I love good food. In fact, besides photography equipment, that is where the majority of my funds go. Good food and fine wine. I love the millions of flavors of cheese, from nutty to pungent to fruity. I love the sound of biting into an apple or a carrot, I love bread fresh from the oven. More than anything, I love when flavors dance together and create something new that surprises my palate. I love snacking, I love sitting around eating course after course with good people and lots of laughter. I love picnics and packed lunches on road trips. I love the smell of a sizzling bbq. I absolutely adore trying new foods in other countries, ecstatic to find ones I love and disheartened that I can't get them at home. I just love good food. Period.
The problem is that good food doesn't always happen. I discovered this when touring Java with my brother a few years ago. Sticking to the remote parts in search of waves, most of the places where ate resembled the back porch of someone's home (in fact, I think they were back porches of someone's home!). The spice tolerance of the Javanese was out of this world, so without fail, I would end up with a plate of white rice. Returning to Bali felt gluttonous. Any sort of food you wanted at great prices. Pizza for 2 dollars or a sirloin steak for 3.
The next time I went to Indonesia, we headed east to Sumbawa, stopping in Lombok for a sunrise surf session. Some friends suggested meeting back at a restaurant on our way out, a cool place way up on the mountain. I wasn't expecting much, having understood that once you leave Bali, food variety and quality takes a drastic turn. I was surprised, to say the least, when we pulled into a beautiful open-air restaurant with relaxing music, stunning decor with cushions galore, and an aroma that instantly made my mouth water. The menu was a bit of a teaser of what was to come, but it did not let me down in the least. This salad was the beginning of one of my favorite meals in Indonesia. How could it not be with this view?
Take the bad and the good when traveling... and savor the gems in between. This day was a vibrant emerald.