Thursday, January 26, 2012

confession of a pastry snob

Okay.  I admit it.  There's no denying.  Why even bother.  Facts are simply just facts.  I am, truly, without a doubt... a pastry snob.  There I said it.

I am even more absolutely and completely picky when it comes to my biggest obsession, macarons.  With the sudden boom of interests in these lovely-teeny-tiny-perfect-little-confections, a lot of misconceptions have been created.  Made out of a few simple ingredients, they are very far from being simple.  Complicated little divas.

People who think that macarons are overrated just think that way because they have not tasted what real macarons are supposed to taste like.

People who doesn't know what real macarons are made of aren't able to appreciate them.

To me, the perfect macarons should:
*Have perfect, even, feet
*Have smooth tops
*Be slightly crunchy on the outside, but should not make a "crunch" sound when you bite into it
*Be cakey on the inside
*Have no gaps in between
*Not chewy
*Have identifiable flavor profile, but not overpowered 
*Not be too sweet

Even in the States, there are too many pastry shops that sell these so-called-macarons-that-they-really-should-not-be-selling.  So disappointing.  And now I'm having similar experiences in Melbourne.  Pretty looking things that looks as scrumptious, but taste soooooo far from what they're supposed to be.

Anyway... enough rants about the macarons ;).  The past few days, my lovely cousins have been taking me around town and showing me some really good eats in Melbourne.  Here are some noteworthy ones..... 

*Three Bags Full: Brunch.  Gosh how I MISS brunch! Got the big breakfast.  Filling and satisfying.  The roasted mushrooms were really good.  The wait to be seated was not too long, but it took a while for the food to come out.  Their coffee is really good tho. Highly recommended.

*Lindt Cafe: excellent pastry.  Super delicious entremets.  Worth every penny.  Will definitely go back to try more. (pic on prev. post)

*Max Brenner: excellent hot cocoa concept.  Didn't try any desserts or truffles... will have to go back. (pic on prev. post)

*Brunetti - nutella macaron:  sugar overload. OMG.  I struggled to finish it.  They simply put a dollop of nutella as the filling.  Shells were gap-y and crunchy. The server gave me one that had different shell sizes.  I asked for one that looks better.  Their tiramisu is just alright.  Nothing to brag home about...

*Puccino - salted caramel macaron:  It was actually decent.  The shells have the right texture and they look pretty darn sexy. But the salted caramel was a bit too sweet to finish a whole one.  (no pic)

*Laurent - mango-passion macaron: huge, massive, utter disappointment.  Even their shapes are not appealing.  And the taste was even more disappointing.  Couldn't even make up the mango-passion flavor, and even worse, there's a weird bitter aftertaste.  Their cassis mousse could be better.  Basic jaconde, biscuit, and cassis mousse.  A gelee insert would add a nice touch and perhaps present more cassis flavor.

I'm flying out to Sydney tomorrow, and I'm on a mission!! I'm challenged to find the best macarons in OZ (or at least, in Melbourne and Sydney).  I'm excited to try more desserts and pastries too!  Hopefully I won't get too fat when I go back to Indo.... hahaha

Saturday, January 21, 2012

turning pages

*Flinders Street*

After spending quite a while in my dear hometown Indonesia, it's finally time to move again.  New country, new culture, same old discomfort of having to adjust to a new habit.  But I've learned that it comes with anything you do in life.  Change is uncomfortable, but it's exciting.  A set of routine is pleasant, but then it might get boring.  The key is to accept both the discomfort and the boredom.  Seems simple, yet so hard to do.

I didn't like Indonesia when I first arrived, but toward the end of my stay, I ended up loving it.  I enjoy my routine, learned to cross the crazy busy streets, and even catch the public transportations.  Love the food, the daily work out, yoga, nearby relatives/family, friends, trainers... and especially, it's wonderful to be close to my parents.  

My heart was torn between two countries... America and Indonesia.  But the journey is nowhere near ending.  So on to my next destination.... Australia.  The country that I would've ended in if I had not chosen to follow my older brother's step to go to America.  I've always, always, always wanted to go to Australia.  No reason.  Just something I've always wanted to do.  It's finally time to make that dream come true.  So here I am... Melbourne.

*lindt cafe - wimbledon, hot mocha, and chocolate hazelnut gateau. simply to-die for*

Despite of having wanted to come here for so long, being in a new place is always... strange.  Australia is similar, yet very different with America.  First few nights were rough, of course.  I was terribly missing my freedom, my independence... as usual :).  Not knowing how to get around, unfamiliar with my surroundings, I felt exactly the same way as I did my first month in Indonesia.  I was sure that I wouldn't like Australia.  Kept thinking about my daily work out regime, the wonderful food in Indonesia, my ultimate freedom in America, my friends, my family, everything that I no longer have, or simply not know how to attain yet in this strange land.  Secretly I was feeling happy that I wasn't "loving" Australia.... would've made things...well...easier :).

*pie face - chicken mushroom and lemon pies - mediocre, but brought a smile on my face :)*

*street art*

But two days turned into three... then to four... and all was history.  Melbourne... ahh the city... the cafes... the stunning street performers.  Beautiful, spacious, clean, contemporary.  That's how I would describe Melbourne at this point.  What am I to do.... now my heart is torn between three countries :-p.  Wish I could pick all my favorite things and create my own Utopia.  It's all good though. I'm so lucky to be able to see all these beauties. I can't wait to see what's next to come :).

*max sherman, the bald man - hot chocolate, super cute presentation*

*max sherman - assorted truffles, didn't get to try any yet*

*max sherman - toffee latte*