Magnolia Bakery – cupcake heaven

Although I have mentioned several times that I lack a sweet tooth which must have fallen out with my baby teeth, I am, nonetheless, a huge cupcake fan. It must have something to do with the manageable size, the moist cake and the heavenly frosting. Out of all the cupcakes in the world, I am a true devoted red velvet with cream cheese frosting lover.

red velvet

One of my favorite cupcake bakeries, along with Sprinkles (Beverly Hills, California and lots of other locations around the US) is Magnolia Bakery. Whenever I think of Magnolia Bakery, their vintage façade on 401 Bleecker Street in the West Village, New York comes to mind but now Magnolia Bakery has grown quite a bit and they have expanded to the Middle East with locations in Kuwait City, Beirut, Doha and Dubai. It is at the latter where I was able to devour my little red cups of heaven. At the Dubai Mall, there is a Magnolia Bakery Corner in the well-known Bloomingdales department store. You can buy the cupcakes to go or there are a few tables where you can munch them down if you can’t wait to take them home. I, of course, munched there!

cupcakes

Not to be missed for all cupcake lovers:

www.magnoliabakery.com

www.sprinkles.com

Zuma

Like Hakkasan, Zuma’s birthplace is London. Zuma was founded by chef Rainer Becker in 2002 in the very posh Knightsbridge neighbourhood on 5 Raphael Street. Now Zuma has locations on almost every continent serving izakaya style Japanese dining, which means that dishes are brought continuously to the table throughout the meal.

On our recent trip to Dubai, we had lunch at Zuma, located in Dubai’s international financial center. The restaurant is absolutely stunning with high-ceiling and sophisticated décor. At lunch time, the restaurant was packed with businessmen and fashionable girlfriends grabbing a bite to eat. We were intrigued when a huge commotion arouse as a group of men wearing the kandura, which is the typical clothing for men in Dubai, exited the restaurant. Upon asking, we were informed that all the bustle was due to the Emir of Dubai who had been having a business lunch right next to us. That was a perk to our meal and a surprise to see him out and about as I would have thought that he would lead a much more private life.

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Shake Shack – from hot dog cart to overseas restaurants

It is no secret that I am a hamburger lover. It must me a mix between the juicy burger, the soft bread, the crisp greens and the creamy sauces that makes me crave those peculiar sandwiches which were actually created at the beginning of the twentieth century and still today there is an ongoing debate as to its birthplace, US or Germany. I guess it is one of those things we will never truly know.

I am in the constant quest of finding the perfect hamburger and although I didn’t have the “perfect” burger at Shake Shack, I had a real good one. Shake Shack started off as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park in Manhattan in 2004 and it has been expanding ever since and in a way it still keeps that hot dog cart feel in the décor. Today you can enjoy a Shake Shack burger in six states in the US, the Middle East, Turkey and coming soon to Covent Garden in London.  I recently tried their Dubai location in the Emirates Mall. Their menu is pretty straight forward and it cuts your decision making to either burger or hot dog, fries or cheese fries and then there are milk shakes, desserts… I, of course, went for the hamburger and a side order of cheese fries. The meat is extremely tender and juicy and the whole burger blends together just right. I was quite surprised by the cheese fries because beforehand I got the idea the cheese sauce would have your typical store-bought flavor which I normally don’t like. I don’t know what is in that sauce but it was totally addictive. My friends ordered the hot dog which was quite tasty too. My recommendation; if you ever find yourself shopping at the Emirates Mall, give Shake Shack a try. I know that I will definitely try some of their other locations.

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http://www.shakeshack.com

Hakkasan, Chinese food brought to a whole different level

Over the past years with Chinese all you can eat buffets popping up all over cities and towns, Chinese food has been downgraded and given a bad rep which is a shame since it is one of the oldest and richest cuisines. Chinese cuisine dates back to the 11th century BC and today the style varies greatly from one region to the next but nonetheless being as rich as it is, it is quite difficult to find high quality Chinese restaurants. I guess that is why I am such a fan of Hakkasan where not only is the decor fabulous, so is the food. As one friend and foodie says “Hakkasan is an eye-opener”.

Hakkasan started off in 2001 in Hanway Place, London and now just eleven years later it has extended to the USA, India and the Middle East. All the restaurants maintain the same feel with wooden screens and latticing and a dimly lit elegant atmosphere.

We have been to the London, Dubai and Abu Dhabi locations and we have enjoyed all of the meals finding the quality and the preparation of the food to be premium. Hakkasan specializes in cializes ciallyl  to be als.  and Abu Dhabi locations and we have enjoyed all of the meals. dim sums and if you are a dim sum lover, as I am, I guarantee that you are going to love Hakkasan. The last time we were in London, we had an all dim sum lunch which was to die for.

The last time I dined at Hakkasan, I did so at the Abu Dhabi location. Although EAU is Islamic you can get alcohol at hotels so both in Dubai and Abu Dhabi there is a wine list but it is extremely pricey. The upside is that they have a very tasty cocktail selection at a more reasonable price.

Now onto the food…

APPETIZERS

dim sum

Steamed dim sum platter…delicious as always

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