Sunday, June 26, 2011

A must see Pakistan album!

Usually I'm the last person who would comment or or post anything related to Pakistan  on my blog because all one can do is just comment and talk about matter what we do from here as expats or by living in Pakistan there is no changing the conditions that prevail in Pakistan. Hence I will not say anything more. 

But this album came as a breath of fresh air and I thought now this is something that I'd proudly put up on my blog. This is a beautiful side of Pakistan that even I didn't know about. Do go through it and see what we've been really hiding!

Amazing Pakistan

Anatolia Turkish Grill...A Diner’s Delight!

I honestly cannot even begin to describe what an absolute delight this Turkish restaurant is. My husband and I have been here 4 times already which clearly explains how fond we are of the place, the service and the quality of food. I thought it was time after our 4th visit to give them a review that they truly deserved.

That said the only trouble with the place is that it does not have a spacious family hall. It’s quite tiny actually and possibly can serve upto 10-12 families of 6 at a time only. Perhaps that is a reason why I’ve noticed lots of people coming in and ordering takeaways. Either way these guys are very busy and much in demand. We’ve tried them on weekdays and weekends but have never once been disappointed.

As you walk in you are greeted pleasantly and made to sit on the only waiting sofa. They hand you the menus and give you time to select what you would like. Once ready to order, they take your orders and seat you comfortably at a family table. Once seated they bring in their steaming hot (literally out of the oven) bread, with the most delicate butter slice and a cheese slice. To be very honest this itself serves as an appetiser but still we can help order some of our favourites listed below:

  • Humus – was kind of average. We ordered it only the 1st time around, other 2 times didn’t need to.
  • Peynirli Pide (appetiser)– a kind of cheese manakish, but simply superb.
  • Adana Kebap – long kebabs like seekh kebabs but they are simply irresistible. I claim these to be the best seekh kebabs I have ever had in 30 years. They are not spicy but you will feel with every bite a rich blend of distinct flavours of herbs and spices in your mouth. Meat lovers cannot leave without trying this.
  • Tavuk Papyon – these are long kofte kebabs rolled and stuffed with smouldering cheese and mushrooms.... umm!!! an absolute must for cheesy lovers!
  • Peynirli Kofte – similar to the Tavuk papyon just that this one is made out of beef/meat and has no mushrooms in it. Another delight!
 You can view their menu here
Both I and my husband love Anatolia Turkish Grill located at the Granada Mall. Even the waiters/attendants recognise and welcome us with a lovely smile each time around. I just hope they can open more of their branches around town with much spacious family quarters. From my side they get a thumbs up for everything!

I support Women2Drive...BUT BUT BUT...

I openly admit that I'm all for women driving in Saudi Arabia, however, I will not be amongst those who are brave enough to drive, for the simple reason I'm a driver who can drive only where there are proper rules for drivers and those who don't abide it are penalised severely (like in Dubai). But a year and a half of living and seeing the driving in this country, I'm more than glad to take the back seat. Not to mention I have no intention of having pathetic losers follow me home and wait for me like a prey.

To summarise I'm all for women driving but personally speaking I have other reasons to not  drive here. Whenever and if ever the streets of Saudi Arabia become safe for 'safe and careful' drivers like me I might reconsider until then I will let my husband and taxi drivers brave the streets of this country or more so Riyadh.

That said I do mirror the sentiments of all those women who struggle on a daily basis to get anywhere in this city (or other cities). From dropping and picking children, to picking up grocery, to even managing emergency situations, we have to depend on our husbands, fathers, brothers or otherwise cabbie drivers. Not all of us can afford the luxury of having a personal driver like the Saudis can, but hey when did we expats ever be counted or appreciated for anything that we've done in the Gulf Countries. It is sad indeed that we cannot even be pardoned for taking to the wheel in an emergency situation. What if the sole driver in the house (for example a husband or a father) got a heart-attack at 1am in the wee hours of the morning, does this country honestly expect the woman to just sit and wait or hail a cab at that hour! I'm sure the woman will get an ambulance or a cabbie by the time he is dead! I wish the Saudis who impose these rules would sometime step into a woman's shoe and see the choices we have to make.

Friday, June 24, 2011

El Chico Mexican Restaurant: Unbelievable bad experience!

Before I start this post let me tell you that our so-called lunch this afternoon has completely ruined my weekend. This restaurant has been opened only 7 days and definitely having an upset customer is not good for their business. And, though the General Manager Talal refused to let us pay, and he and his team apologised to us (husband and me) a million times, it still can't do away the bad taste the restaurant has left in my mouth. The reason why I'm so flipping upset is because I've been to the one in Dubai, and their service & quality was simply impeccable while here in Riyadh it was a complete 180 degree.

Husband decided to surprise me this afternoon (I had said many good things about El Chico in the past week that he decided we should try it). We land there at 2:30pm and it was jam packed (like any other new restaurant in Riyadh). However, thankfully we were seated immediately. We ordered the following:
  • A mixed platter (chicken wings, chicken nuggets, mozarella sticks)
  • Chicken Mushroom Fajita (specifically requested for without mushrooms)
  • El rancho with fries and refried beans
What we got:
  • A mixed platter with cold chicken wings and cold soggy mozarella sticks - we asked them to replace the soggy mozarella sticks which they did
  • Chicken Fajita filled with mushrooms - we asked them to replace. My husband was flipping pissed by now).
  • El rancho - my husbands' order arrives, and then my order arrives 3 minutes later (mind you we waited almost an hr before we got our orders). And, guess what my order is not as hot as it is supposed to be. Furthermore, the manager Rami tries to humour us by informing that he got me extra fries...which needless to mention were again all cold.

I left 70% of my meal (see image for proof) because I had lost my appetite. They only thing they managed to get right was our drinks...lemonade for my husband and a diet pepsi without ice for me.

The staff was confused, and literally the restaurant floor seem in complete chaos as each time we asked them to replace something, they would check with 5-6 people, the computer machine, the kitchen staff etc. to ensure they've gone wrong.

The icing on the cake came when we received the cheque. My husband informed me jokingly that they charged us 26 riyals for service. That's when I literally lost it. I asked the attendant to call his manager and Mr. Rami arrives, and that is when I unleashed the severely disappointed customer in me. Fortunately the General Manager Mr. Talal was around and happened to hear everything. He came over and apologized (like I mentioned before too) on behalf of the team. And, tried to offer us a free meal apart from not letting us pay. But, I could not be won. I left the place with a frown. And, apologised to my husband for the absolute f***-up.

Let me add here I already told the Managers that I will be writing a review about this regardless of their apologises, so I'm not being a stabbing-them-in-the-back bitch. I'm just being a bitchy disgruntled customer.

NEVER going to El-Chico in Riyadh again. And, please God I hope none of our friends ever decide to treat us to dinner there.

P.S - Thank you Mr. Talal for hearing me out then. And, thank you for not charging us the lunch, which you know should not have been billed to us anyways because of what we've experienced. But appreciate your professionalism.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Yes I admit and I realise that my blog has become outdated. So much for posting just back in January of this year announcing my comeback! Ha!

The deal is very honestly I’ve just not had a chance to resume being a blogger again. No! it wasn’t the ‘new mommy’ thing but in fact because I tried my hand at working full time. Went for some interviews around town, landed the job too but eventually gave them up. Now this was a big deal for me because for the whole of last year I tried looking for a job in Riyadh but did not get a single call. And, here from beginning of this year it was like the complete 360 degree. However, I let go of these opportunities. Why simply because I had got accustomed to being at home. That said I’m not free, I’ve started freelancing and that is why I had to let my own blog take a back seat.  

I’m now going to make it point to revive this blog with weekly posts. And I hope to have some new comments and followers to keep me going J