Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Avocado and doughnuts

Today we went hunting for doughnuts. Across the road from our hotel is an enormous mall, flowing over most of a city block, and somewhere within it is a branch of J.CO, an Indonesian doughnut franchise.

The founder of J.CO is spoken of in hushed terms, a man who performed the Promethean task of bringing the recipe for doughnuts back to Jakarta from the Olympian land of the US. Truly he must have been a visionary, because it's incredibly difficult to conjure up a way to fry sweet dough in the shape of a torus. While there are Dunkin' Donuts and Krispy Kremes across Indonesia, the fact that neither of them can spell properly must count against them.

However, J.CO has the disadvantage that it's terribly difficult to find. We took three goes to find it. It's easier to find a Christian bookshop in the mall than it was to find a doughnut. (That's not a parable, by the way, just a criticism of the maps inside Plaza Indonesia.) Eventually we tracked it down, deep in the bowels of the building, past the Hard Rock Cafe and a 'Music For Business People' event, which sounds as promising as being chained to a rock and having an eagle tear your liver out every day.

J.CO has lots of different flavours of doughnuts, at the bizarrely cheap price of 6,000 Indonesian rupiah (about 50 pence at current exchange rates). Well, that's cheap if you have gone insane and would happily spend a couple of quid on a doughnut. To me it seems reasonable.

More reasonable than a strawberry doughnut with "chocolate caviar" on top, but perhaps this is an Indonesian specialty. There wasn't a plain doughnut in the house: studded with almonds, or soaked in green tea, or coated with chocolate flakes and cherry jam, but no 'normal' jam doughnuts. To further confuse us, although each row of doughnuts had a little namecard identifying it, all the namecards were wrong, or else green tea, almond and blueberry doughnuts are all visually indistinguishable.

We gave up and tried the strawberry chocolate caviar doughnut. While chocolate caviar sounds a bit fishy, it was fine; a little light for my tastes (I like a good dense dough in my doughnut) but sweet and cheerful as a doughnut should be.

As we got up to leave, I spied the drinks menu, and became filled with surprise and confusion. Amongst the varieties of latte on offer was "Avocado". This is insane. An avocado is a fleshy fruit you make guacamole out of, not coffee. But as I looked around the mall, I saw more and more places offering avocado espresso, like it was something normal. Perhaps it is. Perhaps I'm odd, for thinking it's odd, just like it's quite normal for some people to have a civet filter their coffee for them. But still... Avocado?

The only thing odder was the last type of coffee on the menu: "COD". There's no excuse for iced haddock-lattes, none at all.


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