Remember this Bus?

Post by Mark

doubledecker

Spotted the bus above at the double decker bus graveyard in Amghara. Back in the 90s this bus used to take tourists around or at least I think it did. I used to spot it mostly on Salem Mubarak Street.

I counted 21 busses at the bus graveyard, and a few of them had interiors that were in better condition than some of the busses currently in service.


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Looking for a Unimog

Post by Mark

unimog

Anybody know anyone selling a Unimog by any chance? If yes then please let me know!


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Vote for Bou Salem!

Post by Mark

My friends over at Beattie + Dane worked on this hilarious campaign for Al Munayes Tea called “Bou Salem”. He’s a funny character that is pretending to run for a seat in the upcoming parliament elections. There are two videos out so far, the one on top is the first video that was released in which the character Bou Salem was introduced for the first time. The one below was the second video and is of Bou Salem day dreaming while drinking his tea which made me laugh out loud when I first watched it. Kinda makes me miss not working in advertising anymore.

Note: The video on top is in Arabic

bousalem


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Things to do in Kuwait this Weekend

Post by Mark

jumo

This weekend is another busy weekend. From the list below the I’ll probably be checking out the Ford Middle East Truck Tour today, the Fall Festival 2016 and the Wizard of Oz Play tomorrow. And then Saturday the Jumo Coffee Live Music Brunch. Check out the full list of this weekends events below:

Thursday
Exhibition: Ain’t Nowhere to Hide
A Fifteen-Year Journey: The Art of Amira Behbehani
Exhibition: Precious Fragments
Kuwait International Book Fair
46th Palestinian Cultural Exhibition
Ford Middle East Truck Tour
Divan Movie Night: Peaceful Warrior

Friday
Kuwait International Book Fair
Ford Middle East Truck Tour
Farmers Trip
Tai Chi in the Park
Hatha Yoga with Rosie
The Big Bazaar
Fall Festival 2016
Good Game: Magic – The Gathering
Wizard of Oz Play
Salwa’ Walk and Socialize Meetup
Voices of Peace Concert

Saturday
Kuwait International Book Fair
Ford Middle East Truck Tour
AIS Job Fair
Yoga with 3
Guided Tour: Arab Organization Headquarters
Jumo Coffee Live Music Brunch
Open Studio
Movie Night at the Park: Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Wizard of Oz Play

If you’d like to share an event on the blog [Email Me]
For a full list of upcoming events click [Here]

Sometimes events get canceled or have details changed so always double check with the organizers.


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Movies Now Showing in Kuwait

Post by Mark

The movies below are now showing at Cinescape and Grand Cinemas:

New This Week:
Allied (7.2) ♦
Arrival (8.4) ★

Other Movies Showing:
Bleed for This (6.4) ♦
Doctor Strange (8.0) ★
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (8.3)
Ghost Coins (7.5)
Hacksaw Ridge (8.8) ★♦
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (7.4) ★
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (7.2)
Ouija: Origin of Evil (6.8)
Raven the Little Rascal – The Big Race (7.6)
The Accountant (7.8) ★
Trolls (6.7)

Numbers in brackets refer to the IMDB rating at time of publishing.
★ is for movies I’m interested in. ♦ implies movie might contain censorship.


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Indoor Tanning for Men

Post by Mark

tanning

Just a heads up for guys who might be interested in indoor tanning, the mens salon ‘Spaloon’ now has a standup tanning booth available for use. It’s the Hapro Luxura V7 model and because it’s a standup booth it allows you to more evenly tan when compared to regular tanning beds. This is the only place I am aware of that has indoor tanning for men (if I’m wrong let me know). The price is steep most likely due to the lack of competition. A session (up to you how long you want it but average is around 8 minutes) costs KD15. If you buy a package of 5 the price drops down to KD10 a session. To find out more you can check out Spaloon on instagram @spaloonkuwait


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Two Kuwaiti Teens Perform in Austria’s Got Talent

Post by Mark

kuwaitisgottalent

Two Kuwaiti teen brothers living in Vienna, Hussain Al Qallaf (13) and Thunayan Al Qallaf (15) preformed with their band “Diverse Trio” on the popular Austrian show, Got Talent (Die Große Chance De Chöre). They even went as far as making it to the semi finals.

You can check out a couple of videos below, the first one is of their audition tape and when they perform the song ‘It Will Rain’ by Bruno Mars in round 1 of the show.

The second video below is of them performing ‘Im not the only one’ by Sam Smith during the semi finals.

You can also check out their bio on the Got Talent website [Here] (its in German)

Thanks Salem!


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Coffee Corner: This coffee is too expensive

Post by Grant Mouton

coffeebeans1

As someone with almost a decade in the industry I can safely say that even your most expensive cup of coffee is, in fact, under-priced. For those of you who managed to attend the screening of “a Film about Coffee” at the Contemporary Art Platform in Shuwaikh last week, you might have noticed that this subject was briefly talked about.

So why is there this rift in thoughts? Why is it that coffee producers and coffee consumers disagree with the pricing of coffee? On the one hand we have the people in the coffee supply chain feeling short-changed and on the other the consumers feel that their cup of joe is costing far too much.

*Disclaimer: I am a part of the specialty coffee community, and you will see that the article is heavily in favor of this industry. I have however been as factual as possible, enjoy!*

First things first, we need to realize that there are three different types of coffee at three very different price points. It’s a concept we all know and understand with restaurants, but not with coffee. We can liken coffee stores to three different tiers of restaurants:

– Quick service restaurants (Global franchises; no trained chef) $

– Casual dining restaurants (More focus put on quality of ingredients, store aesthetics; entry level chef, mainly cooks) $$

– Fine dining (Utmost attention to details; traceable, high quality ingredients; well-trained chefs) $$$

To try and simplify, I will refer to the first two tiers as commodity coffee from hereon. So in coffee you have the same thing. The modern 3rd wave (or specialty) coffee can be thought of as “Fine dining coffee”. For this you pay a premium, but it is not just a greater mark up.

Labour
In commodity coffee the baristas are site trained according to the company’s standards and not recognized by the Specialty Coffee Association. Whereas in the 3rd wave stores, you will have at the very least one employee who has not only travelled the world to attend courses and seminars, but also constantly learns through online platforms to stay at the cutting edge of coffee knowledge – all to ensure a better coffee experience for you! Now one can certainly see that a more highly skilled barista bears a greater cost to company than an entry level barista.

Green Bean Sourcing
Just as quick service restaurants (QSR) constantly seek to drive the cost prices of the raw materials down, so too do commodity coffee shops. It is no secret that the giants in the industry use anywhere between 25-40% of Robusta coffee beans to make up their blends. But, so what if they use Robusta? Well it is a very cheap, low quality variety of coffee that has zero pleasurable flavor traits to it and is very bitter. I recently attended a course in Copenhagen where we trialled the use of the highest quality Robusta. During a blind tasting (I thought I was taste testing Arabica beans) I noted on my scoresheet that a particular bean was defective, i.e. not good enough to serve. Turns out said bean was in fact some high quality Robusta. This variety is more than likely the reason why the majority of people think of coffee as bitter. On top of that, the Arabica beans that commodity coffee shops do use is considered to be low grade, again it is cheap and has no desirable flavors. To put some numbers to it, Robusta retails for $1-$3/kg, whereas high quality, specialty Arabica coffee can retail anywhere between $25-$300/kg

These high prices are justified though. Specialty coffee is comprised of picked, sorted and processed coffee and is held to a much higher standard. Commodity coffee is grown on flat land and the process is almost fully mechanized. The reason that mechanization doesn’t work with coffee is because not all of the beans ripen at the same time and unripe coffee (unripe anything, really) simply does not taste as good.

Equipment
What if I told you that most commodity coffee chains don’t even have an espresso machine? Well, it’s the truth! Most of these commodity coffee giants have a “pseudo-espresso” machine which, again, is as automated as possible and yet they are serving you espresso based drinks! The reasons behind this are simple. Making a good espresso and steaming milk correctly is very difficult with incredibly small margins for error. I can assure you it will take months of practice just to learn to steam the milk correctly. Latte art? Forget about it! This is a craft that needs constant upkeep and at least a year behind a machine to become remotely good.

coffee2

Recipes
Commodity coffee shops will only use 6-8g of coffee when preparing a regular size coffee. In contrast, specialty coffee shops will use between 16-22g for the same size coffee. This is really important – specialty coffee uses at least double of an already more expensive raw material to prep your coffee, and yet we don’t charge twice or three times the price!

Economies of Scale
This is a pretty basic concept, but those who haven’t taken economics 101 it boils down to this: A company purchasing over 100,000 tonnes of coffee per year has much more leverage to negotiate prices than a company only buying 1-2 tonnes of coffee. This means that even if specialty coffee shops were to use the exact same low quality coffee beans as the larger coffee companies, the cost price would still be higher for those specialty stores.

When all things are considered, I hope you come to the same conclusion that I do, and that is: Specialty coffee is in fact under-priced, hence great value for money and commodity coffee actually has very high profit margins for a substandard product. The other thing you can consider is from a social responsibility point of view: Specialty coffee pays people in the supply chain, commodity coffee pays large corporations and favors mechanization; This in turn leads to higher rates of unemployment in developing areas (yes, I did just guilt trip you into buying specialty coffee!).

Keep sipping!

Post by Grant Mouton
Self–proclaimed coffee guru, coffee education addict, SCAA/SCAE accredited.
Brand manager at % Arabica.


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Sponsored: Carriage – Food Delivery App (Update)

Post by Sponsor
1

New Delivery Hours + Areas Expansion
We’re expanding our working hours! We’re now open till midnight, some of the restaurants that are open till then are: Eighty Six, Chili Pepper, Slice, Chili’s + many more. We’re also starting breakfast on the weekends starting from Friday, the 25th of November, so you can have your breakfast in bed from places like Crepeaffaire, Urban Café or Baking Tray!

2

For those of you who don’t know us yet, Carriage is a new food delivery service that offers:
– Restaurants that never delivered before like: Street AlMakan, Bao, Gia
– Live-tracking that lets you track your order in real-time on a map
– No minimum charges
– Fast delivery

We’ve had a lot of new restaurants join us this month like: Feynman’s, for those Solo Pizza lovers who live in the Mubarak Al Kabir/Al Ahmadi areas, Al Raha by Natureland, which serves food from 100% organic ingredients and Sunset Sliders, the new 80s nostalgia slider place which has stuff like the Miami Vice slider and the Death Star spicy chicken. We’ve also just started expanded our delivery to new areas like Ardiya, Andalous and Sabah Al Nasser.

3

Download Carriage on the App Store and the Google Play Store. You can also order using our beta website, which we’ve just launched. [Link]

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to find out about the latest offers and restaurants joining us.


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My Belongings Vintage Radio Shop

Post by Mark

belongings1

“My Belongings” or “Moqtanayaty” (مقتنياتي) in Arabic is a small store in Kuwait City that sells vintage radios, boomboxes, record players and even cameras. Unlike most places that sell vintage items, all the vintage music players in this store are in working condition. They actually repair vintage music players, VCRs, and even old TVs. So say you have an old radio that stopped working, you could take it to them and they’ll try and fix it for you.

belongings2

They have a lot of random items around the store as well from 8mm film and 8-track tapes to old telephones and clocks. The store is open from 9AM to 1PM and 4:30PM to 9PM. Here is their location on [Google Maps]


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