Tuesday, December 31, 2013

dean & deluca

@the avenues, phase 2

i've never been to dean&deluca in the states (primarily in nyc). there was always something so ... pretentious? expensive? hoity toity? about it and i kept my distance. and then i came to kuwait (haha).

following great tradition, b and i met for brunch, but this time at a location separate from our usual digs (i've been trying to get her to branch out ... and i keep trying!) just for kicks. since we were thinking of going to the avenues to peruse later on anyway, we thought to check out dean&deluca.

here's the thing about dean&deluca. they have quite a bit of "outdoor" seating and there is always high demand for those spots (we sat inside. we didn't really care). turns out, the sense of "being seen" is more important than anything else, but my commentary on local society will be kept for another day (and maybe another blog - haha).

the eats at dean&deluca are as expected - high(er) quality materials will yield some tasty treats. that said, while i'm not surprised that the meal was yummy, there was still a part of me that was worried that it would get messed up (there's always that possibility). so, b and i stuffed ourselves silly.

i don't do my grocery shopping at dean&deluca - it is still too pricey for me (though i know some people who exclusively shop here. why?!). there are a few things that i'll pick up at dean&deluca, though - cheeses, "cured" meats, that sort of thing. i realized that whether i purchase them on the local economy or from d&d, they're about the same price. if that's the case, why not get the fancy stuff, right? haha - something like that.

i'll have to do a comparison once back in the states. in the meantime, i have the kuwaiti branch to keep me company and my belly full.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

red lobster

red lobster

yes, red lobster is in kuwait (along with a slew of other american chains, of course). the first, i believe, was at the avenues (in the grand avenue. red lobster opened at the same time as the olive garden and the cheesecake factory, neither of which i've eaten at here in kuwait). the second is in the area next to the palms. and while i prefer locally owned places over chains (i will sometimes poo poo on chains. despite visiting frequently. hahahaha), there's something about seeing them when overseas that brings a sense of ... comfort. when red lobster opened, there was a bit of excitement, at least on my part. the reason, more than anything else, was because of this:

l and i met for dinner one day for the sole purpose of eating delicious cheese biscuits. we made sure cheese biscuits, and as many as we wanted, were going to be served to us. we both ordered lunch-portion dishes and proceeded to ask for basket after basket of the warm and soft cheese biscuits. i'm normally not a bread-y person, but there's something about these biscuits - the cheese and the savory salt that is sprinkled on top. nom nom nom. l and i may have had a few baskets a piece, which incited a bit of shock (and maybe agitation) as we kept asking for more. and ingested them all before leaving the office.

must. go. back. hehehehe.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

container 75

container 75
jabriya block 1a, behind champion gym
tel: 25310075

more for the kuwait burger challenge!

container 75 ... ! it's literally a shipping container. with seats. and a kitchen. from where they serve burgers. and other yummy things to eat. and so, it was a pretty easy decision to head to container 75 as a new addition to the Q8 burger challenge.

there are just a few seats inside container 75. there were enough to accommodate our small group. we were also there at a reasonable dinner hour (7ish) so the container wasn't crowded. i imagine it's quite crowded later in the evening and i did see their delivery guy go in and out quite a few times.

we started our meal with some jalapeno poppers, fries, steak salad ... you know. some usual things. per others' recommendation,  i ordered the steak salad (the price seemed a bit high) and i'm glad that i did. it's important to have veggies, of course, and having quite a bit of steak accompany with the greens is always a plus.

... and then the burgers! container 75 offers quite a few burger varieties. i like that container 75 allows you to select whether you want your burger as a slider or as a regular sized burger. it lets me know that my burger is made to order and not sitting in the back just hanging out for someone to order it.

i frequently think about going back to container 75 for burgers. the Q8 burger challenge continues, but i imagine i'll be back eating in this container sooner than later. nom nom nom. hurrah!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


area 8, street 80, al shaab, al bahri, kuwait
tel: 22659590,22659598

what was consumed: omakase menu, an assortment of rolls
yay for japanese food!

there was a rumor that edo was the place that, at one time, all of the japanese diplomats sought out for a taste of home. i don't know how true that is today (i hear lots of them go to kei - i have not yet been! one day. one day!), but i wanted to check it out for myself. having lived in japanese food friendly places in the past, and having the ability to eat massive amounts of sushi in one sitting, i feel that while i may not be the best judge of good japanese food, i'm not a bad one.

the ambiance at edo is quite nice. you can sit at the sushi bar and watch some of the chefs put plates together, or you can opt for the more standard eating arrangement (and they'll accommodate small and large groups). edo serves some solid rolls, though they lean toward being expensive.

every time i go to edo, i see quite a few expats. i'm sure there are many reasons why they go, the food just being one of them. i imagine i'll find myself back at edo sooner than later.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

al yarmouk club aka "the joint"

al yarmouk club aka "the joint"

hat was consumed: hummous, garlic sauce (aka tthoum), fattoush, mixed grill, chicken tikka

there's a little shwerma place near the embassy that has some long arabic name that i was never told (and i never took the time to ask or to read. hahaha. so much for the months of arabic language training!). instead, i hear embassy staff (at least the RSO) refer to it as "the joint." j and g couldn't stop raving about the place (and they kept going without the rest of us!). the rest of us finally got our acts together and made a plan for a midday lunch off the embassy compound, a rare treat.

the server (i don't know what else he does at "the joint") is charming and likable. he likes to play the "i got your plate! do you want your plate? here you go ... whoop! i still got your plate!" game. the first time, and for the first person, it's sort of funny. but that's one game that i don't find funny in repetition, especially when we're on a crunch for time and all i want to do is eat.

honestly, i didn't even look at the menu. i'm sure there are lots of other things that are delicious. but with this being the first time, we had j order. and soon enough, plates of food started to appear on our table. overall, the food was fresh, the meats were juicy and well seasoned, and the hummous/tthoum combination! be sure to include that in every little mini sandwich that you make and it'll melt in your mouth. it just makes everything taste better.

and that our entire meal was just a couple of KDs each was total icing on the cake.

all right, guys, when are we going to "the joint" again? sooner than later, please.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

al watiya

al watiya
in the bebehani complex, kuwait city

what was consumed: kuwaiti cuisine!

when i ask friends to recommend kuwaiti restaurants, many will respond with, "oh man, my mom makes the BEST kuwaiti food!" ummm, so where's my invite? thanks for nothing, "friend." i'm working on it. but until then, i have al watiya.

al watiya has a large array of traditionally kuwaiti cuisine: maschboos, mourabian, and a whole array of hamour dishes. they also serve stereotypical middle eastern fare, quite deliciously if i might add.

al waitya sits in a traditional space within the bebehani complex in kuwait city. the tables are set within a home built with traditional kuwaiti architecture. as a result, it's great for those who are new to kuwait in that you get the opportunity to see that homes were not always the massive concrete structures (or high-rise apartments) that seem to line the kuwaiti coast today.

al watiya is also next to some of my favorite places - dar al funoon and the amricani center - a total bonus. just a quick note about their service: al watiya is definitely for the days where you are looking for a more leisurely meal. and if you're running short on time, you'll have to do some (polite) prodding. just sayin'.

i've been back to al watiya with friends and with guests. each visit was way fun and totally worth the wait! i'll have to visit al watiya a few more times while i can - nom nom nom ...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


what was consumed: arabic breakfast

down a small street near z's (former) place is the cute little ryoog. it's not near a large strip of restaurants or in a highly populated area. but that doesn't keep patrons from this tiny gem. the tables are covered with gingham cloth (one of my favorites, it turns out), though the coveted seats are the ones that are next to the window. there isn't a great view (it looks out into the street), but there's still the appeal of a window seat.

z and i went to ryoog for a leisurely brunch on one of the days we had off (i'm not sure which one. also odd because i usually try to get out of Q8 on those days. but i digress). still, there was a bit of a wait before we were seated. while waiting, we drooled as we looked at the display case of cakes and pastries available at ryoog.

between the two of us, we opted to share an arabic breakfast (really, this is the way to go). it's quite a hefty portion of hummous, cheese, veggies, foul, etc. served sort of "english tea" style. and since everything is spread on ryoog's bread, one order goes a long way. the ingredients were fresh, the flavors were solid, and the service was nice. we easily sat through multiple cups of coffee as we enjoyed the food and enjoyed each other's company.

i once did see another colleague of mine there. he is a son of a baker (how cool is that!) and so mentioned to me on numerous occasions that he's rather particular about his bread. at ryoog, he was sitting in front of a large basket. i'd say that that's a good sign. lots of points for ryoog!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

the early bird

the early bird
location: jabriya
tel: 25343009
hours: 0500-1500 (closed on sundays)

what was consumed
: monte cristo, breakfast club sandwich, bottomless drip coffee (!!!), country-style potatoes

brunch has turned into a regular thing. ok, so it was a regular thing back at home, so i'm happy it's one of those things i'm able to continue doing while overseas. kuwait has quite a few options for an "american" brunch. or an american breakfast that comes pretty close anyway. i was never really one for breakfast overall (i was the one who always ordered lunch items during brunch), but it has really grown on me.

so, knowing my predilection for going out to eat and looking for good food, lots of people have asked about my thoughts on the early bird. it's taken me a yer and half, but i finally made it! woohoo!

we got to the early bird at a pretty regular brunch hour (10:30ish) only to find all of the seats occupied (note to future diners: it's a tiny place - 4 top inside, 4 top outside (and when it's 100+ degrees, i will opt for the air conditioned inside)). so, we put our name on the waiting list, and then went to the starbucks around the corner to wait for the call.

when we finally got a table, we took a quick look at the menu and put in our order. the menu is what you'd see at any greasy spoon, denny's, etc. pancakes, waffles, omelets, (beef/turkey) bacon, hashbrowns, etc. but it's a nice respite for those who've spent so many years in the U.S. (aka so many kuwaitis!).

honestly, there's nothing particularly extraordinary or gourmet or fancy pants or blah blah blah about the early bird. BUT, you can get some solid favorites that hit close to home (and are, therefore, so heartwarming) especially when home seems so far away. and THAT is totally worth it.

and, oh! they have drip coffee! and they give complimentary refills! i've missed this american luxury. and so, on principle, we all had seconds.

i can see why people love it at the early bird, for better or for worse. i'll be back. for sure.

p.s. all of this brunch talk reminds me of the bloody mary burger at matchbox back in WDC. i could go for one of those right about now :/

online: www.earlybirdkw.com

Sunday, August 18, 2013

souq mubarakiya

souq mubarakiya
@kuwait city

what was consumed: grilled meats, fattoush, hummous, lemonade with mint, lots of iranian bread

open air markets are one of the best things ever. in kuwait (and the rest of the middle east for that matter), we call them "souqs" and the one in kuwait is called "souq mubarakiya." here, you can literally get anything you want and while very little of it is made in kuwait (like much of the rest of world, lots of the stuff is made in china :/ ...), it has the "smell" of kuwait, as my mom would say.

that said, i still love the souq (though not in the summer when it feels like it's a thousand degrees outside) and look for any and all opportunities to go.

one of my all-time favorite places to eat "local" is also at the souq. there is an area that is set up like a more western "food court" and each of the places seem to sell similar fare (minus the one eatery that sells pizza. i know. weird). i tend to frequent the first one, run by folks of eqyptian decent. i've been there enough to have the only english speaking server ask me why i don't come more often. either i'm the only asian person who visits as a patron or he really remembers all the different characters i take to his eatery (i think it's the former).

the first time i went, i was brand new in kuwait, just a few weeks in. friend s and i sat and ordered a bunch of different things, not really knowing what we were ordering. all we know is that the food started coming out real quick. a plate of veggies to put in the endless service of iranian bread (omg, so delicious! the bubbly flat bread that was cooked in the ovens that you can see (and smell!) as you walk by), grilled meats that are lightly seasoned (if at all) but cooked just right so that they're still juicy and tender, all covered in the hummous that you scoop in mass quantities. and fattoush that is lightly seasoned with a tangy dressing topped with crisped bread. and don't forget to take a sip of the delicious lemonade with mint that i can't seem to get enough of (and can't seem to make at home. what is the secret?!).

every time i return, i seem to order the same variation of things. but it's THAT good. also, i don't know what else is on that menu (i.e., the menu lists options, but doesn't have any descriptions. oh well). oops. but that's ok because i can't seem to get enough of what i do order! so grab a seat, order up, and enjoy! i will most definitely be back. see you there!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

hello kitty cafe

hello kitty cafe
location: bidaa, near the movenpick hotel

what was consumed: panini, hello kitty mousse (vanilla)

yes, there is a hello kitty cafe (HKC) here in kuwait. it opened sometime last fall/winter (2012), if i'm not mistaken. at first, i was a little shocked that something like that would open its doors here. and then i remembered where i was and was then not surprised. rather, there was a little flame of joy in my heart, even though i'm a my melody fan (as you all SHOULD know), NOT hello kitty. all that said, i could not wait until my chance to visit HKC.

now, here's the thing: i usually see guys occupying most of the tables in front of the HKC which is waaay weird (imo) and has deterred me from venturing inside. but seeing as it was the first day of eid al-fitr and HKC was actually open, L and i couldn't not go in ... !!! it was also the 3rd place we tried to go to - it's the first day we could actually have lunch outside. why weren't more places open?! and if they're not going to be open (which is fine), why did they say that they were going to be open!? but, per usual, i digress.

HKC. right when you walk in, you are overwhelmed by hello kitty cuteness. we couldn't help but to take some photos. luckily, we weren't the only ones, as every other customer did practically the same.

as for the food ... HKC offers quite a variety. including pizzas in the shape of hello kitty's head. of course. but you know all of those candies that you grow up getting your mom to buy for you from the sanrio store? that was sort of the sense that i got when eating my panini. think of that what you will. i did make a comment about the food being expensive (or more expensive than usual for this sort of "thing"), but i know that you're also paying for the experience (totally worth it!). our server at HKC was kind (albeit slower that i'd like, but par for the course here) and dealt with all of the moving we did (downstairs, upstairs, then back downstairs).

if not for the cute overload, go to HKC at least once to enjoy their mousse. yes, it's sort of creepy because it's in the shape of hello kitty's head and you end up eating into it (we may have made some disturbing comments about eating the "eyeballs" first). that said, the mousse was pretty delicious. creamy, but not too sweet, in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and mango flavors. i'll likely want to come back at least for this.