Where did all the ladies go?
Try this if non of you believe me: Whenever you stop at a traffic light or stuck in traffic, look around you tell me how many women drivers can you spot..
In Ramadan, I try to avoid eating out as much as possible. Not only because having Iftar in Ramadan is all about sitting with family members and enjoying a good ol home cooked meal, but also in Ramadan; most restaurants don't offer any decent "iftar experience".
Serving Iftar is any restaurant’s ultimate test to the proficiency of its kitchen, quality of its food and service of its staff. From my Ramadan dining experience in this part of the world, ALL restaurants in Dubai drastically fail when it comes to quality, price, service or (in a lot of cases) all combined.
Every year, Mawal proves to be -by far- the ultimate Iftar experience.
It is understandable why in Ramadan majority of restaurants prefer to offer an 'Open Buffet' iftar menu. Tying to serve too many people, too many orders in too little time - is virtually impossible as ‘a la carte’.
On the other hand, asking hoards of hungry men, women and children to queue up for an underserved buffet to wait at least 15 minutes before going back with whatever food is left on their plates, is an Iftar experience many people do not like to go through. especially when most of them had nothing to eat, drink or smoke for the past 12hrs or so.
The guys at Mawal brilliantly avoid that from happening. What they do is very smart. They make sure that 12 to 15 small plates of the best Lebanese mezza you can get in town, is on your table when you arrive.
After a very personal and warm welcome, you are escorted to your table and the same waiter asks for your choice of soup and Ramadan drink. In less than 3 minutes, hot fresh aromatic soup is poured in the bowl in front of you followed by a chilled glass of Jellab, Temer hindi or Qamar el Din.
On you table is a paining of platters. You name it, its there: Foul, Hommus, Mtabbal, Tabouleh, Fattoush, Mussaka'a, Lobiyeh bel hamud wel toom, jwaneh mtaffayeh (Garlic lemon chicken wings), mdardara, kebben neyeah, a plate of assorted fatayer, bamyiyeh, falafel, dates, dried figs and apricots... and of course, what table is complete with out the colorful fresh veggies platter.
Once Iftar times starts, waves of hot, freshly baked Lebanese bread make their way to your table every 5 or 10 minutes. I swear, I never needed to ask for more bread. The minute I start on my last piece, more are added without me noticing.
By doing that, you end up nibbling on a delicious variety of dishes at your table, having your hot soup in joy and quenching your thirst with refreshing beverages - by doing that, you brush off that Lets-rush-to-the buffet-before-its-wiped-out feeling you usually get 5 minutes after Iftar starts in other restaurants.
As for the main course, the entirely accessible buffet offers a variety of grills, pastas and mouth watering Syrian/Lebanese main dishes. When I was there yesterday they were serving Kebbe bel Laban, Kousa mehshi, wara2 3eneb, djaj bel freekeh, kharouf ma7shi and the basics (rice, veggis..etc). They were also serving pasta el forno (Pasta, Chicken 'n Béchamel) and Paella for the non-arabic food lovers.
Oh, and if you don't feel like walking up to the buffet, the waiters are more than happy to get you what you want right to your table.
When you are done with your main mail, 5 plates of Ramadan deserts: atayef 3asafiri, ma3mool, 3awameh and zalabiya, land on the table. Those are followed by a large bowl of fresh cut and carved exotic fruits: pineapple, cantaloupe, kiwi, mango and strawberries.
Not only the quality of food is unquestionably tasty, price is extremly reasonable nor the attentive service is fantastic, the overall atmosphere around you is also very relaxed and inviting. Exactly at the table behind us, Lebanese pop star Dina Hayek and her manager were having iftar as well.
Mawal is my favorite Iftar venue .. what’s yours?
Most people never notice its not Hard Rock
I never wore this one in public
I wear this one instead :)
This conversation took place on my way back from work when I called a friend asking about his new car.
Be advised: you may find this post very conceited, ostentatious and very very materialistic :o)
Me: Hey man, how does it feel?
Ali: Feels really good!
Me: It should. You've been waiting 6 months for its arrival!
Ali: The dealer told me that my car is the first 2007 model to hit the middle east
Me: Damn. Does that give it a better resell value?
Ali: Neah.. they don't care about these things here.
Me: I hear ya.
Ali: You know something? I haven't been going anywhere in my new car.
Ali: Its freaks me out that I can't find a decent spot to park it
Me: What do you mean?
Ali: I can never find a place that’s not close to other cars
Me: OOOOOh, you are talking about door dings.... those idiots who park too close to your car and redecorate your doors and fenders.. :)
Ali: Yeah. I don't know what would happen to me if I see a ding on this car - I almost sold my soul to get it
Me: Well, i know what you mean. I already have dings on my car.
Ali: WHAT? You just got yours a couple of months ago..
Me: (sigh) I know man... and I barely use it once or twice a week
Ali: That’s nasty
Me: I just found a new scratch on my way out of the office 30 minutes ago. Felt like someone speared me thru the chest
Ali: Well, at least your car is deflowered now. Mine is still a virgin.. ha ha ha
Me: Dude, you're sick
Ali: I am serious. No matter now many door dings you get, khalas .. it won't hurt you like it does the first time.
Ali: While I have to be worried sick all the time, waiting in vain till that day arrives. The day someone dings my car
Me: pass by my house and I’d be happy to relieve you of that pain. And don't worry, I’ll be gentle
Had two interesing chats about cars this morning.
The first one on my way to work when some woman called me from some call centre thats doing some servey.
: Can I speak to Mr. (insert miss-pronounced name of wife)?
: This is her husband, how can I help you?
: I am calling from Lexus. We are cleaning up our database. Can we have some of your time?
: Sure, but i am driving now, how long will this take?
: Five minutes
: Does your wife drive a Lexus?
: Yes she does
: Does she drive it?
: Yes she does
: Do you drive the car?
: If she lets me. But its her car. Its in her name
: OK, then can we speak to your wife?
: Yes you can
: Is she there?
: No she is at home now
: So you won't let us speak to your wife?
: No, i didn't say that. She is at home and you called me on my phone
: Oh, can we have her number?
: sure its XXXXXXX
: No its XXXXXXX
: Yes. But could you not call her now because she is sleeping?
: So, you won't let us speak to your wife?
: No, I said don't call her now. She didn't go to work today cause she is not feeling well
: She is at work now?
: No. I said she didn't go to work
: She doesn't go to work?
: She does - but she didn't go today
: OK. What is her work number?
: I don't know it by heart. I have it stored in my mobile
: Its her mobile number? Can you give us her mobile number?
: No, and I gave you her mobile number
: So you won't give us your wife's number?
: No, i said i can't give it to you because i don't know it by heart. Its in my mobile
: Her Mobile?
: My mobile
: Whats your mobile number?
: You just called me on it
: But we need your wife's number
: I just gave you her number
: Is it XXXYYYX?
: No, its XXXXXXX
: But thats a mobile number
: Yes, its her mobile.
: What is her work number?
: I don't have it
: OK. What is her email?