During Ramadan, our foodie family has been taking turns cooking iftar meals. These past couple of weeks of making old favorites and trying new recipes has been absolutely fun. Here are our top three dishes that I hope inspire your cooking as we near the end of the holy month.
Nothing beats Mama’s cooking! I mean, she’s the one that has truly inspired us kids to be the foodies we are today. We can’t go through the holy month without Mama’s delicious kushary. A popular Egyptian street food dish that consists of rice, lentils and pasta that’s drizzled with garlic marinara sauce, and topped with crispy fried onions.
What makes my mama’s take different than most traditional takes is that she makes the typical Egyptian rice with vermicelli noodles and uses two kinds of pasta, both spaghetti and salad macaroni. If this isn’t carb heaven, it’s not kushary.
For Mother’s Day dinner, my brother Samy took a risk from his usual steak and curry dishes to make a slow cooked brisket. Alongside all the fixings, it came out pretty good! We’re talking baked potato, roasted tomatoes, garlic and corn as well as a side of sauteed asparagus for good measure.
The meat was tender and seasoned to absolute perfection. Kudos to my brother because I can’t wait for the encore!
Speaking of encores, when I make something the family loves, I’m usually almost asked to remake it. Now when my nephew raved for days about my crispy chicken tenders and waffles -from scratch might I add- I couldn’t say no when he asked for more chicken.
Thus I combined two of his favorites that I’ve made for the family throughout Ramadan into one simple dish. Crispy chicken tenders atop Parmesan penne pasta. I use boneless chicken breasts, cut into four pieces each and use seasoned breadcrumbs. As penne pasta is one of my favorites, I love coming up with varying recipes for it. This one however has always been a favorite with the family, with a light fresh tomato sauce with cheese cooked in the sauce as well as garnished on top.
Who can say no to more cheese? And I’m lactose intolerant!
Do share in the comments what’s a dish you must have in Ramadan? What’s a dish you tried for the first time? What’s a favorite you’re favorite dish to cook up?
It’s February, can I still say Happy 2020? Probably not but I’ll say it anyways… HAPPY 2020!
It’s actually been a bit busy for me, with my full time work, side projects and recent certification exam (long story, short, I like to keep learning!). However, I have been making a list of all the things I must see, do and eat in the Bay Area when I realized, does everyone else know about these sweet delights in our backyard?
What must we see, do and eat in the Bay? Here are a few off the tip of my very long list for 2020:
50 Years! I can’t be the only one that didn’t realize there is a fantastic museum that encompasses our history as a state just off the Lake Merritt Bart Station in Oakland. The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is a fantastic space housing local art, history and culture with beautiful collections and visiting exhibits. This year, the OMCA is on my must revisit list as it celebrates it’s 50th anniversary of not just being a fabulous museum, but a welcoming “gathering place in the heart of Oakland”.
Let’s Eat!Reem’s has been added to my must eat list after seeing the nonstop hype behind it. Even the local news was all giddy when it was announced that this Oakland staple was opening up shop in San Francisco’s historic Mission District. Like a typical foodie, I went to check out the menu and literally salivated. It’s also worth mentioning that this is an Arab American lady owned business. So I’m biased in thinking it’s up to the hype and I can’t wait to eat it all up!
Up Above the Clouds! Taking a hot air balloon ride has been on my bucket list for a while. In looking to tick it off my list this year, I’ve come to find out I can do just that in the North Bay’s beautiful Napa Valley. We are spoiled for choice, whether going up with a group or privately, for an hour or so. Regardless, you can head to Visit Napa Valley to see which option best suits you, as well as other things to do while you’re up there.
Broadway! One of the longest running shows on Broadway is roaring it’s way to the Bay! The Lion King will be showcasing for a limited time this summer at the Center for Performing Arts in San Jose. As this is a limited engagement, it’s on my must see list because tickets will sell fast. Especially since it’s happening right after Hamilton’s extended run in San Francisco. What? You haven’t seen Hamilton in the Bay yet? What are you waiting for? It’s now extended through May 31st so add it to your 2020 must see list!
Frida! The most anticipated exhibit of the season coming to the Bay has to be Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving. Thanks to the Frida Kahlo Museum (aka The Blue House) in Mexico City, Mexico, we here in the Bay will get to see some of her personal items along with some of her magnificent works of art. As a fan of this prolific artist, this exhibit is on my must experience list, with the accompanying lectures, docent talks and much more at the de Young Museum.
Jazz It Up! The music scene in the Bay last year has been absolutely amazing. So much so, I started 2020 by heading to SFJAZZ‘s annual new year concert series of the legendary trumpeter Chris Botti! This concert was just a peak into the amazing line up happening this season. I’m now a proud member and so should you if you don’t want to miss out on great shows like this…
Hole In The Wall! Did you know, there’s a Peephole Cinema in San Francisco? Blink and you miss it! Peephole Cinema San Francisco is located in the Mission District at 280 Orange Alley, looping silent short films for those who’d like to take a peak. Another one was just added at SFO’s Terminal 1, thanks in kind to the curator, Sarah Klein. If you’re a movie buff or at least appreciate the art form, then add this to your must see list.
Yummy Delicious! The two day Eat Real Fest in Oakland’s Jack London Square has announced it’s dates for the year. What makes this food festival exciting is not only the great food expected to be shared, but the celebration of sustainable local ingredients and the craft behind the dishes and drinks served. I missed last year’s festival so I’m looking forward to eating my heart out while checking out all the cooking classes and demos that are being planned as we speak. Yummy!
Under The Sea! From the depths of the seas, statues of a three headed serpent and a mysterious deity were found, possibly lying in shipwrecks for centuries. The LOST AT SEA exhibit now through March is only happening at the Asian Art Museum. This tops my list as this one of a kind exhibit is only happening in San Francisco through March. You’re welcome to join our InterNations Culture and Art Group as we time travel and explore these wondrous beauties in February.
Just For Laughs! I LOVE the stand up comedy scene here in the Bay! We are truly blessed to get some of the best up and comers as well as established comedians stopping by to make us laugh. Ali Wong and Trevor Noah ended 2019 by coming through with sold out shows! 2020 shouldn’t be any different, if not better. I personally can’t wait for Michelle Wolf‘s return to the Bay later this week. Later this season, Jim Carrey, Whitney Cummings and Ali Wong will be in town too, woohoo!
So what’s on your Bay Area list for 2020?
Disclaimer: This rant was not sponsored or paid for by any of the above mentioned entities unless otherwise noted. Any and all sponsored or paid rants are for time spent, never for a biased take or review. If you’d like me to check out a happening around town or a local eatery to rant about, please email email@example.com.
I do love the city in December. Maybe it’s the holiday lights, maybe it’s my birthday month. I don’t know, I just love San Francisco in December!
Our family may not celebrate Christmas but we sure love the winter season nonetheless, exchanging presents, and decorating our home as we do for Halloween and both Eids each year.
Before we go exploring the city, I do want to remind you that we’ve had massive fires up in the North Bay thanks in part to PG&E negligence (yea, I said it!), heat waves, high winds and dry brush in the past couple of months. If you’d like to help those in need this holiday season, please support the World Central Kitchen, Islamic Relief Fundand the California Fire Foundation.
HAPPENING AROUND TOWN
If you’ve never seen a movie while the amazing San Francisco Symphony performs the soundtrack and music, have you really seen the movie? For the holiday season, expect to find movies like Love Actually, Ghostbusters and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Oh, I can’t wait for that one!
And as with every year, Cirque du Soleil is back in San Francisco with the production of Amaluna, running now through January 22, 2020. Happening at Oracle Park, with another story as told by amazing acrobatic performers and live music. Get your tickets now, these shows are selling out!
Need a friend or two to join you on these amazing wonderland adventures? You should join me as the consul of InterNation’s SF Culture and Arts Group! We check out some beautiful and fun works throughout town on a regular basis.
Recently, we were invited to the opening of the As Above As Below exhibit at the Menresa Gallery in the St. Ignatius Church of USF. A small but extremely dazzling exhibit bringing astrology, neurology and the arts together. I entered the cosmos and so should you, as you only have until December 15th to check it out. The exhibit is free but be sure to book your tickets online.
We also checked out the season’s must see exhibit, Soul of a Nation, at the de Young Museum. Our group got together last week and were truly immersed in the powerful pieces, from collages and photography to paintings and sculptures. Many in the group did the audio tour which went into further detail, history and relevance of each piece.
Nothing truly scares me like hunger. This week, I want to highlight the food banks that begin their busiest time of the year to help secure food for those in need. I urge you all to check out your local food banks, volunteer and donate.
These facilities are literal life lines to many families and individuals in need, especially those affected by the recent wildfires.
If I missed any food bank or resource in the Bay Area, please include them in the comments below.
Disclaimer: This rant was not sponsored or paid for by the events, organizations or restaurants listed unless otherwise noted. If you’d like me to rant about a happening around town, an awesome organization or a yummy eatery for my SF Sundays rant series, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve got to say, despite a couple of rough weeks personally and as a local, I’m just glad July is over! Let’s get busy with all the good happenings in the city and around the Bay. The days are long, the nights are breezy and the food is filling. Let’s get into the groove of things, yalla!!
HAPPENING AROUND TOWN
First, I’d like to start by announcing that I’m officially a volunteer with the Arab Film and Media Institute (AFMI). AFMI is the wonderful organization that has been showcasing Arab creatives in film and television while providing educational courses for youth to get into film and television. And I’m excited for the upcoming 23rd edition of the Arab Film Festival! The largest of it’s kind in the nation, this years festival will start October 11th, with passes already on sale. Do not miss out peeps, I promise you that this year is expected to be the biggest one yet.
Second, as many of you are, I’m into the culture and arts scene of the Bay Area. I’ve recently become the consul of InterNation’s SF Culture and Arts Group. A few weeks ago, we checked out Andy Warhol’s From A to B and Back Again exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). Absolutely beautiful and you will learn something new about Andy, I promise. You only have until September 2nd to check out his retrospective works, so don’t miss it.
In a few weeks, I hope to have us head to the symphony, a few comedy shows, a film festival and we’ll even check out this little play called Hamilton. Join us!
Third, can I remind you that we have a wonderful local animal zoo here in San Francisco? Yes, the animals at the San Francisco Zoo hail from all over the world and are just a joy to explore, especially with the young ones. I personally LOVE the meerkats, otters and the petting area. And don’t forget, if you’re a San Francisco resident, admissions are free on the first Wednesday of every month!
I have to say that when I found out that Lady M of New York was coming to town for a limited time, I was excited. And not working far their pop up shop made it even more exciting for me. However, when we tried to make a reservation online for our orders, they had stopped taking reservations after complaints that many stood in the same long lines as everyone else.
Fine, we’ll go stand in line, I mean, who wouldn’t for those delicious thin layered delights, right? Nope, They were here for four days and ran out before the end of the third day. It was really disappointing until I learned they sell to customers in pop up shops what they deliver from online orders: the frozen version of the cakes out of New York. So what was the point?
Turning this frown upside down, I’ve got two words… Move Halal. My good peeps in Oakland just started a sweet one stop shop for those seeking halal meats, fresh ingredients and wholesome goods from our native lands. Want to whip up a legit hummus or craving freshly baked bread? They’ve got it!
You can either get your order delivered for a flat fee or pick up your order at Salam in Oakland (more locations may be added in the near future). That’s right, Move Halal delivers around most of the East Bay and even ships non-perishables across the nation so you can deliver some deliciousness.
Best part? Move Halal has partnered with Pure Hands Foundation to donate some of the proceeds to support their initiative of providing meals and medications to those in need in Yemen. If that isn’t a fantastic start up, I don’t know what is.
I urge you all to support and pray for the wonderful people of Gilroy as they mourn the loss of three beautiful people and heal the many injured in the useless gun violence that took place at this year’s Gilroy Garlic Festival. There will be many vigils and memorials held for 6 year old Stephen Romero, 13 year old Keyla Salazar and 25 year old Trevor Irby. To support #GilroyStrong, you can buy t-shirts where funds will go to support the victim’s families.
May those perished rest in God’s eternal peace, may God grant those injured a smooth recovery, may God grant strength and mercy to the city of Gilroy, ameen.
Disclaimer: This rant was not sponsored or paid for by the events or restaurants listed unless otherwise noted. If you’d like me to check out and rant about a happening around town or a yummy eatery for my SF Sundays rant series, please email email@example.com.