Sunday, December 27, 2009

Andreas Turns Two

Posted by Kero at Sunday, December 27, 2009 11 sweets for Kero Links to this post
Look who is a big boy now! Andreas celebrated his second birthday on December 26th. We decided to have a family celebration instead of a kiddie party. I booked a brunch on the date at the 7-star hotel Burj Al Arab.

The world's most luxurious hotel boasts of seven restaurants. One of them can be visited via submarine. But since we see the Dubai Mall Aquarium almost every day, I passed for the signature underwater themed dining. Instead, the family opted for Al Muntaha which is located at the 27th floor of the Burj Al Arab.

I will be sharing the famed atrium and interior dripping in gold in the coming PBW posts but for now, i will share the photos from Andreas birthday brunch.

Al Muntaha sits out in the semi-circle structure of the magnificent Burj Al Arab. The express lift option made me dizzy all the way up to the 27th floor.

Maybe because we made an early reservation or because we had a birthday celebrant that the family was given one of the best table. I silently thought so and smiled to myself. It was further confirmed when a number a dining guests came to ask permission if they can take photos beside our table. The intrusion made our five-hour brunch more pleasant.

The view from our table. This....the Dubai Skyline and among the most exclusive beaches of the city.

.... and the world famous man-made island, The Palm Jumeirah.

The birthday boy and his complimentary cake. He was also serenaded by the beautiful lady in red. It was one fabulous 2nd birthday celebration for Andreas!

There was so much food on the buffet that just the sight of them made me full. There were several live cooking stations. We had caviar, foie grass, roast beef, sea food, sushi, and all the Christmas dessert you can imagine. I ordered double Glenlivet for hubby but i stayed drinking Voss and fresh orange juice since i intend to tour the hotel in heels :)

The service was superb. The staff were friendly and not overly-helpful. It was our dream brunch for a very special family celebration. And we were definitely given an experience to remember for a long, long time to come.

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Yummy Sunday - Birthday Cake & Festive Desserts

Posted by Kero at Sunday, December 27, 2009 7 sweets for Kero Links to this post
My son turned two the day after Christmas. We are not big on parties so we chose to have a family celebration at the 7-star hotel Burj Al Arab.

We opted to have our dream brunch at Al Muntaha Restaurant which is located at the 27th floor of the hotel. I share with you what we had for desert.

log cakes, cookies, and tarts

You would feel cheated in a brunch if they don't serve these cream filled shotglasses

One of those numerous lovely Christmas cakes

Just by looking at the dessert area made me full. Still I had to taste some of those pretty creations. I limited myself to a hazelnut meringue tart, bitter chocolate and caramel, fresh fruit tart, and scones.

They also gave a complimentary chocolate birthday cake to my little Andreas. Those fresh raspberries and blueberries were simply a delight!

Thank you so much for the visit! Happy New Year everyone!!

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Season's Greetings!

Posted by Kero at Wednesday, December 23, 2009 4 sweets for Kero Links to this post
May your home be filled with Christmas joy,
days of happiness and love.
May each year bring to you and your love ones,
new blessings from above.
May family and friends who gather there,
fill the rooms with laughter and cheer.
Creating memories that grow more treasured,
with every passing year.

The Birthday Venue

Posted by Kero at Wednesday, December 23, 2009 1 sweets for Kero Links to this post

The Burj Al Arab Lobby was indeed very impressive :)

We went to Burj last night to pay for our reservation at Al Muntaha. Actually, we planned to go there right after the Motorshow last Saturday but i wanted to see the hotel at night. So i told hubby we go and pay during the weeknights.

We arrived the gate at 8:30. The guard confirmed our reservation but we were told only one of us can go inside th lobby to pay. A caddie will fetch whoever will pay from the gate. My heart sank. Of course i wanted the three of us to witness the Christmas decor inside.

But as we drove pass the guard, we overheard him speak to the radio about a couple coming in to pay. When we reached main gate, the guards checked us and nodded in approval. Giving the rest of the guards a huge smile, we drove passed them and went ahead across the bridge.

We reached the drive way and in the middle was an elevated circular fountain. We stopped right at the glass door and was informed of valet parking. I snatched my bag, camera and carried Andreas. Hubby handed the car keys and we went inside.

There were two huge adorned Christmas trees at the foot of another fountain at the lobby. Sort of like an origami style like what you see at Dubai Festival City. The water shoots up in curves and of course my son was extremely delighted with the sight. There is an aquarium on both sides of the wall.

My two boys settled to watch the fountain and i checked with the reception. Dates and Christmas cookies were offered to all the guests at the lobby. The Asian staff (including Filipinos) were all friendly and accommodating.

Tea, dates, and Chrismas cookies were offered to all guests lounging at the lobby.

After settling the bill, we went to the second level. It turns out that it is the retail area of the hotel. Another fountain greets you on the lobby.

I made a couple of clicks then we decided to go home. Hubby was thrilled to check out the cars he saw earlier parked at the front.

We saw a yellow Lamborghini, a bloddy red Ferrari, some Bentleys, and three Rolls Royce Phantom. The staying guests are all serviced around Dubai with Rolls Royce.

The wind was very chilly outside and we were glad the car arrived in a few seconds.

We are definitely looking forward to Andreas' Birthday Brunch on Saturday at the 27th floor of the 7-star hotel.

Snail Mail Holiday Card!!

Posted by Kero at Wednesday, December 23, 2009 2 sweets for Kero Links to this post
I just finish sending e-cards to my sister-in-laws and i should go back now to my halted cleaning . But i just want to make a quick post and share everybody the snail mail we received all the way from Sacramento, CA woooohooo!

Vine is my ka-probinsiya from Batanes. We bonded here in Dubai through FS, my son's birthday party, and a trip to Global Village. She married her dream guy and is now living in the US. She's always been very thoughtful despite the distance. Constantly sending us messages and comments on FB. My husband remembers her fondly. He shooks his head in amusement when recalling the pic where Vine posed with a huge construction machine. I think it was a Yellow Cat loader with a caption "My new job" hahahaaaaaa!

Thank you so much, lady. I shrieked with excitement when hubby handed to me the envelope. I hope to do the same one of these days. May the good Lord bless you more!

Proudly sharing the first snail mail i received in four years :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mom's Holiday Rant

Posted by Kero at Tuesday, December 22, 2009 0 sweets for Kero Links to this post
I finally completed the family gift list last night. What a relief! Now there are a few more things to wrap for our neighbors' kiddies.

So what's the recipe for Christmas? Not much because there is just the three of us and it will be Andreas' 2nd birthday on the 26th so i won't be cooking plenty. We are not expecting visitors either because hubby said we will spend Christmas with the UAE-Cordillerans Club.

But just in case somebody decides to pop in the house, Christmas menu includes fresh lumpia, lasagna, and carrot cake. Boy i hope i get to cook them all before midnight :)

I am also thinking of starting our own Christmas family tradition. Though this is Andreas' second Christmas, we didn't have a proper Christmas lunch last year as we were very busy preparing for his first birthday. And you know what everybody says about first birthdays. It is suppose to be stressed about and celebrated ;)

Back in Batanes, we open our gifts right after we arrive from midnight mass. My grandmother even went to the extend of making my siblings and I believe in Santa Claus. Our Christmas tree back then would be empty underneath. When we arrive from church, we find toys, gifts, and goodies under the tree! We would so wonder why Santa Claus never waited for us. I think i was in Grade six when i stopped believing in Santa Claus hahahaa. We all went to church except for my grandmother's sister who always prefers early morning mass. But she was really frail so we never suspected she was the one responsible of putting those goodies while we are attending mass.

After opening our gifts we share the Noche Buena then hit the bed. But before we climb up, my Grandmother will ask us to hang our school socks on the Christmas tree in case Santa Claus decides to come back while we were asleep. And come Christmas morning, we would find a hundred peso bill inside. Yeah, Christmas was a big deal on the family :)

Now I am excited to make our own family tradition. On Christmas eve, i'm planning fruit feast and cheese for my two boys since they both love it. And then hubby and i will probably cheer on a glass of red wine. But so far, i only see vodka on the counter. I hope some miracles happen between today and the 24th and a hamper will just happen to arrive the front door hahahaaa.

We will have brunch on the balcony and give our gifts to each other. Then we go to St. Mary's for church visit. The resy of the day will be spent with friends or just a roadtrip. I'm thinking, the most important part would be our Christmas brunch with just the three of us :)

The day after Christmas will always be a big day for our little boy. But we decided not to have a kiddie party. Instead, the three of us will celebrate at Al Muntaha in Burj Al Arab. We dream to visit the 7-star hotel. There will never be a chance for us to stay there, not even for a night but all we want is to see the famed interior. I think Burj Al Arab is a must experience for any expat.

That will be added to the family tradition. No more big birthday celebrations for Andreas. We will instead treat the whole family on his birthday to a little holiday or try some spectacular experience. We will never be staying here in the Middle East forever. We want to make the most of our stay. See the world. Experience it all.

Tonight, we are going to pay the reservation. We don't have credit card so we have to go there personally at the lobby to pay in cash.

I am having goosebumps at the thought.

Monday, December 21, 2009

10th Dubai International Motorshow

Posted by Kero at Monday, December 21, 2009 5 sweets for Kero Links to this post
Probably among the most looked forward event in the Middle East, the Dubai International Motorshow is held every two years. This is our second visit to the automotive event so we were more interested beyond Ferraris and Lamborghinis.

I share with you some of my snapshots of the Supercars on show. Tell me as well which of these you dream to own :)

Corvette Stingray Concept 50th Anniversary. Dubbed as the Superstar Concept of the spectacular event. Approximate cost is 8M AED.

The show also hosted the world wide debut of Kepler Motion that boasts a number of F1 technologies. Production is limited only to 50 and will be delivered in 2011.

Meet the baby brother of Phantom, the Rolls Royce Ghost. This is the first time it is available to the public eyes of UAE. Reviews says it is the most powerful car Rolls Royce has ever produced. Demand is very high for the 1.25 M AED Ghost. You will have to wait six months to receive your order.

Awarded the Guinness World Record for the world's fastest production car, this Shelby Supercar Ultimate Aero has maximum speed of 439kph. While we were there drooling, a trade visitor inquired about the price but was informed the car had been sold to a 75 year-old Emirati.

Another regional debut is the world's most expensive car, the Mantide. There will only be five for production and one Mantide is going to a local buyer. Each exclusive super car costs 7.3 M AED.

And last but not the least, the Bugatti Veyron Nocturne only available in the Middle East. It is limited to five pieces - two of which were sold even before they got to the show. These two Bugatti costs a total of $7.6 M.

I will be sharing customised luxury cars and the live Ford Mustang modification over the next Pixel Bug Weekend so do come back for more :)

Thank you so much for the visit! Enjoy the Holidays!!!

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Yummy Sunday - Hubby's Birthday Dinner

Posted by Kero at Sunday, December 20, 2009 8 sweets for Kero Links to this post

My husband celebrated his 35th birthday on December 14th. He brought roasted turkey and rum balls for the office celebration. I was not able to take a picture because they were delivered from Caesar's Confectionery and Restaurant. So for now, i will share pics from his birthday dinner.

I wanted to give hubby a break from my cooking so i made dinner reservations at Rainforest Cafe. He is very adventurous on food as well so I know he will love dining at the newly opened restaurant.

It was indeed a lovely, wild experience! Stepping inside Rainforest cafe was like being in the amazon jungle. Thick plant growth everywhere. Waterfalls in one corner. There were animated life-size elephants, tigers, snakes, and gorillas. They move, grunt and make noises every 10 minutes. There was simulated lightning and thunderstorm every 20 minutes. The restaurant would suddenly go dark and you would hear a loud thunder and the walls start to crack with lights! Even our little boy was amused!

The tropical rainforest theme restaurant has branches among others in New York, London, and Beirut.

The birthday boy is a huge steak fan so he ordered Texas Ranch T-Bone with baked potatoes and grilled veggies. Food menu also consists of pastas, burgers,a nd pizza.

The only place where you can order volcano :). It consists of moist brownies, walnuts, and ice cream. When you order, the staff would yell VOLCANO!! when delivering it to your table.

The yum yum complimentary cake. The whole staff also serenaded the birthday celebrant.

Happy Birthday, dear husband! May you have more celebrations to come. We love you :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rain, Food and Shopping

Posted by Kero at Sunday, December 13, 2009 5 sweets for Kero Links to this post
It is Sunday now and rain is pouring harder. News says this is the season's heaviest rainfall. I hear thunderstorms outside and started to worry about hubby's travel to Abu Dhabi. But just now as i'm typing, hubby calls and says he just arrived back in UPC. I thank God for keeping him safe.

Anyways, I am writing to wrap up our weekend. I probably won't have time to blog tomorrow with so much Christmas related task :)

Friday, we had breakfast at the balcony as usual. Dark clouds were looming but we still decided to attend the BAYANIHAN Festival and The Emirates Parents Plus Family Fun Fiesta since both events are held at Zabeel Park.

I packed our lunch and we headed to Gate 1 of Zabeel and straight o the Megabowl. Andreas found the speaker not pleasing so he kept on going farther away. We decided to watch the event from the elevated area. When some performers sang a medley of Basil Valdez, Andreas sat down and decided to listen. I thought he enjoyed the whole performance since he would smile from time to time. When a cheer group performed to a rock music, Andreas immediately took off.

A ballet dancer performs at Family Fun Fiesta

So we decided to check the Family Fun Fiesta at Stargate. There were Christmas Bazaars, kiddie shows, trampoline, and loads of entertainment. But by then Andreas was feeling sleepy. When he finally dozed off, the rain started to pour so hubby and I went inside the Stargate.

We headed first to the food court. I saw Popeye and cheered excitedly. My last meal with the fast food was back in 2006 with my siblings. Hubby said i order so we can add to our packed lunch. I asked for some biscuits, cajun fries and spicy chicken strips. The chicken was good but i have to say, it is not as good as the one they serve at Taza. No, we won't be coming back to Popeye soon.

I had a saver's coupon for Donut Empire - a new player in the market. We decided it will be our desert so we asked around for the location. After Mars and Earth space wing, we found it and the Filipina gladly honored my coupon. If I buy six, i will get six donuts for free. Normally, a dozen donuts costs 45 AED.

Clockwise: Double Heart, Almond Pit, Choz O'Latte, Choz O' Nutter, Green Tea strip

The staff just arrived so we witnessed how they filled and decorated the donuts. After waiting for 30 minutes, we finally seated and sank our teeth on those litte mounds. I enjoyed the Green tea flavor and T'Misu. Hubby liked them as well because they were not sweet. But he said it was too oily compared to Dunkin Donuts or Krispy Kreme.

We are not a huge donut fan. I crinkle my nose at the thought of icing sugar so that's enough donut for now.

We checked fellow Cordillerans and gave them a box of Donut Empire. By then, the program has halted because of the rain. After brief chats, hubby said we go home least Andreas will catch colds.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at the balcony - Andreas extremely amused with the rain and cars, and hubby stamping books for donations to Special Education Classes in Ifugao.

Saturday, we visited the church and started our way to Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club. Hubby was to buy gift vouchers to award two of his design engineers for a job well done. This is not our first trip to the shooting club but we were taking a new route and we keep on missing exits. The hard rain was not making our trip easier as well so i told hubby it is best we go back. It was scary. Most drivers here are not used to driving on wet, slippery roads.

We ended up at Dubai Festival City for quick lunch at Ikea. Hubby had vegetable mousaka and I had seafood pasta. Hubby's order tasted much, much better.

I tried to finish my Christmas shopping before we went home.

Dinner was Chinese Panda and Karam Express at Dubai Mall. We visited Marks & Spencer as well and made two purchases for gifts. Boy i was bent to finish my gift list.

Then we headed to Dubai Mall Aquarium and bought two gift vouchers of the Ultimate Aquarium Package. We don't have time to go back to the Shooting club so hubby thought of this as a replacement :)

Now I only have 30 more people to buy gifts. waaaaaaah!

Holidays are really stressful yet fun!

PBW - Christmas at Wafi City

Posted by Kero at Sunday, December 13, 2009 8 sweets for Kero Links to this post

We spent the evening weekend at Wafi City. It is probably the most decked shopping mall for Christmas boasting of a 40foot tree. Maybe because the owner is the same as that of the Harrod's in London.

Last year, the theme was Chronicles of Narnia. This time, they transformed the place into a chocolate wonderland with the theme Wily Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Breathtaking 40foot Christmas Tree

The animated details of the tree were simply amazing!

The Chocolate Factory. I wonder how long did they work for the concept to materialize.

Meet & Greet Mr. Wonka inside the Chocolate Factory (but our little boy was more interested with the Christmas balls outside :))

Thank you so much for the visit everyone! I am off to visit your entries as well.

Pinkihan Photos at BAYANIHAN Souvenir Programme

Posted by Kero at Sunday, December 13, 2009 0 sweets for Kero Links to this post

It pays when you do not leave the house without a camera :)

For the month of October, we spent two Fridays responding at the Philippine Flood Appeal. We donated, sorted, and packed clothes, goods, and toys at Reef Mall. Like most people with camera, we took pictures of the event.

One time, a certain Nilo Torres handed his card and asked to be sent copies of the photos. I read the card and it says he was a Media Specialist. After two days, we sent what he asked for. We received an e-mail back with Mr. Torres' gratitude and that was all.

Friday at the Bayanihan Festival, a year-end community program for all Filipinos in the UAE, fellow Cordilleran informed us that our pictures were included in the Bayanihan Souvenir Programme. Thrilled, I asked for a copy and boy, they included them with a photo essay. Needless to say for an amateur photographer, we were flattered they chose not one but three of our photos.

Those marked with 5 stars are ours. It was hubby behind the camera for the large photo. Mommy Kero is standing fourth from the right :)

Our third photo was included at the collage.

Maraming Salamat po from the Pinkihans!

Yummy Sunday - Fresh Dough Pizza

Posted by Kero at Sunday, December 13, 2009 10 sweets for Kero Links to this post

Nothing beats a freshly-baked crisp thin crust pizza on a rainy weekend.Yep, it rarely rains on this part of the planet. Some believe it only rains for 2 days in a year.

Combining flour, lukewarm water, salt, and instant yeast, I made two thin pizza base.

I pre-bake them for 5 minutes before adding the pizza sauce. My sauce includes oregano, water, tomato paste, garlic powder, and chili powder.

Then generously add shredded mozarella. We like em cheesy :)

The pizza toppings includes all the left over from our breakfast and fridge and cupboard. There's bacon bits, capsicum, onion, pineapple bits, and toasted garlic.

When the sides are browned and cheese are bubbly and completely melted, remove from the oven. Add a little olive oil for a shiny finish and sprinkle parsley all over. Slice and serve :)

Thank you so much for the visit and till next Sunday!

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