The gastronomic journeys in Ubud 

Ubud offers a large variety of restaurants from small local joints to trendy fusion cafes. It goes without saying that you should avoid eating Western food( who and why would anyone have a pizza in Bali?) and stick to enjoying the amazing delicacies of Balinese cuisine… tender authentic satay, grilled fish, suckling pig and local fresh vegetables.  1)One of our favorite restaurants in Ubud is Melting Wok Warung,which serves fresh Asian/ Indonesian fusion cuisine. This small charming place on Jalan Gootama is owned by Geraldine, a French expat. I remember meeting her a couple of years ago when I had visited the restaurant with my friend. She is vivacious and warm and very welcoming and her French accent is utterly charming.The menu is limited and is handwritten on a blackboard with fresh daily specials. But the food is delicious, flavorful and prepared with love. We ended up going there twice!! But you have to make reservations otherwise be prepared to wait a long time for your Chicken coconut curry noodle, the flavors of which are just divine . Be sure to enjoy the young coconut creme caramel for dessert with your coffee 2) Fresh coconut water-It is kind of mandatory to partake of fresh coconut water, which is available in plenty. Our favorite was Tukies which served the most delicious coconut ice cream … soft and creamy and utterly delicious. The fresh coconut was chilled and just what is needed while walking in the humid temperatures of Ubud. 3) Another great spot for lunch was Fair Warung Bale, located in a small first floor location.The food is prepared fresh and the flavors are delicious. It’s a good feel restaurant because every meal provides free medical examination to people in need and the meals are prepared on site by young people learning a job skill. We tried the delicious shrimp with vegetables and rice and it was just perfect for an afternoon meal.4) Some of the best coffee in the world comes from Indonesia. We headed to Bali Palina coffee plantation for a day of bliss… the fragrance of the coffee permeated through the green and lush gardens, tasting all the wonderful flavors of coffee and the warm hospitality of the staff . The coffee tasting includes the worlds most expensive coffee.. Kopi Luwak or civet cat coffee. The rice terraces view from the coffee plantation 5) We headed to Warung Siam Ubud, a small restaurant with rave reviews for some authentic Thai food. The decor was minimal but the flavors of the food were delicious and fresh, the presentation was beautiful and the cost very reasonable.6)Fresh roasted corn on the cob is everywhere and they even have the lemon and masala to rub on it. The locals even called it “bhutta ” when they saw us. 6)Some of the most amazing coffee shops are in Ubud (including an organic Starbucks) delicious coffee, beautiful decor … just perfect way to relax and while away the time . We loved the coffee at Cinta restaurant, Coffee and company, Startbucks( had to try it) and Anomali… and of course, fresh coffee at our Airbnb made daily by Wayan.Cafe Cinta StarbucksAnomali coffee – very popular local haunt great artwork on the walls of AnomaliFresh coffee at home                                         7)Ibu Rai is a must visit when in Ubud. It’s on a busy street but once you walk into the restaurant it’s completely unexpected. Beautiful gardens,traditional seating and great service. The grandson of Ibu Rai happened to join in our conversation while we were having dinner and we left the restaurant with a new friend. Beautifully presented plates The desserts were outstanding with amazing flavors-we tried the clove sorbet,ginger flower sorbet and the most delicious kaffir lime chocolate lava cake. The main door at Ibu Rai ( with our new friend, the owner and grandson of Ibu Rai)                                                                            8)Cafe Bunute serving Archipelago cuisine is a fun restaurant with live music and great ambience. We wanted to try the famous Bebek guling ( crispy duck) and were not disappointed.The Betutu paste used to season the duck includes spices like lemongrass, garlic, black pepper, coriander seeds, ginger, kaffir lime, chilli and turmeric. And of course, we had satays yet again. The bar menu was interesting and had plenty of detox choices( guess to clean up last nights indulgence) 

Bebek guling Satays on personal grills9) Home cooked dinner by Wayan in our Airbnb was quite delightful and actually the most delicious. The flavors were outstanding and her Sambhal matah was the best we have ever had -the kaffir lime and lemongrass were bursting in every bite.Home cooked Nasi Gureng with fresh vegetables                      Coconut dessert with palm sugar Fish satays on lemongrass sticks with the most delicious sambal matah Banana pancakes with freshly grated coconut for breakfast… beats IHOP any day!Fresh juice and coffee anyone 

Advertisements

The verdant rice terraces of Bali 

The world famous Balinese rice terraces are almost on everyone’s bucket list and for a great reason… they are stunning,breathtaking and spectacular. These sprawling rice terraces make for a perfect photo opportunity and are a great way to spend a leisurely afternoon strolling through the paddy fields. The Tegallalang rice terraces, a World Unesco Heritage site and the most famous of all are just about half hour north of Ubud and can be added onto your Kintamani itinerary.Visit Mount Batur in the morning and drive back here for the afternoon. These rice terraces are engineered using traditional Balinese irrigation systems dating back to the 9th century, by tapping the water from the mountains to keep the paddies wet throughout the year.Even though most rice is harvested using modern agricultural techniques, this gave me a new appreciation for each piece of grain that lands on my plate. Local farmers with traditional woven baskets happily take pictures with tourists like me(please do give them some money for they are but mere farmers turned actors trying to give you an Instagram worthy click)Beautiful verdant green fields filled with water, banana trees swaying to the gentle breeze…you will see plenty of these rice fields as you drive through Bali.Be sure to stop and take some pictures, as these are definitely worth the effort. A green so green,clouds floating up above,tropical trees lining the horizon,a lone farmer going about his daily chores …this bucolic picturesque scenery is abundantly visible from the busy Balinese roads. Thatched roofs on traditional houses make for picture perfect shots overlooking the ancient valley. Plenty of cafes and shops line the rice fields, so do plan on eating a Nasi goreng amidst all this natural beauty… who knows the fried rice you are eating is from the very fields your eyes are feasting upon. 

Bali- When green becomes your favorite color. 

Juxtapositioned with art, spirituality, and a feeling that God really was very benevolent when he created this place. Where the landscape is so stunning that it takes your breath away, where the greenery is so lush that it looks like someone took a paintbrush across the canvas … that’s Bali and it is perfectly named “The Island of the Gods”. Taman Amida – our gorgeous garden villa in Ubud is beyond beautiful. Once you are behind those antique teak carved doors, you feel like you are in another world . It’s so close to the center of Ubud, but yet feels so far away. The concept of indoor outdoor living has always fascinated me and no one does it better than the Balinese. What is it about this that is so alluring that it almost feels spiritual. And why does this elude me so much in Dallas? Why not have your living room, dining room and the kitchen be one with nature? Why not ? Can you imagine cooking in that kitchen? That favorite book, a cup of coffee, this blissful little nook and the smell of frangipani wafting through the air!!! Heaven probably? Outdoor showers are just something else, I have to say … especially when it’s raining outside. This has to be personally experienced to understand the temerity of the whole idea. But highly recommend it . The advantages of having your bathroom sink outside… perfect lighting!! This blissful area is part of the outdoor bathroom.Just so serene and peaceful, it actually makes you feel serene and peaceful. This piece of wooden sculpture sitting on the kitchen counter looking into the garden blends perfectly into the ambience This wooden sculpture of a man and woman, perched at the entrance of the house is so haunting at night… like they are awaiting something or someone.