Seville’s Spanish Tapas | Dubai

For three centuries, the Spanish have had a massive influence on Filipino culture. We use dialects that contain thousands of loanwords. Even until now I’m still discovering words that I’ve been uttering with no idea that they’re actually Spanish! And the best bit? The food. I love Paella.

Last week I was invited to try out one of the most notorious Spanish restaurants in Dubai. I recall asking several friends before about the best Spanish haunt in Dubai, all of them referred to Seville’s Spanish Tapas bar in Wafi Pyramids. It should come as no surprise the excitement I felt, when I received the invitation to join them for a special night.

The timing was perfect as they were hosting the famous ‘Flamenco Festival’. They brought dancers from Spain to perform a traditional Flamenco dance.

This stunning photo below was taken by my lovely friend Hannah, who I dragged to share the experience with – and absolutely loved the night.

 

 

The atmosphere was so chilled. We arrived early and I would have loved to sit outside in the garden, al fresco style, but we were escorted inside. As soon as we were seated, the staff asked us for our drinks. The vibe felt like we were transported to Spain so (of course!) we ordered Cava Sangria. It was my first time to try Cava Sangria and it was amazing! It’s mixed with bubbles and tastes really refreshing.

After just a few minutes, the staff served us our first course – salmorejo; salmon tartar, stuffed avocados with shrimp, tomatoes and idiazabal cheese stuffed cones, bravas “potato with spicy sauce and alioli, crispy baby squid with lime alioli sauce. The flavours were like magic in my mouth! My favourites were the calamari, the avocado with shrimp, the stuffed cones and the spicy potatoes. You definitely can tell that the ingredients used were fresh. It was simply mouth-watering!

For the main menu, I ordered the Angus beef tenderloin with potato puree and mushroom sauce. It came quicky which impressed me considering the quality of the dish. The meat was especially tender and the sauce complimented the flavour perfectly. The meat inside was a bit too raw for my tastes, however this was undoubtedly my bad; I should have asked the staff to cook it medium-well.

The last course served was the chocolate mousse cake with vanilla ice cream. It was as beautiful as the rest of the course and just perfect to clean the palette.

The performers were fantastic. I even flooded my snapchat with their amazing moves. We had a brilliant overall experience. For sure we’ll definitely be back for more gastronomic genius from our Spanish friends at Seville’s.

Seville's-Spanish-Tapas-Dubai

 

Spanish Flamenco Festival

Find me a break in Rome, Italy

As what the old saying goes, “all roads lead to Rome” and we had definitely found ourselves exploring the marvellous city. Rome was the second part of our Europe trip which we spent most of our time. The weather was absolutely stunning throughout our visit. The photos doesn’t do justice.

 

Rome known as the capital of the world #wheninrome #roma #vscocam #travel

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“All roads lead to Rome” 🍝🍕#italy #travel #vscocam #rome

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Where we stayed – Olive Tree Hill BnB

Our accommodation is 30 minutes away from Roma Termini station. Located in Zagarolo a small quaint town just outside Rome. We wanted to avoid the touristy areas so the idea of staying with the locals is a unique and fun experience. Teri and Ivano are the fantastic hosts of Olive Tree Hill. They were very helpful in sharing excellent advice about where to go and tips like avoiding tourist traps.

Every morning our breakfast is already prepared by Ivano and a quick debriefing about the tour. We stayed in the cute little chalet on the hill. It was very clean and comfy. We had our cooking class also which we really enjoyed. We paid to do a five course meal. My favourite was the Spaghetti Aglio e Olio! A very simple traditional Italian pasta dish, that comes with pasta, garlic and oil. We were very spoilt with abundance of wonderful fresh Italian meals.

So from the duration of our whole stay the hosts are taking turns in dropping and picking us up from Zagarolo station which is very convenient and really nice of them. We have planned tours with Ivano too such as our trip to Tivoli, Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast. You’ll be able to read more about it below.

It was such a wonderful stay that we felt like a family. Embracing the real Italian culture and making new friends from other residents – surely a priceless experience.

Olive Tree Hill

http://www.olivetreehill.com/

Phone: + 39 06 9525596
Cell: + 39 329 6584741
Email: info@olivetreehill.com
Skype: eylife

 

Our little Italian cottage at Zagarola #bnb #bringmeback #italy #rome #olivetreehill #travel #vscocam

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Ricky met new friends. We miss our baby Dobbie #🐶 #zagarolo

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Ricky learning the Italian Aglio e olio pasta – cooking class with Ivano #olivetreehill #zagarolo #italy

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The Forum

The Forum has been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world. It is originally a market place and where public speeches are made. It is just a few minutes walk from the Colosseum. In the Forum you will see ruins of monuments and statues dated 2,000 years ago.

I suggest that you bring a guide book or rent an audio tour device to understand its uses and histories.

Here’s the big tip Ivano gave us.

Of course people will go after the Colosseum so you expect long queues when purchasing tickets while The Forum, dead. So what you should know is, the ticket is a bundle so if you purchase one you can go both to the Colosseum and the Forum. What we did, we went first to the Forum and purchased tickets in less than 3 minutes. Had a tour around, took photos then when we’re finished we head to the Colosseum and skipped the long queue. #Lifehack Thanks Ivano! 😁

 

Imagine walking in this place 2,000 years ago #romanforum #italy #rome #vscocam #travel #theruins

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Coloseum

Built in 70 A.D., an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome and has been the site of celebrations, sporting events and bloodshed. Today, it’s a major tourist attraction, playing host to 3.9 million visitors each year.

So who wouldn’t want to miss this when visiting Rome? 

It was such a wonderful experience to really see for myself the largest amphitheatre ever built where gladiators used to fight. I mean it’s horrible that thousands of people have died in the arena but that’s just how they were in the ancient world. This is why history really fascinates me.

Here’s my tip

I discouraged going there if you are carrying a buggy. You will have to take massive steps to really reach the viewing deck. Tourists are everywhere so expect that it will always be busy. Take care of your belongings. You will definitely have  a “wow” and photo worthy moments but you don’t have to spend longer time there.

 

Rome and all its glory #roma #colosseum #vscocam #wheninrome

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Next post will be our Tivoli, Pompeii and Amalfi coast experience. Stay tuned! xoxo

 

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Things to do in Amsterdam

Waldorf Astoria Mezzerie Brunch

Outdoor Dining Mezzeri Brunch

 

When I hear the word “Waldorf” it always reminds me of that drama series, Gossip Girls. It’s a story about the lives of privileged adolescents living in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Anyway, in real life Waldorfs are known to be an elite family in New York city – having owned multiple businesses and luxury hotels from all over the world. In the UAE alone they have two, the one in Palm Jumeirah and Ras Al Khaimah.

So when I received an invite to try Waldorf Astoria’s famous Mezzerie restaurant for the New-york inspired brunch, I got very excited! The location is close to the end of the Palm Jumeirah. We have passed Atlantis and took another 15 mins to arrive. The 5-star hotel is massive and luxurious, just what I expected.
The Mezzerie restaurant is located just below the grand lobby, down a grand staircase which is adorned with elegant decorations and extremely friendly staff.

Upon arriving in the restaurant we were whisked to our table (complete with my name on the reservation card!), but couldn’t resist the urge to go for a wander around the outside area which was beautiful. It was a sunny but breezy day so there were many people sitting outside enjoying the weather and stunning surroundings, which included a pool area with the water glistening against the backdrop of the stunning hotel.

As with our normal tradition of Friday brunches, we avoided having breakfast so we were ready to sample all the delights on offer. I can tell you now we were not disappointed!

We started with a visit to the fish counter. This area was adorned with fresh delicious fish, including ceviche – the Peruvian dish that I am seeing more of these days, where raw fish is combined in a beautiful sharp vinegar flavour.

They also had a wide array of high quality shellfish including Ricky’s favourite – oysters!

After we had our fill of fish, we moved on to their meat selection. This was also amazing, including beautiful roast meats and a full pig, complete with all the different cuts, hams and pates you could wish for. We were particular fans of the iberico ham, where a full pig leg was on display with the delicious tender meat that melted in your mouth. The roasts were also delicious with roast beef cooked to perfection, matching perfectly with the truffle infused mashed potato, yorkshire puddings, roast vegetables and englush mustard.

As we were eating a gentleman from the neighbouring Italian restaurant ‘Social‘ by michelin star winning chef Heinz Beck dropped by to serve us 2 dishes from their menu. The first dish was a ravioli dish with a very unique parmesan flavouring and the second was a luscious risotto. Both of these were beautiful, especially the ravioli which was featured in a recent Time Out magazine as dish of the week. This is a great idea which keeps in the spirit of the brunch, where people can sample selected tasters from neighbouring restaurants.

There were 3 ‘tiers’ for the brunch, with those opting for non-alcoholic package being given a selection of fresh fruit juices, coffees and soft drinks. There are also two tiers of alcoholic packages, with the highest including champagne and the standard offering the usual fayre of spirits and beers.

The dessert selection was varied and extremely tasty. They had some of the finest creme brulee I have tried, as well as lovely tiramisu and one of our favourites – the Egyptian dish Um Ali!

Another standout moment for me was the jazz duet who played soothing, relaxing tones throughout the brunch. I found this very pleasant and not overbearing, as the music in some brunches can be, allowing us to chat and enjoy the ambiance.

Overall I had a fantastic visit to the Waldorf Astoria and would recommend it to anyone who wishes to treat their loved ones or celebrate a very special occassion. As it is very far from my home in Bur Dubai, the next time I visit I would be very tempted to do a staycation as the hotel looks beautiful, including the oh so inviting pool!

 

Cheese selection Dubai Friday Brunch Mezzeri Friday Brunch Waldorf Astoria New York Style Brunch Waldorf

 

Overflowing fresh seafood selection at @waldorfdubai #dubaibrunch #vscocam #dubai #foodporn #igersuae

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Brunching like a pro 😜 @waldorfdubai 👍🏼 #dubaibrunch #mezzerie #champagne #weekend A photo posted by Myla (@findmeabreak) on

 

😍 @waldorfdubai #palmjumeirah #igersuae #mydubai #vscocam A photo posted by Myla (@findmeabreak) on

 

 

 

Waldorf Astoria Brunch
Fridays from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
+971-4-818 2222
Dubai.restaurants@waldorfastoria.com

I am Invinsible | SkyDive Dubai

Call me mad. Yes I am! I still can’t believe I did it. Everything happened so fast and all I can remember is me landing on my foot shaking and feeling sick! Don’t worry it’s not as bad as you think. haha Just being overly dramatic.

So let me tell you the story of how it all started.

Skydiving was of course one of my bucket list. It is actually the first one I just remembered it on my list here. The plan was to do it before I leave the sandpit for good. But somehow, the universe has a funny way of giving us surprises.

One day my cousin Jefferson, who recently visited me got in touch with our uncle inviting him for a catch up, have a dinner or something. Then from there he asked if we fancy skydiving. We were like yeah that will be amazing we’d like to go but it would be out of budget. Then he was like I’ll take care of it. We were like WT*&(&7sOMG! 😛

 

Now fast forward to the next day. It was the morning of 29th December. How cool is that? Skydiving in a whim! We arrived before 8 in the morning at the SkyDive Desert campus area in Margham going towards Al Ain road. I just discovered there are 2 skydive sites. The one in the Palm and the desert one. Since we booked the day before the only available is the desert one which we are not bothered at all because it counts just the same, we are jumping out from the plane! Eeeek.

 

SkyDive Dubai

This is my new friend Tuks. He’s been skydiving for 15 years and is originally from Japan but has lived in New Zealand. Maybe out of nervousness I just kept asking them questions. We did tandem jump so we were together with Craig the videographer. They’re both really cool. Love their job!

Sky Dive Dubai Tandem

When on the plane I can feel my heart drumming. I got butterflies in my tummy. I thought am I really really doing this? Then I realise there’s no backing out. I can do this I said to myself.

One by one they jumped out. I saw Jefferson with his partner positioning themselves to jump then whoop they’re gone. End of story. I poop myself. haha

IMG_9894

The three of us were the only ones left. My squad. The coolest tandem on that day. The plane needed to turn around for a bit. I swear that moment it was the longest 5 minutes of my life. I just want to jump! What’s taking it so long?

 

IMG_9899

Then suddenly whooosh. We were out. My soul was ripped off for 5 seconds. Then I got my pace and it feels amazing. Never in my life I have felt so free and powerful. The wind blowing my face was so fresh and cool. When the parachute was on we were like suspended in the air looking at Dubai from the horizon. Beautiful sand dunes below us. Craig was already waiting for us in the landing area with his camera on. It lasted probably like 10 minutes. And that was it. One of the highlights of my 2015. Huge thank you to uncle Henry for the wonderful gift. A great moment indeed.

Sky Dive Dubai Bucketlist

Landed skydive desert

Bucket list crossed! xoxo

 

Borgo Vecchio, Italian Restaurant in Downtown Dubai

Linguine-Clams

A new concept by the same owner as 800 pizza, Mr. Alessandro Dubaldo (my former boss) invited us to experience Borgo Vecchio. It means Old Village in Italian – it is located in Al Manzil district in the Old Town. It felt like we were still on our holiday in Rome. The atmosphere is so inviting. The walls surrounded with lovely paintings. It was a Friday night when we visited. We were seated opposite to the musician playing live jazz. A perfect Italian vibe!

Ricky ordered the tomato soup for starter which had a strong taste of fresh tomato infused with creamy parmesan just the perfect portion to start the meal. I had the creamy Burrata dressed with fresh olive oil, tomato and basil which I really enjoyed mixing it with my lovely bruschetta. FYI we love sharing our food which makes us a good foodie partner:)

Borgo-Vecchio-Downtown-Dubai

For the mains Ricky had the linguine with fresh Italian clams. It was delicious, the clams had a perfectly subtle seafood taste and the pasta was al dente. I had the mouth-watering roasted baby chicken with parmesan polenta.

Chicken

 

By this time we were so full but we can’t say no to desserts! Ricky as a fan of tiramisu ordered one. He said  the tiramisu was indulgent;  creamy with that signature espresso taste coming through. The addition of caramel sauce on the bottom added another dimension, as well as caramelised coffee beans and coffee infused flavoured powder. I had the artisan gelato with Pistacchio and Hazelnut. It was phenomenal. I probably can eat it everyday! Overall the food was amazing. It was carefully and successfully well-presented.

Tiramisu-Borgo-Vecchio

Italian-Restaurant-in-Dubai-Borgo    Italian musician in Dubai

I would recommend anyone to give this place a try, although the prices are higher than 800 pizza, the quality of ingredients and workmanship involved in the dishes mean you definitely get good value! From the warm staff to the creative, succulent food on offer – it was hard to find any fault with our visit.

Al Manzil District, Downtown Dubai

600 545553

Follow Borgo Vecchio on Instagram and Facebook

Just like being back in Italy 🍴@borgovecchiodubai #borgovecchio #dubai #italianfood #italy

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See you tonight? #borgovecchio #downtowndubai #italianfood #dubaijazz #dubailivejazz

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