Staycation eats

Well, Eid al Fitr has come and gone and we’re back in our desert town after another three days’ staycation in Dubai – courtesy of the hubby’s company (contrary to what you read in the papers, government companies do take care of their employees royally). This time, though, yours truly had ample opportunity to hit the shops because our hotel was attached to the Mall of the Emirates. We set out early to avoid traffic and were rewarded with adjoining rooms. Thus, there was ample room for the kids to run around and watch TV while reunions with family and friends were taking place in another room.

Checking out the view from the 20th floor after checking in

Checking out the view from the 20th floor after checking in

The only blight to our experience was the buffet breakfast and the hotel itself. Billed as a five-star hotel (the room rates made me gasp but I guess they had to exploit the season, it was Eid – the Muslim equivalent of Christmas), it could not hold a candle to the Waldolf-Astoria where we stayed two months ago despite the excellent service of its housekeeping staff (who provided us with an ample supply of water bottles and more toothbrushes than we needed). We’d stayed there four years ago when it was still known as a Pullman hotel and really – it’s like comparing apples and oranges.

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Singaporean laksa by Sheraton Dubai, Mall of the Emirates

Both the hubby and I managed to fill up our stomachs during the buffet breakfast but there were so many fruits missing from the fruit station, the noodles sagged because they were soaked in the soup base, etc … all in all, we left with the impression that the hotel was scrimping not only on its buffet spread but also on the consumables – there was no instant coffee in our room, only the coffee sachet for the Espresso machine. Though it was four years ago, I can still remember the enormous and delicious breakfast spread of Pullman -probably because of the fabulous skyline view of Dubai that we enjoyed while having breakfast.

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Singaporean laksa by Traders Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi

Even the Singaporean laksa could not compare to the laksa of Traders’ Hotel which made me busog even though I’d shared it with my HSed kids. I wanted to order the nasi lemak too, but decided to taste the laksa first (keeping in mind the 16% surcharge). And a good thing, too, because after eating the so-so laksa, I lost appetite for the nasi lemak. There’s a stupendous restaurant in Burjuman Mall that serves tasty char kway teow and I’m determined to eat there next time we visit Dubai – never mind the long drive!

Still, after ten years of living in the Levant, I was finally able to eat a – tada! – felafel. I can’t remember a hotel buffet spread offering felafel before so it’s one for the memories, definitely. If I ate one before, I was not aware of it. To commemorate the occasion, I took a pic (though really, I hate to be seen taking photographs while dining in a hotel). This reminds me … I have a box of kibbeh waiting to be fried in the freezer.

IMG_2056Also, we were able to sample a cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory. It was a treat for my homeschooled kids (the teenagers having been let loose in the mall) but my youngest son declined, preferring to order samosas only. My daughter, meanwhile, opted not for the Oreo Dream cheesecake, reasoning that Tita Karren’s Oreo cheesecake was already to die for – what else could compare to that? And she was right, her vanilla cheesecake was nakakatusing and nakakabundat after a while even though it was not sugary at all. I did not order any cheesecake because, to tell the truth, I was already full from the free bread given while awaiting your order. So much so that the hubby and I only managed to finish half of a pasta order.

Well, if there’s one thing I’m convinced of, it’s this – commercial baked products can never replicate the taste of homemade cinnamon buns and cheesecakes. After all, when it’s made with love, even the simplest ingredients can turn out scrumptiously delicious.

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