Category Archives: Short trips

Highway to heaven

I was 30 years old and it was my first time in the USA. My Californian friends had invited me on a road trip on one of the most scenic drives in the entire world: the iconic Highway One. We drove from San Francisco to Los Angeles and each day was a combination of natural beauty, breathtaking scenery and acknowledging life’s quality.

One of our final stops was in Santa Barbara, in a restaurant called ‘La Superica’. It looked like an old Mexican barrack with its white walls and blue windows. It was not fancy at all and it was nothing like what I would have picked to conclude a mind-blowing trip. But as soon as I went inside I felt that the atmosphere was very welcoming. It was packed with joyful people enjoying lively dishes and for a minute I forgot that my journey was nearly over. I ordered tacos and as soon as the food was placed on the table I understood why my friends took me here.

The fresh handmade tortilla was beautiful with a golden shade of yellow contrasting with the different mouthwatering ingredients sitting on its heart. I could smell the fragrant odour of the corn flour with a zest of lime tickling my nose. The meat had a lovely brown caramelised tint and smelt heavenly. It was tender, smoky, juicy and cooked to perfection. The red salsa was thick, creamy and attractively opaque in colour. I could tell the tomatoes had been cooked slowly and mixed with toasted Mexican chilles and chipotle peppers. The topping was a symphony of colours where the chopped green vegetables were dancing with the fresh herbs under a moon of white creamy cheese. I could see the finely minced onions blending with the minced crisp cabbages promising a textural crunch.

No sooner had the fresh taco touched my palate that I felt shivers and stopped. It was absolutely divine! An exquisite pleasure invaded my senses filling me with all California. Each bite, each colour, each flavour had the taste of my trip on the mythical Highway One. I could see the sunny valleys, the Spanish missions, the rugged beach and the surf towns. I could smell the farmers’ stalls on the side of the road, I could hear the Pacific Ocean crashing down below the steep cliffs and I could feel the intoxicating warmth of the Californian sun and the presence of my friends forever with me.

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California you’ve got my heart!

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This text is one of my assignments from creative writing class. I was asked to write about a vivid memory in 400 words so I picked a special moment I had the chance to experience a couple of years ago with my dear Californian friends: Teresa and John. My roadtrip in California was an amazing journey and I hope someday I will write the full story and share with you this beautiful and breathtaking adventure!

Whether you favour sweet or savoury, Bali is the key!

« People who love to eat are always the best people.» Julia Child

Bali is a beautiful country full of colours and smiling faces, and somehow you manage to find all these ingredients in their authentic and unique cuisine. Balinese cuisine is generous and each plate is a symphony of flavors where the rice is the key note.

As my first time in Bali, I had the chance to live in a villa and to experience Ketut’s wonderful cooking. She cooked for us amazing and traditionnal dishes that I really recommend you to try when in Bali :

  • Nasi Goreng: basically fried rice mixed with spices, vegetables, eggs and sweet soy sauce. I really liked it.
  • Satay : Spices marinated meat barbecued… yummy!
  • Gado Gado : vegetable salad covered with peanut sauce. It was really good!
  • Pepes Ikan Tongkol : Languan fish and spices wrapped in banana leaf and grilled. This cooking technique gives a lovely taste to the fish.
  • Nasi Kuning Bali : actually balinese yellow rice. The best rice I have ever tasted in my life!

Overall everything was absolutely delicious!

I have also asked Ketut what her favorite meal was since she is a local and I was curious to know about it ! She told me she likes “babi Guling”. It is a kind of dish made with a whole suckling pig and the inside is stuffed with spices and vegetables… then it is grilled and rolled over a charcoal. I have not tried it but I feel next time I go to Bali, I will give it a try because the way she was describing it I could tell this was something amazing!

I have also fallen in love with two restaurants in Bali that I am sure you will fancy too ❤

My favorite one is pretty popular and called the « Betelnut Cafe » and it is in Canggu facing a beautiful rice paddy (actually very closed from Echo Beach). The place looks great, nice decoration and the staff is really friendly. Everything is fresh, very healthy and it tastes marvellous! I recommend the balinese salad with a fruit dragon smoothie… Just perfect !

I also like a famous organic restaurant and shop called « Bali Buda ». There are 4 of them in Bali and you can easily locate them in Sanur, Ubud, Keroban and Bukit. Everything is homemade everyday and tastes great. They bake bread each morning before the sun rises and it has nothing to envy to French bakeries. If you feel overwhelmed by the menu, you should give a try to the yellow curry and the mud chocolate cake… I have to confess I am still dreaming of it when I have a craving for chocolate…

What can I say, Bali makes my heart dreamy, my soul shiny and my belly happy 🙂

 

Betelnut Cafe
Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong No. 60
Canggu, Kuta,
Bali, Indonesia
Tel : 62 821-4680-7233
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Betelnut-Cafe/289844997715255

 

Bali Buda Ubud
Jl Jembawan #1
(across from the Ubud Post Office)
Ubud, Mas, Gianyar 80571
Bali, Indonesia
Tel. (0361) 976324 / 978963
http://www.balibuda.com

Bali : The island of the gods…

Bali is not just a beautiful trip, it’s a cultural and spiritual journey that needs to be experienced in order to be fully appreciated… Actually, it all started 2 years ago when I have read this famous book called « Eat, pray. Love » based on a true story of a woman who lived 6 months in Italy, then 6 months in India and then 6 months in Bali. Her wonderful story inspired me and I was curious to know more about this country since I have never been there before. So I felt very lucky to spend my christmas time in Bali!

I have really enjoyed this country, its amazing temple, its wonderful colours, its delicious cuisine but above all its friendly people. It is impressive how balinese people are generous, lovely and cheerful… somehow you always end up with a big smile on your face when you are around them. Thanks to Airbnb I managed to find a beautiful villa with a nice swiming pool near canggu’s beach. Each day, I would get up early, do a 1 hour yoga session on the garden rooftop facing the sea, have a swim, enjoy an awesome breakfast prepared by Ketut (I ate the best bananas pancakes ever), then I would go surfing in the afternoon or visit a famous place, the evening I would enjoy a nice dinner on the beach or at the villa. Time went by so quickly… I have visited many places such as Ubud (known as the capital city of art), the monkeys forest, the water temple, the rice paddies… everything was absolutely gorgeous…

While in Bali, I had the chance to experience two important ceremonies called : Galungan and Kuningan

« Galungan marks the beginning of the most important recurring religious ceremonies. The spirits of deceased relatives who have died and been cremated return to visit their former homes, and the current inhabitants have a responsibility to be hospitable through prayers and offerings. The most obvious sign of the celebrations are the penjor – bamboo poles with offerings suspended at the end. These are installed by the side of roads. On the other hand, he Kuningan ceremony in Bali traces its name to the special offerings of Yellow Rice, or ‘nasi kuning. These are offered to the ancestors and Gods, to appease them and keep them happy. The Kuningan in Bali is a time when the spirits of decease people return to earth and the whole family comes together and prays to their ancestors and the Gods to keep them happy and to bless them. » (source Wikipedia)

In my opinion it was a humble and peaceful experience which I am glad I could be part of. Balinese people are very spiritual people and it felt really good to pray with them and for the peace of their ancestors.

I am grateful I can travel and learn about different cultures. I am always amazed by what I discover…Once the Dalai Lama said : «As often as possible, go someplace you’ve never been before. Experience new places and new things. You might find yourself with someone or somewhere that makes you much happier than your previous circumstance. The Earth is so vast with unique and beautiful places, why wouldn’t you want to go explore them? » …

What about you ? Which country are you going to visit this year ?

Peaceful rice paddies

Bali is full of beautiful and lively colors and green is definitely one of them!

I like to gaze at the rice paddies… somehow I find them very relaxing, nice for contemplating…it is also new to me as in France it is more about fields of barleys, sun flowers etc… but here rice is to Balinese people what bread is to French people 🙂 so no wonder there are so many rice paddies in Bali so well kept.

The result is absolutely spectacular! I particularly fancy the Rice paddy terraces in Ubud. If you feel brave and you are wearing good shoes you can have a walk there or you can also just sit and relax in an open air concept restaurant, have a popular local beer (Bintang) or a delicious fresh young coconut and enjoy the dramatic view, it is really a wonderful experience that I will be glad to do again…