Monday, September 29, 2008
Breaking: Coming Soon to Sh. Zayed Road
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Airbus 380 at Heathrow
Thursday, September 25, 2008
UAE ATM Fraud
I left my money behind in the hotel today and I am basically cashless and stuck in an offiste training all day.
My ATM card didn’t work and my HSBC bank guy told me that they have disabled International money withdrawals service on some networks because of the latest fraud scam that was all over the news.
Check out one of the ways those effing fraudsters swiped ATM users personal info.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Review: Diwan Al Khayal Ramadan Tent
A friend noted that Diwan Al Khayal Ramadan Tent at The Jumeirah Beach Hotel had a first-come-first-serve policy and doesn't do any table reservations. So, we had no where else to go, and nothing to lose.
We got there. From the outside, the tent looked enormous. The place had a blue light effect that casted shadows off mounted arabesque lanterns. This gave the whole place a very cool East-meets-West aura around it.
At the entrance, a smiling waitress welcomed us with a silver trey of clean refreshing towels. The reception area was wide and oval. Sofas were scattered around the reception area for the gusts waiting for their tables.
We got our name on the list and were told that it might take an hour for them to find us a table. Again, we had no were to go. So we decided to stick around. The waiting area was very comfortable and spacious. Waves of cold glassed of fresh water kept coming in and we nibbled on premium quality dates through out the wait.
Almost 1 hr later, they found us a table and we were escorted in.
Our table was great. There was live relaxing music playing in the background. It was loud enough for use to enjoy it, while maintaining a civilized conversation over a game of cards.
The menu had a generous variety of Ramadan specialties. We ordered Arabic pastries (cheese, meat and spinach), Fattet Hoummos, Falafel, Shwarma and za3tar Saj platter. We ordered a wave of drinks that came very quickly, and shisha was there on the spot.
The food, to be honest, wasn’t that great; but I can’t say it was bad. The pastries and Fattet el hommous were warm-ish. The za3tar Saj platter was a bit dry and chewy and the Shawrma sandwiches had very vey little shawarma in them. Also, portions aren’t generous at all making value for money more toward the 'poor' zone.
But the service, on the other hand, was first class!
Typically, Ramadan tents are known to be underserviced and it would take you sometimes ages to spot a waiter, let alone attracting his attention. But not in Diwan Al Khayal.
Our waiter was always visible for us to see (and call when needed). There were runners (people who deliver orders) all over the place and senior maître d's were regularly spotted wandering around the place. Food was delivered on the spot and check came very quick. The waiters were friendly and attentive.
Can’t say the place is cheap though, but in comparison with the other Ramadan Tents out there, Diwan Al Khayal offers you a great deal. There is a minimum charge of Dhs 100 per head during the weekend and I think its Dhs 75 on weekdays. The charge covers everything (food, drinks and shisha).
The place is definitely worth a return visit. But since they don’t take reservations, go there early or expect an hour wait. Avoid the pre-prepared snakes and stick to made-to-order dishes (grills and so forth).
Jumeirah Hospitality Group has a great reputation to keep and with Diwan Al Khayal Ramadan Tent, the group is taking no chances to compromise on that reputation with a tent that offers good food, chilled out ambiance and exceptional service.
New Middle East Marketing news site
AdNation is a news site and ideas forum for the region’s advertising, branding, media and marketing industries. It’s a space where creative professionals in the Middle East can exchange ideas, whether it’s about innovations in brand design, creative use of media, and just mouthing off about the latest campaigns. Membership is limited to the most intelligent, articulate, opinionated and attractive people in the business. Allegedly.
Ad Nation ME seems promising (so far). Though its quite Web 2.0 friendly (video, RSS, Polls, clouds...etc), signing up for commenting, contribution and participation is only for the selected Advertising , marketing and PR socialista’s and NOT for the commoners like yours truly..
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Now I need photography classes! Any suggestions?
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
How not to use PowerPoint
Find more Digital art videos at 5min.com
Thursday, September 11, 2008
I just finished the $10,000,000/- pilot of JJ Abrams’ latest TV Drama FRINGE.
I am a big fan of anything by JJ Abrams (Lost, Alias, Cloverfield). And the show has Abrams’ touch all over it. Can't wait until the series is on air regularly.
Fringe is more or less X-files meets Twilight Zone meets Lost (big corporate conspiracy where everyone lies). It starts when an international flight lands at Boston's Logan Airport and there are no signs of life on board, FBI Special Agent Olivia Dunham, a scientist, Walter Bishop, and his son Peter uncover a deadly mystery involving a mysterious plague and a series of events.
Here is the pilot trailer
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
First Use: Special post-Iftar Delight
You see, on our last trip to London, we walked out of Harrod's Chocolate Bar with a tiny souvenir. It was our first use for it.
I will let the photos do all the talking ;)
As you can see in the last photo, the rotating tray of Fruit Kababs, Marshmallows, Orange Cake cubes, fresh strawberries and Bananas was annihilated :)
Friday, September 05, 2008
Iftar Review: Tamani Marina Hotel Ramadan tent
I was invited for Iftar at Tamani Marina Hotel yesterday.
Never before, have I been to such poorly presented, orchestrated and extremely tormenting Iftar experience before in my life.
Honestly, I have been served lousy Iftar cuisines before. But they sucked at some things, sucked less at others. The people behind Tamani's Iftar tent proved, on a whole new level, that besides offering horrible food, there are actually more ways to ruin ones’ Iftar.
I don't know where to start from, so lets take it from the top.
When we walked in to the specially erected Ramadan tent on the pool terrace, the tables were arranged in a very odd, wrap-around layout arrangement that made a single raw of tables parallel to a split buffet. In between, another line of lounge-looking armchairs were laid out. The large round tables were fully set up with glasses, china and silverware. Lounge tables had single small plates and a bowl of dates.
It seemed that the original plan was to have some kind of a pre-iftar "lounge" for fasting people, and once iftar commences, people would move to the big round tables behind them.
While that idea may sound mildly interesting -in theory- the actual outcome was far away from what it was meant to be. When Iftar started, people ended bring their plates to where they sat on the lounge cushions; slouching down on tiny, cramped, poorly serviced coffee tables.
Most of the proper round banquet tables, with all their full-course cutlery sets, were left behind deserted.
And to make sure that the makeshift iftar tent doesn’t end up as steam bath, stand-alone Air condition units were scattered all over the place. When we sat down, the entire elevated floor was massaging our feet with a buzzing vibration that could induce a pregnant woman to delivery. But we got used to it after 10 minutes.
Ramadan Iftar buffets are unlike any other. Typically, there are specific dishes that are served with larger quantities than usual. Dishes such as soups, oriental salads, bite-sized pastry (fatayer, samosas, cheese puffs...etc) make prominent presence. Instead, there was a small bowl of soup the ran out after serving a dozen guests maybe. Refills were very slow. The Fattoush bowl, a Ramadan-must-have salad, was big enough to serve 5 or 6 people only. I didn't have any of those.
There was a line up of tiny sorbet glasses filled with pesto dipped cherry tomatoes and mozzarella sticks. Not your typical Iftar dish. Oh, there was a huge platter of salmon and vegetable Maki rolls(Sushi). Why in the world would any sane chef serve Sushi on an Iftar buffet?! :)
The main dishes section didn't look as confused as the salad one. I passed by a mixed variety of recopies from various parts of the planet. I saw Kabab Hindi (a Levantine pot cooked Kafta in tomato and onion stew), A universal BBQ mixed grill, Harees (emarati wheat and lamb squash), fish kabsa (Saudi/CGG saffron rice with chunks of fish fillets), European Potato Grattan, Moroccan lamb chops Tajin, Asian Stir fried beef (or chicken, not sure) and steamed veggies.
I scoped a bit of Kafta, a few pieces from the mixed grill trey with some plain white rice and Hommos. Safe choices, I thought to myself.
I thought wrong.
Everything I had was borderline fit for human consumption. The rice was bland and crunchy. The Kafta had a foul smell that virtually raped my taste buds. The Mix grill were OK, i guess and the hommos was grainy and synthetic, it felt as if it came out of a ready-mix tin can.
The person next to me was having Stuffed lamb, or Ooozi, (slowly cooked whole lamb with cinnamon rice and nuts). Hoping I can make up what i ate (or didn't), I found the lamb station and a server scooped 2 small servings of rice and a piece of meat. On my way back, i looked for this dish's typical sidekick, garlic flavored yogurt, but it was no where to be found.
The lamb was revolting. The meat the server slugged on my plate turned it to be mostly fat. The rice had the right color, but the wrong flavor. I have no idea how they did that.
My last resort was the desert section. There was a set of middle eastern sweets (a must have in Ramadan) and a decent variety of western ones. I had some Knafe, halawet el jeben and Hreeseh. The knafeh was really good to the point everyone at the table agreed that it was outsourced. i.e. supplied by the better known sweet shops in Dubai (Al Samadi or Al Baba). Everything else was left on the plates.
If you have a leeching relative, a self-invintg-piggy-bagging-super-self-imposing friend that you want to make sure he doesn't invite himself to your gigs again OR a wife you wanna convince that Iftar @ Home is the best option, Tamani’s Iftar tent is a guaranteed hit with its appalling menu, horrible service and an overwhelmingly distributing iftar experience.
The blogger is assuming in his post that the car above belongs to "an indifferent son of a GCC royalty".
I highly doubt that.
For starters, not all Dubai cars in London belong to Royalty. I have several friends who are surely NOT royalty and ship their cars to their summer destinations abroad.
Also, sons of GCC royalty won't roam around a boring salon like this one. Not without an escort (security/chuffers) at least. And if they do roam alone, they are more likely to be seen in cars like this, this, this or this.
To find out what happens to the White Bentley above here.