop (chicken cooked with coconut water, ginger, lemongrass, etc), gulai ayam (chicken curry), telor balado (eggs cooked with chili and shrimp paste), rendang, krecek (gelatinous crackers made of cow skin), daun singkong (cassava leaves), cabe ijo (green chili), etc. I also take pleasure in having a generous pour of the curry sauce all over my rice.

6. Sharkfin Soup. Oh gosh, don't even get me started on this one.

7. Chinese-style Seafood Hotpot. A piping hot claypot of fried Japanese silky soft tofu with squid, sea cucumber, shiitake mushrooms, shrimp, fish, and vegetables swimming in a very tasty, thick broth.

8. Fresh, glistening slivers of sashimi. The list includes sake/salmon, toro/fatty tuna, awabi/abalone, mirugai/geoduck/giant clam, hotate/scallop, uni/sea urchin, and ikura/salmon roe. And a side order of ankimo/monkfish liver, please.

9. I love veal, especially when cooked with good wine. And its leg, loin, shank, brisket, cheek, rack, liver, and chops. Not so much of the scallopini, though. Braised, stewed, sauteed, stuffed, you name it. And oh- did I mention braised? A phrase delivered by a server at one of my favorite Italian restaurants that immediately won my heart was: "Anything that can be done to veal, we can do it for you."

10. Bouncy, good- looking sea scallops. Grilled, sauteed, in a hot pot, or simply raw.

11. Martabak Manis. My favorite dessert of all time, with its crunchy crust and indulgent, shiny butter gushing out from the middle when you put pressure on the top. No mousse, souffle, cheesecake, flan, or tart can beat this.

12. Durian. So Andrew Zimmern can't stand it, so what? If they sell durian scent in a form of air freshener, I'd get one. Or three.