The late George Harrison, the former Beatles guitarist, captures my sentiments succinctly. The winter of life has passed and it’s all about sunny days. So it was one wet Saturday evening that had me deciding whether to go for another serving of Seafood Gratin or Roasted Chicken at Restoran Fiesta. Instead, I swerved over to the Seafood station. It was just fitting to try the seafood since it was, after all, seafood buffet night. Weekdays showcase an international menu, I discovered later on. Eating – much less going to a buffet – was farthest from my mind then. But the sun has come, so hello buffet!
Buckets of rain were pouring over Jakarta that evening, but it was still sunny to me. I didn’t get stuck in traffic from Grand Indonesia to Sari Pan Pacific Jakarta on Jalan MH Thamrin 6 because, as everyone who’s living in Jakarta knows, when it rains in Jakarta, it pours, which isn’t all that different from Manila. Also a smorgasbord of gastronomic delights was waiting for me. Adding to the sunny disposition was the excursion to the wonderful Food Hall at the West Mall at Grand Indonesia earlier in the day, which is a respite from suburban Bekasi. This gargantuan posh mall is a haven of indulgence! I found what I was looking for – lemons (the big yellow ones I love), couscous, and boxes of green and chamomile teas. Believe you me – they’re rarities in Bekasi. Ah, the simple joys!
“Silahkan”, said the waitress, handing me a plate while presenting the wide array of fresh seafood on beds of ice – from mussels, crab, shrimp and squid to fish – before us. The shrimp and squid were my top choices, which I happily handed to the chef so he can work his teppanyaki magic and quickly added, “Jangan pedas Pak”. After 15 minutes, I was digging into scrumptious garlic-sautéed shrimp and squid dipped in sweetish Balinese sauce followed up by sushi particularly the one wrapped in fish roe. Dessert time! The station was overflowing with chocolate-y goodness, but a dessert glass of chocolate mousse and a plate of bread pudding drizzled with chocolate sauce were more than enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. My sugary coup de grace was a trip to the scooping station for delectable balls of strawberry (with strawberry bits), mocha and chocolate ice cream. Ah, the simple thrills!
It goes without saying that meal – a la carte or buffet – is best enjoyed with good company and which was what the experience was all about last Saturday.
Simple joys and simple thrills now keep me smiling and upbeat about life. It’s all about finding that sunny spot where I can bask and happily look at the past without recrimination. It’s all about gratitude to the universe for keeping my family safe among other things. It’s all about bidding good bye to winter and saying hello sunshine! Everybody sing with me –
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun And I say it’s all right Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
*A song written by George Harrison and included in the Beatles’ 1969 album Abbey Road