It is seriously such a relief to know that we have escaped the horrid desert summer in the nick of time. When I say the word “horrid”, do I really, really, really mean it is HORRID. For those of you back in Manila, who are complaining about the heat waves, you guys ain’t felt nothing yet. There is NOTHING in the world like the horrible Dubai desert summer.
I’ve heard that Dubai summers can be quite depressing. Imagine being stuck in an enclosed space filled with 10 ginormous SUVs, all revving up their engines with heat levels steadily increasing and exhausts on full blast right in your face that breathing is the most difficult thing to do. Imagine the suns fierce rays pinching every pore on your skin, burning you to a crunchy dry, unattractive crisp.That’s how it feels on most days.
And if you’re stuck in Dubai with no travel plans out of this country and just sick of bumping elbow-to-elbow with the crowds at the shopping malls, then I suppose depression is possible. The past weeks have been a routine of office-work-office-work. Nowhere to go. Hardly anything decent to do, except enjoy our wee flat’s air conditioning.
This heat does fry your creativity and spirits like it did to me. I actually don’t mind being burnt once in a while because when you get burnt, you do learn something new. Like the first time I tried Beef Rendang.
I am a simple girl with simple foodie dreams. Aside from transforming the beginner cook in me into an amazing home cook, I dream of packing my pink suitcase with a thick wad of cash just basking in the different cultures through food.
There are days when I go green with envy as I browse through my favorite food blogs or my friends’ social network photo albums as I see them country hop and eat local delicacies to their tummies’ content. But after a few minutes, I snap back into reality and remember my short and medium term goals that I need to focus my energies and resources into. My travels can wait, and so for now, easily accessible food escapes in the glossed over food destination in the desert would do…
The problem with productivity junkies like myself is the addiction to do more (not compromising on quality) in the 24-hours of each day that God has given us. So lately, I’ve been sucked into the teeny weeny yet cosmos consuming black hole called real life: chores, work, and more chores await. Both seems like they never end. Gone are the days when I could make MORE time for blogging. I make time, but it doesn’t seem enough anymore.
But today is the kick-off of another weekend (Again???), so today I dedicated some time to just stop and smell…not roses, but camels. I don’t mean that a camel popped up in our urban desert neighborhood and I stopped to pet it AND take in the smell of sand, damp pelt and dung.
Thursday is simply camel meat day.
I now have regained the a full appreciation of the line: “Where has the weekend gone?” I can’t believe those two days are so over. But, but, but I am grinning from ear to ear like a Cheshire Cat because I think I just had one of the most productive and enjoyable weekends ever. To be honest, it wasn’t anything spectacular like a weekend out of the country or even just a weekend out of town (a weekend in Sharjah? *Snicker*).
It was simply a weekend filled with the simple joys that make my life complete
Upon our practiced Dubai tourist entertainer gut feel (and as suggested by some readers and trusted Dubai foodie friends), we took The Husband’s visitors to Al Tawasol, the now favorite Mandi-han (Mandi restaurant), for a taste of the real Dubai. The Husband and his friends were famished from an afternoon of high speed twist and turns at Ferrari World. Naturally, they were hungry as hell and so ready to dive into a platter of Mandi…or maybe something slightly different.
I was craving for one of my favorite Japanese rices bowls of all time, the Katsudon: tender yet crispy panko breaded pork cutlet drowning in a mixture of sweet dashi-soy-mirin sauce, runny barely scrambled egg, translucent onion slivers and green peas atop a cup of pristine rice. And having passed Umami a number of times, it was a sign from the heavens that I have submit to the Katsudon craving. I knew that Umami at Ibn Battuta mall’s food court had a lot of promise of being an authentic Japanese fast food stall with its brightly lit glass display of life-like plastic food bowls.
But as I was hungrily looking through each plastic food display, my eyes did a double take on one dish. The sign read “Chicken cutlet katsu don”, but the rice bowl wasn’t katsudon at all…
I did not grow up eating in hoity-toity, fancy schamancy restaurants and hotels that required you don your Sunday’s best garb and behavior. Our family (perhaps because of the sheer number of hungry mouths to be fed) frequented places with more affordable yet still equally scrumdiddlyumptious food. It’s not that I do not appreciate the beauty of fine dining. I just grew up believing that good food was not directly proportional to the tag price. Even if I started to actually have the money to afford frequenting fine dining places, I still couldn’t find myself thoroughly enjoying fine dining…it just didn’t feel right.
And so ladies-who-brunch at BICE Mare, Italian seafood restaurant at Souk Al Bahar was still intimidating for me (even though I did win the brunch from Foodiva’s Italian lunch competition). Except that…
The Husband and I are both unabashed carnivores. We love our meats and are not afraid to go places for it. Case in point, last Monday, after grazing through and drooling over a eat-all-you-can beef ribs and grilled chicken promotion, The Husband quickly made reservations for us on Tuesday night at The Grand Grill, Habtoor Grand Resort & Spa.
I was quite excited since it’s been a while since we went out for a date, at the same time, my tummy’s carnivore hormones were pumped up too.
Despite being at home in the arms of The Husband, there are just days that I feel pretty much out of place in this country.
Even inside our wee home, it feels just odd. Imagine that I have to tippy toe to the best of my abilities every time I brush my teeth (which is more than once a day) just to be able to reach the sink at a proper angle to avoid making a wet minty foam mess. It seems that things were built for more vertically gifted people, and not for petite people like me. In some restaurants, tables and counters are built for towering westerners and Arabs, making it quite awkward for teeny sized me to comfortably enjoy the eating experience.