Friday, December 27, 2013

sweet touch

On Christmas, I noticed a brightly lit patisserie on a dark stretch of street. I'd just eaten at Casa Luna, but how could I resist a shop called Caramel?

As it turned out they'd only been open two weeks. Jessica has worked in Paris and Sydney as well as at Mosaic. So I promised to return. 

Harry pulled up a chair so I could eat and chat: the chef's table, he called it. I had a black sesame macaron with a glass of jamu: beras kenchur, a health tonic made with rice and galangal.

While we chatted, Jessica piped filling between macarons. Jessica and Harry and their friends who dropped by are from Jakarta. 

So we talked about the romantic, reverent Balinese and how different they are from pragmatic, ambitious, cynical Javanese. I mentioned people asking overly personal questions (where are you going, where are you from) as I walked down the street. 

If you weren't alone, Bush pointed out, you wouldn't be here, talking to us. He asked where I'd eaten and promptly gave me a list of cafes and restaurants to try. 

I had two macarons, black sesame and hazelnut praline. But I'm coveting  Java tea and pandan (below).

Caramel is at the top of Jalan Hanoman. Try their red velvet cake or the excellent kek lapis, made with a whole farm's worth of egg yolks. 

www.caramel-Ubud.com

***
Armed with Bush's list, I checked out Seniman coffee and Locavore, the hottest new restaurant in Ubud. Seniman would fit right in in Portland or the Mission. It's like Four Barrel on steroids. 
They have a ridiculous menu with something for everyone. Coffee beans sell for $7–8/250 grams or a little more than a half pound. So it costs roughly the same to buy coffee beans here as at home. 
The cold brew, served in a jar, was superb. I'd have ordered another cup of something else if the wifi worked, or if anyone had asked. 
They sell all kinds of coffee paraphernalia, from clever pourers to aeropresses and syphon brewers. You can also pay 300,000 rupiah ($25) for an hour's tasting. 

Jessica said people have encouraged her to give pastry workshops for tourists but that it's too hard. Not much you can learn about macarons in an hour of two. Maybe a jamu workshop?

Next post: in which I snag dinner at Locavore.