Semsom Lebanese Restaurant

Post by Mark

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Semsom is another restaurant that’s located in Arabella and also one that has been open for a few months now. They aren’t a traditional Lebanese restaurant, instead they describe themselves as a traditional Lebanese restaurant with a twist. The “twist” aspect is what attracted me and was the main reason I’ve been wanting to try them out for awhile now.

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Semsom is split into two floors, the lower floor is smoke free while the upper floor is a smoking zone. As a non-smoker I thought that was great but I was with a smoker on this trip so we originally sat upstairs. I say originally because after sitting there for 5 minutes we decided to move down into the smoke free zone. The top floor was a bit gloomy and claustrophobic when compared to the lower level which had large windows spanning from one side of the restaurant till the other. Flipping through the menu I was kind of disappointed since I was expecting a lot more dishes as well as lot more twists compared to other Lebanese restaurants. In the end we settled for the following:

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Hummus with with Sumac & Zaatar KD1.600
Tabbouleh with Lentils KD2.000
Makanek KD2.450
Taouk Light with Fattoush KD3.800
Regular Chicken Taouk KD4.600

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The hummus was served first arriving pink in color which I was expecting from the pictures. Since hummus is such a common and traditional dish I always love seeing different variations of it and this one was a pretty interesting one. It was light in flavor but combined with their hot fresh puffy bread it was perfect even though I should have been low carbing that day. The tabbouleh also worked out really well, instead of using the traditional burghul, Semsom uses lentils. A nice twist yes but while in Lebanon around two weeks ago I discovered an even better twist. Instead of using burghul, the place I had tabbouleh at had replaced burghul with quinoa and I found that to be a genius combination. So if any restaurant in Kuwait wants to copy that combo please feel free to do so and then let me know about it. The last mezza to arrive was the makanek and from all the dishes I had, the makanek had to be the best one. Not sure what their secret is but I’m guessing its all in the sauce. Finally our main course arrived. The chicken although tasted good didn’t look very appetizing and it also lacked any sort of twist that would distinguish it from the countless of taouks you could have anywhere else.

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Overall a positive but unexciting experience. The service was fast and friendly and the price of the dishes was similar to other Lebanese restaurants so that’s fine. I was just expecting more fusion dishes on the menu and as it is there really wasn’t enough to win me over. If you’re interested, Semsom is located in Arabella and you can visit their website for more information [Here]


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ORA Japanese Tapas

Post by Mark

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ORA is a Japanese Tapas restaurant that opened around 3 months ago in Arabella. I was out of the country when I was originally invited for a tasting and then only managed to finally pass by and try it out last week. The story behind ORA is an interesting one, five friends from Kuwait who went to school in California met Executive Chef Tiger at Katsuya in Beverly Hills. One thing led to another and the five friends came back to Kuwait with Chef Tiger and together they created ORA.

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Most of the people go to ORA in the evening but I headed there with a friend for lunch since I wanted natural daylight for my photos. At night the place is very dim and from what I’ve been told the place is usually packed and the atmosphere makes you feel like you’re in Dubai. That’s generally the best compliment you can give to a place here… when it doesn’t make you feel like you’re in Kuwait. We ended up ordering the following dishes:

Yellowtail Tacos KD5.500
Salmon Crab Avocado Salad (x2) KD9.000
Crispy Rice Spicy Tuna KD3.500
Tiger Shrimp Tempura Roll KD4.750
Yellowtail Chili Miso KD6.500
Donburi Short Rib KD5.500
Chocolate & Salted Caramel Bread Pudding KD3.750

Chef Tiger was the Executive Chef at Katsuya in Brentwood, Los Angeles for four years before helping them open their locations in Hollywood and Glendale. He has an extensive background with Katsuya and that inspiration is reflected in his dishes. Like Katsuya you can’t compare ORA to regular traditional Japanese restaurants since the dishes are much more evolved. From all the dishes we had my favorite probably had to be the Yellowtail Chili Miso with my least favorite being the Salmon Crab Avocado Salad. I still think EDO has the best Salmon Crab Avocado Salad but my issue with the one at ORA was it was just a bit too safe of a dish compared to everything else we had. Unlike the other dishes it didn’t look like it was taken to the next step, one that would allow it to be distinguished from all the other Salmon Crab Avocado Salads in Kuwait. I wasn’t planning on having dessert but I was glad I did. Instead of using bread for their Chocolate & Salted Caramel Bread Pudding, ORA use croissant which makes it super fluffy while probably adding another thousand calories. But, the chef has somehow managed to make it taste very light which resulted in my original plan of having just one bite fail miserably.

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One thing that really stuck out for me was the service, not only were the waiters quiet, fast and well informed, but at least with our waiter he made us feel like we were at a spa since he was very soothing and borderline therapeutic. The interior of ORA is another thing I liked about the place. It’s a beautiful minimal space and from all the restaurants at Arabella probably the nicest looking and most luxurious. Speaking of luxury, I found the prices at ORA fairly reasonable for this style of place. Sure if you order one of the lobster dishes you’re going to end up paying upwards of KD20 but majority of the items are all well within reach. Their prices are actually similar to Katsuya and MAKI but the place manages to feel a lot more upscale which makes it a perfect place for dates and special occasions. Our bill came out to KD45 and that included food, beverages and tips. The only negative aspect about ORA is the fact that it’s in Arabella which itself isn’t very luxurious. Right on top of ORA is Margherita the pizza place and right across ORA is Texas Roadhouse and there is a Pinkberry on top of that. There’s a large Red Lobster at the main entrance with an Olive Garden in front of it as well. Arabella kinda feels like an outdoor food court because of all the franchises.

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I liked ORA a lot and it’s a place I would definitely go back to. Also unlike most restaurants who bring in big international chefs, Chef Tiger is here to stay and he’s brought along two of his sous chefs with him so the food should continue to remain good. ORA is open from 12PM to 4PM and then again from 6PM till 12AM. It’s always better to call ahead for reserverations and their number is 22275090. For more information you can check out their instagram @ora_kw


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Breakfast at Yellow Lemon

Post by Mark

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Yellow Lemon is a new small breakfast place that opened up around two weeks ago in Salmiya near Sultan Center Shaab. It’s been awhile since a new breakfast place opened up and I’ve kinda started getting bored with my usual spots so I was pretty excited to check this place out.

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When we arrived to the place it was empty except for one other table that was occupied. In total there are only five tables in the place, two large ones enough to fit four, and three small ones that fit two. The menu is divided into three main parts, omelettes, pancakes and more eggs which are different dishes made using eggs. I opted for the Turkey Muffin, a no carbs dish consisting of baked eggs wrapped in smoked turkey and filled with tomatoes and feta cheese while my friend went for their signature Lemon Pancakes. We also ordered a small bottle of water and orange juice for our drinks.

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There wasn’t any music playing so it was a bit awkward having a conversation in such a small place since it felt like everyone could hear us. But, just as our food arrived, more people came in and filled the place up creating a much more cozier and comfortable atmosphere. My dish looked great and had a side of chopped watermelon. It was a very light carb free protein dish that might have been just a tad undercooked but was still fine since I prefer that to it being overcooked. My friend enjoyed the lemon pancakes as well so we were both pretty satisfied with our choices.

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My biggest issue with the place had to do with the price of the water and orange juice. A small bottle of water costs KD1.000 while a teeny tiny glass of orange juice was for KD1.500. There is absolutely no reason why water should cost so much at a small hole in the wall and the same goes with the orange juice. The food was more reasonably priced with my Turkey Muffin costing KD3 while the Lemon Pancakes KD3.750. Nothing on the menu exceeded KD4.

The question on would I go back is a difficult one to answer. On the one hand my favorite hole in the wall breakfast place is The Early Bird and one of the best things there is the atmosphere of the place which this place lacks. Yellow Lemon feels like they want to be an upscale hole in the wall breakfast place targeting posh girls, and you know what, that might actually work. On the other hand I would only go back if I’m looking for a quiet private place, maybe for a morning business meeting.

For more information on Yellow Lemon including a map, check out their instagram account @yellowlemonkwt


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Sultanchef – Turkish Steakhouse

Post by Mark

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A couple of friends and I passed by the Turkish Steakhouse Sultanchef yesterday for lunch. I hadn’t heard of the place before but my friend had and supposedly it was really good so we decided to try it out. The restaurant is located in Al Tijaria Tower which I consider a dead mall so I was pretty surprised to find the restaurant fully packed when we arrived. This was a mid week lunch in a mall with very little footfall yet we had to wait 5 minutes for a table to free up in what is a pretty large restaurant.

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Once we were seated we asked our waiter what he would recommend to which he replied telling us if it’s our first time visiting we should come with him to the fridge so he could explain all the different cuts of meat and dishes they had. We headed to the far end of the restaurant where two large fridges displayed all the meat… a lot of meat. One by one he took us through everything and in the end we ordered the following:

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Goat Cheese Salad (x2) KD4.000
Sultanchef Cheesy Meatballs KD4.750
Marinated Sliced Beef KD9.800
Sultanchef Burger KD4.600
Rack of Lamb KD34.600
Sultanchef Special (x2) KD15.150
Special Antep Baklava (x3) KD8.850

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The first dish that arrived were the cheesy meatballs. Even though they’re called meatballs they weren’t really balls but more like large semicircles. The presentation didn’t look that great but damn they were good. If we hadn’t ordered so much food we would have definitely ordered another portion of these. Once we were done the sliced beef on skewers arrived and those tasted even better than the meatballs. It was a great start to what would be a protein overdose lunch. Just a quick note, by default everything is cooked medium well so we had to tell them to cook everything medium for us. The burger arrived after chopped in four and even though it was overcooked it was still pretty juicy. The burger had caramelized onions, cheddar cheese and a slice of smoked beef all packed between a delicious bun. A good burger that we ordered out of curiosity but this really isn’t the place to order one. The goat cheese salad arrived somewhere between all this and I didn’t really like it. Not that it was bad (my friends liked it) but I just thought it was unexciting compared to everything else we were having.

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Once we were done with our starters one of our main courses arrived, the rack of lamb. When you order the rack of lamb the chef comes from the kitchen to slice it up for you table side. The chef is a character of his own, he puts on a great show and even feeds you the first bite which is hilarious and awkward at the same time. The rack of lamb was delicious and the quantity was huge. We were three guys and the portion was more than enough for us. Once we thought everything was done the Sultanchef special arrived which is thinly sliced beef fillet drenched in butter. By this point even though we had eaten enough meat to feed an adult tyrannosaurus, we still managed to dig into the Sultanchef special as if we had just started our lunch. Just like the rack of lamb, the chef comes to your table to serve you the food. Once we were done with our food we decided to order dessert. If there is one thing you should have at Sultanchef it’s their baklava. The chef also comes to your table to prepare and serve their special baklava and come to think of it the chef is a pretty busy guy. He comes table side with the baklava and some ice cream, he then splits open your baklava, spreads the ice cream inside and then closes the baklava creating a baklava ice cream sandwich. That’s just INSANE. 50,000 calories later and right before we slipped into a food coma, we asked for the bill while sipping on some traditional tea.

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Even though the place was packed with every table occupied the service was incredible and surprising for a place that has been open for just two months. Usually places take a lot longer to get their service working like clockwork but these guys somehow managed to do it in a much shorter timespan. Our waiter was Turkish and very knowledgable, friendly and helpful which is why he ended up with a big fat tip at the end. Pricing on the other hand is an issue. All the food was delicious and I’d love to order all of it again but at the end with the drinks and tip we ended up paying around KD35 each. That’s pretty expensive for what essentially isn’t a high end luxury restaurant. But based on how packed the place was, it seems a lot of people don’t mind paying that much for what really is a great steakhouse.


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The Foundry Sandwich Shop

Post by Mark

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Theres going to be a bunch of food related posts coming this week since I’m trying to catch up on all the new places that have opened up recently but, I’m going to start off with one that just opened on up this past wednesday called The Foundry.

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For those of you who’ve visited Qout Market you might recognize The Foundry since that’s where they started. They were one of the popular food stands at the market with a speciality sandwich called the foundry chicken sandwich which I looovvveeee. It features their very own marinated chicken, provolone cheese, avocado, sundried tomato and the foundry pesto sauce which has a slight hint of garlic. With the opening of their restaurant they’ve added more sandwiches (or sammiches as they call them) to the menu bringing the total to five including a vegetarian option called the avocado smash. I haven’t tried their other sandwiches yet but I will on my upcoming visits.

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My favorite thing about The Foundry is that they’re located in Salmiya close to where I live. They’ve setup shop in the parking lot next to Eureka Salmiya and they’ve done a really great job with the space they had to work with. The place is small with around 5 or 6 tables but it’s really cozy and looks fantastic. Because the place is run by the partners who have full time jobs, they’re currently only opening in the evenings from around 6:30PM to 9:30PM. That’s a small window but understandable.

If you’re interested in trying them out, here is their location on [Google Maps] and here’s a link to their instagram account @thefoundrykw


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First Drive: Porsche Macan S

Post by Mark

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The Porsche Macan S is Porsche’s new crossover SUV that just recently joined their lineup as the baby Cayenne. But, unlike the Cayenne the Macan has one thing that’s really going for it, it has the hottest rear end of any crossover on the market right now. I just loved the design of the lights on the back which is why I took so many pictures of it. Getting to test drive the Macan wasn’t that easy. Back in early May I emailed my contact at Porsche and asked them if I could borrow the Macan over the weekend. Turns out there was a two months waiting period since the Macan was fully booked every weekend. So, I put my name on the list and waited and waited until I got the call last week telling me to pass by and pick up the car.

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When I first sat inside the Macan the first thing I realized was how much smaller it was than I had expected it to be. It was pretty compact and felt more like a large hatchback instead of a small SUV. The second thing I noticed was all the buttons going down the center console. I love buttons, but the amount of buttons going down the center of the Macan was just intimidating. I drove off the lot and headed onto the highway and thats when things started getting pretty impressive. Because the Macan is a pretty small and low car, it handles and feels like a small sports car. The engine is a 340HP V6 twin-turbo which is more than enough to get you some speeding tickets. The car is pretty fast… and extremely extremely quiet. Probably too quiet because when you’re on the highway its very difficult to tell how fast you’re going unless you’re constantly looking at your speedometer. You can’t hear anything, not the engine noise, wind noise or even road noise. Porsche did an amazing job with the sound isolation.

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Speaking of sound, the Macan I drove came with the optional Bose sound system. I am generally not a fan of Bose sound systems and if I hadn’t heard it I would have recommend to shell out KD1,370 for the optional Burmester sound system when buying the car. But, after spending a weekend with the Bose sound system I have to say I was impressed and it’s just a KD340 option. At low volumes the Bose can be a bit boomy but it’s very capable at high volumes and I was listening to a variety of music from electronic to indie. The Porsche Communication Management (PCM) which is the cars stereo was also very practical. Its a touch screen which makes getting to controls quick and it’s also iPhone compatible. I was able to stream music either via USB located in the center console storage compartment or via bluetooth.

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It was getting close to the golden hour so I decided to head out into the desert to take some photos of the car. The Macan is an all wheel drive car that comes off-road ready, there’s even a button marked “OFF-ROAD” which when pressed will adjust the cars various settings including ride height and traction settings in preparation for an off-road trail. I didn’t venture much off the tarmac since I didn’t want to risk getting stuck in the middle of nowhere but the little I did go off-road, the Macan handled well. But, it was mostly soft sand and nothing too deep to really test the car out in.

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Later that day I picked up some friends and headed out to dinner. Although the Macan is a 4-door car, the rear passengers don’t have much legroom. It’s a pretty tight space and even getting in and out of the rear seats isn’t very graceful. But, no one really complained or asked for the front seats to be pushed forward so that’s a good thing. It probably has to do with the fact it’s a Porsche and looks like a sports car so people don’t expect much legroom in the first place. The roof height on the other hand was perfectly fine even with the optional panorama roof which my car had.

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Once the weekend was over and I gave back the car did I realize how practical of a car the Macan was. I’ve been considering getting a sports car for some time now, a car that would compliment my current FJ Cruiser. The Macan though is two cars in one, it drives like a sports car but has the flexibility of an SUV albeit not the same full capabilities as either one. It’s an all round car, a crossover and one that works really well. Price wise the Macan is pretty reasonable starting at around KD20,000 for the S model and KD28,000 for the Turbo. I custom built a Macan S on the Porsche Kuwait website and pimped it out with all the options I wanted and ended up with a model thats around KD24,000 before the discount. Unlike in some other countries, many of the optional features come standard in Kuwait so even if you go for the base model, you’re still getting a lot of car. My color recommendation? Agate Grey for the exterior with the Monochrome Black exterior package and black leather sport seats for the interior.


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Review: The Southern

Post by Mark

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Near the end of last year a friend of mine told me about a new restaurant that was opening called The Southern. I checked out their Facebook page and started following them, waiting for the day they would announce their opening. That day finally came last week so I headed out to Mahboulah to try them out.

The Southern is a small restaurant owned by a Kuwaiti couple and focuses on Southern (American) classic dishes. Both mums of the couple are American with one mum originally from North Carolina and the other from Kentucky so most of the dishes served at The Southern are based on recipes taken from their mums. The fact that their head chef is American also helps keep everything as authentic as possible. The interior of the restaurant is designed by the very talented Lab100 design studio, the same studio behind the design of Ubon and Rio. I loved everything about the way it looked and once the weather gets cooler they will even have outdoor seating.

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When I arrived to the restaurant the waitress told me I was their first lunch time customer. They had soft launched a week earlier with just dinner and they had just started opening for lunch on the day I passed by. I always prefer having lunch at a restaurant I’m reviewing just for the simple fact the photos always come out better. Their menu isn’t very big with just 3 starters, 5 main courses and 3 desserts. Since I was alone I decided to skip the starters and instead have 3 main courses and a dessert. I ended up ordering the following:

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Bayou Fried Shrimps KD3.75
Spicy Pulled BBQ Chicken Sliders KD2.95
Sloppy Joe Sliders KD2.8
Southern Biscuits (side dish) KD0.750
Baked Mashed Potatoes (side dish) KD0.750
Soft Drink KD0.500

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The first thing that arrived was the Bayou fried shrimps. I found the dish unexciting both in presentation and flavor. It was good but it just wasn’t special, it was too similar to regular breaded shrimp I could have anywhere else because there were no new flavors in it for me to explore. The portion was also small and it would make more sense having it as a starter than a main. After the fried shrimps things took a giant leap forward. The next dish that arrived was the pulled bbq chicken sliders and I fell in love. It was delicious and full of flavor, even the buns were perfect and I was just starting to think to myself how I would come back for it when they brought over the sloppy joe sliders.

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Their sloppy joe sliders were ridiculously good. Right after taking the first bite I took my beloved pulled chicken sliders dish and put it across from me on the other side of the table. Even though I had ordered three main courses I knew right away that it would be the sloppy joe sliders that I would fully consume. It was the third main course I was having but it was so good I couldn’t stop eating it (obviously I wasn’t dieting that day). Once I was done I ordered the fried blueberry pie which I just realized they didn’t charge me for (it’s KD1.750). I was having a hard time deciding between the peach cobbler and the pie but ended up going with the pie because I was looking for something sweeter. The pie took around 10 minutes to prepare and it came hot with ice cream on the side. It was pretty light and crispy but I was also curious to try their cobbler and if I wasn’t so full already I would have ordered that as well.

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Overall I had a great experience and I would go back again for sure (on a cheat day). The only negative feedback I have is with the waitress who had trouble answering some of my questions regarding some of the dishes. But, they had only been open for a week so that kinda makes it ok I guess plus she was friendly and bubbly which is always more important. Their regular timings are from 11AM to 11PM but in Ramadan they’re open from 6.30pm to 8pm and then again from 11pm to 3am. They also have a set menu for Ramadan which is KD9 per person if you prefer that. For more information including their location, check out their page on [Facebook]


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The Garmin Virb Elite

Post by Mark

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I’ve never been a fan of the GoPro cameras so that’s why when I wanted to get an action camera a couple of years ago I ended up getting the Contour+ instead, it had some exciting features the Contour lacked as well as a slicker form factor. But, that wasn’t enough to overthrow GoPro since two years later, GoPro is still here while Contour collapsed last year due to financial difficulties. Now it’s Garmin’s turn to try and take on the GoPro with the new Virb action camera. Garmin are known for their navigation devices and this is their first attempt at an action camera so the local dealer in Kuwait passed me one to review.

I’ve had the camera now for around two months and I think I’ve got a clear idea of what I think about it. I’ve used it to record my bike trips, I’ve used it off roading in Lebanon and I’ve even tried using it as a dash cam. Generally I like the camera, it’s not perfect but it has some cool features that might make some people choose it over the more popular GoPros.

The biggest feature I think that will win people over is the durable water resistant rubber shell. The camera feels very well built and can take abuse which is why I wasn’t afraid of dropping it. Actually during this one trip the camera flew off my ATV while speeding on a rocky mountain trail. Not a scratch, not even on the lens. But even if I did scratch the lens it’s a cheap $20 part I could replace myself. Garmin wants me to put this camera in risky situations not be worried about damaging it and I love that.

Another great feature is the fact the camera has a large color LCD screen which you could use to help you frame your shots, for playback or to adjust any of the settings. The camera also has a large record toggle button similar to the one I used to have on my Contour camera which means I can turn on the camera and start recording by just moving the switch forward. Specs wise the camera can shoot 1080p at 30fps, 720p at 60fps and for extra slow mo, WVGA at 120fps. It also has GPS, wifi, bluetooth and even ANT+ so you could connect it to your heart rate monitor or other ANT+ device and overlay that information onto your video.


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I think the biggest issue with the Virb is the weight of the camera. Because the camera is built like a tank it’s heavier than the GoPro and that might turn some people off. Also the majority of the footage I shot was coming out slightly underexposed and desaturated as you can see in the short video above. Finally the color of the device turned out to be problematic. The Virb I received for testing was white but after having it for a couple of months now and the abuse its taken from me the white now has a bit of a brown tint where it fell into the dirt and I had difficulty restoring it. Getting the black version would be the easy fix here.

The majority of the people interested in an action camera will most likely get the GoPro because thats the one everyone gets. But, that doesn’t mean it would be the best option for you. If you’re looking for a camera that can take some abuse or a camera in which you could overlay data onto your video like the speed you’re traveling or your heart rate, then you should consider checking out the Virb. The price of the Garmin starts at KD85 for the normal Virb or KD109 for the Virb Elite which is the one I tested.


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A’s Chicken

Post by Mark

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I’m always on the look out for new places where I could pick up a healthy meal from and since trying A’s Chicken last week its now one of those places I’ll be frequenting often. I’ve already had them three times so far and even though their menu is super small that’s really not an issue. How small? They basically have only three main items, grilled chicken (1/2 or whole), grilled taouk and a chicken wrap.

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I’ve only had their taouk (which is grilled chicken cubes) and I always request it to be spicy. It comes with french fries, a not very garlicky garlic sauce (thats a good thing),a soft drink and costs KD2. The french fries obviously isn’t healthy so if you can’t resist them just tell them not to include it. The reason I like them other than the fact the spicy chicken taouk is delicious is because whenever I’m in the city and need a quick meal I can just pass by them and pick up my taouk. The only downside is the fact that you need to call 30 minutes ahead so it’s not fast food. Also I wonder if they can replace the fries with a bit of salad? I’m already swapping the soft drink with a bottle of water so if they can swap the fries with salad that would make this an even better meal. I need to check this next time I place an order.

A’s Chicken is located in Kuwait City in an alleyway next to Solo Pizza and behind Solo Tacos. They don’t have dine in just takeaway and delivery so if you want some grilled protein you can call them on 22412124 or find them on talabat.


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The Blendtec Q-Series Blender

Post by Mark

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Recently I went on a blender hunt since I wanted to replace my Philips blender which started to struggle making my smoothies. I started checking out the two best blender brands, VitaMix and Blendtec. Just like the great SNES vs Genesis battle there is a similar one between VitaMix and Blendtec. You have to choose sides, it’s either VitaMix or Blendtec and you can’t have both. Both brands have excellent blenders and no matter which one you choose you can’t go wrong. After watching countless videos on YouTube of people comparing the two blenders and basically just watching people blend stuff, I came to the conclusion that both blend extremely well but I was choosing Blendtec. Why?

– I liked the way Blendtec blenders looked like compared to the VitaMix blenders. Looks aren’t everything but if I was going to spend so much on a blender and bond with it then I wanted to like everything about it including looks. For people with low kitchen cabinets the VitaMix might not fit underneath because the VitaMix jars are tall and thin while the Blendtec jars are wide and short. The Blendtec blenders also look like modern kitchen appliances while the VitaMix have an old school look which is probably why they’re so popular with hipsters.

– I’m a huge a fan of the Blendtec informercial series “Will it blend?“. In the show the company founder tries to blend random objects in their blenders and he’s blended everything from iPhones and iPads to glow sticks and McDonalds meals. If it can blend an iPhone, it can blend my smoothie.

– The local Blendtec dealer is Mabrook, the same dealer as KitchenAid and I’m already a customer there.

There really weren’t that many models to choose from at the VitaMix and Blendtec dealers and both of them carried only the business range. The Blendtec dealer had only three models, the Blendtec Xpress, the Q-Series which was their midrange unit and the Chef which was their top of the line model. I ended up going with the Q-Series because I loved the size of the unit, the way it looked and the soundproofing features. The fact that Starbucks also uses the same blender didn’t hurt either.

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The blender came in a huge unmarked brown box with just a small label on the side describing the contents. Inside the large box was the blender, two jars, some manuals and a CD. Setting up the blender was as simple as plugging it in and turning it on. It works right out of the box just like a regular blender. The “Q” in the “Q-Series” stands for quiet since the unit has sound proofing inside the case around the motor as well as a noise preventing cover that closes down over your jar. It’s meant for coffee shops and juice bars where they have to keep the noise level down as low as possible so as not to annoy the customers. The controls are fairly basic at first glance, 6 touch buttons on the top and a large power switch on the front but the 6 buttons on top are all customizable and programmable. The blender has 9 blending speeds and 30 pre-programmed blend cycles. Using the supplied “Cycle Chart” you can set up any of the 30 available pre-sets to any of the buttons on the blender and if there is a specific custom cycle you want you can take the blender to the dealer and they will program it into the blender.

I use one of the factory set smoothie cycles that is just 23 seconds long and consists of the following cycle: Starts off at speed 3 then goes to 5,1,3,5,3,6 and finally ends at speed 7. During the blending process the units LCD display will show you what speed the blender is on and how many seconds left for the blending process to be completed. The same blue LCD screen also displays a smoothie counter, kinda like how your car has the odometer, the Blendtec blender has a lifetime counter. As of this post I have made 95 smoothies in the two weeks I’ve had my blender.

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There is literally nothing this blender can’t blend and no matter what I’ve thrown at it the blender has never even given the slightest sign of a struggle. My Q-Series blender has a 3.8hp motor and I haven’t used anything higher than a speed 7 even though it goes up to speed 9. I really didn’t realize how much my older blender used to struggle when making smoothies until I tried it again a week after getting my Blendtec. Not only did my old blender struggle but it also used to take around a minute to blend a smoothie. On the other hand I had a smoothie party last week and I was blending smoothies left and right flipping between two jars like a pro and blending nearly 3 smoothies a minute. I love this blender.

There are some downsides though. First is the fact the blender came with the regular 4-side jars and not the newer 5-side WildSide+ jar which is supposed to blend even quicker. The other negative is the fact the lid of the jar leaks when I clean the jar. To clean the jar all you do is fill it up with a bit of water and add a drop of soap. You then mount the jar on the the blender and use the “Pulse” button until the jar is clean. Only issue is unless I’m really holding down on the lid really hard it ends up leaking water from the top. I haven’t had any issue when blending my smoothies just when cleaning the jar but still, it’s annoying to have to keep wiping my blender down after cleaning a jar. The last issue is the price.

Before I mention the price I have to say, this blender is not for everyone in the same way Subzero fridges and Viking ranges aren’t for everyone. If you want a really good blender at a great price then I highly recommend the Philips which I previously had. But the Blendtec is one of the best blenders you can buy period and it’s commercial grade which is why it costs a staggering KD375. Even the Blendtec Xpress which is the entry level blender at the local dealer is still KD193. But good blenders cost a lot of money and it’s not just Blendtec or blenders, commercial grade appliances be it a fridge or a toaster will cost considerably more than regular plastic appliances. The VitaMix blenders I checked out locally were expensive as well with their entry level Drink Machine Two-Speed going for KD260 while their Vita Prep 3 is for KD359.

I love my blender.


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