Tribute to No Reservation

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For those who shared the same funky love for food must know about this show that had been around for 8 season. The last episode of the last season was aired on November 2012 in the US. I’ve watched it on the internet, I cried for it but it never hit me with the realization, yet. Since I live in Indonesia, we always get every teve shows late. So when I saw the Brooklyn episode at TLC Asia and its rerun several times, the facts finally come to my conscious. And I managed to restrain the ugly sobbing, but it cut a chunk of my heart and left dark hole. The will never be another No Reservation episodes. It’s the end of an era.

For you guys who not quite sure what I’m babbling about, I tried to sum up one of the platinum quality food show in the world in one paragraph. I must warn you, it won’t do justice for the show, but at least you will got the picture and I’ll give several links for you to explore more.

No Reservation was food and travel show hosted by Anthony Bourdain. The whole show carved around Bourdain’s bold personality. He was a chef with rebellious attitude that only grant him with a unique charm. He is my rock star, like (maybe) Bono for you music enthusiast. Bourdain is what you call a “No Fuss” man. He’s not cheesy, always (or almost always) straightforwardly honest with his audience, expressed great respect for other culture no matter how odd or unpleasantly that is for him and encourage his audience to show the same respect too. Although he used effing words on the show, but you could not missed that he is actually a sweet natured guy. For me, Anthony Bourdain is like Durian. He is The King between all the great food and travel shows’ host. He seemed spiky, harsh and rough on the outside. But if you look closely and get to know his words more, its all sweet-creamy-custardy respectable man on the inside. No Reservation is (I think, at least), an archives of a delicious slice of Anthony Bourdain’s personality. The funny thing is, he is a chef and he knew what’s what in terms of cooking technique and food tasting, but he managed to keep the show clean from all those shallow-mambo-jambo ‘what the food taste like?’ most of newbie and not so good hosts showed. His expression of great food only limited (with its variations) with “Hmm…!” “That, effing good man!” , “Wow, this is good!” ….etc. But somehow I got the insight of how great the food was from his rather poetic rocker style descriptions of the food, the person who made it and the culture and environment arround it.  And I love him so bad for his wordings.

Well, it became a long one paragraph that still not done justice for the show or the host. So, please educate ourselves from these several links:

http://www.anthonybourdain.net

http://anthonybourdain.tumblr.com

http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/anthony-bourdain

https://www.facebook.com/AnthonyBourdain

http://www.biography.com/people/anthony-bourdain-20693995

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Bourdain

http://blog.travelchannel.com/anthony-bourdain/

Now, I present to you all the great, glamorous and delicious of No Reservation, NRJS style;

The Super-Anti-Hero

Anthony Bourdain; The Super-Anti-Hero of food journalism

He cooks, he drinks, he writes all with the same intensity and competency

If God made anything better, he kept it for himself.

Anthony Bourdain’s passionate love for Crab Fat

He’s not just a pretty face (or fingers)

Speaking of fingers, his technique eating with his fingers improved over the years. The way he looked so comfy and confident, make me adore him more

Tony and sandwich is another great to watch chemistry. Either at home or by the street of Vietnam when he sample Banh Mi

He showed his poetic almost romantic wordings during episodes exposed him to the vast dessert

Daytime drinking is a tradition here, as it is in any great city.

Anthony Bourdain’s envious expression in Sydney, Australia

He has soft spots for any forms of noodles in a bowl with outstanding broth and spicy sauces. From pho to laksa, porky to fish flavored broth, noodles to vermicelli. He just can’t stop slurping …

Looking radiant on one of his good shirt. He’s been seen with ‘Not so good ones’ too, but he didn’t seemed care. One more thing why I love him so much

I think you are my walking buddha sir!

Anthony Bourdain’s fond for the man preparing his midnight meal (burgers or variations of meal on a tube)

Meat on a tube form? Yeah, give me that!

He’s willing to try all sorts of anonymous meat (as long as its on a tube form) touched me to tears

He drinks and drinks and drinks a lot of alcohol over the years

One of his toned down serious side

At the rice field he contemplated how it could be so easy just to live at the Asian paradise (for him it were either Vietnam or Bali). And that ‘Not so good shirt’ I was talking about

Laid back at plastic chair and table cloth with a beer waiting for his fried fish to come

Got to add this pic one more time; the background wall is a very well resemblance of him self: ruggedly charming with rough edges, masculine, colorful, stand out and pleasant

Last words at the last episode of the final season of No Reservation; Thank you Tony!

On to the next destination

 

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Juicy with a kick of flavor of Chicken Satay by Sate Blora, Rawamangun, East Jakarta

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Sorry it took me longer to post another story. I hope I redeemed my self by giving you, all my faithful readers,a little bit food porn.

I was in crave for chicken done right. I mean, a real good cooking that serve the poultry good respect it deserves. I could tell you, It’s different here in Indonesia. We didn’t used to tender and just cooked chicken. Either we deep fried it, long hour stewed it or hard grilled it. The stringy texture of the chicken meat are expected and commonly accepted. So, surely you would understand that I was a little bit skeptical when my husband took me to this Satay restaurant.

How happy I was to be wrong.

The chicken satay from Sate Blora restaurant is exquisite. The meat was adequately marinated, so the flavor and aroma from only a few spices used, just made me salivate instantly. The grill master put the skewered bits on the hot charcoal grill, then manually fan them with the traditional fan made from palm tree leaves. The heat cooked the chicken enough, without overkilled it. When I bite into them, it was the juiciest and melt in your mouth chicken satay I’ve ever had.

Enough said, let the show begin!

Uncooked chicken satay

I warned you about the porn, right?Here we go.
These sexy voluptuous bits on sticks were the uncooked one. Covered them selves with light peanut sauce and sweet soy sauce, patiently waited in line before touching the heat.

The young master grill and his magic fan

The young man who smile shyly is the talented master grill on the job that night. He had his own system to grill by the order, while the charcoal keep on burning. He memorized the set, which ten skewers for which table. He waved the fan a little bit differently on each portion set, to increase or decrease the grilling process through the meat. He didn’t use any timer or thermometer, there were no button to turn the gas up and down. Like any grill master, he used his eye and vast experience to determine which set is ready to serve.

Sssss it hot

The sizzling sound when the uncooked chicken first touch the hot iron grill was so intriguing. Instantly it created the smoke with inviting aroma.

Roll it over

Beside manually fanning the charcoal, the grill master must keep alert to roll and turn every single skewer. This part is also important to keep the meat cooked evenly, including the light caramelization from the soy sauce marinade. Every satay lover like that slightly burned bits at their meat.

Hot stone

When the time was right, the grill master took a portion set (ten skewers) off the grill onto the hot stone plate to keep it sizzles. Oooh look at those plump meat gleaming on its own juice (too much? sorry).

Much more than this

Finally, I could sample the fruit of the master’s labor.
On each table there are two sauce we could use to drizzle on the satay. For extra flavor. Chicken satay goes really well with the peanut sauce, so I add that and ate the whole portion my self with steamy fluffy white rice. If you think it would be too sweet, I can tell you that you are wrong. Very different with Japanese version of Yakitori, this one is not that sweet. The seasoning was mild and well balanced, so the taste of the chicken it self prominent as the hero of the dish. That was scrumptious!

Starbucks’ monolog

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I tried to capture moment every time I went to Starbucks. Although the fact is there were missed out cups during cloudy-moody day.
I genuinely believe that every cups gave me positive boost through each of its own unique ways. Instagram facilitated the need for accentuated each character.

After a while, the pictures piling up and I think I can narrate them into stories for you.

So, without further ado, I present to you … my first Starbucks’ monolog

My bitterness is hidden but never gone.

Drowned under the thick and condensed consciousness, falsely describing sweetened life

Inside my #mochafrappuccino : Afogato-ed double shot of espresso by #starbucksnomad

I owned the darkness and accept the bitter-sweet coldness from it.

But sometimes I envy they, whom absorbing the sunshine freely.

Outside my #mochafrappuccinno by #starbucksnomad

The realization was alarming.

I do still live in a bubble.

No matters how others knew me, even labelled me, they can’t touch my core.

I am, maybe will always be, lonely in the mind

Hello world! I got my baby again, #mochafrappuccinno #starbucksnomad and everything more colorfull now #norecipejuststory

These were all between unconsciousness moments.

When pores or holes started eating the thick conscious state.

From the inside.

Reversed gradation #starbucksnomad #mochafrappuccino #doubleshotespresso #jogjakarta #norecipejuststory

Step into others’ shoes, and experienced being somebody else for a change.

Composed attitude, velvety-sultry voice and extra sweetness added to every words.

Felt good even warming for a while.

The sickening and noxious after taste that  I can’t handle.

I should never lie to my self.

New fave couple for late night company: hot #milkgreentea and hot #applepie. #sweettooth #starbucksnomad #butcoffee #norecipejuststory

My patchy mind won’t stop.

It won’t let me rest.

The anxiety rising that I need more learning, more adventure.

The darkness start marbled it ways to define my flavor of life.

Marble like color gradation of my caramel #mochafrappuccino a #goodcompany for reading. #starbucksnomad #norecipejuststory

Fiery gut in the morning.

Woody scent remind me of mother earth.

Reminded me to be humble.

My anxiety reflects my arrogance.

Less fatty cells in soul would do me good for the long run.

Tall nonfat #cappuccinno extra #cinnamon makes my world colorful again. #starbucksnomad #norecipejuststory

Just when I thought I learned something.

When I’m sure that I could digest daily sweetness, finally.

My tongue bite me in the brain.

I can handle firmness and dense wall.

Hyper sweetness always felt artificial, pushes my paranoia button on.

Sumatran coffee eclairs, too dense and firm but right amount sweetness #starbucksnomad #jakarta #norecipejuststory #coffee

Not that hard straightens my mind back, actually.

Soft spoken guidance that preserved my independency,

Crumbly wisdom from an old residence of the earth,

All and everything with less candied response.
Sweet companion #snacks #starbucksnomad #afterdoubleshotespresso #norecipejuststory

Night time is the hardest part.

Time when the milky white world of extremist society.

And the deep dark corner of the human war.

Collide. The rim is blurred.

lullaby cappuccino bfore bed time #starbucksnomad #norecipejuststory

Step back for a moment always useful.

Let loose and feel the darkness hugged you into it.

Sometimes, when we are very very lucky.

Clarity will smacked you in the face.

As clear as crystal cubes of twice filtrated frozen water.
Clarity, never felt so strong. My monday night fuel. #icedcoffe #verona @starbucksindonesia #starbucksnomad #norecipejuststory

Red is my color.

At least that’s what mother believe destined for me.

While my preferences will differ from time to time.

Courageous come inconsistently.

Appreciation for holidays’ common sense are sacred.

Fortunately, family’s golden glow will save me when needed.
Better late than never! The luminescence #redcup #holiday special @starbucksindonesia #starbucksnomad #norecipejuststory #cappuccino

Red is our color

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Today is moslem new year’s day. It kinda remind me of what our family had during the last holiday of Ied Al Adh.

Our family from my husband’s side (The Bucharis) got special groove that always create dynamic interactions and palate sensations on any meet and greet events.

A few weeks ago, moslems around the world celebrate Ied Al Adh holiday. One of the main idea was about being grateful, living modest and share something to the unfortunate ones. That “something” could be “some meat”, on Islam world known as Qurban.

A goat / mutton or A cow or A water buffalo mercifully slaughtered in the name of Allah, and we give away the meat to people in need.

Since my blog is all about food and culture, you must be waiting for all delicious pictures. Okay, here we go.

In the Buchari family, like any large family, we have what we call “the family cook”. She is usually an aunt or a grandma blessed with magical hands. She made the best version of family’s favorite menus, although the other aunts and mothers practically good at it too. She is the best, period.

"Dok Mami" is what we called her, the cook in the family (left) with my mother in law (right)

“Dok Mami” is what we called her, the cook in the family (left) with my mother in law (right)

The Bucharis in holidays; everybody was catching up with the current what a bouts while waiting for the next rounds of eating

The Bucharis in holidays; everybody was catching up with the current what a bouts while waiting for the next rounds of eating

The Bucharis in holiday; talkative and cheery

The Bucharis in holiday; talkative and cheery

There was always somebody lingering near the table where plates of food on display

There were always somebody lingered near the table where plates of food on display

Red is the prominent color in Bucharis dining table; we sure love our chilies in heritage recipes

Red is the prominent color in Bucharis dining table; we sure love our chilies in heritage recipes

"Dendeng (kering) Balado" is the speciality of Dok Mami's. She's the expert making delicate thin and crunchy squares of beef jerky.

“Dendeng (kering) Balado” is the speciality of Dok Mami’s. She’s the expert in making delicate thin and crunchy squares of beef jerky with red chilly sambal. It is our family’s favorite savory dish.

"Balado Ikan Bilis" dried anchovy-like fish in red chili sambal with stinky bean

“Balado Ikan Bilis” dried anchovy-like fish in red chili sambal with stinky bean

Thinly sliced and crispy potato chips seasoned with special mix of sambal

Thinly sliced and crispy potato chips seasoned with special mix of sambal. Salty, spicy and crunchy as side dish with plain white rice

Not that pretty looking beef rendang but equally delicious

Not that pretty looking beef rendang but equally delicious

Delicate strings of cucumber in simple syrups with ice cubes. A soothing dessert after all those spicy dish.

Delicate strings of cucumber in simple syrups with ice cubes. A soothing dessert after all those spicy dish.

Or for the daring ones, a sweetened and fermented purple sticky rice as dessert

Or for the daring ones, a sweetened and fermented purple sticky rice as dessert

The most annoying comments for worlds class chefs (CNNGo’s report on World Gourmet Festival at Bangkok)

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As cited from “How to annoy a world class chef”

Still in the same vibe with my previous post about food retard, a professional cook or chefs must be placed in the same category as painter or sculpture. They really are artists.

Well, being a world class artist come with many consequences. One of the bittersweet things are comments, remarks or questions from people who enjoyed their art. For chefs, they are the people who come to their restaurants.

feeling so annoyed behind that poker face

feeling so annoyed behind that poker face

We might think that world class chefs will be annoyed with shallow comments or questions from know it all person. Apparently, they have touchy and quite sensitive feelings about their arts. Here are some examples of what they feel most annoyed line from people, some of it quite surprising for me.

Chef Igor Macchia, La Credenza, Piedmont, Italy

 Your wife will be a really lucky lady

This is one of the most common comment pops in my head when I see a woman married a great chef. Evidently, most chef do not like to cook at home, hence Chef Macchia felt annoyed when he heard this sort of compliment.

Jeannie Cho Lee, Master of Wine

What is your favorite wine?

Just like when we met a bartender or barrista, we usually ask them what’s your favorite cocktail or coffee recipe. I never suspect this question will create uncomfortable atmosphere during conversation. But Ms Cho Lee bluntly explain that she gets annoyed with this question. She compares the situation with Picasso asked to choose his favorite color.

Chef Shiqin Chen, La Rei, Il Boscareto, Piedmont, Italy

Ask them what their favorite dish is

Chef Chen shares the same shades of outrage with Ms Cho Lee about favorite things. Maybe he might compare this with parents asked to choose their favorite children, to cut the question later.

Chef Victor Quintillà Imbernón, Lluerna, Barcelona, Spain

That the food was made without love

Hmm, no need to be genius to understand this impolite comments.

Chef Galvin Lim, Les Amis, Singapore

Chefs who are skinny can’t cook well

At first, I find this comment quite funny and unrealistic. But then I remember, in Asian culture like Indonesian, there were shared understanding about the relation of waistline and ability to cook. When I remember the great cook in my family or my husband family, most of them do have fuller figure. With the trend of cooking and eating health  spread around the world, this phenomena begin to dissolve. We, or I personally, prefer leaner figure chefs or any expert. Because that means he or she can take care of them self better and function at best with leaner (with assumption healthier condition) body.

So, next time you meet a chef or cook or anyone in culinary business remember these most annoyed line to prevent awkward moments with them.

Ooops, wrong question! Awkward....

Ooops, wrong question! Awkward….

For the complete article visit cnngo here

Meet Me at Starbucks

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If you happens to be in a Starbucks at Jakarta and see me sitting alone focusing on my Mac and my headphone on, don’t hesitate to say hi.

We can share stories about your experience to winged recipes , foolish cooking attempts, kitchen nightmares or local produced groceries and so much more food related subjects. Maybe I can review your food related business, or you can inspire me for my articles or personal projects. Or we can spend giggling time for a moment before heading back to work.

I know, my soft spots for Starbucks may seem less Indonesian. Since most of my articles in this blog is to promote and share Indonesian food experience, you may wonder why.

The shallow explanation because Starbucks is easy. I can access their store easily, even 24 hours if I want to. One more thing is easy access of fast internet connection courtesy from their partner: Biznet in every Starbucks stores at Jakarta. All I need is one user ID and one password, I can access the connection at every Starbucks. No fuss.

If you want a little bit deeper explanation, here they are.

First, as huge and fast growing multi continent company, Starbucks stores always offer anything but generic services. With so many coffee shops or cafes popping around Jakarta, Starbucks still able to maintain a little bit uniqueness or even snobbishness in positive way.

Second, the company concern for the coffee farmer and conserve the origin of the coffee beans quite remarkable. Regardless the dynamic of coffee trading in the world, they have clear policy to do ethical trading and required their partner to grow coffee responsibly.

Third, when they say, ‘premium’ to describe the condiments it does taste damn good. Premium milk, premium freshly whipped cream, premium chocolate, premium syrups, etc.

Fourth, their original blend:  Starbucks® Espresso Roast uses combination of Indonesian and Latin American coffee beans since the 70’s.

They also sell other product from Indonesian coffee beans without diminishing the distinct Indonesian flare from the it:

Komodo Dragon Blend®

Komodo Dragon Blend®

Sumatra Coffee beans

Sumatra Coffee beans

Sulawesi Coffee Beans

Sulawesi Coffee Beans

Fifth, most of their barristas, security officers and other staff at any store in Jakarta are very friendly and helpful. They help me finding cable extension for my lap top, I can ask them to watch over my belongings while I’m away to the bathroom, etc.

Sixth, when they provide in store bath room they take care of it cautiously. Always clean, dry, never runs out tissues and odorless.

Seventh, I can ask for a glass of water as much as I can for free! Sometimes I don’t comfortable with the sticky feeling in my mouth after sipping any cold-creamy beverages. I need water to rinse it out, so I will enjoy the drinks at the next sips. While other cafes charge for a glass of clear water, Starbucks provide them free even with extra ice cubes.

My usual spots are Starbucks at Kelapa Gading or La Piazza or Skyline building at Thamrin. So when you see me, or listen for order: Grande Mocha Frappuccino without whipped cream and extra double shot espresso, don’t forget to say hi!

Knock on my table and say hi!

Knock on my table and say hi!

Look what I found! Japanese summer snacks (2)

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I found the sweet ones on the same shops. A rather large shops (compare to the others) at Ameyoko market. One thing I could say about this shop, it’s adorable but quite busy. I don’t catch the name, but it near the cherry vendors. The front part of the store are piles of crunchy snacks, followed with spreads of sweet treats. All kind of mochi cakes; in square, round, rectangle, character shaped; translucent or colorful type; regular red bean paste filling or chocolate, almond, strawberry, pineapple and a whole lot more. The spongy cakey snack like Kastella, Dorayaki and others with red bean paste fillings. The assorted packed, contain the salty crackers and sweet treats. The next shelf is my target, all things chocolate.

They have so many varieties of chocolates truffles with different fillings in different brands. I’ve tried some of them at my previous visit, quite soapy and not very good. I’m sticking to my plan, buying as much as Kit Kat in different flavor I could find. Unfortunately, there were only two flavors available: Green tea and Dark Chocolate. I grab a bunch of those  and put it to my cart. Since then, every time I can find snack shops or Konbini, I always look for different Kit Kat flavor. Unfortunately, can’t find the summer special flavor or package yet.

Ooops, I forgot. I found a few of funky flavor at one of the corner of the Tokyo central stations. It’s a Cantaloupe,  chocolate orange dan strawberry. But the price they tagged on it, Oh my God! unreasonable. The smaller package size with the one I bought from Ameyoko for 215 Yen, they charged 800 – 1200 Yen. I think, for a tiny chocolate wafer with uncommon flavor, It’s not worth the money.

Moons stone on ceramic jewel box

Moons stone on ceramic jewel box

I’ve seen this at Singapore before. Looked a colorful tiny bevel for aquarium, they called it Moon stones. It really is a milk chocolate in candied colorful shell, carved like stones. It quite tasty and cheap too, I bought it in a huge plastic package to share with my niece and nephew back home. By the way, the ceramic case is actually a jewel box given by  a friend of a friend as memento from Japan.

There are a whole lot more snacks, food and spices at stores and stall in Ameyoko market. If I could, I want to bring a sample of every one of them, but that will cross my budget limit. At least I have my personal mementos from Japan, salty and sweet eatable nick nacks.

What’s your most interesting food/beverages mementos from traveling?