Why is food so good here?

I’m not saying the food in America is not good because believe me when I tell you, if you have never tasted a Philly Cheesesteak from Max’s, then honey you haven’t lived…

I know it must seem like all I talk about in my blog is food and traveling but in between those two things I do work.  Traveling and eating are two things I really, really enjoy and I have been able to indulge a little in both since moving here.  But, I often wonder, why is the food here in Qatar so good and why haven’t I balooned?  (could be attributed to my Pesca-Vegan change in eating habits)

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I’m not complaining either but I eat out a whole lot more here than in the U.S.A.  This is due to several factors: 1)experiences and my desire for it, 2)more spendable money, 3)my husband is not here to cook for me and he did the majority of the cooking back home, 4)buffets are not typical American buffets, 5)well I like to, 6)Talabat (delivers everything)! I eat here at places that I wouldn’t eat at in America.  For instance, I used to love Mcdonalds when I was younger but as I got older, Mcdonalds got down right disgusting and I would never eat there.  But I tried Mcdonalds here last month at the advice of my son’s and I like it again. Granted I only eat the fries but they taste like they used to when I was young.  The boys eat KFC here but not in America.  I ate at Red Lobster here the other day and I didn’t find any foreign objects in my food.  I stopped eating at Red Lobster in the States after finding a fly in my food once and plastic in my food on another occasion.  Dare I even say, if they had a Checkers over here, I might be tempted and I swore off Checkers 22 years ago when I got food poisoning from there twice.

I’m not saying the food in America is not good because believe me when I tell you, if you have never tasted a Philly Cheesesteak from Max’s, then honey you haven’t lived

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and Alaskan Snow Crab legs will make you smack your mamma.  Don’t even get me started on Chick-Fil-A.

I mean I have eaten at some places here that I would not dare to go in were these places in Philly.  From the outside they look very shoddy and unkept but if others have been and say to try it, I do, and 10 out of 10 times, the food has been tasty.  I’ve been to ghetto looking places and very fancy establishments too.  But everything I’ve tasted here is delicious and I’ve lost weight.  Could it be the way the eateries are regulated? Qatar is much smaller than America so it is easier to monitor sanitation here and I’ve seen several places closed for violations.  Could it be that Qatar is such a melting pot of cultures that people bring their A-game?  Could it be that there is so much money that they can afford to not cut corners? Could it be that their food is not pumped up with steroids and GMO?  I remember the first time I saw a cucumber here, I was like what is this?  They are so small compared to American cucumbers.  And the chicken is half the size.  The majority of the food here is imported so I don’t know what it is but I like it!

Where have you found the best eats?

 

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Another Great Brunch in Doha

They serve you everything and we were full before they even brought the main course out.

On Friday, Zamir and I went to Zengo for brunch. People were talking about it on Doha Foodies, so I decided to try it out.  Besides, they had Pan Asian dining and I was missing the Thai food from the Maldives and wanted more.  Zengo is located on the 61st floor of the Kempinski hotel in the Diplomatic area of Doha, around the corner from the City Center Mall.  I made reservations for us and explained my eating preference (no beef, chicken, or dairy products).  When we arrived, we were met by a young lady who by my name recognized me as no beef, no chicken.  We were seated by the window and the view is amazing. We could even see planes going in for landing at Hamad International Airport.

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I love the decor of the restaurant: spiral staircase inside of what looks to be a cage and blue (my favorite color) birds flying outside of the cage from the ceiling.

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I also love the lava rock looking dishes they serve the food on.  Here is the menu.

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It is brunch but they serve you rather than an open buffet.  (Which I prefer anyway) They serve you everything and we were full before they even brought the main course out.  The chef even altered some of the meals to suit my eating habits.  For instance, I was served pumpkin curry instead of chicken curry, shrimp kebabs instead of beef and vegetable fried rice instead of fried rice with chicken breast.  The food was really good.  I especially loved the shrimp rolls, crispy calamari and fried rice.  We didn’t particularly care for the vegetarian rolls because of the lemon gel or the salmon miso because I like my salmon cooked well but other than that we enjoyed everything else.  The service was great and the staff were very accommodating.   It is a lot of food.   Mocktails are also included in the brunch, which is a wonderful added touch.  The price is good at 250 QAR/pp.  I rate it 4/5 stars and I will be going back.

  Don’t these pictures make you hungry?

Finally some Familiarity

I knew that if anyone would come to see me overseas it would be my big sister and the day finally came…

I knew that if anyone would come to see me overseas it would be my big sister and the day finally came on Friday, January 31.  She traveled a long way to see me and the boys and I wanted her to enjoy herself, so I had a lot planned.  As soon as I picked her up from the airport, I took her to our villa, we changed clothes and I whisked her off to brunch.  Brunch is a big deal in Qatar and I wanted her to experience it.  After brunch, I took her back home so she could rest because Jet Lag is no joke.  On day 2, we went to the Villagio Mall and walked around. We grabbed some food and headed home because Jet Lag is no joke.

On Sunday, my hubby arrived and life was grand.  We grabbed some breakfast at Ric’s Country Kitchen and took a stroll down on the Corniche.  Later on we met up with some friends at Souk Waqif.  There was a festival happening there.  We grabbed some dinner, watched the parades and enjoyed a shisha.  Afterwards we walked back over to the Corniche and took a Dhow boat ride through the Gulf.  I’ve seen these boats every time I’ve gone down to the Corniche but never went on so this was something new for all of us. We had a great time.  We played our music, danced, talked, took pictures and enjoyed each other’s company.  It was actually one of my favorite days in Doha.

[But there was a small mishap that occurred that I feel the need to mention.  It was pretty crowded in the souq and as we pushed through the crowd to make our way out, a young man who was walking with some other guys, yelled at my husband, “what’s up Nigga!”.  Pause right. WAIT, WHAT!  My husband stopped in his tracks and turned toward the guy.  He was ready to fight, so I wrapped my arm around his, turned to the guy, yelled, “watch your mouth”, and pulled my husband away.  After discussing this issue and calming my 6 foot, 215 lb, black, husband down, we summized that maybe, just maybe, the guy was being cordial.  Granted it was extremely disrespectful and inappropriate but the guy’s face was total shock when he saw my husbands demeanor change, and the way he said it was not disrespectfully. Of course he was not African American, nor did he look white but you don’t say that to a Black man if you are not black yourself.  You don’t say that to a black man if you are black and you all do not have that type of relationship.  Unfortunately, it is in the music and people that don’t know any better think that, this is okay.  IT IS NOT OKAY! In fact in America, you pretty much get your ass whooped or killed for saying something dumb like that out of your mouth.  But we are not in America, so some things you just have to shake off and not take personal.  You learn a lot here!] Moving on…

The next day I was hosting my first get together at my villa.  I did it for several reasons. One big reason was because I wanted my sister and hubby to know that we are surrounded by support and we are ok.  Also we were catching our flight to the Maldives at 2:00 a.m. (be sure to read my blog on the Maldives) and I wanted to get the party started early.  The get together turned out really nice.

While Darryl and I were away, I left some money with the boys so they could take Ericka out.  On Friday, Feb 3, it was Ericka’s birthday and I had planned a surprise dune bashing event for her.  Unfortunately, it was a sand storm that day but they said they had fun. When Darryl and I returned, I got really sad because they would be leaving me in two days.

On Sunday, everybody left, and the house got real quiet.  I had finally had some familiarity here with me in Doha and for a short while, it really felt like home.  Depression can set in really fast when you are overseas.  You have to work hard to not fall into it.  Blogging helps me as well as planning trips and planning for my husband’s next visit.  I have to remind myself why I’m here, but I know I wouldn’t trade it for going back home.  It’s not easy every day.  Some days are better than others.  Some days I feel really sad and melancholy. The first few days after they left felt like pure torture. I could not get rid of the lump in my throat.

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But there are way more days, that I’m happy.  Like when I recall all the traveling I’ve done since I’ve been here, and the traveling I will do that I would not have been able to were it not for this fantastic opportunity.  Or when I look at my American debt decreasing.  Or when I talk to my husband every day and realize how much stronger our relationship has grown.  Or when I look at how much my son has matured over the last few months and learned.  I think about all the people I’ve met and new friends I’ve made and I smile because I have no regrets even when I’m sad.

Having visitors helps a lot.  Having my sister and my husband here at the same time was God sent.  I was super happy that week.  Darryl will be back in April and I can’t wait.  Let the count down begin!

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The Magic of the Maldives

All I can say is, I believe in Magic, the Magic of the Maldives!

Five years ago, my husband and I went to Maui for our honeymoon.  It was the epitome of the perfect vacation!  I did not want to go back home and I thought nothing could top it, that is until I felt the Magic of the Maldives.  I’ve always wanted to go to one of those resorts with the over water bungalows, so being over here in Qatar provided the perfect opportunity because of the location.  Since my husband and I did not spend our 5th year anniversary together in Italy as previously planned, the Maldives came up.  My sister agreed to come to Qatar and keep an eye on the boys while hubby and I took our trip.

My buddy Jennifer and I booked the trip together for our spouses.  She is a P.E. teacher here in Qatar, new like me, and her husband JD is here too.  She and I kind of bonded from the beginning and since our husbands are cool we thought why not.  She found this travel agency named OV holidays https://www.ovholidays.com/ that specialize in Maldives vacations. We paid for an all inclusive, 4 days, 3 night package.  It was expensive but we decided to splurge.  We flew a straight flight on Qatar Airways to Malè.  Once we arrived in Malè, we waited for a Sea plane to take us to the island in South Ari Atoll.

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Sea Planes
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Having a drink while we wait for our chariot

I already have a fear of flying so I was a bit nervous about this closed in, small plane.  But once we got going and I could see all the little islands beneath us in the beautiful Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean, I felt at ease.  All the images I’d seen on t.v. of the beauty of the Maldives was true.  The water was so beautiful.  Hues of green, blue and turquoise spread out and were briefly broken up by tiny bodies of land.  It is hard to describe.  I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

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First time in a plane so small. I was praying I wouldn’t get sick.
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The views were like a page out of a magazine

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See, how do you properly describe something so perfectly marvelous?

After the Sea plane landed at a wharf in the ocean, a boat picked us up and took us to our resort.

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I felt like we were traveling first class to the ends of the earth.  Once we arrived at Centara Grand Island Resort and Spa

(http://www.centarahotelsresorts.com/centaragrand/cirm/)

they took our luggage and we were escorted to the reception area, where we received a brief introduction.

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They greeted us with drinks. That’s what I’m talking about.  Bring it on!

 

Jennifer and JD’s room was ready but ours was not, so we chilled in their room until ours was ready.  We were given villa 90, a deluxe, over-water bungalow, with an unobstructed view of the Indian Ocean.  We were told it is always the most requested deluxe bungalow and we could see why.  It was at the end of the pier and it was spectacular.

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Those are double sinks and doors to the rain shower and toilets
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The Jacuzzi is amazing.
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I’m sure this is what we paid for
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Just as beautiful at night

The bathroom was huge and we had an open view of the ocean from our jacuzzi. Our view from the bed and the back patio was indescribable. This was our favorite spot.

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The Mr. is Happy
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And so am I!

 

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Room Service, Breakfast fit for a King and his Queen

I think we spent more time here than anywhere else, listening to the crashing waves and watching the fish and turtles swim by and below us.

Contrary to what you may have heard there was so much to do in the Maldives, well at least at our resort there was.  You could swim in the infinity pool, shoot some rounds of pool (I have to add this, I killed my husband at pool, lol), snorkel, dive, kayak, ride a banana boat, etc… We even took a sunset fishing cruise.  We didn’t catch anything but it was still fun.

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Practicing for the Olympics
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The Infinity Pool
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Ebony and Ivory
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Sunset fishing

 

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Beautifully made

 

 

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diving
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sting ray and shark feeding

There were 3 restaurants on our resort.  Our favorite was the Thai restaurant.  Chef Wow is amazing and super nice.  The bartenders at the infinity pool are so cool too, ask for Mohan.

On our last night, Darryl and I slept under the stars on our patio.  It was like sleeping in a planetarium, dark sky, with shining diamonds.  There was a blood moon on this night and I wish I had bought our professional camera to capture it.  And as a red shooting star crept thru the night sky, I fell in love with this place at the end of the Earth.  I did not want to leave this Majestic place but it was time to say goodbye.

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We woke up like this

As we waited for our boat to take us to our seaplane and finally to the airport, I felt sad. We had listened to people tell us that 3 night is all you need in the Maldives.  We had listened to people tell us we would be bored after awhile.  We wished we had not listened and booked a longer stay.  The worse part of vacations is the end.

When we got back to Malè, we had a few hours to kill before boarding our plane, so we took a boat over to the mainland of Malè and did a brief walking tour.  We grabbed some food and took in some sights.

What more can I say about the Maldives?  I can’t think of any words that could do this place justice.  All I can say is, I believe in Magic, the Magic of the Maldives!

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#YOLO

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