Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Al Maeda: Levantine and North African Cuisine

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Finding a parking space in The Walk JBR sucks big time and the twenty dirham per hour in the paid mall parking is hefty while the chic hotel valet serves guest only. Surprisingly Al Maeda Arabic Restaurant and DoubleTree by Hilton The Walk has a complimentary self parking with ample spaces. Having said this, please note that Al Maeda offers its guest a valet service as well.



Arriving at the venue, lovely and smiling ladies and gents greeted us and ushered to the terrace where we met the Food and Beverage Manager Angelikos who talk us through the property. Al Maeda and DoubleTree by Hilton is already at a premiere location. Al Maeda terrace is overlooking a breathtaking seaview and in front of it will soon rise the Dubai Eye, something like the London Eye but tree times larger than that, can you imagine?


Al Maeda or "the dining table" presents a pairing concept of Arabic cuisine, Levant and North African to be exact. The menu consist of variety of carefully selected special Arabic dishes from across the Arab world. Traditional Arabic dishes from cold mezze to main course and desserts are serve in this stylish restaurant.

The restaurant includes a full service bar, an open kitchen, a private dining area for families or large group and an outdoor terrace where guests can enjoy the breathtaking sea view, shisha is available.




I must say the star of the night was the harira soup and the lamb tagine. The soup was warm, light, and homey. You know that feeling that you reminisce when you drink this soup, that is precious. If you have seen the cartoon film ratatouille when France top food critic Anton Ego tasted his ratatouille cooked by Remy, that kind of feeling. (yes you can Google that). It simply brings back good old childhood memories.

On the other hand, the tagine lamb dish was sweet and savory with the meat so tender and flavorful. I like how Moroccan dishes uses fruits in their dishes to balance the flavor and the use of spices such as cinnamon for that extra aroma. If it was me, I would have it serve with the lid on and then the waiter removes it in front of you to add some drama. (ang arte :D)





We also had grilled halloumi and the cheese lover in me was jumping for joy and smiling from ear to ear.


mix grill (lamb chops, shish tawouk and kebab lahabi)


This Mediterranean Prawn which is a pan fried prawn with artichoke ragout lemon coriander sauce in a bed of dill rice is also a winner, anything prawn bring it on.


Desserts came nice and warn on our table and well presented, it would have been flawless if a warm and goouey cheese kunafe was serve in the very same plate, there on that space, yeah there! :D. The pretty mint tea cup isn't suppose to be there, I just used it for photography purposes.



All savored of course in the company of wonderful people I met at the event from BBC Good Food and Gulf News TV.


DoubleTree by Hilton has a service culture built around the idea of CARE, which stands for 'Create A Rewarding Experience "where the ‘little things mean everything" quoting General Manager Hassan El Wahidi


Al Maeda has an open kitchen concept headed by Chef Maher Akwan himself, who specialized in Arabic food. Chef Akwan commented “We want them to see what is being cooked, how it is prepared and then brought to their dining table which is an experience similar to what they have at home.”

with Chef Maher Akwan
Al Maeda is open for lunch and dinner from Monday to Saturday 12:30 pm to 11:30 pm

Al Maeda 
+971-4-4533333
reservations.doubletreejumeirah@hilton.com
www.doubletree.com



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Thursday, November 20, 2014

An Old Christmas Wish

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Back in 2009 around ten days before Christmas I created a wish list and posted it here on the blog, wish one and two, three and four. I intended to have ten but I only had four,  the ones that I really wanted and care about. That was the last wish list I made ever since.

It is this time of the year again and we are down to thirty five days before Christmas. Looking back to those wishes I made, I realized that all of them had already came true. All happened on different occasion and timing but everything was given, all my wish came true.

This year I only have one wish and in my heart it is what I desire the most. I will keep the faith and pray for it to happen real soon. Sorry if I am not able to share it with you because it is too personal.

In the mean time to add a little Christmas cheer in this space I am sharing with you the time lapse video of me and the family putting up the Christmas tree at home. Although it was cut short because my phone died on me, I still love it.



Prince once again put the star, Mica was fighting to do it this year since Prince did it in to two consecutive years already but being the loving and understanding sister that she is, she let her little brother do it again for the third time.


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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Tresind Modernist Indian Fine Dining

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Tresind is the newest addition to the ever growing Dubai dining scene. What makes it unique is the use of molecular gastronomy in cooking and preparing delicious classic Indian specialties, not to mention sleek ambiance and excellent service.



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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Shayan Persian Restaurant Press and Bloggers Dinner Party

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The last time I dine at Shayan Persian Restaurant was to meet and greet a Professional Travel/Photography Blogger Laurence Norah. Only during my second visit for a Press and Bloggers dinner party hosted by Shayan I get to explore and adore the beauty of the rest of the restaurant, talk about ample seating with private nooks, elegant interiors, traditional music from a Santoor player and of course once again the taste of good authentic Persian food with some new addition.


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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Zuri Asian Fusion Restaurant

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I am afraid my photos may not be able to give enough justice to exactly how beautiful each food creation was at Zuri Asian Restaurant at Auris Plaza Hotel Al Barsha Dubai hence I inserted this video but as usual I also took tons of pictures.




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Monday, October 27, 2014

Chimes of our Lives, Crab Fest 2014

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Last week my friends and I headed to Chimes Dubai - one of Al Barsha's casual Far Eastern restaurant that caters delectable street food of the Eastern Pacific rim including Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia



October is the beginning of the crab fishing season around the world and Chimes Dubai Crab Fest 2014 is still on offering six crab dishes, perfectly marinated crabs smothered with your favorite sauce served with steamed rice or Mantau buns for only 99 Dirhams. Each crab weighs about 500 grams and is good for 2 people.


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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Barefoot Lounge is Back!

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After a long and warm summer, the cool season has finally arrived! Yay!! 

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one excited, in Dubai we all have been waiting for this day to come because it means outdoor life and the end of hibernating inside our temperature controlled homes.





To welcome the return of this great outdoor weather, Dubai Marine Beach Resort and Spa's Barefoot
Lounge, one of Dubai's most romantic open-air lounges has opened its doors. Ferald and I with fellow bloggers and members of the press were invited to celebrate this event.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pinoy Themed Restaurants Making Waves in Dubai

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This next feature is about two hip, trendy and innovative restaurants that are currently making waves in the Filipino community in Dubai. We tried and tested their toothsome recipes and did not fall short of our expectations.

The first one specializes in seafood served in galvanized buckets lined with wax paper. Here you can chose your seafood (fish, clams, crab, calamari, lobster) and the sauces. You can also have it mild, hot or fiery. The place is hip, trendy and not hard on your pockets, it's called Seafood in a Bucket.

The new place has more spacious dining area and has a light and airy atmosphere. We needed to wait in line to get a table, they are very busy especially at dinner time and on weekends. They are serving breakfast now but that we still have to try.


Here they provide you with plastic apron and gloves to wear to keep your hands from getting too sticky and shirt getting stained but mind you no forks and knives needed no plates either. How do you eat then? All you need is your bare hands, yourself minus your inhibition and a big appetite for a good meal. Be ready to get dirty literally.



calamari, tilapia and prawn in buckets of course

Our order consisted of unli-rice (unlimited supply of steamed rice), calamari in sweet chili sauce, tilapia with pepper sauce and prawn in sweet chili sauce. Drinks were cucumber and apple, and watermelon.

This was Ferald and the kids first time here. Seafood in a Bucket got my family's vote of goodness which only means that this ain't going to be the last time dining in this joint and the next visit would most probably be for breakfast.

***

It wasn't planned, it just happened and it ended up in a fight.

We went to the beach on the first day of Eid Al Adha. The weather was good so we headed down to...

The Beach

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Eid holidays are made of these ������☀️������

After the much needed vit. D and salt water...I mean dip, I wanted to take the family for breakfast at the Arabian Tea House, they have good breakfast over there but then my daughter realizes that we are driving along Jumeirah road and suddenly suggested that we visit...

The Dubai Zoo

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Life is so much better when I am with you #roquefamily #teamroque #saturdate #familyday #prince #mica #dubaiblogger #mydubai #myyellowbells #eidindubai #eidaladha

That's what happened when you have kids raised in the Emirate, they exactly know the places where to go. I said yes of course, it was a day for the kids to enjoy.

Breakfast became a quick trip to the nearest fast food we could find before driving back to the zoo. Spent an hour or so watching, observing and photographing animals before we head home to rest for a while and change outfits.

We declared it a free day so we can go anywhere we like. Ras Al Khaima was part of the plan, yes a long drive on a whim but an impulse to get lunch was even stronger. There came in the idea of a boodle fight and we found ourselves on this table at Asian Flavors Restaurant in Al Qusais between Beirut and Damascus Street by lunch time.


Boodle fight is a Philippine military style of eating where long tables are prepared and food are on top of the banana leaves. Viands and rice ready to eat using your bare hands, jugs of water are prepared on the side to wash hands before the "eating combat". With the signal to start the boodle fight, everyone aims for his/her position.Urban Dictionary.

It is now being adopted as another way of dining among Filipinos because it is fun and it symbolizes unity among friends, family and community, no inhibitions, no reservations. Asian Flavors took this idea to another level by serving it in their restaurant and since then, they've been flocked by Pinoys here in Dubai. 


Here is what we have tried

Masskara Festival Boodle Feast. It has garlic and plain rice, prawn, noodles, crispy tofu, salted eggs with tomatoes, chicken inasal, grilled milk fish, fresh green salad and grilled eggplant salad. all for AED 199 or $ 54, this meal is good for 3-4 people or more depending on your appetite.


There are other boodle fight sets inspired by the different festivities in the Philippines like Lab-As Seafood Festival, Buglasan Festival, and Tanjay Fiesta. They also have Indo-Chinese Feast, Mumbai Festival and Taj Festival and lastly a Birthday Boodle all prices at AED199 only.

Everything on this set was cooked just right, the way it should be  and good enough for me and the family with a promise to come back. The only question on our mind was from where do they get the banana leaves and how do they replenish the stock? Can someone enlighten me.

If you would like to try it, be sure to call to book a table. They are very busy and it waiting time can be up to an hour.

Have you been to Asian Flavors and dine this way? Share us your experience below.
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Peri Peri Special Treat

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The family was out and about during the last three-day Eid holiday. On the second day of Eid, we went to Qanat Al Qasba in Sharjah for a Peri-Peri special treat.

QAQ is a stone throw away from where we live, it is the place with the iconic Ferris Wheel called Eye of the Emirates which you cannot miss when you drive around Sharjah Al Khan corniche. Funny enough, I haven't blog about this gem of a place even I have been here for so many times. (I didn't mean to keep it for myself!)

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Qanat Al Qasba #qaq Eye of the Emirates #sharjah #sharjahblogger #myyellowbells #smileyoureinsharjah

 Al Qasba was a picturesque display of festivities during the Eid Holiday. It was bright, buzzing with people, children running around wearing happy faces while their baba and mama seat and relax al fresco in front of packed eateries. Live mime comedy acts and some science experiment show was there for the kids too. On both ends of each of the two buildings were quirky and exciting fun rides for kids and adults as well. This outdoor amusement area is a permanent thing here in QAQ so if you are looking for a place to take your children during the weekends, it's one  place I can recommend. Rides doesn't come cheap though but almost the same with those in the malls.


When you go to QAQ, you are suddenly transported to another place. It is said to be the Venice of UAE with abras and self operated motor rafts with flashing blue lights ferrying passengers to and fro the canal waters. We wanted to try it but it was fully booked already when we asked the operators, they were really busy.


It was actually dinner time when we arrived in Al Qasba. As initially planned, we took a table for five at the newly refurbished family-friendly Nandos Restaurant. We actually needed to wait for a few minutes to be seated because the diner was full.




 I've been to other Nandos branches a couple of times before and was always impressed by its ambiance and the food never disappoints so when I heard the news that the QAQ branch reopened after the renovation, I did not pass the chance to visit.

Keane, the interior company in-charged of its beautiful design did a great job. Keeping Nandos Afro-Portugese roots, the restaurant features large willow suspended rafts, which are inspired by unique South African textiles, while the perimeter wall sees rammed, earth green plaster combined with the curved oxide metal louvered screen adding a warm, natural texture to the space.

supplied photo
Supplied photo
Colorful, handpicked artworks, provided by the Nando’s Arts Initiative, adorn the walls ensuring that whether South African or not, customers will feel right at home the moment they walk into the Al Qasba outlet.


The signature open kitchen and grill allows customers seated nearby to watch as the grillers prepare sizzling butterfly-cut halal chicken pieces, fresh crispy salads, perfectly seasoned fries, and of course delicious kiddies’ meals, ready to satisfy the whole family! When you enter the restaurant, you will be greeted by the wafting aroma of the peri-peri chicken.


We were seated in this beautiful nook with birds eye view of the whole restaurant. It feels snug and homey yet chic and elegant.


A meal platter with a whole chicken cut into four pieces, marinated and flame-grilled to perfection and slathered with our choice of lemon and herb sauce keeping it kid friendly, two super sweet corn-on-a-cob and some potato wedges for our side dishes and 2 bottomless drinks was good enough for us to share. I just added some Peri-Peri humus and pita as requested by Mica-she likes hummus a lot and an extra drink and a bottle of water.

my grilled goodness!! look at these!!!
side dish overload

While enjoying our meal, we couldn't help but notice how customers come and go that even the outdoor tables were already full. Nando's have a massive following in the UAE with 14 branches each has its won unique design but keeping its earthy design and colors.

All that starts well ends well and so dessert was served. We had cheesecake with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream 


and then some nutella in huge jars.


and then a bike ride along the canals


We were actually expecting a fireworks display but we were told that it was only set on the first night of Eid instead of all three nights. With or without pyrotechnics, it was still indeed a beautiful Eid night at Al Qasba and a wonderful dining experience at Nandos.

Nando's Restaurant
Ground Level, Al Qasba
Al Taawun Road, Sharjah
+9716 556 6033

Bike Hire - AED 20 for 30 minutes
Abra Hire- AED 100
Self Operated Motor Raft - AED 50 for 15 minutes for 4 people
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