Posts in Food and Drink

Divine food

Last night was a special night. I had the best Indian food of my entire life. This took place at the house of our Indian friends Arnab and Sucharita, where we were invited for an all-vegetarian dinner. The food was divine. I don’t remember the names of the dishes but they were really out of this world! Oh my!

On a different note, Christmas is near and the husband is craving! He wants eggnog! Any good recipes out there? I have never had this drink. I don’t even know what it looks like. Help is urgently needed!

The meatloaf story

I had never tasted, seen or made a meatloaf before. I only knew of this all-American dish from the musician that bears its name. Last night, though, things changed. Last night, I saw, tasted and made a meatloaf for the very first time.

We followed a recipe called “Mom’s slightly more upscale Meatloaf” from the Kitchen Survival Guide. The result was wonderful, with Jeff confirming that the meat loaf we made indeed looked, smelled and tasted just as it should. I’m so pleased. This makes a wonderful addition to my humble list of “five-dishes-I-know-how-to-prepare.”

Now we have some leftovers, which I understand will make for a tasty "at work" sandwich. Well, this is definitely something to look forward to later today.

Doha: One year and counting!

Today marks the one-year anniversary of our Qatar stint. All I can say is that it was interesting, but I’m not sure I can highly recommend it. Although, I must say I don’t think I’m really a Gulf kind of person. But in an effort to put a positive spin on things, I’ll highlight some of my favorite episodes of last year.

  1. The sand dunes adventure: We took this trip with Sandy when she came to visit last May. We had a blast, although Sandy was screaming most of the time, as she was terrified by the speed our diver chose for the adventure. We took a half-day trip to the dunes (left pic) where this wild man provided an adrenaline-pumping desert safari escapade. Ascending the dunes was exhilarating. But coming down could be a bit terrifying, although very enjoyable! I recommend this outing for anyone visiting Doha.
  2. The musical CATS (right pic): The best thing about attending this world-class show was sneaking in to the post-show cast party held at the Ritz-Carlton’s Admirals Club. In addition to having access to an open buffet (food and drinks!), we got to see the CATS dancers hit the dance floor. This was just so much fun, so much fun!
  3. Taking trips across the region: This has to include our favorite one to Lebanon (middle pic), where I got to ski for the very first time in my life. I was such a clumsy skier but I loved it anyway.
  4. Sandy & me silhouetted on top the Doha dunes
    Skiing in Faraya
    CATS at Doha's Ritz-Carlton
  5. Enjoyable time and fine meals at our favorite Doha restaurants: The Italian job at Ramada Hotel & Marriot’s Salsa.
  6. DVD Corner: The place is jam-packed with really good movies and always keeps updated with the latest releases. The best thing about it is that we are always given special treatment, as we are one of their favorite customers, for some reason (might be the 200+ DVDs we’ve rented)!
  7. BLOGGING: Getting involved in the wonderful world you see before you. (Thanks to Aunt Karen!)
  8. Making really good friends: I’ve made some relationships that I will cherish for many years to come.

Looking back, I guess the past year was not so bad after all! [Click the pix for bigger versions.]

Red potatoes, anyone?

For dinner today, I made “Zesty Roasted Chicken and Potatoes,” again thanks to Betty Crocker’s Good and Easy Cookbook.

The result was somewhat mediocre as I didn’t really know what was meant by red potatoes. I just used regular potatoes, failing to realize red potatoes cook faster because of their size and skin, thus making them perfect for such a dish.

After I served the food, we realized my mistake when we found the regular potatoes were not really fully cooked. We ended up putting them in the microwave for ten minutes to salvage the situation. Eventually, we ate the meal, which turned out not as delicious as I’d hoped.

Ah, well, you live and learn! Bring on those red potatoes.

Becoming domestic

Last night I made dinner — something that I don’t usually do because I lack the necessary skills. What prompted this behavior was my current desire to be a more domestic couple and the visit of my friend Amal last night.

I made Tuna-Macaroni Casserole following a Betty Crocker recipe that, surprisingly, turned out to be edible! Actually, it was edible enough that I saved some for tonight’s dinner.

Who said miracles don’t happen!

On a different note, my good friend Dalia gave birth to a baby boy: Sanad. I called here last night and she was over the moon with happiness! For some reason, I haven’t gotten the pictures she said she sent of him, but I’m sure he is a handsome boy.

One talented couple

Last night we went for drinks with our dear friends Ahmed and Roa. We met at Saluté, which, as always, proved to be both pleasant and to provide quick service and a very nice, open atmosphere.

Ahmed and Roa are leaving the country by month’s end to pursue higher education in Australia. We had an enjoyable time with them, catching up with them since the last time we were together. Both are very talented: Ahmed a top-notch graphic designer and Roa, a very ambitious architect. They recently launched a website featuring their work under the bannerRoAhmed Studio! As expected it’s a very nice website! Jeff has Flash envy 🙂

A few more pictures of the Saluté excitement are available through the link below…

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A night at Wox!

Last night we checked out another new place here (at least new to us). The place is called Wox. It’s a Chinese restaurant, which began as a mere delivery service but was then developed into a full-fledged restaurant in the stylish Amman neighborhood of Abdoun.

The place is really nice and a great stop for those that like to spend their hard earned funds eating out. Wox’s interior design is modern meshed with some Chinese elements. The food was as superb as we remembered from delivery but the service was a bit slow. We dined with our dear friend Hani, whom we haven’t seen since we got married. We had a fabulous time, since we really missed him.

The topic that dominated our discussion: the new private (a first!) radio station here: Mood FM. We were introduced to this station as soon as we arrived and it has served as a very entertaining companion as we drive the streets of Amman running errands. The theme is easy-listening and classics but its play list is broad. It is really enjoyable to listen to, featuring legends like Bob Dylan, Santana, the Beatles and many others.

Much to our surprise, we discovered Hani is working as a DJ there three days a week. So we spent a big chunk of our evening making suggestions of songs that he might want to play on his next show. Ah, it’s impossible to beat the joy of being home.

Click below for some more pictures…

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RSCN’s nature café

We checked out a new place last night that certainly would not be called your regular Amman coffee shop/restaurant. It was decidedly different with a nature theme and a conservation and good health flavor. The building is run by the RSCN (The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature) and located in Jabal Amman. Its most notable feature is its very nice coffee shop, which overlooks downtown Amman.

The coffee shop menu is filled with healthy choices trucked in from across Jordan. In the center of the café, displayed on an exposed concrete wall, the society projects pictures of Jordan’s nature reserves in Wadi Mujib, Ajloun and elsewhere. It has a very distinctive ecological atmosphere

The Jordan Wild Nature Center, as it is called, also has a nature shop selling environment-friendly products created in various RSCN projects. These are items that would be welcome in any display case and make excellent gifts for non-Jordanians. I highly recommended it. This place is a must-see, eat and buy for anyone visiting the Kingdom.

Click below for some more pictures 🙂

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Egyptian Koshari feast

Koshari

I just returned from a brief dinner break where we had an Egyptian feast: Koshari. My Egyptian friend Sarah invited Jeff, Amal and I along with a South Korean friend of hers to her house to enjoy this Egyptian delicacy. Jeff really likes Koshari, a dish primarily made of rice, lentils, small macaroni and onions. He got hooked on it while he was in Jordan where he used to order it with friends from The Star out of a place on Garden Street called "Mr Koshari," which specializes in this delicacy. Sarah was also kind enough to send us back home with more food to have it for lunch tomorrow …yummy!!!

Korean delicacy

Last night was fun. We went out with a diverse group of people to The Korean Garden Restaurant here in Doha. The food was just superb. I had my all-time favorite Korean dish: Bulgogi. Going back in time, I was first introduced to the Korean delicacy when we were on our honeymoon in Istanbul. I tried Bulgogi per Jeff’s recommendation and I was hooked!Enjoying a moment in Doha

Besides the exotic food, the unique assortment of people we were with gave a special flavor to our outing. There was Manu from South Africa, Amal and Katia from Lebanon and Julia from Brazil, who is originally Lebanese, having moved to Brazil at the age of 7. We chatted the night away discussing various topics ranging from the large amount of sodium in Doha’s bottled water to the Lebanese community in Brazil, some seven million people!!

Jeff played the role of gourmet last night, recommending dishes and explaining the ingredients to those who were interested. Jeff’s knowledge of Korean food came via his Korean friend, Jun, whom he shared a flat with in DC after a semester with him as a neighbor in the American University dorms.

We came back soon after midnight and watched the 80’s movie The Seventh Sign, starring Demi Moore. The flick was interesting but a bit cheesy, perhaps due to its age and idealism.