Posted by Mark
Disappointed, thats one way to summarize the movie for me. Maybe I was hoping the movie would stay true to the original cartoon or maybe I was hoping more then just a handful of transformers in the movie but whatever the reason is I didn’t like the movie.
Firstly I think there really wasn’t a proper story. To me it looked like the movie was written around the fight scenes. Its as if they went ok, we need to have one big fight here, two big fights there, a small one here and a nice big one in the end, now go write a movie. I know this movie is just an action packed movie with special effects made for the general audience but after Lord of the Rings this is no longer an excuse. You can have amazing special effects, lots of fight scenes, great characters AND a deep intriguing story and still make it mainstream and a box office success. Seriously with a franchise like Transformers how hard could it have been to write a proper script?
My second problem is the actual Transformers, they neither resemble nor act like their cartoon counterpart. I hate the super detailed industrial look of the movie robots, I prefer the sleeker and simpler cartoon version. Another thing, Megatron is supposed to be a gun not a plane, Ratchet is supposed to be white (thats why my MacBook is called Ratchet), Bumblebee is supposed to be a VW Beetle and Starscream is supposed to be annoying as hell! I used to love watching Megatron and Starscream argue with each other in the original cartoon but it doesn’t happen in this movie. I can’t help but feel this movie should have been an epic not a quickly scrambled together movie. Look at Star Wars and Star Trek! Because the story was short but the fight scenes extremely long, we never got a chance to get close to any of the Transformers, maybe Bumblebee since he had the largest role but he also hardly spoke. All of them actually barely had any speaking lines! My favorite part in the movie without ruining it for people who haven’t watched it is when the Transformers went to the guys house to get “the thing”. There were a bit of funny moments there and we got a feel of the different personalities of the robots but that was it, no other scene even got close to that.
Also, whats up with the heavy advertising in the movie? The guy is video conferencing with his wife and there is a huge ass “Cisco Networking” logo on the screen, a Transformer crash lands from space and visits the Pontiac dealership, another a Hummer dealer. Oh and they are ALL American cars! They took Bumblebee, a German VW Beetle and turned him into an American Cheverolet Camaro. Later in the movie you also have the Sprite machine and Xbox 360 transforming into robots which is fine if all these incidents above happened casually but instead they were very obvious which I felt was tacky.
On a positive note I really enjoyed the acting of the main kid in the movie and the visual effects of the robots was just incredible. The movie was fun to watch but I wouldn’t watch it again. My final score is a 3 out of 5.
Posted by Mark
While in London I was able to walk around and discover the city without holding a large map and looking like a tourist because of a simple software I was able to get for my phone called A-Z London Maps. I don’t think I would have been able to enjoy my stay without this incredibly easy to use and practical software.
You don’t need a GPS device and you don’t need to connect to the internet to be able to use the map, the software installs everything onto your phone. To use the software all you need to do is type the name of the street you are in and the software will show you on a detailed map where you are. This helped me a lot since if I needed to find my way back to the hotel I would just check on the map to see where I was and then plan my route. Also if I found a street I liked I could easily find my way back. If I was using a regular paper map it would have taken me ages to find my location on it but with A-Z maps I just type my street and the software instantly circles my location on the map.
There are maps for London, Paris, Dubai, Barcelona, Helsinki and more but they only work on some Nokia and Sony Ericsson phones. You don’t need to buy it to try it either, you can download the map and try it out for 30 days before you decide to purchase it.
I only found 2 problems with the software or should I say there are 2 things I would have liked the software to do. The first is the option to work with a GPS device. Although every street corner in London displayed the street name it would have been more practical if the software automatically recognized where I was. The second thing I would have liked would have been the option to search for shop names and then have the software find it for me on the map. Of course thats asking for to much but still, it would have been nice to have.
Final score is a 4 out of 5. If you are interested in the maps you can check out the Lumisoft website for more details and trial downloads. [Link]
Posted by Mark
I have decided to no longer listen to my friends when it comes to shawerma places. First I got sent to Happy Duck which turned out to be a disaster and then I got sent to Weekend which also turned out to be as bad. Weekend is located opposite AUK in Salmiya and although I’ve passed by it numerous of times before, I never thought about trying it until recently when a friend recommended I give it a shot.
I ordered two chicken shawermas and a coke. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity I got the sandwiches, drove a bit further down the road parked my car and started eating. Its always best to have the shawerma while its hot and fresh but in Weekend’s, case I don’t think that really matters. The sandwich wasn’t greasy but that’s the only thing positive I have to say about it. The garlic was too liquid like and didn’t really taste like garlic although it smelled like garlic. The chicken was too moist and tasted terrible. The quantity of the chicken in the sandwich was also little although thinking about it now, that might be a good thing since the chicken was really bad anyway.
The cost of the chicken shawerma is 250fils which is normal. My advice? Drive down a further 20 meters to Malek al 3aseer (King of Juice) who make a much better shawerma. Final score 1.5 out of 5.
Posted by Mark
A friend recommended I try shawerma from a place in Salmiya called Happy Duck. At first I was hesitant but then I thought to myself, what if this back alley place with a stupid name turns out to have really good shawermas? I decided not to discriminate and give the place a shot.
I passed by the place late in the evening, it wasn’t too hard to find, I just took the exit on the Gulf Road right before were Crepaway (now called Divas) used to be located. The location wasn’t bad, they had ample parking space and no traffic around them. I went down, ordered two shawermas and a coke, came back to the car and started eating them.
My first impression was that the shawerma was really greasy. I munched away and went through the first shawerma without encountering anything out of the ordinary but when I hit the second sandwich something tasted really weird. Kinda like the chicken was under cooked or something which grossed me out so I threw it awat. I didn’t like their shawerma at all.
The price of their shawerma is 250 fils which competes with my two favorite shawerma places at the moment, Badar Al Badoor and Al Ghader, but Happy Duck is not even in the same league as them. Final score is a 1.5 out of 5.
Posted by Mark
Last night I passed by the French restaurant Fauchon in Laila Gallery for dinner. Laila Gallery isn’t one of the best malls on that street so having a lush restaurant like Fauchon in it is kind of strange. From what I heard though is that the owner of Laila Gallery is the same owner as Fauchon so thats why he opened it there.
I will start by giving a quick rundown of all the food we ordered. For starters we had two two dishes, one involved salmon while the other involved lobster. I then had a wild mushroom soup while Nat visited the salad bar. For the main course I had the beef fondue while Nat had the hamour and lobster dish. Finally for desert we chose 2 pieces of cake from their desert tray.
First the negatives. The starters were really forgettable, I would not order them the next time I visit. They tasted fine but fine wasn’t what I was expecting at a place like Fauchon. The soup was ok but I’ve had better versions at Nino’s and Lorenzo. Nat also ordered a mango juice but it tasted like water had been diluted with it which made it really nasty.
So after a disappointing start to dinner I was worried our main courses would also turn out to be flops but luckily that didn’t happen. My dish, the beef fondue was mouthwatering. The presentation of my plate looked very neat, it came with one large bowl filled with cubed beef and potatoes alongside three smaller bowls filled with different sauces for me to dip the beef into. The flavor was very strong and the quantity was very filling, I definitely made the right choice with my main course which by the way was difficult to choose because so many things on the menu looked good. Nat enjoyed her lobster but found the hamour pretty bland but in the end it kind of balanced out. Finally when done our desert arrived, I had the chocolate mousse cake while Nat had the same except with a raspberry mix. As expected since chocolate and cakes are their specialty, desert was delightful.
The interior of place was very stylish with silver curtains and pink lighting. Our waiter was very friendly and helpful and later in the evening the manager even came and spoke to us to make sure everything was going fine. The whole evening would have been perfect if it wasn’t for the disastrous start. The prices of the dishes varied from overpriced to decent. The lobster dish we had for starters was around KD5 which I think wasn’t worth it but on the other hand my main course cost around KD6 which I think was very acceptable. The bill in the end came out to KD32 but this is the maximum I think it could reach. Now that I know what to order I can easily bring the bill down to under KD20 the next time. For the final score I am going to give them a 3.5 out of 5. If the starters were good or if I hadn’t had the starters at all the score would have been a 4.
Posted by Mark
Although there are a ton of shawerma places near my house Dodo is the place I frequent the most. The staff are friendly and quick and they also have a wide range of sandwiches to choose from. Personally my favorite sandwich at Dodo is their chicken shawerma.
I don’t know how accurate this story is but I remember being told that the owner of Dodo was also the owner of Barakat, my favorite shawerma place back in the day when they were open in the old Salmiya near Fay (opposite Hardees). I think its true because one of the employees of Barakat now works at Dodo but it could be just a big coincidence. Dodo is a Lebanese restaurant that serves Lebanese style of food ranging from falafel to burgers to shawermas. One of the advantages of having shawerma at a Lebanese place is the garlic, and the garlic at Dodo is pretty damn good. As I’ve said before, there are only three things in a shawerma, the bread, the chicken and the garlic. The bread is easy to get right so no worries there. The chicken although the taste of it is important, even if you mess up you can cover up your tracks with good garlic since the garlic can cover the taste of the chicken. Now I am not saying there is a problem with the chicken at Dodo, on the contrary, the chicken is really good but the garlic is where its all at.
The size of the shawerma is pretty small and I usually have 3 to fill me up sometimes with a side order of their fries. The price of each shawerma is 300 fils which is cheap and I think with the quality of their shawerma they could easily price it at 350 fils and no one would complain especially when their most recent competitor, Vila Fayrouz Express charges 750 fils for theirs. All is not perfect though, Dodo suffers from lack of consistency which pisses me off. Sometimes I feel the chicken is undercooked and I hate it when that happens but luckily it doesn’t happen often. Final score is 4 out of 5. Dodo is located near La Baguette on Baghdad Street.
Posted by Mark
IKEA isn’t the first place that comes into mind when you think of Indian food but surprisingly, it should. When IKEA was still based in Shuwaikh their restaurant was tiny and had a limited variety of dishes. Now that they are based in The Avenues and have a lot of space they expanded their restaurant not only in size but also in the variety of dishes that they serve.
One of the dishes they used to serve every now and then as their daily special has now become a permanent dish on their menu, the chicken masala.
As I said earlier when it comes to Indian food IKEA isn’t the first thing that comes into mind. Swedish meatballs yes, chicken masala no. Despite how strange the notion of a Swedish furniture chain serving Indian food might sound, they somehow managed to get it right. IKEA serve extremely good chicken masala and they serve it alongside plain white steamed rice. Combined the meal is priced aggressively at only KD1.500! The portion is large and filling and the flavor is pretty darn good. Its currently my favorite dish at their restaurant and a favorite among many. With a cheap price tag, good portion and great flavor there really isn’t much to complain about. Final score is a 4.5 out of 5.
Posted by Mark
Baskin Robbins have a new milkshake called the Crunchy Shake. What makes it different from the regular shakes is that they blend a waffle cone with it so that while you are sipping your drink you get to taste the tiny bits of waffles. In theory it sounds good but my experience wasn’t.
First you get to choose three different flavors of ice cream for your shake. That is the fun part since you have a large variety to choose from but I went with the safe route and just chose chocolate mousse for my drink. The employee then took my scoops, dropped them into a blender with milk and a large waffle cone and then turned it on.
The flavor of the drink wasn’t that bad, the waffle cone bits actually do make a difference. The problem I had with my drink was that it was too liquidi, it was as if the employee put too much milk and not enough ice cream. That ruined the shake for me and after drinking half of the cup it just became really gross. I don’t know if this is how the shake was meant to be but I didn’t like it. Final score is a 2 out of 5.
Posted by Mark
Last night I had dinner at the Al-Muhallab Seafood restaurant at The Palms hotel in Bida’a. Since it was a business dinner and I didn’t pay the bill, this isn’t going to be a full review meaning I won’t give it a score at the end.
The restaurant is located right at the back of Palms and I imagine during the day you could most probably see the sea. They tried to make the restaurant look Kuwaiti but I didn’t feel it. When you first come into the place you go through an old wooden door which leads you to believe you will be walking into an old Kuwaiti house but once you are in the place opens up into this large cold space and it just kills the mood. I found the place too bright and not very cozy. The place should have looked like Oum Habib but instead you are greeted with a high ceiling, and old Kuwaiti artifacts hung around the walls in very Fuddruckers and Chilis style.
Now on the other hand, the food was really delicious. We chose a couple of hamours, lobsters, crabs, shrimps and zbeydi and then had them grill it for us. When the food arrived the waiters cut up the fish and served them to us which made dinner more enjoyable. The grilled shrimps was my favorite followed closely by the hamour.
Its a pity the place wasn’t designed nicer, thats the biggest let down. Even though the food was good I doubt I would go back. For me the atmosphere of the restaurant is as important as the food, they compliment each other and in this case the food was much better then the restaurant.
You can check out the Al-Muhallab Seafood website by clicking [here]