After nearly a month of eating on the cheap in Southeast Asia, Eric and I decided we’d treat ourselves to a nice dinner in Bali. Granted, eating on the cheap was often the best way to dine in the countries we visited – it’s hard to imagine a big bowl of pho tasting so good in any other setting besides a street corner – but Bali certainly had fine dining options, and we wanted to see what they were like. Actually, in Ubud, nearly every restaurant looked nice – that city is full of trendy street-side cafes and posh eateries. So when we set out on this fine-dining mission, we basically just walked into one random restaurant on the street, unsure of how good it actually would be.
As it happened, we walked into Cafe Lotus. We walked back through an expansive restaurant, took off our shoes, then stepped up onto a long terrace that overlooked a lotus pond and Hindu temple. We sat cross-legged at the short tables while watching a traditional Balinese dance at the temple. Ambiance alone was worth the price of admission. The food, by the way, was great too.
It was simple – avocados, proscuitto, and olive tapenade. I knew it would be something I could easily recreate at home, which is what I finally did this week. I modified it slightly by adding artichoke hearts to the tapenade, but otherwise it is pretty much what I ate in Bali. By the way, what does a splurge for dinner cost in Bali? A whopping $30USD plus the cost of wine (which, frankly, is not a steal). Not too bad.
Avocado with Proscuitto and Olive Tapenade
2 ripe avocados
1/4 pound thinly sliced proscuitto
1 cup mixed olives – I used several random varieties from the olive bar at the grocery store
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 anchovy fillets packed in oil
1 can artichoke hearts
1 clove garlic
Make the tapenade by combining the olives, lemon juice, anchovies, garlic, and artichoke hearts in a food processor. Process until it is just slightly chunky.
Slice the avocado in half, scoop out the pit, then carefully scoop out each half of the avocado so it remains in tact. Cut into 1/4 inch strips. Wrap the slices in proscuitto and top with the olive tapenade.