If you’ve ever been to Italy, you know there are temptations around every corner. All the restaurants and bistros look supremely inviting, and my friends and I had to resist stopping for a bite at each one. Of course, when it came to dessert… well, that’s a completely different story.
The one thing I wanted to try the most was a genuine, Italian tiramisu. And I did. Dragging our weary selves back from the Vatican and St Peter’s Basilica, we came upon a lovely restaurant called Il Falchetto where we sat out on the terrace and had our first Italian dinner and I had my first tiramisu. With a twist. Did you know tiramisu could come in pistachio? I didn’t either. And I fell in love.
It’s that time of the year again, the day when I kick my chocoholism up a notch and share mouth-watering pictures of my eating adventures with the lot of you. I’ve actually been so eagerly awaiting this day that I started celebrating a day early!
I went to a lovely little place called Cocoa Kitchen, which incorporates chocolate in all its dishes and drinks. Started off with a lemon mint drink sprinkled with cocoa nib, followed by butternut squash cocoa ravioli. And I mean cocoa ravioli. The pasta was actually made of chocolate and it was so weird and interesting and I’m 95% sure I liked it, haha.
It has been such a long time since I did one of those… and not for the lack of sweet things either! If you check out my Instagram, you’ll find it full with pictures of food and sweets (and the occasional stack of books or nature shot); given where I live, there’s never a shortage of delicious things to try.
Sunday is the beginning of the week for us folks in Dubai, so it’s the equivalent of a Monday for almost everyone else. I was in no mood to work. Plus I had an eventful weekend and I couldn’t coerce my mind into getting with the program and accepting that today’s a work day. To shake off my Sunday blues, I went to my favourite dessert shop after work and grabbed myself a cupcake. Got home, changed into my PJs, made myself some karak chai* and curled up with a soft blanket and watched some How I Met Your Mother reruns.
I am someone who has no patience for surprises. I have this urge to find out about things before they actually happen, and get all antsy when I don’t know what’s coming my way, even if I know for a fact that it will be good. When I think about it, it really is an amazing feat on my part that I do not flip to the last chapter with every book I read. But endings are sacred to me – and let’s face it, you can’t really enjoy an ending without knowing the beginning.
Still, I have to admit that sometimes it is better not to know.
I was jolted awake yesterday morning with the insistent ringing of my doorbell. I was greeted – after hobbling around for a couple of minutes frantically looking for pants to go with my short, short night shirt – with purple balloons, cake and streamers and a whole chorus of “Happy Birthday, Zen!” Let it be known that I have never been surprised on my birthday. I always expect or know what’s going on, and I already thought we had a plan for the day… so for them to show up at my door like that, I was actually so speechless I forgot to blow out my candles, and I just stood there with puffy eyes, grinning like an idiot, before I got pulled into hugs and kisses and a little bit of, “Zen, why are you in jeans?”
It’s been a year, but the best month has finally rolled around. Of course I’m a bit biased. Okay, very biased, but my birthday month trumps all. Around this time of year I list down reasons to try and convince you of the glory that is October. I’ll be doing that again this time, only… I have one more reason to celebrate.
You see, on the 18th of October, I will have made it through my first year of living here in Dubai, by myself, completely independently. This is a huge milestone. One of the biggest in my life. Many thought I couldn’t do it, that I’ll cave and go back to the shelter of my parents’ home in a few months, but… here we are. I don’t have everything figured out yet, but I feel genuinely proud that I’ve managed to come this far. Despite all the hardships and the struggles, I’m happy.
Now that we’ve got all the mushy stuff out of the way, let’s get on to the list. I know everybody likes a list.
1. FALL. In Dubai we don’t get to experience all the lovely colours of autumn, but the temperatures have definitely dipped. On my way to work the other day I actually enjoyed the littlest of cool breezes and didn’t arrive to the office in a melting mess. Continue reading “It’s my favourite month again.”→
Well, technically, International Chocolate Day falls on the 13th of September, but I had driven myself into a sugar coma yesterday and absolutely could not muster up the energy to put up a post. That said, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t get a celebratory post even if it’s a day late, right?
Okay, okay. I just want an excuse to share pictures of the things I ate. I feel this would be best expressed through a timeline.
10 a.m. I had a delicious, warm, buttery chocolate croissant. The only thing that could’ve made it better is chocolate sprinkles.
12 30 p.m. Lunch time. I opted for a triple chocolate muffin with a gooey chocolate centre that exploded in my mouth (and got all over my fingers) with each bite. It was one of the best muffins I’ve ever had.
One post ago I mentioned that I was going to be moving. At the time, I didn’t really believe it. Even though I was packing and having such a difficult time deciding which books I should take with me, it still hadn’t sunk it that in a few days time I was going to find myself in an entirely different country. For some reason this made me very depressed, and I was susceptible to random bouts of crying.
Thankfully, that’s behind me now. I guess I should give a bit more information… I’ve moved to Dubai, UAE. Some of you might remember that I’ve spent the first 19 years of my life there before eventually going to Lebanon. This country is more of a home to me than my actual home country. It’s where I grew up, it’s where I feel comfortable, it’s where I feel free to be myself. It’s changed a bit in the few years I was away, it grew and developed… but I still see in it the home I once left behind.
But I’m happy now. I’m starting my independent life. I take the metro to work every day, I have morning walks by the edge of the lake on my way to the office, I’m taking charge of my work, I’m hunting for an apartment, I’m getting all my paperwork in order… and I’m also of course discovering all the new dessert spots in town. 😉
This reminder might seem unnecessary to some, because of course chocolate is not something one would forget to eat. However, it is highly important that you have some today, because the 13th of September happens to be International Chocolate Day!
I have been obsessing over this since last night, trying to figure out how to celebrate it. I am extremely busy with work but a day like this cannot go unnoticed! First I figured I could buy some chocolate bars, but that seemed like a poor way to celebrate, then I upgraded my thinking process to baked goodies (cakes, brownies, cookies) but even those didn’t make it feel all that special… plus I would end up with a destroyed kitchen that would take hours to clean.
So I went all the way. An international day celebrating the thing I love most had to be given its proper due, and that meant going to a patisserie and buying ALL THE THINGS. Well… erm, some things anyway. I had ice-cream and an assortment of cakes!
It’s time for another one of those posts where I share drool-worthy pictures with the masses and giggle with glee as hunger starts bubbling within you and… er, I mean… what? I don’t do anything like that. I don’t.
Work has been hectic as always, but I finally allowed myself to leave the house for a few hours and expose myself to some sun. I swear I am so pale you would not believe me if I said I was experiencing my hottest summer in years. Plus I was getting very crabby and was desperate for a breather. I went to one of my favourite “sweet haunts” – Magnolia Bakery. Next to my No. 1 dessert – the Snickers Icebox Pie – I had a Chocolate Chunk Blondie with a layer of chocolate on top aaaand a Vanilla & Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake.
I was planning on making this thing a regular occurring on this blog, but I’ve been too busy to blog lately! Work has been hectic – but productive – and I’m catching up on books and shows that I’ve been wanting to indulge in. This weekend I got my first guilt-free breather in a long time, and what better way to celebrate than with some dessert?
The above treats are all courtesy of Ladurée. The Carre Chocolat and the Plaisir Sucree were indulgent layers of sweet, savory chocolate mousse, cake and the soft macaron meringue base, though the difference between the two is that the first is made with dark chocolate, and the second has crusty praline. Absolutely delightful. I swooned with every bite. The macarons are quite amazing too; of all the Ladurée macarons I’ve tried, salted caramel and Colombian chocolate are definitely my favourite; the flavours are so intense!
I also treated myself to some clothes, and… as always, I couldn’t resist the temptation of buying a new book, so I got The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. Has anyone read it? It looks so interesting!
How’s your weekend going? What are you currently reading? Have you tried Ladurée before? 😀