03 June 2011

One day, two restaurants

How can it already be the Friday afternoon of a not-terribly-busy week? I'm determined to get this post up before I concentrate on unloading my groceries from Kem Chicks. This will be a way of winding down from the shock!horror!! of having my credit card declined. It was the sort of marathon shop that made a young Indonesian lad in the elevator ask me where my "pembantu" (servant) was to carry the bags — bill over 1.5 million rupiah, around US$175, and I only had a little over a million in my wallet.

Luckily the guy at the cash register persevered and the card went through the second time. I had been trying to figure out what I was going to put back on the shelves.

With that off my chest, I'll now to go back to Tuesday, a day when I was eating out rather than procuring the wherewithal to cook.

We do frequent restaurants a lot more here than we do in either London or Laroque, price and convenience being key factors in this change of lifestyle. Tuesday was the only day thus far, though, when we've gone out for both lunch and dinner.

Michael had described in a March email having a Philadelphia cheese steak in Potato Head, a very NYC-type bistro just outside Pacific Place. We were meeting two old friends from Lasmo days for lunch, Anita now keeping her bosses in line at Salamander and Elly a high-flying senior geologist at Anadarko. They chose Potato Head as our meeting place and I had my bit of Philly in Jakarta — steak a rather different flavor but extremely tasty.

 Although the same can't be said of us, Anita and Elly haven't changed, except for the glamorous streaks in Anita's hair

Cheese steak

Photos of the bar scene at night, from an earlier visit for a quick beer with our Scottish friend, Mark D. The shutters are an inspired bit of interior design.

We had also arranged to meet Patricia, APEC's clever and congenial Singaporean lawyer, and Mark N, "tuan besar" (the big boss, to whom same adjectives would apply), in the Ritz-Carlton lobby at 7pm for a stroll into the mall. Our plan: to check out TeSate, a Plaza Senayan restaurant that had just opened a new branch in Pacific Place. Patricia is like Monica: I'll follow her anywhere.

As we were about to get onto the elevator to head for the fifth floor, we ran into Anggoro and convinced APEC's resident Javanese aristocrat (his mother appears on the famous family tree mural in Yogya's royal palace) to join us. Smart move. He's not only charming and the most elegantly dressed man in the office, he knows, unsurprisingly, exactly how to navigate an Indonesian menu. I think this may have been the best meal we've had yet—and there's been quite some competition, including another of Patricia's suggestions, Kembang Goela, which will have a post to itself.

 Stunning bird-of-paradise arrangement in entry.

I'm not sure what this is. Should have asked Anggoro or Patricia.

Tahu telur (or telor), a delectable tofu and egg dish that I'll be ordering regularly from now on.

Sambal selection

Sate in peanut sauce


Soft-shell crab

Feast and feasters
Es siwalan: chopped ice, palm fruit, flavored syrup, and basil seed (frog spawn on top, popular in Thai drinks -- I bought some this in a jar to try, thinking it looked like poppy seed, and was very surprised when it turned agglutinous on my tongue).

Fried bananas with coconut ice cream and caramel sauce.

Serabi Solo: yeast-raised pancakes with a variety of toppings.

After our meal, Anggoro patiently let me photograph his shirt for my batik photo collection.


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