Staycation: Breeze Art & Boutique Hotel – Bandung, Indonesia (Venture, Mar 2015)

Designed with perfection and finesse, Breeze Art & Boutique Hotel becomes more than just a place to stay on your short trip to Bandung.

Breeze Art & Boutique Hotel (1)

The emergence of hotels, starred or boutique, has become the highlight of Bandung’s rapid development in tourism at least for the past ten years. Now, the city becomes a popular short vacation destination for weekenders and that leaves us all with the ultimate questions regarding what is the best course of action in such short period and the best place to stay for that.

Ostensibly nowadays, people often consider retreating to the countryside up on the northern part of the city as a good alternative. Some fresh air, great spots to visit for naturalists, and without losing the opportunity to have good food in-between are the charms everyone is hoping from when visiting Lembang, Maribaya, to as far as Mount Tangkubanperahu. Even the area around Lembang Fault has specific attractions waiting to be discovered by the weekend escapists.

That is exactly why Breeze Art & Boutique Hotel serves perfectly as a starting point for the uphill explorers. Located inside the pristine neighborhood of Pondok Hijau Permai, it is situated conveniently right before the doorway to Lembang through the Cihideung region but still quite nearby to the main toll road and the city itself. It is practically a win-win solution for the urbanites who might still have a wish to scour the city for oleh-oleh.

Designed by Asia’s premier architect, Mr Tan Tjiang Ay, Breeze may seem very straightforward but it’s all about perfection in every angle and its utilization of every corner. Mr Tan Tjiang Ay’s finesse in modular architecture leaves no room for excesses and thus earned him the status as “reductionist” instead of mere minimalistic. As a result, Breeze is a work of magic.

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Mr Tan’s brilliance can be matched evenly by the hotel owner’s flair in interior design and the use of art to elevate the esthetic aspects as well as creating a showcase of his collections. While commissioning the work for prominent ceramist F. Widyanto and painters like I Wayan Karja to fill in the gaps, Breeze is also well-equipped with superior quality furniture that suits well with the overall appearance of the hotel, inside and out.

With utmost attention given to service and maintenance, every part of the hotel was immaculate. For a 12 roomer hotel like this, Breeze offers not just as its romantic atmosphere, breezy airflow in every corner that you’re passing through, and its art collection, but most of all, an ensured comfort for its guests.

Further appreciation for art can also be experienced by the guests by having a small visit to “Griya Batik” on the lobby level, made as a memorial for Indonesia’s batik genius, Mr Go Tik Swan Panembahan Hardjonagoro. Here, you can shop the beautiful yet intricately painted batik worth its weight in gold.

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Additionally, The House of Poetry Without Words is also a must-visit for anyone who stays here.  This culture house showcases extraordinary paintings by the maestro Srihadi Soedarsono and other Asian artworks made of porcelains, woodwork, and stone sculptures. Some even dated from hundreds of years ago and carefully collected since three decades ago.

Breeze Art & Boutique Hotel is also not short of good offerings from the kitchen. Breakfast is made freshly upon request and comprises of intelligent creations rarely found in bijou hotels. In addition to that, the hotel provides the high tea time on every afternoon and personal transport by order.

For this scale, Breeze transcends itself to a higher level where other boutique or starred hotels would be envy of. For a very friendly rate, Breeze opens its door with such a warm welcome to meet you on your romantic cruise around Bandung as well as a suitable place for workliday with your professional colleagues.

Now, it’s your turn to visit.

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BREEZE ART & BOUTIQUE HOTEL

Address:
Jalan Pondok Hijau Permai, Block I no. 11, Bandung – Indonesia

T: +62.22.820.27488 / 820.27489

Website

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As featured in Venture – March 2015 edition (unedited)

Photography by Dennie Ramon

DINING: Kopi Progo (TopLife Magazine, Apr-May 2015)

Satu lagi kedai kopi dan restoran asal Bandung datang menghampiri ibukota dengan segala sajian yang dicintai para penggemarnya di Kota Kembang.

Kami perkenalkan, Kopi Progo.

Bayangkan mengarungi samudera keramaian sore hari di jalanan arteri Jakarta Selatan. Banyak yang rela menembusnya demi mencapai rumah sesegera mungkin, namun banyak juga yang mencari pilihan lain dengan menempuhnya belakangan.

Opsi untuk menunggu meredanya kemacetan adalah kesempatan yang bisa ditempuh dengan berbagai cara. Acapkali kita memilih untuk bersantap dan menikmati secangkir kopi terlebih dahulu, khususnya dengan teman-teman yang biasanya bernasib serupa. Terkadang memang ada kalanya kita lelah membayangkan diri terjerumus sesaknya arus balik, dimana biasanya tensi perlahan naik ke ubun-ubun atau setidaknya telapak kaki terasa kebal karena menahan pedal kopling. Bukan tidak mungkin malah keduanya terjadi beriringan!

Kopi Progo terletak tepat di pertigaan Jalan Cendrawasih menuju Jalan Ciputat Rata. Jaraknya dari Arteri Pondok Indah tidak jauh tapi rupanya suasana rileks dan posisinya yang strategis ini begitu menguntungkan bagi kaum penanti berlalunya kemacetan, apalagi kalau tujuannya adalah untuk menyeruput nikmatnya kopi sore.

Setelah bertahun-tahun meniti reputasi di Bandung, Kopi Progo yang kini telah miliki tiga cabang ini datang ke Jakarta dengan menawarkan apa yang telah dinikmati para penggemarnya di sana. Tiada lain tiada bukan tentunya adalah racikan kopi beragam jenis serta berbagai sajian istimewa khas Indonesia maupun Barat.

Rasa lapar menyeruak di sore hari ketika saya datang menghampiri Kopi Progo, seakan perut ini menagih janji makan siang yang tidak saya tepati. Ternyata banyak pilihan seru yang ditawarkan oleh Kopi Progo dan khusus untuk makanan, semuanya dipersiapkan dengan mahir oleh Chef Ica yang saat ini bertanggungjawab untuk mematangkan serta mengembangkan koleksi kuliner di menu Kopi Progo dari Bandung hingga Jakarta.

“Saat ini justru orang ingin lebih menikmati masakan Indonesia”, begitu sahut Chef Ica ketika saya temui, dan begitu pula diamini oleh Febri yang merupakan barista andalan Kopi Progo.

Di bagian paling utama, Kopi Progo memperkenalkan Nasi Barogo yang merupakan interpretasi Chef Ica dari nasi Bali. Sajian nasi putih yang dibentuk segitiga layaknya tumpeng mini diiringi suwiran ayam, sate udang, telur pedas, lawar, dan sambal matah ini tampil memikat hati. Namun ada juga godaan dari buntut sapi bakar yang memesona. Daging buntut yang bermandikan kecap dan sambal ini tersaji cantik dengan kuah berkaldu buntut sapi yang dimasak selama empat jam.

Khusus untuk minuman, Kopi Progo mempersembahkan kreasi cantik berupa ice blended coffee dengan campuran kurma yang menjadi jagoannya di Bandung. Tampak elegan dengan balutan whipped cream, kopi kurma yang telah bercampur es ini terasa bersahabat dan nikmat untuk langsung direguk, berbeda dengan kebanyakan minum iced blended lainnya yang biasanya masih terlampau beku. Tentunya yang patut dicoba juga adalah macam-macam racikan kopi Indonesia yang diolah dengan berbagai metode mulai dengan espresso machine, Siphon, maupun moka pot serta French drip filter.

Begitulah pilihan-pilihan yang saya nikmati di sore hari yang cerah saat itu. Kopi Progo yang tampil nyaman dan bersahabat ini menemani saya dengan sajian-sajiannya yang memuaskan hingga tak terasa waktu membawa saya melalui masa senja hingga gelapnya malam. Sampai kesempatan berikutnya, Kopi Progo!

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KOPI PROGO
Halal-friendly
Suitable for vegetarians

Address:
Graha Sumartadinata, Jalan Ciputat Raya no. 102, Jakarta – Indonesia

T: +62.21.2904.4397

Website

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As featured in TopLife magazine Apr-May 2015 edition titled “Cafe Van Bandung” (unedited)

 

Dish That I Crave: (The Overpriced) Capcay Goreng from Nasi Goreng Gila Sabang

It’s good to be back to the vibrant Jalan Sabang. So many things you can try, so many things you can share about, but then again, it’s time to meet again Nasi Goreng Gila Sabang.

Well, this story is supposed to be short and aside from the nasi goreng gila that I had last time and the picture here, I incidentally tried my in-law’s order of capcay goreng ayam.

Turns out it was a really good pick. The nasi goreng gila was, to be honest, a bit of a exaggeration in terms of taste and especially the price. The capcay, on the other hand despite having the similarity for the price tag, was utterly more inviting; especially when combined with rice!

Nasi Goreng Gila Sabang

So therefore, my dear readers and fellow foodies, let’s try something else whenever you visit this place. The best nasi gila (not goreng though) still belongs to Bubur Sukabumi in Tebet from my point-of-view, but spending IDR 25,000 for the capcay here in Sabang will still be worth it. If not, then best to head for Garuda instead. 😉

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NASI GORENG GILA SABANG
Address: Jalan H. Agus Salim a.k.a Sabang (in front of Garuda – Padang Restaurant), Jakarta – Indonesia

Quikskoop™: Sop Kaki Kambing Estu Rame

Undoubtedly, one of the best sop kaki kambing in Jakarta. If I let my personal feelings kick in, then I would always choose the humble sop kaki vendor in front of BCA Dago in Bandung as the champion. Even championing over Dudung’s!

Nevertheless, Estu Rame is more than just a name.

Came in a bit late at around 9 or 10pm, I was forced to face the reality that they pretty much ran out of everything. My favorite cuts are usually consist of the flesh, the tongue, or the tripes. Lucky for me, they still have the latter.

Estu Rame is a part of #TeamSantan, in contrast with #TeamSusu with Dudung as the ultimate proponent. Even so, the stock came from good quality, has sufficient spices, and came in hot. Last time when I was in Bandung, Sop Kaki BCA’s soup was lukewarm but compensated well with great pricing and powerful taste. This one, they won the round thanks to the temperature.

The rest was history. I was satisfied beyond measure but I would still opt the Tiga Saudara nearby my place. Tiga Saudara may be a bit under par if compared with Estu Rame but nevertheless, the trip to Tebet may not worth that much since Tiga Saudara from both Cipinang and Rawamangun are quite formidable as well. By the way, the latter Tiga Saudara is one of my best pick as well!

So, which one do you like best? Be sure to share it with me. 🙂

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SOP KAKI KAMBING ESTU RAME
Halal-friendly
Unsuitable for vegetarians

Address:
Jalan Tebet Barat Dalam no. 118, Jakarta  – Indonesia

Opening hours: Daily, dinnertime

Spend: IDR 25,000 – IDR 50,000 / person

Went There Ate That: Sweet Treats From Gorontalo (The Foodie Magazine, Jun 2015)

As a province surrounded by seas and rich in produce, Gorontalo would be a great culinary destination for unique Indonesian dishes. In addition to that, seeking out the sweet treats in Gorontalo can also be an adventure on its own.

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As one of Indonesia’s northern frontiers, Gorontalo possesses a mesmerizing lay of the land that includes fertile lowlands, pristine beaches, and a range of hills and mountains separating the northern and southern part of the province. While Gorontalo may be smaller when compared to other provinces in Sulawesi, its full potential is waiting to be discovered.

A single culinary trip with Arie Parikesit’s Kelana Rasa and Omar Niode Foundation brought me to realize how impressive this province would be in the future. Within only 15 years since Gorontalo was inaugurated as a province of its own, the people have witnessed so many improvements here and there.

Gorontalo Desserts 2

While Gorontalo is slowly becoming a major tourism destination, the efforts done by Omar Niode Foundation to promote the province and Indonesia’s foremost culinary tour programs held by Kelana Rasa will surely quicken the pace to fulfill this dream.

So how about the desserts that I mentioned earlier? Rich in produce such as coconut and palm sugar makes Gorontalo a haven to enjoy both savory and sweet treats. Here we present you some of the best places to experience a whole different dimension of Indonesian desserts in Gorontalo City.

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  1. PIA OLIVIA

Pia, or the bigger size bakpia, is a heritage snack that was influenced from Chinese sweet rolls. While the latter can be found mostly in Pathok district of Yogyakarta, pia itself has now already gained recognition in other places outside of Yogyakarta such as Bali, Bandung, and also in Gorontalo.

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A visit to Pia Olivia is a must while in Gorontalo. Not only that it is crisp on the outer and satisfyingly thick when you started to dig in, the pia is also generously filled with your selection of chocolate, mung beans, or cheese. While it is also reasonably priced, the pias are freshly baked every single day. For your personal satisfaction, it also came in four different sizes.

One other best part aside from how fulfilling these delicious snacks are, there is no need for you to queue that long or place an order for many days prior. Just come in and have all that you want!

Jalan Taman Pendidikan, Kel. Moodu, Kec. Kota Timur, Gorontalo | T: +62 813 4000 1349

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  1. PUSAT JAJANAN TA UCHI

Elusive yet sought after by many, Pusat Jajanan Ta Uchi has no official name and sometimes also referred to as Kue Telaga. This home industry specializing in many kinds of local delicacies is basically only known to locals, but when you are in Gorontalo, a quest to search this dessert haven is a must.

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People would come by every day to order hundreds of its snacks and desserts for weddings, congregations, and for reselling as well. The “die die must try” at Ta Uchi is her apang bale or the round-shaped pastry filled with unti (young coconut mixed with palm sugar), the Gorontalo version of kue cucur (fried rice flour with palm sugar), and susen (Dutch-style profiterole, known also as kue soes in Java).

On the other hand for savory treats, be sure to try Ta Uchi’s cala isi or the Gorontalo-style kue lumpur topped with coconut milk sauce, shredded bonito, chilies, and fried shallots. Lastly, be sure to arrive here early and by that we mean around 6am to 8am if you want fresher, more options to pick.

Jalan H. Bilendatu (formerly known as Jalan Teknik) – behind Masjid Agung Telaga Biru, Gorontalo

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  1. KUKIS KARAWO IBU TELDA

The legacy of baking cookies has been known in almost every household in Indonesia, especially during special celebrations. In Gorontalo, a husband and wife couple started their own ingenious take with the cookies by presenting something different.

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While the cookies here are basically made from usual ingredients such as flour, eggs, sugar, and butter; the owner decided to painstakingly decorate each and every cookie with beautiful, flowery patterns based the authentic Gorontalo fabric known as kain kerawang/karawo. Hence the cookies are also called as Kukis Karawo.

The cookies came in many flavors such as mocha, several versions of chocolate, strawberry and also cheese. The decorating is done manually for hours, but admiringly, the couple can fulfilled so many orders from in and outside Gorontalo – from common people to high-tier officials from Jakarta numbering in hundreds.

Jalan Gunung Soputan no. 22, Gorontalo | T: +62 812 4444 1493

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Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE June 2015 edition

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