Saturday, December 31, 2011

11 Memories for 2011

never too late to recap the beauty of 2011…


my eldest son khaleef’s *graduation* before going to year one~


abah & umi’s visit to dubai in january~ this was at the biggest mosque in UAE, sheikh zayed mosque in abu dhabi~


kazim turned ONE on april 1st!


watched stevie wonder LIVE in concert @ yas arena, abu dhabi! wee! unsangkarable moment!


mr. khairul got his harley davidson! vroom!


went back to malaysia in july and had a fantabulous spore getaway with abah, umi, my two younger sisters syida & azot. stayed at the beautiful festive hotel on sentosa island and hoo-ha-ing at universal studios singapore – priceless moments!


words cannot describe. our party of five. syimee, syigim, syima, syida & nazirah. me & my sisters in an impromptu photoshoot. at my dad’s place in ipoh. i’m gonna make this an annual thing!


had an indo-getaway with my sisters-in-law tina and teh with just the boys. mr. khairul had an urgent call to fly to saudi and had to pass on this. jakarta surprised me with her metropolitan front. truly an enriching experience.


my precious. all abah’s 9 grandkiddos in one shot for one rare second.


our 2nd time spending syawal in dubai. *smile*


the boys’ first time playing in the desert : what a blast!


* * *


wishing for 12 memorable moments for 2012 – and more! happy new year, people!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Garrett in Dubai : Caramel-Crazed Popcorn

have you tasted garret’s popcorn that’s creating a buzz in klcc malaysia right now?

been seeing 'garret' in dubai since forever, but never had the urge to buy or even try, because it's so expensive here! however, since i heard they just opened one in our beloved klcc in malaysia with a loo—oo---ng----g line of people buying, thought i tried it here in dubai where nobody cares! haha.

(also, jealous finding out my sisters dah rasa dulu! hohoho)


garrett’s caramel crisp popcorn


we went to the one in dubai mall – well, i think the only garrett in dubai IS in dubai mall. there are two actually, one is in the candylicious opposite the aquarium, and the other one is at the exit heading out to the musical fountain.


kahfi & khaleef with our popcorn. khaleef was delightfully obsessive about his pack of popcorn haha


established since 1949, it is stated in their fb page that garrett is a “chicago tradition, unchanged for 60 years, handmade fresh every day, one batch at a time, using only the highest quality ingredients.” wow. did they really hand-mixed all those popcorns in special copper kettles? classic!

well, 1949 tu! malaysia pun belum merdeka!



there are a few regular flavors or types of garrett popcorn like the classic caramel crisp, as well as sweet caramel-coated popcorns with nuts you like – almond, cashew, macadamia or pecan, and even cheese popcorn! and they even offer a new ‘spicy cheese corn’ flavor!’ popcorn, spicy? that’s really something.

it seemed that the most popular one is ‘chicago mix’ – a combo of caramel crisp popcorn and cheese corn. sounds tempting, but for a first-timer, i wanted to try the very basic, and then go from there.



we got ourselves the LARGE caramel crisp, at aed34 per bag (i think more or less RM10 more expensive than in msia). and look at the price of the biggest gallon of caramel crisp – a whopping aed758! even for a big party i wouldn’t dream of spending that much on popcorns!


those people must really be caramel-crazy to buy this much!



i was fascinated with the packaging. 3 layers! first, the popcorns are packed in a clear plastic bag, rolled down air-tight. this was placed in a cute striped paper bag with cool taglines like ‘heavenly obsession’, and ‘gone in 60 seconds’, ‘rite of passage’, ‘unchanged for 60 years’ and ‘the pursuit of happiness’ and my favorite – ‘selfish gobblin’! hihi.

finally it’s placed in a fancier bag to take home. fancy!



* * *


so we finally tried this so-called best popcorn in the world hailed from chicago.

VERDICT : the caramel-freak boys (and i'm talking about MR. KHAIRUL and khaleef) love it, but it's too much la for me. ok, here’s my first meeting with the popcorn people will line up for :

  1. i’m amazed at how big the popcorn kernels are
  2. every single one popcorn is wholly covered in caramel
  3. it’s hot! so it tasted really fresh when you pop one in
  4. i tasted one, and WOAH – it really is one of the best popcorn i’ve ever tasted! (at first…)
  5. i tried some more, and it can be quite addictive especially if you’re a sweet-tooth person – i’m sure you can’t stop popping them
  6. but TO ME, really, after 4-5 more scoops of garret caramel popcorn, i gave-up the sugar rush – too sweet! too much caramel for my liking!
  7. also, the caramel after-taste was so overwhelming, even after i stopped eating them, it felt like i just drank a whole cup of caramel drink or something. the caramel taste is so strong!
  8. but it’s nice that none of the popcorn kernel has a hard part. all crispy crunchy popping all the way. sickeningly sweet way!
  9. my eldest boy khaleef and mr. khairul are the caramel-popcorn-freaks in the house – they can even sit with a bucket of regular popcorn rummaging thru it looking for ONLY the brown caramel-coated popcorns, leaving the white tasteless ones for me huhu – so they’re ABSOLUTELY HYPNOTIZED already by garrett popcorns haha
  10. interesting fact : my youngest boy kazim – who can eat anything from m&m’s to doughnuts to nasi goreng tomyam – tried one, and spit it out. he wouldn’t try again. hmm.



my final word on garrett’s caramel crisp – it’s definitely too sweet for me to eat a lot off, but seriously, who in the world could go back to regular jagung bertih TGV or reel cinemas popcorn after a taste of sweet-sticky rich heavenly caramel at garrett’s? right?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Briyani in Bamboo @ Masala Bay

briyani rice cooked in bamboo?

there are so many, many, MANY indian restaurants all over dubai. in order to stand out from the many, a restaurant needs to have good food with great price, good location with good service – and to be unique.

‘masala bay’ in discovery gardens may look like any other indian restaurant, service pretty much the same food – but the uniqueness lies in the way they serve their briyani!


briyani rice is served in bamboo trunk. the server pushes out the rice from the wooden tube, by edging a stick through an opening.


* * *



this branch of ‘masala bay’ is situated in discovery gardens, serving south indian food of the kerala state which – like its name suggested – rich in ‘masala’ (indian spices). the fiery symbol on its red signage can also prepare you for the hot spices of their dishes!



my favorite color is yellow, so i was immediately drawn to their ceiling which brightens up the minimal interior of the restaurant. it’s not that spacious, but comfy. a small clear window shows the chef in action.

i love the pictures on the walls – close-ups of spices, chillis and my favorite is a world map made solely from small beads of indian spice. nice.


* * *


appetizer : the super crispy popadom which is unlike any indian popadam i’ve ever tasted. very thin and crispy, with curry leaves and sprinkled with what probably is paprika. it’s served with this green dip.



* * *


this is ‘raitha’, a cold yoghurt dip with cut-up cucumber and onion, usually served with indian food to balance the heat and spiciness of the dishes. i love to dip my popadam in this ‘raitha’, as i eat my spicy briyani. excellent.


love this one too. is this coconut chutney? hmm.


for the boys, we ordered roti canai.

you’d be surprise to know that although there are many indian restaurants in dubai, it’s not as easy to find GOOD roti canai (parotha they call it here). really!

here, they are not too big on roti canai because they make so many, many other types of indian ‘roti’. so the best roti canai in dubai so far that i’ve tried are from ‘green city’, and ‘appa kadai’. and then i found this one at ‘masala bay’, and i liked it! not bad. soft, with a little crisp brownish spots here and there. nice.


we accompanied our roti canai (the parotha) with this thick, delicious curry chicken. yum.


* * *


..and here’s the main dish!

we ordered mutton briyani and they’re cooked normal but later steamed in this cool, classic-looking bamboo trunk, and then served straight on our plate. the waiter pushes out the rice from the wooden tube, by edging a stick through an opening. what a presentation!


the portion can be shared by two, especially if you’re also eating parotha. hihi. i like this mutton briyani at ‘masala bay’ because they’re not too spicy and the spices – though rich in flavor but not too overwhelming like some briyani tend to be if you add too much spices. overall, a delicious treat – soft beads of rice, and the mutton easily shreded and tender.


* * *


as usual, mr. khairul’s trip to any indian restaurants is incomplete without an order of sada chai. this indian tea is heated up on stove together with the milk, water and tea leaves which gives it a more rich milky taste that mr. khairul loves. must always ask, “tea bag? or not?” if it’s JUST tea-bag, don’t go for it. hihi. try the original!


* * *


while you wait for your order, you can enjoy amusing yourself with reading the jokes on its placemats. funny!



‘masala bay’ has a nice, relaxed ambiance to it, and the servers are polite and prompt. i would try this place again for the chicken briyani next!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Year, New Haircut

if you’re a regular at my blog, you know how long kahfi’s hair is. being mistaken for a girl is a norm, and i’m not even insulted anymore! his bapak wanna do this david beckham thing but i think it’s about time the boy tried a short haircut for a change!

click here for an interesting 50-s style black-and-white entry of their last haircut.



…so tada ~ their new looks for the new year! felt so relieved seeing all those hair ‘chopped’ away! while their maksu (my sister azot) is so glad kahfi finally got rid of his ‘weird’ long hairstyle, another aunt was not so pleased! their ateh (my sis-in-law diyana) was wee bit sad to those soft flowing locks go to waste!

oh well, it’s not like it won’t grow back! hihi.


* * *



before : kahfi was oblivious to the impending doom upon his hair…



we went to a saloon for kids called ‘just 4 kids’. this saloon caters exclusively for kids, so it’s got colorful geometric shapes at the entrance, and dalmations stickers on the front door. it really is inviting for kids! hihi.

it’s situated at deira, the same row as our favorite mandi rice restaurant al-tawasol. we always pass by this saloon as we head to al-tawasol, and only now it came to good use!



just a regular-sized shop, the saloon is furnished with colorful sofas suitable for an environment fit for children. on the walls there are cut-up pictures of children-models modelling hairstyles. haha. selalu kita nampak kat kedai-kedai gunting rambut amoi-amoi ade gamba fesyen rambut – sini pun ade, tapi gamba budak-budak. cute!


under each mirror, there is a small tv playing ‘tom and jerry’ to entertain the waiting kids, and especially – to calm kids who don’t want their hair touched! the seats are also cute with printed dalmation polka dots!


each haircut costs – 30dirham!



first up, was abang long khaleef – so that he can show kahfi that there was nothing to be scared of! he was relax and even a little excited, so his turn was a breezy.

the ‘barber’ or hairdresser is this warm, friendly lady from philippines who had been in dubai since 1993! so we know their hair was in good, experienced hands! she was always smiling, and always comforting kahfi when she cut his hair.


kahfi was starting to freak out!


abg long khaleef standing by to give words of encouragement to a sulking kahfi


…then it’s kahfi’s turn! he was very, very reluctant, and cried! we had to pop him a lollipop before he agreed to sit still and let the nice lady cut his hair. mr. khairul had to hold the lollipop for him at first haha, and as he sat there, he probably realized – ‘hey, this is not so bad’ – and sat still for the rest of the haircut session.


*i hate this but i want a new style* haha


* * *




so went their old haircut and in with the new. may this new year usher in lots of new exciting stuff for you nice people to experience, to learn, to enjoy, to cherish.

have a good year!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Kahfi’s Bday : Figaro’s Pizza @ Rimal JBR

my 2nd son kahfi just turned 3 and he LOVES pizza. he can eat two slices at one go, rest, and eat another one, and another one in the morning. hihi. so for his special day, we took him and the boys for pizza somewhere in JBR (jumeirah beach residences).



pizza napoletana, the pizza company, pizza express, papa john’s pizza – there are so many pizza places in JBR but we decided to try the italian figaro’s pizza that day. everybody together now – “fiiiiiiiigaro!” mesti rasa nak beropera kan hihi.

figaro’s pizza is on the first floor at the rimal JBR. you can even see its bold red signage as you walk along ‘the walk’ JBR.


i love the posters on the wall!



the interior is so red, haha – just like its signage. the inside is very spacious and so inviting. i love the red seats – big, sturdy, leather and looks kids-friendly – you know, one without any opening where a kid can fall out off, wouldn’t topple if a kid stood on it and it’s padded so it’s really comfy.

it’s cozy, relaxed; a family with kids could really hang out here.



* * *


its placemats have this sweet, romantic story that keeps you occupied while you wait for the pizza. ‘romano & juliet – a tale of real cheese and true love!’ haha


* * *


well, a pizza place is a pizza place. same stuff on the menu. what differentiates the pizza would be in the CRUST, combo of TOPPINGS and the CHEESE! going to a pizza place with the kids, we don’t even really need to look at the menu, since we basically know what the boys love most.


figaro’s pepperoni pizza


we quickly ordered the ‘pepperoni pizza’ especially for the boys. even if we wanted to go a little ‘wild’ and pick a pizza with different toppings or a little bit more than just pepperoni, the boys would just pick out the toppings they don’t want, and still ends up with pepperoni. so might as well get the plain ol pepperoni pizza for them!


birthday boy enjoying his pizza


it’s beef day apparently for us – since we got a second beef-based pizza


the crust is thick and soft, but personally i think their pizza are a little TOO SALTY. thank goodness i had my plate of mixed salad with me, from the salad bar. everytime i took a bite, i had to eat the coleslaw or potato salad together to add some sweetness. i couldn’t really eat the pizza on its own. it really is too salty for me.


mr. khairul ordered this hot chicken wings which looked like dry ayam goreng kunyit to me! however, mr. khairul said he really shouldn’t judge chicken wings by its look because they tasted quite delicious. i tried one but it’s so spicy! too spicy for me, but mr. khairul enjoyed every bite.



i was suprised that they brought out a plate instead of a bowl for the salad. they really don’t want people to pile up on the salad, huh? hmm, no matter – i still tried my best to pile on the coleslaw, potato salad, lettuce and mix veggie on my little plate. haha! and i actually finished everything on my plate, okay! so people like me should get bowl next time. hihi.

btw, i would just like to add that i LOVE coleslaw, and i think figaro’s pizza did really well with their coleslaw – it’s lumpy in a good way, it’s not too dry and not too watery – just nice. loved it! and it’s a good thing i have it to complement the salty pizza!


the salad bar


mr. khairul’s lime mint drink


* * *



figaro’s pizza is in rimal JBR ok, if you wanna check it out.

as for me – well, i love figaro’s pizza coleslaw, but with all the other pizza places around JBR, i doubt if i would come again. this is a great place to hang out as a family with small kids, but please amend the amount of saltiness of your pizza! thank you. hihi.



sigh. gimme domino’s or pizza hut anytime…

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