Foodie Farewell – a Snapchat Story

Flashback Friday to the foodie farewell Snapchat story!

Flashback to two weeks ago when Kamal and myself (aka foodie royalty) got a magnificent send off! Can’t thank the team at Nisantasi Baskose and my foodie friends enough for this lovely, unforgettable afternoon.

Happy Eating peeps!

She’s Fine Now

الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُواْ إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ -القران الكريم 2:156

Who, when calamity befalls them, say, “Verily, to God we belong and, to Him we shall return.” -The Holy Quran 2:156

Last week, on the evening of July 27th, my eldest paternal aunt, Sayeda Abdoun, passed away peacefully in Egypt.

My father, who is there, tells me that her burial and funeral went as she had wished. He said everything came together smoothly, almost as if she had described what would happen when she passes.

Of course, he is devastated.

She was a second mother to him. It was her home where he got any of his studying done throughout high school and college before heading out to America. It was her home where my parents were wed. And it was her home where my dad preferred to stay during his visits after retirement.

I was blessed to have met the aunt I resemble the most back in 2011. We spent so many days and nights just talking about anything and everything like two girlfriends. Despite our age, generational and lifestyle differences, “Ametuh” as I’d call her, almost always understood me.

One afternoon, we were talking about shopping and she shared how as a young girl, all she wanted was to go to school wearing new shoes and carrying the prettiest bag. She was married young to a man she would love for decades after his death. So much so, she couldn’t even part with his clothing.

“I miss him”, she’d tell me. “He did everything for me, especially when I was sick after the failed pregnancies and difficult births.”

She was very much a homebody as she got older. Yet one night, out of the blue, she asked to join me on a short walk to see my eldest uncle. During our walk, she’d tell me about the roads and people that came upon our paths. After an eventful evening, we got home and I asked her if she was OK after such walks. And she said with a smile, “I’m fine.”

Ametuh’s life was not easy and her life’s story inspired me to pursue greater things than the “norms of society”. She fell for the norms, she didn’t go to school wearing new shoes and carrying the prettiest bag.

She lived through her two children after her husband’s passing, becoming a grandmother of eight and a great grandmother of nine. She wanted nothing but the best for her family. When all was good with them at home, she’d quietly go to her room and fall asleep. Should i go in to check on her, “I’m fine” was her answer.

As much as I’m heartbroken and saddened by Ametuh’s sudden passing, I know she is resting in quiet peace. I know she’s fine now.

Please keep Ametuh in your thoughts and prayers. May she rest in God’s eternal peace and light… Ameen.

Living the Confused Expatriate Life

Has it Been Five Years Already? – My thoughts on what I’ve learned as I hit five years of expat living in Qatar.

Living the Confused Expatriate Life
Has It Been Five Years Already?
By: Ms. Hala

On June 30th, 2012, I landed in Qatar thinking I knew what to expect. I had never lived in another city in America before, let alone another country so… of course, I was wrong! I thought I was only going to be expat living for a year, a year and a half tops. Of course, I was wrong. I thought I was going to make a dollar out of 15 cents, gold out of dirt, something out of nothing. Of course, I was wrong.

 

It has been five years –FIVE YEARS– since I got off that plane and was hit by the summer’s humid air, freaked out when the cold water taps were boiling hot and learning to sleep with the AC on full blast. I have learned to expect the unexpected and struggled through those last five years to make something out of myself.

 

Along this journey, I’ve made life long friends, laughed my heart out and experienced things I don’t think I would have staying at home, or anywhere else in the world for that matter. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, the world is so grand but our bubble is so small. If I learned anything, anything at all, from being living the expat life, it’s to go beyond the bubble, even for just a moment and live a little in this grand world. Despite it all, for the things I’ve learned, it’s so worth it.

 

Screenshot_20170610-154838
“Qatar” – image courtesy of @ftmalthani

Qatar has an odd charm to it, flaws and all. The expat life here is not perfect but it’s a blessing to experience. As I start packing, not knowing how much longer I’m staying in Qatar (more on that later), I’m at peace. Alhamdulillah, I worked hard, surrounded myself with good people, ate some delicious food and discovered as much of the region as I could.

 

My time in Qatar will always be unforgettable. I can’t image having the experiences I’ve had else where. I’ll always pray for God to continue blessing this beautiful nation and the people within it that make it up it’s beauty. Qatar may be small but mighty and come to think of it, so am I.

A Father’s Day Reflection

I wrote this rant four years ago, when my little brother Samy first became a father. This father’s day, I think of my father and his father before him, and what they have done so that we can lead the lives we have today. I’m forever grateful to our fathers, our father figures and our single mothers for being there for us, always.

God bless you, on earth and in heaven, today and always!

Ms. Hala

Last night, I called Baba in Egypt to wish him a Happy Father’s Day. He was excited I called (because he forgot to tell me he was going to Egypt for the summer) because he had forgotten it was Father’s Day. Of course, we ended up having our usual political and religious conversation. I then spoke with my older cousin Mohamed, a father of five, whom I consider a father figure.

After all the phone calls last night between Egypt and California (my poor phone bill), I feel asleep in awe of how something as simple as a phone call can uplift someone’s spirits. I feel asleep reflecting on all the amazing fathers I know.

I had written on a similar reflection back in 2009, Praises for Fathers, the first Father’s Day after the passing of our Amuh Ibrahim.

This year, my little brother became a father for the…

View original post 135 more words

Iftar @ Streets of Arabia – A Snapchat Story

Streets of Arabia Ramadan Tent - Doha Marriott Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Inspired by the success of Street Food Doha, the lovely Doha Marriott is at it again for the second year with Streets of Arabia. Dishes from all corners of the region, such as Sudan, Morocco and Qatar, are the stars of the streets. I started with the Moroccan harira soup and was tempted to go for seconds but there was much to discover throughout the restaurant gallery turned street food galore.

Headed to Sudan for stew, Egypt for hawashy, Lebanon for grills, Qatar for majbous, Turkey for kavurma and India for dahi vada. I was not disappointed in the least bit! Desserts were good, the qatayef were a hit for me. I just wish they had them in serving sizes rather than “serve yourself” type setup, people get a little too excited around desserts. #JustSaying

Service, as always, was professional and friendly. I just wish some of the serving staff were more knowledgable of some of the dishes they were serving. The setup is simple, nothing over the top, but nothing plain either. It’s a very chill and casual space for iftar, my kind of chill to be honest. It’s so chill, even the famous Ramadan camels, Bashoosh and Sahara were just chilling in the warm breeze outside the hotel with their new baby girl, Samara. Yep, it’s a girl! Woohoo!

Iftar @ Al Jawhara – A Snapchat Story

Al Jawhara Oasis Ramadan Tent - InterContinental The City Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato For the third year running, Al Jawhara of The Intercontinental The City has been a hidden gem of the Ramadan season. Not a ridiculously expansive buffet, just the good stuff in the beautifully decorated hall.

The decor remains as the classic Arabian night theme. Seatings are set up nicely and rearrange accordingly, giving you space to move and every seat was a good seat to see the live band and tanora dancer during suhour. On the sides, you have tent like booth seatings and lit lanterns throughout the hall.

The service within the tent is very attentive, friendly and always with a smile. Management and marketing teams passed by to genuinely check on us, which did not just happen because we were invited guests but it’s consistent to how we’ve been treated as paying guests as well. I very much appreciate the consistency in the service provided.

For 195QR, you’re getting your money’s worth! Desserts was probably my favorite this time around, especially the fresh crepes with orange sauce which I topped with chocolate ice cream and nuts. Qatayef were made fresh as well and probably the best I’ve had in a very long time in Qatar. Last year, the freshly made shawarma wraps here was my favorite, done to absolute perfection. Sadly this time around, didn’t get my hands on the shawarma as it seemed to have run out on my two visits to the station.

Overall, I believe the buffet menu changes so you don’t necessarily get the same thing twice in one week. The only constant is the live cooking stations dedicated to pasta, shawarma and one of the dessert sections. Yep, there are two dessert sections!

I have to give them props for monitoring not only the food’s freshness but preventing waste. In speaking with the team, they noted that food was made almost to order (quantity to bookings with fresh additions as needed) to help prevent waste. Suhour was a la carte last year but by popular demand, the buffet is back but on a smaller scale to prevent waste. Kudos ICTC team!

 

Note: I’ve been to Al Jawhara Ramadan Tent a few times over the years, both as a guest and customer. My opinions on my blog and social media are strictly my own. Please contact if you’d like permission to share/repost this content.

Iftar Tasting @ L’auberge – A Snapchat Story

L'auberge - Warwick Doha Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato In case you missed it, here’s my Snapchat story from the Iftar Tasting at L’auberge in Warwick Hotel Doha.

Throughout the month of Ramadan, L’auberge will be hosting an Arabian iftar with a Turkish flair. Have to say my favorite dish was the chicken maqluba and of course the dessert selection by renowned Egyptian pastry chef, Amin Wahba. Do not miss out on his famous feteer or oum ali, made fresh every night. #YumminessAchieved!

 

Note: I was a guest of L’auberge but my opinions on my blog and social media are strictly my own. Please contact if you’d like permission to share/repost this content.