Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Homely Feel @ Indian Restaurant ‘Katis’ in Sharjah

if you ever need to eat out while still feel you’re eating at home with friendly faces and personalized service, I would recommend ‘katis restaurant’ – an indian restaurant serving north indian food in sharjah. they offer chinese cuisine too. the food was good and the staff welcomed us with warmth and smiles.

how did we find ‘katis restaurant’? we were thinking of mandi restaurant, but later decided to go for indian food. browsed ‘zomato’ and looked for the highest-rated indian restaurant in sharjah. bam! it brought us to ‘katis’.

 

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here I am with mr. khairul’s family in front of ‘katis restaurant’ – his aunt maklang, me, my sis-in-law tina, and mr. khairul’s mom. they’re here in dubai for a 1-month visit. ‘katis restaurant’ is situated opposite ‘safeer mall’ at al-khan street. it’s easy to spot with its big red font and a funny cartoon of a chef holding a hot pot.

 

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for starters, we tried the popular ‘momos’ – which was regularly mentioned positively by patrons in their review of ‘katis’. ‘momos’ is a type of dumpling with filling. the one we got at ‘katis’ was steamed fresh and filled with chicken. mr. khairul loves dumpling, but me not so much. however, I can always try at least one!

 

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our plate of hot steamed momos came with a delicious spicy chili dip. though I would’ve preferred pan-fried momos, but this tasted good. the crescent-shaped dough was soft and light, while the filling is tasty, with a nice portion. when you dip it in the hot chili – saucy! I would order the momos again – and this time, fried ones!

 

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for the main course, we ordered the ‘chicken handi briyani’, served exotically in a claypot, covered with bread; like a lid. adorable! (if I’m not mistaken, ‘handi briyani’ means that the briyani is cooked in an earthen pot – ‘handi’ being the cooking pot for the rice – hence, the presentation). the briyani presentation looks so traditional that it beckons our hungry tummy even more!

 

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mr. khairul cut-up the top of the bread to reveal the delicious briyani inside the pot.

 

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the chicken handi briyani

 

the steam came up and I see soft beads of rice with wonderful color and aroma. so inviting! the chicken is hidden somewhere inside the rice, like a tasty treasure waiting to be unearthed. the combination of chicken and rice – delicious.

I’m always cautious when eating indian briyani because sometimes the spices can be a bit too much for my mild taste buds but the ‘handi briyani’ at ‘katis’ seemed just right to satisfy my tummy. highly recommended!

 

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my sis-in-law fancies having fried rice so we got this ‘shanghai fried rice’ which was, funnily enough, rice fried together with noodle! interesting! this dish is simple, yet satisfying. the key is its freshly fried! (also, because I love anything with capsicum in them!)

 

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my boys had their favorite ‘paratha’ and enjoyed their meal. to me the texture of the paratha at ‘katis’ is more to capati than the fluffier version of paratha that I’m used to. nevertheless, my boys had no trouble finishing up the whole basket of paratha, and that’s just fine by me! oh but I just love their dalcha, tasty and complements the paratha well.

 

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my sis-in-law tina enjoying her meal with a smile. huhu. beside her is mr. khairul’s aunt mak lang – not saying a word while eating – that means the food is good! haha

 

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when I first entered ‘katis’, it seemed gloomy and cramped because of the bold wallpaper – but slowly I find the pretty wallpaper welcoming, and the gloominess was actually comfy and cozy. especially when we received personalized service from the staff at ‘katis’, including the owner himself who was very friendly and always suggests good food we might like to try.

 

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beaded curtains separate our eating area with the door to the washroom which is a nice touch. and hygienic too!

 

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welcome to ‘katis restaurant’!

 

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this photography was taken from its facebook page. click here to go to katis restaurant’s facebook page. thank you for the memorable picture!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Movie Review : Ride Along, Philomena, Baggage Claim & All Is Lost

I’m reviewing a comedy ‘ride along’ about impressing your future in-law who happens to be the big brother-tough cop dude, ‘philomena’ a charming drama based on a true story of searching for long-lost son; another comedy ‘baggage claim’ about searching for love in all the wrong places; and ‘all is lost’ an engaging one-man show about surviving against all odds while being lost at sea.

 

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‘ride along’ is entertaining, fun and hilarious. kevin hart himself is quite a trip – with his high-pitched voice in his short frame spewing funny lines each time he speaks. and if it’s not his lines, it’s his expression.

in order to marry his girlfriend, a cop-wannabe needs the blessing of her big brother, a tough cop who speaks like he’s in a rap music video. wants to prove he’s a man? his brother took the guy on a ride along (‘ride along’ is a term used when civilian sits in the passenger seat of a police car, observing the work day of a police officer, firefighter, or paramedic).

I don’t have a big brother that mr. khairul needs to impress; but my youngest uncle cu (my mak’s lil bro) did have a man-to-man’s talk with mr. khairul when I first introduced him, so I consider that as my life’s version of ‘the ride along’ haha. now they both can simply hang out for cendol, without ME! huhu.

in ‘ride along’, as expected, many humorous incident ensue as the guy tries to impress his girlfriend’s brother, leaving us literally laughing out loud, not the internet version of LOL. huhu. kevin hart and ice cube have great chemistry together which is ironic since in the movie, the characters can’t get along! ‘ride along’ is an enjoyable movie on a lazy sunday.

 

 

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bright sunny background color, a smiley judi dench, and steeve coogan smirking back at her – all spells comedy even though ‘philomena’ is a story about a woman who was forced to give up her son a long time ago, and is now searching for a closure. both judi dench and steeve coogan are sweet and charming, and their relationship is touching and meaningful.

inspired by a true story, ‘philomena’ is the name of the woman whose son was forcefully taken from her for adoption – in one of the most heartbreaking scenes I’ve seen in a movie. years passed and a journalist wants to write a story about her journey to find this son – and so begins and unlikely friendship through empathy, understanding, and mutual respect.

one by one clues were found and stories unearthed, taking her closer to finding her lost son. and in those steps we viewers too feel the same anxiety, excitement, happy and sorrow as more truth is made known. philomena reminds us to rejoice in the simple smile of our child, or the fact that he can’t say not to pasta, or pronounce ‘tiger’ as ‘tigger’, or simply knowing that he had said ‘hi’.

a heartfelt story for all who had lost and found; no matter what it is that you found in the end – as long as you found closure.

 

 

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we know how this movie is gonna end in the first 10 minutes of the movie. ‘of course she’s gonna end up with the one right in front of her eyes all these while’ plot! oh, please I’m not giving spoilers here – ‘baggage claim’ is THAT predictable!

I’m not saying it’s not funny nor entertaining though – paula patton is sweet and funny, and I did enjoy myself seeing her character meet her many handsome exes, trying to fish the right one to bring her to her sister’s big engagement party OR simply to be THE ONE.

though ‘baggage claim’ is so predictable, it’s just fun to just sit back and wonder what’s in store for the character. what silly incident will happen next? what quirky, unacceptable behaviour will her next ex have? what ridiculous scene will make her wish she hadn’t met this ex for a second time?

it’s a simple, fun movie that ends to easily when she finally ends up with THE ONE – but still entertaining if you have nothing else to watch.

for mr. khairul, thanks for taking the job as co-pilot, and not letting me fly solo no more! love ya!

 

 

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I thought I can stay through the awesome one-man show ‘cast away’ just because my beloved tom hanks is the one it it. I thought if it were some other actor, ‘cast away’ would be boring. it turns out, even the senior actor robert redford can pull it off with his one-man show, ‘all is lost’.

unlike ‘cast away’ which starts off showing tom hanks’ life with other characters before he was cast ashore, and again when he’s rescued, ‘all is lost’ is literally a one-man show because robert redford is THE ONLY person we see throughout the movie. from start to finish.

and can still be engaging.

that shows how incredible the movie is. no wonder robert redford was nominated for best actor at the golden globes awards – he was amazing in this. especially since he’s so old. so old! yet his character and actions show us the meaning of calm under duress, courage under pressure, determination, and the will to go on. all without saying a word.

after his boat crashed into a container at sea, a sailor begins his adventure of survival at sea, engaging viewers with a thousand and one things he could do to keep afloat; literally and figuratively. while getting closer and closer to losing all hope, he keeps fighting. ‘all is lost’ may well teach us, that this, in fact, is not always true.

hope. hope will never get you lost. a highly-recommended movie!

 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

My 1st Camel Mandi @ Emirates Resthouse Restaurants & Kitchen, Abu Dhabi

as a self-professed mandi-freak who has been staying in an arab country for over 5 years, I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve NEVER eaten camel mandi – until last week. such shame, considering the fact that hoards of camels can be seen casually crossing highways in this country. hihi.

I’ve had camel satay and camel burger before, but camel mandi – this was my first!

 

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yes, I’m a camel-mandi virgin who has found delicious glory at ‘emirates resthouse restaurants & kitchen’ in abu dhabi. haha. camel mandi at last!

thanks to our abu dhabi buddy helmey, who was more than happy to show us the way to one of the best (if not THE ONLY) camel mandi around town.

 

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abu dhabians helmey & wifey mimi – thanks for showing us the way to camel mandi! yum! ‘emirates resthouse restaurants & kitchen’ is in the al-mussaffah area, abu dhabi, opposite carrefour. it’s quite a maze once you’re around the shoplot area, so good luck in spotting the green signage!

 

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so nice and authentic to see an actual arab in arab kandoora manning the counter at a restaurant. selalunya it’s arab in normal clothings or indians! kurang la feel makan kat restoran arab kan!

 

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the restaurant is very simple and small with minimal d├ęcor of just pictures of UAE leaders on the wall. well, no matter – the most important is it’s clean!

 

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one look, and this place looks like a place to take ablution in a mosque – when actually this is the sections in the restaurant if you choose to sit down cross-legged to enjoy your meal. space is quite constraint, but there’s always the table-and-chair option.

 

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first, let’s talk about the mandi rice itself – soft beads of carbo delight that’s so soft and delicious. no extra taste of overpowering herbs that I don’t like. in short, I absolutely LOVE the rice. this one comes with the chicken – tasty, tender, tantalizing – as good plate of chicken mandi.

 

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its lamb mandi is equally delicious – the lamb has a nice texture, and deliciously marinated. however, as good as this plate of lamb mandi is, it’s unfortunately beaten by the star meat of the day – the CAMEL mandi!

 

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ladies and gents, THIS is the plate of camel mugalgal (‘mugalgal’ means ‘fried meat’ if I’m not mistaken) served with a plate of mandi rice.

 

I’ve eaten camel satay and camel burger – none came close to the taste and texture of the CAMEL meat that I had at ‘emirates resthouse restaurants & kitchen’ here in al-mussaffah. DELICIOUS. in fact, it tasted like a very tasty medium-well steak you would normally eat.

put a side dish of mint sauce, mashed potatoes and steamed veggies – you’ll get one posh western dish, I’m sure!

the camel meat has a nice texture that’s easy on the teeth – soft and tender. not too hard nor rubbery. just nice. and I just LOVE the taste. only khaleef tried the camel, and though he’s not too excited about it like us, he said its’ not too bad (for a picky eater, that’s a GOOD comment! haha)

eat it on its own, or eat it with the mandi rice – it’s all good. highly recommended to all you adventurous foodies out there!

 

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as usual; a mandi rice dish is incomplete without the chili-tomatoes condiment, hot meat broth, and a plate of fresh veggies. my favorite accompanying veggies is the rocket leaves or jerjer leaves, but this one is just cut up lettuce and cucumber. jadi lah!

 

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overall, I absolutely enjoyed my first experience eating CAMEL mandi, I would recommend it to all you curious eaters – especially here at ‘emirates resthouse restaurants & kitchen’ because the other dishes here are also quite satisfying.

 

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again, thanks helmey and mimi for joining us for our first camel mandi experience, and to helmey for showing the way. confirm datang lagi!

 

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after much googling, I found out that you can get camel mugalgal at mandilicious. will check it out soon. and if you wanna try camel burger, you can head on to ‘turath al-mandi’, or ‘best burger’ in dubai marina, (exactly across the marina behind dora bay). you can also get all sorts of camel burger, camel shawarma or camel kebab in zaina restaurant in al-barsha.

happy hunting, camel-eaters!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Jumeirah Beach : After 5 Years

my first ever posting of us visiting jumeirah beach was like, 5 years ago. in december 2008. it’s already february at the time of writing, and we’re still enjoying the beauty and cleanliness of jumeirah beach; proudly being one of its closest dwellers.

click here to read about our first trip to jumeirah beach, me just a few days away from giving birth to our 2nd son kahfi. and now he’s already 5! time sure flies when you’re having fun!

 

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life and love, as I know it. my 4 boys : kazim, khaleef, khairul & kahfi

 

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the water was WAAAAY too cold for a dip and swim, so they just build forts. hihi,

 

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birds flying home for the evening. with the burj al-arab in the background. one of the most beautiful pictures I’ve captured of dubai. sebab tu kena watermark. haha.

 

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wee~ the water is icy cold!

 

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khaleef investigating tyre tracks

 

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my youngest. already as tall as his bro kahfi!

 

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yummy : pengat durian and bread, nutella for the boys and some bananas.

 

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the cream-colored buildings are jumeirah beach residences and some hotels along the beach

 

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always a new discovery once you step out : here’s the boys curious looking at a wandering starfish.

 

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I love this shot too! "there is a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they're absolutely free. don't miss so many of them." ~jo walton, writer

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Dubai Water Bus @ Marina Promenade to Marina Walk

it’s winter in dubai – weather is always fantastic for a day out walking. an even better day to be out cruising on a bot – or rather, the dubai water bus!

we were taking a stroll along the marina behind our place, just a short walk to arrive at the ‘marina promenade water station’, the first of FOUR around that area. the other 3 stops are at the ‘dubai marina mall’ (yes, I can easily take a 10-minute water bus trip to a mall from my place!), another stop at some building, also along the marina; and the final stop before they turn back is at the marina walk.

the fare for each ride : 2dhs, one way trip. like the brit grandpa who was with us on the boat said, the fare was “a no-brainer.” just ride on!

 

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the station nearest to our place : the marina promenade water station. just approach the officer on deck, pay 2dhs, and hop on!

 

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ample seats, but that morning it was just us and a brit grandpa taking his grandkid in a stroller.

 

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got a seat right by the glass door – so we can see everything! nothing but tall skyscrapers along the marina. sigh. this is our neighbourhood for the past 6 years!

 

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kazim totally enjoyed staring at the waves…

 

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the door is ajar. agak scary huhu. the door can be opened manually by just pushing it aside, and as you can see there’s only SO much place to stand on the other side, so hang on to your kids!

 

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mr. khairul getting friendly with the driver

 

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safety precautions. take note!

 

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the beautiful spiral building of dubai : ‘the cayan tower’ (previously known as infinity tower) in dubai marina. the tallest twisting tower in the world – twisting 90 degrees.

 

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remember I told you about opening the door manually. huhu

 

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love the water bus. it’s comfy, with great view, and cheap fare! also, makes it SO easy to go to dubai marina mall from my place. before this, it’s too far to walk, but too near to take a cab – so this really makes it easy. macam 5 minit je dah sampai sebab cuma perlu cross the marina!

a great addition to the folks at dubai marina! yay!

check out these postings too!

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