Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Tea addict

When I was little, my dad used to scold me for wasting a good cup of tea.
I would like "what are you talking about? tea is tea. what is good tea and what is not".
I never understood why anybody would waste a good amount of money on some tea leaves which taste the same (bitter and weird smelling).

I wasn't a tea drinker (i was more into sodas hahahahhaha) until about 3 years ago.
my first tea was Dilmah Jasmine tea which I could hardly touch anymore nowadays.
then I started getting tea from Japan, Taiwan etc etc and I became an addict. I can't say I am an avid tea drinker, what does avid mean anyway, but I need to drink my tea at least 2 glass a day or I will get sleepy and bad/gloomy mood.

Here are some teas I'd tried.

European/western tea:
  • English Breakfast
The name does make sense. Since you just got up, you wouldn't want anything too strong or too weird for your tastebuds.
I only drink this tea when I don't want think about or taste anything strong or delicious. It's too bland for my tastebuds.

  • Earl Grey
I love everything taste and smell orangy or lemony. Earl grey has a strong hint of bergamot which I love.
My favorite earl grey tea is from Twinings. I love to leave a pack open in a cupboard and everytime I open the cupboard the smell is just heavenly.
I tried Dilmah's earl grey and I must say I dont like it.

Chinese tea:

  • Oolong
  • Tie Guan Yin
Oolong was always my favorite tea when it comes to chinese tea, but nowadays my preference shifted to Tie Guan Yin. The fresh and grassy smell is so good that I can drink so many glass of it without getting bored. It's not a bitter as oolong and has a hint of herbal.
  • Jasmine
When I started my tea adventure, this is my first conquer. I like a faint smell of Jasmine
  • Chrysantemun
 Mom used to brew chrysantemun flowers for us when we were small for reducing the heat of the body and I only liked it when mom put a lot of sugar in it but mom always said that sugar will increase the heat of the body, so taking 10 glass of chrysantemun tea with lots of sugar is similar with taking nothing at all. Mom's logic :)

  •  Xueya
This is Chinese greentea from sichuan area, which is best know for its low temperature which was good for planting tea (and good for panda too).
  • Pu Erh
If there is anything most suitable for the idiom "not my cup of tea", this is the one. Pu Erh has this earthy aftertaste that reminds me of not-well-cleaned Gurame fish and the earthy taste is strong. So Pu Erh will be my last choice for tea.

Japanese Tea:

  • Gyukuro
This is known as the best and most expensive tea leaves in Japan. the idea this tea is, they cover the tea from the sunlight for several month so that the tea will taste stronger.
  • Sencha
My favorite Japanese greentea. I tried several brands of Japanese Sencha  but nowadays I only buy from Fukujuen and Marukyu Koyamaen online. It can be costly, especially the award winner Marukyu tea. But it is really good.
If you ask me what is a good tea, I still need to learn a lot. as of now what is good for me is what I like. LOL.
  • Matcha 
Grounded tea leaves.  Preparation of this tea usually need a bowl and a brisk and a some energy to whipped the tea in hot water :)
Matcha is bitter in taste and some may not like it due to it bitterness.
When we were visiting Arashiyama early this year we went to a garden belonged to a late Japanese movie star and had matcha tea with cake and it was sooooo good against the cold weather.
Few years ago we visited Kinkakuji temple in the summer and also had matcha tea with cake in the garden and it was also really good.
So I think matcha tea is good for every season, hot ot cold.
and what's with Japanese with tea and garden anyway?

  •  Houjicha
Houjicha is roasted tea leaves with rice. It is commonly served in restaurant.
When preparing this tea, it will only takes few second to brew as the tea will become very dark and the taste will be too thick.
I like this tea after a hearthy meal or oily food.

Oh yes, I also tried India Masala tea which I spit out after a sip. Too much.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Staycation – Grand Mercure Kemayoran

Since I developed fear of travelling by plane, Mister kindly tries to make me happy by propossing staycation in Jakarta most weekend.
Last Saturday we decided to try Grand Mercure Kemayoran which just had their grand opening in October 2015. I had sighted the construction of this hotel several years ago and always wondered what they was constructing until few months ago when they finally put on the name of the hotel.
They started the exterior construction last year which  I was tempted to send a text to Ahok complaining that they were chopping the big trees off  the Kemayoran street, but then I saw a plank saying that this park construction was actually approved by Dinas Pertamanan DKI. 

They replaced many of the old trees with Ketapang Kencana and Kamboja which was saddening. The park looks good but I was hoping that they would have left more old trees like angsana and flamboyan.

We booked the hotel online and used our  accor plus member and the room cost us around IDR 800,000 for a standard deluxe room with breakfast.

When we got to the hotel, part of the parking lot was still under construction. The lobby was HUGE and beautiful.  But so was everythig else.
Lobby was on the ground floor with many sofas and tables and four reception desks.

Beautifull lobby, pictures don't do justice

The room was spacey with sofa and bathroom was also spacey buth no bathtub though the ameneties was complete (shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, comb, soap, body lotion, cotton buds, sewing kits).

They also provided hairdryer. There were two sets of bath towel and hand towels (I don’t really care if they dont provide face towel, who needs it anyway, at least I dont) which were really fluffy and clean, the perk of staying at a new hotel.

The bed and pillows were king coil and the pillows were heavenly, crips and fluffy. I stayed at  hotels which provided king coil pillows which were damp, GARGGGHHHH.
AC was blasting on full mode and was darn cool.

What I love about the room was the interior. They have a big painting of the hotel itself tucked among the green lush of kemayoran and the bedside lamps were of tree shape which were really beautiful. 

They gave 4 bottles of mineral water but no mini bar nor room service menu.

The only downside of the room was the floor was of hard tile and no carpet. This makes a lot of noise and too cold to walk on without slippers. I was awaken many times by upstairs neighbours when they came back to the hotel at 2 in the morning and walked in they room with their high heels.

Breakfast area was also HUGE, with many selections of food.
They served poridge with full condiments, soto bandung for Indonesian breakfast. There were also salad, fruit and desert section. Drinks were of standard cold juice, coffee and tea.
One thing I noticed was the dimsum was served behind the counter, so when you didn't pay full attention or see someone else having dimsum, you would not notice they served it. you need to ask the maitre to get you that.
The Dimsum was so so, but I like their black pepper beef lamien.

Overall the food was good, not as many selection of that in Sana-sini Pullman Thamrin, but it was close in comparison.

After breakfast we went to 5th floor to check out their ballroom and it was also HUGE. I think it could easily have 1,000 person in there.

Two downsides of this hotel:
1. The swimming pool was TINY, I mean Oh boy.., for a hotel this large, couldnt they  build a larger swimming pool than a 10m x 5m for adults pool and a 3mx 2m for children pool (based on my Kira2 only)?
and it was facing a parking lot of the next building where people kept taking pictures while we were swiming.

2. Room service was really bad. We ordered  gado-gado and seafood fried rice (no menu was available in the room so you need to phone the roomservice and ask them what was available). The lontong on the gado2 was black in color, smelt bad and hard as a gone-bad tofu.
Nasi goreng was bland and came with 5 prawns and nothing else.
Probably someone would say, who eats in a hotel anyway. Well, in a staycation we do.

Overall I would give an 8 for this hotel, considering the huge building, spacey lobby, room and breakfast area.
Hopefully they will be able to maintain the cleanliness, the building and the park in the future.

Would I go back?
Not in a near future since I love a good swimming pool.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Takut Teknologi

Udeh tahun 2015 aje ya.....

Kemaren liburan tahun baru kita sempat jalan2 ke Jepang.
Kalo dulu ke Jepang pas musim panas, kali ini kita cobain pas musim dingin.

Post kali ini gw gak bahas soal tempat2 yang kita kunjungi, tapi mau bahas teknologi di Jepang.

Jepang memang terkenal sebagai negara yang teknologinya luar biasa, dari teknologi yang paling mukhtahir sampai hal2 kecil yang sama sekali tidak terpikirkan (mis, mesin buat plastikin payung yang basah)
mungkin udah pada tahun ya gimana canggihnya toilet Jepang. Gw aja sampe sekarang masih kangen sama toiletnya di sono.

kali ini yang bikin gw terkagum2 adalah pada saat maen ke Nikko.
karena gw penasaran banget sama bangunan2 di nikko, gw nyewa earphone untuk information seharga  500 yen.

Picture from here

Seperti biasanya kalao di tempat wisata yang lain, kita dikasih satu pasang earphone brosur dan satuk kotak kecil (kaya walkie-talkie) untuk adjust bahasa, suara, nomor/keterangan tempat yang lagi pengen kita liatin, tapi yang ini kok kotak kecilnya gak dikasih.
sebagai gantinya gw cuma dikasih satu kertas tebal yang dilaminating dan dilipat dua dengan nomor dan foto masing2 bangunan dan di earphone ada gantungan panjang kaya pen.
terus orangnya bilang, nanti kalau mau dengerin audionya tinggal sentuhin aja pen di earphone ke nomor yang dituju yang ada di kertas laminating.

Hah, come again.
iya, jadi kalau mau pilih bahasa, pilih tempat yang lagi dikunjungin dan lain2 tinggal tunjuk aja pake pen ke kertas laminating, nanti otomatis earphonenya akan memutar audio sesuai dengan tempat yang kita lagi kunjungi.
kok gw jadi merinding ya? apa gw yang sudah terlalu tua sehingga teknology yang kelihatannya sederhana kaya gini malah bikin gw takut.
Gw jadi mikir, di masa depan teknologi akan seperti apa ya? mungkin semua org hanya perlu pakai chip untuk segala sesuatu.
it's becoming real but somehow too scary for me to digest.