Thursday, February 20, 2014

sprinkles

sprinkles
the avenues

what was consumed: cupcakes! salted caramel, red velvet, pumpkin ...

the cupcake craze continues here in kuwait (has it stopped everywhere else?)

admittedly, i'd poo-poo-ed on sprinkles without having had tried it. i was a fan of my washington, dc favorites and had just heard the negatives about sprinkles from so.cal. but i've since changed my perspective and when i'm in need of a cupcake fix, and i happen to be at the avenues, sprinkles is the first place i think of. i like their cream cheese based frosting and their seasonal favorites, like their pumpkin (i wonder if they have a lemon one). i like that they have "regular" sized cupcakes and mini cupcakes. i can do without their high prices, but i should be accustomed to that from gourmet bakeries. their cupcakes are so cute and pretty, so that helps it too. hahahahaha.

sprinkles also presented itself at our national day last year (as it is an american company). we'll see if it appears next time as well. fingers crossed that it happens! ^^ nom nom nom ...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

freej soeleh

freej soeleh
salmiya

what was consumed: kuwaiti! the usual ... hummus, shrimp murabian, majbous, fatoush ... nom nom nom
whenever i ask people about going to eat kuwaiti food, freej soeleh always comes up. i didn't know if it was because it was the best or if it's because it's been around the longest, or what. so when c&j came to visit, and we were looking for a kuwaiti restuarant near my house (my residence!), we decided to check it out.

i had passed by the sign what feels like a thousand times (it's next to the marina mall on salem al mubarak street). but it's a good thing i read/asked about it because the door isn't on the main road, underneath their huge neon sign. rather, it's on the side of the parking lot. that should make a lot of sense, being from so.cal, but for whatever reason, that seemed odd. have i been overseas/out of so.cal too long? perhaps.

freej soeleh is on the 2nd and 3rd floor of the building. on both floors, there is regular table seating and enclosed booths with "door bells" that the servers will ring before entering. considering the potential clientele in this region, i guess that makes sense. we got to sit in one of the enclosed booths and began ordering a slew of things: fatoush (served in a taco shell-like bowl), hummus, and the usual kuwaiti faovrites (majbous, hammour, murabian, etc.)

now, granted, we ordered way too much food. but the three of us left feeling overly stuffed, with leftovers, and wishing our bellies were larger ... !!! the rice was cooked and seasonsed well, as was the chicken and fish and shrimp. the ingredients were fresh, the flavors were nice, the service was good (the little bell calling the server helped), and the prices were not unreasonable. i wish they served iranian bread straight from the oven, but who am i to complain? the meal was otherwise so delicious.

i've got to go to freej soeleh at least once, again, before i leave. i'll miss it and want to enjoy its fares long after i depart ... nom nom nom.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

upper crust

upper crust
the village, hamra tower

what was consumed: pizza! the swellesley, charles street, garden veggie, and and and ... boston style.

okokok, so i know upper crust is a boston chain. but there's something about never having been to some of these places stateside (or not frequenting them, anyway) and enjoying them while here in Q8.

as a kuwait newbie, new friends recommended going to upper crust. i hadn't heard about it (and only know of its bostonian roots after looking it up. i should've known it had american roots because so much does here in kuwait!), but was happy to go to any pizza joint. but man, upper crust is pretty solid for good thin crust pizza. uppder crust follows the "tradition" of boston-style pizza, but as its coupled with fresh ingredients that top the pizza, you are bound to get some delicious pizza (even if the pepperoni is beef-based. oh well).

and can't decide between two (or even three!) favorites? let them know and they'll split your pizza between/among the different types (though i think their rule is that they at least have to have the same sauce base. but i could be wrong). this is perfect for someone like me because 01) i love pizza, 02) i have a hard time making up my mind because they all sound delicious.

we will also frequently order upper crust delivery for movie nights/events for kids because for almost the same price, we feel like we get delicious-er (and sometimes even bigger) pizzas. yay yay yay! more pizza please!

online: http://uppercrustpizzeriakuwait.com/index.php


Thursday, February 13, 2014

junkyard

junkyard
the village, arabella

what was consumed: burgers! and potato skins. and chicken wings.

my Q8 burger challenge continues! 

so, i like the idea of a place having some classic american fare. burgers, wings, potato skins, beverages served in mason jars (is that still real hipster, or has it gone back to being practical? i guess it's hipster over here). this is what the junkyard offers. and, imo, junkyard does a pretty good job. especially their potato skins. i feel like they're more like the twice baked potatoes our of america's test kitchen. no matter - they are delicious and i can most likely (and easily) polish off an order all on my own.

the burger was pretty delicious. the regular one comes with two patties which was a pleasant surprise. that said, the buns sort of overwhelmed the burger (i.e., the patties, albeit double patties, were too small for the buns. or the buns were too large for the burger. and i ended up not eating a lot of bread). that said, the patties were cooked nicely and tasted pretty darn good (though, i was still obsessing over the potato skins :O ... hahaha)

junkyard has some cool wall art and seems like a pretty hip place to hang out. mind you, i went during ramadan, so the place was pretty empty. that said, i can see myself going again. a lot. hahahaha.

online: https://www.facebook.com/JunkyardKuwait

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

bubo

bubo
kuwait city

what was consumed: tapas. lots of tapas.

some say that the tapas trend is going away. while that may be true about tapas being trendy, tapas/small plates (as it is a "usual" food in some parts of the world) will never really go away.

i like going to tapas places with a larger group of people. everyone is asked to select 3 or 4 things from the menu and we share everything that comes. sometimes that means we have to split an already small order into tiny tiny pieces; however, that also means i get to try lots of stuff (which i love). so when some friends talked about going to bubo (and a pretty large number of folks), i was all about it.

bubo hails from spain. like spain spain spain. so, i say that their tapas are probably pretty legit real spanish style. but let's face it: i don't really know what what means. all i know is that i got to eat some really yummy food at bubo. another interesting this is that when i walked in, i saw the chic seating area. and then, i saw the a dessert counter that looked pretty delectable, even for this dessert less-than-lover (i see that carles mambel is a renowned pastry chef. okokok - this all makes sense now). bubo is on the pricier side, but you know me - i'll pay the money for yummy treats, and this was definitely worth the dinars!

online: http://bubo.es/en/

Saturday, February 8, 2014

ayyame

ayyame
marina crescent, the village

what was consumed: some of my favorites at ayyame include hummous, lentil salad (among lots of their salads), tabliyas, pomegranate chicken ...

turns out, when we have programming guests in town, we always take them to ayyame. i think it's because ayyame offers a variety of middle eastern fare that is delicious according to "locals" and palatable to foreign/new palates.


meals often start with an array of "dips" and salads. i love their lentil salad where the lentils are cooked just right and the salad has just a bit of cream with just a bit of tart with just a bit of spice. i'm frequently tempted to order one of the table and one for myself (i usually don't. not with company, anyway - haha).

i will also frequently order their tabliyas. some people call it the middle eastern version of pizza (it sort of is), but ayyame does a great job with so many of their ingredient combinations! the usual zataar or haloumi is delicious, but so are the ones with chicken or with fresh veggies or or or ...

the first time parents came to visit kuwait, i took them to ayyame. i wasn't sure how they would react to some of the middle eastern fare that is so different to what they usually have, but they were really interested in trying the different flavors (as i knew they would) and, most importantly, the food settled well in their systems (ftw!). they commented on the fresh ingredients and the clean flavors. woohoo! since then, ayyame stayed on my list of places to take people. in particular, i like going to the marina crescent location because you can sit outside, facing the marina, watching the boats that are docked. it can get really crowded there in the evenings, but provided you get there before the crowds (usually later than my preferred dining hour), you'll be able to nab a good seat.

ayyame, until next time ... soon!

Friday, February 7, 2014

arirang

arirang
fahad al salem street, kuwait city in the swiss belhotel plaza
tel: 2243 6686

what was consumed: korean food! bibimbab, bulgogi, nakji bokkeum

yes, there is a korean restaurant in kuwait. while i usually enjoy making my own korean food (also because i get all snobby about the dishes. yes, my mom makes the best korean food - haha), there's something about being able to go out and enjoy it as well.


friends and colleagues always ask about korean food options and i'm happy to report that arirang is a pretty solid option. they haven't local-ized the flavors and have kept as true to the standard korean taste as possible (and available). a few standard ban-chan (side dishes) come with the meal you order, though i wish they would offer a greater variety (and quantity. sometimes i just want bowls and bowls and bowls of kimchee. in all of its stinkiness. hehehe).

like many restaurants in kuwait, the dining area was completely empty when we went. that didn't mean the service was any better (per usual. sadly), but i guess we weren't too bothered. the decor of arirang is a sort of cross between middle eastern and korean. i guess that's expected, but still sort of weird. i went with c and r who said they were relatively new to the korean food world, so i made sure to order some of the usual favorites (sadly, no dwehji bulgogi as pork is haram. haram!) that included soy sauce marinades (in the bulgogi) as well as the spicy hot red bean paste marinades (in the nakji bokkeum).

in a pinch, and for those who are new to korean food (or who don't have me around - haha), i would totally recommend arirang for some korean staples. go! try! korean food is totally part of my safe place ^^

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

dodo

dodo
baghdad street, salmiya

what was consumed: chicken shwarma, falafel, hummous, tabbouleh


dodo (that locals, apparently, pronounce "doo doo" until i tell them that that means poop in america. then they say "doe doe," like the extinct bird) is my go-to shwarma place that is just far enough to be driving distance, but close enough to be ... well, close.


i can eat quite a few of their chicken shwarmas in one sitting. maybe too many of them. hehehehe. the chicken that rotates around and around just becomes so delicious! i try to tell them that i want hummus, "salad," and french fries in my chicken shwarma (i'm ok with the inclusion of their pickles) and ask them not to include the huge sprigs of mint. my success rate is low as i spend a lot of time picking out the mint. hahaha.


they used to do falafel sandwiches in pitas, but now they do the "super sandwich" method and serve the falafel sandwiches in hot-dog-bun-style rolls. as a result, i don't order that any more. if in a falafel mood, i will just order the falafel balls (note: they use quite a bit of fennel in their falafel balls. i used to love it. these days, i think i'm more of a purist and prefer falafel without it).

i've started to order hummous and tabbouleh these days. i've grown fond of tabbouleh mixed with hummous (delicious). maybe the cuisine of the region -has- grown on me.
another best part? they engage in the literal definition of drive through: you drive up to dodo,  one of the gents wearing red canvas overalls comes up to your car window to take your order, you pay, get your food, and drive off (i usually eat one of the chicken shwarmas while driving home. no self control!).


i frequently think about stopping by dodo on my way home from work, especially on days that i don't want to cook. and every day i fight with myself because dodo ALWAYS sounds like a good idea. hehehehe.