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.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Where to go on a Romantic Date in Riyadh?...Head to Centro Restaurant & Lounge

A week back it was our anniversary. And, both my husband and I were lost in thought about where to go for dinner. After the usual cake cutting and gift exchanges, came time for dinner. And, though it is my hubby's birth right to woo me for a date on such an important date, he simply went ahead and asked me "Where would you like to go for dinner?" I was amazed and definitely not expecting that he hadn't planned the evening, but after he gave me the options of the Globe Restaurant at Faisaliah Hotel, I silently thanked God. Coz I wasn't interested in an over-rated experience especially not on my anniversary. I just wanted a quite-some dinner with a romantic ambiance. And, that's when it hit my hubby to try the Centro Restaurant & Lounge on Tahaliya Street. The interiors in this restaurant are all in the combination of red and black and even the partitions between families are simply breathtaking, made of velvety black curtains. We had gone there once before on a very late evening hour and didn't find a decent seat, not to mention, then we were accompanied by little 10 month old who was feeling extremely cranky. Anyways both me and my husband has promised ourselves we would come back some day. And, I was glad it was our anniversary day coz it seem that the whole placed was booked by us....It was empty on a Wednesday evening at 9:00pm! 

Centro is basically an Italian joint and they have the usual gamut of all the possible Italian cuisine.  The prices though, are at the higher end but hey I don't mind paying an extra couple of 10s for the striking romantic ambiance. We ordered our traditional red and white sauce pastas. Below is a breakdown of what exactly we had:

Japanese Style Shrimps Tempura & Spring Rolls Platter - The shrimps were simply out-this-world. Cooked to perfection!

Main Course
Hubby: Fettucine Al Fredo - the usual white sauce pasta with chicken and parmesan. Asked to remove the mushrooms. 
Me: Penette Alla Marinella - the usual red sauce but asked them to make it extra spicy and asked to add chicken to it. Got the eggplants removed for sure!

P.S - The main course pics were taken half way after we began eating ;)

There was simply no room for dessert considering we had a 2 pound cake waiting for us at home. The total bill came out to be under SR 300 which includes fresh juice and water, not to mention the service charge. All in all, had a lovely evening. 

Definitely recommend this place for a romantic date, especially with the handful of choices we have in Riyadh for any romantic spots whatsoever!