A Feast for the Senses at Bloggers Gathering

Posted by OmarTarakiNiodeFoundation
03 October 2016 | blogpost

Zagat’s latest National Dining Trends survey of nearly 10,000 avid restaurant goers across the US says that 77% of respondents consider themselves to be foodies. Once they’re at the restaurant, diners are so focused on getting the perfect food shot that 60% admit to stopping dining companions from eating so they can take food photos.

Such hilarity actually happened during a small event that The Omar Niode Foundation had the privilege of organizing. Last month we invited Indonesian food and travel bloggers based in New York for lunch at Perry St. Restaurant to get to know each other and to share some social media tips.

We first organized food bloggers gathering back in 2013, inviting 10 movers and shakers for an Indonesian Bloggers' Super Brunch with Omar Niode Foundation at The Dharmawangsa Jakarta. It was so much fun as you can read in our blog post here that we hoped to repeat the food bloggers camaraderie in New York.

West Village

Perry St. Restaurant with Cedric Vongerichten as Chef de Cuisine offers unique flavors and textures with exquisite blends of French, American, and Asian influences and ingredients. The menu is inspired by the season, with ingredients sourced from the local market at nearby Union Square.

Located in Richard Meier Towers in West Village, this 60-seat restaurant first opened in 2005 has waterfront views of the Hudson River. West Village, according to Time Out New York has wealthy, celeb-heavy demographic and a wealth of restaurants and boutiques, but manages to preserve a low-key, everyone-knows-everyone feel and picturesque charm.

Thomas Juul-Hansen, known for his mid-century modern design sensibility planned the Perry St. cozy dining room, decorated in soft shades of brown and white. Our reservation made 2 weeks earlier was set for 1.00 PM on Sunday, a time when the restaurant is always crowded.

 Image: Perry St.

Perry St. Food Fare

As soon as our group is seated in a roundtable for 6, the wait staff graciously answered our questions, since we were in a dilemma whether to try the regular lunch menu or a prix fixe three-course lunch. Which selection would be best for food images? We finally settled for the prix fixe Taste of Summer Menu, calculating that all together there will be 6 appetizers, 6 main courses and 3 desserts that we will be eligible for, a total of 15 items, not including drinks.

Pleasantly surprised, all together we savored a total of 21 menu items, with complimentary 3 appetizers and 3 desserts from Perry St. Thus began food blogger’s feast for the senses, admiring the plating, figuring the ingredients in the dishes, tasting the enchanting fare, comparing delicate textures, flavors and colors, oohing and aahing because of familiar Indonesian herbs and spices, and snapping hundreds of images with smart phones and inconspicuous cameras in sitting, squatting and standing positions.

We are proud to say that we did all those actions quietly without disturbing other diners, and seconding what the Zagat’s Survey revealed: “50% of diners say they have taken photos of every dish at the table.”

To imagine our excitement, you just need to look at the list of delicacies and the major ingredients we relished, as penned by Umi Syam, who also attended our 2013 food bloggers gathering in Jakarta.


Green Juice (Kale, Spinach, Lemon, Green Apple, Cucumber)  and Red Juice (Beet, Carrot, Orange, Ginger, Lemon)


Fried Calamari (California Yuzu Dipping Sauce, Sesame) -Salmon Sashimi (Chili Tapioca, Asian Pear, Coconut Lime Broth)) -Watermelon and Cantaloupe (Greek Yogurt, Cucumber-mint, Rosemary) -Tuna Tartare (Serrano, Puffed Rice, Pickled Daikon) -Perry St Steak Tartare (Crispy Quail Egg, Parmesan Cheese, Basil) -Late Summer Soup -Heirloom Tomato (Sesame Dressing, Avocado, Basil-Serrano) -Roasted Wild Mushrooms (Pecorino Sardo, Pine Nuts, Sherry Vinaigrette) -House made Burrata (Local Figs, Pecans, Pumpernickel ).

Main Courses

Ginger Rice Bowl (Crispy Poached Egg, Avocado, Pickled Chiles) -Lobster Thermidor Shiitake, Gruyere, Tarragon) -Perry St Fried Chicken (Creamed Corn, Scotch Bonnet, Cilantro, Lime) -Bouchot Mussels and Clams (Fragrant Spicy Broth, Tofu, Garlic Bread) -Grilled Yellow fin Tuna Burger (Bonito Mayonnaise, Shiso, Yuzu Pickles) -Slow-cooked Atlantic Salmon (Tomato Compote, Market Shell Beans, Leeks).


Valrhona Chocolate Mousse (Mint Ice Cream, Chocolate Wafers) -Honey Panna Cotta (Glazed Figs, Rosemary Sorbet) -Farm Brie (Mascarpone, Black truffles) -Strawberry Pavlova (Strawberry Sorbet, Fromage Blanc) -Chocolate Molten Lava Cake -Brown butter Carrot Cake (Cream Cheese Frosting, Coconut Sorbet).

Introducing the Bloggers

The highlight of the Indonesian food and travel bloggers gathering in New York was to learn about each other’s experiences, their exciting activities and what brought them to the global power city of 20 million. Here are the New York based Indonesian Food and Travel bloggers with their Instagram handles and blogs:

Shabrina Koeswologito (@slowtravelstories)

Shabrina has been in love with traveling since her parents sent her off to summer camp in Sweden at the age of 11. Before coming to New York to pursue a Master’s Degree in Tourism Management, she worked as Zomato Community Manager in Indonesia, to help build a foodie community through partnership with bloggers, influencer, and communities and to organize foodie meet ups. Shabrina has experienced what it’s like to visit 125 restaurants in a day. She was also active at Visit.org, an online marketplace start-up for worldwide sustainable travel based in New York as a community outreach intern, globally recruiting bloggers and influencers to represent Visit.org Affiliate Program. Her travel blog, Wonder Tripper, is a feast of exotic destinations all over Indonesia.

 Image: Shabrina

Dita W. Yolashasanti (@ditut)

Dita, a mother of 3 who holds a Bachelor in Anthropology from Indonesia, is a New York City based food photographer, stylist, illustrator and cake artist. She has co-authored 2 books on Food Photography. Dita had been introduced to the art world since she was a kid; hence her passion for art and creativity developed and intensified over the years. When living in Kuwait with her family Dita explored cake craft world and opened a cake shop in collaboration with Kuwaitis. Her husband’s job brought the family to New York in 2015 and Dita celebrates life with arts and crafts and currently enjoys watercolor experiments. Dita’s creative works and her family's can be viewed at  Our Artful Life.  

 Image: Dita

Umi Syam (@umieats)

Umi Syam is an interaction designer and creative technologist living in Brooklyn, New York. She just graduated from MFA Design & Technology at Parsons School for Design, New York, with a special skill-set in front-end web development, data visualization, and creative coding. She finished her undergraduate in Computer Science at Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia with a concentration in Human-Computer Interaction and started her career at Microsoft. Life as a graduate student was tough but she was often inspired to do a lot of food-related projects. Umi considers herself a designer and creative coder by day, but a foodie 24/7. She had been blogging about food on and off since 2009 at Umi Syam.

 Image: Umi

Sonia Garcia (@hungrynyc)

Sonia is a graduate of Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. When not busy taking pictures and letting her food get cold, Sonia rewatches Miyazaki films, buys brimmed hats, chases after cute puppies, and cooks. Her favorite foods in no particular order are ramen, dumplings, and sushi. Originally just a platform to document her growing techniques and travels across the globe, her blog, Hungry NYC, suddenly boomed during the “Food Bloggers Craze”. After meeting some of her favorite culinary photographers at food events, Sonia developed life-long friendships and became fully immersed in the gourmet scene. HungryNYC believes that food is always functional (i.e. about sustenance, growth) and not merely about aesthetics.

 Image: Sonia

Maira Niode (@mairaniode)

Maira moved to New York in 2015, after completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Geography at the University College London, to pursue a Master’s Degree at Columbia University. Last summer she assisted Visit.org, an online marketplace start-up for worldwide sustainable travel with its social-media campaigns. Having grown up in an international school, Maira has been exposed to worldwide cultures since a very early age. This developed her passion for traveling and food exploring, leading her to visit 26 countries to date. She has tried skydiving but is more enthusiastic about scuba diving to expand her travel experiences. Maira has had experiences volunteering for United Nations events in Copenhagen, Cancun, Lima, and Paris. She especially enjoys documenting her trips, including her culinary journeys, through videography, photography and blogging at Omar Niode Foundation. 

 Image: Maira

Adithya Pratama (@adith1801)

We missed Adithya at the Perry St. gathering as he was volunteering for an event organized by the Museum of Food and Drink in Brooklyn, but had fun catching up with him at Mille-Feuille Bakery Cafe, at the Upper West Side area a week later.

Adith is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Food Studies at The New School in New York. Before arriving at The Big Apple in 2015, he was the Chef de Patisserie and Brand Manager of Dapur Cokelat, a chain of pastry shops with 12 stores in Indonesia that create a range of exquisite chocolate products. He assisted in its marketing activities & creative design, as well as media relations. In the last 6 yeas, Adith who received a diploma in baking and pastry arts from Le Cordon Bleu in Sydney and At-Sunrice Global Chef Academy in Singapore, has been a freelance food & travel writer for a number of magazines and online publications. Check out his muse at Lick N' Tell.  

 Image: Adith

There may be more Indonesian food and travel bloggers based in New York, and we hope to meet them in the near future. If you know of some, please drop us a line at info@omarniode.org. In the mean time, please stay tuned for more of Omar Niode Foundation’s feast for the senses in Indonesia and abroad.


Text: Amanda Niode. Images: Omar Niode Foundation, unless otherwise noted