Friday, July 29, 2011

Relax & Unwind at My Kopi O!

Its been a while since I posted here. Did anyone miss me? =p Well anyway, its been quite a while as well since I last tasted My Kopi O! at its place of birth, Surabaya. They've finally expanded to Jakarta and chose Living World - Alam Sutera to settle their pilot project.

I was amazed as they were able to duplicate the exact cozy atmosphere with the white bricks wall and designer's chairs. The joint pleasantly stood out from neighbouring stores. Thumbs up for that. Now that the eyes have been entertained, the big question is, does the food do so as well? Let me take you through the little feast I had.

I'm gonna start with my favorite menu, Combi Chinese Burger (38k).

This reminded me of good ol' grandma's recipe. A half bun of pao stuffed with slow-cooked pork and chili sauce on top. The only difference is that everything is halal here. They have spicy chicken, BBQ chicken, and black pepper beef instead. You don't want to miss the black pepper beef. It tasted a little off from the usual blackpepper. It has a likeable aroma of Chinese herbs and medicine. I somehow found it delectable, and Jenz too.

Served on a chopping board, this meal simply pleasing to the eye and the tongue.

On my next favorite list are Nanyang Kopi Tarik (18k) and Kaya Toast (18k)

Boasting a unique kind of coffee beans, namely the Lanang Coffee, My Kopi O! tries to bring out a unique selling proposition. While I'm a coffeefool, after reading that they only grind single (not half shaped) coffee bean, I feel special right away. Weird, but its true. Sometimes better doesn't mean better, simply different can be better.

Also, there is something nostalgic about drinking from this cup of coffee. Back in my home town of Bagan Siapi-Api (Riau), most kopitiam uses this kind of classic cup. If it attracts a young eye like me, imagine how it would attract an old eye. Even more nostalgic value.

Thumbs up to the designer who curated the use of this lovely cup.

Notice the green kaya jam? You could've guessed in one glance what made it green. Yep, a subtle hint of Pandan leaves is all over it. On the first bite it wasn't there, but it catches up later on the following bites. I only have one note for this, a little more sugar wouldn't bite. Haha. I'm sure those with the sweet tongues will agree with me.

I still have a couple more favorites for you to bite on. Give a warm welcoming drool on these fresh beverages.

Strawberry Passion Soda (32k), Ice Tiramisu Latte (42k), and Ice Choco Black Forest (28k).

I love their presentation, not only the jars give a vintage feel, it also fools the eye into thinking it's serving is bigger than usual drinks. Both, Strawberry Soda and Lychee Ice were served with fresh slices of fruits. A generous portion I must admit. 

For those who liked a creamier option, go for the Lychee Ice. It has an extra scoop of vanilla ice cream that melts into a sweet bold mix with the soda. Or, for an even fuller option, hit the Choco Black Forest.

Gotta love these drinks on a sunny afternoon.

To wrap up my feast, I had Orange Yoghurt (24k) and Roti Jala (18k) for dessert.

They weren't exactly my ideal type of dessert. The orange yoghurt was more like jelly, and I didn't taste the sourish feel that I looked for from a yoghurt. Albeit the lovely presentation, I think I'd choose the drinks above over this anytime.

As for Roti Jala, I didn't get why they have to separate the jala into two different color as they tasted quite similar. Also the mix of Vanilla ice cream, banana and Gula Melaka topping resulted in a mess of flavor. Go for something else for dessert, Biters.

All in all, it was a pleasant experience. I get a feeling that My Kopi O! will stay for quite a long while. I would certainly come back here. A great place to sit, converse and unwind with friends and families.  I also love the fact that they have a strict non-smoking policy, making it so much more comfy eating here. If only they were closer to where I live ...

See you when I eat you,

Fellexandro Ruby
Food Conversationalist, Photographer & Seriously wishing My Kopi O! open in any area around Pluit.

Munch on my tweets @Wanderbites

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Smoking Joe's - Strange Foreign Delicacy

Upon entering Smoking Joe's you'll be greeted with woody architecture and furniture, creating an ambiance resembling a warm rustic feeling. The hint of reds and greens in between added a striking freshness to the scene. Not to mention the very inviting lines of booze on the alcohol's wall of fame. I bet this joint looks a lot livelier starting from 9 pm and above. ; ) I hope I'll come back some time soon to see that with my own eyes.

Anyway, this time I went there for lunch. Here, you got to see Smoking Joe's on the brighter side of the day.

These chairs, aren't they lovely? I liked the design although they look a little bit stiff and uncomfortable to rest your back. Its part of the reason why I decided to sit on the more private sections, next to the huge window with a lovely view and of course with a puffy SOFA!

So, well seated I was, I took out my two Disdus (Groupon Indonesia) vouchers, and scramble through the menu to find what to order. These vouchers allow me to choose among the entrees. There were pulled chicken, pulled pork, beef brisket and quarter chicken. Which one did I choose first?

Damn right, its none other than the Pulled Pork! (95k) Haha! With the Lemon Buttered Broccoli and Fried Sweet Potato on the sides.

And second, I chose the Quarter Chicken (55k) with French Fries and Potato Salad on the sides. 

On the first bite, these two were foreign to my palate. Indeed, Smoking Joe's recipe is one of a kind. As the chef / owner, Joel Rozelle explained, they use a particular seasoning called the St.Louis rub. A dry rub with a blend of secret herbs and spices. Not stopping at that, they take it one notch further by slow-smoking most dishes using only Jack Fruit wood to enhance the flavor. They even bring the one ton smokers all the way from St. Louis to maintain consistency. So much effort but nothing goes to waste. Just by seeing the amount of expats coming to this place is already a good indicator of how Smoking Joe simulate home to them.

As for me, after the fourth bites and so on, I began to enjoy them. Oh, let me tell you a secret, this is for you Biters who read through line after line. I'm telling you, whatever you order you have got to get yourself these sweet potato fries. They are simply lovely for our Indonesian tongue. Meatwise they were tender, good texture and easy to chew. Sizewise, they were very very generous. I never expected this when I ordered at the beginning. As a result I ordered an extra Pork Ribs (139k) as well. That was a fatal mistake. I ended up not finishing them. It was just too much. *fiuh*

My take on the ribs is similar to the previous two because they use the same dry rub, I don't expect any surprises. My only comment was that it doesn't live up to its description in the menu: "slowly smoked until the rib is falling off the bone". Probably due to the thickness of the meat, or it wasn't smoked long enough that they were more on the chewy side, not tender. Also, it gets stiff and hard quite fast, in less than twenty minutes I reckon. That was not satisfactory for me. Its also different from my idea of pork ribs, with the racks and everything.

Overall, I'm maybe not yet to the point of loving them, that gotta take time. But as a foodie whose considerably open and adaptive to new stuff, I challenge you to put me in St. Louis, Missouri. Within a month I guarantee, my tongue would've gone American and loving Smoking Joe's menus.

I see a promising future for this food place somehow. They stay original and not planning in any way to tweak the ingredients just to fit in Asian tongue. They stood out with what they have best and let people exercise a little variety from their routine. That's what I want. A taste of America without the cost of going there myself. I hope to see them around. I'd surely come back while not that often.

Well, at least for their refreshing Lemon Grass Ice Tea (17.5k). Again, it has a foreign taste that I can't simply explain word by word, just gotta trust my tongue, go ahead and try it. Foreign yet beautiful delicacy.

I'll see you when I see you. Cheers.

Fellexandro Ruby
A Daring Foodie, Aspiring Photographer, & Heavy Equipment Specialist =)
Munch on my tweets at @Wanderbites

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Legendary Naughty Nuri's a.k.a Warung Nuri

Here's a little market research, go start a convo with any of your Blackberry Messenger friends, I bet they've heard of Naughty Nuri's or Warung Nuri in one or another way. That's how legendary they are. They've always been the talk of the town for tourist who are visiting Bali. If that's not enough, then this is the real deal, they are featured in New York Times. Also Anthony Bourdain once visited Naughty Nuri's and wrote in the guest book "The best martini in the world" (ehm, you mean the best after yours mister? =p)

As for the name, you could've guessed it right on first try. Yep, it was the owner's nickname. Isnuri Suryatmi, an ambitious amateur chef from Java, started this in 1995 with her expat husband Brian Aldinger, and been having a lot of fun until now. 

While NYTimes claimed Sushi as their specialty dish and Bourdain gave full thumbs up for their martini, many knows Warung Nuri for their pork ribs. I, myself, fell in love with their ribs when I tried it for the first time back in May 2008. For the sake of relieving that particular moment, last month I went all the way back to Ubud where it's located and ordered myself one plateful of this. 

This rack of ribs said to be original Balinese pig, and were claimed to be one of the best local produce. This is true, as Balinese people eat a good portion of pork, just as Jakartans eats a good portion of chicken. I believe that when one is popular, people will put more amount of effort to breed, grow, and maintain the quality to continually supply the surmountable demand. Anyway, let's not go into economics.

Halfcooked from the kitchen, I reckon the ribs must have been boiled with spices to remove any smell left and tenderize the meat. It was then dipped on a special barbeque sauce and char-grilled on medium fire.


I bet you do. I am now. How could you not. From every angle in the photo, this ribs could not go wrong.

However, on this trip I failed to relieve the remarkable taste I had three years ago. Took a little note while eating, I wrote: "Good, tender meat. Spicy. Sweet. But feels like any other barbeque sauce for grabs in the supermarket."

Some said my tongue has advanced in a way that my threshold for good food has leveled up over the years. In other words, what used to be good for me is now below my par. (Dalam bahasa Indonesia, ini maksudnya, dulu lidah miskin, apa aja yg pake micin enak, sekarang udah tau nikmatnya dunia, Hahahaha.)

I'd like to believe that it;s true, but then again, there are lots of other foods that I still in love with after years. Soto Bang Mamat, Nasi Kari Babi Aladdin, Kwetiau Bagan Bandengan, to name a few. So that must not be it. To support my hypothesis, I did a little research on Trip Advisor, and the comments on their article in NY Times. There are a lot of praises and there's an amount of negativity about it too. My conclusion, consistency is the issue here. Similar case happen to their newly establish branch in Kelapa Gading, Jakarta. Visited it twice and had different outcomes on both visit. Mixed comments as well among friends who have tried it.

It's sad to know I might not be able to relieve the first-time experience. I still keep my hopes up though. Maybe next time I'll get lucky and the universe will conspire for my tastebuds satisfaction. Until then, let me know what you think.

Oh, and this might be the end of my Bali Culinary series, you can catch the rest of them on these links:
- Vigorous Fish Soup at Mak Beng (Sanur) 
- Flapjaks Pancakes & Crepes (Kuta)
- Kafe Moka (Seminyak)
- Sate Penyu / Sate Celeng (Kuta) 

See you when I see you. Oh, tomorrow is Friday. Have a splendid blissful weekend Biters.

Fellexandro Ruby
Food Conversationalist & Photographer
Snack on my Tweets at @Wanderbites 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Flapjaks - Pancakes, Crepes, & Kuta Sunset

Clean white interiors in combination with striking red lines and furnitures. So contrasting, as if they were enthusiastically inviting every passerby to come in and have a bite. I was a victim. Haha. I mean who could walk away from a drooling display of pancakes-mockup lined up beautifully on their wall. Its almost like I can hear them whispering "Eat me, I know you want this pile of chocolate ice cream on your mouth, don't you?" 

And long story short, I stopped from my afternoon walk, sat down and have a look at Flapjaks menu. While the waiter continuously promote their pancakes, I have a feel that they won't be that good, and so I fell for their Chocolate & Peanut Crepes. Beware, some mouth-watering pictures ahead!

And just when you think you can handle yourself from drooling. Here's another teaser. HAHAHA. I'm just that devilish today. If I'm going down with these fat, I'm taking everyone with me. =p

Alright, enough sillyness. I have got to say this is one of my favorite dessert while staying for five days in Bali. You can simply tell how good it is by the generous amount of toppings. Not to mention hidden layer of sweetness. Yes! If you uncover this particular meal, you'll have at least five layer of goodness.

First, the toothsome chocolate ice cream. Second, spongy cream mousse. Third, crunchy ground nuts. Fourth,  chocolate sauce and small chocolate bites. Fifth, savory sugary pancakes. And Sixth, the extra chunky peanut butter. Tell me you don't like this one, then I got to tell you, you just don't know how to have fun. =p

Scrumptious, especially for the sweet-toothed. However, this could be too sweet for some. In other words, proceed with care.

When I finished with this, it was almost six pm. I've got to go and catch the sunset, but I was just too curious with this one drink named Bok Choy. Weird name, but it turned out to be one refreshing drink with a unique twist of flavor. With a good mix of a host of veggies and fruits, it was healthy as well. Anw, that's not the real reason I ordered this, I have to say I have a weakness for anything green. Yes, now you know. =p And as you can predict, here's the green drink. 

As many has come and enjoyed Flapjaks, I, too would like to recommend this place for those who are in their vacations. Good foods on a holiday would make a perfect mix. I can't wait until the day I travel again. Here's a quick snapshot of the sunset in Kuta that day, right after I finished with Flapjaks. I hope you like it.

See you when I see you,

Fellexandro Ruby
Snack on my tweets at @Wanderbites 
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