Marble Surface

The Italian Supper
A Fabulous and Flavorful Experience

I find a lot of interesting places on social media and then decide I must go there (eventually…when the budget and money coach allows me). And let’s face it, Dubai has many unique and tempting goodies to try and experience. One of the accounts I started following when I first moved to Dubai was The Italian Supper, a supper club offering authentic Italian cuisine. For months, I drooled over the pictures and videos of those who attended their dinners. In December, I contacted them through my Dubai Social Group account and asked about arranging a dinner for us and those in the group that wanted to attend. Fabio (yes, that’s his real name), got back to me immediately and the dinner was booked and paid for mid-January for eight people. Unfortunately, when one is an admin of a social group, I’ve learned that not everyone has the same food dreams and won’t always sign up; I was unable to fill four out of the eight dinner spots. 

 

Fabio and Flavio (again, legitimate names of these two hunky Italians) were nothing but kind and gracious, super easy to communicate with. Basically, everything you would dream an Italian man would be. In fact, they asked their friends and former diners if any would fill in since only four people in the social group signed up. They were my wallet’s heroes. 

 

The evening of the dinner came. Now, you may ask yourself what made this experience stand out? I could essentially go to any Italian restaurant. Sure. I could have, but we’re talking six courses of homemade–made with love and passion I would add–Italian food; plus, some of the food is especially imported for their dinners. I knew from following their Instagram account that I needed to starve myself throughout the day in order to be in shape for dinner. By the time 7:30pm rolled around, I was starving!! And yes, I do get a smidge cranky when not fed. Upon arriving at the apartment, we were shown to our dining area on the balcony. The vibe of the balcony was relaxing, cozy, and simply warm; the place you would want to be enjoying a meal like this with friends and family. Dinner was starting at 8pm, but Fabio and Flavio (I really just enjoy saying their names) brought out some hor d'oeuvres for us: (1) spinach leaf with a dollop of ricotta (homemade, of course) and drizzle of acacia honey, and (2) mini bruschettas, one with butter and fried anchovies. We were also served beverages of choice (score for them having Coke Zero!). On the table were also baskets of break and infused oils (made especially for the suppers); one of the oils was infused with Calabrian chili and the other was infused with garlic and rosemary. While we munched on these little bites of goodness and waited for all the guests to arrive, we noticed the details on the cards provided at each dinner seat. On one side of the card was the menu for the evening. On the other side was a list of the guests, a QR code we could scan to listen to the evening’s music, and a fun game (each person shared a unique thing about them and we had to guess who was who). Those personalized touches helped to make the evening even more special and memorable. 

 

Finally, all of the guests arrived and joined us at the table. Fabio and Flavio served us our first antipasto dish: a huge ball of burrata filled with a burst of homemade pesto. There were rocket leaves and some tomatoes on the plate as well, but the burrata and pesto were the standouts! Even my friend who doesn’t like burrata too much ate the entire helping of it. Even after this first course, I knew that the food throughout the evening would be special and some of the best I’ve eaten in a long time. Usually the second course includes octopus, but after a very unpleasant experience in Zanzibar a decade ago, I have never willingly eaten another octopus tentacle. I shared this with Flavio when planning the menu and he immediately came up with an alternative dish: a razor clam gratin served in a scallop shell. This was perhaps one of my favorites of the evening! If I could have licked the shell while still looking classy, I would have. 

We were a third through the six courses and my stomach was holding up well. I wasn’t full yet! This was a minor victory. Course three arrived: a risotto with prawns. I’m a sucker for seafood and this was another delicious dish. As with the first two dishes, I ate everything on my plate. After the risotto, we were offered lemon sorbet, served in a frozen lemon. It was light, refreshing and a great palate cleanser. It was during course four when my stomach tried to protest a little, but it quieted down when it saw that the course was a squid ink linguini with clams. Again, I didn’t leave a morsel on my plate. 

 

But when course five was placed in front of me, I doubted whether or not my stomach could do this. I gave it a mini pep talk and we got down to eating the guazzetto with prawns, squid, mushrooms, potatoes, and truffle. I made it through, and I refuse to be ashamed to share, but yes, I ate it all. I figured I could walk it off the next day (or year). 

 

The final course was dessert. Honestly, I was so happy with courses one through five that dessert wasn’t the highlight for me. It was good and nothing less than delicious, but those other dishes were the standouts for me. Dessert was a special panettone, the best one I’ve had (well, I’ve only tasted two so take it for what it’s worth), served with a pistachio cream. I didn’t know it, but apparently that’s what’s been missing all of my life: pistachio cream. It was creamy, smooth, rich…heavenly. Instead of dipping bites of the panettone into the cream, I started to just eat it by the spoonful. 

 

It was late, I was full (glad I wore the stretchy pants), I was happy, but it was time for us to bid adieu (I did have to teach online in the morning), or I should say ciao. We thanked Fabio and Flavio as we slowly waddled to the door. I told them I’d love to come back for dinner again. Then we were handed our choice of the infused oils. I obviously selected the one infused with the chili (sadly, a month later, I’m on the last few drops of the oil). We said our ciaos and left, buzzing after a very fulfilling (literally) evening. 

 

The next day, I joked with my friend that Fabio was FABulous and Flavio cooked with lots of FLAVor. But that’s a perfect way to describe the evening at The Italian Supper: fabulous and flavorful. It is definitely an experience I want to enjoy again and hope to do so again soon! 

 

The Italian Supper

Follow them on Instagram here!

Marble Surface

Indonesian in the City

I love most types of cuisines, but I gravitate towards Asian...Chinese (my comfort food), Korean, Thai. Back in the fall, a friend was craving Indonesian and invited me last minute. I admit, I had already eaten dinner, but enjoy spending time with this friend so jumped at the chance. He took me to a place in Karama (Dubai) called Daoper Kita.

 

The restaurant is small, but the aroma that hits you the moment you enter is the kind of smell that tells you that you're in a place that's going to serve you good food. The menu was extensive, but I finally decided on a dish with fried chicken with some rice. My friend also ordered his main course along with some satay skewers. Once the satay skewers arrived, he offered me one to try. I asked which satay it was as there were three options on the menu. He wouldn't tell me and just said to try. I did, and it was yummy! The beef (I could taste the beef) was so tender! I guessed it was the beef tongue and I was right! Definitely a dish I would order again. Our main courses came and I dove into the chicken. I usually don't like eating with my hands, but looking around the restaurant I could see everyone else was so I decided to embrace it this one time. I took a bite of the chicken and wowzers! It was juicy, flavorful, and the skin was just the right amount of crispy. Since I had eaten dinner already, I only ate the chicken and asked for the rest to be boxed up for takeaway, making sure to let the waitress know I thought that fried chicken was banging and some of the best I've had in the UAE. This delighted the waitress! Meanwhile, the owner stopped by our table welcoming us and telling me to come back any time (might be because I was one of the few white faces clearly enjoying the food and not being western at all about it). When I got home, I noticed that they put a fresh piece of fried chicken in my box with the rice! SCORE!

A few weeks ago, I decided to organize a small dinner for those in my social group. I immediately thought of Daoper Kita because of the great taste and price! Plus, I really wanted some more fried chicken. Upon arrival and waiting for people to actually show up (one of the issues of a social group), I ordered some satay. Unfortunately, they were out of the beef tongue so I settled for the chicken which was also amazing and a fine substitute. When I ordered my main dish, I looked for the same fried chicken dish. Just as good this time and I ended up eating three pieces of chicken. Every time I caught the waiter's attention, I'm sure he was wondering how many pieces I could actually eat. 

Daoper Kita is a great place and I can't wait until I go back! I highly recommend this place...and obviously, I recommend the fried chicken! 

Great. Now I'm craving fried chicken again. 

Daoper Kita 

Shop No.3-4, Sheikh Mohammad Building No.2, 43A Street، Next to LuluHypermarket - Al Karama - Dubai

971-04 – 379.5501

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An Afternoon Tea

If you know me well, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of afternoon teas. As a very amateur foodie, I like the idea of trying different tiny bites of flavors; this way, I’m not stuck with one taste. An afternoon tea offers savory and sweet bites. And I’ve been lucky to enjoy quite a few different afternoon teas in the US (New York City and Tampa), Southeast Asia (Myanmar, Hong Kong, Shenzhen), and in the UAE. So, when trying to come up with something to plan for my social group, I thought an afternoon tea would be perfect. I was wrong–no one signed up! I’ll be honest, running a social group can be difficult. But I had a friend that was willing to go with me, so I kept it booked. 

 

For this afternoon tea, I selected Al Bayt at the Palace Downtown in Dubai, an Address hotel, owned and operated by Emaar Hospitality Group. I’ve been fortunate to dine at another restaurant at the Palace Downtown and it was superb. I knew this afternoon tea would be great, but it far exceeded my expectations. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upon arrival, I was escorted to a plush corner couch. While I waited for my friend, I was offered a traditional lime mint welcome beverage; it was light and refreshing, a perfect drink for the Dubai heat. 

 

Finally, my friend arrived and I selected a hot tea (I do enjoy a good hot tea–and the best part of this particular afternoon tea? You could try different ones and not just have to stick to one pot the entire time!!), waiting for the culinary extravaganza to begin. I was NOT disappointed at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Allow me to share the delectable offerings on the different tiers of the tea stand: 

First tier: beef and asparagus roll, a spiced tandoori chicken placed in a beetroot cup, an avocado and grapefruit salsa atop a charred prawn, and a smoked salmon cream cheese tea sandwich. 

Favorite: The chicken inside the beetroot cup was delicious! 

 

Second tier: marinated cucumber sandwich with a dash of raspberry cream (a nice twist on the classic cucumber sandwich traditional to most afternoon teas), mixed berry gazpacho, beetroot cream cheese with pecan nuts, and watermelon with feta cream cheese rolled in crushed pistachios.

Favorite: The watermelon bite with the crushed pistachios! Like, I’ve dreamt of this bite again and again. And I will go back to this afternoon tea solely for this particular delectable taste of heaven. 

 

Third tier: raspberry opera with coconut, rose and pistachio sable, strawberry eclair, tropezienne with cherry and mascarpone, a pink guava panna cotta (no thank you), a caramel macaron. 

Favorite: The macaron. I’ve always been a fan of these pillows of light flavor and appreciate the precision that has to go into making one of these cookies. Besides, it matched my nails! 

 

Overall, the Al Bayt Afternoon Tea far exceeded my expectations and has moved its way into my favorite afternoon tea of all time in Dubai and a very close second to my favorite UAE afternoon tea experience. It also comes with the necessary scones: chocolate scones, cranberry scones, and plain scones with homemade jams and clotted cream. If you find yourself in Dubai and in need of an elegant but relaxing afternoon tea, the Palace Downtown’s Al Bayt is your place. 

 

Al Bayt Afternoon Tea

Palace Downtown

Downtown, Dubai, UAE

971 04 428 7961

190aed (Entertainer App: Buy One Get One offer)

The best thing on the menu!

Marble Surface

Reif Kushiyaki
Dubai

A few days ago, my friend called and asked if I wanted to head to breakfast. If you have ever read my ScamTales blogs, you have heard of this friend: Singapore. In our brief five minute call, all I got out of it was that it was a Japanese place he’d been wanting to have breakfast at...when I said sure, I was given a whopping 10 minutes to get ready. 

 

After waiting in the warmth of Dubai for about 5 minutes, Singapore pulled up (I don’t even know why I head out within the time limit he gives me because he’s usually another 5 or 10 minutes late). We headed towards the Al Wasl area (to Dar Wasl Mall). 

 

The restaurant was small, but we were shown to a table. I scanned the QR code to get to the menu that included pictures (I’m a visual person). Singapore knew immediately what he was ordering--the nasi lemak--with pieces of fried chicken. I ended up ordering a version of eggs benedict. Our food came out quickly and my plate of eggs benedict was presented beautifully. The bottom layer, traditionally a biscuit or English muffin, was a sweet milk bread; I admit, the bread was my favorite part of the whole dish. Next was a layer of sauteed kale and mounds of avocado flavored with yuzu. On top was a perfect poached egg with dollops of hollandaise sauce. A bright daikon was placed delicately at the top of each egg. And not one to ever say no to a piece of fried chicken (my southern American roots are to blame for this), I quickly took a small piece of chicken Singapore offered; I am happy to report it was perfectly crispy. The plate of nasi lemak was also presented nicely. I even tried a little fried anchovy for the first time! Not sure if I’d eat one again, but can’t say I wouldn’t either. 

 

If you’re looking for a taste of Asia in the big city of Dubai, look no further than Reif Kushiyaki. I know it’s a place I would gladly go back to! Especially for that milk bread! 

 

Reif Kushiyaki

Dar Wasl Mall

Dubai, UAE

Marble Surface

As mentioned in the Moments of Reflection page, I recently started a new social group. Well, for our first major outing, I wanted to plan something that would force people to interact with each other. Down the street from my building is a game cafe. I thought, “What a great idea!” And yes, the teacher in me patted myself on the back. Unfortunately, the cafe is super small and I didn’t think I’d be able to fit that many people, so I went with a different place and reserved seating for 12. A friend reached out to me and told me we would be squished. At that point, I already had 12 people signed up and a waiting list! The next day, he told me about a different game cafe: Hive Boardgame Cafe. I looked it up and it was HUGE! 

 

I immediately messaged Hive via Instagram to see how I could arrange something. Rakesh got back to me within an hour with the rates and how many people they could accommodate at a time. It was perfect! I was able to reserve space for 25 people at 25aed per person (you have to pay upfront for large groups). And, since I wasn’t getting paid until a few days before the event, the mandatory five day before rule was waived and I was able to transfer the payment a few days before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the night of the event, I walked in and was shown to a space upstairs. They set up about five tables for us and even had a stack of chairs waiting for us so we could pull a chair up to any table if needed. A game master (I like to call him a game “connoisseur”) was placed upstairs to help tables pick games; he would also take the time to give detailed instructions when needed. Hive also gave us a waiter in case anyone wanted to order a beverage or food. 

 

Speaking of food: I admit, I always look at menus before going to a restaurant or cafe so I know what I want and don’t panic when it comes time to order. As a treat to myself (you know, as a reward for planning the game night and bringing some of the members of the social group together), I ordered an Oreo Cookie Monster Freaky Shake. The waiter brought it to me, piled high with whipped cream, and suggested I go ahead and start eating it. I sat down at a low table with floor cushions and invited a social group member who came but wasn’t partaking in the games to join me. I took a look at the shake and knew I was going to enjoy the monster of the shake, fully aware I was not going to be able to finish it all. 

 

The shake was rich, full of chocolate. On the outer rim of the mason jar glass, Oreo cookie halves were “glued” on with whipped cream, while Pirouline cookies proudly stood up, popping out of the mountain of cream. The shake was not as thick as a traditional milkshake, but I enjoyed the richness of it. I really enjoyed the cookies though. Next time, I plan on trying the Hive Signature Popcorn Blast. 

 

 

 

I have to say, Hive was amazing to deal with. By the time we left that evening, every table downstairs was full of laughing occupants. I don’t always walk out of venues thinking I’ll return---there are too many to see and enjoy!--but Hive is definitely one of those places I would love to go back to with friends. If you’re ever in Dubai, holidaying, visiting friends, or living here, check Hive Boardgame Cafe out for a relaxing, fun time! 

 

Hive Boardgame Cafe

The Onyx Tower 1, The Greens 

Sh. Zayed Road, Dubai, UAE

Hive Boardgame Cafe

Marble Surface

Let's Get Ready to Rumba

Growing up in Tampa, I was surrounded by amazing latin food...tostones, chicken and yellow rice (Vigo is based in Tampa), deviled crabs, and of course Cuban sandwiches. When I am overseas, I do find myself hankering for decent latin food on occasion and have yet to find a place that will satisfy those latin cravings. So, when a group of Americans in Dubai (from a FB group I am in) decided to plan a group outing, I thought, “Sure, I’ll go.” The place they decided on was Rumba Cuban Bar and & Kitchen in Club Vista Mare on Palm Jumeirah. 

 

When my Uber driver pulled up to the strip of restaurants at Club Vista Mare, I made my way to the restaurant. It was still quiet, only being 7:30pm. I was starving, having skipped my afternoon snack, dinner, and dessert. Walking into Rumba, I felt like I was walking into a cool hotspot, it was comfortable, inviting, and chill, while still exuding the vibrancy of latin culture. 

 

I saw the two long tables, one already filled with chatty Americans excited to meet one another. The other was still empty, waiting for the late comers. I sat and waited for my other American friend, another teacher I met through the FB group (I’m telling you, social media has a way of connecting strangers), to join us. After about 15 minutes, she made it and I wasn’t alone at the table anymore. Soon, our waiter took our orders. 

 

So, let’s talk food!

 

I admit, what I ordered would not be considered the most balanced or healthy, but I was starving and didn’t care. I started with the Guacamole Habanero. When I told the waiter I wanted that, he laughed and informed me it was spicy because of the habaneros. I replied, “I know I’m white, but I can handle the spicy food.” He said okay. When it arrived (sorry, no pictures due to hunger), it was a decent sized bowl of guac and came with a small tin of thinly sliced homemade crips. I appreciated the chips actually, though not the traditional corn tortilla chips that we are used to. The guacamole was good. I enjoyed it. Spicy? No. It did have a nice lingering tang to it, but definitely not something I would call spicy or warn others about. (And yes, I did share that opinion with the waiter when I was paying my bill at the end, lol). 

 

Next up, tostones. Tostones are basically deep fried plantains. I don’t like plantains, but I do enjoy them the moment they’re battered and fried. Again, I apologize for the lack of pictures; did I mention I was starving? The tostones were a good substitute for the ones I get when visiting back home. They weren’t crispy crispy, but more of a soft crisp, and needed a bit more salt. 

 

I ended the dining experience with a dessert: a churro. The churro was deep fried to a golden brown and served in a spiral, along with two sauces: chocolate and guava. I put the guava sauce to the side immediately, because “ew, gross, guava, bleh.” I took one picture and drizzled the chocolate sauce over the churro spiral (in hindsight, I should have taken the picture AFTER the drizzling). The churro was crunchy. Definitely one of those shareable desserts.

Overall, the food at Rumba was good, though not quite up to the same level as the latin food at home. But for now, it was close enough. 

 

Rumba Cuban Bar & Kitchen

Unit 7, Club Vista Mare

Palm Jumeirah, Dubai

Marble Surface

Asia Asia = Yummy Yummy
A Dubai Brunch Experience

Brunches...if you are from the United States like I am, the term brunch means a combination of breakfast and lunch. Even the dictionary, Merriam-Webster, defines brunch as something similar. 

 

But, if you come to the United Arab Emirates, expect brunches to be a THING here. I am talking about an event....music, more food than you could imagine, drinking. My UAE brunching history includes a day at an island resort in Abu Dhabi (I admit, I was more about the beach than the food) and a night brunch at Emirates Palace. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea of sitting, eating for hours (like, 4 to 5 hours sometimes), socializing for hours. Just seemed tiring to me. 

Yesterday, I had the chance to meet and join three teachers (new to the UAE) for my first Dubai brunch; we would meet at Asia Asia in Pier 7 located in the Dubai Marina area. It was one of those spontaneous things where someone makes a post in a Facebook group about needing a fourth to join to take advantage of the two for one deal and I responded. 

The day came (yesterday). I tried on about eight different outfits, fretting what the right look would be. Women here dress to the nines for brunches….well, they dress to the nines for a trip to the mall. I knew I wanted to go nice but definitely comfortable. So, a simple blue dress with an ornate gold necklace (special shoutout to my AD Social Bubble!). 

I made it to the venue a few minutes late, but really right on time as the server was just placing a few dishes on the table. I introduced myself to the ladies already seated. They were three lovely, British ladies and filled the entire brunch time with laughter, chatter, and fun. Learning they had ordered the House Beverage package, I decided to at least try a cocktail; I went with a Sangria Rose. I like sangria sometimes and I’m alright with a rose, so, why not merge the two? It was such a tasty, refreshing beverage! By the end of the brunch, I had enjoyed three, which is unlike me these days. 

The venue’s speakers filled the space with loud music, sometimes a bit too loud, but added to the fun and chill atmosphere. The space was full of light from the wall of windows surrounding the dining area. And, super important when living in a desert in September, the temperature was just right! 

But let’s get to the goods: the FOOD! I admit, the food is usually my favorite part of going to any restaurant. I love different cuisines and tasting how chefs can bend and weave various flavors together. Allow me to share the dishes I enjoyed most. 

Starters: So many offerings! My stomach did not know where to start. Salmon tartare, salmon carpaccio, edamame, shrimp tempura, spiced calamari, chicken satay, dim sum (3!), beef brisket bao bun, and a sushi platter. I’m full just thinking about it! I tried all of it. The spicy calamari wasn’t that spicy, and I’m not sure I would call it spiced, but it was crispy and enjoyable. The tartare did have a nice bite to it, offering a lingering kick at the end. But my absolute favorite starter, one which I ordered a second of and would have ordered tons more if we weren’t getting more dishes, was the beef brisket bao bun. The bun was light and pillowy, while the filling was flavorful. The beef brisket was tender!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mains: Grilled asparagus, egg fried rice, Singapore noodles, soy marinated salmon, miso black cod, teriyaki chicken, sweet and sour chicken, Mongolian beef, and flank steak. Again, all good food, but the sweet and sour chicken was the second best sweet and sour chicken I’ve ever had (second to my Chinese ayi’s homemade dish from my days living in China). I asked for more of that dish and could have easily eaten all of it and more! Great kick! Crunchy! Perfect!

Dessert: Just when I didn’t think I could eat anymore food, dessert came out and offered a perfect ending to the food fest. On the plate to share was a jasmine tea creme brulee, chocolate matcha marquise, raspberry sorbet, and sesame ice cream. Fruit was also on the plate, but who wants to ruin their dessert with just plain fruit? Not this girl. The creme brulee was AMAZING and three out of the four of us asked for more! It was by far my favorite dessert dish. The chocolate matcha marquise was a delicious, rich chocolate piece of heaven as well...the best part was that I could not taste the matcha. The ice cream was also good! 

 

Overall, I would definitely recommend this brunch to others in Dubai. I enjoyed it and am looking forward to attending more brunches in the future. But the best part of the day was meeting new women and making new friends; I am so glad I took the chance and responded to the post that day! That’s one thing I’ve learned about Dubai: You have got to make an effort if you want to find friends and a social circle here! It isn’t enough to just post about friendships or being lonely or wanting to make new friends; you have got to take action.

Asia Asia

Pier 7, Dubai Marina

Spice Route Brunch every Friday, 2pm--5pm

Prices ranges from 400aed to 700aed

Marble Surface

Afternoon Tea Above the City

The five Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi are set apart from the rest of the iconic cityscape of downtown. They soar above the Emirates Palace, Presidential Palace, and Arabian Gulf. The Towers are also featured in the film Fast & Furious 7, when Dom Torreto drives a Lykan Hypersport supercar (valued at over $3 million USD) from the 45th floor of one tower into a neighboring one. The Towers, though, are a lot more than drive-through buildings; they also offer several food and beverage options. 

One of the options is in the Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers at its Observation Deck at 300, a perfect place to meet up and to share an afternoon tea service.

From the minute I walked out of the Observation Deck at 300’s special elevator and looked out at the stunning 360° views from level 74, I knew I was in for a treat that afternoon. 

I was quickly shown to my table, waiting for me next to the floor to ceiling windows. The moment I sat down, a coconut and cherry concoction was placed in front of me to enjoy as I waited for the tea fare to be rolled to me (yes, it is literally rolled to the table in a glass display cabinet on wheels). As I waited for my treats to be placed on the three tier metal stand, in the shape of a sail to mimic the towers, I decided to take a stroll around the deck. There truly wasn’t a bad view from any table. 

Soon the food was set in its proper places...the bottom tier were savory sandwich bites, the middle tier held the sweets, and the scones were perched on the top.

Allow me to share what each tasty treat was…I will start from the bottom. For the savory bites, the plate held: a smoke salmon atop a dill bread with a dollop of caviar and creme fraiche, a roast beef with pimiento on beetroot bread, a raisin bread with chicken salad, a mozzarella and zucchini atop a focaccia, a tuna and avocado wrap, and my favorite, a roasted pumpkin and onion tart with gorgonzola. 

The rich sweets were also on another level and stand out as being some of the best tea desserts I have ever placed between my lips. The plate offered a vanilla battenberg, fruit tart, orange crinkle cookie, strawberry madeleines, cherry roulade, a caramel cheesecake, chocolate choux buns, and my absolute two favorites of all: a lotus cream donut and a chocolate lollipop. 

Of course, I cannot forget about the necessary scones. Two types were offered, white chocolate and cranberry scones and rose scones, served with the required clotted cream and jam. 

Now, I admit, I could not eat it all at the same seating so I ended up bringing some of the sweets home with me (as they do not allow the savory sandwiches to be put in takeaway boxes). I definitely enjoyed the sweets later from the comfort of my bed, still savoring each sugary bite. 

Next time you find yourself wanting to enjoy delicious food high above the city with friends or a special someone, check out the Observation Deck at 300, located in Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers. 

Observation Deck at 300

Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers

Price for Afternoon Tea: 220AED per person (44GBP, 50Euro, $60USD)

11 Westside in Hong Kong

A few years ago, The Final Table aired on Netflix. It was a cooking competition with chefs from around the world, vying for the spot to cook for the judges at the final table. As I was watching the series, I was delighted that three chefs had restaurants based in Hong Kong since I lived just over the border and was planning a girls’ weekend for a last hurrah before two of us moved to another country.

It was a difficult decision to make, but we finally went with the Mexican option, 11 Westside, owned by Chef Esdras Ochoa. And I’m so glad we went with that choice. 

11 Westside is located in Kennedy Town on Hong Kong Island, just around the corner from the metro. Walking into the space, I was taken aback by the unique chandeliers; they dimly glittered above to offer a soft glow on the dining area–the perfect ambience for an evening of fun and camaraderie with fabulous ladies. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The food menu offered numerous Mexican delights, including a variety of tacos, quesadillas, steak dishes. I am a sucker for fresh guacamole, so we ordered it, which was later prepared table side; this meant we could tailor it to how we liked it , which meant spicy for me. For my main course I ordered the Steak Sonora: prime skirt steak served with brussel sprouts caramelized in a balsamic vinegar reduction. The steak was pure perfection–juicy and tender. 

One unique thing about 11 Westside is the bar, full of drinks created by the beverage director, Daniel Eun, a leader in the world of craft cocktails. The drink menu is definitely one of a kind. It takes after an old-school hip hop CD front cover insert. The influence of Dr. Dre is all over the menu, with drinks named California Love, Nothing but a “G” Thang, and Forget About Dre. 

 

 

 

 

 

Eating at 11 Westside is a treat, especially with the right company. Next time you are in Hong Kong, put this place on your list of places to check out!

11 Westside

1/F, The Hudson, 11 Davis Street

Kennedy Town, Hong Kong