Saturday, July 30, 2011

From Jakarta to Bandung

Due to time constraint this time we decided to just spend most of our time in Indonesia. But Jakarta, the capital city, is not exactly a touristy place. Growing up here, I spent most of my weekends at the mall. Window shopping, meeting up with friends, catching a movie or taking family for a weekend out. I noticed there are more malls this time than last visit.

Another way to spend your weekend would be to take a short out of town trip to local cities like Bandung. Bandung is located in West Java. It's about 150km from Jakarta. Years ago it took hours to reach Bandung. These days due to the new Cipularang Tol (highway), Bandung can be reached within two hours from Jakarta.

Located 2520ft above sea level, Bandung has cooler temperature than Jakarta. During our stay there, night time's temperature was around 75. Day time was mild, over casted and very comfortable.

Around Bandung, you could visit Ciater where the hot spring is located. I remember visiting the hot spring during my childhood. The smell of sulfur in the area. The water was warm so it's nice to dip yourself in when the temperature was a bit cool. Another touristy place was Tangkuban Perahu crater.

Rumah Mode on Jalan Setiabudi
pic courtesy of

These days another attraction for local tourists would be shopping trip to FOs (Factory Outlets) that have mushroomed on a few streets in Bandung. If you're going, make sure to stop by Jalan Riau, Jalan Setiabudi and also Jalan Juanda (aka Dago). The items sold there are supposedly excess export quality clothing. But having checking out a few stores, the only ones worth visiting if you're looking for branded clothing are The Secret on Jalan Riau and Rumah Mode on Jalan Setiabudi.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Kosher meal from Singapore Airlines

Learning fom my previous experience flying with Singapore Airlines, I decided to order a special meals this time. If you're picking the special meals for either religious or dietary reason, it would be a lot easier to decide. But for me it was a bit harder since I was doing it for no other reason other than trying it out. So I finally decided on kosher meals. Mind you, the special meals options will stay with you for the whole trip (either outbound or inbound). I was going to apply the special meals for only the SFO-HK leg but nope..I ended up having it all the way to Jakarta.

I was too sleepy when the flight attendant brought me the sealed pack of my supper. I didn't quite comprehend what he was telling me. Later on the next meal, a different flight attendant again brought me a sealed pack and asked me to break it open. It was way early in the flight to serve meal. But turned out that he only wanted me to break open the seal myself so he could warm it up later on.

From SFO-HK, the meal I received was quinoa with bolognese sauce. The next leg was breakfast before landing in Hong Kong and I was served omelet. From Hong Kong to Singapore another omelet again. All in all the food was better than expected. The bread and pastries were not as airy maybe due to different yeast used.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

China Palace Restaurant - Milpitas

Running into restaurant by accident. One Saturday afternoon we were in the area and was looking to try some Chinese food. There was another restaurant next to China Palace that seems to serve the same style home cooking food. Correct me if I'm wrong since I can't read Chinese.

We chose China Palace to the other one because they were busier at the time while the next door one was empty. But again this was way past lunch time. While waiting to be seated I noticed their special menu for the day which was mostly written in Chinese except for a few English words which include crocodile, dear, etc. Interesting.

I had the take menu in hand which I grabbed outside and we knew what we wanted. But it took about a good 10 minutes before the waitress came to take our order. And that's only after I frantically waived my hand to get her attention. There were only two waitresses working at the time. Our waiter took our orders without anything written down. I was wondering if she would get our order right.

The first thing out was some boba milk tea. This is usually sold as dessert with different flavored tea with or without boba (tapioca pearls). We were puzzled as we didn't order any drinks. Turned out that they were complimentary. The drinks were watered down so even hubby who usually likes sweet stuff didn't drink more than one sip.

Next was the spicy bean paste noodle. It was one big bowl of boiled noodle with black bean paste stir fried with some sort of minced meat and pork skin (?). Next to the paste was thinly sliced cucumber strips. Mixed it well and we were ready to dig in. We were also brought two tiny bowls and small plates. I guess it's just common to share dishes so they were ready before we even asked for it. The noodle was pretty good but very oily. Not spicy at all for us. It had a bit after taste heat in the mouth but that's about it.

The fried rice turned out to be better than expected. Get ready to be fishy though even though we didn't really tasted any chunk of salted fish (except hubby). But it had a good flavor and taste. The chicken meat was a bit questionable. It looked and tasted to me to be mostly skin or some I-don't-what-chewy-stuff. So I picked them out and just ate the rice.

The hot wings were not as hot as expected but freshly prepared so it's worth extra point. All in all were decent meal but most likely we won't be back soon. Service was not exactly their strongest point. I think it's best visited with a group of people so you get to try different dishes. Price was decent and good for value.

China Palace
688 Barber Ln, Milpitas, CA 95035  (408)894-7060

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Naturcolor - hair color

The first thing I notice about the naturcolor was a lot of tiny little bottles. From my point this is a lot of waste. I like stuffs in sachet better it gives me the feel that it's greener. But it probably just as bad. Maybe somebody could give me an answer to that.

But reading the instruction, one could actually mix their own color. So you could get two different color and comes out with your concoction. That's why the empty bottle was provided to you. Just make sure there's always the same amount of gel developer and color.

So I read my instruction ahead of time just to make sure I didn't miss anything that needs to be put in the mixture. One time I used another hair color that has some oil thingy that supposed to be mixed with the color and gel developer and I totally missed that. Oops.

The gel eveloper was so thick that it couldn't come out easily in the beginning. I had to squeeze the bottle hard to try to get it into the mixing bottle. But once the pressure was release, the rest was easy to follow. Shake the bottle and you're ready to color. Make sure to part your hair ahead of time. And if you're like me with tons of grey, make sure you plan your coloring ahead of time so the most grey area got covered and left longest for better result.

I planned to follow the instruction and left it for 45 minutes. But by the time I rinsed it out I think it reached one hour.

The after color rinse was so watery I wasn't sure if it got anything in it at all. And also it didn't seem to be very sudsy either. Not sure what it actually does. The conditioner was so thick it took a while to squeeze it out. The conditioner has a very subtle fragrant almost none. And it didn't feel as rich as the Tints of Nature.

One thing to note. I accidentally squeezed some color on my sink and it didn't want to come off. I never seems to have problem with other hair color. So I make sure to scrub my tub after rinsing my color off.

I am happy with the result. I got all my greys covered. Let's see how long this will last. One thing I notice with this hair color was there was no abrasive chemical smell during the whole process and also after rinsing it off. Love it.

Ringer Hut - San Jose

Settling on busy Saratoga Rd, this establishment looks just like any other diner. In fact if we weren't greeted in Japanese it could be easily another diner. I guess the restaurant took over like a Denny's before. ha..ha..But it featured an open kitchen and bar seatings. That kinda set it apart.

Menu were brought to us as soon as we were seated. Beside their specialty, champon, menu also has ramen and bento box. I chose gomoku ramen. Hubby chose champon with gyoza and our guest chose spicy champon with gyoza combo.

Ringer Hut is a Japanese fast food chain restaurant that specializes in Nagasaki champon and Sara udon. That's why between the three of us, there were two champon orders. I had champon before and I wasn't too keen on it that's why I decided to try gomoku ramen. A new name that I've never had before.

My gomoku ramen was thick to begin with. It seemed to me that the veggies and meat were stir fry first and thickened with cornstarch before topped on the ramen. After I stirred and mixed the ramen it seemed to be less thick. The ramen broth didn't seem to be strong and tasted more diluted. The spicy champon looked good with the fiery red broth but our guest that day didn't say much about it so I guess it was also a disappointment for him. He had mentioned of looking forward to try good ramen place in San Jose on this visit. But champon seemed to change his mind. I guess in the future, he'll stick to ramen.

The gyozas were good. Me and hubby mixed our own concoction of gyoza sauce with a little vinegar. The gyoza skin was crispy on one side yet still moist on the inside and not chewy at all. Perfect.

So far I haven't found any champon that suits my taste. Maybe champon was meant to taste that way. For now I just stick to ramen. Sorry champon.

Ringer Hut
1072 Saratoga Avenue

San Jose, CA 95129-3401
(408) 554-0877