Posts

Showing posts from 2012

2013 must do: More Love Doughnuts

Image
Have you had a bite from Love Doughnuts yet? Um, why not? I can quite honestly guarantee you will love everything about it.

It's not just the out-of-this-world doughnuts that not only break the mould - and they are amazing. Wasabi cheesecake? Peanut butter banana, anyone?

Also, seriously, don't bother with gelato anywhere else. Currently vanilla with chili and salty caramel are my faves.




Love Doughnuts is in the Guardian Tower building by 31st Street. Go.


New Year, New You: No

Image
First one of the year: Spotted at the Mac app store on December 28. I am sure there are more out there... I just hope I don't see any.

Try harder people. I want to be the same next year (if slightly improved over the 2012 model). This tired old cliche has got to go.

Headline: Paris & Disney and Vegas, oh my

I am heading to Paris tomorrow (yippee!!!!), where I am hoping very much for a relaxing five days of eating, grape beverage-sipping, people-watching and hanging with a cool guy and his even cooler seven-year-old daughter. (I am also hoping not to be mugged, which is what happened when I visited about 11 years ago. But I am a much more savvy traveller these days, so fingers crossed!)
One of the coolest parts of this trip, for me (and the seven-year-old, I'd wager) is a planned visit to Disneyland Paris. Sure, it'll be cold, but we are tough Canadians and will bundle accordingly. I love Disney more than anything, and going there is reminding me of one of the best trips I've ever taken, which happened seven or eight years ago. 
A press trip to Walt Disney World in Florida, for the launch of the Mission: Impossible ride - complete with real-life astronauts (cool) and then on to Las Vegas, for a wedding and weekend at Caesar's Palace. (coolest) I am not sure if anyone else…

Today in Yum-yums: Fauchon Le Cafe, The Meat Company and more

Image
Going out in Abu Dhabi is not always that great. You know what I am talking about. You settle in to a pricey restaurant and pretty soon, something disappoints you. Whether is screwed-up service - I won't go into the litany of ways that service can be well-meaning, but terrible, but you can just check my martini diaries for a quick affirmation - or lacklustre food, I find the return is often not worth the exorbitant prices involved in dining in five-star restaurants. We usually opt to order shawarma and fresh juice from the corner shop than be disappointed again. 

There are really only a couple of dining/going out experiences that stand out for me this year, in Abu Dhabi anyway. And I want very much to pass them along to you.

Fauchon Le Cafe at Etihad Towers
I was checking out Avenue at Etihad Towers when I spotted this Paris-born patisserie; hungry, I quickly figured eating there would be about the only thing I could afford at the luxury shopping destination. It was one of those si…

These pictures from the Sharjah Water Festival are amazing because _______

Image

Overheard in the newsroom: Wednesday edition

I know I fall asleep on the couch a lot less.
You read that in a book or saw it on Dr Phil but we both know it's not true.
It's the Lebanese (place) without the cockroaches.

Dubai International Film Festival 2012: More flawless Cate Blanchett

Image
This woman makes me proud to be in my 40s people. Blanchett was on the red carpet again last night at for the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Award, seen here with a Roger Vivier Belle Vivier Pilgrim clutch and the Epin’elle Caviar Rosé Sandals.

Ikea monkey vs gum-chewing monkey

Everyone is going crazy about this monkey-in-an-awesome-shearling-coat who was loose in a Toronto Ikea.

Whatever.

Where was the world when I blogged about this monkey on the Abu Dhabi Corniche, who wore jeans, a T-shirt, a belt (!) and played with the gum he was chewing.

Yes that's right. Played with the gum he was chewing. 

Gwyneth Paltrow has her own little nickname for the Burj Khalifa

Image
So her Lady of Goop was in Dubai last week, being all gorgeous and low-key, to promote her tie-up with Hugo Boss fragrance.
The next day her newsletter included a self-portrait taken at the top of the world's tallest building (you can't really tell where she is in it, it's on the left), along with some typical GP bits of fun:


Dubai International Film Festival 2012: Cate Blanchett on opening night, flawless as always

Image

Overheard in the newsroom: Super-special Monday edition

Well, I'd rather do that than go to jail.
I've given up trying to figure out how his brain operates. 
Oh, she's got a matching dummy
Can I smell salad?
Look how useful we are!

Snap caption: If only it were that easy

Image
I love reading the menus from all the corner juice and shwarma shops in Abu Dhabi. The names and food combinations are hilarious. (So are the items that arrive at your door - there is definitely a linguistic barrier involved in these outings) Who puts chicken nuggets in a bun? Or chicken wieners in pita bread? And most everything seems to be named "zinker".

UAE National Day 41: The country can do fireworks

Image
Really, really something to see. 

Fill in the blank: This man is pulling this truck because _______

Image
The winner is JP, and not because he was the only one, but because he is, as always, hilarious: "Because, even in the UAE, the fuel prices are getting ridiculous?"

National Day 41: Mayhem, foam and fireworks

Image
Invited to a friend's place to watch the fireworks last night, I decided the only way to get there was on foot. And this is what I saw...


Crazy buildings:



Overheard in the newsroom: Monday edition

In a land of no taxes, this is your cultural tax.

UAE National Day festivities include Violent Lips

Image
Should you dare, the appliques are Dh75 and available through Sisters Beauty Lounge.

The UAE's massive carbon footprint: This building may have something to do with it

Image
Construction on this building off Hamdan St and Airport Rd (near the Central Market) finished about three months ago. I know, I live quite near there. Anyhoo, it doesn't appear to be fully occupied, or occupied in any meaningful manner. And even if it was, I doubt it would be full of people working feverishly with all the lights on at 9pm on a Sunday night. So why are ALL the lights on, so many nights of the week? I am not exaggerating when I say that this virtually empty building has been lit up like a Christmas tree for long stretches (once for more than a week) ever since this summer.

Today in yum-yums: Grandma's Cheese Cake

Image
I passed by this kiosk in Abu Dhabi Mall the other day (it's across from The One) and finally decided: it's cheesecake time! What a great move that was: the piece I had was stunning. Caramel. Just two bites, really, of pure goodness. Creamy, sweet, with a delicious graham crust.

For about Dh10? Totally worth it.

A side note: I recently lost 10 pounds (almost a stone, for all you Brits; about 4.5 kilos, for everyone else) and it was both very difficult and quite easy. Difficult because I had been trying to for quite some time, without success, and easy because once I started losing it, it kept coming off.

But one key, I found, was eating much less of things, but still eating things I like. This tiny little portion of cheese cake is an excellent example of that. And the best thing is, even if you want to go back for a second one, as I did while looking at candles in The One, you won't because the guy will remember you and you'll feel silly.

Expat Blog Awards 2012: Thanks for all the comments!

Thanks to everyone who wrote such nice things! I know I asked you to, but it still warms the cockles of my heart. There is still a little bit of time if you are so inclined: go here.

I like to write: Did you see Argo? Want to read my interview with former Iranian ambassador Ken Taylor?

Image
In which he talks about hanging out with Ben Affleck, his role in helping six escaped hostages get to freedom in The Canadian Caper, the tragedy in Benghazi and why Canada should have kept its embassy in Tehran open? What a guy. Anyway, it's all here. 






















And by the way, if you haven't heard, the movie is well worth your time. Just don't look for a nuanced portrayal of Iranians at the time. (Although I liked the little history lesson at the beginning acknowledging America's oil-inspired interference with Iran's democratically elected government in the 1950s, which played a major role in the whole crappy mess.)


Snap caption: Specially decorated Eid fingers get the job done

Image

Mooch: Not just a great name, but a fabulous drink

Image
My dream came true: someone combined mint and chocolate milk. Thank you beverage gods!


Got a minute? Can you spare a kind word for A Canadian in Abu Dhabi?

So typical of a journalist used to working on deadline, the nice people at Expat Blog Awards 2012 told me A MONTH ago that my blog had been nominated. They also gave me a nice badge, which you can see has been prominently placed on the panel to the right.

I remembered this today of course and I see that the deadline for readers to leave nice comments about what they like about the blog is SUNDAY at midnight. So, if you feel like it, don't be like me and delay. Go here now (and by now I mean before the end of November 11) and give me a virtual thumbs up.

If you feel like it. That would be nice. Thank you very much in advance.


Snap caption: Pearls of wisdom from Etisalat HQ

Image

Overheard in the newsroom: Lebanese fan of Lebanese pop singer edition

She's beautiful! Look at her eyebrows.

Snap caption: Abayas & standup paddleboarding, together at last

Image

Overheard in Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2012 edition

We can't drink before going to Lawrence of Arabia - it's not going to work.

Fill in the blank: 50 Cent looks _______ to be promoting his new headphones in Dubai

Image

Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2012: This is what I will be snacking on with James Franco

Image
That's Spicy Mashed Potato Popcorn - an Indian snack I am both intrigued and repelled by. So I am using the 7.15 screening of James Franco's (likely slightly insufferable) film Francophrenia tonight as an excuse to try it.

Good morning! I recommend this complicated new siphon coffee from Jones The Grocer

Image
I had some the other day and I don't think I've ever been that wide awake. Available at the location off Electra Street, closer to the Corniche.

Plus you get a little truffle with it, which is just the kind of happy surprise everyone should have at 7.30am!

Happy Friday: Just another weekend in Abu Dhabi

Image
If you get a chance this winter, take a weekend afternoon cruise with Belevari Marine, who operate them both Friday and Saturday. I was part of a group last Friday who rented the whole catamaran, and it was a really, really, really great day. (Maybe not quite as great as it was for those people on that huge yacht in the background of this picture, but pretty great.) Dh350 with great drinks and snacks provided.

Phillips My Style shaver: This is how to make an Arab beard

Image
Phillips sent us a new shaver the other day, and it was accompanied by this hilarious sticker, which basically sums up the face of every man over the age of 20 here.

The sticker raises so many more questions than it answers, including: is it for your face? Or for the mirror?

I like to write: the exercise ball edition

A colleague and I recently started sitting on exercise balls at work. We have been the object of much ridicule, but we don't care because we are strengthening our cores and fighting the scourge that is inactivity. We also like to make a lot of jokes and puns with the word ball, as you do.

Here's our take. And by the way, if you don't mind people laughing at you, then I highly recommend it.

Overheard in the newsroom: Super-special Wednesday edition

I found it in her drawer. I think it might be a prosthetic testical. 
My cat's a letdown.
It's not free, but it will be delicious
I don't think it looks like a baby. I think it looks like a coconut.
That soup didn't work. It was a misfire.

I get comments: Dear Anonymous, from the bottom of my heart, thank you

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a picture of some empty shelves in a shop, because basically it looked like the worst shop ever and I thought that would make someone giggle. I made the error of spelling "stationery" with an "a", which every grammar and spelling guru knows is a crime that carries a sentence of 25 years to life.

Only in the UAE: 3 randoms

Image
This is what I love about living in Abu Dhabi: over a period of three days I mingled with three people I can guarantee you my paths would never have crossed were it not for my decision to leave Canada.

They were: an ex-US military guy who is over here fixing F-16s, the new Mexican ambassador, Francisco Alonso, and the wife of one of the Canadian doctor inventors of the Banana Guard.


If you do just one thing here; Save your cash peoples!

A new study published in 7Days in Dubai today reveals the results of a poll conducted by YouGov.com for the financial website Cashy.me: out of hundreds of people asked, one in four don't have enough savings to get by for four weeks if they lost their job.


How can this happen? And are people who don't have more than a month cushion not freaking the heck out every minute of every day?

Snap caption: Worst stationEry store ever

Image

Places you would not expect valet parking: HSBC

Image

Only in the UAE would a flea market be held in a five-star hotel ballroom

Image
The above photograph is of strangers sifting through my belongings. It's hard to believe, but I have accumulated a lot of stuff over the last four years living in Abu Dhabi. At the same time, living in small spaces and in such close proximity to people who do so much with so little (labourers etc) I have been thinking a lot about my consumerist ways and how they have nothing to do with true happiness and becoming a lot more interested in changing them. The decision to pare right down like this, happily,  coincided with the announcement that the Sheraton Corniche would be holding its first "night" charity flea market, so a friend and I decided to split a table and get rid of our junk. (Her junk was a little bit nicer than mine; it involved Jimmy Choo shoes)

That's where I am headed this weekend: To see one of these guys

Image
Catch a bunch of his friends at the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition, on at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre until Saturday.

Snap caption: I had not heard of fish luncheon meat

Image

Pizza Hut is at it again: The Cone Crust

Image
From the company that brought us the exclusive-to-the-UAE "Crown Crust" cheeseburger pizza.


Overheard in the newsroom: Most excellent Thursday edition

It's not free, but it will be delicious
I don't think it looks like a baby. I think it looks like a coconut.
That soup didn't work. It was a misfire.

Good morning window cleaners! This is what I woke up to today

Image
And shortly after I snapped this picture, and I thought they had safely left, I had a shower. Then I returned to the room, and they were back! Suffice to say, it was a lot more "All of Me" than "Part of Me".


Paneria watches: Inspired by the Burj Khalifa

Image

Does anyone eat this horrid-looking corn shipped to the UAE from England?

Image
I had the most delicious corn-on-the-cob when I was back in Canada this summer. This corn looks nothing like that corn. It costs a lot and well ... it's just not that appealing. Then there is the carbon footprint to consider. Yet there it is, in every supermarket, so someone must be eating it.


Overheard in the office: The when it comes to music, it's all perspective edition

On the news that Nickelback and Kylie Minogue will be performing after the F1 races November 2-4, with the third night yet-to-be announced:

"They have lame acts before cause they are saving it up for the big night."

"That's too many good people! The third night will be crappy."

Snap caption: Not sure about the event, but an enthusiastic yes to the bedazzled fez

Image

Snap caption: The bathroom instructions are back!

Image

Overheard in the newsroom: Super special September 1 edition

Flip flops are the lazy woman's high heel. 
Yesterday. I had a bad day, I just wanted to play a game of bowling. However, I was not told that I could not have a game of bowling in kandoura. 
There's just no way I'd want to put any of those in my mouth.

Welcome back! I was almost attacked and eaten by this Big Bug

Image
Okay, that is a bit of an exaggeration, obviously. But I did find myself getting this weird "I'm not alone in here" feeling the other day in the loo, and low and behold, this GIANT Big Bug was eyeing me up from the wall to my right. If I had the nerve I would have held my iPhone up next to it and photographed it with my camera, to show you that the bug was very nearly (with antennae most definitely) as long as the iPhone.





This is not my first encounter with this unsavory sort. There have been several over the last four years, all terrifying. Look, I love all creatures big and small. Except this one.

Long-time readers may recall that several years ago, I opened the door of my first apartment in Abu Dhabi one morning to this. Giant bug who called it quits (I like to imagine this part) after a long arduous journey, just as he knocked, squeaked out "help", flipped on his back and left this world forever.

Does anyone know what Big Bug is actually called, and what i…

(Over) Heard at the RPM class

Instructor: "It's a bike, not a camel."

Snap caption: Can someone explain this fountain in the Tourist Club, the one by Le Meridien, please?

Image

Snap caption: Um, could you be more specific?

Image

Snap caption: It's beginning to look a lot like...

Image

Snap caption: Hey have you tried Dubai Cola? If so, did you finish the can?

Image

Snap caption: For increasingly desperate drivers who need to park, a Mawakif metre still in its wrapping is a welcome sight indeed

Image

Lovely London: 3 interesting, but not photographically good, photos

Image

How I experienced unexpected culture shock, and almost mingled with Lady Gaga, at a London hot yoga studio

Image
I miss hot yoga. You might laugh at me saying that, in this heat, in Abu Dhabi, but there is nothing like stretching and sweating a lot for 90 minutes to clear out the cobwebs. And that is how I came to enter London's Sohot Bikram Yoga studios the other day, when I was in town for a wedding, some sightseeing and, funny enough, a respite from the UAE summer.

I should explain that for the most part yoga in Abu Dhabi, unlike back home in Ottawa, has been largely a female experience, as many Muslim women are less comfortable in the company of men not in the family in a variety of circumstances. Although both the Body Tree and the Abu Dhabi Country Club launched men--only classes last September, and there are a growing number of mixed options out there, in Abu Dhabi my experience has been a lot of classes for women, taught by women. At least the ones I am able to attend.

Anyway, after four years of all these women, you can imagine my surprise upon entering Sohot to find the male instr…