Monday, November 29, 2010

New From Popbar

I wrote a post last summer, introducing the launch of this new popsicle venue based in New York. Now its gone mini with their miniPops. Made especially for order. I think its a terrific idea. If I was there, I would make an order and choose all flavors with different dippings to try for myself! *sigh*

London's Latest Designer

One of London's newest fashion designer is Felicity Brown. She has designed for Alberta Ferretti, Lanvin, Mulberry, and Loewe.

Brown has another smaller brand called Felicity Brown no. 23.

Harvery Nichols- London, UK.
Liberty- London, UK.
Al Othman- Kuwait.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

An Under the Sea XMAS

For the second year in a row, Dior's designer John Galliano, created a Christmas tree for London's luxury boutique hotel Claridge's. Given the name "Under the Sea" it was revealed in the hotel two days ago, November 26th. Not your average Christmas tree, I would say, it is so Galliano! If you're planning on seeing this piece of art, it will be on display until January 5th, 2011.
                                                   Last year's magnificent Christmas Tree

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Eighty 6 Bistro's Relocation

For you die hard Eighty 6 Bistro eaters like myself, I wanted you to know, that their Avenue's venue will be closing on December 1st. Don't fear, for they will be relocating to another place with a great new decor.

Heart! Its my favorite restaurant! And it should be yours too. We were just wondering the other day, that its such a shame that its always so quiet when the food was one of the best we ever had. And its location was probably the thing that made people not know about it or go to it. So I'm glad they're moving.

My two posts on the first two visits to the restaurants, just in case you missed the reviews:
Eighty 6 Bistro
Second Visit to Eighty 6 Bistro

Travel: Gelato - Rome

I mentioned earlier, how you can never have enough gelato in Rome, Italy. They're so delicious, and even though it was winter, you saw people rushing to the gelato cafes or walking around holding a gelato cone or cup like it was summertime. I for one is an ice-cream person, a passion I renewed for the past 2 years. But gelato is something else. I've been to lots of their cafes, but sadly didn't get the chance to take notes with the names or take pictures. But I've got three places, a must and are famous for being the top gelateria in Rome.

Della Palma
A gelateria plus a candy shop located near the Pantheon. This place is huge compared to other gelaterias we've been to. It has been recommended to us by an Italian we met there. He said this is the place to go for the best gelato and that this gelateria had 100+ flavors! Its true, the gelato fridge displays went on forever, I had to walk for a while to make my choices. If you think this name rings a bell, New Yorkers/New York goers, its because they have a branch in The Big Apple..
My flavors: Dupplo, dark chocolate/orange, and vanilla.
For those of you who don't know what dupplo is, its a Kinder bueno-like chocolate.  It is so good and very heavy, I have to warn. And just in case you were wondering, they do have a bueno flavor.
Location: Via della Maddalena 20/23
 Gelateria Del Teatro
I have learned about this through the LUXE Rome pamphlet. A 5 minute walk from Piazza Navona. Marking it in the map, and following directions was not easy for this quiet little gelateria. We got ourselves lost, it was dark, and the alleyways and streets were semi-deserted, plus the area was for pedestrians only. I ditched the map, we walked around randomly, thinking of ditching the idea of checking out this place. Then, Viola, we found it. If it wasn't for the gelato cone picture in the street, no one would find this shop. Flavors in display were unique.
Flavors: Lemon cheesecake, Sicilian almond, pure chocolate, and apple/cinammon.
All these flavors were good. The lemon cheesecake did taste like lemon infused ricotta and the apple/cinammon tasted like apple crumble.
Location: Via Di San Simone 70.
Now this place is pretty famous, and even though I had the cafe name on my list based on reviews I have come across and from what I have read in my city booklets, a lot of people told me to try it. It's located near Via Del Corso, you will actually see their sign on Piazza Colona (located on the Via). When we arrived, it reminded me of Laduree, very classic and vintage looking. Once you go inside, there's an endless que for the gelato. I took a ricotta tart, chose a table outside, and waited in line. It was so crowded I did not have the chance to look at all their flavors, there was not a lot of them. Finaly saw people from our part of the continent there! Once I got back to our table, wanting to enjoy the weather, the most abnoxious waiter told me no gelato cup eater should be seated! I looked around quiet true everyone was standing and pissed at this stupid rule! I told him I had a tart plate. He shruged and said in Italian, that just drinks were allowed. I'm pretty sure the tart was to be eaten in the table otherwise they wouldn't have given me a plate. But he was ashamed when I mentioned the tart and being the arrogant man he was said "no". We were really angry I grabbed the tart for "takeaway" and we left giving him a dirty look. An American who've been told the same, mentioned something like, what kind of a country is this, that whenever they ordered they are always told not to sit!
Flavors:  Chocolate, crema (vanilla), and riso (yes, that's rice and its so good).
Location: Via Uffici Del Vicario 40
A gelateria, I haven't had the chance to, but is worth a visit:
Gelateria San Crispino. They have unique flavors like ginger and honey. Closed on Tuesdays.
Location: Via Di Panetteria 42

Friday, November 26, 2010

Travel Advice: My Stay at Leon's Place Hotel - Rome

Our second hotel. Created by Hotel Philosophy, the brand behind Maison Moschino in Milan.

Leon's Place Hotel is a design boutique quiet hotel set in a hundreds' of years old palace. Peaceful and very trendy. We loved everything about this 56 room hotel. The decor was impeccable, and inspirational. The lobby area centered with a velvet black swing coming becoming one with the huge crystal chandelier adorned with black feathers. Long velvet dark colored draperies. A contemporary theme made out of blacks, light greys, silvers, and purples. Sweetest staff. Great breakfast buffet in its eclectic fuschia colored restaurant. Large iPad-like screen in the reception area.

The only con to the hotel is its location. You need a taxi to go to other places in the city. I imagine the Spanish Steps' area to be approximately a 30+ min walk from the hotel. It is located in the Via XX Settembre, a very elegant part of the city, where you will find luxury hotels like the St. Regent Hotel close by.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Travel Advice: What to Eat? - Rome

One thing is for sure, don't even think about eating from a non Italian cuisine when in Rome, Italy. We did not eat anything other than pizza margharita and spaghetti bolonaise twice everyday. You're never short of restaurants. I think our timing, going to Rome at a time when most of the world had no holiday was to our advantage. If it was summer or Christmas for instance, we would have gone through trouble into finding places in to eat because of the ques I have heard so much about. I had a list with me on where to eat, but it became evident, that "ristorantes" and pizzerias were everywhere. Lined near each other on every corner of every street. And this is what I liked most about Italy. So even though I had a list, we sometimes had lunch at any restaurant/pizzeria that crossed our path, just as long as it was Italian it was okay. And we did not have food I considered bad there, even when the pasta was undercooked and hard it tasted good. In this trip I forgot that I'm a meat aka steak eater. Had an expensive escalope milanese once and it was nothing compared to the cheap spaghetti and pizza.

There is no known breakfast in Italy. They say an Italian breakfast would consist of a cornetto (croissant), cappucino or any other coffee, and a cigarette. We never had breakfast outside the hotels we stayed in. They had the perfect buffets.

You will find roasted chestnuts being sold in open air on every busy street or piazza. The last time I had some of these fleshy nuts was during the early 90s. But after having them in Rome, I couldn't get the sweet taste out of my mind (and mouth). I never expected that they were sweet, compared to the ones we have in our country.
Mozzarella di Bufula or buffalo mozzarella is a must in Italy. Why? Because this is the real deal. I once saw a documentary on this, how the mozzarella looses its real taste and consistency once it passes 48 hours, something like that. Anyways if I got it right or wrong, what I mean is that it is not the same as when it is first produced. I never knew the cheese was made from buffalo milk until after I fell in love with it. We all love mozzarella cheese, but in Italy you fall dead hard in love with it. In our last 4 nights, that was all what we had for dinner! The round fresh mozzarella balls melts in your mouth and milk oozes out of it!! I ignore the tomatoes, add vinegar and olive oil and just die!
Gelato! People the best ice cream is found in this country, THE BEST! My mouth waters just thinking about it. Ok so gelato is the term Italians use for "ice-cream", but although same ingredients are used, it has lower sugar and butterfat content and they are both made differently. They are stored differently and gelato contains lesser air due to the churning when its made. I will be dedicating another post just for gelato and the best place to get it.

Most desserts in Rome (or Italy) contains sweetened ricotta cheese which I'm a big fan off. This cheese is made from sheeps' milk and is low in fat. Other than tiramisu (which I'm not a fan of), you will find ricotta tarts and cakes on every menu.
Cannola. Fried rolled pastry that is open on both ends and filled with sweetened ricotta cheese and has some candied orange/lemon peel (not always). It's a Sicilian delicacy, so try finding out the places that have them in Rome. I found them in random cafes.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Travel Advice: What To Do in Rome

If I would go on explaining the various stuff I got to do in my one week trip to Rome, Italy, It would be better if I opt to writing a book instead.

Remember, I mentioned you need a map, comfortable walking shoes, and a small messenger bag/multi pocket jacket with all necessities of a full day walk. You will do a lot of walking. And I'm proud to say that even though I have eaten nonstop there sometimes a total of 3 meals a day or 2 meals with lots of snacks in between, I haven't gained a single kilo, all thanks to walking. My previous post about Hotel De Russie, mentioned it having a great location. Start with that. Book into a hotel with a great location, so you can get to do lots of walking and exploring.

Places to go things to do:
- Colloseum
- Roman Forum
- Palatine Hill
- Circus Maximus (its not a circus)
- Capitoline Hills
- The Vatican: take Viator's Vatican in One Full Day Trip. You get to visit the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's, St. John, St. Paul, and Santa Maria Maggiori Basilicas.
- Pantheon
- Piazza Navona
- Trevi Fountain
- Spanish Steps
- Via Babuino and Condotti for luxury brand shopping (Spanish Steps area).
- Mouth of Truth
- Trastevere area for dinner.
- Villa Borghese (gardens) and Borghese Gallery (book ahead before travelling).
- The Catacombs
- Piazza del Campidoglio and Capitoline Museum
- Segway ride around Ancient Rome.

I can go on and on with places to visit, but most of the other places I didn't get the names or they were just not worth it. Once you hold the map you can trace other famous piazzas, streets, and sights which you think are worth visiting.

If you want to do some sightseeing outside of Rome, visit Pompeii, the restored Ancient Roman town that was buried under Mount Vesuvius's ashes.

Sophia Loren in Kuwait!

Just got the invitation! To an event I cannot attend.
Liked to share it with you guys. Damiani, the Italian Jewelery boutique brought to Kuwait by Al Ostora company, is holding this invitation only formal event presenting one of its collections, and the Italian vixen, Sophia Loren is going to be there! Along with Mr. Giorgio Damiani, Damiani's vice president.

Date: 30th November 2010

Time: 7:00- 9:30 pm

Place: Thuraya Mall, Salmiya

Monday, November 22, 2010

Acasia Travels - Istanbul

I heard, or read, about this first on Khaleejesque and have become very interested in their services. Acasia Travels is a tailor made Istanbul trip service for travellers planning on visiting Istanbul and seek for the upmost luxury.

Acasia Travels can tailor a leisure or business trip especially for you, according to your demands. From five star hotel accomodation to organizing your own private sale of local designers in the privacy of your own room! Yes, fashionistas, your dream can come true, you can live the high life with Acasia Travels. Restaurants, shopping, hotels, transportation, and sightseeing. They create activities for the younger visitors and provide nannies when needed. If you need a Turkish mobile line and internet, they also provide it. They call themselves a bilingual concierge service at your service.

Some of their other services include:

- Complimentary airport pickup and drop off.
- Reservations at selected top five star hotels, including W Istanbul (read my previous post on it), Kempinski Ciragan Palace, Four Seasons, AJIA, and Hotel les Ottomans.
- Chauffuer with limosine equiped with Blackberry, iPhone, and iPod chargers.
- Private tours.
- Personal shoppong services.
- Provide you with 3g network for internet access.
- Helicopter and boat transportation for enjoyment and even if you want to beat the traffic.

For more information and to contact them, go to their official website.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

FourMe is Cured

I have never been happier with any news this year! This is the news I've been waiting for.

FourMe, my beautiful hero, the person I am most thankful for, who wanted to be there for me when it was her who was going through a hard time herself, is finally cancer free. She's a survivor mashallah. All our prayers, her strength and patience finally payed off! I am so proud of her. She has survived something not so many people would survive. May the disease never show its face in her life ever again.

Alf il7imdila wilshikir ya rab. 3asallah yrayi7 o yfari7 galbha o galb umha ya rab.

I love you so much babe!

Travel Advice: Hotel De Russie- Rome

In Rome, Italy, we stayed in two hotels and this Rocco Forte hotel was the first one. I read so much about it and one of the main reasons I chose Hotel De Russie is because of its classic elegance plus its location. It was known for accommodating various celebrities. But it was way too expensive that I stayed there for 3 nights only. Plus our room was a big disappointment with how much we paid! Other than that everything was perfect. The location was truly superb, exactly on Piazza Popolo, on Via Babuino street, near Villa Borghese, Spanish Steps, Via Condotti, and Via Corso (shopping streets). You can also walk all the way to other places like Piazza Navona and to the Trevi Fountain. There were a lot of good restaurants and cafes around.

The room was spacious though. There's a type of suite that has a balecony that looks directly on to Piazza Popolo. There were room that look into their Jardins de Russie restaurant. Sadly, our window looked into an alleyway. So if you do book in this beautiful hotel, specifically ask for one that has a good view. The hotel staff and service were impeccable! They were super sweet that they provided a room early due to our really early morning flight. Room service is great. Nothing was amiss. Their concierge are extremely helpful and we even got a last minute booking to Galleria Borghese, and this is a place you have to book a week or so ahead!

We had dinner at their Jardins de Russie restaurant. If the weather was warmer we could've sat in their garden balecony, which is magnificent. This is a must in warmer months. As or breakfast, we mostly had it in the vicinity of our room, and I fell hard for their porridge and hot chocolate.
Piazza Popolo

Travel Tips

I'm back! It's just been to my first ever trip to Rome, Italy for a week. That is how many days anyone is supposed to book for this amazing place, not less not more. Definitely not in summer, it has too many tourists at it is, in summer the same number triples. I've done my research. It was supposed to be super cold, but it wasn't. The morning were a bit warm, you can wear a jacket or strip it off to a sleeveless tank or a t-shirt. But when it rained, it RAINED! And it was cold! But not that cold. Shopping sucked. And thank god, it wasn't our mission to go shop and I know if you wanted to shop in Italy, it was Milan and Florence you should head to.

My trip was aimed for history and food. I have been fascinated with Ancient Rome's history ever since I was 12! The fall and the rise of its civilization, its Caesars, its architecture, what our world have benefited from it. I also loved Italy's Renaissance era, especially in art and science. So what I did was book all my trips ahead. I tried not to overdo our schedule, so we had a trip every other day. This is what anyone should do if you are planning on doing your own things or need some free time. Because with most trips you will have to wake up really really really early.

If you go to Rome, you need a map and a good location and you're all set to go. You can do everything on your own. I did a combination, booked tours with VIATOR and did my own roaming around. Just needed a map. Don't worry, you can get one EVERYWHERE! I literaly have 5 maps from my trip. Good shoes and a small messenger bag or a jacket with inner pockets for everything. It was a bit unsafe for us. We blended in well with the crowds, people actually thought we were Italians, but when we opened our mouths and wondered or when we took out the map all hell broke loose! Every day we had people following us around, they're so obvious. So don't bring important documents or all your money with you. Keep enough cash for the whole day and a credit card.
I planned my trip way ahead while I was working on other people's "Travel Advice" on Rome. So I had to look even further in my own books and on websites. Never rely on people's reviews! People's tastes differ, A LOT!  And read everyone and I mean EVERYONE'S reviews before making a decision on whether to go to a certain restaurant or hotel.
I used four books to create a schedule, shopping, hotel and restaurant choices:

Eyewitness Travel: like a wikipedia. It's very detailed and with pictures!
Lets Go Italy on a Budget: I got this by chance because I couldn't find Lonely Planet's Italy guide anywhere. But it turned out to be useful and has really good and detailed maps.
Wallpaper City Guides: my favorite!! I have reviewed them before and I will say it again! Its the best and trendiest guide book ever. A must! I usually get it from outside the country, but lately found out they have it in 4 in Shuwaikh. I have it on iPad and it gets updated yearly with a few additional reviews. Get the other city guides.
LUXE: A new favorite of mine! It has EVERYTHING you really need to know in a pocket size pamphlet. Again, I have it on my iPad too. Get the other city guides

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mana'eesh Al Am Darweesh

I heard about it a week ago from one of my gals on twitter, she recommended Mana2eesh Al3am Darweesh a lot. A day after, my cousin mentioned how she and her husband have found this great place, and I trust her taste in food. A coincidence. I advertised it to the girls at work, and one girl have said she loved it. They were intrigued by our recommendations that one had ordered some for work and everyone loved it, saying when it came to food they were sure my recommendations would satisfy their tummies. Two days ago I had it for dinner also. It is THAT GOOD!

Appearently there's a story behind this "Am Darweesh" which is found on the menu, and if you want the rest of the story you can order a copy there. I'm wondering if he's a real person.

Its this new place that have opened earlier this year and is located in Hawali, I've seen pictures of the takeaway restaurant and it looks so nice and clean. The food and its packaging beats that of Zaater and Zait.

My Recommendations:
- Al Bulghariya : its a white cheese mana2eesh with some mint, parsley, spring onion, and olive oil.
- Sojuqiya Mdabasa : ground sojuk with dibs ilruman with a white sauce and pickles. Superb!
-Ba6a6a M7arara : fried potato cubes with some spices and sauce in brown saj bread.
-Sha6eerat Sabanikh : the best fa6eerat sabanikh I've ever had, 7amtha and tastes of olive oil.
 Ba6a6a M7arara, Musakhan, Bulghariya, and Sujuqiya Mdabasa
                                                                   Fa6eerat Sabanikh
 Man2oosha I6aliya (Lasagne bolognese pizza)
                                                                      official website

 Telephone number: 22666672

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Haleeb o Hail

A couple of days ago, my friend and I had some errands to run in Soog Al-Mubarkiya. After walking for a while, we were in the mood to sit in a quiet cafe. What better place the Haleeb o Hail. Both of us have never been there, everytime we wanted to go something came up. So it was our chance to stop by.

It wasn't that quiet, there were a few tables outside that were occupied mainly by men, so we sat in the quieter area in the balecony. It was a shame to sit inside because the weather was amazing, a bit chilly.

I'm not a milk lover, I actually gag when I try to force myself to have some. So becoming the "health conscious" person I am trying to be by trying to get as much calcium and vitamins these days, I wanted to try 7aleeb Za3faran (Saffron Milk), as a safer option. I was so proud of myself for drinking the whole mug! It didn't taste like milk at all, it was very aromatic, so there was no gagging. The desserts were kind of ok, but I was more into the milk. They gave us a test sample of hot goat's milk topped with saffron and cardamom. It had a wierd taste but nonetheless I had a sip, to my friend's dismay. Perfume, was how it tasted like. I don't think people would ever go for it.
Saffron Milk, Rahash (ground sesame) Cake, and Halwa (Arabic goowy sweet)
 Hot Dog Sandwich and Girs Agaili (saffron and cardamom) Cake
 Spiced goat milk
Haleeb o Hail in winter

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Virtue Boutique in Bait Lothan

Eid collection and Evening dresses from Virtue Boutique will be showcased in Bait Lothan Sunday 7th November to Tuesday 9th November.

From 9am to 1pm and 5pm to 9pm.
SMS 99900087

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Powder Pan

Another dessert home business I've tried a year ago and wanted to post after I got something from them yesterday, is Powder Pan.

You may have come across it in facebook. Powder Pan belongs to a girl, who like myself is a "good food" lover! She's got taste and I trust it so much, that I knew for sure I'd love her rocky road chocolates which I just got. And this coming out of someone who is not a rocky road, marshmallow  or a walnut fan. I got hooked on the sugar powdered chocolate bits! I took it to work with me, they all loved it! The sugar added a unique touch. It melts in the mouth and I tell everyone to take two pieces and not one then judge. After the second one, they ask for more!
 Nutella Cupcakes (ordered a while ago)

Love 2 Eat

I have been meaning to write about this home business for a long time. But sadly never got the chance to take good pictures. I've had it in one of our gatherings and we all loved the food. They have recently became part of Ekelni, the new food ordering website, similar to You get to order a day ahead through them. If you're interested in checking out their menu, you can join their facebook group, Love to Eat. Leave you with the pictures of the stuff I tried and liked.
                                                                 Burger Fountain
Sweet & Sour Chicken
Chocolate Volcano Cake