Saturday, February 23, 2008
On to recommendation #1: Asado at the Palace Hotel, Burj Dubai. Nevermind that it's set in a hotel that is on a man-made island sitting in a lake up against the tallest building in the world - that just makes it a nice bar. What makes this place special is that once you eat the food, you couldn't care less where it is. While it may or may not be authentic Argentinian (guys, my last name is Mueller - what do I know?), it's authentic deliciousness. As a steakhouse, it's a bit on the pricy side (like most good hotel restaurants in Dubai), but the service, wine list, and ambience all get high marks. The meat itself is paraded out to you like a dessert tray at the end of a meal, and the wait staff is eager to tell you all about the 300-gram raw hunk of meat that you're staring at intensely. Sidebar - what's proper etiquette for staring at raw beef? "Well, that appears to be, umm, red - good, good - mark of a good steak."
Moving on. We had the chateaubriand - a bit like cutting a steak from the cow, setting it aside for later, and eating the whole cow. That said, fantastic. I'm assuming this is similar to much in Dubai, but the steak was pretty underdone, and needed a couple more minutes of heat (my dining companion, Miss Katie herself, is a bit of a sissy for raw meat). The wait staff was more than happy to oblige, and it came back well-cooked and accompanied by both a mustard bar and a selection of salts. Well played, Asado - well played.
All said and done, here's the bill breakdown:
1 bottle of Pelligrino: 60 dirhams
1 bottle of red wine: 230 dirhams (prices weren't that bad)
3 empanadas: 35 dirhams
1 giant steak: 435 dirhams
And as a final treat, Julio Viola, head chef of Asado, has provided his recipe for the Chimichurri sauce served with our steak:
Chimichurri Steak Sauce
flat parsley 200 gr
thyme 10 gr
spring onion 50 gr
garlic 10 gr
chilli flakes (Argentine dried chilli, which isn't spicy) 5 gr
salt 5 gr
black pepper 2 gr
corn oil (olive oil can be used to refine the taste) 100 ml
white vinegar 30 ml
PREPARATION: Finely chop all the ingredients and combine them to make a sauce. Let it rest for at least 8 hours to fully develop the flavor.
(Recipe courtsey of Julio Viola, Asado Argentine Restaurant Head Chef)
Friday, February 22, 2008
Also, "Bubble" is the ninth single by the English electronic music band Fluke and was their only single released in 1994 (thanks Wikipedia!)
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
So, we've gone nuts. Between the elevator races, parking space bingo, and renaming the doorman each day, we are officially obnoxious Americans (because we, like, totally weren't already). Before you get upset and roll your eyes that we are in fact representing stars and stripes in the Middle East, a quick caveat: our building is DESERTED.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Furniture shopping is only slightly different than the states - there are most of the same stores, but it's usually cheaper and higher quality. There are also some fun ones - like "Western Furniture" and "u" (sign is on the installment plan). More pics as it comes together, but right nows, it's bed time
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
We hope that you are all in good spirits and getting the chance to spend the day with loved ones, of any fashion.
The Hallmark holiday is in full swing here in Dubai. I just headed over to Lamcy Plaza next to our hotel for a quick Starbucks fix, and one my way in I was confronted with a huge crowd of people. It looked like the floor of the stock exchange, men yelling, thrusting money and receipts in the air, grabbing goods at a feverish pitch. Upon further inspection, I realized that some entrepreneurial minded fellow had set up a last minute Valentine's Day kiosk in the lobby. Everything you need: flowers, cards, chocolate, and jewelry and boy, were these guys desperate!
If the innate skill of the American college student is that they can find any reason to throw a party, Dubai's skill lies in being able to justify a reason to shop. Anytime, anywhere, for any reason - shop, shop, shop - they seriously can't get enough. So you can imagine that V-Day provides just one more delightful reason to go indulge.
However, looks like our friendly neighbors to the West and South aren't quite as accepting of St. Valentine's holiday. Saudi Arabia has demanded that all shop owners remove all red items from their stores until after Valentine's Day, so the color of these items can't be seen as promoting the holiday. No joke. The only funny part is that now they have created a black-market for roses and other such gifts, sweet move guys. You can click, this link, to get the full story.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
How Tyra Banks Brought my Sister and I Together Again! (bet you never thought you see that as a title...)
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Nonetheless, everything at Taste of Dubai, was delicious! Once you enter you have to buy a ticket book of "dellas" (totally made-up food currency). The concept is really genius however, because it is designed to make you feel like you are spending much less than you are! Each "della" costs 5 dirhams, and each dish costs between 6 - 8 'dellas', so therefore each dish is nearly 40 dirhams, which for those of you who aren't Econ majors, is about $11 US. So here we are, just blissfully throwing down our 'dellas' with the psychological comfort of the single digit fee to sample each dish.
But, darn if they weren't worth it! Between the two of us we tried: Chicken Pechuga Pibil, Risotto Funghi e Rucola, Crepes Suzette, Ceviche de Hammour, Chocoflan, Tuna Carpaccio with Lobster and Avocado, White Tomato Soup, and Braised Beef. Don't judge us - they were small portions, I swear! All in all there were 14 restaurants represented, including Gordon Ramsey's Verre. I was really disspointed that he wasn't there, I wanted to see him go crazy on a few customers! The only thing we didn't indulge in was a glass of champagne at the bar, which was priced at 22 'dellas' per glass - you do the math. ($30/glass for those of you scoring at home). Yeah, that's right.
Most of the booths were actually being run by the head chefs, which was really cool. A lot of them were signing autographs and taking pictures with fans. There was also a Chef's Theatre, where each head chef taught a cooking lesson, a wine tasting booth, and a gourmet food market.
Matt and I agree that the winners on the day were the White Tomato Soup and the Tuna Carpaccio with Lobster and Avocado (pictured above). If you are feeling adventurous, all the recipes are on the website. Just be sure to invite me over for dinner when you make one!
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Monday, February 4, 2008
I also got a chance to catch up with my good friend, Um Saloom, she is one of the characters in my new favorite TV show, Freej (it means neighborhood in Arabic). You'll note that she is a Bedouin (she wears a traditional covering on her face), anyway the whole show is like a Bedouin 'Golden Girls', these four ladies get themselves in all kinds of trouble and it is hilarious! It's a really clever show about how these national women deal with the changing Dubai around them. Everyone is going to get the first season DV from me for Christmas!