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.

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