Drama in Mishref

Posted by Mark

fire

Since it’s a slow news day, here is a video and photo from a house thats under construction in Mishref that caught fire awhile ago.


[YouTube]

Thanks Wahab


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Sriracha Sauce in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

sriracha

SaveCo Supermarket is now carrying the original Huy Fong Sriracha chili sauce. Not sure how much quantity they brought in but they’re selling fast since most people are hoarding by buying 5 or 6 bottles. I personally picked up two at KD1.800 each which is the same price Amazon is selling them. So if you want some, you need to pass by asap.


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Semsom Lebanese Restaurant

Posted by Mark

semsom1

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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The Events are Back

Posted by Mark

events

After basically dying out over the summer, the events are starting to come back bit by bit. I just finished adding a whole bunch of upcoming ones so check them out [Here]

For those of you who’re using the iPhone app, due to a technical issue the event section there isn’t getting updated for now.


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Kuwait Moves up in the Environmental Performance Index

Posted by Mark

sofa desert

According to the latest Environmental Performance Index done by Yale University, Kuwait is now ranked #42 out of 178 countries listed. This makes Kuwait the 3rd best performing Arab country behind only the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Kuwait has moved up more than 100 places since I first posted about this index back in 2012 when Kuwait ranked nearly last. According to the Minister of Oil and State Minister for National Assembly Affairs, the improvement of the government environment policy was a major reason for the 2014 EPI improvement.

Check out the full rankings [Here]

Thanks Ali


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ORA Japanese Tapas

Posted by Mark

ora1

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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Monstariam presents Street Spray Soup 2

Posted by Mark

I’ve told them to let me know of their next event before it happens that way I can post about it here in case anyone wants to take part in it.

The 2nd Street Spray Soup took place in Shuwaikh Market. Some of Kuwait’s most talented artists gathered for good conversation, an exchange of ideas and to just draw together while giving one another tips. Mogahwi Stationery, LB o J’zazz, The Kuwait Times and some of Kuwait’s best dancers Doss and C-Sick also dropped by to support the event.

[YouTube]

spraysoup


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Dear Pinkberry

Posted by Mark

pistachio

Dear Pinkberry,
Please bring back the pistachio flavor.

Thank you,
Mark


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Breakfast at Yellow Lemon

Posted by Mark

yellowlemon

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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Impromptu Dance in Japan

Posted by Mark


[YouTube]

Zaina is a Kuwaiti Zumba instructor who was in Japan recently and had a pretty cool experience which I thought would be interesting to share here:

Quick background story: I was in Osaka, Japan with some friends right outside the metro station en route to Kyoto. On the way in I noticed a bunch of different dance crews practicing in their own corners, with their own boom boxes. I sat around and watched for a while until my friend suggested we Zumba!

Despite the major language barrier between us, we managed to find a way and communicated through dance. This is definitely one of the best moments that I’ve encountered on my journey in the Zumba and dance world. OH I also need to mention that this video is the first and only shot. This amazing group of dancers had never heard the song or seen ANY of the choreo prior to what you see!

I loved the whole thing from the story to the video which is why I wanted to share it here. If you’re interested in Zumba you can follow Zaina on instagram @zainzumba or on Facebook [Here]

zaina


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