Category Archives: Review

Restaurant and specialty food reviews

SF Sundays – History, Arts and Kebabs!

San Francisco. The city by the bay. The Bay Area. My hometown. Within the city’s many hills and along the city’s many beach shorelines, there are stories to be heard, history to be made, secrets to be revealed and delicious food to be eaten. Every year, the San Francisco Bay Area sees millions of tourists and natives like me come to discover it all. With that, I’ll regularly rant on happenings around my town not to be missed and yumminess to be achieved. Join me!

BUT FIRST, A QUICK HISTORY LESSON

This California peninsula city was founded and established in 1776 by colonists from Spain, naming it after Saint Francis of Assisi. Part of the foundation of the city started with the Presidio and Mission districts. Soon after, the gold rush brought in the influx of gold seekers and Eastern settlers. And in just the last hundred years or so, the city saw everything imaginable.

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c/o San Francisco Chronicle

1906 brought about the largest earthquake to date, causing one of the most devastating fires the West had ever seen. It was rebuilt, in part, by the influx of immigrants who came from all over the globe to start a new life and contribute to the greater Bay Area. The “decade of love” protested a senseless war whilst demanding equality, tolerance and some form of peace. The belief that love is love put San Francisco at the helm of the LGBTQ community activism, being the first in the nation to have same-sex marriages (before Prop 8 came about).

We make history and get very hungry in the process. And while being the most culturally diverse metropolitan city in the country, we’ve become the most gastronomical one too. One can eat their heart out then head to the city’s many museums, music halls, art galleries, comedy clubs or movie screenings. Once outside, one can ice skate the many rinks open in the winter, swim the ocean seas in the summer, walk through the many green parks in the spring, or bike their way through one of the best cycling city in the world all year long. That’s my city!

HAPPENING AROUND TOWN

This week, I’d like to highlight the Contemporary Muslim Fashion exhibit being held at the de Young through the 6th of January, 2019. I’ve been to the exhibit multiple times and plan on going again before it closes. This is a historical first for such an exhibit and of course, where else would such a colorful and truly inspiring exhibit be than at the de Young?

Tickets average $30 per person but members get in free! Side note: If you’re a true fan of art, a Fine Arts membership is worth every penny. With lots of exhibits to see and membership perks to enjoy at both the de Young and Legion of Honor.

San Francisco Symphony last week held a screening feature of A Nightmare Before Christmas and it was truly spectacular! They’ll do it again with the screening of the holiday classic, Home Alone.

Want to go ice skating? We’re spoiled for choice all across the city. Just for the holidays, there are three ice rinks: one right in front of City Hall, a second in the middle of Union Square and a third at the Embarcadero Center. There’s also the Yerba Buena Ice Skating and Bowling Center which is open all year round.

And if you still need to shop for gifts, look no further than the upcoming Etsy’s Maverick Holiday Market happening at the Crocker Galleria December 19th. Nothing beats buying from your local businesses, right? Shameless plug: I’ve started a small boutique shop on Etsy too!

YUMMINESS ACHIEVED

lamb stew at Bursa

This week, I’m highlighting an old favorite spot of mine, Bursa on West Portal. They truly serve up really good Arabic food with touches of gourmet and home. My favorite dishes are both the chicken and beef kebabs, succulent lamb stew, and the piping hot pastry cheese rolls. Just thinking about those cheesy rolls makes me hungry!

I’m not a fan of the seasonal pumpkin spice lattes (because yuck) but I did miss the occasional winter holiday coffee drinks. As a huge fan of Peet’s, I’ve been hooked on their peppermint mocha and the dark chocolate orange mocha. They are great pick-me-ups especially on those cold Monday mornings as you head back to work.

Until next time, Happy Sunday, peeps!

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.

Ladies’ Night @ Trader Vic’s – A Snapchat Story

Trader Vic's - Hilton Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato In case you didn’t know, every Wednesday night is Ladies’ Night at Trader Vics, Hilton Doha! Unlimited drinks and bites for two hours for 100QR! Even us hijabis and/or non drinkers can join in on the fun!🍹

You can read my review on Zomato and watch the full Snapchat story below!

 

Note: I’ve been to Trader Vic’s for Ladies’ night a few times, 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.

A Month In Food

A Month In Food, October 2015

Being that I have a job that relies on me going out to eat, October was one of my busiest monthes yet! I got to experience some new and awesome things for the first time. Grab a tissue because I promise you, there will be saliva.

French-Qatari Fusion

As a fan of this restaurant (which I’ve only tried for lunch), I was elated when asked to organize a fine dining experience meetup at IDAM by Alain Ducasse to showcase their new autumn dinner menu. There is nothing like this true gem on the 5th floor of the Museum of Islamic Art.

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For the first time, I willingly tried snails – SNAILS – and cleared my plate of it. I was never tempted to try snails or escargot but when I realized that was on the menu, I knew it was now or never to try it out. It was absolutely flavorful, sweet and without any bitter aftertaste, just perfection.

As an American, we are easily fooled when it comes to portions. However, we tend to forget that quality is above quantity. True, portions are small but extremely rich in flavor, you will leave stuffed . Start with the amazing breads and cleanse with the fantastic grape mocktails.

IDAM By Alain Ducasse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato IDAM brings fine dining and mutli-ethinic fusion to another level, under one very beautiful roof. Even before the food arrives, you are engulfed in a once in a lifetime experience that is to be had again and again. You leave knowing you’ve experienced everything that is to be experienced from the meticulous details of the decor to the elegance of it all.

Sushi

Now if you know me as well as you should peeps, you know I’m not a fan of sushi. I know, I know, I’m from California, home of the California Roll, it should be in my blood, blah blah blah. That’s not the case! Everyone I know but my little brother appreciates sushi. What’s my excuse? I can’t get past the “raw” factor of sushi. Give me seaweed, give me tofu in miso soup, but never raw fish.

Dragon Roll, Asia Live

Two foodie meetups allowed me to try some really good sushi. First was at Asia Live of Marriot Doha, where I actually went for seconds on this amazing Dragon Roll. Made with cooked tuna, shrimp and eel, it was absolutely spectacular. Many of us foodies went for seconds and thirds, it was that good. No aftertaste of sorts as I would’ve expected from an eel or mix of flavors. This is Asia Live’s most popular dish for only 50QR!

20151028_142014Another spot with some really creative takes on sushi was Blue of Grand Heritage Hotel. We were given the opportunity during our meetup to try some new and popular sushis, including fried sushi and tempura sushi. Seriously, there was a lot of variety I didn’t even know I could like let alone eat by the mouthfuls. I’ve learned that if the sushi contents are cooked or at least smoked, I’m all over it!

South Indian

There is a lot of misconception when it comes to South Indian cuisine, mainly because it’s already so diverse as it is. Mainly known for being vegetarian, not all foods out of South India is strictly that. However, we got a taste of it all at our foodie meetup hosted by Dakshin in Barwa Village.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 3.38.29 PMI got to have a taste of a few dishes familiar and new but the one new dish that stood out for me was the Murungakkai Soup. A lentils and drumstick soup spiced to perfection. Adding on top some really crispy and addictive chakkaras (think: airy crackers) for some pop, literally! The soup is just so warm and filling, it would be perfect for a San Francisco winter.

And at Dakshin, knowing that not everyone can handle the level of Indian spicy, they really do accomodate the level of spiciness your palette can handle. I recommend checking out their very diverse menu, selecting a few items and going on a South Indian taste journey.

Until next time peeps, stay hungry!

St. Regis Doha – Ramadan Tent Review

St. Regis Doha – Ramadan Tent Review
June 20th, 2015

The “Ramadan in Doha” theme setting of the St. Regis Doha – Ramadan Tent

My friend’s and I tried the St. Regis Doha’s Ramadan Tent for iftar yesterday and it was wonderful!! Here’s my take of the evening:

ST. REGIS DOHA – RAMDAN TENT

The decor in the hall turned tent was a typical “Ramadan in Doha” theme. With makeshift bird huts surrounding the dessert section in the center and lots of lights hanging around the celling. The tables were setup nicely, with space to walk around without bumping into anyone. All in all, I thought it was a beautiful setup.

Service was great! We didn’t know if we had someone specific for our area but anyone we asked to help us did so with a smile. They were all dressed in matching, beautiful cultural outfits, befitting of the theme. There is a prayer area just outside the hall, not far from the well maintained restrooms.

Of course, I’m always pleased with free valet parking which was made available at the lower entrance of the main hotel building. Please, don’t forget to tip the lovely guys taking care of your ride out in the heat!

This is what I call a chandelier! Part of the Arab sweets offerings in the dessert section.

IFTAR OFFERINGS

The setup was in six sections, five starters and entrees around one end of the tent and the sixth being the massive dessert section in the center. You had multiple offerings such as sushi, salads, Indian dishes, pastas, Mediterranean dishes and a butcher section. I tried my best to have a little bit of everything!

I started with a small bit of salad and some of the Indian offerings. I loved the wheat aloo pratha, the “chips” (I have no idea what they are called but they were addictive!) with all the side dips including the mango yogurt. I even tried what looked like a potato samosa but it was spinach and I really hate spinach.

The pasta options were few but you were given the option to take from either the ready made pasta dishes or request one done right there at the station. I did not try the pasta but I watched as one of the station chef was making one for a guest, looked and smelled amazing! We took a walk across the main wall where the Mediterranean dishes were set. On either side you had the leg of lamb over rice then varying rices, potatoes, stews, chicken, kofta and fish dishes. I tried the saffron chicken, the fish with brown rice and what looked like baked potato wedges, which were pretty good.

Went the red meat & carb route… so far, so good.

Craving red meat, I bee lined to the butcher section to come across cheese sliders, beef cuts with bell peppers, lamb shanks, a carving board with what I presume to be a beef roast, lamb bites in pastry and Yorkshire pudding or what I famously called “cheesy bread” to my British friends!

The cheese slider was a bit pink for me and the yellow chedder cheese was not melted but flavourful. I didn’t finish my beef cuts because it was too rare for me. The lamb bites were good and of course the Yorkshire pudding was amazing!

I wanted to go back for more but we decided to head to dessert since it was already 7:30pm. Dessert selections were a variety between Arabic and western. One side of the circle had a long ice cream que which I refused to stand in when there were so many other options. The opposite side of the circle had your Arab sweets with someone helping man the kunafeh table which also had a long que, however I couldn’t blame them as those were straight from Al Aker!

And on either sides of those long ques, were two chocolate fountains, one milk chocolate, the other dark chocolate with a selection of cakes and fruits to dip in. Alongside those fountains were varies mini cakes, parfaits, pastries, whips and mousses.

I tried the mango tiramisu, coffee panna cotta, puff pastry, ghurayeba (sugar cookies) with pistashio, dipped chocolate cake in milk chocolate and some fruit. Everything was good but my favorite was the chocolate cake, absolutely good. My friends dipped their fruit cake in milk chocolate and ran for second helpings before the buffet was closed.

OVERALL

Aside from minor details, I wish there was more live cooking stations especially for the Mediterranean section. I also wish that iftar lasted a little bit longer than an hour and a half. Yes the tent is open at 6pm but iftar doesn’t start until Maghrib time which is at 6:30pm, with many of us needing to pray either right before Isha which is at 8:20pm or as soon as we break our fast.

All in all, we really enjoyed ourselves last night! I highly recommend giving St. Regis a try sometime during Ramadan where both iftar and suhour are served. Iftar is at 230QR a person, which is well worth it for the variety of food and unlimited drinks. There are also vouchers available if you have the Entertainer App.

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