Categories
Mags & Books

Benny’s Books Monthly Book Subscriptions

Benny’s Books is a new business that’s opening its door tomorrow (April 23rd) on World Book Day. Their mission is to provide children aged 0-12 with access to curated books that ignite their imaginations and inspire a lifelong love for reading.

I posted about another book box subscription service a few years ago but that business isn’t around anymore. Benny’s Books is a similar concept where for a monthly fee they’ll mail you curated books of their choosing every month. Their prices will start as low as KD9.6 per month and that includes the shipping cost.

The baby book club includes 3 engaging books featuring cuddly characters and vibrant illustrations designed to stimulate your baby’s senses and encourage an early love for books right from the start.

If you’re interested in signing up for finding out more, check out their instagram account @bennysbookskw

Categories
Information Kuwait

Inside the Bayan Palace Botanical Gardens

Some of you might not know this but the Bayan Palace has a botanical garden inside. It was designed by Dutch architect Peter van der Toorn Vrijthoff from the firm ALLDESIGN, and it was officially opened in 2015.

The botanical garden is composed of 3 large glasshouses containing 6 different gardens with 4 different climate zones and exhibiting tropical, dry, Mediterranean and European plants. It’s one of the main attractions for official state visitors and until a couple of years ago, was actually open to the public.

I passed by for the first time back in 2016, and looking at my notes from my visit it seems I had mixed feelings about the place. The garden was smaller than it looked but it was still pretty interesting with most of the exotic plants inside labeled with their names. One thing I didn’t like about the place was the limited accessibility; the gardens were only open to the public on Thursdays, from 9AM to 1PM. So if you had a day job you wouldn’t be able to visit the gardens unless you took time off work.

For reasons unknown to me, the botanical garden closed to the public a couple of years ago and hasn’t opened again since. I even passed by last week to double check and it was indeed still closed.

If you’ve never been to the gardens before, check out my post on Instagram where I have more photos up plus a couple while it was still under construction @248am.

You can also follow the botanical gardens instagram account to be notified once/if they reopen again @botanicalgardenkw

Categories
Activities Sports

The Tallest Climbing Wall in Kuwait Just Opened

This past Friday was the opening of the Ascend Rock Climbing Center in Hawally. Ascend initially started off as a small local community for climbing enthusiasts in Kuwait by a climbing enthuisiast, @ali.ascends.

I’ve been posting about Ali (and Ascend) for nearly 10 years now. I first found out about him in 2014 after he moved back to Kuwait from university and started recording videos of himself climbing random rock walls in Mutlaa. His aim from the very beginning was to build a climbing community in Kuwait and so he started the group “Kuwait Climbing” (later became Ascend).

The group used to meetup in Mutlaa as well as whatever climbing walls were available in Kuwait at that time. Ali eventually built a small climbing wall outside his family home which became popular, and later expanded it to meet the demand. Now I imagine the community is going to grow even larger with this new climbing center which he was able to open with the help of his partner Hanan, and the help of the climbing community.

The Ascend Rock Climbing Center located inside Emall in Hawally, across the street from Andalus Complex. The climbing center boasts the tallest climbing wall in Kuwait at 14.5m tall. I passed by yesterday for the opening and it was pretty busy with a lot of climbers from the region who had come to Kuwait to check out the center. There were even climbers who flew in from Europe, that should give you an idea of how much Ali is loved by the climbing community.

If you’re interested in getting into the sport of climbing, the center is open daily from 11AM to 11PM. The first hour of climbing costs 5KD and its then 2.5KD for every additional hour. There are also day passes as well as monthly memberships. For more information, check out @ascend.kw

Categories
Events Things to do

Things to do in Kuwait this Weekend

Here are this weekends events, let me know if I missed anything.

Thursday, April 18th
KASA’s 18th Annual Students’ Exhibition
Ice Hockey World Championship

Friday, April 19th
MACBETH
KASA’s 18th Annual Students’ Exhibition
Ice Hockey World Championship
Brainiac Live

Saturday, April 20th
MACBETH
Augmented Reality Treasure Hunt
KASA’s 18th Annual Students’ Exhibition
Trash Tag Beach Clean Up
Brainiac Live
Fusion Fitness

Categories
Movies Television

Movies & TV Shows to Watch this Weekend

Last weekend I binge watched the first season of Fallout on Amazon and it was very entertaining. I played the video game years ago when it first came out and so it was really cool to see it turned into a TV series. Fallout and The Last of Us are two shows that were based off a video game and turned out to be very good, I tried watching the series Halo but didn’t get into it, so now thinking of giving it another shot because of Fallout.

Let us know in the comments what you’ve been watching or planning to watch this weekend.

Movies at the Cinemas
The movies below are now showing at the local cinemas:

New This Week:
Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (6.5)
Heat (Classic/1995) (8.3)
Mothers’ Instinct (6.5)
The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare (7.1)

Other Movies Showing:
Dune: Part Two (8.8)
Kung Fu Panda 4 (6.4)
The Bricklayer (5.1)
The First Omen (6.9)

The numbers in brackets refer to the IMDB rating at the time of publishing.

Categories
Mags & Books People

Kuwaiti Author Featured on Andy Cohen’s Show

Dalal Khajah is a Kuwaiti author and the Co-Founder of Manservants, a US-based company that allows women to order chivalrous gentlemen for launch events, red carpets, or just for a girls’ night out.

The company started off as a joke that Dalal and her colleague took too far, but then it went viral and took off to become a serious and successful business that now serves Palm Springs, Los Angeles, San Diego and New York. Each ManServant is trained in their signature service, which includes, but is not limited to, pouring drinks, serving compliments and adoration, taking photos, and waiting on the women hand and foot.

ManServant Guide to Modern Chivalry” is a book that was born out of the business. It’s a book that details how men should treat women in the 21st century from doing laundry, carrying shopping bags, cleaning the bathroom, or watching the kids.

The book has just been released and is already garnering media attention, including Dalal being invited onto the show “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen” a few days ago. If Andy looks familiar, it’s because he also hosts “The Real Housewives.”

I downloaded the book on my Kindle and it’s fun little book thats not meant to be taken too seriously. It’s also reasonably priced, at just $10.99 for the Kindle version and $20 for the hardcover.

If you want to buy the book or just find out more about Dalal and Manservants, head over to @manservants_co or their website manservants.co

Categories
Kuwait People Videos

Sprinkles & Spice Podcast

Sprinkles & Spice is a locally produced and recorded podcast by two girls, Zainab and Mia. They’ve been doing it now for around 6 months and it’s mostly either just the two of them talking about girly stuff, or they have a guest on to interview.

Their most recently episode with Ali Al Khudhair (above) was fun to watch, but then again Ali is pretty entertaining himself. I think the first time I saw him on TikTok he was selling banak at a roundabout at night, or at least I think it was him, I thought it was pretty funny. Anyway, if you’re looking for a fun and light hearted local podcast to listen to, check the girls out on Instagram @sprinklesandspicepodcast or on YouTube.

Categories
Coffee Corner Reviews

Review: Mahlkönig E65S GbW Grinder

I’ve only been drinking coffee since 2016, and since then I’ve been mostly been making my coffee at home. I started off with a De’Longhi bean to cup coffee machine, and then later upgraded to the Breville Oracle, followed by the Rocket Appartamento and then finally to a La Marzocco Linea Mini a couple of years ago. Along the way I upgraded my grinders as well, the first two machines had grinders built in, but with the Appartamento I got a Rocket Faustino Grinder for it, and with the Linea Mini I got the Mahlkönig X54 grinder.

I didn’t end up liking the X54 at all even though I love the Mahlkönig brand (they make some of the best commercial grinders). The X54 wasn’t very consistent, it was slow, and the grind adjustment knob felt horrible, the whole tactile experience actually was poor. Compared to the experience of using the commercial quality Linea Mini machine, the X54 felt very plasticky. So I decided I’d upgrade my grinder to one that would match the quality of my coffee machine. I did a lot of research and had eventually settled on the Ceado E37s.

I found a website online that would ship it to Kuwait and after their Black Friday discount and removing VAT, the price shipped to Kuwait was 525KD. Not cheap, but it was commercial quality, had large 83mm burrs and highly recommended by reviewers online. Just as I was about to make the plunge, I found out about the Mahlkönig E65S GbW. GbW stood for grind by weight, it was a new grinder by Mahlkönig where you could set the weight of coffee you wanted grinded, and then just place the portafilter into the machine and it would grind enough beans till it hit your weight. It was also fast, commercial grade, had a large adjustment ring as well as a large digital screen. It wasn’t cheap, online I found it for around 690KD after discount shipped to Kuwait, but since I knew the local dealer, I figured I could try and get a better deal locally.

The local dealer referred me to Coffee Tools who were selling the machine for a whopping 836KD (they since dropped it down to a more reasonable 731KD). I tried to work out a barter deal but that didn’t pan out but they did offer me a 25% discount which brought the price down from 836KD to 627KD. It was around 70KD cheaper than the price I found online so I decided to pull the trigger and get it (along with a much shorter 250g hopper). It was the best decision I made.

The E65S is such an incredible grinder. Firstly performance wise, it’s fast grinding out 18g of coffee in under 6 seconds (compared to 18-20 seconds of the X54). It’s also been really consistent and I’ve been using it daily since January. I don’t adjust the grind settings as much as I used to, and if I do it’s generally minor adjustments. It’s also really easy to adjust the grind size since the adjustment ring is large and the screen displays a digital read out of the distance between the two burrs. So I have my baseline set at 0.094mm and I generally adjust anywhere between 0.088 and 0.0096mm. It’s minor adjustments which I can do accurately because of the digital read out. But, the best feature is grind by weight. I use 18g of beans for my coffee, with regular grinders you use a timer to measure that out. So for example with my previous grinder, 18 seconds would grind around 18g of coffee, sometimes it would grind 16g in that time, sometimes 19g. It wasn’t a very efficient workflow either. You’d first put the portafilter on the scale and reset it to 0g, you’d then place portafilter in the grinder and have it grind for 18 seconds, you then put the portafilter on the scale again and see how much coffee it grinder, if its under 18g you have to put it back in grinder and manually grind a bit more coffee, if it’s more than 18g then you have to remove some coffee. It was a slow process and messy. The new workflow is so much better because of the grind by weight feature. All I have to do is place the portafilter into the grinder, and the grinder takes over and does all the calculations for me. As soon as I place the portafilter into the machine it starts grinding the coffee while measuring the weight. I think I read somewhere it does 6,000 calculations a second. Once the machine grinds 18g of coffee out, it stops and flashes green to let me know it hit the weight.

My coffee making process in the morning is a much more pleasant experience. I know a lot of people won’t understand or care about any of this, but as I’ve gotten older and I can afford nicer things, I’ve started caring about my experiences with objects a lot more. It could be a fork, it could be a car, I just like the experience of using nice things. My grinder and coffee machine are the first things I interact with in the morning. Then it’s my computer and then it’s my car. So having a good coffee making experience, then sitting in front of a fast computer with fast internet followed by driving to work in a 1970 Alfa Romeo, it’s really a great way to start the day. So would I recommend this grinder, yes. Do I recommend investing in expensive coffee equipment, for most people no. But if you enjoy using nice equipment and like the process of making coffee then yes. It’s actually cheaper to spend 3,000KD on coffee equipment than to have two coffees a day at a coffee shop. If you have 2 coffees a day, thats around KD1,460 you’re spending a year. So you’ll make your money back pretty quickly making coffee at home. If you’re married and your wife also drinks coffee then you’re going to make your money back twice as fast. And a commercial grade coffee machine is going to last a pretty long time at home.

I also highly recommend La Marzocco in Kuwait, their customer service department is one of the best I’ve experienced in Kuwait. Because they’re commercial machines, anytime I have an issue I’m treated like a coffee shop where any downtime is bad for business. I usually get a service person over either the same day if I report a problem in the morning, or the next day if I report a problem in the evening. So 5 stars to them.

Categories
Food

Avoid the Chipotle Line

Yesterday I went with a friend to Chipotle for lunch and to my surprise there was a pretty huge line. There were actually two lines, a really long line for the counter where they build your order, and another shorter line for the digital kiosks. But, here is a life pro tip, you can skip both lines by just placing the order through their website.

Instead of waiting in line to place my order, I just went to chipotleme.com and placed an order through the website and then just went up to the pick up counter and got my order from there. I placed the order at 3:21 and five minutes later at 3:26 I got an email telling me my order was ready to pick up.

The reason you get your order so quickly is because Chipotle have two prep lines, one for in person orders and another in the back for digital orders. There are a lot less people ordering through the kiosk or website so you’re basically skipping the line by going through one of those channels.

So next time you’re at Avenues and feel like having Chipotle, just order through your phone.

Categories
Events Sports

Kuwait Hosts Ice Hockey World Championship

Starting tomorrow (April 16), Kuwait will be hosting the 2024 World Ice Hockey Championship Division IV. Four countries will be participating in this tournament, Mongolia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Kuwait.

The IIHF World Championship Division IV is an annual sports event organized by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). The winner of this championship will progress to the higher Division III. Last year Kuwait finished 3rd while Philippines finished 1st.

The tournament is running from April 16 to 19 and taking place at the Kuwait Winter Games Club’s ice skating rink in Bayan. If you’re interested in attending and watching the games, here is the schedule (no tickets required):

Tuesday, 16 April 2024
14:00 – Mongolia v Indonesia
18:00 – Malaysia v Kuwait

Thursday, 18 April 2024
14:00 – Indonesia v Malaysia
18:00 – Mongolia v Kuwait

Friday, 19 April 2024
14:00 – Malaysia v Mongolia
18:00 – Kuwait v Indonesia

Categories
Interesting

Talabat Now Using ChatGPT for Support

Yesterday I had a Talabat order where the driver hadn’t moved from his spot in nearly 20 minutes. I thought he might have gotten into an accident so I decided to contact Tabalat support to check on the situation, and that’s when I noticed they’re now using ChatGPT to answer regular support questions.

When you click on “Get Help” you now automatically get ChatGPT customer support by default. You can still get a hold of a real employee if you want to chat with a live person, but the default option now is ChatGPT which I thought was interesting.

The thing is, most of the time when I am talking to a real person, I think I’m talking to a bot due to the very odd language they tend to communicate with. They’re super helpful don’t get me wrong, I actually think Talabat’s customer support has improved a lot recently, but the phrases and words they use when being super friendly is really weird. I think I’m going to start saving them all so I could share in a separate post.

Categories
Movies Television

Movies & TV Shows to Watch this Eid

Ok it’s been awhile since we did this so here we go.

Shōgun – Watch this, from all the shows I’ve been watching recently this is my favorite one. Great story, great acting, beautiful locations and sets, everything about it is pretty much perfect. There is very little lull in the episodes, every moment feels important, I love it. (Hulu)

Palm Royale – It’s a good new show, but really watching it because Ricky Martin is starring in it. I’m not a fan of his music, but a huge fan of his and his acting on this series. (AppleTV+)

Bodies – Started watching this yesterday actually, 4 episodes in and still no idea whats going on. It’s got an interesting plot though that caught my attention that takes place over different time periods. Nothing like Dark though. (Netflix)

3 Body Problem – 5 episodes in out of 8 and no idea whats going on. I want to recommend it for Game of Thrones fans since its by the creators of Game of Thrones and stars a bunch of people from the show, but it’s kinda lost me and not sure the ending is going to be worth it. (Netflix)

Elsbeth – If you’re a fan of The Good Wife and The Good Fight, then you’ll probably like this spinoff. Only 3 episodes out and I like it so far. (Paramount+)

Fallout – Comes out today! (Prime Video)

Let us know in the comments what you’ve been watching or planning to watch this Eid.

Movies at the Cinemas
The movies below are now showing at the local cinemas:

New This Week:
Kung Fu Panda 4 (6.4)
The Bricklayer (5.1)
The First Omen (6.9)

Other Movies Showing:
Dune: Part Two (8.8)

The numbers in brackets refer to the IMDB rating at the time of publishing.

Categories
Food Reviews

Ferdi Restaurant Now Open in Kuwait

I had Ferdi for the first time back in 2013 when I visited a couple of friends who were studying in Paris. They were both regulars at Ferdi, a hole in the wall restaurant that was starting to become a hotspot for celebrities and a place to be seen during Paris Fashion Week and other high-profile events. I remember the second time I was having dinner there, Kim and Kanye were also there just a couple of tables away. It was surreal, mostly because everyone there was so casual about it.

But that was then, today Ferdi has become a popular tourist destination and they now have locations around the world as well as a spinoff brand called Dinand par Ferdi. They also just opened in Kuwait, and last night I was invited to try it out.

The best way to describe Ferdi’s food is unpretentious comfort food. My usual order includes corn on the cob, mac & cheese, French fries and their famous cheeseburger. Nothing about their food is special, they don’t have the best cheeseburger in the world or the best fries, but when in Paris, it’s the combination of good simple food, decent prices, cozy space and the ambience that makes Ferdi, Ferdi. Not sure that concept works in Kuwait since we all have our favorite comfort food spots and we all definitely have our favorite burger places, but we’ll soon find out.

Ferdi Kuwait is located at JACC right next to White Robata. Their prices are similar to Paris with their Mac Ferdi’s Cheeseburger costing KD5.850 and KD2.000 for a side of fries. Reservations at the moment are required and as of this post, it looks like the next available date is May 29th. So good luck getting a table until the hype settles. @ferdi.kuwait

Categories
Apple Apps Kuwait

How to Translate the Sahel app to English

A couple of years ago I posted about the issue with getting the Sahel app translated to English. Everyone was assuming it was just about getting the app translated, but in reality that wasn’t the issue.

According to a source back then involved in the project, the app had the English option available for a while now but they couldn’t launch it because some of the entities that are in Sahel had not finished adapting to English and English data. So until they do, the app has to remain in Arabic.

But, someone on Reddit posted a loophole that forces the app to display the English version of the app. Here is how to do it:

iPhone
– Launch Sahel app then exit and go to the phone settings
– Under settings go to Keyboard and add Arabic. If you already have the Arabic keyboard, remove it
– Go back to the app, it should now be in English

Android
– Same as the iPhone version except instead of getting to keyboard settings, go to language settings and change your default language to any other form of English (for example UK or US)

You’re going to be limited with what you can do in the App and what you can read, but at least it could help you navigate around and learn where everything is.

Categories
Events

Bassem Youssef is Coming to Kuwait

Bassem Youssef (@bassem), is coming to Kuwait next month to co-headline a comedy night alongside popular standup comedian, Maz Jobrani (@mazjobrani).

If you don’t know Bassem Youssef, he’s an Egyptian-American comedian and television host who went viral late last year after his appearance on the Piers Morgan show. Maz, on the other hand, has performed in Kuwait multiple times and was part of the popular ‘Axis of Evil’ comedy group.

The show hasn’t been officially announced yet, but Maz Jobrani was able to confirm to me that they are indeed coming. The date is currently being finalized, and they will announce it soon. Both will be performing together in Abu Dhabi on May 24th, so I’d expect them to be in Kuwait around that date.