Friday, July 25, 2014

KANAFA CHEESECAKE: To hype or not to hype?

In the foodie/blogger/overall Dubai life, there is always a new cupcake, a new flavor, a new dish, something... that starts to float around everyone's Instagram accounts like a virus. Some of the time, it lives up to it's name but a lot of the time it doesn't. I've decided to tackle each one that creeps up, haunts me until I try it and give you my lowdown.

Debuting with the all mighty, Kanafa Cheesecake from Sukar House of Desserts.

First things first, the name just reels you in immediately doesn't it? I've never heard of this combo. Also, I'm pretty much a sucker for anything kanafa since I've been brought up eating kanafa quite a lot, so I'd like to think I know what a good one tastes like. I always get my fix at Feras Sweets - they have the BEST 'kanafa khashna'.  It's the one with the crispy 'sha3riyah' pastry on top with ooey gooey Nabulsi cheese and perfect sugar syrup to pair it with. I always add extra pistachios too!

So let's get down to business!

It's a beauty to look at. It got my taste buds going.  I was recommended to have the cake cold and have the syrup warmed... guessing to enjoy both worlds of a cheesecake and a kanafa? So I did just that. As for the taste, I was a bit torn honestly. I'm so used to the original kanafa that I think I prefer that. I also hoped that the cheesecake base was a biscuit so there would be added texture but it was sugary and soft. The kanafa pastry topping was a little different to traditional kanafa but was still tasty and I enjoyed the warm syrup to pair. Definitely ask for extra syrup and pistachios on the sides since each slice is huge and needs it :) 

So... kanafa cheesecake: to hype or not to hype? I'm just not sure but a lying a little more towards the not to hype side. Purely because I'd much rather have traditional kanafa or traditional cheesecake and not mix the two.

Have you tried this? What did you think? Let me know if there's anything new that you've tried recently that's been hyped up?

Thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Once upon a foodie in London... Part 2: Petit Déjeuner, Jerk and Serious Meat

I see you're back for part 2 of my London diary. Without further a due, please continue and enjoy the read... :)

L'eto Caffé
Located in the heart of Soho, we were drawn in to this French spot simply by just passing by and here's why.

Good reviews and no table empty in sight also reeled us in. We headed there for breakfast and instantly fell in love with the menu. Simple, French with some Mediterranean and British hints floating around on some dishes. What also really intrigued me was their wide selection of fresh tea mixes.

We opted for a selection of egg dishes. Fresh, high quality, perfectly cooked eggs. All served with feta in olive oil and rosemary, tomato and fresh baby rocket, and sour dough bread with smashed avocado, cumin and chilli. I am a huge fan of eggs and I always order the simplest egg dishes at breakfast joints to test their quality. This was a winner. We also shared the best french toast I have tried with perfectly poached peaches, pecans, and an ice cream I can't even remember at this point since my mouth is salivating thinking about. Unfortunately it was not pictured for obvious reasons :) 

I definitely recommend trying out one of their amazing fresh teas. I enjoyed my forest berry and rosemary one a lot! Really generous portions, ended up sharing this one with everyone.

Cottons Rhum Shack @BoxPark 

Photo credit to
Watching the football matches was also in our London schedule as I love the spirit of it and more importantly, since my cousins are partially German :) The champs!

We headed to BoxPark in Shore ditch, a funky pop-up housing shops, restaurants and airing the games. Definitely go if you're in the area! Loved the ambiance, culture & variety of food.

We chose Caribbean to feast on at Cottons Rhum Shack. We all went for the signature jerk chicken with coleslaw, fried plantains, rice n' peas and mixed salad. Delicious! Beautiful homemade tangy BBQ sauce to accompany which had a slight kick. My first time trying fried plantains and it was so good! Great experience and generous portions. My cousin went for the Trinidadian fish curry, which of course I sampled, and it was such a beautiful blend of spices and flavours. Highly recommend this place!

Meat Market by Meat Liquor

I won't lie, this next one was a home delivery order but I thought I'd keep things real between us and share with you all my food excursions. Purely since we had a match to watch and we were super tired from being Londoners all day. In Dubai, the main movement we do is walk from our house to the car, if you know what I mean.

You could sort of say I'm one of those people that has a weakness for burgers. By sort of I mean sort of a lot. I surfed on Zomato London and saw Meat Liquor was a must try so we took the nearest option which was the spin off Meat Market - serving the same burgers.

Meatburgers, cheeseburgers and red chili cheeseburgers were ordered with pretty much every sort of side they offered: hippie fries, chili cheese fries, fried pickles, jalapeño poppas and bingo wings. Even though each burger had 2 patties, they were on the smaller side and did not leave us very stuffed as expected. Which is a good thing. Meat was juicy and cooked medium well. For sides, I recommend everything except chili cheese fries and the wings, they weren't that memorable. The others hit the spot - especially those hippie fries! Love the topping of grilled onions and the tangy "hippie sauce" they use. Overall, a pretty decent, good quality burger place.

Part 3 is coming your way really soon! If you liked, don't forget to subscribe, comment and let me know what you think.

If you don't know already, my first feature is currently on Krisp Dubai - a new online magazine showcasing homegrown talent. Full article can be found: Check it out now!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Once upon a foodie in London... Part 1: Pizza, Columbian and Cheese

Is it still ok to say hi? Anyone out there still reading this?

I'm back with a BANG after a 2 month hiatus! *insert fireworks here*

After settling in to a new job (within food - woohoo!), travel, fasting and since we're always honest with each other, just a tad bit of procrastination in the mix of things, I neglected my FMTB baby for a little bit. But frowns must turn upside down! So I am back and I'm here with a delicious and dynamic foodie getaway for your eyes from London.

London is starting to become a regular spot to visit since I have cousins (more like sisters :)) over there. Miss them already. Planning my next trip there as we speak? This time I came in prepared with my tasty ambitions to bring to you my diary. So here it goes... well part 1 for now.

Franco Manca

Super cute, bustling and has a unique take on pizza offering sour-dough pizzas with toppings ranging from organic olive oil to buffalo ricotta. You had me at sour-dough pizza. Menu is very simple which is what I look for in Italian places - minimal and to the point with ingredients that shine.

We quickly skimmed the menu and ordered everything on it. If there is a burrata on a menu, it's almost impossible for me to ignore it. See what I mean?

Probably not the best picture but you know what, it was one of those moments where the smell and look of the pizza could not let me try for more photo taking attempts.

The pizzas were delicious. I would highly recommend the classic: tomato, mozzarella (we changed it to buffalo - for obvious reasons ;)) and basil. I love when authentic Italian places do the simplest things best. The other pizzas were great as well like the courgettes, basil, mozzarella, buffalo ricotta & Franco's pecorino. I know... your mouth just watered. Same. I absolutely loved the elastic, soft and melt in your mouth sour dough. So different and interesting.

Brixton Market 

This one is more about the experience and a little less about the food. We were walking around in Brixton market and stumbled upon a Columbian shack. Their "arepas" looked delicious - cheese stuffed corn bread fried and served with spicy salsa. One by one, all of us starting devouring these small pastries of goodness. What made the experience for us was the man behind the shack, Louis. He was the grandpa running the show along with his wife, daughter and grand daughter. Here he is teaching us about Columbian food and culture.

I absolutely love meeting these types of people. I can talk to them for hours and just explore their side of the world. Here's a special moment we shared with him. The idea for the photo was all him! 

Left-right: Dalia, Yasmin, Lina, Monica, Me, Joanne, Louis

Morty & Bobs

Here's a fun side note you should know about me. I'm a huge fan of Backstreet Boys. Oh yeah, hard core fan since the 90's. I was super happy to get a chance to see them for the second time in London. Don't leave the page, this relates to the food part I swear! 

One thing I enjoyed about this concert was that there were tons of food pop up shops at the venue. Something I wish we had in Dubai, instead of the over priced bland food that gets served here. Any who, before jamming out to "I want it that way", we needed to get our grub on. My cousins and I have a soft spot for grilled cheese toasties, super simple but when done right, you just can't go wrong. 

A cute pop-up shop called Morty & Bob's won us over with their grilled cheese. 

No joke. No lies. All seriousness. One of the best grilled cheeses I've ever had! Oh my. Whenever you're in London next, track them on twitter and find out where they're popping up so you can get one of these. Crunchy, toasted, sour dough, delicious trio blend of cheese with onion mix - crispy on the outside, ooey gooey on the inside. You have to try it. I highly recommend the "Straight Up" - their signature.

Stay tuned for part 2! If you liked, don't forget to subscribe and comment. Let me know what you think. 

OH and big news! My first feature is currently on Krisp Dubai - a new online magazine showcasing homegrown talent. Full article can be found: Check it out now and let me know what you think.