Boston, Portland, Springfield, Provincetown, Providence, New York
Cambridge School of Culinary Arts - from 2011 to 2013
State Park - Line Cook in 2014
Kaffir Lime Leaf, Turmeric Root , and Chiles
Indonesian Street. Indonesian Fusion. Fun. Messy. I work with a lot of spices and if you are into it, I'll make it hot!
Kaki Lima literally means "Five Legs," a reference to the two feet and three wheels that make up the traditional, and moveable, street food stalls popular in Java. Kaki Lima roam the streets, the vendors calling out their singular specialties for all to hear. If they find a customer, they stop and start cooking. In my opinion, it's the most fun way to eat. So like the Kaki Lima of my hometown Jakarta, I will come and cook for you!
Retno and her awesome assistant, Peter, set up shop in my boyfriend's apartment the night before he moved out (so this isn't Nick writing this, but the feelings are mutual). Nick had me thinking we were swinging by his apartment quickly before we went out for an early birthday meal but what a surprise it was to see a tiny table set for two in the bare dining room with candles surrounding it and aromas wafting from the kitchen.
Last year I lived in Indonesia and fell in love with the country, and having moved back to Boston I was disappointed to find a void of Indonesian cuisine, that I had hoped to be a portal through which I could still experience Indonesia.
Cut to the chase, Retno and Peter's creations were EXACTLY what I remember in Indonesia. Their ingredients were so fresh and bursting with flavor. The salad (mohon ma'af Retno aku lupa namanya) that we started the course from was phenomenal, with galangal, mini eggplants, sprouts, short beans, and a spicy peanut sauce. The tempeh goreng and satay ayam - fried tempeh and chicken satay - were exactly what I've been craving for the past year, alongside a delicious tomato based fiery sambal that was more delicious than the ones in Indonesia. The food sent me back across the Pacific and I couldn't help but skip the utensils and eat with my hands. Another treat was the rambutan! Retno had somehow found real, ripe rambutan and offered them as in between course snacks. Then for dessert, Retno combined pastry puffs with fresh mango and raspberries with white chocolate which was a great way to finish off the dining.
The experience was lovely, our phenomenal feast aside, we had a great time talking with Retno and Peter. They were very easy going and accommodating, and fabulous company. We were SO excited to hear their goals of starting a pop-up restaurant this summer. We're crossing our fingers that it will turn into something more permanent. Semuanya enak sekali, dan Chef Retno sangat sangat baik. You must try their creations!!!!
Chef Retno and her husband were amazing. The food was very good and something I've never had before. My wife found some dishes a little spicy, but everyone else enjoyed the heat. Plenty of food left over, the proportions were quite large. You won't be disappointed.
We had a wonderful evening with Retno! The food - and presentation - was awesome. She was professional, super friendly, and made a wonderful dinner!