By now, so many of you have caught my HHI episode when it first aired last fall!!! But JUST IN CASE you wanted to check it out (again!)…… I’m finally making it available! 🙂 Here I am with my friends from Brooklyn, Spain and Dubai on one of the greatest adventures I’ve had to date!!! ★♥★
A few days ago after postponing my birthday karaoke plans for the weekend, a good friend texted that though the party had been cancelled, she was still taking me out to celebrate! After contemplating a few of Dubai’s top hot spots, she took the recommendation of a colleague and reserved dinner for two at Zuma in the DIFC. I wasn’t entirely familiar with Zuma, but after one evening of tasty culinary fare, it’s definitely on my radar!
The restaurant is utterly sexy when you walk in, as Dubai tends to be, with sleek upscale decor and low lighting. Upstairs is comfortable cushy seating overlooking spacious first floor tables and chairs with a view of the sushi bar. The music, a surprising combination of urban jazzy instrumentals and house remixes of American soul artists like Bill Withers, certainly added to the ambiance and provided a great backdrop for people watching over the course of the evening.
After ordering from the signature drink menu (I am self-proclaimed connoisseur of the Old Fashion cocktail and was impressed with both of their versions: the Tokyo Old Fashion as well as the Japanese Old Fashion – note the huge rounded ice cube, which was an added bonus considering the large single block cube that usually accompanies the drink!), we decided to try our luck with the six course menu tasting! Afterall, neither of us had been to Zuma before, which also has locations in London, Hong Kong, Istanbul, and Miami, so we figured it was best to celebrate with the best of what the menu has to offer!
As each delectable course was brought to our table, we were increasingly impressed not only with the presentation itself, but with how delicious everything was! If beauty is in the details, this meal was beautiful in every way!
Now, if you go to Zuma and opt for the menu tasting, be forewarned that there are two options to choose from, and if there are only two in your party, it’s probably best to go with the first option. Also note that each course offering is determined by the chef, so be prepared to experiment! Between the sushi and miso, then appetizers, followed by the chicken, beef, and fish courses, we had no idea HOW we’d get around to dessert! (Don’t worry, we figured out how!)
Honestly, it didn’t look like very much in quantity, however, it was really hard having to leave such tasty food on the plate!! When we realized that take-away wasn’t an option for the food we couldn’t finish, we made a more concerted effort in trying to finish it all!!! LOL! It seemed strange that we couldn’t take the food to go, especially considering the price, but I decided that trying to reheat Cornish hen or Chilean sea bass in the microwave the next day would completely diminish the integrity of the master chef’s vision for his palatable creations. So…. we ate!
After mentioning to our waiter that we were there to celebrate my birthday, it shouldn’t have been a surprise that the chef would prepare a special birthday arrangement for dessert! With “Happy Birthday” inscribed on a sheet of white chocolate, the rest of the platter (hidden behind the birthday greeting) had about five or six different types of confections, along with fresh melon, berries, tropical passionfruit, rambutan, and sweet mangosteen.
The aftermath was RIDICULOUS! When I blew out the candles, I literally wished for more room to finish the spread! After sitting full and content, an executive decision was made that we needed to DANCE our dinner off, which we did at a cool R&B/hip-hop party at club Sensation in the Crowne Plaza, DIFC!
Needless to say, the food and drinks at Zuma were impressive enough to make another trip there very soon. As we were leaving, it became even more apparent that not only is Zuma a great place for an excellent dining experience, but it really begins to come alive as the night continues. The bar was buzzing with expats dressed in chic attire and sipping on signature cocktails after being admitted by a suit with a list! It was definitely an indication to come back soon to get the full effect! So, here’s to the next celebration at Zuma!! Whatever the occasion, it’s sure to be a hit!
I’ve heard about these conventions for years while living in New York and Los Angeles, but never took the opportunity to visit an official Comic Con until this weekend at the Middle East Film & Comic Convention in Dubai Marina! I have to preface my interest in attending with the handful of graphic novels and comics that I’ve read in recent years at the urging of a good friend of mine back in NYC. I literally had never read a graphic novel prior to 2008, but once he introduced me to them, I found the format and story lines most intriguing! While I still intend to read some of the classics, I have a place in my heart for the ones that captured my interest. Black Jack by Tezuka, Persepolis — a graphic novel memoir turned award winning film by Marjane Satrapi that I’ve assigned as reading in the university Lit & Comp classes I taught, a series on both Johnny Cash and blues guitarist Robert Johnson, and Birth of A Nation, a comic novel based on a superhero from East St. Louis, Missouri written by Reginald Hudlin and Aaron McGruder, which I loved. I’ve read others, including a few based on literary classics like Dante’s Inferno that were ingeniously rewritten in comic format, and it was then that I got the inkling that perhaps I could find a place for myself in the graphic novel comic industry… While I have many ideas and characters swarming in my creative little skull that I’ve yet to bring into fruition, I knew I had to finally get to a Comic Con to see what the world really presented for me — pure imaginative superhuman possibilities!! ♥
It’s no secret that my first few months in the UAE were a bit trying. Because of this, I didn’t really get out as much as I would have liked. However, in the past few weeks I’ve decided to change that and started finding nooks and crannies in Dubai that I find enchanting. One such notable spot is Wafi City! With a theme of Ancient Egypt, you walk in and are surrounded by replicas of the pyramids and Cleopatra’s Needle, Pharaohs and hieroglyphics. It’s quite lavish and feels authentic in a lot of ways. I visited the Egyptian themed Raffles Hotel once last fall, which is the large pyramid you see in the background. Absolutely stunning and is my favorite hotel in the UAE!
This is the entrance to The Pyramids section of Wafi City. Inside is a complex that contains several restaurants, cafés, and spas, including Cleopatra’s Spa and Pharaoh’s Club. I’ll definitely be booking an appointment soon!
At the Pyramids, there is a rooftop cinema garden where free movies are shown every Sunday night. The Movie Under The Stars lineup shows all my favorite movies! I’m a little disappointed to realize I’ve missed The Body Guard, You’ve Got Mail, Pretty Woman and Tootsie, but there are a bunch of other classics that will be shown between now and the end of the season in May!! So, I do believe I’ll be making this a regular Sunday night excursion!!
In New York, I had Free Movie Tuesdays courtesy of Clearview Cinemas as well as the many movies-in-the-park festivals throughout the summer months each year! In Dubai, I’ll have Free Movie Sundays courtesy of The Pyramids at Wafi which is certain to feel like a bit of home! 😀