Monday, April 1, 2013

Oops! A case of English gone seriously wrong at Faisaliah Tower Mall

The other day I was at Faisaliah Tower Mall with my husband, and we happen to come across a rather shocking (and amusing) memo printed and posted on one of the elevators in their underground parking area. Have a look to see what we mean:

Least to say both me and my husband couldn't stop giggling. Now my husband's excuse was ''Cut them some slack, it's not their first language.'' And, I'm like really that's the excuse they would use? What shocks me more is that right above it are housed more than a 100 professional international company offices, and at their (Al Khozama Company) own office they don't seem to have a single bilingual person who can write proper Business English!!! This being the case, we're sure to see a lot more 'entertaining' written English communication from them. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Olive Garden, Pakistan - Nothing Italian about it!

This is going to be a quick bitchy post about Olive Garden Restaurant from Islamabad that recently opened a branch in Bahria Town Rawalpindi. I mean I cannot even begin to explain how utterly disappointing and UN-Italian their food was. The only thing that was any good was their decor and the 'on-the-house' Chicken Corn Soup they served us!

To give you a snapshot, in the Appetizers we ordered their mixed platter, which has everything - the mozarella sticks, the wings, nachos etc. Everything literally everything was cold! And, hence made it taste yuck! Then came the real test, both me and my husband unfortunately ordered the same thing - Penne Arrabiata. And, what we got was a DESI-style chicken pasta dipped in a chinese sweet chilli-style sauce. I mean come onnnnnn! I swear I couldn't take more than 2 bites of the thing, and literally forced myself to get it packed just to show everyone at home what pathetic food they are serving. My husband forced himself to finish half of his plate, and when he got the cheque (PKR 2100) and the feedback card, what he wrote must've certainly had their eyes-popping because he was fuming. Anyways we paid and left from there swearing to do the social service of informing everyone never to dine here. So here you go, we've done our bit. 

Street One Cafe, Islamabad - Great food & Awesome Ambiance

It's been a while since I posted anything on my blog. Was actually away for a few months in Pakistan to take care of a family emergency. Got back and had a lot on my plate to accomplish especially since I'm planning another trip (hopefully a shorter one than the last one) to Pakistan in January 2013 (inshaAllah).

Anyways while in Pakistan me and my husband checked out some eateries/restaurants, and one of them worth mentioning here is Kohsar Market, Islamabad's Street One Cafe. It was recommended by my cousin and it certainly lived up to our expectations. Though it's relatively new, having opened back in 2011, it's built quite a name and clientele for itself . I was told (by my cousin) that the crowd consisted mostly of 'foreigners/diplomats' which turned out true, but then again why wouldn't it, their food and presentation is excellent, the decor just perfect and the ambiance certainly hits the right chords. Sharing a few pics of the food we ordered. If you happen to visit them, which I do recommend, in the appetizers, give their light-airy nachos a try. 

The monetary damage was PKR 3200 (SR 124) only excluding dessert 'coz we didn't order any (had a 3 pound cake at home to finish).

We had been searching for the right kind of Italian restaurant in Islamabad/Rawalpindi, and though Street One Cafe doesn't specialise in any one cuisine infact has a varied International menu, the dishes we chose didn't disappoint us at all. I'm sure I'll be paying them a visit again soon :) 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Oh! Beautiful Turkey

It’s been almost 2 months since we’ve returned from a recent trip to Turkey. And, I have to admit it has topped my list of must-visit places. Finally got a chance to pen my thoughts.

I’ll try my best to share all my experiences here on the blog, especially since it was the 1st time I travelled to an unchartered territory with my baby girl of 20 months. Trust me it wasn’t easy. But despite all that both me and my husband really enjoyed ourselves and from the videos and pics we’ve taken of our daughter, it seems she enjoyed it too (then again who wouldn’t enjoy being seated on a stroller and pushed uphill OR carried in the arms whenever she wanted). Guess you know what I mean. 

For most of the trip, the LonelyPlanet book about Turkey was our actual guide.  So for all those planning a trip to Turkey, grab yourself a copy or borrow it from a friend (like we did). And, don't forget to read it!

As much as people say June-Aug is the high season in Turkey, my take would be that unless you don’t have school going kids (who have vacations during that period only), avoid going there as it gets really hot. Per me the best time to visit Turkey is in May when the temperature is just about 20 degrees, the weather is pleasant and even a stroll in the shiny sun doesn’t hurt.  

We spent a total of 13 nights in Turkey out of which 7 in Istanbul, 2 in Oludeniz, 2 in Koshadasi & 2 in Bergama.

In Istanbul we were entirely on foot and used the trams to get from one place to another. Amongst the most popular places to visit and things to do include:
  • Sultan Ahmet Mosque (next to it is the Arasta Bazaar)
  • Aya Sofya
  • Suleimaniya Mosque
  • Dolmabache Palace
  • Beyzit Mosque
  • Topkappi Palace (must visit for Muslims) 
  • Bosphorous Cruise
  • Grand Bazaar (don’t buy anything from here coz everything is overly priced especially the carpets and kilims)
  • Spice Bazaar
  • Galata Tower (we had give this one a miss coz it meant going wayyyyyy uphill and then climbing 100s of steps...not possible with a toddler in tow)
  • Kora Church
  • Hodja Pasha Cultural Center Dance Show ( ...a must watch!

From Istanbul , we took a 1 hr flight to Dalaman from where we rented a car (at the airport itself...had booked it online) and drove for approx. 1hr 40 mins to Fethiye Oludeniz. Allow me to share with you that Oludeniz is truly a beach lover’s paradise. It has the most amazing turquoise waters that you simply can’t resist taking a dip in. Check out the pics below to know what the beach looks like.

They have every possible water sport for you to experience. Plus, boat cruises that take you around the closest possible islands (we missed taking the cruise coz I fell sick that day...truly our loss). Perhaps that’s the reason why its major residents are British expats. Such is the impact that even the locals have adopted the British accent and literally every open air restaurant has a bar and a dance floor.  Unlike Istanbul, there are more than just kebabs and doners/durums (shawermas) to eat here. There are options for Italian, Chinese & even Indian cuisine. One of the places we tried was an Italian joint called Toscana Italiano right opposite our hotel. It was the only place that wasn’t noisy or crammed up. Not to mention their food was superb.
Piece of advice: don’t bother shopping here coz the prices for everything are hiked up to unbelievable rates compared to the other places in Turkey.

P.S - If you get a chance make sure to visit The Princess Islands.

Basically there is nothing much to see in Kusadasi except for just strolling along the corniche. It’s more a stopover to go and see Ephesus and Pammukale, though don’t stop yourself from a shopping a bit here, though be ready to bargain. We got some really cools tees, sweatshirts etc from here, and even the beautiful ceramic plates. Most of the proper ceramic shops actually have a factory in the backyard so to say, where they produce everything.

Once again this is a very small city. It’s more popular as a stopover to see Pergamon.
Tip: Great place for the most fantastic deals on carpets and kilms ;)

Shopping in Turkey
It almost impossible not to shop while in Turkey especially when you see every city carrying beautiful bright lamps, hand painted ceramics & tiles, hand woven carpets, rugs and kilims, beautiful cushion covers and ofcourse simply stunning Turkish jewellery. As far as we are concerned, let’s just say we did a fair bit of shopping of almost everything. The only thing missed were the lamps.

Piece of advice: Take your time in browsing around the shops and don’t forget to negotiate/bargain. Trust me you’ll be surprised at what their selling rate is and what they will eventually offer you as final price to buy ;)

IMPORTANT Tip: If you are travelling from Saudi Arabia, even by mistake don’t tell them. They will starting referring you as ‘Sheikh’ and will literally try selling you things at double the price.

When Travelling to Turkey with a toddler:
  • Proper Baby Carrier: Make sure you carry a proper sturdy stroller with you, preferably with a storage basket, and especially a rain cover.
  • Baby/Kiddy Sunglasses: are a must.
  • NO Elevators: In most of the hotels closer to the tourist spots there are NO elevators so be ready to climb stairs.
  • Don’t Worry about Excess Weight on Domestic Flights: Though the domestic flights have a max weight policy, we were lucky that the people at ATLAS JET did not charge us a penny for extra weight. Allow me to mention that our extra baggage weighed 50% extra of what is allowed
  • Always carry extra WATER, crisps, chocolates, candies with you while trotting around Turkey.
  • If renting a car online, make sure to get yourself a baby car seat. Our friends who travelled last year actually took one of their own ones from here. But we simply got the rent-a-car company to provide one.
  • Carry your own GPS – we borrowed one from our friends and my husband had entered all the coordinates for the hotels and places we were going to visit from here which made ALOT of difference while travelling by road. P.S - Make sure to find out where the nearest hospital or clinics are wherever you choose to stay. Trust me it helps. 
Truly hope this post is useful for those travelling to Turkey anytime soon. Least to say, we'll be back in Turkey for more. It's got a lot to offer.  

Turkish Ceramic Crafts

The Hodja Pasha Cultural Dance Show

Stunning Oludeniz Beach

 Theater of Pergamon - Steepest Theatre in the World (that's me there with my girl) 

Sultan Ahmet Mosque

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dubai-based Cocos Restaurant & Bakery – Welcome to Riyadh

After nearly 2 yrs and 4 months of waiting since moving here, my all-time favourite restaurant from Dubai - Cocos Restaurant & Bakery - has finally opened up in Riyadh. The best bit was that it opened in the Olaya area on Tahaliya street, but the worst bit is I no longer live in that area, otherwise at every opportunity I would be dining there.

In any case atleast it’s arrived. Cocos Riyadh opened its doors beginning of April and being their ardent fan, I simply had to visit them (we went there on 10 April 2012...yup I’m a bit late in writing this review), not so much to see what they are like but if they are as good as they are in Dubai. And, least to say I was impressed. Everything was simply perfect – the food, the ambience, the service. We went in just about Isha time, and no surprise the restaurant was practically empty. The restaurant is set-up very nicely with dim purple lights, perfect spacious cabins for Saudi style family privacy with sliding doors, and just like Dubai, they have the bakery in the restaurant itself. Oh! how excited I was from the moment I walked in. When they handed us the menu and tried to explain the top favourites, I announced to them how I was no newcomer to Cocos and how very fond I am of them since my Dubai days. I mean literally every twice a month, me and my friends would dine at Cocos in Dubai. They have 3 branches there – Sheikh Zayed Road, Deira City Centre and JBR – and I’ve been to all 3 of them. They serve all kinds of cuisine - Mexican, Italian, Indian, Chinese and much more. Anyways coming back to Riyadh, both me and my husband ordered our below all-time favourites:

Cheese Nachos (SR 53) – oh how absolutely perfect these were.

Main Course:
Tortilla Crusted Chicken (SR 59) – served with mashed potato/fries, veggies and black beans. It was as perfect, crispy, tender, and delicious as can be (exact taste like Dubai, no wonder both my husband and I ordered the same dish). The dish also comes with a free treat - soup of the day or salad. Yet again both hubby and I ordered our favourite Creamy Broccoli soup.

Cajun Chicken Sandwich (SR 40)– served with fries

The portions are so big that it would be tough to finish everything on the plate in one go. That said I did try my best :) By the end of it, we were so full that we just couldn’t have any dessert. During our meals, the Chef paid us a visit and told us how he got trained at Cocos in Dubai to perfect the menu for Riyadh. Not to mention even some of the servers/waiters had also got trained by Dubai-based staff. And, it shows.

I’m just so glad that they lived up to my very high expectations. Other than the above, in Dubai I’ve tried, and recommend their Fajitas, Quesadillas, Pastas etc. I’m sure they will be ditto in taste here.  

I wish the Cocos Riyadh team the very best. I’m sure we’ll have more of Cocos branches all over the kingdom soon.

For all you diners, make sure you pay Cocos Restaurant in Riyadh a won’t regret it. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Halwa, Poori, Nihari and Why I Dislike Riyadh the most!

It’s one of those days when the ‘Desi’ in me is missing Dubai a lot. You might wonder what’s the connection between Desi and Dubai? Well it’s just that ever since I’ve moved to Riyadh I’ve been desperately searching for a Pakistani restaurant that serves the best Halwa Poori and Nihari. But rather sadly even after being here for 2+ years  I haven’t seen a single decent Pakistani restaurant open up that would serve this yummy (and extremely fattening and filling) breakfast delicacy in Riyadh. Now if anyone in Riyadh is vouching for that Al Hamra Restaurant located in the Hara area of Riyadh as a possible alternative, I’m afraid that shoddy place, not to mention the below average taste, simply doesn’t count. On the other hand just about 600 miles away from here, in Dubai the most mouth-watering, sense- swirling ‘desi’ breakfast is served every Friday.

It is my heartfelt recommendation to anyone visiting Dubai, and who craves for the occasional Halwa Poori and Nihari like me, to PLEASE TRY the following restaurants in Dubai, infact you know what, just don’t leave Dubai without trying them. Now if you’re from Lahore you might argue that it simply cannot match the Lahori breakfast flava, but trust me my Lahori husband has even given it a 9/10 for the authentic taste. And the foodie that he is, I dare not doubt his opinion. So here goes: the best spots to have a filling ‘Desi-Style’ breakfast and Nihari with your family:  

Kabab BQ
On our recent trip to Dubai in February we discovered another newly opened yet fabulous restaurant with lovely decor serving our most-loved traditional Halwa Poori Breakfast called Kabab BQ. The seating arrangement and the decor is very modern, and simply perfect for a posh Pakistani crowd. My husband’s friends had taken him there on one Friday and when he came back and shared his delicious experience, I decided that the coming Friday we were going there this time (husband’s treat) accompanied by Dubai-based brother (who may I add had no idea of this restaurant) and sister who was visiting from Pakistan.  We were there around 10ish and were surprised to see the restaurant was vacant. I mean literally empty with the waiters anxiously waiting for someone to arrive. As my husband had explained, there was buffet of lip-smacking chaney/choley (chick peas), soft halwa (dessert), desi saag (a variety of spinach), nihari & aroma-rich tea. We quickly got seated and as my husband had mentioned waited for the hot pooris to be served. The best part was as we would finish one set of pooris, the next steaming-hot set would arrive. Last but not the least was when at the end of our breakfast they served hot Jalebis (traditional Pakistani sweet). Usually I don’t like Jalebis so much but even I couldn’t stop myself from having these fresh-out-of-the-wok sweets. Well from my side they get full marks for the service, the food & the decor. It was truly an amazing and unforgettable breakfast experience. Needless to mention, highly recommended to anyone who’s a die-hard fan of having a traditional Pakistani breakfast on a weekend.

P.S- Right next to it is the Maria Bonita Mexican Restaurant which serves great Mexican food. Once we finished with our breakfast at Kabab BQ, I took my 16 month baby girl to see the parrots at Maria Bonita Restaurant. There seated were 2 guys who seem of Indian-Pakistani origin, they were still deciding on what to have, when one of them saw us coming out of Kabab BQ with a hearty smile. He immediately decided to pay Kabab BQ a visit to check it out and emerged 2 mins later only to apologise to the waiter at Maria Bonita saying ‘next time’ and took his friend to have a desi breakfast at Kabab BQ. Needless to say they made the right choice :)

  •      Umm Al Sheif Street, Jumeirah 3

The location explains why the restaurant was empty. It’s located between Al Wasl Road and Jumeirah road and hence is easy to miss.

Cost per person – AED 39 only
Timing – 9am to 12:30pm for Friday breakfast
Menu: To see what all they offer other than desi breakfast visit this link

BBQ Delights
Famous for its open buffet kebabs and traditional Pakistani style menu, this restaurant serves a delicious variety of desi breakfast items such as halwa, chaney, poori, nihari, paaye, etc. only on Friday. Though it’s usually called a Friday Brunch I wouldn’t regard it as one since its starts early in the morning on Friday. Yes! on a Friday 9am (for a desi crowd) is regarded early.

  •          Karama, Dubai
  •          JBR, Dubai

 Cost per person – AED 39 only
Timing – 9am to 12:30pm for Friday breakfast

Delhi Restaurant
This restaurant or should I called ‘Nihari Wonder’ should rename themselves as Nihari Restaurant. I mean seriously these guys have been around for nearly 30 year serving by far the best nihari anyone has ever had in Dubai. Never has their taste or the quality of their Nihari ever gone wrong. Having lived all my life in Dubai, eating Nihari from Delhi Restaurant every month without fail was a family tradition. Credit goes to my father (spent 30+ years in Dubai) who being a ardent desi food lover discovered the place with his friends and helped us understand the difference between a average, good, excellent and out-of-this-world Nihari. Need I specify where Delhi Restaurant’s nihari stands?! I still remember how my father used to take a big pot/vessel (enough for atleast 12 servings) with him, and used to get Nihari as take-away from Delhi Restaurant with their yummy nans/bread. When he’d enter home with it, I would scream ‘Ýipppppie Nihari’!!! Proves my love for it, doesn’t it. Oh how I miss those times!

I told my husband that this time we simply cannot miss eating here while in Dubai. In fact I told my husband that by far it will be the best nihari he would’ve had so he was looking forward to it too. And guess what? I was right. My brother took us there on our first night and the place was jam-packed. Thankfully we got seated soon and immediately without even browsing the menu ordered for our favourite item. We also ordered for some malai tikka boti, some seekh kebabs and another bbq item (don’t remember honestly). I simply cannot explain the feeling of my first bite of nihari (after such a loooooonnnnnng time). Surprisingly the other items my brother ordered such as the malai tikka and kebabs etc. were also really delicious. The thing is we never before tried anything except for Nihari from this place so had no clue they served other amazing dishes too. My mouth still waters at the very mention of their nihari. Least said, DO NOT leave Dubai without having this true delicacy from Delhi Restaurant.

Deira, Dubai
(It’s located in the busiest district of Deira and unfortunately has no parking space available. Despite that people flock to the restaurant even sometimes waiting for 20-30 minutes before they find a parking. Need I say more!)

Well, from the above detailed reviews you can very well imagine why I titled this post as ‘Why I dislike Riyadh the most’.  I just hope and pray that one of these places open up here soon. Anyone listening???

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Where We Ate In Paris

Rather unfortunately while in Paris we tried a level best to look for Halal food but may be it was the area we were staying in (walking distance from Arc De Trimophe), we couldn’t find a single restaurant which served Halal food. We used to spend our afternoons (amidst all our exploring and trips) looking for Halal food joints but no matter which map we followed  or whoever we asked we simply never found the exact location and hence ended up eating at non-halal joints. If you’re a Muslim, please understand that the below is recommended only in case you aren’t able to find a decent Halal restaurant. Hope you understand.  

Nai Restaurant
Cuisine: Lebanese (NOT Halal)
What we had:
  •          Shish Tawook plate - €18
  •         Chicken Shawarma plate - €18

Total Bill: €36 without soft drinks

We dined here 2 nights out of the 4 that we stayed in Paris, so you can imagine how much we liked it. Very honestly after a long day of exploring and walking, we wanted to have hearty portions that would satisfy not just our appetite but also our taste buds. Hence we didn’t take any chances at trying Parisian cuisine. We stuck to what we like best - Lebanese cuisine. And, we were lucky that this restaurant was relatively close to our hotel.

Feedback: A bit expensive but truly lived up to our expectations of a fabulous meal. The taste was truly Lebanese in every way. In fact the staff too was of Lebanese origin, and ofcourse spoke fluent French. Definitely recommended to all those flying from this region, and want to play it safe on the 1st day ;)

Pizzeria Fiorentina
Cuisine: Italian (Not Halal)
What we tried:
·         2 Pizza Poulet (chicken) – €10.99 each
·         Pates Au Poulet (chicken pasta with white sauce) – €11.99
·         Pates A La Rabiatta (chicken pasta with Arrabiata sauce) – €9.99

Total Bill: €51.94 including soft drinks (we were very hungry)

Out of the remaining nights, we only dined here. Why? Simply because this Italian joint was truly awesome. We happen to be returning from the Eiffel Tower and realised that it was past 9:30. By the time we would reach the hotel, it would be close to 11pm and most of the restaurants in our area would have closed by then. Hence we decided to take a chance with Pizzeria Fiorentina.

Feedback: The waiter was extremely charming and helpful, hence full marks for the service. Regarding the food all I can say is that it was the best I had in both Paris and Italy. Yes! I said Italy! I mean if I ever go back to Paris, I may not go to see Eiffel Tower but will surely drop by this joint to have my favourite food. That’s how much we loved it. I mean come one the next day being our last day in Paris, this restaurant was completely out of our way, yet we took the sub and headed straight for Pizzeria Fiorentina. Hence, my recommendation for all those planning to visit the Eiffel Tower, try this restaurant you’ll love it. It’s right opposite the Bir Hakiem metro stop, next to Subway. 

A Trip Down Paris Lane - Part 2

Now since this was my first trip apart from the usual trips to Pakistan, Dubai and back to Riyadh, I definitely cannot count myself as a ‘frequent traveller’. So you can imagine how tired I must’ve been after a 7 hr flight to Paris which may I add was delayed at the Frankfurt airport by another 3 hrs. In short what I really wanted to do was get to the hotel, kick off my shoes, eat a hearty meal and get in bed. But that wasn’t going to happen.

 After we reached the metro closest to our hotel, we realised that with our luggage we had to walk another 20 minutes before we could reach the hotel. And, the worse part: we still had to find the hotel. Anyways, after our long relentless walk, we checked-in to the hotel, freshened up and decided to get some food. Now ofcourse that sounds like easy task, doesn’t it? Well it didn’t turn out to be one. We headed to the reception and asked the guy if he knew of any Arabic/Lebanese restaurant close by (yeah we decided to play it safe with a Middle Eastern cuisine in a European country so what!).  Fortunately he said he knew of one where the food was really good and it was within the vicinity. He gave us directions and we started walking (again!). We walked and walked and walked and realised that the restaurant was a good 10-15 mins walk from the hotel. Our wonderful luck was when we reached the restaurant it was CLOSED! I started swearing ‘coz I couldn’t take it anymore. I mean for crying out loud, doesn’t the native idiot receptionist know that the restaurants close after lunch and open only in the evening!!! Why the hell did he send us here without the warning.  Argh! By now both me and husband were famished and dog-tired, well atleast I was. We decided that we couldn’t turn back and decided to keep walking until we find a small eatery. After walking another 10-15 mins, lo behold we found MCDONALDS! You would never believe that our very first meal in the romantic streets of Paris was actually at MCDONALDS!!!!!!! Without giving it anymore thought we rushed inside and ordered whatever we could. I went to the counter and ordered combos well that’s what we are used to here in Riyadh right? But at counter when the lady said fries and coke separate, I was like ‘is she kidding me’. Moreover the price we paid for the individual burger, fries and coke was equivalent to the price of 5 combos here in Riyadh, or for that matter in Dubai or Pakistan! I mean it was unbelievable! Who would’ve thought after covering 1000s of miles we’d end up eating at Mcdonalds and paying such a price! Anyways the worst wasn’t over yet. We walked back to the hotel and changed into something warm. At this point I was ready to crash into bed, UNTIL my husband announced that he wants to go and explore the Arc De Triomphe. Do I really need to spell out how I felt like?! I think not. But what really made me hit the roof was when we got to the Arc De Triomphe, and my husband made me climb the 284 stairs of Arc De Triomphe!!!! Trust me when we got to the top for the first 15 minutes I couldn’t decide whether to divorce my husband or throw him off the roof. I mean the pain in my legs was unimaginable. I felt like someone had cut off my legs. Anyways after 15 minutes I had mercy on my husband who couldn’t stop feeling guilty and apologised several times. Then we posed and took several photographs, and after about an hour (where I sat at every opportunity I got and oh how funny and unfit I looked) we came down the stairs.

Trust me I DO NOT recommend for anyone who is as inactive as me to ever attempt walking so much on the 1st day. Least said I definitely will never forget my 1st day in Paris. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Fatburger Riyadh– A Fat Disappointment

Alright first of all let’s get the facts straight:

Fatburger is not for fat people – the portion size is so flipping small, even if you go for their XL sized burger! Not to mention the seating arrangement is not comfortable for so-called BULKY aka FAT people.

Fatburger is not for women with lipstick – Unlike traditional burgers where ladies donning lipsticks can get away with munching on them, a Fatburger is simply so greasy & soggy that you’ll end up making a mess of your face.

Fatburger may be the best awarded burger in Los Angeles – but it isn’t winning no awards here. (We love you FUDDRUCKERS) 

Fatburger is unreasonably expensive – Already the burgers are priced higher and if you have to pay extra for cheese, bacon strips and even fries, then seriously Fatburger is taking it too seriously!

After a lot of hoo-ha about Fatburger me and my husband gave it a try last night. Now you can say we’re biased coz my hubby is a big fan of FUDDRUCKERS so when we were heading to Fatburger we knew we were going to compare it to the best (now for some people Johnny Rockets is the best but for us FUDDRUCKERS it is). Anyways when we opened the menu and saw the sizes and no-frills (extras) approach that Fatburger was dishing out we were seriously disappointed. But we patiently waited for our burgers to arrive. And, when they did, all I could mutter was GREASE!!!!! They should change the JUICY burgers title to GREASY burgers! The patties were dripping oil and juices, and as a result the bun was completely soggy. Argh! I mean how do you expect me to enjoy the burger patty when all I have is juices trickling down my hand. Mind you! I know the difference between a perfectly moist and soft burger patty, and a dripping one. 

In comparison FUDDRUCKERS, serving just across Fatburger, not only are the burger patties neither dry nor excessively juicy, the portion size is larger with each burger coming with free wedges and a free plate of open salad bar. Now that’s called value for taste!

What more can I say. Honestly speaking, I rest my case.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Trip Down Paris Lane - Part 1

Our recent trip to Paris (in Sept) was definitely full of surprises. But then I guess after spending almost 2 years in Riyadh, anything might seem like a surprise.

For starters, we were very ‘pleased’ with the cold weather that first greeted us at the Frankfurt airport and then at the Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris. Then as soon as we got on the train to get out the airport, we were ‘greeted’ by a smooching couple on the train. No matter what they say, witnessing a couple kissing in public is definitely different from watching actors and actresses in movies or documentaries ;) For the 1st 5 seconds I couldn’t stop but stare. Shucks! How uncivilised I must have looked ;) But honestly it wasn’t the smooching that caught my attention, but the disgusting graffiti-filled neighbourhoods in North of Paris that we saw as soon the train started. Surprisingly the 1st train out of the airport was stinky, and had Parisian youth dressed like hooligans prowling for their next prey. Both me and my husband tightly held onto one another in the fear of being mobbed.

What truly left me speechless and dumbfounded was that as we continued to emerge from the North wing of Paris, after several miles, the scene had completely reversed. The towns started looking like more of what we see in the movies, with beautiful landscapes, people looking more civilised and decent-looking, neighbourhoods that were filled with nice townhouses and buildings etc. The stark contrast hit me real hard when we got to our stop at the Arc De Triomphe on Champs-Élysées. What a 180 degree difference! In short, one can say the ride from the airport gives a visitor a real insight into the major social class difference that exists in Paris. Simply unimaginable! But like they say nothing is perfect...well neither was Paris!

Stay tuned for Part II.