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Category Archives: Living in Jakarta

Jakarta by Day….Mosque tour!

Sunset on the Goat Bridge

Entering a Mosque

This past week I went on a walking tour of five Mosque in the Pekojan section of old Jakarta. Pekojan was the area for Muslims during the Dutch Administartion. Pekojan comes from the word Koja which means trader in Bahasa, Indonesian.

It was amazing. I was actually able to go into the Mosques and look around….being utmost respectful. I was the only Bule (white) within a mile. This was the 1st time I have entered a Mosque. And to my surprise worshipers wash off before they pray….very cool…. Anyway, enjoy the pics…..

Look like some Old Town in the Wild West!

Inside the Mosque by the Goat Bridge

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2011 in Living in Jakarta

 

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Java Junkie in Java!

The cocoa like coffee of Java

OK, lets face it. I love coffee. Always have always will. Being a Chef has it’s “perks”so to speak: free unlimited coffee consumption. This is needed when you are working 12 hr days…so instead of being coke heads, most of us Chef’s are Java Junkies.

So why when I found out that we were moving to Jakarta, which is on the island of Java, did I not get excited about the prospects of going to the land of Java? I guess I had other things on my mind, like moving across the World…but to my delight, I entered a coffee paradise.

My favorite Brand so far....they have many varities....

So what makes the coffee so good? It is rich in flavor, full bodied yet mellow and mild. It is hard to explain, you just need to brew and drink it. Java is Arabica coffee ; which tends to be smoother than Robusta coffee. Java also has hints of Cocoa and earthy tones and when it is  brewed the smell is fantastic…

People ask me how I brew my coffee…everyone I speak with uses a Coffee Press…But I prefer a traditional drip brewer. Maybe it’s because I was raised on Mr. Coffee, or maybe I prefer the smell a brewer makes; but I swear they make a better cup of coffee. The key to success with the drip brewer is to use ice cold water….it steams when heated and extracts more flavor from the grind.

My traditional Drip Brewer

Another coffee trick I learned while working in Deli’s is if adding milk or cream, add it to the cup before the coffee, pour the coffee over the cream…it will froth up and make a delicious cup of Java….Just don’t try this at Starbucks, you may cause a riot!

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2011 in Food & Culture, Living in Jakarta

 

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Milo in Jakarta Update

Milo on the Move

Milo the cat is doing very well now.  She has decided to come out of retirement and patrol our house. She has made fr-enemies with a bunch of local wild cats. Apparently she likes the male cat; because she lets him hang out, and she runs off the female cat…..Milo seems to have a more active social life than we do….She’s up all night…Sleeps all day!

PAW

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2011 in Living in Jakarta

 

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Chinese New Year & Donuts at a the Pondok Indah Mall

Dance of Hands

We stumbled upon the Celebration of Chinese New Year during one of our many trips to the Pondok Indah Mall in Jakarta. This mall is awesome. It is actually 2 malls in one. The two sections are connected by an air bridge.

Mall 1 is more pedestrian with practical stores: bookstores, electronics, media. It is anchored by Metro department store, which is like a Macys. Mall 2 is more fashion forward: Zara, TopShop, Hugo Boss, Longchamp, and anchored by Sogo department store, which is like a Bloomingdales.

Kids lined the Mall to view the Dragon Dance!

The mall was filled with pleasant surprises: fantastic Chinese food, cool performances for Chinese New Year, and most of all, the best fresh made Donuts my wife and I have ever had. I had a Belgian chocolate stuffed, chocolate glazed donut. My wife had a chocolate sprinkled donut. They are fried right in front of you. Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts are nearby, but J.CO Donuts & Coffee had the biggest crowd by far.

Shana smiling in front of J.Co

That’s right, Indonesians have a sweet tooth, and a very healthy taste for high quality cakes, donuts and confections…..This apparently is a holdover from Dutch Colonial rule.

Mango Cream and Banana Chocolate Cream!

What makes the donuts a J.CO so special is how light they are. Yes, they come in all kinds of exotic flavors: banana cream chocolate, mango glazed, etc… but the fact that they are so delicate makes them so much better than the rest. I admit, we were somewhere else in town and tried some Krispy Kreme; which felt like I ate two lead bricks! That’s when I understood just how good J.CO is….

I am very impressed with the cuisine I have sampled so far in Jakarta. I am truly surprised by the amount and quality of tasty treats. I cant wait to try some more…and I cant wait for some more Pleasant Surprises!

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2011 in Food & Culture, Living in Jakarta

 

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From Short Order Cook to Chef and back…

In the beginning…

During the interview I said yes to every question John asked. Could I handle pressure, a fast pace and the heat of the kitchen? Yes! Could I work early mornings, long hours, all the time standing on my feet? Yes, of course! Was I comfortable taking direction and being part of a team, was I comfortable making decisions on my own and telling people what to do? Did I know how to make a Turkey Club? Yes, Yes, and Yes!

Over Easy's ready for the flip...an essential skill for a short order cook.

I left the greasy spoon and lite a smoke, got in my car and sped away. I wasn’t sure exactly what I had just agreed to, but I did know that I would be reporting the next day to work at 5 am at the Hopewell Diner…for 7 bucks an hour…

What I also knew, is that I didn’t really know how to cook. I mean, I could “cook”. I had been working at a Conference Center the past two years cooking breakfast and lunch buffet, but that was batch cooking, not line cooking. I wondered if I was ready to step on the line, read tickets and cook like a pro.

Do I even need to tell you what happened the next morning? I was half asleep when I arrived, and was more concerned with finding a cup of coffee than getting prepared for breakfast. Things started out OK, but as soon as the rush hit, I was (burnt) toast. The pleasant waitresses turned into fouled mouthed demons who spoke a language I could not understand! Tickets came in at a pace Carl Lewis would be proud of. My head was spinning, yolks were breaking, pancakes were burning, all the time with that language that I couldn’t grasp! “Two eggs over back w/ a side of jack, ASAP!”

John had to step in and take over, I was over and out. He wanted me to stay. Let me know I would be all right. But I knew otherwise, I was in over my head and needed to go. I lasted 4 hours in my first attempt at line cooking.

I was embarrassed and distressed. I told myself I would never be in that situation again. My ego was bent but not broken. It was back to the lab for some much-needed inner resolve…Baby steps were required. I needed my next break….

to be continued….

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2011 in Food & Culture, Living in Jakarta

 

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Update: Milo in Jakarta

Milo Healthy Again!

I wanted to let everyone know that Milo is healthy and happy again. In a previous post I mentioned she was suffering from a kitty cold after her long travels and quarantine. She was pretty sick, and we were a bit concerned, but she is a tough kitty and feeling well and lazy again. She even has some new neighborhood friends that stop by for some kitty stand-offs!

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2011 in Living in Jakarta, World Travel

 

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Iron Maiden, an old friend in a new place!

Maiden looking over Jakarta

I was walking the narrow, busy streets of Kemang South Jakarta a few days after our arrival. My main concern was for our personal safety: motorbikes whizzed close by, Bajaj’s puttered smoke in our face, foul smelling puddles awaited my footsteps. Jakarta is an amazing place, never boring, never asleep and full of surprises, and in this Brave New World …to my surprise, I found an old friend.

A Bajaj in Kemang

I couldn’t believe it….Iron Maiden in Jakarta!

It was like I ran into one of my old best buds on those crazy narrow streets. It was very comforting. My wife asked me if I wanted to go to the concert. Well, hell ya! It would be my 3rd Iron Maiden Show. But I didn’t know anyone who would go with me, and I really am not comfortable getting around this huge city yet. I have been a Maiden fan since junior high school. I am amazed that they are still one of the top touring rock bands in the world. I also am amazed that they are not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!!! A true crime!

Maiden on Kemang street corner

In 1983, my obsession with Iron Maiden started with the video “Flight of Icarus” off the album Piece of Mind. My friend Franky had seen them a year before when they were touring with Judas Priest. Franky told me they were the shit, and now I was a believer. Flight of Icarus was the first song in my life I couldn’t get enough of. I bought the album and fully immersed myself in Maiden. Iron F@#*ing Maiden!

That August my best bud Doug and I got tickets to see Maiden at the Mid Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, NY. We met our other best bud Big Steve at the show. The Civic Center has one big open floor with bleachers in the back. Iron Maiden was probably one of the biggest shows that venue would ever host. The place was alive with electricity and busting at the seems. Amazingly, that night they had folding chairs set up on the floor. This would soon turn out to be a big mistake, as me, Big Steve, Doug and 5000 other fans would make sure of!

Big Steve was big, 6 foot 6 at age 15. So to make a long story short, Big Steve had a better view than everyone else. No worries, we all stood up as Maiden came on stage. Soon, people started to stand on the seats of the folding chairs…Big Steve was the last up. But that wasn’t good enough, next thing you know, people are straddling the tops of the chairs, one foot on the top of the backrest below and the other on the one behind. We actually had to hold each other up. As the band rocked the audience swayed and everyone went with the flow, screaming, head banging, all the time surfing 5 feet above the ground on the tip top of those cheap folding chairs. Every so often someone would fall off and take a tumble to the ground, quickly recover and get hoisted back up again…rock on! Needless to say it was one of the best Rock Concerts I had ever seen, and I have seen a few!

1983 Iron Maiden Tour

Big Steve, Doug and I where hooked. We decided to go see Maiden a month later at Madison Square Garden in NYC. I called my Mother and she picked up tickets for us (yes, that’s how I rolled back then, before the internet). We bought beer, had a great time, and went to the show. The funny thing is, Maiden’s Stage looked small in the cavernous Garden, even though it had seemed so massive back in Poughkeepsie. Fact of the matter is, Maiden was not yet the giant band they were to become. The show was good, but not great. Apparently we had witnessed something special back in August at the Civic Center. Something I will never forget.

That is why Iron Maiden made me feel more at home in Jakarta, some old friends made sure I didn’t feel like a ….Stranger in a Strange land.

RP

 

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