I might as well write about the other deep dish pizza in town. So far I’ve only seen one branch. It is run by Filipinos, what else. They sing happy birthday very loud. It’s decorated like any other in the US. The pie is about the same. You have the Numero Uno Supreme because that’s why you came. They put a head on your iced tea. It’s doesn’t matter. I don’t drink beer.
I may have written about Pizza Hut before. Pardon me. I am photographing restaurant food lately if I’m not shooting the fishies. I have to say that I was never ever in a Pizza Hut while in the USA. So it is no small measure to say how desperate one can become if you need to choose eating establishments by what is within walking distance. Like everywhere else, it’s made by Filipinos here. And it might surprise you to know that many pizzerias in the NY are now run by Albanians. I know, but that’s what someone told me. Deep dish pizza is better in Chicago and even in Uno’s but ‘any port in a storm’ so they say. Yup, by golly! That’s a glass of Mountain Dew… might as well go all in.
Most folks like to eat around midnight. And maybe that has contributed to the enormous obesity problem. Anyway the dumplings look like NY but they are definitely not! As I said recently, sizzling anything is reasonably decent. Here it’s chicken.
Right there! It says ‘Happy Thanksgiving – photobackstory.’ I am absent from Thanksgiving holiday in NY once again. Farid’s kids are off today. They go to the American International School. So naturally they have off for the holiday. He graciously suggested we have dinner. He was reminded of that quintessential menu item – “Gravy.” Well, that’s true but it does need a turkey to go with it. Where to eat? I started a web search for a restaurant in Jeddah where we could go. I’d also pay for dinner if I could get the bill first. Nonetheless, there are no viable suggestions. I tried the American junk food places – McD, Burger King, of course not; Fuddruckers, no way; Friday’s, Tuesday’s, not a thing on their website or anywhere else about Jeddah. No American chain hotels. To be honest until Farid suggested, I was just going to have a very quiet dinner out. I was going to drag my iPad along and read a digital book and look at the many photographs of the fishies I have shot. We’ll dive in the Red Sea tomorrow, of course.
There! Right there on my search page screen capture. It’s even on the first page! There’s a reference to my blog post last Thanksgiving. It’s irrelevant to my search. But the tags and key words put me on the first page of the search engine. That is too cool! It also means there is no where you can hide. (Note to myself: “self, don’t put anything into your blog that you would be embarrassed if your mother should read it.”) … which means that no one will be seeing anything about the inside workings of the world of neurosurgery anytime soon. It would prove way too politically incorrect. I have no particular desire to be the nail that gets hammered. Happy Thanksgiving again to one and all for whom this is a significant day (which excludes most of the rest of the world). …For the historical record, I had dinner with Farid and Silva, and the kids. They both (the kids) passed out by the end of dinner. We ate after 9PM in an Italian restaurant. It was quite a find. I have been up and down this boulevard countless times and never looked up to see a restaurant on the 4th floor with an outdoor balcony (smoking). The menu had hamburger, and spring rolls. I had veal scaloppine – after all it’s Italian. It was breaded, deep fried, and very tender. It wasn’t Turkey (Friday’s or Chinese), but it was very flavorful and enjoyable. I fought once again but lost out in paying. It wasn’t family; it was close friends and that’s a wonderful thing too.
I hadn’t intended to do much for Thanksgiving. It’s not a holiday here. But the market had some chestnuts (from China). I kept remembering the tainted milk. All the produce is labeled with its country of origin. I got an Egyptian pomegranate and bananas from the Philippines.
Everyone I speak with has a different way to do it. I’ve used a microwave, boiling hot water, and oven roasting. I went with roasting. As usual there were a bunch of molded spoiled nuts. There’s nothing you can do, it’s built into the process. I had a pumpkin that was a chance spontaneous purchase a couple weeks ago.
So I made a passable soup. It reminded me of the soup my daughter took over a few years ago. She took the recipe my wife used in the Silver Palate cookbook. Anyway it was a good soup. I had some fresh bread, cheese, and corn fritters. It reminds me that sliced white bread is sold in the market. But it is the flat breads and all the other variations, which make bread so much fun. There is focaccia, Egyptian, Ethiopian, and you name it. I never see the same thing twice. The price can be as low as 25 cents. It turns out that this is a real bargain. You just have to remember not to indulge too vigorously.
I like to multitask while cooking. So I was roasting peanuts as well. The have loads of beans, grains, and nuts available in the market. I made all this stuff weeks ago and enjoyed it thoroughly. For Thanksgiving I’ll phone home and then avoid turkey sandwiches.
It’s a decent restaurant – Chinese of course. And it’s part of an international chain. They have branches in Lebanon. (I didn’t think they were that good.)Lately they give you roasted cashew nuts and raw carrots. A tart flavored tea is also complimentary. There’s a flower on the table.
The duck roll is really Peking Duck style. I’ve given up on soup because it’s way too starchy. For main courses, I’ve discovered that no one does too much to kill ‘sizzling’ whatever. So you are safe with beef or chicken. Otherwise the sauces can really kill a dish.
This restaurant would otherwise be the equivalent of a Brazilian churrascaria. Basically it’s the same setup – salad followed by grilled meat carved from the skewer at the table. You eat till you drop. Our nurses eat like birds so that the consumption of large quantities of meat is lost on them. I had a great time. It was a meal sponsored by one of the drug companies – a touchy subject these days. And the representative was stuck in traffic so she arrived for dessert. Me, I was just along for the ride. I was told to show up and I did. One thing that our nurses enjoy is taking group pictures. So we did.
I was driving Farid’s car for a few days while he was away. My nurses have been pretty wonderful in making life a bit easier. So I took them on a field trip as a way of thanking them. Jen runs my clinic. The other Jen is my OR nurse. They are both left handed like me. Anna joined Jen and is not left handed. We went over to the Corniche (beach) and caught the sunset – not too spectacular this particular night. Then we ate in a Chinese restaurant. Hey! I gave them a choice and this is where we ended up. Finally there was a late night shuffle through the Balud – the old city. We ended in a Body Shop – just like the USA – where I stood outside (family only- female). What I did not know was that it is illegal to be out with a woman not your relative. Come to think of it I have been single with other families. But anyway, I read somewhere that it is forbidden to be out with single women, morality and all that. So here I was with three (women) and in trouble again without realizing it.
This reminds me of another way to get into trouble around here. English is really a second language for everyone else. Most of the MD’s are Arabic speaking. Our nurses are mostly Filipino except for batch of new Chinese nurses recruited by the last nursing administrator. One day it was dim in the OR. One of the spotlights we use had a missing bulb. I asked for a candle. (It’s a joke!) Usually the nurses ignore me. Once in a while they pause and actually look to see if I’m serious. I never get a candle. (To be honest I’m old and I need more light to see. – Another joke.) On this particular day the new Chinese nurse took exception to my request for a candle. What did I say? She just stopped talking to me. No, I don’t speak Chinese. What?! Well she told Jen, my regular nurse, I had just insulted/embarrassed her asking for a condom. Huh!?!? It doesn’t sound the same and in the context of the OR I suppose a condom or a candle were both strange requests. I don’t know what to do. They did not fix the lights in any case. Honest! I didn’t make this up and I certainly didn’t intend to insult anyone. At the end of the evening out, the ladies bought bananas – 3kg for 10 SAR about $2.50 – that’s cheap.
They give you a complimentary bowl of chips and salsa. Otherwise you see here a brisket taco. It’s not really Mexican. But it says on the border, just not which border. Dessert is absolutely decadent. It’s a puff pastry kind of dough fritter that comes with a dipping chocolate sauce. I admit I had it once. The second time I took most of it home and finished it over several sittings. And I have not ordered it since then because I know my heart would not tolerate the cholesterol load.
I was fortunately invited to attend a Saudi banquet in honor of two physician administrators one coming and the other going. Here are some observations. The invitation was for evening dinner. This means come over after the last prayer – about 9PM. You sit in areas cooled by outdoor fans.
Once you are seated there’s not too much movement and social mingling. No women – not even the female medical colleagues. And if there were women, they would have to mingle in a separate area. The pool setting with seating all around. And it was hot so you needed the fans.
You sit and talk with the fellow next to you and you’re out of luck if it’s someone who’s not conversational. This polite conversation goes on for about 2½ hours. Everyone who arrives after you comes around and shakes hands and then drifts off to sit in an empty spot. I suppose the next time I will know this and pick my partner a bit more carefully. And I think that I will make it a point to move around anyway. Little cans of soda and a bottle of water at each place setting. There were a few cans of diet Coke. No alcohol allowed.
Dinner was buffet style but we changed seats to a formal table setting. Everyone ate quickly like they were famished. I certainly was hungry since I didn’t know dinner would be served at nearly midnight. After 30 minutes everyone started to say goodbye and quickly departed. I am told this is the style. So my observations are based on this experience and the questions I asked afterwards.The buffet line loaded with too many interesting choices.
….of course I ate too much.
So far my experience with Chinese cuisine here in Jeddah has been abominable. Would that be too strong? The sauces are too hot as in hot pepper. You could die! Or they are too sweet as in diabetic coma! There’s not much subtlety. They don’t know from soy sauce or sesame oil. I suspect that the cooks are Filipino so what do they not know that every wok jockey in NY knows? My Filipino nurses all laugh at me when I say this. But really the food looks ok but the taste is definitely lacking. The prices are high as in it costs what a moderate meal would cost in NY. No one pays like that in NY. I’ve tried about every fast food Chinese counter and restaurant that I have seen. There have been some reasonable meals. Spring rolls which seem to be the Middle East equivalent of samosa are wildly popular. Dumplings are horrible and poorly flavored. Don’t do it. Soup is way over starched thickened weak broth with nothing much of substance added. Enough….? So I chanced upon this all-you-can-eat buffet. They give you dessert and soft drink. It’s odd to see Waldorf salad and samosa included in the selections but they do have to cater to the target audience. There is a separation of the sexes with ‘families’ and ‘singles’ sitting separately but still comingling at the buffet trays. I guess I just shouldn’t see a lady eating. And to be sure they still wear their veils so it’s a bit of a mess to try to eat if you’re a lady. It becomes lift veil and chew, then repeat. The atmosphere/ambiance rates a zero and would get a minus rating if ever there was one. The whole place is dimly lit with fluorescent lighting. Ugh! But I’m here to eat and so I ignore the bad lighting.
The food is edible and if you pick carefully you can be fairly satisfied. Some of the sauces are red hot – beware. The appetizers are basic but I do enjoy the spring rolls, so I load up. Samosas are ok as well so go for it. French fries?
I like mine at McD’s so I avoid them at this restaurant. Soup? If you pick around the starch base you might come across some veggies and dry chicken. But it’s soup and I have some. The main courses are over burdened with cloying sauces. And the noodles – two kinds – are basically spaghetti without seasoning. It’s not worth eating overcooked noodles. So far I haven’t had indigestion from the warmed food. Salad with real leaves, lettuce, and that Waldorf looking thing are incongruous but some of the audience is gobbling this up. Dessert is fresh fruit and something sweet. One week it was rice pudding and the next it was mango custard.
This is a whole lot of potatoes…ok maybe some onions. Either way, I don’t really recall that the average Saudi diet is so full of potatoes or of onions. French fries, yes…but I think McD’s brings theirs in from outside. Anyway it got me to thinking about the weight (obesity) problem. The again, I thought who needs so many 50 pound bags of potatoes. I’m telling you that this was a big warehouse and all the bags were stacked with potatoes… lots of potatoes.
Hot dog stands are New York. You don’t really encounter them too much elsewhere. Somehow they do a brisk business. Everyone seems to survive. It’s quintessential NYC.
My bad, I don’t remember the name. It’s new on 8th Avenue. It’s fast food Asian as if the wok guys weren’t fast to start with. It’s got a big lunchtime crowd. It’s not a quite got that ‘it’ quality, so I haven’t tried the food. But, I do like the art. Restaurants come and go with frightening quickness. This one is at least distinguishable, though it’s hard to say the food will really catch on. It reminds me of a hole in the wall Ramen noodle shop with a line out the door at all hours. My daughter doesn’t care for ramen so we haven’t tried it.
Well, I’ve been roasting nuts for a long time. My mom did it when I was younger. Lisa liked them and asked for the recipe. Her request got a vague answer. I’ve put a lot of things into the recipe but simply it is sugar, salt, and a little vanilla. Roast until crunchy. The hard part is to not overshoot the roasting as the nuts still cook from the heat of the oven. (Lisa’s tip) I’m finally handing down the recipe since Julia recently asked how to do it. It will be nice for her to take on the tradition.
Here’s where I had a little scare. I was at lunch with Farid’s family, his cousin was seated to my left. I took a picture of the coffee guy. He mumbled something that even his cousin missed. She thought he was mad as he came around the table toward me. He wasn’t mad, he was being very accommodating to a tourist. The next thing you know, Farid is snapping a shot for me. By the way the watermelon is delicious and refreshing. I haven’t had a slice since leaving NY last summer.
This is what Farid calls these joints. I suppose when I refer to delis and coffee shops, it calls ‘something’ to mind. Anyway, the sandwiches are more like gyros but they taste different in the Middle East. His brother in law told us about a new place and here we are for lunch. The décor color scheme is lime green and pink. I asked, but did not get an answer as to whether the cashier had color coordinated her dress to the restaurant’s décor.
Fava bean season is in the spring. At least that is what I believe. Those are the long pods piled upon one another. People come and buy a shopping bag full. The bean pods are tossed upon the table and the family gathers around to shell the pods and eat the tender new beans. It’s also sugar snap pea time. And, we had something that were called young almonds. Family, food, conversation, it’s a wonderful thing.
Even though I have been in Jeddah for nine months, I have barely gotten around due to transportation limitations. Here is a ‘find.’ I had passed this place many times but it is a bit too far to walk. We stopped in and checked the menu. Julia loved it so much we ate there twice. The dish you see is cherries covering kabob meatballs and crisp flatbread chips. The other is phyllo wrapped meatballs that will be covered by yogurt. The pictures don’t do justice to the fun that we had. And it is cherry juice that we drank. No alcohol, it was very good indeed.
Julia was too tired to go to the fish market. We settled for the old town market. She admonished me to avoid taking pictures and to avoid incurring the wrath of unwilling subjects. It’s called street photography. I just shoot without focusing or composing. Sometimes I shoot and look as though I’m shooting something else. Julia threatened to stalk away if I continued. She did concede that the shots were pretty nice and a good memory of her trip.
A macaroon in New York is associated with Passover and is a heavy coconut cookie. In French (Paul restaurant) it is a light meringue cookie sandwiching some fresh raspberries. I had an éclair. Julia didn’t want a taste of mine and before I could turn around she had finished her macaroon. Why? She didn’t want to share hers. Hmm… I didn’t really want pink food anyway.
Having run Julia around in a jam-packed schedule and with jet lag ever present, she was too exhausted to go for dinner. Being the ever insistent father, I dragged her out of the villa kicking and screaming all the way. I ordered up a lemonade with mint (hence the green color). “Taste it.” And then I had to order another one for myself. She had the classic croque monsieur. It’s classic because it was a specialty of her Grandmother Lila when the kids would go to her house for lunch. Dinner woke her up but Julia was still too full for dessert. So we took it home.
I can’t quite describe this confection. It’s a glazed roll, but more like a cream puff. The center is laden with melted butter at its bottom. The glaze bakes on and provides a sweet crisp topping. I found them quite delightful. Julia found them heavy and too much for an afternoon snack. All I can say is they are really the best right out of the oven. I’ll see if David enjoys this when he visits. It’s not something that I have come across in New York.