20 January 2015

Eating Out Like A Mafia at Signora Pasta

Everyone watches Godfather the Movie. I do too. And I always ask myself how it feels to be there and hang around the Italian gangsters. Well, maybe the nice Italian guys, ya. Honestly, I can not handle bad boys. LOL! 

That question is halfly answered when I receive a sudden invitation to try a new Italian restaurant named Signora Pasta.

The restaurant is located at the Breeze in Bumi Serpong Damai, Tangerang.

The Breeze is a big place where you can have an open air dining experience and a recreation area to have great pictures of you, your family and your friends. Yes, the area is also used by its visitors for taking pictures because of its beautiful location. It has man-made lake, chapel, fish pond, restaurants, and many more. You can even just take a walk there to burn the calories as it is quite a large area. So what do you think about the idea of eating a lot of food there and take a long walk at the Breeze to burn the food that you just eat there? Interesting! 

Let me move your attention to the Signora Pasta. I come to the restaurant with my friends and we are introduced to Pino, the Italian man who owns of the restaurant, and his wife, a nice lady from Palembang. One of my friends can speak Italian, so when she and Pino have their conversation in Italian, I feel like I am lost in Italy ;-D 

Sitting in Signora Pasta with my friends, I feel like a Bella Signora, a beautiful lady in Italian language, among the Mafia gangsters. Yeah! 

Are you ready for the list of food and drinks that we consume? Here we go! 

Signora Pizza
Pizza with tomato sauce, minced beef, smoked beef, bell pepper and mozarella cheese

Pizza Quatro Formaggi
Pizza with tomato sauce and four different cheese 

Insalata Di Tonno
Tuna Salad 

Farmer bread with fresh tomato

Spaghetti Al Pesto
Spaghetti with italian basil sauce and parmigiano cheese 

Fettucine Alla Diavola
Fettucine with mushroom, bell pepper and signora's pasta

Raviola Spinachi E Parmigiano
Ravioli with spinach and parmigiano cheese 

Scallone All' Aceto Balsamico
Fillet of beef served with mushroom in balsamic vinegar

Menta Piperita 
A drink with mint syrup, orange and soda water

All kinds of ice cream! 

These food and drinks are heaven for my belly! I can not give any special comments on one or two food and drinks that I consume because all the food and drinks are amazingly delicious! Pino says that everything is made by him, so he can keep the quality and the originality of their tastes. Fantastic! 

Pino can also sings! Yes, he has a small stage in his restaurant where he puts some musical instruments. And if you are lucky, you can find him there singing some Indonesian songs. And he sometimes translates some Indonesian songs to Italian language. Yes, he is a funny Italian man! 

Oh by the way, do you remember when I start to talk about the Godfather? Well, you will find them in the pictures that Pino hangs in one of the walls there. Go find it before Pino takes it out :-D

Hope to see you again, Mr. and Mrs. Pino! 

Enjoy your meal, everyone! 

10 January 2015

A Simple Guide to Doing Yoga at the Office - My Article at the Jakarta Post

The link to the article that I write for the Jakarta Post Newspaper about doing yoga at the office: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/12/19/a-simple-guide-doing-yoga-office.html

You can also read the content of the article here as I copy paste below. Enjoy!


A simple guide to doing yoga at the office

Astrid Amalia
| December 19 2014 | 11:56 AM

Discover simple ways to make the most of your office space for practicing yoga.

Nowadays, in hectic environments, many of us have no time for taking care of ourselves. Some of the sources of modern sickness are too much stress due to office work and traffic jams, the junk food we consume, and the lack of physical exercises. Hours of sitting at the office can also create poor posture and injuries.

Such a simple exercise as walking, for instance, becomes difficult to do in many communities in the Greater Jakarta area. The difficulty is often due to the impediments that arise in the form of food sellers and motorbikes that occupy the sidewalk, the pollution from the vehicles, and the dust in public places.   

What we can do now is maximize the office space we have. The office space is the new gym, a great place for doing exercises, especially since most of us have no time to go out to the fitness center.  

Looking at the modern office space full of cubicles, practicing simple yoga is the best exercise we can do. Yoga does not require a big space, as the space we need is only as big as the body. The office is also an ideal place for yoga as we can use the desk and the chair to support the practice. 

Yoga can help reduce stress and heal stiffness in your neck, shoulders, back and legs. Yoga can improve concentration and heal aches and pains. It can also boost productivity, motivation, creativity and wellbeing. 

Practicing can be a welcome break from deadlines and a time to focus on your own body, your breath and posture. 

 This type of yoga is easy and simple and can be practiced by anyone. The things to remember when practicing this type of yoga are: make sure you loosen your clothes and remove the shoes so your body can move freely; don’t eat inside of an hour before the yoga practice. You also need to choose firm objects to support the exercises, such as a stable desk and a stable chair without wheels. 

Here are practice steps you can try at the office using your chair: 

Starter position: basic sitting posture to correct the spine  

Sit down halfway on your chair while lengthening your spine up without letting your back touch the seat backrest. Open your feet hip width apart. Press your feet firmly to the floor. Place your hands on your knees. 

Pose 1: neck stretch to release neck tension

From your starter position, raise your left arm, grab your right ear and pull your head to your left shoulder. Relax both shoulders. Feel the stretch at the right side of your neck. After breathing for five to 10 rounds (one round is a full inhale and exhale), release your left hand and switch sides. 

Pose 2: seated twist to stretch the back and the side of the body  

Back to your starter position. Turn your body to the left side. Grab the lower side of the backrest of your chair with your left hand and hold your left knee with your right hand. Lengthen your body each time you inhale and turn your body to the left side each time you exhale until you reach your maximum turn. Keep your chin in line with your heart. After 5 to 10 rounds of breathing, release the twist and switch sides.

Pose 3: seated backbend to stretch the shoulder and open the front side of body

Go back to the starter position. Grab the lower side of your seat backrest with both hands. Bend the elbows back, pull the shoulder back and push your chest and belly forward. Lean your head slightly back while keeping it not to drop back. Stay there for 5 to 10 rounds of breathing and release from the pose by returning your body to the center and releasing your hands from the backrest.

Pose 4: seated forward bend to open the chest and massage the belly

Return to your starter position. Interlace your hands behind your back. Pull your shoulder back and push your chest and belly forward. As you exhale, bend your body forward until your belly presses against your thighs and lift your hands up to the sky. Tilt your head down. Stay there for 5 to 10 breaths and release from the pose by lifting your head and your body and separating your hands.  

Pose 5: seated revolving side angle pose to open the shoulder and stretch the lower back

Back to your starter position. Bend your body forward, grab the inner side of your right ankle with your left hand and raise your right hand up in line with your right shoulder. Turn your head by looking at your right hand. After 5 to 10 rounds of breathing, release from the pose by lowering your right hand down, lift your body and switch side.  

Pose 6: seated hip opener to release the stiffness in the legs

Go back to your starter position. Grab your left ankle and place it on the top of your right knee. Place both of your hands at the lower side of the backrest of the chair. Pull the shoulders back and push the chest and belly forward. Press down your left knee toward the floor and arch the toes of your both feet facing to your shinbone. After 5 to 10 rounds of breathing, release from the pose by returning your body to the center, placing the left foot to the ground and switch side.   

After the session, your body will be thankful for the massage. You can go back to work feeling happy and with better concentration. If you practice office yoga regularly, you can feel the change of feeling in your body. Your officemates might also detect extra happiness in you, and you should encourage them to try it too. This can create a fun and pleasant work atmosphere. After all, yoga is simple, fun and interesting. Namaste.

The writer is a Certified Yoga Teacher and a Certified CranioSacral Therapist. She can be contacted at astrid_amalia@yahoo.com 

05 December 2014

Romantic Getaway to Bali

Somewhere in 2011. Suddenly I get a special message. And that is the start of my beautiful short getaway to Bali

I leave Jakarta early in the morning using the first flight. When I arrive in Bali, the driver pick me up and stop by first at Westin Hotel, Nusa Dua for a quick morning coffee. Welcome home, Astrid!

After I finish my morning coffee, the driver takes me to the Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, the place where I stay. Great! 
The Oberoi Hotels and Resorts is located in:

Seminyak Beach,
Jalan Kayu Aya,
Bali, Indonesia

The Oberoi is a heaven, because it is located near the beach. Well, you guys need to know how much I love beach, trees, and all the nature things. The Oberoi is also huge, and you need to take a small car to go to the lobby, the room, and other spots in the hotel. Wow! 

After the registration at the lobby is done, the staff in the hotel gives me a fresh flower necklace. How nice it is! The greeting is nice and I feel very welcomed here. 

As I said, we need to use a small car to go to some spots in the hotel. So yeah, I take that small car to go to my room. Quite funny, but special! When we drive around to go to my room, what I see is that the rooms are built separately like small houses in a location. This is great for privacy.

So my room has its own balcony, and the bathroom is awesome! What do I want to do in the bathroom? Sitting down in a chair and reading newspaper? Enjoying a cup of tea or coffee? Having a bubble bath? Enjoying a small garden near it? No problem! I can do all those things there ;-D 

As soon as I finish unpacking, I go to Me'nu cafe for lunch. The cafe is located in: 

Jl. Caplak Tanduk,

When I arrive, they serve a good small welcome drink! I do not know what it is, but there is a taste of orange in it. So I order Salmon Steak with Seafood. The taste is good and I love it. As I sit down there, I have a chat with the owner of the cafe. I do not know where he comes from, but he sounds so Australian. I also can see the busy street and the relax tourists there. A busy day for the holiday people! 
There is an update recently that the cafe is closed down. So sad to know it. I hope they make their way to reopen again.

After I finish the lunch, I do some shoppings around the area. There are many massage places there, but I do not have the chance to do it.

I go back to the Oberoi in the late afternoon. I have a lot of time until the dinner time, so I decide to spend my time at the beach near the hotel. I am worry as it is cloudy out there, but I still want to go to the beach! As I step my feet on the sands at the beach, I am not worried anymore as the beach calms my mind. Beautiful! The beach is very clean. Maybe the hotel also takes care of it. As I enjoy the sands and the sea, there are many people walking with their horses and Bali dogs. Very unique sights ;-)) 
It is a cloudy day and the weather is not so friendly, so I can not go for a swim there. But it is fine. Playing with the water there is enough for me.
After a few moments, finally the rain starts to fall down, and it is the time for me to go back to my room. It is only a short moment at the beach, but it is lovely too. Thank you, Mother Nature!

While waiting for the dinner time, I call the spa to arrange a massage treatment, but they are fully booked for that day and the next day. I also ask them to arrange me a yoga practice in the next morning, and I get it! I can not wait to try it.

OK, it is the time for dinner! My plan is to have it in Metis Restaurant. It is located in:

Jl. Petitenget No. 6
Kerobokan, Bali

Whatever that takes me there, it is paid off! The french restaurant is awesome! It is a beautiful place with paddy fields in the middle of it. I enjoy the calmness in the paddy field. I try to make a picture of the paddy field that night, but it is too dark.

The restaurant also places some Buddha statues in the dining area. It feels so holy to eat there ;-D 

Now, let me talk about the food. I order Green Salad, medium rare Steak, Foie Gras, red wine, ice cream and sorbet. All of the food taste very good. And I just find out that their Foie Gras is one of the best food in the restaurant. Perfect! 
During the dinner, I meet some friends both from Jakarta and Bali. So, it is a great place to dine, hang out and meet the people I know. Again, it is a perfect night!
I go back to my hotel room that night with a full happy belly. Just enough fuel to be burned at the next morning's yoga practice ;-)

The next morning, I wake up very early to catch the early morning yoga practice. The Oberoi Hotels has assigned pak Gde to teach me the yoga practice. We practice yoga under a small roof near the beach. It is a paradise!
The yoga practice is nice, and pak Gde knows that I have been practicing yoga for some times. Yeay! Thank you, pak Gde, for your compliments!

After the morning yoga practice, I have the most beautiful breakfast in the hotel! I choose to sit outside under the trees and facing the beach, just to feel the nice wind from the beach that brings the smell of the sea. Beautiful!

That morning, I order a huge full breakfast! There are waffles, sunny side up egg, cheese platters, fruit and milk, orange juice, and black coffee from Bali. Again, my belly is full and happy, as happy as the morning sun that day. Happy!
Just before checking out from the hotel, i visit the mini store there. A great thing about the store is that they sell some paintings about Bali. And, someone buys three paintings from the store. Marvellous ;-) 

After checking out from the Oberoi Hotels, I visit Warung Nasi Pedas Ibu Andika (Spicy Rice of Mrs. Andika Stall). It is located opposite of Jogger store and the address is: 

Jl. Raya Kuta 120C
Kuta, Bali

There are always a long queue there, but I successfully grab my plate. In my plate, I get rice, tempe (soya bean cake) and chicken. It tastes great and the portion is enough for my still-full-belly-after-the-big-breakfast ;-D 

I leave Bali with such a happy heart, and off course, a happy belly too.

So where is the romantic side of this trip? Everything is romantic! This trip sweeps my feet off and charms the beauty in me. So, in everything I do, I always try to feel romantic. Because when I feel romantic, everything I do looks and feels good in me.

Enjoy your romantic getaway with your other half, romantic people!  

28 November 2014

Thousand Happiness from Thousand Islands (Kepulauan Seribu)

This holiday travel to Thousand Islands or Kepulauan Seribu is another old trip that I make in early 2010. Well, the good memories there are hard to keep only for myself, so that is why I share it here. 

Thousand Islands is just a few hours from Jakarta, Indonesia.

I start the trip with some friends by gathering at Kota, the China Town in Jakarta. From there, we go to Muara Angke port in North Jakarta to take a big ship that takes us to Pramuka Island. It takes around 3 hours to arrive in Pramuka Island. On the way from Muara Angke port to Prramuka Island, I can see dirty and oily water on the sea, and the water does not smell nice. I am wondering if this is the kind of water that I will see in our destination. Let me see what happen, okay! 

From Pramuka Island, we take small boat that has been prepared by our guide to go to Bira Island, the place where we will stay. It takes around 2 hours to arrive in Bira Island. The small boat can take from 10 to 15 people inside it. On the way from Pramuka Island to Bira Island, I start to see that the quality of the water is getting better and the colour is a bit dark green. When we almost arrive at Bira Island, I can see that the water is clear and clean. Woho! This is what we want!

We arrive in Bira Island in the late afternoon, so we take our time to have late lunch. While we eat our lunch, it is beautiful to see some black Sea Urchins or Sea Hedgehogs in the shallow water, especially near the quay. If I walk a few meters from the beach, I can meet many black Sea Urchins on the water. Pretty!
After lunch, we start to sail from one corner to the others to know a bit about the sea around the Bira Island. It is a huge sea and it is beautiful. Some of us have prepared the snorkelling equipments. So yeah, we just jump to the sea and meet the beautiful fishes. But it does not happen to long as the sky becomes dark. We need to go back to the Bira Island and rest.
While resting, I can hear the sound of the waves at the sea. It is so beautiful and peaceful. Some of us singing and the others burning the woods to light up our sitting place. We sing and laugh. Such a happy moment!

The next day, we wake up very early to have an early breakfast. Why? Because we want to hit the sea very early too! Yeha!
So that day, we do island hopping from one island to the other. Some of the islands are owned by the Indonesian rich people and they have helipad areas in their islands. Wow!

Between the islands, I can see mangrove forrest, pandanus trees, coconut palm trees, and the white sands over the islands. Beautiful!

We also snorkel around the islands and meet our beautiful sea friends. Oh they are so pretty! I love them!

What we need to be careful is the waves and the Sea Urchins! I give up fighting with the waves while snorkelling, so I let one of the guides to drag me to the boat. Oh well ;-D

And I almost step on some Sea Urchins while snorkelling, if the guide does not catch my feet and lift them up. If I step on the Sea Urchins, I will get fever and sick.
In the late afternoon, we go back to the Bira Island and watch the sunset from the pier. So beautiful!

The next day, we wake up very very very early again. No, not because we want to sail again this day as this is our last day, but because we want to see the sunrise. Yes, the sunrise there is beautiful! I also have the chance to practice my yoga there. Double beautiful, double happiness!

We go home to Jakarta by taking a special boat that chartered by some high school students, so we do not have to get to the small boat first then the big ship one, and we can go straightly to Muara Angke port without having to stop by at Pramuka Island. God bless the students!

By the way, one of the days in the Thousand Island is my birthday, so I take this trip as a birthday present for myself. Happy Birthday, Astrid!

Enjoy your holiday trip, guys! 

27 November 2014

From Japan with Love

This is the story of my holiday traveling to Japan. It takes place somewhere on 2011. It is a bit too late to write it, but I write it anyway. I think the best way to keep the good memories is to write it, so the whole world know that I am happy. 

So let me express how I feel about visiting some of the corners in Japan.


The hotel is chosen because it is near with the airport. It is located outside of the busy life in Japan.
Around the hotel, I can see many great trees.
What I like from the hotel is that they serve good breakfast with a lot of porks. Oh yeah! 


The place is just like New York. I can find many famous branded stores here.
The roads around the area are quiet, not so busy. And it has bicycle parking space. Great one! 


Hachiko is the most faithful dog in the history of Japan. There is a movie about it and Richard Gere is acted as the owner of the dog.
The statue is created to honour the dog. The statue is situated in a public park. There is a train too in front of the statue that represents the transportation taken by the late owner of Hachiko.
This area is also used a meeting point.
One of the known transportation here is Shibuya Community Bus.
Not far from the statue, there is a large sport center or stadium.


I can find many malls and department stores here.
Some of the great transportation here is the underground trains that connect one area to another. Very affordable transportation in Japan.
In the area, I also experience their own red district where I can see night pubs, drinks, and erotic shows. Interesting ;-D


This is one of the famous tourist destinations in Japan. It is minus four degree Celsius when I come there, but the sun is kind enough to warm me.
The mountain is located around the jungle of trees. We need to drive on long roads to get there.
One of the stores there knows Indonesia very well. They can speak Indonesian language too. The owner of the store tells me that there are many Indonesian people visit the area. So glad to know it!


This is the Kingdom of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse! Yeay! I am so happy that I can see my favourite cartoon figures here!
Just like its name, this Disney is located in the middle of the sea. I do not know if the sea is man made or not, but it is beautiful! I can also see mountains and trains.
Some of the interesting adventures I visit are the Pirates of Caribbean, the Kingdom of Mermaids, the Journey at the Center of the Earth, and the Kingdom of Aladdin.
This place is so big that I get lost too many times! But I thank God that there are many people work in the Disney Sea that are willing to help me to find my way back to the tour bus ;-D


This is the place where I can find Tokyo Tower. It looks like the miniature of Eiffel Tower in France. The tower is the brightest spot in the area.
Around the tower, there are real Japanese restaurants, Hanamasa and Yoshinoya. We have these two restaurants too in Jakarta, right?
Not far from the tower, I can see Decks, the restaurant that uses boats over the river as their eating place. Very nice!


The temple is located near a quiet road. The temple is big and red! Wow!
Inside the temple's complex, I can see some drinking fountains and future reading spot. The future reading spot is a place where I can take a paper randomly from a cupboard and read what my future will be written in the paper. And what I get is interesting ;-)
Near the temple, there are street market, housing complex and apartments. And surprisingly, the area is so clean! 


Alright, this place is a heaven for the shoppers! This is the place where shoppers can buy branded stuffs with cheaper price. The place is huge! It is like a shopping town.
This place is also known as a place for the Japanese people to meet up, hang out and take their dogs out too.
As the place is so huge, I get lost here too. Oh well! But there is one security officer who helps me to find my tour bus by walking with me all the way from one point to the other point. Thank you, Sir! 


After I visit Japan, i guess I am falling in love with Japan.
Japan is a very clean country. Anywhere in the country, I do not see junks. The public toilets are also clean! The toilets can sing, dry and spray you as well. Oh so fun of them ;-))
The Japanese people are very discipline, polite and honest. They are always on time and always want to take what they deserve only, not more than that. If I buy some stuffs, they will give the change no matter how many cents it is. If I ask them to keep the change, they will refuse it. Such a great attitude! And do not forget the way they bow to each other. The greatness of their tradition!
The Japanese people love dogs. You can find many cute dogs walking around the streets with their owners. So cute!
The Japanese people are also healthy, because some of them choose to use bicycle as their transportation. And that is the reason why I can see many bike lanes and bicycle parking spaces.
I am also excited to see a lot of vending machines there. You can buy anything, including Kimono - their traditional costumes, from the vending machine. Well, Japan knows very well about the efficiency of shopping ;-D
And, Japan is one of the best place to eat porks. The Japanese people can cook porks very well that they taste so delicious! I guess this is what I call heaven ;-D 

Dear Japan and the Japanese people, I am so in love with you. I hope I can come back soon. See you soon! 

Enjoy your holiday, everybody! 

17 November 2014

Wagyu Dinner at Joe's Grill

Joe's Grill
Jl. Kartini Raya No. 57
Mangga Besar

Going to Swiss-BellHotel where Joe's Grill is located is very interesting. It is located in Mangga Besar, a part of China Town in the city. The presence of the hotel gives a different touch to the area. The taste of corporate style colors the area that has been known as a place for middle level business. Stunning and elegant! That is how I feel about the hotel.

Now, let me talk about Joe's Grill.

Joe's Grill is located at the right side of the lobby in the hotel. I can feel a modern atmosphere as I enter the restaurant. The bar is located at the left side from the front door. The restaurant also has the outdoor part that is perfect for the polite smoking people ;-)

Let me talk about the dinner. 

The Wagyu Dinner is opened with a fresh Thai Lychee Tea. A great ice breaker for the night as I start the conversation with the other guests. 

The option for salad is the Swiss Grill Style Caesar Salad or House Chef's Salad. I choose the first one. I enjoy the combination of its vegetables, beef bacon, fried chicken and parmesan cheese.

The option for the main course is Wagyu Tenderloin, Wagyu Rib-Eye Steak or Wagyu Sirloin Steak. Mine is Wagyu Tenderloin as it has less fat. Oh well, I am just trying to be healthy ;-D
The selection of the sauce is barbecue, mushroom or black pepper. My usual habit is to choose the mushroom one. But hey, do you know what? This time, I ask the waiter to serve me all of them. There is nothing wrong about exploring the taste, right?

Here comes the story of my exploration with the main course.

My Wagyu Tenderloin comes in medium rare with some vegetables, some drops of beetroot soup and all the three sauces. It is also accompanied by Casa Vella Cabernet Sauvignon 2007.
The tenderloin is cooked in a perfect way of medium rare. It is soft and not over-cooked that is easy for me to cut and chew. It still has its cheerful red color inside that looks so fresh. Perfect! Thank you, Chef! 
The taste of the tenderloin is strong with black pepper sauce, while it tastes a bit flat with mushroom sauce. With the barbecue sauce, the taste of the tenderloin comes between the first and the second sauce. Great!
When I combine the tenderloin with smashed potato, the ones with the barbecue sauce is so much better.
When I combine the tenderloin with smashed potato and red wine, the ones with the mushroom sauce is the better one.
Then I decided that my favorite sauce from the three choices is the barbecue sauce. It tastes so fresh, light, not too plain, not too strong and gives a happy feeling on my mouth.
Do you remember when I say that I usually choose mushroom sauce? Well, it is amazing that one fine dinner can change the way I choose the sauce :-)
While enjoying the tenderloin, I dip the vegetables in the drops of beetroot soup. The beetroot soup enhances the taste of the vegetables. Dang! Such a perfect combination! 
A note for myself is that maybe next time I need to alternate the mashed potato with the french fries one ;-) 

As for the red wine, the aroma of Casa Vella is like a collection of many flowers mixed inside the glass, while it brings a firm taste in my tongue. I feel like sitting in a colorful garden while drinking it ;-) 

For the dessert, there are Homemade Cheese Cake and Degustation Ice Cream Truffle. I share both of them with a friend of mine, so we still can fill our already full belly with another food. The goodness about sharing ;-D
The Cheese Cake is quite nice, as it does not taste too creamy or too fatty. On the side of it, there are small bites of brownies cakes. 
The Ice Cream Truffle is the best one! The ice cream comes with flavours of Vanilla, Strawberry, and Matcha Green Tea. There are also some bites of small fruits, brownies cakes and macaroon on the side of it. I am falling in love with the Matcha Green Tea one, as it feels so smooth in my mouth. Usually, other restaurants provide the bitter Matcha Green Tea ice cream, while Joe's Grill has the lighter version of it. Nice!

Some other small details that I like about having this dinner is the crumbs of peanuts that come with the french bread and the crumbs of cookies that come with the ice cream. Small details that makes a difference. Special! 

The dinner is closed with a great networking, a nice reunion of those who ever lived and worked in Bali, and a great happiness in the belly. A perfect combination of dinner and friendship. 

Good night. Sweet dream.