Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sushi Groove: State-of-The-Art Sushi

There's only a number of sushi places that comes on top of my mind when I crave for it. Sushi Groove is definitely one of them. Pioneered by a strong concept, great food, and a remarkable team behind Ismaya, they have grown far since started. What I'm starting to admire from them is the continuous passion to embrace change and welcomes creativity.

This foodtasting panel is one of them. Ten people from broad range of background were gathered to taste firsthand their twelve new sushi menu. Instead of laying each out in details and run the risk of boring you, I'd simply mention the top three that gave a good impression on me. Also, this way, you'll still have your surprise factor on the other nine. I wouldn't take that from you. =)

1. Pirate's Roll 
It is rare to find spicy sushi. And by spicy I mean the kind of hot that ticklishly burn your tongue. You can see from the picture above. It's basically crispy soft shell crab inside on the roll. On top of it is this well marinated chunk of smoke beef, and the cherry on top is the tiny slice of chili rawit. This is 70% Japanese, 28% Western, and 2% Indonesian. You know which is the 2% don't you? ;)

2. Mango Megumi Roll
I'm sorry pictures aren't available for this one. At the time, the competition was getting intense and I had to fight for this roll, didn't get the chance to capture it properly. Anyway, this is one shocking sushi. You'll know the second the fresh tropical taste of mango meets your taste bud. It's all uphill from there. On the side note though, I reckon this would be better enjoyed together. Having four roll of these alone is kinda too much. I guess. But still. One good innovation.

3. Angry Bird Roll
Picture also unavailable. =P I just left it to make you curious. Its another spicy options. You know how I love spicy food. Its like catered personally for me. =) I enjoyed the fresh layer of lettuce, the crisp chicken karaage, and the mozarella cheese on top is just a feast.

All these new stuff are just a new kind of fusion. Tongue-wise, I'd say this fit our native Indonesia tastebud who prefer a little drama of flavor. Sweet, spicy, salty, crunchy, crispy, creamy, all in one. On the other hand though, I kinda feel they strand far from the original sushi experience. If you are looking for old-school sushi with a certain expectation of rawness, clean-cut sushi, where a dip of soy, and a lick of wasabi makes it complete, then these are not for you. On the good side, they add variety and oh really, on a personal level I love 'em.

I see you Biters on the next foodtasting panel. Hopefully ISMAYA would be glad to arrange another one. =P It was one happy day, and coming home with a happy belly surely widens my happy grin. ^______^

Smile on, Shine on
Fellexandro Ruby
Food Blogger & Photographer
Twitter: @Wanderbites

Monday, April 25, 2011

Versus : Leko vs. Tekko

Biters! Welcome to Versus, another whole new segment where we'll mash up menu against menu, resto against resto, or even people against people. This is war! But for today, we gonna call it The Great Battle of The Penyets. As cheesy as it sounds, I've always wondered how's the two top-of-mind would compare head-to-head. And yes! This will be epic! Who are you with? Team Leko or Team Tekko? Let's waste no time anddddddd RUMBLEEE!

Date: April 24th, 2011
Time: 12.20-ish PM
Location: North Jakarta
Mission: Eat with no hesitation. Criticize with no limitation.

Serving Time
As I sat down on my seat, I noticed its lunch time but Leko store looked seemingly empty. There was me, another family, and a couple of other people. Not more than twenty people I suppose. On the other hand, Tekko, three stores next door, looked packed as always during lunch time, both inside the resto and outside the resto. Both good and bad sign. Good sign, I got my orders at Leko at somewhat quicker time than Tekko. It took Tekko more than 7 minutes to have my Iga Penyet on my table and extra 1 minute for my Jumbo Orange Juice. While at Leko, both Iga Penyet and Jumbo Orange Juice came at the same time within 6 minutes.


The competition gets tougher at this rate. On Leko's side, I noticed they have more meat on their ribs, compared to that of Tekko. You can see on the photo above, there are a whole lot more chunk of bones than meat on Tekko's plate of Iga Penyet. And not to mention this kind of meat are super sticky to the ribs that I have to dirt both hands and scrape the meat with my teeth. Look!

Leko's meat were easier to pull off from the ribs. Hassle free. Maybe because Tekko's ribs consist of more fatty fats than the meats. However, Leko's ribs are somewhat baretaste if compared to Tekko's. I can sense the beefy aroma, and spices scent better on Tekko's ribs.

Verdict: While size matters, taste overrule! I'm gonna call this a DRAW!

Chili Sauce
I know. I know. But I take chili sauce seriously. And as serious as I was, I even chew on two spoonful of each chili sauce, with a sip of juice in between. I ordered 'very hot sauce' on both resto and found that Tekko's chili was a level more watery than Leko's.


Alright, I think I'm running out of category. This is suppose to be competitive, but now LEKO is already winning by 2 points. *thinking of new category*



Now this one, is definitely Tekko's plate of victory. At an additional price of 1000 Rupiah, I got much larger glass of orange juice. Oh, Leko, your orange juice shouldn't be called orange juice, it should be water orange. Yes, water comes first, because it was more watery dan orangy (is this even a word? wtf =p) I can barely taste the orange on yours. Shame on you, resto kakilima can make better ones.


This is a very sensitive category. Why? You'll find out after looking at the photo below.

Find what I meant? No? Look closer.
And closer.

Ah, now you get it. While both priced competitively, I'm surprised at how Leko has a little row after Total Bill called "Round Down" (Pembulatan), and there they just gave me 400 Rupiah discount of the price, instead of rounding it up to 37,400 or 38,000 (like in most gas station), they round down to 37,000.

I know you gotta be thinking "You're so effin cheap, Ruby."

"Well, I'm Chinese! I AM CHEAP." Try compare Changhong to Sony. They're suppose to be cheap. WEHEHEHEHE. =P

Naah, jokes aside, think of it like this. Imagine if you're the owner of Leko, say you have 100 customer a day, thats 3000 customer a month , 3000 bills. If each were cut of 400 Rupiah, you just lost 1.2 Million of income per month. I'm gonna call this ..... the little things that matters (Lebay). I hate carrying coins and they just prevent it in one satisfying way.

Verdict: Despite of the price cut, in most occasion, I would still pay more for a better tasting or bigger size of food. I call this, A DRAW!

Final Results

I guess after all, they're both loved equally by food lovers out there. Or not? Which do you prefer?

Let's keep this fun. I'll open a vote for the next one week. Tweet me at @wanderbites why you love which, DEFEND YOUR TEAM and mention the resto of your choice with hashtag #TEAMLEKO or #TEAMTEKKO.

I'll see you next week with the final count! =D

Stay Competitive, Folks.

Fellexandro Ruby
Food Blogger & Photographer

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Me vs. The Hottest Chili (Bhut Jolokia)

Holla Wanderbiters! Some of you might've heard I joined one eating contest about two weeks ago. Held at Kamikaze Kaarage, Grand Indonesia, Jakarta. It was a contest unlike any other. The challenge wasn't only about how much you can eat but also how far you can handle one of the hottest chili pepper in the world.

Bhut Jolokia, or Ghost Chili as its more popularly known was once the hottest chili in 2007, until replaced recently with Naga Viper. Bhut Jolokia is claimed to be 400x hotter than Tabasco. Now you get the idea why the event organizer on this eating contest have all 13 participants signed an agreement. It more or less say:

"I know I'm going to do something stupid brave, therefore I release the organizer of any obligation shall anything happen to me." 

The rules of the game was simple.

  1. It will be held in stage. At each level, within 5 minutes each participant is required to finish three tebasaki (chicken wing) coated with Harakiri sauce (yes, that's how they name their chili sauce with Bhut Jolokia).
  2. After eating, participants are not allowed to drink anything for five long minutes. This is the afterburn process.
  3. It will definitely get hotter with higher intensity of Bhut Jolokia at higher level. 
  4. The level is endless. 
Here, you can see the guy coating the Tebasaki has to wear goggles as the chili sauce easily iritate the eyes. 

It was a hell lot of fun when I know one of my colleague from college days took part in this challenge as well. You can see more of his comical and hilarious act on the video embedded at the end of the post. Or, alternatively go and find his musings on Twitter at @superseru. Added to the fun was meeting my other college friend, @ir_van who was supporting all of us.

And so the challenge start, on the first level, one man down, and easily lost to the heat. If you had tried Kamikaze Karaage's Kamikaze sauce, then this one is a couple level hotter than that. You can tell by the name of the sauce, Harakiri sauce. On the second level, two more guys gave up. Strangely the girls were proven to be better in handling spicy sauce. On the third level, it was a whole 'notha level. You can tell by the amount of people holding up white flag. Eight participants down! That means two left on the hot spot. That was me and another woman, Mariska. Battling for the crown, battling for one iPod Nano.

In case you're wondering, here's a snapshot of me on the third level and the fourth level. I kinda think I got braincramp on the fourth level.

Pretty much alive. But no longer on level four.

I was totally wasted on chili sauce. ><" Here's a peek of the fully coated Tebasaki in level four. It was more like eating chili with chicken, than eating chicken with chili.

Still haven't got the idea? Wondering what happens on the final round? Find the complete recap in the video down here. I went through all this challenge for you Wanderbiters, everyone who has supported me all the way. I hope you enjoy it. Click! Comment! And subscribe (there's a little surprise I'm preparing for the moment, you don't want to miss it) =)

Yours hottily,
Fellexandro Ruby

(Video recorded by @andreasharon_)

Real Time Analytics