Category Archives: Reviews

Where You Been All My Life??

Standard
I barely got to take a photo, these were soooo good!

I barely got to take a photo, these were soooo good!

Cinnamon Butter Thins.   Oh. My. Goodness.  Have you tried these?   TBG had some at work, and next time we were in a store, he picked up the box and said something about it being a lucky box tonight or some such…. Not exactly certain about what he said.

But, we opened the foil inner pouch containing these little rascals, and ohmygoodness were they good.  Tiny little thin buttery bits of cinnamon goodness, all nestled down into their own little plastic cubbies….. Protecting them, you know.

TBG said “I’ll eat all the cracked ones and save the whole ones for you.”  Um hmmm…. Uh, no.  He’d have slammed that package down on the counter so they were ALL cracked!!!  Twerp.

Tiny little bites of yumminess.

Tiny little bites of yumminess.

Anyhow, they’re called  Zimtbutterkekse, which translates to cinnamonbutterheaven in English.  They remind me of a Paula Deen recipe….. you know – they begin with “melt a stick of butter and we’ll decide what we’re gonna bake.”  They’re thin, light, and quite crispy, but it’s when they’re good and chewed up that the buttery flavor comes into play here – they’re tasty enough you almost don’t wanna swallow them!  Kinda sorta like a super thin gingerbread cookie fried.  Kinda.  Sorta.  But not greasy.

Too bad this one was cracked.... that meant it was TBG's.

Too bad this one was cracked…. that meant it was TBG’s.

You can see, I almost forgot to take any photos of them before they were all gone.  Well, you can see that TBG had a couple left…. <Smile>.  Honest, if you see these, made by a company called Jules Destrooper Biscuiterie since 1886 of Belgium, just get them.  Really.

They came all the way from Belgium.  You know, these were baked by the “purveyor to the Belgian Royal Household”, I’m thinking we’re eating like royalty!

Brunch and a Polo Match, dahling…..

Standard

Now, those of you that know me know that I am *anything* but upper- crust.  I’m a pretty down-to-earth kinda gal.  But I’d wanted to go to one of these Friday Brunches forever.  They’re pretty pricey,  though, so when my friend Koral came through with a great discount with a Cobone voucher deal (kinda like Groupon) – we jumped on it.  Plus, it was at the Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club, literally *right* across the street from where we live!

Dubai Polo Club

Brunch is from 1 – 3 pm, and after brunch, there’s a polo match to which we were given complimentary admission, and could view from the terrace of the polo club.  I’m thinking “cool – brunch and a polo match, this will be fun!”  And it was!

First off, though, let me fuss a bit.  On the vouchers, there’s a dress code requirement listed “smart casual”… no shorts, Tshirts, flip flops, sneakers, trainers etc.  I’m thinking “OK,  but TBG will wanna wear his sneakers…..”  When the club called me to confirm our reservation and to remind us to make sure we brought our vouchers,  they also mentioned that there was a dress code requirement.  I’m thinking overkill, but it’s all good – we’ll dress smartly casual.

Uh yeah…. Apparently , clothing does not matter a bit.  We saw everything from the shortest of jean shorts with racer-back T-shirts and flip flops to men’s khaki shorts and sneakers.  TBG thought for sure I’d tried to put something over on him just to make him “dress up”….. *sigh*.  Word to the wise – just dress comfortably, I suppose, because it certainly did not seem to matter at all what one wore to this brunch.

OK, on to the foods- and oh my goodness was there food!  Each room had a different course,  and thankfully we were conveniently seated in the ice cream and dessert room <smile>.

Sitting in the ice cream room Brunch Polo Sandstorm 028 Brunch Polo Sandstorm 027 Brunch Polo Sandstorm 026 Brunch Polo Sandstorm 025 Brunch Polo Sandstorm 003

Don’t you just love those tiny little one-bite servings of dessert?  In six or seven bites, you can sample chocolate mousse, cheesecake, custards, carrot cake, an arabian sweet called halwa (and there’s an excellent youtube video here on exactly how to make this morsel!), just an awesome assortment of yummies.

Then there was a salad room,  with both cold and room temp salads, a bread and sushi room, a side dishes and cheese room, and the entrees were outdoors.

I’ve taken a photo of a couple platefuls so I could remember what all was offered.

Brunch Polo Club Brunch Polo Club Brunch Polo Club

Salads were plentiful and tasty – mozzarella and tomato was my favorite, followed by a krab and cucumber….. sad, I know, but I love that whitefish krab stuff with the red dye.  <smile>

Brunch Polo Salads Brunch Polo Sandstorm 008 Brunch Polo Salads Brunch Polo Salads

Now, the entrees were outdoors, there was a shawarma and fajita station, cooked to order.

Brunch Polo Sandstorm 021 Brunch Polo Sandstorm 018

And the gent that was offering up various curries, and some awesome butter chicken – so very kind, offering descriptions of what all was in each dish, level of spiciness, etc. of each.  I asked if I might photograph him, and he proudly smiled and nodded “yes”.

Brunch Polo Sandstorm 022 Brunch Polo Sandstorm 023 Brunch Polo Sandstorm 024 Brunch Polo Sandstorm 020

Now, there was also a man at a huge grill that I photographed from the back, but I stood in front of him – literally *right* in front of him facing me for over two minutes, and he never acknowledged me.  I started to walk off as TBG walked up and the grilling man said “madame, madame, may I help you??”  Uh yeah, sure…. When TBG comes you wanna pay attention to me, right?  Sheesh.  Anyhow, TBG got some awesome rib roast, roasted corn and potatoes there.  Me?  Nada.  Twerp.

Brunch Polo Sandstorm 004

Oh, and in the Sushi/Dim Sum/Seafood room, there was a bread cupboard!  Now, I’d never seen bread displayed and served from a cupboard, and I thought it was pretty dang cool and innovative.

Brunch Polo Sandstorm 011

Closeby, there were the cold soups in a cupboard as well, gazpacho and something green that I forget, perhaps we’ll be able to see the tag when I add the photo.  But they were served in stemmed glasses, and looked very appetizing!  The cheese plate was kinda small, but a good-tasting collection.  The cold cuts and shrimp got my attention…. I’m a big boiled shrimp fan!

Brunch Polo Sandstorm 007 Brunch Polo Sandstorm 010 Brunch Polo Sandstorm 012 Brunch Polo Sandstorm 006

Desserts were pretty amazing – tiny bites of carrot cake, brownies, chocolate mousse, mango or strawberry parfaits, an apple crumble with warm vanilla sauce (this was GOOD!), some tiny little fried bits of something that were totally addictive.  I only put two on my plate, and could honestly have eaten the ENTIRE platter of them.  Honest.  They were sweet, slightly crunchy, tasted buttery somehow, and perhaps a bit of cardamom??  Shaped like tiny little peanuts, they were awesome.  There was an icecream case with a big variety of commercial frozen goodies, as well as a gent making crepes and filling them with any of an assortment of goodies for you.  Oh, and a chocolate fountain with fruits and marshmallows to plunge.

Brunch Polo Sandstorm 028

We tried valiantly to get our server to bring us beverages.  She was cute as can be.  But  bless her heart, she would bring one cup of coffee at a time, when we’d ordered three.  Twice.  When I said “But, honey, we need two more, a rose wine, and a diet coke with ice.”  She said “oh, I bring one, tray is so small.”  I said “you’re bringing one drink at a time because your TRAY is too small?”  She said “yes madame”.  Wellallrightythen.  We’re gonna be thirsty.  But we’ll be someone else’s thirsty customers, cause it’s time for POLO!

Ah – Polo, the Sport of Kings.  Now, I’ve never been to a polo match before.  The closest I’ve ever come to seeing a match was watching the Julia Roberts-Richard Gere movie “Pretty Woman”   And I’m betting that TBG thought I would likely act just like this…..

I thought of it as some rich playboy kinda sport, requiring a ton of money and time.  I think I’m right.  But we were seated on the terrace, in the shade, on cushy sofas with a guy to bring you whatever your heart desires.  We felt like some kinda celebs or something.  <smile>  My friend Koral sure looks like she’s engrossed in the play, doesn’t she?

Brunch Polo Sandstorm 033 IMG_1170 IMG_1197 IMG_1194 IMG_1155 Brunch Polo Sandstorm 036 Brunch Polo Sandstorm 031

But, it was fun to watch, even if I didn’t understand the subtle nuances of the game…. I did remember  (from that movie) that at the end of the second “chukker”….. all the audience got up and went down on the field to stomp the horse-divots back down, perhaps to keep the horses from tripping??  I honestly don’t know why, but it was surely fun!  Someone *could* have mentioned to me that it’s bad form to take your drink out onto the field with you…. sheesh!

IMG_1216IMG_0639

IMG_1154 IMG_0633 IMG_1185 Brunch Polo Sandstorm 039 Brunch Polo Sandstorm 038

Notice the cars on the other side of the field?  They’re kind of like the equivalent of US tailgaters – they pay some money for the privilege of having a front-row seat, picnic and visit….. and they’re up close and personal with the riders, too.  But when those horses are thundering past and you can hear them and feel them and there’s dirt flying up and you can smell them it’s a pretty intense feeling!

I did learn that the horses get changed out and walked around to cool off or warm up, and that the teams have “people” to do that.   While the players were riding their ponies, there was always a couple of people riding their other ponies…. One cooling the previous horse down, the other warming up the next horse to play.  It really was an interesting process to watch.   It was an interesting day, and on the way out, we stopped to see where some of the “companion” critters were hanging out while their friends were out playing polo.

Brunch Polo Sandstorm 045 Brunch Polo Sandstorm 043 Brunch Polo Sandstorm 042 Brunch Polo Sandstorm 041 Brunch Polo Sandstorm 046

So, brunch and a polo match….. would I go to another one?  Perhaps.   But honestly?  I’m more a “watch NASCAR on TV while inside on the sofa in the air conditioning” kinda gal…… <grin>

Asian Tea at the Burj al Arab – a review

Standard

 

What a meal.  I know, they call it a tea… but lemme tell you – it’s a MEAL.  Remember, my friend Koral and I’d gone to the Burj Al Arab for the afternoon tea at the Junsui restaurant.  I’d described our entering and looking around the resort earlier here  and I promised that I’d get to the tea later…..well, it’s later!

When we approached the elevators, they were just spectacular.  Really.  I mean, I’m not one to take photos of elevator doors (well, OK, from time to time maybe) but these were unusual.

Gorgeous elevator doors.  Really!

Gorgeous elevator doors. Really!

Then, when we stepped inside, they were just as lovely inside as they were from the outside!  Dunno how they’re kept so “un-fingerprinty”.

Burj Al Arab 122 Burj Al Arab 123

They quietly swooshed us right down to the mezzanine level and the doors opened into the lobby of the Junsui restaurant.

Burj Al Arab 129

Walking through the entry was almost EXACTLY like the Tower of Terror experience juuuuust before all the glass breaks…. See the tiny little starlights??

Burj Al Arab 127Burj Al Arab 128 Burj Al Arab 131

And of course I had to pose in front of them.

IMG_1138

Through the starlights, we approached the podium and the most lovely hostess received us, welcoming us warmly, and asking if we’d like to look around a bit before we were seated….. I think it was the cameras dangling from our wrists that tipped her off!  <smile>  We looked at the lounge area,

Burj Al Arab 140

 

then in the bar area….

Burj Al Arab 139 Burj Al Arab 138

Then, I visited the ladies room and whoa lawsa mercy, was it amazing!  Most ladies’ rooms in Dubai come with their own person, and this one was no different.  When she skedaddled for just a second, and I was the only one in there, I snapped a few photos – I was gonna hang on to them for my “toilets of the middle east” post, but these are some awesome photos.

Burj Al Arab 137 Burj Al Arab 136 Burj Al Arab 134 Burj Al Arab 133

OK, so freshened up, washed, dried, lotioned and sanitized, we went out to be seated by our hostess who wore the most lovely costume and posed for us

Our lovely hostess, isn't her costume beautiful?

Our lovely hostess, isn’t her costume beautiful?

– and we were shown to a window table!  I was thrilled, and since we had made our reservations on the spur of the moment, we weren’t expecting to be able to sit at a window table, they’re very limited in number and highly-coveted.  I was truly shocked.  But then again, I *am* the luckiest person I know!  But, now, this isn’t just a window seat, it’s a window-wall seat!  See how nice my friend Koral looks sitting in front of it?  She was kind to let me face it and gawk at the view.

Burj Al Arab 163

As you can see, we weren’t up too high, just high enough that we could still see the grounds, the sunbathing area, the windsurfers….. and the beach.  Just lovely!!

Burj Al Arab 160 Burj Al Arab 155IMG_1142

And the tablescapes were beautiful….. very soothing and un-fussy.  Functional but elegantly done.

Burj Al Arab 159 Burj Al Arab 156 Burj Al Arab 151 Burj Al Arab 149 Burj Al Arab 148

Oh, even the floor was interesting….see how the mosaics shimmer like a dragonfly’s wing??

Burj Al Arab 158

One of my most memorable tiny moments from this experience was the presentation of the warm, damp jasmine-scented hand cloths to freshen up with prior to our meal beginning…. A comfortable, relaxing way to begin our tea experience.

So, we ordered our first drinks, and sampled them – simply delicious!  Teas and fresh fruit juices – just right on a warm spring afternoon.

Burj Al Arab 162 Burj Al Arab 172Burj Al Arab 182

Now, we awaited the first of our SEVEN (yes 7!) courses……. Which arrived promptly.  We asked our server to please explain what each item was as it was presented, and what was in it.  He graciously did so, silly us thought we’d remember all of them!  So, I’ve copied their menu here, and will try to match them up with my photos and memory.

Burj Al Arab 161

See these chips and the four dips?  They’re dusted in crack cocaine, I swear.  They were crispy, fresh, and such an awesome palate-cleanser between courses that we *may* have overindulged.  Just a bit.  Is requesting THREE refills after we ate the initial bowl excessive???

Looking at the menu to keep track of them…..

Korean Bulgogi

Korean Bulgogi

Sesame Tofu with Asian Vegetable Salad 

Soft Bean Curd, Sesame Paste, Bean Sprout, Spring Onion, Carrot, Spinach, Soya Sauce

Nope – what we were served was a fairly traditional Korean Bulgogi dish…. Attractively served on a lovely plate.  The plate you see above?  That was for one person…. we each got our own!  Tasty, and we knew we were in for an international mixture of flavors.

Salmon Sushi with Roe

Salmon Sushi with Roe

Salmon Sushi with Roe

Salmon Sushi with Roe

Salmon Sushi with Roe

Salmon Sushi with Roe

Crispy Tempura Roll

Prawn, Sushi Rice, Seaweed, Wasabi, Mayonnaise, Tobiko

Odd – I’m guessing that their menu is “subject to change” because we were served some truly awesome Salmon sushi, topped with big fat sparkly roe – they were so pretty I almost didn’t  want to eat them, but I’d never eaten salmon roe before, so down the hatch they went.  Slightly salty with an odd “pop” to them when you bit them, sort of like a big ole tapioca pearl does?  Yummy.  And the cute little wasabi “leaf” beside them on the plate was just the right condiment.  I’m not a pickled ginger fan, but it was fresh and attractively served alongside.

 

Asian Chicken Bite in Puff Pastry

Asian Chicken Bite in Puff Pastry

 

 Asian Chicken Satay with Pickled Vegetables and Rice Cake

Chicken, Cucumber, Carrot, Shallot, Rice Cake

Nuh uh.  Not at all what we had…. This was an Asian Chicken bite, served in a richly-browned puff pastry, and served on a bit of a banana leaf.  Quite yummy and all that we sent back to the kitchen were crumbs from the pastry.  Really.  (Oh, and see the silverware in the background?  We got a set of it for every single course served.  7 sets of flatware.  Two of us.  14 sets of flatware for one meal…. so happy I wasn’t the dishwasher!)

Dim Sum Collection

Dim Sum Collection

Dim Sum Collection

Dim Sum Collection

Selection of Dim Sum -Har Gao, Siew Mai, Chaw Siew Bun, Vegetable Dumpling

I have never met Dim Sum I didn’t like.  Even the overcooked ones on a Chinese buffet in a strip-mall in the US, you know?  But this stuff was really good…. Well-prepared, attractive, and the flavors of each were wonderfully distinctive.  Steamed to perfection, they each left me wishing there were actually more of them in the little basket.   A treat!

 

Oh look!

Oh look!

There's a guy paddleboarding!

There’s a guy paddleboarding!

(oh, look outside!  There’s a guy paddleboarding…..)

 

Burj Al Arab 177

Thai Fish Cake served with Tom Yam Goong

Tom Yum Soup, White Fish, Red Chili, Egg, Sweet Chili Sauce, Peanut Oil, Coriander

 

Now, of all the things we ate there, (and there were a LOT) this was the only one that neither of us truly loved….. something was odd about the dried fish, made both of us cough.  Yes, cough.  And, we noticed others around us doing the same thing!  As I recall, the scrambled egg was on a (McDonald’s hash-brown-shaped) shredded radish patty of some sort – but it didn’t taste of any radish that I’ve ever eaten…..…kind of interesting, but not a favorite.  The dark colored strips are dried fish…. They made us all hack for some strange reason.  *shrug*

 

Fried Green Tea Ice Cream

Fried Green Tea Ice Cream

Ice Kacang with Sesame Ball

 Shaved Ice, Corn, Peanut, Lychee, Assorted Jelly, Grenadine, Sago, Condensed Milk, Sesame

Hmmmm…. Nope,  another swing and a miss.  If I am remembering this correctly, we had a deep fried serving of green tea ice cream….. kind of interesting flavor – when it first hit your tongue, nothing.  Just cold and creamy.  But as it melted, that subtle green tea flavor wandered right in and sat down on your tongue…. Made me happy.  And, anything that you add shaved creamy milk chocolate to is my friend…

So. Pretty much, you can see that what’s on their menu is not what we actually ate, right?  Not that it mattered, because we’d not researched the menu before we got there, had no clue what to expect.  Plus, there was very little that we didn’t really enjoy food-wise.  We just knew that we were going for a 7-course Asian Tea, and it sounded cool as hell.  And it was.

Chocolates

Chocolates

Asian Flavor Petit Four

We actually got an assortment of chocolates, instead – they were on the prettiest serving stand, though – I was sooo full, I couldn’t even eat a chocolate!

Listen, I was thinking after initially seeing these tiny little portions, we were gonna have to stop somewhere on the way home and grab a shawarma so we weren’t starving… but holy cow, we were literally stuffed by the time we left there.  I think that a bit of it had to do with those amazing rice cracker things that were dusted with that addictive crack-like substance….they were *amazing*.  Fresh, crisp, and so very tasty with a bit of the sauces on them – now that we’re no longer there, I can tell you with a slight bit of embarrassment that we ate FOUR BOWLS of them!  Can you imagine the guys in the kitchen??  “Man, crazy American women with all this high-class food and they’re pigging out on RICE CRACKERS?  Crazy”.  Yeah, you know they said it.

The cost for all this deliciousness, and awesome atmospher?  AED 275 per person

So – just shy of $75 bucks each.  Yeah, it was a tad bit steep, but a LOT less than the high tea there, and we had such a good time, wandered around the lobby of the hotel and enjoyed such excellent service, it was truly fun.  Not stuffy at all, just a fun experience with a good friend in a nice place.  What more can you ask for?? Put it on your list of “must dos” in Dubai.

Dubai Heritage Village

Standard

What a pleasant surprise!  We were headed to a different attraction, but decided to stop here first and see what it was about.  Parking was pretty easy, and we just sort of “wandered in” – signage isn’t very strong…. I’m not certain that we entered a main gate or anything.  But not to worry, it was all good.  Once inside, there were some “gifty” looking commercial shops on the left, a small riding ring ahead with a horse and ponies in it, giving people the opportunity to get close to and ride these critters.  From the big smiles, I’m thinking it was pretty popular and the riders were definitely having a good time.

Fashioned like one of the stalls inside, this was a shelter outside the attraction - I think to await a bus?

Fashioned like one of the stalls inside, this was a shelter outside the attraction – I think to await a bus?

A piece of sculpture close to what we thought was the entrance.

A piece of sculpture close to what we thought was the entrance.

Oh yeah, they're having fun!

Oh yeah, they’re having fun!

To our right, there were small stalls set up, called “barasti stalls”  with stick sides and roofs all sort of “woven” together.

stalls

Pretty cool looking, but since it was a Friday (day of worship here) I’m guessing that’s why the majority of them were either empty or closed.  A little of the “Heritage” part seemed to be lost when the first one I came to was full of fake Gucci and Prada handbags…. What the heck??  Nothing “Heritage” about those at all……  And the “silversmith” one had not a thing to do with silversmithing….. but then?  Then we came to the “blacksmithing” stall.

I was enthralled.   Inside was this older man of indeterminate age, sitting cross-legged on a smooth floor mat next to a small firepit and large smooth-topped anvil, with rough hands that were deftly feeling and shaping some metal strips into useful tools.

The Blacksmith Gent

The Blacksmith Gent

Now I assumed they were tools.  I wasn’t certain exactly *what* kind of tools these might be, so I asked him.  When he looked up at me, I realized one of his eyes wasn’t seeing – it was completely opaque and white.  That’s why his hands seemed to be doing so much of the “seeing”….. they were acting as his eyes.  He gestured to the knives, trying to sell them, I’m sure…. We were not interested in those.  Back to his creations…..

 

a few of the tools the blacksmith gent had made.

a few of the tools the blacksmith gent had made.

Now, one of the tools was for stirring teas, one was a wood-handled blade for opening oyster shells, one was a gouge for woodcarving, and another for picking up and serving olives, corn, or re-fueling the “shisha” coals….  That’s the one I bought – I had to have something that this man’s hands created.  I just wanted a tangible connection to him for some reason.  It’s sort of a rarity to know the human that created a tool you use daily, don’t you think?  I’ve tried to capture its depth, its unevenness, its hand-made quality, and I’m afraid I’ve failed.  I hope you can sort of imagine how it feels in my hand, though.  Comfortable.

IMG_1819 IMG_1822 IMG_1828

Next stop – a camel next to the desert fireplace display – Well, either it was a campfire display of some sort, or someone’s afternoon tea heating!

Desert campfire display.  I *think*......

Desert campfire display. I *think*……

Well, it's a campfire,   Dunno if it's someone here that made it personally, or if it's part of the exhibit..... no clue, sorry!

Well, it’s a campfire, Dunno if it’s someone here that made it personally, or if it’s part of the exhibit….. no clue, sorry!

But – on to the camel – TBG hadn’t ridden the ones at Bab Al Shams.  He feels sorry for them, thinks he’s too big or something…. I dunno.  But he wanted to get next to this one, and there he went, right up next to it as it was kneeling down.  Amazing to see him with it, and then he was petting it!  Too cool.  I asked him later what he thought about it, and he said “Camels have REALLY long eyelashes.”

Yup..... TBG with a camel!

Yup….. TBG with a camel!

A bit further down the walkway, I spotted a way to get to the woman I’d seen sitting in the sand ever since we’d arrived there…. A small older woman in a black abaya with the khimar (veil that covers the entire face) tossed back over her head exposing her burka-covered face was working on something spread out on the ground.  As I approached her, her hands automatically went to her khimar and covered her face.  I asked if I might come closer and see what she was doing, and she gestured for me to come.  (The burqua (burka) is the mask-looking covering that may be leather, fabric or metal – it traditionally covers the nose and mouth, leaving only the eyes exposed).  Here’s an interesting quick bit about the burqua (burka) from the Sharja Center for Cultural Communication…..

Metallic-looking burqua

The Burqa

The burqa is a traditional face mask that is usually worn by the older generation of UAE National ladies. It was a symbol of a lady being a married women in the past.
It is made from percal (cotton fabric)  and stained with indigo which gives it the golden metal like sheen. The indigo which dyes the mask also rubs on the skin which and also acts as a beauty treatment by whitening and softening the skin.

Although the masks may all appear alike in design, in fact they were slightly different from one emirate to another and the ladies would actually cut them to suit the contours of their individual faces.

She was sewing long rectangles of burlap-looking fabric together to form an even larger rectangle.  On closer inspection, the rectangles were actually burlap bags that had been opened up along their long sides to provide a single layer of fabric.  They were then sewn together using a large needle and “thread” made of hemp or burlap, I couldn’t tell.  She was speaking to me all the time, in a language I didn’t understand.  But her intonation and gestures were enough for me to get the gist of what she was saying.

See the big squares of burlap?  They would eventually become the lining for one of these tents.

See the big squares of burlap? They would eventually become the lining for one of the tents.

She lifted the khimar, leaving her burka the only cover between us.  I felt like I was being strangely “let inside” something, like I’d gained an entrance to something….. I was not sure what.  But I was curious about what she was doing, and wanted to make an effort to understand.

And I did.

She was sewing these strips together to form the framework for another tent like the others closeby.  This layer would help prevent the dust and such from settling on the possessions inside and protect people from the top coming down in the winds.  I gestured towards the seams she was making, and asked if she was unraveling the rope to use as threads.   I used a “twisting” motion with my fingers…..  She smiled broadly at me and shook her head “no” and then picked up the rope loops that were at the end of the seams, providing a means to attach the fabric walls to the poles holding up the tent….. she held the loops and I moved to the tent nearby and touched the loops at the end of the poles – she nodded “yes” and then showed me a largeish wad of what appeared to be unraveled burlap “threads” by her side.  That was what she was using to sew the bags together.  Interesting.

IMG_1792

There was so much more I wanted to ask her – how did you learn to do this?  Did your Mother do it?  Is it a social activity for women or simply a chore to be completed?  Is there any monetary gain from it, do you sell your work?  What originally came in those bags and where did you get them?  What about the brightly-colored tent walls, where do they come from?  Sadly, these questions were *way* beyond our ability to communicate.  But I gestured to her that I appreciated her time, and asked if I might take a photograph of her – I wanted to remember our encounter and take a look at her brightly-colored clothing without staring in person.  It was unusual and I was curious.  She gestured “yes”  quickly placing a hand to her burka to ensure its position.

heritage village woman

The rest of the shops and such truly didn’t interest me as they appeared to hold fairly common souvenirs and gifts….. we bypassed them for a quick cold drink at one of the refreshment stands, and headed to the Makhtoum house next door.  Here’s a bit of what we saw along the way – imagine the flavor of this place, if you will……

IMG_1944 IMG_1938 IMG_1795 IMG_1796 IMG_1794 IMG_1942 IMG_1793

Lovely doors, no?  I was hoping it was leading to a bathroom area.....

Lovely doors, no? I was hoping it was leading to a bathroom area…..

Later that day I asked TBG “so, what do you remember most about the Heritage Village??”  He thought for a few seconds and said “Yeah, camels have some really *long* eyelashes.  But I’ll never forget watching two women, neither of which spoke a word of the others’ language – communicating and gesturing about something and actually understanding each other.  That’s what I’ll remember about that place.”

Restaurant Review – Tribes African Steakhouse

Standard

We dined at Tribes in the Mall of the Emirates because we’d heard it had fantastic steaks. It’s advertised as an African Steakhouse, and it has the African theming down well – you forget you’re in a mall!  Feels like you’re walking into an African hut of some sort, and you can see the flames of the grill in the back, there are skins and furs on some of the chairs, woven reeds, just a fabulous sense of theming.  Disney would be proud.

Even their menus are beautifully themed, aren't they?

Even their menus are beautifully themed, aren’t they?

Just trying to show you a bit of the atmosphere we experienced.

Just trying to show you a bit of the atmosphere we experienced.

I wanted tile in my house like is on these walls.  Till TBG told me I'd have to keep it dusted.....

I wanted tile in my house like is on these walls. Till TBG told me I’d have to keep it dusted…..

We were happy, had just gotten off one of the Big Bus tours and we were starving!

We were happy, had just gotten off one of the Big Bus tours and we were starving!

This is the bar area.  No, they don't serve real drinks with liquor.

This is the bar area. No, they don’t serve real drinks with liquor.

Pretty dang cool-looking chandeliers, huh?

Pretty dang cool-looking chandeliers, huh?

The seating areas are comfy and cozy, and great for conversations.

The seating areas are comfy and cozy, and great for conversations.

We ordered steaks, and a multi-tribal sausage platter as an appetizer.  The sausages were interesting, the chicken one had little flavor, lamb was a bit more flavorful, the beef yet a bit more, but the camel was *quite* tasty.  The onion and fig jam was gummy and difficult to enjoy.

The bread they brought us I SWEAR I could have eaten nothing but that all night.  It was crusty, warm, and wonderful.

The bread they brought us I SWEAR I could have eaten nothing but that all night. It was crusty, warm, and wonderful.

Appetizer - the sausage platter.

Appetizer – the sausage platter.

TBG's "mocktail" - pronounced yummy as well.

TBG’s “mocktail” – pronounced yummy as well.

Yummm.... one of their "mocktails" - blended fruit juices.

Yummm…. one of their “mocktails” – blended fruit juices.

Our steaks arrived, and be aware that they’re cooked to a textbook level of doneness…… if you order medium, that’s exactly what you’re getting.  The meat was nowhere near as tender as we’d hoped for, and the only flavor in the meat was within the sauce it was served.  We were truly disappointed.  We’ve had better quality meat at a Longhorn Steakhouse chain in the states.  The portions were substantial, though.  And the bread was *quite* delicious – full of grains and all sorts of goodness.  We could have eaten another entire loaf.

The attraction - red meat.  This place is for carnivores, for sure!

The attraction – red meat. This place is for carnivores, for sure!

IMG_5728

TBG's steak.  He loved it.

Again, the atmosphere was quite wonderful, our server knowledgeable and attentive, it was a fun place to eat.  Here are some of the folks hard at work making the food served.

Making that meat magic happen!

Making that meat magic happen!

IMG_5731

Service was exquisite, unobtrusive and professional, with a sense of humor.  It was a nice visit, but not worth a return trip at the

prices they charge – unless you snag a “buy one get one” type voucher from one of the group-selling websites.

Now, even when you're getting your bill, it's presented in a lovely manner, see?

Now, even when you’re getting your bill, it’s presented in a lovely manner, see?

Happy!

Happy!

Here’s a link to my Trip Advisor review