International Comfort Food

International Comfort Food
By: Ms. Hala Abdoun for BQ Plus via Zomato
Originally Published for the January 2017 Issue
Publication Source: BQ-Magazine.com

Winter is here! A relatively warm winter but, this is the season we crave something to make us feel all warm and fuzzy. It’s why they call it comfort food!

Let’s discover some of the world’s favorite comfort foods and where to get a taste of it.

Spaghetti Carbonara – Italy

Can’t start this list without the world’s favorite dish, pasta! And the one Italians call to for comfort is spaghetti carbonara. Originating from Rome in the 20th century, this dish has comforted the masses as it has evolved in different parts of Italy and in different forms of pasta.

Sticking with the classics, the spaghetti dish is made with eggs, cheese, bacon and seasoned with black pepper to taste. You can’t go wrong with a classic!

Slurp on some spaghetti carbonara at Lo Spaghetto in Al Saad.

Brioche Dorée

Where: Gulf Mall
Rating: 4.1/5
Lowdown: All things French and a little bit more when it comes to the offerings at Brioche Dorée. With a full menu on hand, you can indulge in a three course meal and coffee in a casual atmosphere. According to the foodies, it’s all about the breakfast and desserts.

Pho – Vietnam

Not only is pho the star of Vietnamese food, but it’s one of the most popular soup dishes in the world. Pho dates back to the 20th century and was introduced to the world through migration and tourism.

Pho consists of rice noodles, either chicken or beef, cooked in broth with a few herbs and seasonings. It’s all the basics in one pot!

Try a bowl of pho at The Rice Room in The Gulf Mall.

Poutine – Canada

Ask any Canadian and they’ll tell you that poutine is what warms their soul. Originating in Quebec in the 1950s, the word “poutine” is French for “mess”. Who knew messy can be so good? Canada did!

This messy street food quickly took over the nation with just three ingredients. Fried potatoes topped with cheese curds and gravy. That’s it!

Get messy with platter of poutine at Lord of the Wings at The Pearl-Qatar.

Pav Bhaji – India

Some say dosas, others say choles, we say, “can we have them all?” Indian cuisine is so beautifully diverse, we can’t pick just one. However, pav bhaji was the dish that stood out from almost every corner of India.

Potato based vegetable stew, all mashed together with fragrant spices and served with light, fluffy buns.

Get yourself some finger licking pav bhaji at Saravanaa Bhavan in Al Ghanim.

Koshary – Egypt

Talk about making something out of nothing! In the 19th century, whatever was leftover in the pantry at the end of the month, got all mixed together to make room for the new. And from there, koshary was born.

Today, it’s the ultimate comfort food in Egypt, sold from street carts to five-star restaurants. It started with rice, lentils and pasta topped with spicy sauce, vinegar and crispy onions. It has since evolved to include chick peas, garlic and oil.

Grab a bowl of koshary at Layali Al Qahira in Souq Waqif.

Macaroni and Cheese – USA

Whoever came up with this baked dish, thank you! Of course, this isn’t a historically American dish but it has become one over the last couple of centuries with the flood of immigrants altering their own favorite comfort foods.

With small pasta and a whole lot of cheddar cheese topped off with some bread crumbs and baked in the oven for about 15 minutes. The end result is crispiness on the outside and gooey goodness on the inside. This is why America is great!

Try a fishy take on the classic at Red Lobster in Fereej bin Mahmoud.

Kare Kare – Philippines

The thick stew of kare kare is another rendition of putting everything in one pot. Originating from Pampanga and spreading across the islands, kare kare is a stew like no other.

It starts with a base of stewed oxtail and can have anything from calf feet to leftover meat, and seafood to all kinds of vegetables. Thickened with rice and topped with peanut sauce, this stew brings the essence of comfort in a bowl.

Try a bowl of kare kare at Max’s Restaurant in Al Saad.

Harees – Qatar

Coming back to Qatar, many don’t realize harees has history. This simple wheat dish dates back to the 10th century as documented in ‘The Cooking Book’ by Ibn Sayyar Al Warraq. Many even say there’s evidence of Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) eating harees.

Harees is not soup, it can fall between a stew and porridge. After simmering pre-soaked wheat in water, it can be made savory by adding meat before it’s strained and beaten to a thick consistency then seasoned to taste. Make it sweet by excluding the meat and season with cinnamon and sugar.

Discover the flavors of harees at Muglat Harees Al Waldah on Salwa Road.

All images courtesy of BQ Plus Magazine unless otherwise noted.

Dine like the French, in Qatar

Dine like the French, in Qatar
By: Ms. Hala Abdoun for BQ Plus via Zomato
Originally Published: November 2016
Publication Source: BQ-Magazine.com

Let’s take a gastronomic adventure around Doha and dine like the French.

Yum Yum

Where: K 108 Hotel
Rating: 4.1/5
Lowdown: Being the only boutique hotel in Doha that donates all their proceeds to charity, Yum Yum restaurant serves up some of the most buzzed about fusion French dishes in town. Go for dinner or escape the office for lunch in a hidden gem overlooking the city.

Brioche Dorée

Where: Gulf Mall
Rating: 4.1/5
Lowdown: All things French and a little bit more when it comes to the offerings at Brioche Dorée. With a full menu on hand, you can indulge in a three course meal and coffee in a casual atmosphere. According to the foodies, it’s all about the breakfast and desserts.

French Olive

Where: Barwa Towers, Suhaim Bin Hammad Street, Al Sadd
Rating: 4.1/5
Lowdown: Serving both French and Italian cuisine, you harmoniously savor the best of both worlds. It’s well known for not just it’s authentic cuisine but it’s courteous staff. The buzz around town claims French Olive is serving up a business lunch like no other.

Paul

Where: Villaggio Mall
Rating: 4.1/5
Lowdown: With many locations around Doha, the branch in Villaggio tops the list for this French chain. Head to Paul for coffee and fresh baked pastries or eat your heart out from the simple yet fulfilling menu. Foodies not only rave about the food but the “feel good experience” they have.

La Varenne

Where: Tornado Tower, Dafna
Rating: 3.9/5
Lowdown: One of the first French restaurants to offer business lunch to the masses working in Dafna. Serving a delectable menu while overlooking Doha’s scenic Corniche is no wonder La Varenne continues to be a favorite amongst the foodies.

Lenôtre

Where: Suhaim Bin Hammad Street, Al Sadd
Rating: 3.8/5
Lowdown: Foodies rave about French cuisine being served in a casual atmosphere, perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Feast amongst the city lights outdoors on a cool winter’s night or within Lenôtre’s sophisticated design on a hot summer’s day.

French Qatari Fusion | Ms. Hala

IDAM by Alain Ducasse

Where: Museum of Islamic Art (MIA)
Rating: 3.7/5
Lowdown: Art comes in many forms and IDAM celebrates art in the form of French Qatari fusion cuisine, modern classic Islamic decor and a view unlike any other. One of the few luxury restaurants with changing seasonal menus based on what’s locally available. Foodies admit it’s one of the few restaurants in town that really challenges one’s palate.

Lina’s Cafe

Where: Ezdan Mall
Rating: 3.7/5
Lowdown: Without a doubt, a cafe in a mall is the super pick-me-up for anyone going through retail therapy. When one breaks in between sales, Lina’s serves up therapeutic quick bites and desserts with a French twist to makes one’s day just a little bit better.

Angelina

Where: The Gate Mall
Rating: 3.6/5
Lowdown: Don’t want to fly to Angelina in Paris for the best hot chocolate in the world? The same creamy, rich hot chocolate is served in the Doha branch! Served along side any of your favorite desserts or meal, these decadents gives a whole new meaning to “pinkies up!”

Ladurée

Where: Villaggio Mall
Rating: 3.6/5
Lowdown: All that’s missing at this cafe, is a French violinist whilst you dine. Ladurée serves up what seems to be Doha’s favorite macarons, with flavors such as rose, pistachio, raspberry and chocolate. It’s true what the say, “dessert goes straight to the heart.”

Allons-y!

All images courtesy of BQ Plus Magazine unless otherwise noted

LinkedIN’s 2012 Top Over-Used Buzz Words

Before I begin, I’d like to thank Krista Canfield for reaching out to me to write this post. As you all well know, LinkedIN has an annual list of “buzz” words over-used by 135+ million users globally. I wrote a short piece last year when it aired on 7Live in San Francisco, CA. To be asked by Krista personally to write about the list again this year is an honor… so Thank You, Krista!

LinkedIN’s 2012 Top Over-Used Buzz Words
By: Ms. Hala

 

It’s that time of year again when LinkedIN shares the year’s top over-used “buzz” words. Remember last year it was words like “creative”, “effective” and “track record” that topped the list. Do you think some of these words are still up there on top this year? Are you thinking of laminating your profile or resume (excuse me, I mean to say CV as it is said outside of the states) with these words? Did you follow Krista’s tips from last year to fix up your profile? Let’s find out!

According to LinkedIN, in the United States, these are the top over-used buzz words:

LinkedIN USA 2012

It really surprised me that the top three words for the US haven’t budged. I mean, “creative” is the number one word again… really? People, did we not talk about this last year? Don’t say you are “creative”, BE CREATIVE! Showcase your talents by using some of the helpful apps on LinkedIN to sprouse up our profile. The saying does state, “actions speak louder than the word ‘creative’!”

Let’s take a look at what the trends been like around the world this year…

LinkedIN Worldwide 2012

Seems the word “creative” was used across the globe almost as much as it was within the United States. In the Middle East region where I’m currently residing, the top words were “motivated” and “multi-national”. I’m not surprised with the later being on top in the area as the Middle East region is becoming more and more diverse with people from around the world tapping into the vast growing economy there. That’s why I’m here!

Curious what my profile looks like nowCheck it out!

My sincere readers, time to fix up your LinkedIN profile! Don’t create it and forget it either, constantly update you profile and keep it active, even after you’ve landed that awesome job! If you haven’t already, fix up your resume and upload it to your LinkedIN profile. This way, you are showcasing your experiences, talents and track record to the LinkedIN community. I would also recommend utilizing some of the new sections of the profile that’s been added over the year such as Projects and Organizations.

Remember the tips stated last year, being honest about your skill set and track record, simple but personable picture and linking between both your resume and profile.

Here’s to 2013… let’s get to work!

 

Sources:

 Krista Canfield, Senior Manager, Corporate communications (Consumer PR)

Top Ten Overused Professional Buzzwords 2012