Tuesday, September 25, 2012

DXB to IAD: Dubai and Washington Upgrade Their Relationship

It was with typical Dubai-style fanfare that Emirates hosted a launch party to introduce their new route to North America last Thursday.  Matt and I were delighted to join the party after participating in the filming of the launch videos for Washington, DC in Dubai a few months back.  Boy, did they put on a party!  The event was hosted at the stunning National Building Museum in Washington, and there was plenty of flowing bubbly,  top-notch canapes, and VIP guests to add to the fanfare.

We were able to catch up with friends from the desert who had flown in for the event including our own US ambassador to the UAE, the President of Motivate Publishing, and the UAE embassy staff, who were able to keep us updated on the ongoing of our former home - even though we've only been gone a few weeks!

The biggest surprise of the night was almost the fact that the three course meal was incredibly delicious for such a large event (no rubber chickens here) but instead, as a surprise to all the guests, it was when the Master of Ceremonies invited Lionel Richie out on stage for a twelve song set!  A legend!

As he sat down and started crooning "Easy Like Sunday Morning", he invited all the attendees to join him at the stage.  While most people were hesitant, Matt encouraged us to make a move and I was glad we did - we ended up right next to the stage for a near private concert!  My heart skipped a beat when he sang "Say You, Say Me" and I was moving my feet to his great performance of "All Night Long".  The evening turned out to be a pretty special one, I never thought we'd be front and center in front of Mr. Richie!

Here are some of his best songs, in case your memory needs jogging on just how cool this guy really is!

Say You, Say Me.
Three Times a Lady.

Easy Like Sunday Morning.

                      All Night Long.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Thai Cooking Class: When You Just Can't Get Enough Thailand

Our friends Maurice and Gemma certainly know how to ease our Thailand withdraw symptoms.  No sooner did we return from Thailand, than did we receive an invitation to celebrate Maurice's 30-something birthday party with a Thai cooking class!  Well, maybe it was just coincidence, but we were grateful nonetheless to be included in Maurice's big celebrate and of course, to have an excuse to chow down on some pad thai goong.

The class is held by the Thai Kitchen restaurant in the Park Hyatt on the creek in Dubai.  The restaurant gets top marks for it's cuisine during dinner time, often heralded as one of the best Thai meals in the city, but by day you and some friends can have the chance to take the restaurant by storm - cooking your way through their various stations to create your own lunch while the Master Chef advises.  It was a great way to spend an afternoon and a really special way to celebrate a birthday - I would highly recommend it!

A striking display.  $10 to the guy who can eat the most?
We may look the part, but Matt did most of the cooking.  I mostly did what I do best, look on casually while sipping wine - most of the ladies joined me!
Only Matt would have hat malfunctions.  He broke two of them before he was relegated to the black beret.
The intensity of the group, as they learn how to make Thai fruit salad.
This dish was by far the most surprising of the day.  I would have never thought to mix chili, garlic and peanuts with fruit!  It was delicious.
Matt and Maurice enjoyed their time in the kitchen with just a little bit of help from some friends.
Oh, did someone say pad thai?  I'm on it.
I take mine with double the crushed peanuts.  
The boys were really enamored with the 'meat drawer'.
If you can't take the heat, then...
The motley crew making our final dish of the day - dessert: coconut mango tapioca pudding.
At the end of the day we were certified by the master chef.  I wonder if I can now add this to my CV?
Yay, we graduated!
Maurice shows us that 30-something is no really challenge for him - look at that one legged squat, showoff!

And since most of the day we shared the kitchen with our Italian friends, I'll part with a happy birthday Maurice!  Buon Cibo, Buon Vino, Buoni Amici!  We were lucky to have all of them.