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Jumat, 15 Juli 2011

[BANDUNG!] Kaki Lima: Bebek Borromeus

Fried duck screams simplicity. But if you look deeper, there's a complexity to it. At least to me. Fried duck looks like fried chicken, but it's so much more. All I want in a fried chicken is nicely cooked meat. But with duck, my desired doneness includes moist, soft flesh, crispy skin, succulent, juicy fat, and crunchy bones. I expect more, because when done wrong, the meat will be very gamey, the fat all liquified and the dish will just be another passing poultry dish. In this unassuming joint, I definitely get what I want, and more.

That's it. Just white rice, the duck, some lalapan, and the plate of sambel tomat. It looks just like every other fried duck. I ate with my boyfriend Bram, who is obsessed with this place and planned to make me as obsessed, and he told me the first thing to do, especially for a first timer like me, is try the sambal. Just dip your fingers in and lick em. Boy, it was good. There's an oily, fried feel to it, adding to the savoury and spiciness of the sambal. It's not searing hot, just comfortably so. It didn't make me scramble for a glass of water, neither did it make my eyes water or anything like that. It has a level of heat that's, as I said, comfortable. Just right to put a punch in every mouthful, but not too much. 
I teared open the flesh of my duck, and can see, and feel, the beautiful fat beneath the crispy skin. Took some meat, skin, and fat, dip it completely in the sambel, scooping with me the chunks of tomatoes, put it on the rice and had a mouthful. I was speechless. Bram looked at me knowingly, fully aware that I was basking in the glory of his favorite Bandung street food. The fat and skin was so amazing, and that sambal, I just can't get enough. We were quiet as we plow through our meal, absorbing the thousands of calories we're consuming. Afterwards, we would sit in the car, glowing in the afterglow of a great meal, and couldn't stop raving about how good it was. 
Yes, it was THAT good.

This awesome place is located beside RS Borromeus, the sign says Syailendra. Serves other dishes, but the duck wins. Everytime.

[BANDUNG!] Kaki Lima: Mi Kocok Kikil, Jl Riau

In every city, there is bound to be a place spoken about like an urban legend. Word of mouth spreads like wildfire, yet not every person who has talked about it has eaten there. They seem to be discouraged by its hole-in-the-wall location, insiders-only crowd. 
Maybe I went overboard. But still. For me, this place is one of those legends. My cousins used to talk about this place, how a bowl was never enough, how no matter how many mi kocok stalls dot this city's streets, this one would still be the best. If I wasn't with my family, I wouldn't have the guts to go and order a bowl. There's something menacing about ordering food in a completely foreign place, where everybody seem to know how things work, except you.
My parents placed the order, and came before me a bowl of steaming, murky broth, accompanied with some noodles, sprouts, bakso, and kikil. I seasoned it to my liking, which is (as always) a generous helping of salt, vinegar, and chili. Absolutely no kecap manis. I mixed everything together, and tried the broth first.

Man. It was heavenly. For me, the beauty of dishes like this is its unpretentiousness, something I value highly. It's just food, honestly prepared. Steaming hot and spicy, the broth fatty. Every spoonful should contain some noodles, kikil, and sprouts. I used to hate beansprouts. But now, it's like the life of the party in my bowls of food. In pho, mi kikil, and several other dishes, sprouts provide that freshness, that crunch, that unmistakable fragrance of beautiful vegetables. You'll find your spoonful miraculous. That hot broth, the soft noodles, the chewy and awesome kikil, and that crunchy sprouts. In another spoonful, be sure to include pieces of succulent bakso. In between spoonfuls, grab a kerupuk kampung and sip on good ol' teh botol. You'll be full, happy, and find yourself longing for seconds.

This piece of heaven is located just by the Summit factory outlet. Unlikely, huh?

Kamis, 07 Juli 2011

THE BEST BUNDLES OF CALORIES EVER: Martabak Keju Spesial San Fransisco, Jl Burangrang, Bandung

Martabak dan Bandung goes hand-in-hand. Udara yang sejuk dan martabak yang panas, gooey, super manis memang pasangan yang oke. Nah, pertanyaannya, dimana gue bisa mendapatkan martabak yang merupakan epitome dari semua martabak lainnya? Pencarian gue berakhir di Jl Burangrang, yang juga merupakan rumah dari bubur ayam favorit gue. Say hello to my treasure, Martabak San Fransisco.

Tempatnya sangat modest, tapi lo pasti akan melihat orang2 bergerombol menunggu martabak mereka selesai diberi sentuhan magic terakhir dari para pakar martabak teroke di dunia. Martabaknya macem-macem banget, ada asin dan manis tentunya, tapi sekaran kita fokus ke manisnya. Ada keju, coklat, wijen, kismis, jagung (?), dan masih banyak lagi. Ada ukuran biasa, medium, mini, dan tipker (tipis kering, in martabak talk). Tapi, superstarnya adalah KEJU SPESIAL. Harganya juga superstar cyin, 51ribu. Tapi worth every penny in every bite. "Tik, kenapa sih lo tergila-gila banget sama martabak ini? Martabak keju kan sama aja dimana-mana?" Salah! Martabak keju tidak diciptakan sama. Kalo ada kasta-kasta martabak, martabak sanfran ini udah brahmananya brahmana.

Keliatan nggak juicynya base martabak ini? Dan setelah gue perhatikan, untuk membuat seporsi martabak keju spesial, membutuhkan sebalok keju kraft dan buanyak susu kental manis. Terus saat udah dilipet, diluarnya dilumuri dengan a very generous amount of butter wysman, alias dewa-nya mentega. Bayangkan berapa ribu kalori. Lebih bayangkan lagi kenikmatan luar biasanya.

Yup, kayaknya kejunya aja satu senti. Ditambah dengan juicynya kulit martabak + susu kental manis + butter wysman, SURGA. Gue nggak tau harus menjelaskan gimana lagi. Yang jelas martabak ini enak sampe 3 hari. Di hari ketiga pun tetep nikmat walau udah keras. Tentu saja, best served hot. 

I'm really bad at ending passages, so I'll just say don't forget to stop by next time you're in Bandung. DO NOT FORGET. Or you'll face a big lump of regret in your heart everytime you read this post.

Selasa, 05 Juli 2011

[BANDUNG!] Kaki Lima: Bubur Pelana, Jl. Burangrang

Bandung is a city known for it's nice, cool temperature. What better food is there to eat in such climate than a bowl of deeelicious bubur ayam? I spent the weekend in Bandung and I ate at all my favorite kaki limas, and I will write all about them! First up, is the best bubur in Bandung (that I know of), Bubur Pelana.

Jl. Burangrang is a street bustling with nocturnal culinary adventurers. By day, it has some restaurants open, including the famous Bakwan Enggal, that always has a line of people outside (it is that good). By night, the street lit up with a lot of kaki limas and a hawker center that houses my favorite martabak, Martabak San Fransisco (it needs its own post completely dedicated to its glory). One of the kaki limas is the quite crowded Bubur Pelana. This place is also open in the mornings for a hearty breakfast. They only sell bubur ayams, with various toppings. They have the bubur ayam biasa (just chicken), spesial (ati ampela), and istimewa (everything plus chicken skin). You can have your bubur half portion, because the regular is huuuge. So I ordered a half order of bubur istimewa.

The toppings in bubur istimewa are ati, ampela, hard boiled eggs, kulit ayam, and ayam. As usual, I seasoned my bubur with a generous helping of kecap asin and sambel. It was sooooo gooood. The bubur was thick and savory, all the toppings delicious. It was filling and warm, a perfect dinner that chilly Bandung night. One thing I regret is that I forgot to order my eggs setengah matang. Not that hard boiled eggs are bad, but runny eggs are just perfect for bubur ayam.

Anyway, everybody who loves bubur must try this. Rp 13.000 for a bowl of warm, gooey heaven, worth every penny.

Review: Spageddies, Senayan City

Italian food isn't hard to find anywhere in the city. Well, who doesn't like pasta? Every restaurant has their take on pasta, usually putting out sure-fire hits such as the carbonara and the bolognese. Most people don't really care about their pasta, as long as it's drenched in lots of sauce and cheese. Right? People have the tendency to order what they know, to make sure their money isn't wasted on some weird concoction that isn't guaranteed to be good. This behavior almost always results in the reluctance of trying weird food, including pasta. Squid ink-infused pasta has become more common nowadays, but my friends still look at me weird when I talk about it. Especially when they know that the pasta's black. Pesto is very common, but some people are still deterred by its green color and oily feel. So what do they do? They order the same oversized pasta with a gallon of white cream sauce. If you come to a pasta establishment like Spageddies and order your 'usual', you, my friend, are missing out.

I'm not saying Spageddies has the best and the widest variety of pasta, no. They do have good pasta. Judging from the restaurant's decorations, I was expecting westernized Italian food, greasy and creamy. I was losing hope that I would find some fresh, interesting pasta here. Their location in Senayan City doesn't help, it was adding to my judgment that this is a sell-out pasta place that doesn't have a life of its own.

I was wrong. Opening the menu, I was greeted with items that sound really good, and they don't only serve the commercial Italian dishes. Turns out, they have quite the interesting roster of pasta. I was with my mom, and we ordered a Baked Escargot (still in the search of the best Escargots in town), Squid Ink Seafood Ravioli, Manicotti and Cannelloni combo, and a tiramisu for dessert. I succeeded in persuading my mom to order a different pasta, which was the combo, because my mom was one of those people, her choices confined by her love of creamy fettuccines.

Yum yum escargots! As usual, the escargots are served with two slices of toasted, presumably Italian, bread. The bread was awesome. Crunchy yet soft, fresh from the oven. The smell of this dish is dominated by the smell of garlic. It was indeed garlicky, savory, and delicious. The tenderness of the escargots were accompanied by the slight crunch of garlic and also the toast. Very good, a great appetizer choice.

What I like about Spageddies is their unpretentious approach to food. My ravioli came looking bare, just the seafood-filled pasta and some fresh looking tomato sauce. No fancy attempts here, just food, basking in the glory of their bareness. The tomato sauce has zest, with a nice balance of acidity and heat. The pasta was nice and thick, and moist. I love its texture, al dente and dense. The filling was a bit lacking though, it didn't fill up the insides of the ravioli like I expected it to. But it tasted nice, I could definitely taste the prawns and crab.

My mom's Cannelloni and Manicotti combo looked delicious! It smelled great too. One of 'em is filled with cheese, the other chicken. I love the fact that they have two sauces, a fresh, spicy tomato sauce and a cream sauce. The contrasting flavors give balance, so the cheesiness of the fillings didn't come across as overwhelming. And it really was good. I'm not a fan of creamy pastas, but this dish is delicious, and very filling.

After all that pasta, I somehow managed to free up some space in my stomach for a slab of their tiramisu. It looked nice and unfussy, so I had high hopes. It was decent. The mascarpone was nice and sweet, but a little too thick and creamy. I like my tiramisu light, so I couldn't finish the whole dish. But it was decent, a pretty standard tiramisu.

Bottom line is, as you may have noticed, I love pasta. And I love them simple. Spageddies is a nice place to go have lunch in, with very filling dishes. Out of 10..... I'm giving it a 7,8.

Senin, 04 Juli 2011

A Massive Review of The Cafe, Hotel Mulia

Well, I think it'll be massive, because it's a huge buffet with lots and lots of food. Located in one of the most prestigious hotels in Jakarta, eating at The Cafe is an absolute treat. My family had dinner there to celebrate my getting into med school (yay!!). I loooove this place, because they have amazing food and even better desserts. I threw my diet out of the window to just have a feast.
Walking in, I was pretty stunned by the beauty of the interior. It has changed since the last time I was there, which was quite a long time ago. The dining room was divided into three big sections. The left section has a seafood stand and dessert. The middle is the private room. The right section has the rest of the food. We sat in the right. In buffets, I always get terribly excited. Look at all those food! The smell and color was fantastic. I saw Japanese, Indian, and Asian food, even some attempts at modern gastronomy. I wanted 'em all, but to preserve the deliciousness of everything, I decided to not eat too much. I chose to eat sushi and sashimi, some Indian food, the tom yam, and as much dessert as I can stuff into my tummy.

By now I'm sure everybody has noticed that I have an oversized appetite, and it always shows. Look at that full plate. But I'm pretty proud of my plating job haha the plate consisted of some kani salad, tuna and salmon sashimi, a couple of rolls, a tuna nigiri, a tuna handroll, and a shot glass of three kinds of tobiko. The shot glass was very interesting! I was so excited when I saw it because I absolutely love tobiko. I tried to get all three kinds into my spoon and into my mouth, and it was explosive. The saltyness and spiciness from the wasabi tobiko was awesome. I couldn't finish the glass though because it was a lot, but it was awesome. The sashimi was nice and fresh, the rolls were delicious even though I can't quite figure out what's inside. I love love hand rolls so that was great too. The kani salad was amazing! The mayo wasn't too heavy or creamy, it was just right.

That wasn't a good picture, I know. I took a little bit of everything. I am crazy about Indian food. Unfortunately, I'm the only one in my family, so I rarely get the chance to indulge in the beauty that is Indian food. I took some roti canai, lamb shish kebab, a vegetable samosa, a couple of curries and a piece of chicken. Ahhhh it was beautiful. The flavors popped, complementing the silky and buttery roti. The shish kebab was delicious, spicy and herby. The curries were smooth. It was so good.

Surprise! Cheese naan! The waiter just came up to us, bringing a plate of freshly baked cheese naan, asking if we would like to try some. Of course!!!!!!! This was my second encounter with the cheese naan. The first one was in Go! Curry, where it was filled with grated cheddar cheese. It was good but very very cheesy. The Cafe's version was filled with luxurious mozarella cheese, which also happens to be one of my favorite cheeses. The naan was exquisite!!!!!!! It was soft soft soft, and the cheese filling was very subtle, making it awesome.

Time for  plethora of desserts!!!! The desserts at The Cafe were very sophisticated, and their portions were tiny so they were perfect for tasting.

1. creme caramel pudding! The caramel taste was very strong, but thankfully it was balanced with the fresh fruits. Good but wasn't my favorite.

2. Apple crumble!!!! It was amazing. It was small so I don't get too much of it, which was good. The apple filling was smooth, thick, and sweet, an the crust was soft. Cute and delicious.

3. The very pretty dessert is a chocolate mousse. I love the presentation, so sophisticated. A layer of white chocolate, lots of milk chocolate, and a thin layer of dark chocolate makes this dish perfectly balanced and delicious. The mousse was so smooth with beautiful consistency. It wasn't too much of anything, just right. Favorite chocolate dessert ever!

4. Behold the simplicity of the best tiramisu in town. Well, the best according to me. The taste of coffee and the cocoa powder complements the sweet mascarpone in such a way, that when you put a spoonful in your mouth, it turns into a piece of heaven. Ah, so good.

5. Last but not least, my favorite strawberry mousse!! The flavor of this dessert is very close to my heart, it's the flavor of my childhood. I remember going to all sorts of wedding receptions, and there was one favorite cake of mine, a piece of thin sponge with strawberry mousse and jelly on top. I always look for that particular cake when I go to parties, even now. This shot glass of strawberry mousse was just what I've always been looking for. The silky smoothness of it, the subtlety of its flavors, the small lumps of strawberries from the jam in the bottom. Amazing.

So, I think it's clear why I love this restaurant, right? I think it's even more special because of the occasion and because we rarely dine here. And I'd like too keep it that way, to keep The Cafe as a special place in my heart.

Masakan Indonesia: Bale Raos, Jl. Suryo

Bapak gue jawa asli. Makanya kalo kita mau makan kemana-mana, pasti doi pengennya makan makanan tradisional. Jadi, makanlah kita di sebuah resto baru di Jl. Suryo (deket Blok S), yang bernama Bale Raos. Tulisannya sih mengesankan bahwa mereka menyajikan makanan para raja jawa. Pas banget sama bapak gue yang emang raden mas. Dan karena kali ini restonya resto Indonesia banget, jadi gue akan mencoba menulis post ini dengan 100% bahasa Indonesia hahaha
Kita pesen banyak: Salad Ayam Panggang, Sup Timlo, Paru Ragi, Lontong Kikil, Bistik Lidah, Gecok Ganem, dan Lombok Kethok. Namanya aja udah pada jawa banget. Di menunya, di bawah hampir setiap item ada deskripsi yang menyebutkan ini makanan favorit raja jawa yang mana. Sangat menarik, ternyata beneran makanannya keluarga kerajaan. Dan karena hal ini juga ada makanan yang rada kebarat-baratan, ternyata para sultan juga suka makanan yang rada barat.

Salad Ayam Panggangnya........unik. Bukan daun selada yang jadi dasar sayurnya, tapi kol! Ada sih seladanya, tapi yang dominan kol. Lucu aja. Ayamnya enak, tapi dikit banget. Dressingnya juara, kayak lemon vinagrette gitu, seger banget. Salad yang berbeda tapi oke sih lumayaan haha

Sup Timlonya manis. Bukan manis yang bagus. Gue ga suka banget dengan makanan asin yang jadi manis, misalnya bubur ayam yang dikasih kecap manis. Dan timlo ini berasa banget dikasih kecap yang banyak dan nggak diimbangi dengan asin atau pedes. Cuma manis hambar. Ugh.

Paru Ragi! Yummm paru yang enak. Sebenernya cuma paru sapi yang kayaknya diungkep terus ditaburi parutan kelapa yang diapain nggak tau gue yang jelas jadi gurih dan enak. Parunya empuk dan lembut, rasanya nyeresep, dan dipadu dengan kelapa yang lumayan garing, jadi teksturnya pas. Paling enak tentunya dimakan pake sambel dan nasi putih panas!

Pesenan gue, lontong kikil. Disajikannya dengan jeruk nipis dan sambel, jadi langsung aja gue campur semuanya. Dan wiiih kuahnya dahsyat, asem seger pedes gurih semuanya pas! Apalagi dimakan pake kerupuk. Dan lontong adalah salah satu karbohidrat favorit gue, jadi super enak. Walau mungkin lebih asyik kalo pake ketupat kali ya. Kikilnya enak juga, tapi dagingnya keras banget. Kecewa. Jadi gue nggak makan dagingnya dan makan kikilnya aja dan kuahnya habis tanpa sisa.

Bistik lidah ini ditemani oleh kentang tumbuk yang dibumbui dengan mentega dan sayuran. Bistiknya sendiri enak, lidahnya lembut, empuk, dan gurih. Yang jadi masalah adalah hidangan pendamping nya. Kentangnya rasanya kayak mentega pake kentang, bukan kentang pake mentega. Mentega itu enak, tapi kalo berlebihan bikin enek banget. Sayur yang dipotong-potong kecil itu dikasih semacam saos yang tampaknya sangat patut dipertanyakan. Rasanya sih biasa aja, tapi penampilannya lumayan membuat nafsu makan gue sedikit turun hahaha

Gecok ganem sebenernya kayak sayur lodeh tapi lebih putih dan isinya daging cincang. Gue ragu banget nyobainnya, tapi rasa dari makanan ini sangat tak terduga. Ternyata kuahnya sangat enak dan bola-bola daging cincangnya luar biasa. Juicy dan gurih, cocok banget, somehow, dengan kuahnya. Bener jangan menilai dari penampilannya.

Lombok Kethok, yang kalo kata bapak gue artinya cabenya keliatan. Isinya adalah daging dan berbagai cabe. Rasanya? Fantastis. Dagingnya empuk, dan bener-bener indah. Rasa manis kecap dan pedesnya cabe gede yang nggak terlalu mencolok bikin perpaduannya pas banget. Pake nasi pulen yang panas, wuidih! Enak banget.

Jadi, dari petualangan gue yang Indonesiana siang itu, gue menarik kesimpulan bahwa masakan Indonesia adalah masakan yang indah dan unik. Tentu, nggak semua perpaduan rasa dan variasi dari kuliner lokal kita pas di hati dan lidah gue, tapi gue cinta makanan Indonesia. Dan makanan Jawa tentu saja bukan pengecualian. Nikmatnya Lombok Kethok dan element of surprise yang dimiliki oleh Gecok Ganem membuat makan siang gue jadi berkesan. Ada yang nggak enak nggak papa, karena kalo lo nggak berani mencoba, lo nggak akan nemuin yang enak. Ya kan? ;--)

Cupcake & Co.'s Red Velvet Cupcake at Holycow!

So, my favorite steak place, Holycow!, now has a new dessert option and it's super awesome. They now have RED VELVET CUPCAKES!!!!! Cupcakes themselves are awesome, but red velvets are without a doubt the best. The best ones are still the ones from Sprinkles, a delicious cupcake cafe in Dallas. Red velvets are very trendy nowadays in Jakarta, and I was eager to try Cupcakes and Co.'s version. Especially because they are free! When you mention @holycowsteak in your tweet and show it to the waiter, you'll get a free dessert of your choice, a tiramisu or a cupcake, while stocks last. I had a wagyu ribeye, as usual, and now I have a proper picture to show everybody how awesome looking my favorite steak is!!

Can you see all the juicy fat? It's WONDERFUL.

But this post isn't about the steak, it's about the cupcakes!

It's pretty, isn't it? The piece of red fondant has Buddy, Holycow's mascot, pressed on it. The icing is, of course, cream cheese. I bit into it, and it really was velvety. Soft and luxurious. It was sweet but not too sweet, and the cream cheese was a perfect match. It was an awesome cupcake! The only downside was this cupcake was tiny. Well, it was free. I checked out their blog and boy, their cupcakes look super awesome. Go check 'em out!