The Croissant Quest! [1]

I love Croissant!
I think my love for this yummy buttery pastry first started when I lived in Bournemouth. There was this small French bakery near the town centre which I often visit – and even though I had eaten croissant before, the croissant there was the most delicious that I’ve ever had!

Now, as I am back living in Jakarta, I often feel the crave for good croissant. It’s not a hard thing to find a bakery/cafe which sells one, because croissant is such a common menu in bakeries/cafes. BUT… not everyone can make a good one. Especially in here in Jakarta.

So, I’m doing a croissant quest! I’ll review as many as possible in my quest of finding the best croissant in town.

Let’s start with PAUL Patisserie. This bakery is located in Pacific Place, Jakarta Selatan. This one is a renowned bakery from Europe, and I am already familiar with their hot chocolate which I often bought when in London. Here, the croissant is priced at IDR 18k. It looks ordinary, altough seems perfectly baked. But, it tastes good – crunchy and crispy outside yet moist inside. It’s quite buttery too, and I like it for that. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

20140226-235946.jpg
Paul’s Croissant – dine in

However…. I actually bought two of them , 1 left intentionally to be eaten the next day for breakfast. What happened was really surprising though. The croissant became SUPER EXTREMELY MOIST AND BUTTERY  – I have to use capslock so that you can get a sense of how good it was. Really, I died and went to croissant heaven. Try it for yourself, buy the croissant, leave it overnight in your cupboard and eat it without reheating it the next morning. SUPER DELISH. I give it 5  out of 5 stars!

Paul
Paul’s Croissant – the morning after!

Conclusion: Paul’s croissant tastes SO MUCH BETTER when left overnight – it deserves 5 stars, no doubt about it.

See you on the next Croissant Quests!

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The US Trip: I Left My Heart in San Francisco!

This is the sixth post of “The US Trip” series. To read other posts in this series, click here.

The trip to San Francisco happened rather unplanned during my US Trip. I wanted to visit but it was not in my main itinerary as I was aware that it’s a 6hour-ish drive from Los Angeles and I had a tight schedule around LA and Orange County.

However, I suddenly got an invitation to visit a relative of mine who found out that I was in California from my mum. At first I wanted to visit on the weekend but because of her schedule, I had to make the trip the next day. I remember it was a Wednesday afternoon after I finished talking with my relative on the phone and confirming my visit – I immediately searched for ways of public transportation from LA to SF… and I was a bit surprised to find Megabus! Back in the UK, I loooooved Megabus. They’re my savior because they have offers as cheap as £1 to travel to London’s neighboring cities. Anyway, thanks to Megabus I found cheap LA to SF tickets. The coach left LA (Union Station) at Thursday midnight and arrive in SF (Caltrain Station – 4th and King St) at around 7 in the morning.

The journey was really convenient for me (except the fact that me and R did not get seats next to each other – the coach was full), I could sleep almost all the way and woke up just when we were about to arrive.

Since we arrived at 7 in the morning and my appointment with my relative was not until 3 in the afternoon, we had some time to kill and decided to wander around town. We did not have specific itinerary, all I thought was to visit some of the obvious tourist spots if possible.

Then I used google maps to find out where we were, and how far we were from Pier 39, Chinatown, or Union Square. We were surprised to found out that Chinatown was only 20 mins walk away and then another 20 mins-ish walk would take us to Pier 39!

So we walked. Our first destination was Chinatown because we wanted to have dim sum breakfast. I actually don’t remember the name of that dim sum restaurant that we went to, but there are a lot of dim sum restaurants in the area – you can always choose one (tip: use Yelp if you want to check out the reviews.. really helpful!). It was an enjoyable walk despite the gloomy weather – compared to sunny LA, weather in SF can be discouraging! but I love SF’s city centre. There’s something about the vibe that the city has, not to mention the architecture was just very easy on the eyes.

After breakfast, we walked again to Pier 39, another 20 mins walk. Because the sun’s up by then, it wasn’t as cold and gloomy as when we first walked to Chinatown – thus made it even more enjoyable!  There are a lot of small shops and stalls in the area, it’s indeed a pretty sightseeing spot (You can see the Golden Gate Bridge from a far!). Plus, I also got to see some seals! Verrrryy cute. Pier 39 is next to Fisherman’s Wharf, where we had a quick lunch at the famous Bistro Boudin. It was, indeed, quite a splurge, but totally worth it.

Pier 39
At Pier 39

From Fisherman’s Wharf, we went back to the city centre because we wanted to see Union Square. But we did not walk back… This time we took the famous Cable Car! Woohooo! It cost us $6 for a single ride ticket and you can easily purchase the ticket in one of the stations (tip: my ticket can be used as 10% off voucher in Ghirardelli chocolate stores – another must visit in town!).

Union Square is almost like the heart of San Francisco to me. I love to see how people was able to sit outdoors and enjoy their time. For shopping lovers, this is the place for you. Macy’s, Uniqlo, and other high street brands are in this area 😀

Union Square
Union Square

Then it’s time to meet my relative. We met her at Ghirardelli Square. It’s another tourist spot – apparently the building is quite historic. But despite the historical facts, they have one of the best chocolates I’ve ever tasted. For sure! There’s a park in the area too.. again, I love city parks as it’s almost a luxury in Jakarta.

We also met R’s friend and then the four of us went for another round of sightseeing – this time R’s friend drove us around. Our first stop was Lombard Street. There’s really nothing there –  it’s just a residential area…. BUT with stellar view. Perfect for pictures!

Lombard Street
View from Lombard Street. In love!

Of course, we HAD to see the Golden Gate Bridge. If you were to take public transportation, this link should help. There were some spots to take pictures with the bridge in the background, and you can do some sightseeing too. We didn’t spend too much time here, simply just click and go!

Golden Gate
Golden Gate Bridge

Last but not least, we went for a quick sightseeing trip to Treasure Island. Though it was too cold to stay for a long time, I was sooo happy to be able to see such breathtaking view of SF’s city lights from a far. Too bad both my iPhone AND camera ran out of battery by then.. So I didn’t get to take any pictures! (boohoo). But feel free to browse some images curated by the lovely google here. After Treasure Island, we went back to our bus station to catch the midnight bus back to LA.

So that’s how we spent 16 hours in San Francisco. I guess we pretty much covered anything… well, most of tourist spots for sure. I fell in love with San Francisco instantly even after such short visit.. and of course, would love to come back again and spend more time.

Pizza Barboni

I’ve heard about Pizza Barboni for awhile, mostly from my friends’ path and instagram feeds. They say this pizza joint is the real deal – especially because they serve wood fire pizza which is quite rare to be found in Jakarta. But it was not until yesterday that I finally paid my visit.. which surely made me think “why didn’t I do this earlier?!”

Pizza Barboni is located in Jalan Kemang 1, Jakarta Selatan (it’s that one way street that you have to take when you’re heading to La Codefin from McDonalds area.. ring a bell?), in the same shopping arcade with Little Baghdad. The restaurant is not too big, there are only 2 tables in the patio area and 4 tables inside. But, they do delivery (probably only in Kemang area though.. but do give it a try)!

Their menu is straight up simple, Italian – Style Pizza. They also have some nibbles which I did not get to try (yet), because my focus yesterday was to try their selection of pizza. They have quite an extensive range for you to choose, from mushroom pizza to beef or even pork pizza.

Being a meat pizza fan, I ordered Americana pizza – Thin crust pizza with Beef Bacon, Pepperoni and Mozzarella toppings (IDR 75K). I give it 5 stars! The crust is perfect, the blend of cheese and the toppings are heavenly. Since I ate it while it’s still hot, I got to feel the sensation of cheese melting in my mouth.. Mamma mia! 😀

Americana Pizza
Americana Pizza

Aside from their yummy pizzas, I have to give credit for their concept and branding. They take branding seriously and I love the interior – clean, simple and cozy. The kind of place you’d want to go for a casual date.. or hang out with friends. Here’s a sneak peek:

Inside the Restaurant
Inside the Restaurant

So.. for you pizza lovers in town, be sure to check them out and let me know what you think. 🙂

Pizza Barboni

Jalan Kemang 1, no.72
Phone: (021) 7181101
Facebook: Pizza Barboni
Twitter: @PizzaBarboni
Opening hours: Tue – Sun11:00 – 00:00

The US Trip: Sunny Orange County.

This is the fifth post of “The US Trip” series. To read other posts in this series, click here.

Orange County is where I spent most of my days during this US trip. I stayed in Motel 6 Newport Beach – which I would gladly recommend due to its exceptional service, despite being “only” a motel.  I chose to stay in Orange County because of this TV Series! Hahaha not.. It’s because the motel rate is cheaper and I like to stay near the beach.

Anyway, in this post I’ll highlight some of the places I visited in Orange County. I was lucky that even though it’s September when I visited, I still got to enjoy sunshine and spend some time under the sun.

The first destination is Huntington Beach.

Huntington Beach is known for its surfing culture. They say you can surf all year long – that’s why it’s also famous as Surf City USA. Of all the beaches I visited, this is my favorite beach, it has white sands for as far as you can see, and also rows of palm trees.

Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach

Not a surfer? don’t worry, there are a lot of other things that you can do in Huntington Beach. I really enjoyed sun bathing ( didn’t jump to the water because the water was too cold! hahaha ), strolling down the main street where there’s a lot of cafes and small shops, and last but not least.. I really enjoyed kayak!

It was my very first experience and although it was rather hard to do at first, but when I got used to it, I really enjoyed it. You can check out Huntington Harbor Boat Rentals  if you want to try kayaking as well 🙂

Kayak
I kayaked!!

Then there’s Laguna Hills and Laguna Beach

Laguna Hills is famous because of this TV Series – but there’s more to it. I personally love the terrain, you can see the beach and the hills in one sight. It’s also nice to drive around and see the nice houses in the neighborhood, then have a stroll on the high street full of cute small shops (The high street is smaller than the one in Huntington Beach).

Laguna Hills
Laguna Hills

While in the area, I also went for a bit of hike in Top of The World Park. There are a couple of routes that you can choose, depending on how long you want to hike. I chose the easy one – which can be finished in around 45 minutes time. Even from my easy route, I could see amazing city view from the top. I guess that’s why they name it Top of The World 🙂

Top of The World Park
Top of The World Park

Last but not least, don’t forget to also stop by the beach. Compared to Huntington Beach, this one has less palm trees and (I think) is not as big. Still nice to visit though!

Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach

So.. that’s about it for Orange County. I loveee the area simply because it has a selection of wonderful beaches and a very laid back vibe – typical southern Californian style. Do visit when you’re around Los Angeles – it’s only an hour drive away 🙂

On arguments.

I’ve been having arguments with my boyfriend. We normally resolve our arguments within 24 hours, but this time it has been more than a day… and I still feel uneasy.

Couples argue all the time, don’t they? Sometimes it’s caused by something mundane, sometimes it’s extraordinary. It’s part of being in a relationship, and I accept that.

But being in a long distance relationship AND having arguments really got me tired. It’s not that I’m tired of him but I’m just tired of having arguments over the same thing over and over. Really.

Anyway.. any of you reading this currently in a LDR too? how do you resolve arguments?

It would be nice if we can resolve it over a nice discussion face to face, right? But since we can’t see each other.. normally I just sleep it off, or listen to cheesy songs.. like this one. :)))))

#thismonthsmusic – March

Earlier this month I went to Java Jazz Festival , mainly to see India Arie and Allen Stone.  But, a local artist’s performance really got my attention. It was Teza Sumendra’s.

I haven’t heard much of Teza before, except the fact that he used to be in Indonesian Idol. But let me tell you this – his voice is just amazingly beautiful and I’m not exaggerating. Plus – he does cover songs of Rnb/Soul singers which are my favorite music genre. Yay! Well I can’t say much about his singing technique since I’m no singing expert, but just have a listen to his covers on Youtube and Soundcloud so you can agree with me! 😉

Anyway.. for March’s #thismonthsmusic, here are his top 5 cover songs. Enjoy!

Pretty Wings by Maxwell

https://soundcloud.com/tezasumendra/pretty-wings-maxwell-cover-by

I Need by TGT

https://soundcloud.com/tezasumendra/i-need-tgt-acoustic-cover

Strip by Chris Brown 

https://soundcloud.com/tezasumendra/strip-chris-brown-acoustic-cover

Rocket by Beyonce 

https://soundcloud.com/tezasumendra/rocket-beyonce-cover

Girls Love Beyonce by Drake 

https://soundcloud.com/tezasumendra/girls-love-beyonce-drake-cover

And here’s a snapshot of his performance of Java Jazz , where he sang one of my favorite song – Musiq’s Just Friends 🙂

The US Trip: Las Vegas Baby!

This is the fourth post of “The US  Trip” series. To read other posts in this series, click here.

People say that when you’re in the US’ West Coast, you can NOT miss visiting Las Vegas. True? At first I kind of hesitated to visit Las Vegas, because I don’t gamble, and don’t party as much – and I thought that’s all what the town has to offer. But I was wrong. Even after only 1 night in Las Vegas, I can say that it is a MUST visit when you’re in the West Coast!

I went there on the weekend with my friends – the four of us drove from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and it took us around 4 hours to get there. Although I did not drive, I can say that it was an enjoyable drive. Wide road, no traffic, clear blue sky, gorgeous desert scenery – pure American road trip experience.

Road Trip - California to Nevada!
Road Trip – California to Nevada!

I was lucky that our hotel – Jockey Club Resort was located within the famous Las Vegas Strip. In fact, it is conveniently located within Bellagio and Cosmpolitan. It’s a 3 star hotel and a non-gaming one, but still within walking distance to the ‘life of Las Vegas’, so it’s perfect for me, being a non-gamer / first – timer in Las Vegas. We stayed in their studio – which on their website written as sleeps 4 but trust me they are HUGE! I think it can still conveniently sleeps up to 6, perfect for group travel.

Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas Strip

After we arrived in the afternoon, we spent some time to wander around The Cosmopolitan and also The Strip. I was amazed to see the amount of people gaming in the casinos I saw. Everywhere I look, the casinos were never empty, even though it’s in the middle of the day. They even did not wear formal/smart attire (like what I saw in the movies :p). Because we don’t have casinos in Indonesia – I found it rather odd to see people gaming in daytime wearing casual clothing. Even Singapore’s Resort World Sentosa have smart attire as their dresscode!

Ka-Chinggg!
Ka-Chinggg!

Actually, our main intention to visit Las Vegas was to eat at Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace, since it’s listed no.1 in 2013’s 5 best Vegas buffet by USA Today. If that review still does not convince you enough, it has 4 stars in Yelp 😀

Caesar's Palace Lobby
Caesar’s Palace Lobby

Having seen the reviews, we were not surprised anymore to see this queue when we arrived in front of the restaurant…

The queue!
The queue!

We had to queue for 2 hours to get a seat! They say you’ll get a priority queuing line if you’re staying at Caesars Palace but for the rest of us, we had to queue patiently. We arrived at the restaurant at 6, got our seats at 8… and finished eating by 11 PM 😛  I have to say that this was the BEST buffet I’ve ever eaten in my life! All the fresh seafood, juicy meat, scrumptious dessert.. To this, all the fancy buffet in Jakarta’s 5 star hotels I’ve been to seems like nothing!

Anyway, we ended the night feeling very satisfied and full. We had a walk through the strip once again to see some bits of night life, then went straight back to the hotel.

The next day, we spent some time walking through the strip again (it’s a long road!), where we found a Coca- Cola Store! Being a Coke enthusiast, I was so happy to be in the store. We did some shopping, got our picture taken with Coke’s Polar Bear, and spent some time in the cafe where we got to try Tastes of The World. For $7, we will receive two trays each with 8 small cups consisting of different Coca – Cola Company’s products from all over the world. This is definitely a must do when you’re visiting the store, and my personal favorite is Fanta Magic from Estonia (Yes, there is such thing!).

Coca – Cola Tastes of The World
Coca-Cola Store!
Coca-Cola Store!

We left Las Vegas after visiting Coca – Cola Store, but managed to stop by the factory outlet (!!!) on the way back to Los Angeles (I’ll write more on the factory outlets I visited on this series, promise!). So yeah, I think there are more to Las Vegas than casinos and clubs. Visit when you’re into culinary experience, even more when you’re into entertainment! Too bad I did not get the chance to see some live shows – I guess it’ll be interesting to see either cabaret, cirque du soleil, or even comedy shows. Well, that simply mean I have to go back one day 🙂