Sunday, March 28, 2010

Souk Al Bahar

Posted by Kero at Sunday, March 28, 2010 9 sweets for Kero Links to this post
This blogging Mom is busy but does not want to miss one of her favorite memes =)

I leave with you photos outside of Souk Al Bahar in Downtown Dubai. Enjoy and thank you for your comments. I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Souk is a commercial quarter in an Arab city. Souk Al Bahar translates to "Market of a Sailor."


Across the souk, you get this view of Dubai Mall and The Burj Khalifa Lake.

 Inside these sand-blast walls are some 100 shops including restaurants.The cultural theme flows throughout the mall, with boutique shops showcasing the Arabian heritage through a mix of authentic handicrafts, fashionwear, perfumes, carpets and furnishings.

The Souk is also a place distant enough to allow your camera a complete capture of the world's tallest building, making it a must visit for tourists.

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Lunch at The Meat Co.

Posted by Kero at Sunday, March 28, 2010 5 sweets for Kero Links to this post
I think I just found my second favorite restaurant in the city =)

Friday was spent exploring Souq Al Bahar in Downtown Dubai. After numerous stairs and marveling the sight of The Lake, passing by Japiano and Dean & Deluca, we finally decided to have our lunch at The Meat Co. I've been eyeing the restaurant for awhile now having read so much rave reviews about it. I even made a mental note to celebrate hubby's next birthday here but my steak lover cannot wait to be seated inside.

The enormous restaurant offers al fresco dining with a spectacular view of the The Fountain and Burj Khalifa. But the spring temperature will only allow you to enjoy the place at night. The staff ushered us in and we stood in awe by the doorway.

"The d├ęcor includes lavish design features and textures.  Custom made light fittings together with polished wooden flooring are perfect foils to the shimmering mosaics decorating the walls.  Dark teak wooden tables and chairs in the inside, plus cabana style seating on the deck outside are finished off with a warm two-tone leather finish and add to the sumptuous ambiance."

The contemporary open-plan kitchen adds a sense of theatre to this exciting restaurant.  A private dining room, with state of the art equipment for your conference or business meet is available and is also a perfect venue to celebrate any special occasion.

The Chef's Table with glass and bead enclosure located in the middle of the restaurant, is sure to delight romantics.

We gave our orders and started to browse newspaper. We didn't wait long enough and the complimentary bread arrive.

Chocolate and beetroot bread. It was soft, moist, chewy and tasted soo good! We never had anything like it before.

Our soda arrived with a slice of fresh lemon. Again, our first.
.
We ordered flame-grilled ribs. The meat was soft and succulent! However, Hubby said next time, he will ask the sauce to be served separately.


A side dish of baked potato.


And we chose Tiramisu for dessert - a coffee flavored Italian dessert with sponge layers and mascarpone cheese.

Established in 2000, The Meat & Wine Co was the vision of two of South Africa's most successful restaurateurs, Costa Tomazos and Bradley Michael, who in their own words wanted to - “Provide a unique and exceptionally enjoyable steakhouse dining experience that catered for meat lovers in a sophisticated yet relaxed environment.”
Real cow leather at the waiting area.

 Among the many interesting interior details.

Al Fresco dining area

Countries such as Australia, Bahrain, Middle East, South Africa, Mocambique, Israel, United Kingdom & Asia are now part of the restaurant's global locations.


The Meat Co. can also be found at Madinat Jumeirah and Mall of the Emirates.

Bill for Two
Coke Light - 9AED
Beef Ribs - 60 AED
Baked Potato - 16 AED
Tiramisu - 35 AED
Total - 120 AED (P1,500)

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring Time!

Posted by Kero at Thursday, March 25, 2010 16 sweets for Kero Links to this post
It's the loveliest time of the year to spend outdoors.

These days, we can now bring Andreas to the beach for some sand play. The water is still chilly but maybe next month, the temperature will make the water more inviting.

These photos were taken the other week  from Jumeirah Open Beach.

Andreas enjoying climbing the spiral bar.

My two boys' turn to enjoy the swing ride.

Last week, we started to enjoy the rooftop pool. If Andreas was excited with water play again, his Dada was even more excited to use the boat =)


My little explorer =)

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Customer Service Talk

Posted by Kero at Wednesday, March 24, 2010 6 sweets for Kero Links to this post
A month from today and we will be off for a family holiday to Italy. We received our electronic tickets and hotel vouchers last week, thank you to our very efficient Travel Agent, Miss Khan of Belhasa Global Tourism and Travel.


This is our first travel abroad and the first time I ever dealt with travel agents and visa blah blah. I posted before that we should be choosing reputable travel agencies to provide help on visa application. Well, i'm glad that I did not disclosed then that we were then dealing with Al Tayer Travel because we were let down.

We paid 750 AED for the airplane and hotel booking. The amount is unrefundable if the visa is denied or in case we will not proceed with the travel.We booked with Al Tayer last week of January. They gave us a quotation of 10,000 AED for two nights in Rome and two nights in Venice via Austrian Airways with accommodation under the Rome Roullette system. 

It took us a month to get our visa approved - three weeks was spent gathering the attachment. In the middle of February, the Travel Agent I (TAI) called to ask how was our visa application. I informed him that we were still waiting for our bank statement from HSBC which was not the easiest to avail. TAI said, "Don't just sit there and wait. You have to follow up and get your visa approved or the quotation we gave you will increase."

Patience, i said to myself. The same agent also informed me the first time i inquired from Al Tayer that a budget of 10,000 AED to Italy will not be possible. That we might as well find another country to go on a holiday. But I was desperate then to get a plane and hotel booking to support our visa application so i put up with him.

Fortunately, Travel Agent Sheldon came to my rescue and said 10,000 AED is possible for a 5-day holiday to Italy. So that is how we started doing business with them.

Finally, when we got our visa approved first week of March, i immediately called Al Tayer but TAI was on a day-off. I emailed him informing the approval and that we wish to add one more day for our stay in Venice Most importantly, we were ready to pay the whole package in cash. TAI replied that he will be in-touch as soon as he gets the whole package cost.

The whole week passed and I did not hear from TAI. I called him once and he said there were no issues (his bloody favorite word). I was made to understand, the request on Venice was okay. I called on Thursday and spoke to TA Sheldon who apparently cannot access the system of TAI. I was made to call back again on Saturday. My patience was running out.

I finally received an e-mail from TAI on Sunday informing me that the whole travel package now costs 11,500 AED and that they cannot add one more day to Venice because there was no hotel available. Fed up and fuming, I started ringing other travel agencies. They all asked me to e-mail the details which was next to impossible because I was shaking in anger.

It was really late when i came to ring Belhasa Global. The kind lady on the other line patiently wrote down the passenger details. She even gave me options on airlines and we closed the deal on 9,960 AED - 3 nights in Rome, 2 nights in Venice, and 2 nights in Milan via Qatar Airways. I had no idea the airline flies there as well.

I was tap dancing when i got off the phone. Milan!! I am going to visit the fashion capital of the world!! Absolutely unbelievable.

In two days time, the Belhasa messenger came to deliver the documents and collect our payment. That easy.

There is a reason for everything. Perhaps the good Lord wants us to see The Last Supper (which tickets are already confirmed, thank you to Glenda) You have to book two months in advance to view since the launching of Dan Brown's book.

As for Al Tayer, they agreed to refund 350AED from the 750AED payment.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

And He Calls It Blueberry

Posted by Kero at Sunday, March 21, 2010 8 sweets for Kero Links to this post
I feel too old for an I-Phone so my generous husband bought me a Blackberry Curve 8900. He's  surprised that this little hand-held gadget can do so many wonderful things and blurted "sana pwede rin niya alagaan si Anda." lolz

With a price tag of 1,499 AED (P18,737.50) I think it's a combined Christmas (last year's) and Mother's Day gift (we celebrate Mother's Day on March in this part of the world) hihi.

Hubby's been asking me to replace my Motorola Razr 3 since last year but I knew we had other important things to spend on so I kept putting it off. On Christmas Day after giving him my present, he said he didn't have anything wrapped but he was going to take me shopping to replace my phone. We checked Plug-ins for IPhone but hearing the price, it made me feel so guilty buying such expensive gadget. I retreated and told hubby maybe we should consider a family holiday instead of spending the money.

And that is how we started planning our trip to Italy. Now that the holiday package for April  is completely paid, hubby urged me once again to go shopping for a mobile phone. Suddenly feeling matured, I asked if we can buy Blackberry. And that's how we agreed to buy Curve 8900 or Blueberry as he refers to it =)

Blackberry Smartphone Specs: GPS, WiFi Support, 3.2 MP Auto focus, Video Recording, Wireless E-mail, Enhanced Media Player, Maps, and Browser

The best thing about it is we paid in cash making mobile web browsing completely guilt free =)

Note:
Those who are interested to buy the same unit, it sells  for 1,699 AED at Sharaf DG but only 1,499 AED at Jumbo Electronics (where i bought mine). It even comes with free 8900 gadget intro pack as shown below.

 Free from Jumbo Electronics: Auto-charger, Mono head set, and Curve Skin.

I also learned from Etisalat that the older Blackberry issued to electronic stores have ETISALAT emblazoned on the lower part of the phone. The newer Blackberry phones issued are not marked like the one I bought. Sharaf on the other hand, informed me that their Curve 8900 models have Etisalat etched  right below the Qwerty keypad.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lunch At Patisserie Valerie

Posted by Kero at Saturday, March 20, 2010 6 sweets for Kero Links to this post
Happy weekend to my visitors!

As planned, the family visited Mirdif City Center. It is a lovelier, improved version of Deira City Center. Though I am not sure if it is bigger than Mall of the Emirates. I will post the photos in another post because we are talking food today.

Looking around, interesting choices for restaurant includes More Cafe, Tony Roma's, Carluccio's, and Tiffinbites. But we had been walking and exploring the new shopping complex  for a good two hours. All we wanted was a comfy, plush chair with a newspaper to read. And then my attention was caught by an imposing wooden  interior with brown leather seat that looks so inviting. I checked the menu and after finding their steak reasonably priced, I suggested hubby we spent our lunch at the restaurant.


 It is called Patisserie Valerie. The name alone suggest we should be choosing scones and eclairs but for those who are following my restaurant reviews, we have never ordered desserts. Either we get our sugar fix  from Magnolia Bakery or bake good ol' brownies at home.


Aside from a local family at the far end of the restaurant, we seem to be among the first to try it. We chose the far end corner that provides some privacy from the shoppers. We gave our orders and chose a pot of Darjeeling tea after meal. However, the staff said only Twinings tea was available. That is our tea at home so we chose a glass of soda instead.

After ten minutes reading The National, our orders arived.

Fillet steak with mushroom sauce for Hubby. It arrived with french fries and green salad which was crisp and served just the way he wanted it -- without dressing.

I chose homemade lasagna which was served garlic bread. Oh it was yummy and too much for one person!  But I wanted more of the sliced garlic bread. The freshly baked baguette was sliced, rubbed with fresh garlic, and oven toasted.

We only had French vanilla cupcake and brewed coffee for breakfast  so we devoured all our orders. If we consumed a regular breakfast before hitting the road, Hubby and I would have hard time cleaning our plate.

By the time we sipped our soda, more and more people were coming to Patisserie Valerie. The restaurant first opened its doors in Soho in 1926. Madam Valerie introduced continental patisserie to the English and it proved a hit. The place soon became a famous meeting place for starving artists and Bohemian. I guess that explains the reasonable price.

Bill for two

Fillet steak - 54 AED (P675)
Home-made lasagna - 36 AED (P450)
Diet coke - 8 AED (P100)
Total - 98 AED (P1,225)

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Family Field Trip to International Aerobatics Show

Posted by Kero at Thursday, March 18, 2010 9 sweets for Kero Links to this post
Well, my toddler has not started any school yet so we are still out of the educational field trip experience. Instead, I am sharing the family field trip we had late January in Al Ain to watch the 2010 International Aerobatics Show.

The four-day event is held at Al Ain International Airport, two-hour drive from Dubai. The annual show targets aviation business enthusiasts and families. Spectators' area are divided in three: the VIP and Media, bleachers for regular visitors and photographers, and third is a vast family area with some 10 bouncy castles of all sizes. There were funny clowns entertaining, balloon modelers giving away their crafts, face-painting, arts and crafts to keep kids busy.

Before the show started, we brought Andreas to the exhibitor's area where they can get-up close with jet fighters and pilots.

Next was the traditional tent where visitors get acquainted with Emirati culture. We showed this falcon to Andreas. Falconry is a popular hobby among Sheikhs.

Then Andreas was given a complimentary shirt by one of the main sponsors. He was cranky half the time because he woke up early hihi. We left the house at 6:am and he usually enjoys sleeping until 8:30 in the morning.

After that, we proceeded to the family area.We were lucky to avail the last umbrella for shade.


Then Andreas went on to try the slides and bouncy castles.

Older kids chose to do crafts.

And here are some of the highlights of the event. Enjoy!






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