April 2013 lineups!

Hi!

Work has been crazy then travel was crazy, then reports were crazy! Now I can have some downtime (sorta).

I’m planning to put up some recipes that I’ve tried in the past:

1. Velvety purple soup

2. Magelangan

3. Tortilla de patatas

4. Carrot and sweet corn velouté

 

In no particular order ūüôā What out for the dates..

Blog Nod: Jakarta from the eyes of one Patrick Lee

Blog Nod is a section where I share other blogger’s post.

This time, I want to share what my friend Patrick’s impression about Jakarta when he first arrived in the city. Before hand, do read ¬†his blog entry “Traffic in Jakarta“, he has some spot-on impressions of the new Batavia.

Here’s the summary of his post:

At first glance, Jakarta must have some of the most courageous people ever to sit behind the wheel. […]

If there are two lanes, a line of three cars will inevitably end up driving side by side, with a row of motorcycles moving along filling in the gaps, and a couple of bajaj puffing flatulence where they can(the baggi is an Indian motorcycle taxi that looks like it has been patched together from a pair of twenty year old lawnmowers). If there is a holdup in traffic, street peddlers will squeeze by the vehicles selling nuts, toys, fruits, and magazines. It is not unheard of to sleep your way through traffic at the speed of 1km/hour. […]

If the drivers here are courageous, the motorcyclists here must be pathologically suicidal. And the streets are filled with them. […]

Brake, accelerate, and popping out suddenly into open space is their motto. […]

I saw a brave girl calmly text on her smart phone while riding on the back seat of a motorcyclist. I‚Äôve never seen a man walk so casually across a road with cars and motorcycles whizzing by inches from his body. Ah! Trust amongst the people![…]

The infrastructure here is poor, there is no beating around the bush on this, and more improvement can be easily had but when given the lemon of 18 million inhabitants, poorly organized roads, and no subway system to speak of, the commuters of Jakarta have made lemonade. […]

The Javanese built their own method of traffic, without rules or dictates from above. They had to, and it works barely, mysteriously, and beautifully. It is a wonderful example of spontaneous order.

Earliest cooking memories: Those who influence my cooking style

This morning I realized that there’s must be something wrong with me, I think often about food, probably more often than most people (I know).

When I think about food, it doesn’t mean that I’m hungry, I just feel like making something out of the ingredients that came out of my head that instant. Mind you, my day job has no relation to food making whatsoever, I’m just a foodie.

I figured, it’s high time that I dedicated a post to those characters I grew up with and made me the kitchen tyrant I am today.

Starting from the grainy TV days:

Chef Stephen Yan, host of “Wok with Yan” (unrelated to Martin Yan, Malaysian based chef who’s hosting a Travel Channel show)

He greets people by saying “Harrrooooo” and replaces “l”s with “r”s— like a boss!

You gotta love his kitchen sense of humor. I used to watch this next to my gram, who giggles (she grew up believing that a real lady doesn’t laugh¬†out loud–whatever that means) until her face turned red. I didn’t realized it then, but those were my good ol’ days.

I found Chef Yan’s clip from Youtube! Have a look, I think you’ll know why he’s an unsung Chefidol:

Julia Child

I first saw her when was still hyped on Sesame Street, Ms. Child made me thought that she was big bird without the yellow feathers.

Not being rude here, just remembering my childhood impression. Her voice is unforgettable.

Rudy Choirudin

He’s the ultimate Indonesian TV chef, when other chefs back then looked serious while presenting their program as if the stove is about to blow the kingdom comes anytime soon.

Seriously, Chef Rudy was a pleasant exception, everyone else smiled only at the end of the program as if they’re relieved that the show’s over or that they didn’t burn down the studio.

The downside, Chef Rudy oftentimes presented intricate Indonesian recipes. I love my country, and I love the national dishes, but young me didn’t care so much about going to traditional wet market to find a belimbing wuluh (a young star fruit, numbingly sour, natives to Southeast Asian countries).

On Selera Nusantara (the taste of Archipelago in Indonesian), his show’s latter life, he began to have a weird, experimental dishes involving more processed food.. Talking about turning yum to yuck in a heart beat.

But still, he’s awesome and should be dubbed as Indonesian food ambassador.

Too bad his talent is overshadowed by troops of young chefs, such as eye-candy Farah Quinn or the hunky Chef Yuna.

My number one cooking influencer is my awesome late grandma Corry Tjoa (nee Tjan Goat Go).

She forbade me to enter her kitchen, but I was allowed to watch her working. SHE GOT SWAG, and she rule the kitchen like a queen. I love her! She cooked kick-ass Hokkien and Peranakan dishes due to growing up as second generation Chinese in East Java. Then she grew up eating continental food, Dutch mostly prepared by cooks who prepare food using French techniques. Holland was occupied by French briefly, hence there was a brief fascination towards all things French in Batavia, how Jakarta was previously called.

Voila! I hope you enjoy the post.

Bisous!

I’m adding recipe posts soon..

I don’t know how many of you shares my situation.

A Jakartan, busy mum, fascinated by food, and having small modest kitchen.

I’ve been despair for so many years for having “uber rustic” (right, read is it as really small,¬†under-equipped¬†kitchen) and the situation made me think that no good food can came out of it.

But life’s too short to just sit and feel crappy, right? So, soon I’m going to post some recipes tested in my kingdom (yes, it’s how I define it, just ask my husband what happen when I see someone else other than me occupying it).

Expect a lot of experimental recipes, as well as nostalgic-often-forgotten recipes–simple, healthy, and satisfying.

Cheers!

C.

Padi at Puri Denpasar Hotel

Sorry, I didn’t take any photo of the salad I ate earlier today.

Padi is THE restaurant of Puri Denpasar (Frenchies, Puri here has the same¬†pronunciation¬†with ‘pourri’, you may now chuckle). The ambiance was “meh”, didn’t hit the high note or ¬†the low one. Perhaps it was due to the fact that the hotel, located in Jalan Denpasar, Kuningan, is frequented by seminar/workshop participants. Can’t put high hope, really.

They serve lunch buffet at IDR 150k (VAT excluded), but I was peckish so I opted salad. I’m not a fan of hotel restaurant’s food, Business hotel food more over, but¬†I do make some exceptions. Not so many hotel restaurants in Jakarta actually worth mentioning, to be honest.

The Balinese Chicken Salad with Lemongrass Vinaigrette I spotted on their menu poked my curiosity, but they ran out of it. How the hell the most original dish of the restaurant is: 1. one of the cheapest on the menu. 2. ran out of it.

Fine! “I’ll take the Caesar Salad”, half heartedly I told the frowny waitress. She wasn’t so frowny when we entered the restaurant, but began so after learning that my colleague and I are not one of those ladies who lunch. Ha!

Lucky for u, the salad leaves didn’t look dreary, but the for some reason whoever prepared it has deep fondness with garlic. He/she didn’t drizzle the uber-garlicy dressing, it was slathered in.

The leaves were dripping and became soggy in no time. The garlic dressing was so pungent and strong giving the effect of wasabiesque flavor all over my tastebuds (oddly didn’t burn my sinus, though), my tongue went numb. ¬†Felt kinda like I ate a dish prepared by someone who hates me before even know me.¬†Horseradish nut!

Just sharing my experience, if one day you have the occasion to eat there and thinking about my post, just eat a lot of mints afterwards, try not to burp out all those gases and don’t kiss your sweetie for at least 24 hours. ¬†ūüėÄ

Despite so, I believe in second chances, perhaps the next time I stick with the rice or regional dishes. Besides, restaurant bear the name of the Asian staple.

Trio Cantonese restaurant at Gondangdia Street

“Boy, oh boy, oh boy!”

We finally headed to Trio Restaurant one Sunday noon, only to find ourselves disappointed.

To me, Trio Restaurant is like the fabled Phoenix, an institution, an eternal restaurant (openened in 1940s, mind you) manned by, perhaps, a Wu-Tang trained master cooks– or something.. But nope.

Trio restaurant's façade

The eatery can prized itself as one of the nostalgic restaurants (restoran nostalgia) in the capital. The menu board seemed to have been hanging there for decades, the menu books are written in old Bahasa Indonesia and Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese, not sure), and the pomade-laden waiters looked like they’ve been working there long before their facial lines and grey hairs even appeared.

Hubby and I were expecting to be swept off our foodie feet, with the food they’re serving at least, since the interior was obviously not their strong suit.

I was expecting an old haunt with kitsch diningware, but what we found there was.. all that plus more.

Undermaintained was an understatement in describing the restaurant. It looks as if I could fall apart if its guests sneeze on the same time.

The dark corner made me fear of dengue mosquito would feast of my sleeping baby’s arms and legs.

What bursts my bubble the most, okay, two things that burst my bubble the most were, the quality of the food and costly tab we had to pick up by the end of our lunch.

The sweet and sour pork (Kolobak) and Angsio Tofu on the background

Hubby and I shared two dishes: Kolobak (sweet and sour pork) and Angsio Tahu (Chinese silken tofu with Ang Ciu sauce), and cucumber pickles (yes,  we have to pay for this).

Acar Ketimun

If you’re wondering what Ang Ciu (red wine) is, it’s a cooking wine made from fermented sticky rice.¬†In the west, cooks use Sherry, in the east, we use Ang Ciu (Mirin in Japanese cuisine).

Halal Chinese Indonesian eateries usually dismiss Ang Ciu (because ¬†it’s a non-halal), and replace it with glutomate (MSG) or sugar.. But most likely¬†glutomate, mighty lots of glutomate. ¬†Here, it’s common for diners to ask the cook to “hold the msg”.

Kolobak

Sweet and sour pork is one of our favorite dishes. We were super looking forward to savour it. On the first bite, our excitements ruled out the bizzare taste of the meat. But then the funky taste just keep on returning.

It was just too obvious to ignore.

Then we realized that there’s an obvious staleness on our Kolobak. Determined to be impressed, we finished our Kolobak, only to wake up to an unsettled stomach the next morning. A failing cold chain in extention to the falling ¬†ceilings ūüė¶ ūüė¶ :(.¬†Disappointed to no end.

Angsio Tofu

The Angsio Tahu was nothing special. Tofu, despite its appearance, is a very special protein. To have silken tofu reach  its stardom, it has to be brined in salted water for a while. The Angsio tofu was left saltless by the cook, too bad.

Not much to tell about the fruit juices, except that it has too much water mixed into them.

Pink Guava Juice and a forgettable lemony thingy

Verdict!

Sadly the pricey foods  failed to shine. Why the restaurants always packed left me wondering. Were we just being unlucky for having the bad produce on our plate or Jakarta nostalgic diners were very permissives?

The restaurant play this “organ tunggal”-ish songs from circa 1970s. We walked out of there having a couple of sworn enemies– electone keyboard and hi fi with cassette player.

Billed: 100K something for food and drinks.

Food: 4 out of 10 emphasis on taste and price. The quality of the foods are the downfalls of Trio. Wallet was frowning and stomaches were suffering the next day.

Service: 7 out 10 emphasis on attentiveness and warm towel.

Overheard at the dining table: “Isn’t the owner related to the Paramount restaurant owner?”