Monday, 14 January 2013

Chocolate Rush

This one is for all chocolate lovers out there. Being a chocoholic is hard when you move to a place you barely know few streets of. At the beginning I stuck to the KFC chocolate cake since it was familiar... stupidly not knowing what I was missing out on.

But sooner or later, I knew the cravings were going to take over my comfortable feeling of familiar and send me out there for the pursuit of the best chocolate, I packed my bags... downloaded calorie counter apps (since I knew I needed some sort of a calorie police before I became a chocolate abuser!).

I understand how frustrating it is to order a chocolate dessert and get disappointed. It is not like a bad cake or tiramisu, when it involves chocolate.. it has to be great! And to be honest, although this quest , is yummy.. it is also bad! If you can't handle the extra calories DON'T TRY THIS!...  I have shortlisted my favorites to save you some of the trouble.

It all began with a night out at Hard Rock Cafe Dubai:

It was then when I learnt that I shouldn't share chocolate anymore. I usually share dishes with the people I hang out with, and sharing this one was a mistake.. because it was too yummy to eat half the portion.. and too late to order a new one!

The first time I ordered this brownie's dessert, it was a magical dish! I was determined to go back for it again, but when I did.. it wasn't as magical as the first time. I also have heard stories from people I know that it wasn't always bad, so I guess it depends on luck.. or the chef.. But if you were lucky to go when that Chef is there.. then you'll eat the best brownies you could ever have!

The next best chocolate cake ever is in Abu Dhabi. This Chocolate cake from Miss J Cafe in Abu-Dhabi should be marked as the best chocolate cake in the UAE. It is unbelievably delicious and fresh. you can taste the quality of the ingredients in every bite! It is perfect with black coffee, and my advice: don't add sugar to the coffee, just enjoy a bite of a perfect cake with every sip.

 This one was a pure pleasure, it started with the surprise of Tony Roma's offering us this great dish on the house, and ended with a happy full stomach. It was relatively yummy, heavier than the others mentioned before, but definitely a must!  This is one dish that you have to watch what you are ordering at a steak house in order to make room for.

Last week I tried this Texas Roadhouse brownies. It didn't match the previous ones, but it wasn't bad at all, the only problem is that you can consider it a full meal! It is massive and I think it should have a "Do not eat and drive" disclaimer next to it.

And finally, my favorite chocolate place on earth, The Chocolate Bar in Dubai Mall. It is called Alison Nelson Chocolate Bar, but referred to as THE amazing chocolate bar. The combination between the hot chocolate lava and cold vanilla ice-cream will give you a mouthful of happiness. It is indeed a heavenly taste... 

It was then when I knew I should stop my chocolate journey  because I was sure I reached the ultimate chocolate destination. I understand people have different tastes, you might try all of that and totally disagree with me, but I'm telling you.. if you were a chocoholic like me; chances are.. you won't disagree!

Have a happy cake :)

Monday, 3 December 2012

Snowing on UAE National Day

I've been in the UAE for almost 3 years.. Never saw a National Day celebration. Every year my husband goes on and on telling me about how a nice experience it is and he finally managed to take me out for a walk this year.

On our way from Dubai to Abu Dhabi on Friday it was pouring heavily and the weather was very nice, it kind of reminded me of the cold winter but without the bitterness of it :) We were planning for a BBQ at the park but got canceled because of the rain.. the next morning was beautiful, light breezes,soft sun and clean fresh air, perfect to go out and celebrate.

At night, we went for a walk at the Corniche that was PACKED! we could barely walk without stepping onto somebody's foot.. and almost impossible not to bump into people running away from each other as they spray them with snow. I got touched by the amount of happy faces I saw.. people smiling everywhere.. sharing joy and celebrating a wonderful country together. I found myself smiling to strangers and waving to cars willingly! What a lovely happy night it was.

Cars were properly decorated with flowers, flags and balloons, people dressed up in clothes with the flag's colors, the road was filled with snow spray and evidences of friendly battles. If you leave your window opened.. then you are asking for it! People would cover you with snow and leave you defenseless against their bottles! That's what happened to us the next day while we were driving back to Dubai. All I could see in front of our car was snow showers over cars and people.. a happy snow, a snow that doesn't hurt anyone and brings us back to be young and happy. And the only things you hear are the sound of the spraying bottles and the cars horns rhythms together.

The lion's share of these kinds of celebrations goes to children.. who were FINALLY allowed to go out and run in the street and play with strangers and fill them with snow!  I was pointing to children at my husband to be their new victim but I end up being covered with snow with him!  They got to sense how it feels to be happy and proud of their country, they got to share that feeling with their families and strangers. And most importantly, they got to learn more about the history of this country just by celebrating its union.

The next day we went to the mall for lunch and passed by a couple of booths that handed me over a brochure about the UAE, explaining its history and how it became what we can see today, how it started with a dream and became a success. And imagine my admiration when I received an SMS on my phone from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum congratulating me and all UAE residents as we all celebrate National Day.

And finally.. what I loved the most about these celebrations is that a lot of people from different parts of this world got to share and see this with Emirati people, people who knew only few things about this country and its people, people like me who barely interacts with Emirati peopel and know very little about their culture, and National Day gave us a chance to see and understand more about the UAE, and gave us a chance to fall in love with it even more.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Thank God for Social Media

This is how it is in here. You live your life day by day with months passing by so quickly that you forget the track of time. I can't believe it's been more than 3 months since my last post. It seems so hard for me write and I guess I need a mental floss before I post this one. I also have to admit  I was a bit lazy, but it's only because there is so much to do in a day.

Ever since I came to Dubai, I have been introduced to a group of people from twitter in tweetups (meetups from twitter), and we started hanging out more often, and then we began to arrange outings without the umbrella of Twitter because suddenly we became friends, and the nice thing about it is that you really get the meaning of socializing as an activity, you get to meet people with no judgments regarding their ethnicities, religions, countries, beliefs, and hobbies. And those people take part in your life that you start referring to them in everything. They become part of your daily routine that you have to talk to them and check up on them, you help them and they help you back, you hang out with them and they call you to join their hangouts, but most importantly... they remind you of what is important, or they give you a push to move forward or re-innovate something in your life, even sometimes they don't realize it themselves, but they actually motivate others and help them move on.

"Dreaming is very important, but don't forget to enjoy the journey"... said Micheline Hazou, a happy soul, while we were having such a nice gathering in Central Perk, Dubai. She told me how important it is to be happy in everything we do in life, and not to neglect the time we spend working our ways to our dreams. Micheline, @mich1mich, is one of those people who remind you, who inspire you, even if she didn't agree with you, she would still open your eyes to a bigger picture. 

So eventually, here I am, working my way to a dream, determined to enjoy the journey, embracing every moment I'm gonna spend reaching it. So, Thank God for Social Media, where I don't need to struggle to get my voice out there, or need effort to meet such amazing people, where I can be a part of this big yet small world while I'm sitting at home on my sofa. Thank God for it.. because where else are you going to find and know such great influential people who could remind you of what is important in this life.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Taking the Metro

It always frustrated me, the buzz of the city. As much as I love living in big cities, I would have to say it is not easy. When you work in Dubai or Abu Dhabi and you have to go back home after a long busy day, driving on the highway with all the people in a hurry and the lights flashing all around you from every corner, it is frustrating indeed.

I found my self very tired when I reached home, barely could move to make a sandwich or even coffee.. sleeping as early as a new born, I decided, it was time to find a solution.

For those of you who don't know Sheikh Zayed Road, Sometimes you have to pay for parking your car in some areas. I used to work in one of those areas and I got 4 parking tickets for being 10 minutes late from paying. At the end, I found myself paying over 500 Dirhams for parking each month. It was really the time to find a solution.

Photo by: Kinan Jarjous / @jarofjuice

I started taking the Metro, it took almost 35 minutes from where I work till I reach home, In that time, I walked to the station, I read books, and I made new friends. So I actually had almost a one hour of me time everyday. I managed to read two of my favorite novels, and I found I had more energy by the time I got home. I didn't have to worry about the car or the driving back and forth from work.

So it became a lifestyle for me, I started taking the Metro where ever I wanted to go, it basically links Dubai, from Jebel Ali Station to Al-Rashidiya Station, you get to see Dubai and it's landmarks, and find your stop so easily. And once you get out of some stations, you'll find a line of buses and taxis waiting for passengers. So even your house wasn't close to the station, you'll still manage to take the bus or the taxi, or even your car if you park it near. 

It looks like a space station, and you get the feeling of being at an airport when you are inside. The trains are super clean and tidy. Nobody is allowed to eat or drink anything while on board, if someone gets caught chewing even a gum they'll get a fine. It is indeed something very comforting for me!

I truly enjoy it, and it is my choice, to be able to have sometime to think rather than concentrate on driving and speed limits, socializing with people you would never meet at work or social gatherings, reading your favorite books, checking your e-mail or calling people you haven't called for a while. For me, it's a win win situation.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Position Closed

It's been a while since my last post. I have been busy lately. The thing is when you move to another country, you kind of have to start all over, you have to make new friends, get to know the place, discover your own favorite places, etc. And if you think about it; it is really not that hard to get to know Dubai. It's very easy to get a new start and find all the things you need to find to make things the way they were before. But one thing is not that easy to find in Dubai; a job.

I was a bit lazy in the beginning of my stay here, I was newly married, hoping for a long vacation from work, telling myself: How difficult could it be to get a job around here? I thought it wasn't that hard, but I was wrong.

I started looking almost a year ago, checking out websites like and, applied for a couple of jobs here and there, but never got a reply. I wasn't worried at the beginning because we were travelling and moving between Abu Dhabi and Dubai a lot. Then after settling down I started intensively looking in October 2011. I sent my Resume and Portfolio to almost every company I was able to know of. Friends were helping too, but still never got a reply. Some people told me that business is not doing well these days, and some people advised me to start looking in different fields. I didn't because I simply knew that I won't be able to master any other profession (which is in the Design Field), since it's not only a degree, it's actually the best qualification in me, my creativity. Plus; it would make a huge gap on my C.V. that I don't want it to be there.

So it was a struggle, not only to find a job, but to believe in myself, it started to get depressing and annoying, apparently sending out C.V's here and there wasn't the right way. If I want to find a job, I need to let people know me.

Knowing few people from social media helped a lot, and I took it from there to expand my connections, twitter, facebook, art communities, friends of friends.. all sorts of ways, eventually, the word was heard. People knew who I am, knew what I do, and the had an idea what I was looking for.

One of the most important factors of not getting a job in the beginning was my C.V., that piece of paper that tells companies all they need to know about you in order to hire you. And my husband, being an HR manager before, he had a look at it and he was disappointed. He wasn't impressed about it as it wasn't professional or creative. And it finally hit me, I concentrated ONLY on my portfolio and totally neglected my C.V., and it never occurred to me that when those two files reach the inbox of a person, this person tends to open the C.V. first, and judging by that would go for the Portfolio. I have to admit it was a mistake, and a huge one! So I took the time to redesign my C.V., and started sending it across to advertising agencies, and BOOM! Offers started piling up my inbox. It was the first time I actually got the chance to choose where I wanted to to go. Now; Elhamdullelah, I started a month ago freelancing with one of the biggest advertising agencies, and this explains why I was away from blogging this long.

After I was getting frustrated by all the "Position Closed" emails in my inbox, I knew something was wrong with the way I was applying. Redesigning my C.V. was a huge factor, connections and friends were also too. What I want to share with you about this experience is that in the beginning it was hard, I started getting depressed, but I never actually focused on the reasons, if you do, you might realize it very soon and fix the problem. Don't start applying by the end of the year, companies usually don't look for employees by that time, make an interesting C.V. that stands out and pleases the eye. But the most important thing; NEVER stop believing in yourself, we all have special professional capabilities, and we all can be successful.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

The mother of all BBQs...

I've blogged before about the social network in the UAE, and how expats feel less homesick here. During my stay, I came across a few occasions where people meet and get to know each other.

I'm actually overwhelmed by how quickly you can make friends and connections in Dubai, there's no way you won't receive an invitation on any social media medium to a meet up or some gathering. It is indeed very welcoming.

My last experience was an invitation to an event called: The Mother of All Barbecues! and MY GOD it was! I can't seem to remember the number of people, but it was crowded enough not to be able to move your arm without hitting someone by mistake! It was a great idea by a bunch of guys who are active on twitter, to welcome friends and colleagues into their home party, where people got to meet each other, probably for the first time! In my case I knew a few people, but I had the pleasure of meeting new ones and getting to know others better.

What's interesting about this is how social media can be powerful in expanding people's connections and circles, people can get to meet and know each other virtually, and then "meeting" could come later! So you wouldn't have to struggle to make room in your calendar, as long as you carry a smart phone or a tablet where ever you are; you're good to go!

But I need to mention that this power of social media that I'm talking about can be limited if people weren't open to such a thing! The power comes from the people you meet there, and I've had a chance to meet an amazing group that made me feel like home, and in no time I found myself surrounded by friends from all nationalities and interests, no matter where I'm from, or what I did, I became a member of the club. And thanks to such great people you can see the world becoming a bigger global family each day!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

The pursuit of Burgers..

People who know me in person know how much of a junk food addict I am. I know it's un-healthy and later on it'll come back and kick me... but there's no better joy when I'm hungry than holding that sandwich of grilled beef covered with delicious mayonnaise sauces, dressed up with lettuce and pickles! EMMMM!

When you live in a place long enough you figure out your favorite burger place, but trying to do that in a new large city takes a lot of time, too much for a junk-food freak like me to handle, so I set up a quest to find the best burger place as soon as possible.

It is very important to note that this is not a comparison of restaurants, only the burgers they make, and I'm not talking about fancy new types, I'm talking about the traditional original amazing grilled beef with melted cheese, mayonnaise, ketchup and mustered, some tomatoes, lettuce and pickles!

The internet wasn't helpful either, I tried shortlisting places but it was too complicated to get a hand on a really simple list. So I came up with my own... and it goes like this:

1: Johhny Rockets:
I heard it was the most common burger place in Dubai, at first, this burger seemed irresistible, but after trying so hard to finish it, you begin to notice that there's too much of everything! too much pickles, mustered, mayonnaise, and cheese that you stop enjoying it much, and it becomes a normal big burger to you.

The price is similar to other places, not cheaper, but not more expensive, although all the places I'm mentioning in this post are relatively expensive.

One good tip I can give you; DON'T order a delivery, it takes forever to reach, and you end up paying high delivery fees for a cold boring burger!

2: Fat Burger:
This picture makes it look like the best, well, not really!
The sandwich was perfectly customized for burger lovers, you choose how much beef you want and your good to go.
Great taste, at least not over priced, you pay to get a good burger and you get it, just not THE perfect burger.
I went there twice, and I was a happy customer both times. Fat Burger is good, just not the best!

3: TGI Fridays:
Traditional but yet sophisticated burger! not bad for a place that is not specialized in burgers, compared to other places; it's fair, if you were craving burgers; it won't be a bad idea to go there. But again, you won't be getting THE burger.

4: Bob's:
This one is interesting, it was difficult for me not to say this is the best!
This a place were you go to when you are super hungry. You'll get a great burger, simple, finely grilled beef and very yummy fries! In other words, It's the second best thing.

5: Burger Fuel:
Just ordered it today, very tasty and unique, although I didn't like the English mustard taste in it... I mean it is good, just don't expect the traditional taste.

The fries on the other hand are amazing! They serve it with a white sauce, and it is very rich in flavor.

6: and Finally; Shake Shack:
Some people disagree, and I understand why, it is quiet a heavy duty burger, too much fat in it, but MY GOD it's yummy!
Everything about that burger is unique, the bread, the beef, the sauce, the fries, even the lettuce!
Although it's small in size; but it is enough, trust me, two of these burgers will kill you. It is kind of small compared to it's price, but you can consider it a delicious rip off!

I tried other places but I always ended up going back to Shake Shack.
So on a scale from 0 to 10, Shake Shack gets the 10... the others vary from 6 to 9... but at the end I have to mention that you shouldn't try this mission yourself, it's bad if you were keeping a diet, I gained like 5 kilos on this quest and I'm really not happy about it. So I guess the next mission would have to be; places to go to when you're on a diet!