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Forgotten Worlds in Collingwood

Being in a bar when you don’t drink alcohol can be a bit of a bore. I do have a few bars I actually enjoy being in, thanks to other factors at play there, such as the food or the music. Examples in Melbourne are the Pinnacle in Fitzroy North – good food and interesting DJs and live music, Grumpy’s Green in Fitzroy (Nice stage and all eco-friendly with used materials and lots of Vegan options), and The Grace Darling hotel. I am adding another one to the list, and this one is quite special really, to the point that it might just be sitting on top of it. The name is Forgotten Worlds, and it is nestled in Johnston Street, Collingwood. It has plenty of stuff that may be too weird for others but made it work well for me. Forgotten Worlds sign First of all, FW’s interior channels a specific point in time, in which geometric, flat, pastel desk lamps-and other furniture for that matter- are considered cutting edge and analog answering machines are hi-tech. Being my age and from a developing country, I actually remembered thinking that they were, at one point in my life, classy and cool. So it’s an interesting sensation.   Second, I have been in a situation where I think a coffee-or even tea- would be GREAT, at least, to make me more tolerant of the drunken chatter and state of minds of the people I am with. But, alas, the bar doesn’t have any coffee or tea, or they refuse to make one because its past that hour. The same goes for food. And it is a pain in the derriere to go out of the bar to actually look for those things. espresso But not in the Forgotten Worlds.

As long as the bar is open, the espresso machine is too. Since it is an (drum roll) Arcade/Bar/Espresso joint! I am not a coffee snob so can’t do a detailed explanation or critic of the soy latte I had. But it is certainly better than what I can whip up. And next door is a pizza place from which you can order munchies of your choice – pizza, kebabs, chips, even dessert. All right, its not ultra healthy, boutique cuisine, but hey it’s actually open till 11. I think they’ve made a great decision of skipping the food but providing coffee till late hours. It’s not so much pressure on the bar staff and less messier. But that might cause them to be quite dependent on Angelo’s (the pizza place). Forgotten Worlds interior 2

And now let’s move to the first element: Arcade. FW has several arcade machines, including Street Fighter (of course), Mortal Kombat, a shooting one, and..Golden Axe. Oh dear, what a throwback that was. The Street Fighter machine was, alas, broken, during my visit, and I have never been good at Mortal Kombat. But Golden Axe was fun.

I would suggest that they provide more games/rotation of games, and maybe more games that are not necessarily arcade ones. What about comic books? board games? pinball?

Forgotten World Interior

A place promised in our early days


So much for weekend dates. I finally had my first taste of being a solo moviegoer. Never mind, the flick was worth it anyway (sticks tongue out).

The movie, its Japan title Kumo no Muko, Yakusoku no Basho, is set in an alternate version of Japan. Here, the country had been torn into two: One part being under the authority of the United States while the other by the “Union”.

Two junior high school boys living in the U.S part made a promise to assemble a plane and fly it to the beautiful and imposing white tower constructed by the Union. They were both attracted to a girl, who also felt a deep connection with a tower.

After high school, all three went on different paths. One worked at the defense research center, still trying to uncover the secrets of the tower, which apparently holds the key to an alternate world, another became alienated in his daily life as a student, and the girl vanished.

Actually she just fell asleep. Literally. One day closed her eyes, went into her dream, and never returned. She was so afraid that she would lose something lest she awoke. What could that be?

Meanwhile, the war is approaching. The tower holds a strategic part in the nation, which is becoming more and more restless, disenchanted by the divide.

The movie, like most Japanese drama, is subtle and beautiful. The dialogs could get irritating sometimes, being repetitive and polite, and the girl is so sweet sometimes that she made me wince, but nevertheless I was deeply impressed.

“The world, like us, also dreams. The dreams are what we call the alternate reality.”

The world vegetarian congress-right here, folks

 

one of the foodstalls at the congress

 

The World Vegetarian Congress was held from last Friday to this Wednesday in Jakarta. I can safely say that I was in ecstasy each time I dropped by the event.

Living in the south side of town, I am deprived of easy access to vegetarian restaurants

Oh you yummy padang food

or ingredients such as stocks or protein flakes. yes, yes, fake meat is not that healthy but hey, I could use a little treat now and then.

Anyway, the congress was more packed than I thought, the lectures and people were quite interesting. and the food? not bad at all. There were about 20 food stalls selling vegetarian, mostly vegan, treats. What was also cool was that they were mostly Indonesian food and street food I’ve missed so much and could only watch my friends savor since I decided to quit eating meat.

For example, there’s the rendang, one of the crown jewels of Padang cuisine.

Originally its beef cooked until tender with yummy, yummy spices and rich with coconut milk. I thought such pleasure was history to me but voila!

 

I think it was actually better than real rendang, cause it’s more tender and the fibres don’t get between your teeth.

Another treat, which was especially to my friend Ananda Ayu’s delight, was empek-empek. These are originally fish cakes served with sweet-sour sauce. These ones are vegan and used seaweed as the substitute.

 

empek - empek

 

 

The rendang was probably the best, but I also treated myself to my own personal favorite: mie ayam or chicken soup noodles. The “chicken” was protein flakes and the dumplings were filled with mushroom. mm!

Mie ayam, or chicken noodle soup

And so I went on a little spending spree. Aside from pigging out, I also took home some seaweed, condiments (one jar was given free because the lady at the stall was so delighted to discover I was also a meat-shunner) and jerkies. Yes I know they’re probably gross to most people but there are some days when no tempe is available and I am not in the mood for sugary soy bars.

 

Good times.I discovered some interesting facts. For example the number of vegetarians and vegans in Indonesia has been rising sharply for the last few years, and that the Indonesian vegetarian society is one of the most active in the world. well who would’ve thought?

Well now that the craziness has ended, I wish those vegetarian restaurants were closer to my place! or..hmm, probably not…:D

The Soup Spoon

I’ve been wanting to give the place a go since I read its promotional pamphlet. So one night after a busy shopping round I dropped by at The Soup Spoon for dinner with my friend Ananda Ayu.
I ordered one of their set menus. The “super value” scheme entitled me to either half a wrap, or a sandwich or salad, and an apple, or a muffin or a glass of ice lemon tea along with my bowl of soup.
My pick went out to the roasted pumpkin soup with sprinkles of almond on top. Along with that, I chose half a wrap with mushroom pesto filling and an apple.
My dining partner picked the meatless minestrone, an appetizing hubbub of veggies and red beans.
My meal was a hearty one. The soup was creamy and just slightly spicy. The pesto was ok, very mushroomy indeed, and I think it would do well with a dash of tangy dressing.
I sampled Ananda Ayu’s order and liked it as well. She said it was a bit too sour and I think it was the tomatoes.  I’m pretty sure it contained sour cream as well.
The place was less than impressive, for most part because its squeezed inside a mall. And we couldn’t really enjoy it for long because it was already late.
Despite the “value” menu, I found it was still too pricey for an everyday habit. The meal cost me around Rp 70,000 (gasp) or around US$7, but perhaps on a monthly basis…
The Soup Spoon
Ground Floor Citywalk Sudirman
Lower Ground Grand Indonesia

wide-eyed heroines

I’ve been watching several movies with little girl heroines lately. I must admit, it’s a fresh change to sultry superwomen in tight suits or macho, gun-slinging men. And since I was once also a little girl with plenty of dreaming time, I can pretty much relate to the characters.

(spoiler ahead)

this guy certainly left an impression

For instance, there’s Ofelia or the “princess” in Pan’s Labyrinth. She battled a giant toad, a grotesque creature who eats little girls, and even a fascist general. I really enjoyed the movie, but personally I think some scenes were unnecessarily violent or too dramatic. Like, really, would the freedom fighters actually pause for a (very long) moment of silence, or wait outside oh so solemnly outside the labyrinth for the general to return with the baby? I think it would be a much more chaotic moment.

Then there’s Chihiro in Spirited Away. I love this one too. Such amazing characters! Although at some points while watching I couldn’t help thinking it was a bit of a Japanese version of The Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland, but I was nevertheless swept away by its colorfulness. And that scene where the stink spirit entered the baths was hilarious.

LOVE the background scenery of Spirited Away!

But I think my favorite to this point is the heroine in The Fall. She’s adorable and the movie is a winner. While it bears some similarity to Pan’s Labyrinth-the parallel plot of real life and imagination- it differs in the way that the real world is presented as lacking in drama,apparently satisfied with mere snippets of emotions, thus reality is depicted as something much lonelier than the imaginary.

Of course Pan’s won me over partly because its set at a time when Franco reigned after the war, and because o

Just a few of the AMAZING costumes in The Fall

f its protagonists were the anarchists, but it was because of that two overwhelming situations both in reality and fantasy that made the latter prone to a bit of drama overdose.

Then ( I was sick for a few days, so I watched more movies than usual, which is..almost never) I watched Brothers Grimm, and during the first few minutes I thought it was the actual history of those tale tellers. However, it further evolved into a sort of Van Hellsing-like digestable horror movie. Ah well, impressive costumes and props.

Just for the sake of mentioning, I don’t really mind Valentina in The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus, which had stolen a special place in my little “favorites” casket, not just for its cinematography and storyline but also for its wacky dialogues.

Sure she’s sultry and all grown up, but has the quirky face and loony attitude to make up for those 😀

She does look engaging

An all-girls, all-vegetarian dinner

Last Saturday, I paid a visit to a friend who just moved into a new place. The initial plan was to do some yoga, but I was on my first day of period so that had to take a rain check.
Then I started to make Umba sausages to take there, but I couldn’t find almonds anywhere and it was getting late so I left the steamed tempe at home.
Then my friend started cooking. I remembered my tempe and felt an unbearable urge to join them. Lucky my house was not far from hers so I rushed back and gathered the stuff I needed. I finally settled for cashews in a supermarket.
Dinner had to wait a bit because of my selfish obsession, but it was finally ready. If you’ll excuse the poor lighting (cellphone cam), it was quite a feast. On the menu were roasted, marinated tofu with sunflower seeds, snow peas and green beans stir fry, and steamed rice.


The sausage turned out fine albeit the usage of cashews instead of almonds and regular baguette instead of rye bread. This probably means that I shouldn’t be too nit picky in the future.
Of course there were plenty of chit-chats and giggles involved as well but I think that’s another story!

Oh Julia!

The real Julia Child

A quiet, rainy night and second day of period calls for comfort flick. And guess what I picked, a movie about food.

Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, is a feel-good. It was based on two true stories: the first about the famed chef Julia Child, and the second of Julie Powell: a cubicle worker/aspiring writer approaching 30 who finds cooking a highly pleasurable way to vent out her frustration from her daily job, and more than that. She is particularly fond of Child’s methods of cooking. Feeling the need to actually finish something she started in life, she whipped up a blog of her one-year challenge to cook over 500 recipes from Child’s cookbook: Mastering The Art of French Cooking.

Streep is brilliant, although from what I saw on YouTube the real Child was more business-like and less giggly. Amy Adams is adorable, although if you look at the REAL blog, you’d think the real Powell was more edgy and, yes, used the ‘f’ word much more often. Although I believe people might have an alter ego in cyber world (I am much less nicer in real life mwahahahaha). And the food..mmm, all right, the movie was NOT vegetarian friendly at all. It featured pate! but well, it’s Julia Child and to make her a vegetarian cook would indeed be strange.

Spoiler ahead:

The ending was wonderful. It was realistic and sweet. People who wasn’t aware of the real story, me for one, would half expect Child to have dinner with Powell or something. Guess what, she didn’t and the ending still managed to be sweet.

However, I was a bit surprised at how lightly Powell took the fact that Child dislikes her blog (That was a bit strange! Child liked the Saturday Night Live parody of her ridiculously bleeding to unconsciousness while this girl was actually doing something in awe-at least that what the movie portrayed- of her! I wish this movie was made before she died in 2004, Child might’ve not so quickly dismissed the blog! see? now I’m getting emotional)

I mean, she did get upset but her recovery was quite uneventful. It was like ‘all night chatting to your hubby about it and then move on’. She had been obsessed with the lady since childhood and dedicated a whole year to following her path!

Anyway, aside from that and the dead animals, I really enjoyed the movie. And you know what’s touching? What Powell wrote on the blog when Julia Child passed away.And it made me think how easy it is to track down and connect the dots with the internet.. I can actually see the real Child, read the actual blog, and despite the movie not including Powell’s reaction upon Child’s death, I can track that down as well. If Powell had written a diary, or a book even, it wouldn’t be as simple as click-click.

And another thing, I actually felt another comradeship, of people who LOVES food. the movie made me want to cook and I might, might even consider taking up cooking more seriously. It made me feel that it’s ok to have food and cooking on your mind more often than most people do.

I know other food bloggers might feel the same too 😉