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Food

Pan Jan

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This was the first place I tried and the last place for this review series. I was racking my mind for another place to try. There are Chinese buffets. And there is an oriental one off a main street near to Pizzeria Uno. I don’t remember the name and don’t fancy the drive and traffic. And last year during the world cup there was a special running at Tuesday’s. But it was suspended during the match. And Tuesday does not appeal to me right now.

 

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Here’s a place that I just found when I was wandering around. I had eaten from their menu at a school dinner which Pan Jan catered. I simply could not find the restaurant until now. It is Asian fusion style. They offer nuts – two kinds – sweet and hot. The lunch special is a series of choices. I chose Mongolian beef, vegetable fried rice, and chicken gyoza. A drink is complementary. The lunch arrives in a Bento box and is very attractively presented.

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There is a salad, of course. And the dessert is spectacular. It was fried banana with two dipping sauces and vanilla ice cream. Anything is better with chocolate dipping sauce.

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The manager stopped to ask if everything was good. It is a very nice habit and touch. The staff is nice and efficient. I would definitely return and make my way through more of the offerings.


Piatto

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There are at least two restaurants. The one I tried was near the Stars Mall. It is a lunch special that was crowded. I eat in the singles area and it was completely full. I had the chicken special. There were several choices to be considered. This is the one that struck me. A large salad bowl was filled with iceberg lettuce of course.

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There was a corn soup – warm – tasty. And there was a garlic baguette with olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the table.

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The chicken was covered in cheese and marinara. The four cheese penne was swimming in its sauce with some raw green leaves torn over it. Skip the leaves and soak the sauce with bread. The penne was not memorable but quite edible. The chicken was fine. It was actually not too dry. Too sweet iced tea accompanies. And dessert is any flavor gelato. I could not think of any flavors so I asked for and got hazelnut and chocolate in a waffle cup.

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Ambience was silly. I sat a few feet from an oversized fountain. But anyone who knows me also knows that I joke about fountains. The noise of running water either makes you want to relieve yourself or makes you serene. Go figure.

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This place was very good value at 59SAR and I would return.


Chez Paul

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I actually have a small following here in Jeddah. So the news of specials at restaurants is news. And there are a few who follow up and eat there. I recently discovered that this is a hidden gem of lunch. You get a pretty good spread for less than full price. A bargain! Keep in mind that he prices are generally less than what I expect in the US. But hey!

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Here’s a classic French Bistro. There is a founding branch in Paris. At least there is a promotional video that says that it is from France. The baked goods are pretty French but lack true pizzazz. But hey! It is a decent menu and I have enjoyed many a Croque Monsieur there. The hot chocolate is very different. It is thick and almost like drinking a liquid chocolate bar. It’s good!

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Lunch specials are 48SAR and are varied by the day of the week. So when I appeared on Thursday the special was a grilled chicken burger. This was a grilled piece of chicken in a very nice roll with lettuce and tomato and pickle. The chicken was dry. The best thing was the roll. I will applaud the baker. A wimpy lettuce salad was forgettable. No drink but coffee and dessert were included. The coffee wired me. it was expresso and I was definitely wide awake. The pastry was a mille feuille and was filled with custard that was overly sweet so that the sugar was the dominant taste. Of course the pastry shell was tasty.

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Service was subdued. This is a nice restaurant at different times. Late afternoon lunch was not special and I don’t have much interest in the other offerings. I would return for the a la carte menu.

 


Outback

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There has been a banner for a long time at this Outback on Thalia St. It offers a business lunch special starting at 33SAR. That would be for chicken strips. I was more or less set to have a piece of meat – steak? The setting has outdoor seating in an air conditioned mall with a high glass ceiling. It is exceptionally quiet and not exposed to road traffic noise. So I give the place high marks for ambience.

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The steak special includes steak and I chose one with pepper corn sauce. I asked for it to be red – medium rare. Around these parts, everyone eats well done. Unfortunately the style of meat is also very lean. So there is no way to be really flavorful and tender. This steak was definitely way lean.

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Salad, cream of onion soup, bread, and bottomless iced tea were included for 59SAR. This was a nice meal. The good news is portion control so you do not leave overly full. I’d try this again. But I am still looking for a tender tasty steak.

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Capo Grillo

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In no particular order I am writing about a custom here in Jeddah. It is the so called business lunch. I sort of found it by chance when eating at a place called Rossopomodoro. It is an Italian restaurant chain. The location in Stars Mall has gone to another location which means it is likely out of business. I described the place in my blog a year ago. It offered a very nice meal – salad, soup, pizza, and main course with beverage. These special menus are available during lunch hours usually from 1pm till late afternoon.

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Capo Grillo is Italian on Thalia St and has a large banner sign so it will be a permanent go to place. There are two lunch offerings at 40 and 50SAR. The 40SAR was lasagna and I had a sudden craving for pasta so I went with it. The 50SAR was a chicken main course. Salad and soup accompanied my choice of soft drink. It seems that restaurants like ice berg lettuce a lot. Otherwise the salad had lots of slivered carrots. The lasagna was quite a large generous portion served in a casserole dish. It was enough for two. But I was hungry and pushed myself to eat it all.

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I think the place is very quiet. The service was decent. And the food was okay. I would like to try the chicken but otherwise I am not putting this restaurant on my regular rotation.

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Street Life

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The woman in the foreground is selling cactus fruit. She has peeled it and sells it in plastic bags. I tried some from the market. It is not too tasty. They remind me of mini- pineapples but they are not. The date shop has many dates and of different quality. You can see the color differences. I am not savvy enough to tell one date from another. The only opinion I have about dates – “guys are just happy if their date shows up.”

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Gotta Make The Doughnuts

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It was the Dunkin donut motto till the doughnuts got delivered by 18 wheel trucks. These guys were furiously baking for some event probably for the evening activities. Flatbread are seen to the left in a tandoor oven. And then under the plastic are pancake looking discs. I can’t envision how they can’t be soggy. Make sense? I am not in love with soggy pancakes. From the stacks it looks like everything will go like hot cakes – couldn’t resist to say this.


Corn Man

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I love the glow of the charcoal. The corn man has his same shirt. His image is there for the context. Otherwise this is about corn roasting over open coals. Personally, I like my corn sweet and juicy. I like the picture but the grill method does not appeal to me.

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Fries

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There is also a man who will sell you fries on the Corniche. You get different sauces and salt. Hot sauce is popular. During the summer in the stifling heat I imagine standing over hot oil is no fun at all. But it is winter and chilly in January. All is good.

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Corn Man

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I swear he doesn’t change his shirt. It’s not a uniform. But this guy is out on two occasions with the same shirt. He has a wheelbarrow with shucked corn and will grill it right on the hot coals for you to eat immediately. A minute a side and you are good to go. I guess no one worries about germs. The heat will have killed them right?

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