Airmiles

So, today’s rant is about Emirates Skywards miles, or airmiles to those who may be unfamiliar with Emirates.

In theory, this is a great scheme. You fly with them, they give you ‘miles’ which you can redeem at a later date. There is a shop you can buy branded products in, or you can upgrade, or for a bazillion ‘miles’, you get a “free” flight.

Except, every time I have called to enquire about an upgrade, there are none available.

So, can someone please tell me what the point actually is?!

I know I am on a busy route, and I always fly overnight which is busier, apparently, but seriously people!?!?!

Maybe I just have the worst airline luck ever. 6yrs after flying BA a min of 3 times a year, I never once was upgraded either!!

Oh well… 8hrs stuck in a seat that isn’t actually long enough to accomodate my legs, again, won’t hurt any more than normal!

Food, Glorious Food!

No where in the world does food like Dubai, I swear. Ok, I have heard amazing things about Vegas too, but haven’t been so Dubai wins!

As a foodie, I love to go to brunches and buffets so that I can try a little of everything. This tells me whether their restaurants are worth coming back to for a proper meal. As a non-drinker at the moment, it is also fairly entertaining people watching!!

I have done two recently, and here are my thoughts and recommendations:

Fazaris, The Address Downtown
Sushi Night (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – I think?)

Wow, wow and wow! Hugely worth it! The only reason I wouldn’t go back is that I ate so much I needed to wear baggy clothes this morning as I was still full!

Honestly, some of the best sushi in Dubai. It’s made to order so nothing is sat around getting yuckie. There is a nice selection that isn’t too overwhelming. I will say though that they appear to have taken off the temaki roll/cone things which is disappointing as they were my favourites! But everything else is spot on.

We asked for the chef’s selection and then topped up with bits we really liked. It was all so good. I tried a few things I haven’t before and had the favourites as normal. There is just nothing to fault.

Highlights were the edemame and the crab salad open roll thing. I don’t know how they can make the edemame so good, but it is seriously the best I have had in Dubai.

Conclusion: 9/10 – lost point is because I have to bring my own soy sauce each time! I cannot wait to go back again though. Totally worth it!!


Nineteen, The Address Montgomerie

Roast Dinner Brunch, Saturdays

I have been here several times as I love the setting and the food generally is quite good. The first time I went it was all absolutely amazing. The food, the presentation, the staffing. I keep going back and hoping for it to be that good again. Sadly, they never quite hit the mark.

The taste of the meat is variable. It is of course standard that the flavour of meat varies, but this goes beyond that. This week, sadly, the beef was utterly flavourless, as was the salmon. The lamb was tough and chewy. The chicken was lovely though. Not only that, the slices of beef were only just thicker than a piece of bacon. We also asked for more as we had the smallest serving I have had since going there. Hugely disappointing.

Also disappointing is that they run out of seafood on the starter section every time we go there. As we don’t go for a major “session” style brunch, we invariably are there slightly later, by which point everyone else has pretty much cleaned up!

This week I amazed myself at remembering to bring my gluten free soy sauce with me (despite asking them to perhaps have some on hand for other gluten free types, they never have), but I was hugely disappointed with the most pitiful looking sushi I have seen in a very long time. Not only did it disintegrate when it was picked up, if you finally managed to get some to be able to eat (I got 3 pieces!), then it was super dry and quite revolting.

Just to prove I don’t just moan, they have recently expanded their pork section. The ribs (very little meat on the bone but lovely flavour sauce) and the sausages (very nice flavour), are now accompanied by pork belly (divine!), some pork thing that I couldn’t figure out what it was, and randomly, American style bacon. I don’t know what you are meant to have the bacon with, but since I can eat it with absolutely anything, it works!!

Another shout out goes to the roasted and steamed veggies. They are always really well done. And the dim sum – if it isn’t nuclear level hot which it has been in the past and literally taken a layer of skin off the roof of my mouth!

Staffing is generally poor. We were largely ignored this week so it reached an all-time low. When we wanted even our water topped up, we had to venture inside to find someone ourselves, as the water wasn’t left by the table.

Conclusion: 5/10 overall. Shame, because that first meal was literally 10/10 and I really hope they manage to pull their socks up before I bring my mother there in a few weeks time!!

Ladies Night(s)

One of my New Years resolutions (I didn’t make any at the time, but have decided on this now) is to try out the ladies nights now I have moved to a more sociable neighbourhood!

So, I have! Here are my musings:

Karma Kafe
Based in Souk Al Bahar, this lively bar gives ladies 3 free cocktails and 50% of bar snacks on Tuesdays between 7pm and 9pm. Genius!! Not only the cocktails are delicious (according to the girls), but the food is too!! They even let me have my diet sodas on my drinks tickets, which is nice! I am hitting this one regularly! The just need to improve the service a little. It takes an age to get a drink as there appeared to only be 2 bar staff at any one point. However, their crispy duck wrap things are more than enough of a reason to put up with everything!!!
9/10

Kanpai
Based in Souk Al Bahar too, this quieter bar is very new but will be one to remember in the future. The deal here is that ladies get 2 for 1 cocktails and a sushi platter. My diet sodas are not included in the 2 for 1, sadly but I am a major sushi fan, so it’s always good to try new places out! It was delicious! I would indeed go back again. If only the waitress could keep her hair out of the plates and food next time, it will be an absolute winner!
8/10

Dubai Jazz Festival – The Wanted & Olly Murs

This is the first year that I have been to the Jazz Festival (I think?!) and I can honestly say, I will go again!

We arrived an hour or so before the main acts came on stage, so we could have a look around and see what else was happening. I am so pleased we did. Sadly, I have no idea who we listened to but on the side stage in the refreshment area, there was a wonderful jazz band playing. It wasn’t crazy jazz, but mellow and calm. There was a pianist, a saxophonist, a bassist and a percussionist (is that a word?). They all had impeccable timing and such an amazing command of their instruments. I sat there with my eyes closed and let all the stress of the day melt off me.

Just as well I did… because it may all have been very different if I had entered into the pit of hell, otherwise known as the main arena, before I had relaxed!

We heard the screams, so figured The Wanted must be coming on soon. We should have known how bad it was going to be when we could hear it so far away and with the wind blowing in the opposite direction! Wow. Hormones and teenage girls are a lethal mix! (That said, I totally did the same when I went to see Take That, so I can’t be too mean!!)

I have to say, I didn’t really know who The Wanted were before they hit the stage. I figured I would know a few of their songs when I heard them and generally I just like to see people live. So, I didn’t have many expectations really! And that is probably a good thing.

The boys all sounded horribly nasal. Is this a new singing style that makes me super old because I know nothing about it?! I would blame their sound systems or something, except as soon as there was more than one of them singing, it was fine. Their harmonies were tight and that was a joy to hear a couple of times.

The girls I was with knew slightly more about them, and when I moaned really loudly about one of the boys (don’t ask me who they are!) singing particularly badly and completely through his nose, I was told to give him an easy ride as he had had throat surgery and may be nervous about using his voice properly. This made sense, so I had a google (yes, at the time!) to see what that was all about.

It turns out that Nathan (I love google) had surgery, yes. In April of 2013. My conclusion, he was just shit.

I have to say, that I slightly understand the fuss about the Max one (again, thanks for the name check Google!). He appears to be quite pretty and sings fairly well. There was a couple of moments when he completely hit it perfectly. However, this illusion was utterly ruined when he opened his mouth to speak.

NEXT!!

Olly Murs… I am now a fan!

I went along thinking that again, I wasn’t sure I knew how much this chap had done but I knew there were a couple of tracks that I really liked. It was a bit of a shock when he came on stage and didn’t look anything like I imagined, nor did he sing the songs that I thought were his!

Oops! Major embarrassing moment where the girls laughed uncontrollably at me!!

Given he wasn’t who I thought, I still did know a few of his songs! Bonus! It wouldn’t have mattered either way though. That boy is a natural. His vocals are crisp and clear, he is entertaining and engaging, and he is cute as a button! One of the highlights for me though was watching my friend, K, swoon every time he did or said something cheeky! I have never seen her like that before! It was fabulous!!

Whereas I was slightly confused as to why The Wanted were there (can they even spell jazz?!), Olly fit in perfectly! His set and sound were just the tonic that we all needed after the screeching had finished. There were still a few girls giving it a good scream every now and again, but the pre-teens and tweens had been whisked off after their boys played. Thankfully.

So, all in all, a very enjoyable evening of live entertainment. I am so pleased I went!

One quick moan, because that’s what I do: What a total and utter cock up from the organisers and the RTA at the end of the night. A venue with about 10,000 people emptying out in the middle of no-where (Festival Park is not in one of the main areas in Dubai), and not a taxi to be found! Are you actually kidding me?! I finally got home nearly 2hrs after we walked away from the stage. Major booooooooooooo.

Lions are NOT pets

There are photographs emerging that show someone driving down a very busy highway in a country that shall remain nameless.

That’s normal, right.

The bit that is making me very angry is that there appears to be a lioness in the back of the car.  I wish I was joking.

I am sure that once this really hits international media, someone will say it was a photoshop job, or a stuffed toy, or an animatronics type thing.

You be the judge.

lion6

Lions should never be pets.  I don’t even like zoos really.  Keep them in conservation areas where they can amble around for miles and miles.

Never cage or try to tame something this beautiful.

Clever TV

So, I have moved into a new apartment and for the first time in my adult life, it is unfurnished and I find myself having to spend a ridiculous amount of money setting up.  With this in mind, I decided to buy a decent tv as I would be spending lots of nights in over the next couple of months!!

I popped along to Sharaf DG and ambled around the store looking like a confused and scared child.  I really do not understand technological stuff!  The very nice sales person spotted me and could obviously see that I was like a duck out of water, and continued to speak to me the way you would when trying to explain something difficult to a 2yr old.  It was perfect!  It all started to make sense, and within no time, I had bought myself a pretty tv!  It turns out it was called a Smart TV because it has inbuilt wifi and you can do internet type things on it!  How clever is that!!

Thankfully, Sharaf DG also offer a delivery and installation service!  Just what I needed!

A couple of days after my purchase, the tv was delivered and the nice man came to set it up.  Only no one had explained that I needed to have my cable tv and internet set up before he could do his thing.  You would think that would be logical, but alas, not to me.

So, 2 days later, the cable company came in and set up everything they needed to do, and then on Friday, the nice tv engineer came back and set up everything.  In his own time.  Bless him!  He even set up my DVD player which I bought 3yrs ago and have never used because I couldn’t figure out what to do with it!!

In conclusion… Smart TV’s rock.  Sharaf DG has the best service in town.  And, I give blondes a bad name!!

Dubai Taxis from Hell – Post 002

So… the taxi driver in question smelt so bad, I spent the entire 20 minute journey home with the windows wound down.  Gagging.  It wasn’t pleasent.  I would never think of driving with the windows down at 120kmph along Sheikh Zayed Road, but it really was that bad.

Not only that, but he appeared to have a cold and sniffed every two minutes.  When I finally gave him a tissue and asked him to use it rather than sniff, he launched into a 5 minute rant, and yes I do mean rant, about how if he didn’t sniff and he used a tissue, he would make me ill.  I am not sure how that works.

Ugh.