Saturday, 28 September 2013

Why the Long Face??

I haven't felt like blogging my lately; part of it is that I've lost my sense of humour...I'm not as funny as I'd like to think I am, but I try...Sadly. Hahaha! I've felt bloody exhausted lately. I'm working out again (walking since it's cooled down...A little), and work has gotten nuts over the past few weeks. Maybe it's the disappointment I've been experiencing? I won't be going to Sri Lanka due to visa/residency/passport issues, but let's not even go there because I'm trying not to be frustrated with the whole situation. Could be that I'm worried about my father. He's going to undergo surgery in a short while and he's never had surgery. Although it's a minor surgery, every surgical procedure has some risk and I'm not feeling to happy about the fact that I wont be in Canada with my father or supporting my sister.

My mood change has definitely had some side effects: For one, I found myself watching a made-for-t.v.-movie about Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. Not being a huge baseball fan, I couldn't believe it when I didn't want change the channel. I don't even like watching t.v., but I was engrossed. Why didn't I know who Roger Maris was? I should have known; baseball was a sport that my parents enjoyed watching together when I was younger and my father has knowledge of the subject. As a result, I know who Mark McGwire is and I'd known that McGwire had broke the world record for number of home runs. I'd even watched that on t.v. (70 home runs in a single season in 1998). Maris broke Babe Ruth's world record (60 home runs in a single season in 1927) by hitting 61 home runs in 1961. So what does this have to do with anything? It made me nostalgic; it reminded me of when the Toronto Blue Jays had made it to the world series in 1992. My parents bought blueberries, strawberries and red and blue food colouring because they wanted to celebrate the world series with a blue breakfast if Toronto won and a red breakfast if the Atlanta Braves won. Toronto won and this would be the first Canadian team (based outside of the U.S.) to win a world series. In 1993 Toronto was once again in the world series set to play against the Philadelphia Phillies and won the series. Again, we prepped for a blue or red breakfast. I'm just boasting now...

Secondly, I've been shopping. I went out with my student a few weeks ago and we had lunch at the Indian restaurant Asha's. It's a chain, and although there's a location just down the street from me at Spoons, we opted to go to Marina Mall. Afterwards we shopped and my student, obsessed with perfume, bought some new scents. I purchased some new *WARNING! TMI in about five words!* undies at Victoria's Secret. Why didn't someone tell me about these amazing undergarments sooner?!? They are amazing and puts La Senza (the brand I usually purchase in Canada) to shame, especially since La Senza is a subsidiary of Limited Brands Inc. which is the owner of Victoria's Secret. The two have a bit of a tumultuous history in Canada, but the hope everyone had when Limited Brands bought La Senza was that this meant Victoria's Secret would FINALLY come to Canada. My sister has informed me that it has and did so quite awhile ago! WOOOHOOOOOOOOOO!!!

 Lunch @ Asha's in Marina Mall (Chicken Biryani and a pineapple coconut lassi! VERY delicious!)
Dessert (my student's suggestion) @ Chocolate Bar. I think this is their version of Bananas Foster.

I also made a shopping trip out with the beautiful, and always fun, Turks. Turk #1's sister was visiting Kuwait and they had asked me to go out make-up shopping with them. I happily obliged and even bought some make-up myself, surprise, surprise...Not. Hahaha! I was very good and only bought one nail polish (just a base coat! It doesn't even have any colour!!!), and a lipstick (who knew?). I ONLY purchased the lipstick because I was meeting the Irish chef and his friend, The Canuck (honestly, the Canuck lives in Guelph, sooo close to my home town!), at a...Shindig after my shopping trip and I'd forgotten all of my make-up (including the one thing I can't live without in the desert: lip balm) at home. I should mention that I look dead without any colour on my lips. It's like my lips don't have any pigmentation, so I had to *wink-wink* buy lipstick!!! It was cheap. Sue me. Lol!

This weekend I've been working mostly, but I did call up the Georgian to meet for coffee, which became lunch at Smash Burger (she lives next door to the joint and hasn't eaten there before!), then coffee and dessert at Starbucks. She's awesome. I really, really like her and I'm so glad that she's still here.

 I can't remember the name of the burger I chose, but it has mushrooms, swiss cheese and truffles! Sooo goooood! Check out that side of mayo for my fries!!! My mother's best friend is Dutch and got me hooked on fries with mayo when I was a kid (^ - ^ )/
The baristas here are AMAZING and patiently tried to make a London Fog for me (they'd never heard of it. Luckily I used to work for Starbucks for MANY years and could still remember how). I couldn't resist the raspberry cupcake. The Georgian opted for a latte and a slice of tiramisu; so well paired compared to my mish mash....That's me though. A big ol' mish mash of weirdness!

Food has still been a constant companion of mine (as you can see by the pictures). I really need to take a photo and post it soon so my father knows that, despite my voracious appetite, I haven't gained TOO much weight, hahahaha! I've started walking again since the weather has cooled down a bit, and by a bit I mean a few degrees, lol! I've also adopted some plants that I still haven't managed to kill off yet-to their relief. They're giving me positive energy! I try to talk to them, but I find that just singing and touching the leaves is going alright...They haven't died on me yet, so my singing can't be THAT bad! They're being potted this weekend, so I'll post an updated picture soon.

Until next time, all you beautiful people! I'll try to lighten up and smile more, because really, life's too short not to! Planning a BIG vacation next year also helps, but just a bit ;)

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Eat, Work and Love: Chowing Down in Kuwait

Returning to Kuwait has had its positives and negatives. There have been some amazing days and  some terrible days. The one thing that's been consistent is that time has been flying! I've been back for almost a month and I don't know where the time went. In only a few weeks, there will be a long-weekend holiday and then the Eid holiday will be here in early October and I will have been here for six months! Six months since I moved back here and ONE YEAR since I made my first move to Kuwait. At this time last year I was adjusting to Kuwait; I was all alone, and thankful that I was a world away from my ex and the toxic people in my life. I was meeting new people, forming relationships with people who have become my closest friends here: the Georgian lady, my Polish roomie and the Irish chef! I was learning about a region in the world that I'd always dreamed of seeing. I was naive.

Interestingly, almost a year to the day that I moved to Kuwait, I spent a wonderful evening out with about 20 of my old colleagues, new teachers who began at the university in January and their partners, doing what we all do best in Kuwait: eat. Unfortunately, we were at TGI Fridays. You can't have it all, lol! The company was great and that's more than enough. I reconnected with a lot of my favourite teachers from the university who'd JUST returned to Kuwait from Georgia, Turkey, Morocco, Serbia and Hungary...So much more exotic than Canada, hahaha! Not enthusiastic about the food, I ordered a mango caramel mojito (non-alcoholic, of course), and some dish that consisted of essentially potato chips and a whackload of bad-for-you toppings, like full fat sour cream and nacho cheese. I barely made a dent in it because the portion was so large and it was quite greasy. I didn't order dessert because there were two birthday cakes. One of the Turks and the Hungarian teacher were both celebrating birthdays. The cakes, both chocolate, were very delicious, but more importantly, I saw a lot of faces I'd missed and was very happy to catch-up with people.

 Mango caramel mojito...Not a big fan.
 Potato chips supremo!
 Black forest cake for the Turk :)
Chocolate ganache cake for the Hungarian :)

I've been a bit of a recluse since returning to Kuwait-mostly because there weren't many people back from vacation to hang out with. The Irish chef and I have been experimenting with a cookbook I bought for him from Canada: Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. This cookbook is amazing whether you are a vegetarian or not! I have really liked almost all of the recipes we've made, but there are a few standout dishes that I think will become regulars in our dinner repertoire! I have enjoyed them so much that they've inspired me to host a dinner for friends in my teeny tiny apartment! Ohhh, how I love having people over at my home for food I've cooked! I love going out for dinner, too, but there's something I really miss about cooking and it's having good friends over for food; I realized that while I was back at home in Canada and my family hosted a few dinners.

Last night I went out to a restaurant called Edo in Al Shaab/Shahab with the Irish chef, the Georgian (lady), and the Irish chef's friend from Texas (I mentioned him before in a post about a farewell dinner for my Polish roomie). The Texan is a mix of Lebanese, Turkish and Kuwaiti. Raised in the U.S., the Texan and Irish chef met while working for the same company in Saudi Arabia. The Texan moved to Kuwait back in December and has recently began working for a company in Kuwait. 

Edo was the Texan's suggestion and it was impressive. I think it was even better than Benihana (sorry, Benihana! You're the second best Japanese restaurant I've tried in Kuwait though!). Edo is located next door to the reknown La Fayrouz/Fairouz. Here is a youtube clip of the backstreets there: This is definitely one of the nicer parts of Kuwait. Edo looks beautiful in a posh, upscale sort of way and has a very nice interior decor with an ambiance that I always feel is romantic: low lights, candles and soft jazz music. It is preferable than hiking out to the Avenues (mall) since none of us are big on the malls here...Or malls in general, I think. Another plus? You won't break the bank if you dine at Edo. It's comparable to other Japanese restaurants. Edo gets two thumbs up from me!

We enjoyed a mix of traditional and fusion dishes: maki sushi with a variety of fish and seafood, salmon terriyaki, tempura battered kaki fry (deep dried oysters), seafood gyoza (dumplings traditionally made of pork or beef), unagi with rice (barbecued eel) and an interesting non-Japanese style garlic rice dish which I think the whole restaurant could smell. We indulged in chocolate, green tea and red bean ice cream for dessert (SOOO good!!!).

The entrance to Edo. Wheelchair access-awesome!!!
 Edo's menus.
 What?!? Japanese writing (and it was accurate, too!)
 The view behind our table. There was also a sushi bar and the chefs had ALL of the ingredients locked in tupperware containers!!!
 Yikes! Sorry it's so dark :(  This was the gyoza.
 Edo's version of kaki fry.
 My sushi! Natto maki (fermented soya bean: front row) and a roll with shrimp, salmon and scallop in the back.
I don't know what the name of this roll is (the Georgian ordered it), but it was delicious!
 Salmon terriyaki
Green tea and red bean ice cream!

By the end of dinner I'd almost forgotten we were in Kuwait. The whole environment felt westernized (even though we were the only non-Kuwaiti there). Maybe we were all relaxed and that's why it felt different? I don't know. After we left Edo, we walked over to Lebnani (just down the street) for coffee/tea. It was nice-very quiet, but nice. The waiter who served us could barely speak English. Thank God the Texan speaks Arabic! The whole night was fantastic considering we were attempting a social event that is very common in our own countries, but is not as common here. Maybe it was the conversation, the laughs, the food? Whatever it was, I would like more. Cheque, please.