A Cure For The Tired Traveler – Express Lunch at Elements Restaurant

The Mr. and I don’t start work for a few weeks, so now that the kids are back to the grind at school, we have a bit of time on our hands.

I’m fighting excruciating jetlag and loosing – wide awake till 4:30am – then crashing back to sleep till noon, so today we decided to fight this jetlag head on with a delightful meal at Elements Restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel in Doha, Qatar.

Their Express Lunch menu comes highly recommended by fellow foodies, friends, and bloggers Polly from Follow Your Sunshine and Rachel from Life on the Wedge, so we knew we would enjoy it. And we did! It was exceptional! The Mr. loved his hamburger, while I devoured my first meal of the day, a serving of crispy baby chicken with truffle mash and grilled vegetables.

The business lunch is 95QR for three courses or 85QR per person for two, which is what we decided to have. Lovely choices of eats, plus add a glass or red or white house wine for an extra 55-60QR.

A great way to cure jetlag (I hope!) I’ll keep you posted…

Available daily from 12:00 noon to 03:00 pm. For more information, please call +(974) 4494 8600 or email dining.doh@fourseasons.com

Ocean To Table

This summer I will be spending seven claw cracking, lip smacking weeks in the beautiful Canadian province of Prince Edward Island. I’ll be sharing my foodie adventure as I dive into the best seafood PEI has to offer from mussels, to lobster, from chowders, to oysters. I’ll eat it all and share my photos and opinion with you. As I try to eat my way around the red shores of this Maritime gem, please free follow the hashtag #eatPEI or follow me with the links below.

Twitter – @thesnappedfork

Instagram – thesnappedfork

Snapchat – thesnappedsara

Up first, the lobster roll. The east coasts of Canada and the United States pride themselves on having some of the best seafood in the world, and they have the recognition and awards to back it up. Having grown up in the Maritime Provinces, and having a solid handful of family members that have worked for years hauling lobster traps as commercial fishermen and fisherwomen, I happen to love these beautiful crustaceans and have a deep commitment to cracking into as many as I can when I’m home to help the industry.


Photo courtesy of New Glasgow Lobster Suppers

PEI has some of the best lobster, lobster suppers, lobster chowder, and lobster rolls I’ve ever tasted. This summer my family and I plan to sink our teeth into as much lobster as possible.

img_1339Lobster Roll #1 (left) was from The Chip Shack perched next to Founders Hall on the Charlottetown Waterfront. $9CAD. We’ve eaten here in past visits to the Island, and we know they have great fries made from the best PEI potatoes. Our visit this time was on a freezing cold day (+12), so to be outside at a picnic table trying to eat hot food was probably a poor choice on our part, and may have affected my appreciation of the roll and the experience itself.  The kids and Mr. had fish & chips, which they find to be a bit disappointing, (gluten free…really? I think the Mr. would like extra gluten!) and obviously everything got cold very quickly due to the weather, since there is no indoor seating. The gravy on the poutine didn’t even melt the cheese curds (that’s a bad sign! Again…What were we thinking!) The lobster roll had a freshly toasted bun, and the lobster filling was more like a pulled pork sandwich texture, with very few large claw pieces and not a lot of flavor. Though this may sound like a downer of a visit and review, I would go back for the fries and the poutine gravy had lots of flavor, so I’d try that again. The portions are quite large, so you do get your money’s worth. Nice, friendly staff. A sunny day may provide a better review.

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Lobster Roll #2 (above) was from Brakish, which is also tucked away on the Charlottetown Waterfront, PEI. $18CAD. This packed lobster roll is mixed with lemon and parsley and served with your choice of a green salad or fries. I opted for the salad, for a much-needed break from the fries that seem to come with everything on the Island from your Timmis coffee, to your shawarma (kidding, but seriously, this place has fries with everything!)  The bun was packed full with a nice shredded lobster salad. The location is perfect for patio relaxing, and a long lunch break. Great, chill atmosphere and lovely service.

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Lobster Roll #3 (right) This one was a bit of a surprise. We went to a wedding in Montague yesterday, and while relaxing during the photo session, between the ceremony and the reception, we decided to grab some lunch. We asked a few Montague locals where to go and they consistently said to try Windows On The Water. The restaurant is perched on the main road, overlooking the Montague Harbour. The roll was very nice, consisting of a typical lobster salad on a toasted bun, and I added the award-winning chowder as a side for an extra dollar, so the total was $17CAD. The chowder was exceptional and outshone the lobster roll by leaps and bounds! I’d go back for a piping hot bowl of their think, full flavored chowder any day. It was a great surprise! Good, accommodating service. I’d be happy to return for another bowl.

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Lobster Roll #4 – (right) Richard’s Fresh Seafood, Covehead, Prince Edward Island. Lobster Burger and fries $18CAD. The secret has been out on this place for years. It’s not surprising that the line ups at this Covehead wharf side establishment can be quite long (especially on weekends), as the food quality is top-notch. Order up you favorite seafood and sit upstairs to enjoy the picturesque view of the Covehead Wharf and the local kids jumping off for fun. A fantastic place to have lunch, or an evening meal if you are staying nearby. My lobster bun consisted of a grilled kaiser bun stacked full of huge pieces of claw and tail meat, with no added fillers,just lightly tossed in some browned butter, served with a pile of fresh, hot fries. Delicious!!

Lobster Roll #5 (above and below) Dave’s Lobster in Founders Hall, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. I’m a repeat offender of visiting Dave’s. This 3-year-old company is growing and expanding off the Island as well as on, and there is a good reason why. Their simple yet delicious menu and fast approach to getting good food to you quickly impresses everyone who visits, then comes back for more. I had the “Some Fancy” $15CAD, which is PEI lobster warmed in a pan of butter, lemon, and garlic served on a traditional baked roll, buttered and grilled. The roll was then topped with fresh chives. Each roll comes with a choice of potato chips, as well. It was fantastic! This is a must-try roll. Eat in or take out, it’s not fancy, but it’s delicious.

Lobster Roll #6 (left) Lobster Barn Pub & Eatery, Victoria, Prince Edward Island. This big beautiful lobster roll was shared with my girl in picturesque village of Victoria by the Sea. Sit on the warf and enjoy the contrasting reds and greens of your natural surroundings while sipping a local beer or a glass of wine. Great salads and a nice big, juicy roll with a side of chowder (17$) or try one of their salads, including a lobster salad, of course! A great place for lunch, or a relaxing way to end your PEI beach day on the South Shore of the Island.

Continue to follow our feasting, and make plans to visit Prince Edward Island yourself soon. They will be happy to have you!

Photos of food from BrakishThe Chip Shack, Windows On The Water, and Richard’s are property of The Snapped Fork.

 

A Foodie’s Transition – Taiwan to Qatar

Departing Taiwan…

In the beginning I was cautiously optimistic of the food scene in Qatar. I moved to Doha three short years ago with my husband and kids. At the time I had no clue what I was getting into, both work wise and in regards to the depth of the adjustment to the culture and weather that are ever-present in the Middle East, but I felt pretty confident that the food scene here would be one that I would enjoy, more so than the food scene I had experienced for the last seven years in Taiwan.

I know! Taiwan is on the map as a must-go-to place for adventurous foodies. Just check out posts from anonymous blogger Joan H of A Hungry Girl’s Guide to Taipei or visit Ai Ping’s Curious Nut blog where you’ll be taken on a charmingly photographed journey by way of Southeast Asian & East Asian cuisine… then you will shake your head at the food I missed out on for 7 years of my life on the Island. Well, I didn’t really miss out. I tried everything, at least once….and I stuck to my favourites.

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Photo of the Keeling night market courtesy of www.hostfamily.org.tw

You see, Taiwanese food has A LOT of meat, a lot of hard-to-identify bits and pieces, and a lot of gelatinous sauces. These combinations didn’t work well for my stomach or my sensitivity to food that feels like it’s already been digested before entering my mouth, so needless to say, I wasn’t a huge fan of most of the typical home-cooked or street food options in Taiwan. I was a food wimp. I mostly stuck to vegetarian meals and dumplings. Many, many dumpling. I confess.

In between boarders…

Before my arrival in Qatar, a friend had told me about the availability of ingredients and food stuffs here, which sounded like it would far surpass the accessibility of international groceries in Taiwan. Yes, in TW we did have a COSTCO in our small city of Hsinchu, or we could trek all the way to Taipei to little shops like Willie’s Deli in Tienmu on the outskirts of Taipei. Or I could be found wandering we the isles of the newly opened City’s Super, spending paycheck upon paycheck on imported ingredients the expat population craved. But still, it was hard to find certain comfort items, so I was optimistic and hopeful that Doha’s selection and prices would be better.

On our summer trip back to Canada, living in between the two worlds, we stocked up on suitcases worth of food items and medications we didn’t think would be available in Qatar. However, on my first trip to MegaMart, a grocery chain that has multiple locations in Doha, I quickly realized that the overseas shopping we had done was unnecessary, even a little embarrassing, since everything was there among the isles. MegaMart, commonly referred to as MegaBucks or MegaRipOff has a wide selection of groceries from all over the globe, available to you for exorbitant prices, but again I must confess, as it’s my favourite place to shop.

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Photo of the MegaMart courtesy of chrisandashleyindoha.wordpress.com

Qatar has a plethora of food options and clean, well stocked grocery stores to satiate every shoppers tastes. The French chain Monoprix  is the newest to set up in Doha, opening their first West Bay location in 2013 to much applause. While the Egyptian chain Spinneys, which carries many British Tesco products, has been established in Doha since 2010.  Other large chains like Giant, Carrefour, LuLu Hypermarket, and Al Meera criss cross the country and supply a bounty of options to shoppers. If you are looking for something a a little more local, you can visit the Wholesale Market, or the seasonal fruit and veggie markets that are beginning to gain traction in the country, and pick yourself up a box full of fruits and veggies for a low cost.

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Photo of the Wholesale Market courtesy of www.timeoutdoha.com 

Though there are limits on items containing alcohol or pork, everything else can be found here. If you require alcohol or pork, these items are available for personal consumption in your own home. Expats can get a licence to purchase from the Qatar Distribution Company by permission of the company they work for, and can shop to their hearts content at the QDC.  

If you are searching for a specific ingredient, or have a mounting craving that has to be dealt with, there are also many great online and printed resources to help do the foodie legwork for you before even going out the door. Food bloggers, active Facebook groups, online magazines and guides, an active community of hotels and restaurants, and of course word-of-mouth are a sure bet to get you on the right path to finding what you need. Some of my favourite sources in Qatar are:

  • Marhaba -Founded in 1994, the Marhaba is Qatar’s premier information guide for all things happening in Qatar. You can visit their website for the latest information, news, events, listings and features. They are a go-to guide for all things Qatar.
  • Time Out Doha – This publication and digital magazine provides local information and cultural guidance to its readers. They have up-to-date information on food and cultural events, restaurants not to be missed, contact information, and many interesting features on food related events, restaurants, and chefs.  
  • Doha Foodies – Doha Foodies is a Facebook group where members can share information about all things food related in Qatar. If you are looking for a great place to eat with friends, or trying to find a missing ingredient from your favourite recipe, you can ask members and they will share their wealth of knowledge. (Shameless plug, as I’m the administrator for the group!)
  • Life on the Wedge – Cleverly crafted and filled with inspiration, Rachel is a globetrotting cheese lover, who lives life on the edge, or wedge, sharing her keen appreciation of fine service, fine food, and a fine, fine life. Her humor and wit will always catch you off guard and bring you back for more.
  • Pinay Flying High – One of the hardest working bloggers in Doha, this well traveled, knowledgeable blogger pumps out solid information on where to relax, celebrate, and dine in Doha. She is always on the go, sharing beautiful photos of a life we all wish we could have.
  • Boulangerry – Not shy to tell you what he thinks, Gerald (the Gerry of Boulan”gerry”) will never let you down with his honest, knowledge and cleverly written food adventures throughout Qatar and abroad. Beautifully photographed, his eats will leave you begging to dine alongside of him, and lucky me, I have!
  • Follow Your Sunshine – Polly is an upbeat, upscale blogger who loves to share her new adventures with motherhood, travel, lifestyle, and most importantly food! Her and her family travel the globe eating well and living large.
  • Lemon and Mint – A blog written by a lovely foodie couple from Whales (the Ms) and Pakistan (the Mr) who reveal their appreciation of good food and the good life that can be made here in Qatar. They share their mints, lemons, and an occasional recipe to an awaiting audience.

Growing roots…

These days…three years in…I’m a spoiled little foodie. Though many of my weeknights are simply spent at home cooking up food with my kids and the Mr, I continue to immerse myself into the percolating food scene of Doha, and have (luckily) been welcomed by an expanding group of talented bloggers, hoteliers, restaurant owners, and friends who share a love of all things delicious. We eat, swap stories, live each others adventures, laugh at each others antics, and when we part there is always a thread that connects us – a love of eating together and sharing in the best of where we live. When (and if) the time comes to leave Qatar, it will be hard to separate from this life, since food and the experience of living in Doha are emulsified together in a beautiful, flavourful, diverse blend of cultures and eats. My motto for my foodie adventure in Qatar continues to be love where you eat, and eat what you love, and lucky for me I get to do both here in Doha.

 

Primo Pasta Feast

I’m a sucker for a filling feast of pasta smothered in fresh, fragrant sauces, so when I was invited by Four Season Hotel, Doha to try their new 5 course pasta tasting menu created by Chef Marco at Il Teatro Restaurant, it was a quick and positive response.  Our intimate gathering of foodies quickly twirled into our servings and critiqued the presentation, aroma, and most importantly the sauces and pasta.

Enjoying 5 courses of pasta may seem like an overwhelming feast, however the smaller serving sizes, and careful selection of light and rich flavors is quite managable and very delicious. I was up for the challenge!

img_4881Cacio e Pepe, Scampo Arrostito

Pecorino Romano cheese with delicious pan-seared langoustine. 

Cacio e Pepe is one of my go-to favorite dishes in an Italian setting (or, let’s be honest, I’d eat it cold on a Saturday morning if I could!) This serving was on the mild side, and I was left wishing there was more sauce to dip a piece of fresh bread into. The langoustine was perfectly cooked and divine.
img_4887Tagliatelle Ai Funghi

Tagliatelle topped with a fragrant sauce made with fresh forest mushrooms.

img_4895-1Tagliolini Al Burro Di Malga e Tartufo

Butter tagliolini pasta with black truffle sauce. 

The star of the show, a perfect balance of black truffle richness and a light, buttery pasta. I was left wanting more!

img_4898 Ravioli Ricotta e Spinaci Al Pomodoro Fresco

Spinach and ricotta ravioli smothered in vine ripened tomato sauce. 

img_4903 Maccheroni Ai Frutti Di Mare

Fresh maccaroni in a fresh seafood lobster bisque. 

PASTA TASTING MENU

Il Teatro Restaurant

Four Seasons Hotel, Doha

The pasta tasting menu is available for lunch from 12:00 – 3:00pm Sunday~Thursday, or enjoy for dinner from 6:30-10:30pm Sunday~Thursday.

190QR

Participation of the entire table is recommended. 

A Trip To The Islands

Polynesian cuisine, the Mai Tai, the Tiki Puka Puka, endless choices of Trader Vic’s tidbits, long straws, paddles, birds, and other drink sticks to entertain oneself, girls on mugs, hibiscus print dresses, live music…the beachy feel of Trader Vic’s is gimmicky yet fun. Trader Vic’s can be found worldwide, and is a beacon to those wanting to surf up to the bar, kick their worries away, and meet some new friends. This place has a history and once you push your way through the heavily polished mahogany doors, you slip into another world. You can easily feel welcome here. Trader Vic’s Doha offers a relaxed atmosphere where you can hit the happy hour and leaving riding a wave.

The unique brunch offers a selection of salads, appetizers, and mains. A bit on the salty and sticky sweet side, but wash it down with a few more beverages, and you’ll be balanced in no time. Trader Vic’s can be found at The Hilton, Doha. Thanks to Pinay Flying High for the invite, and to Trader Vic’s for the entertaining afternoon!

Friday Brunch is from 12:30-3:30.

350qr/person.

Includes their full page drink menu.

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Gin Joint

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Doha has some exceptionally good happy hours taking place around town right now. If you are looking for a gin joint to chill out at after a hot day in the office, a day at the beach, or a long week of managing you life, this is your place to mingle for a few hours to take the edge off. Gin O’Clock has started at The Market by Jean George at The W Hotel, Doha. Market mixologists can whip you up one of their signature drinks, or if you are feeling adventurous, you can create your own at the gin buffet using peppercorns, rosemary, mint, a selection of berries, a variety of spices and fruits, and a potpourri of other surprises to experiment with. With a generous choice of gins, tonics, infusions, enhancers, and the warm, welcoming atmosphere and smooth service, this is sure to be another hit for the W Hotel! Thanks W Doha for the invite!

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120QR gets you all the gin you can enjoy! If you have a craving for some nibbles, a small selection of bites are available at an additional cost. Sat-Thurs, 5pm-7pm. +974 4453 5135 Enjoy and Cheers!

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Ginger Sour Cookies

FullSizeRender_3My husband and I were both raised by moms and dads who spent hours in the kitchen whipping up week-night dinners, weekend desserts, festive meals, Sunday breakfasts, cookies by the dozen, birthday cakes, home-made bread, and a myriad of other delicious home-cooked eats. Little did we know, at the time, how exhausting it was to be a full-time working parent and try to provide nutritious and delicious food for an active growing family. It’s exhausting, and as much as I love to cook, bake, and be adventurous in the kitchen, I seem to have little time to actually do it!! When I do get in there, I like to make something new, or reinvent the old. The other day I decided to reinvent a cookie recipe my mother-in-law makes anytime her son (my husband) is around. They are his FAVORITE cookies, so I have to take them seriously when I whip them up, or I can easily disappoint. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like a simple ginger molasses cookie, but I’ve always thought these classics had the potential to be fabulous. And I was right!! I decided to make adjustments to the recipe and slap two cookies together with a beautiful, light, easy to make lemon cream filling, to create a perfect rich, but brightly lemony sandwich cookie.

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Ginger Sour Cookies 

The Cookie Wafer

2 cups sifted flour

1 tsp powered ginger

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp powered cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup salted (or unsalted) butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup black strap molasses

The Lemon Cream Filling

2 1/2 cups sifted icing sugar

6 Tbsp salted butter, at room temperature

1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest

1 Tbsp lemon extract, or 2 drop of lemon essential oil

1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 1 medium lemon

To Make The Cookies

FullSizeRenderIn a stand mixer, or with a hand-held mixer, cream the butter and sugar for 4-5 minutes till light yellow and fluffy. Lower the speed, and add the egg. Increase speed and beat in the molasses. Sift dry ingredients into a separate bowl, then slowly add into the creamed mixture till well blended. Roll into 1 teaspoon sized balls. Roll each ball in granulated sugar till covered. Bake on a greased cookie sheet, at 350°F, for 12-15 minutes. Watch the cookies carefully, so they don’t get too dark. Remove and cook completely on wire cooling rack. Wait till cookies are completely cooled before adding the filling.

*NOTE: If you live in a warm climate, once the batter is made, put it into the refrigerator for 30 minutes before rolling the balls. Also, leave the batter it in the fridge in between batches.

*NOTE: This recipe doubles well.

To Make The Filling

FullSizeRender_2After sifting, place the icing sugar, butter, sugar, and grated lemon zest into your stand-up mixing bowl, fitted with the paddle, and mix on a low-speed till its well blended. Turn up the speed and mix till light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, and add the lemon juice and extract or essential oil. Beat till well combined, about 1 minute. Add a Tbsp of water if your filling is too thick.

Transfer the filling into a piping bag or medium-sized zip-lock bag, push the filling into the bottom of the bag, and cut a 1/2 inch corner off the tip of the bag. When the cookies have completely cooled, turn half of them over on their backs.  Pipe the filling on the flat side of the cookies, in a large coin sized dollop in the centre of the cookie. Gently push another cookie of top, flat sides together.

Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

If they last that long!!

 

Diving Into Nobu

A few weeks back I had the pleasure of being invited by Four Seasons Doha to dine at their new hot spot Nobu. Nobu Doha showcases Chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa’s innovative signature Japanese cuisine complemented by an equally imaginative setting in the 26,000 squarefoot contemporary restaurant. As you approach Nobu, which was designed by New York-based architecture firm Rockwell Group, you are immediately drawn into the curves and folds of the building and its pearl theme – in reference to Qatar’s pearl-diving heritage. Perched on the end of Four Season’s private marina, Nobu includes an expansive 134-seat interior dining area, an intimate 10-seat sushi counter, two private dining rooms, the White Pearl Bar & Lounge, as well as a Black Pearl Bar & Lounge, and the one-of-a-kind 38-seat roof top lounge that encompasses both indoor and outdoor seating.

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Above photo courtesy of Four Seasons Doha

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The partnership between Four Seasons and Nobu is a magnificent addition to the fine food scene in Doha. Having never eaten at a Nobu before, I was very excited and ready to dive in and enjoy the complete experience, and better still…I was dining with great company!

Throughout the course of the evening we had exceptional service in an exquisite location, and the food?…I was overwhelmed by the diverse, dynamic flavours of each dish. Every colour, texture, and flavour combination was easily explained and described by our lovely waiter or by the General Manager, Layne Nguyen, who popped by a few times to see how we were enjoying the experience.

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And yes..it is an experience…

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We had a lot of questions!

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…and we took a lot of pictures…

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The Guests (L-R)- The lovely Endamia (Mia) Decour – PR for Four Seasons Doha,

Husnaa Malik – Eat Sleep Be Fancy, Sahar Nabil – Four Seasons Doha

Sarah Derrig – Lady Sadie’s Emporium, Kirsty Rice – 4 Kids, 20 Suitcases, and a Beagle,

Rachel Morris – Life on the Wedge, and me, Sara Thompson – The Snapped Fork

The restaurant‬ did not disappoint our party of Foodies, but exceeded my every expectation to provide a truly unique dining experience that will be soon hard to forget. If you are looking for something special…a place to create a memory, a place to savour perfectly cooked (or uncooked) food, a place to enjoy a moonrise with friends, a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Doha, it’s the obvious choice. Towered over by the expanding skyline of Doha, this seashell of a restaurant is going to make big waves. 

Nobu Doha
Four Seasons Hotel
The Corniche, P.O. Box 24665
Doha, Qatar

Daily Dinner 6:30pm – 11:30pm, Daily Bar & Lounge 6:00pm – 1:00am

Phone: +974 4494 8500

Still Searching For A Great Dumpling…

FullSizeRenderP.F. Chang’s, the Asian-themed American casual dining success story, opened this week in Villagio Mall, Qatar. There has been much talk of this restaurant opening over the last year, so I had some hope that maybe I would recognise a few of the flavors I miss from my 7 years living and eating in Taiwan. I’ve never been to a P.F. Chang’s before, though they do have them in Canada now, so I didn’t know what to expect, but the reviews I had heard from friends weren’t very promising (and I think the Canadian locations have gone belly up!)

Even so, we decided to give it a try this evening, because we were in the mall running errands, and they seemed to have a table for us, so why not! It was very busy, but after asking twice to place our order, we got an unflustered waiter who promptly started to bring us our heated up food (note the “heated up ” comment!) The staff look exhausted, but had smiles on their faces and did a fine job. I’m sure it’s been a busy week so far!

We ordered the dynamite shrimp, crab wontons, chicken pan-fried dumplings, honey chicken, vegetarian steamed dumplings, spring rolls, and the vegetarian lettuce wraps.

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The dynamite shrimp, which are deep-fried, coated in a mayo based mild spicy sauce, and served in a sad martini glass, were the best thing on the table. I could see myself enjoying those more if I was sliding them back with a glass of sake or 4!!

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The dumplings looked promising, but were disappointing. Nothing about them was fresh, and the dough was very chewy and thick. The vegetarian dumpling had more flavor than the pan-fried chicken ones, but neither were good. My kids seemed to enjoy them, so they finished them off.

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The tofu lettuce wraps were tasty, and a nice vegetarian option, or gluten-free option, though they don’t look appetizing when they arrive at your table. You also have to assemble them yourself, so get ready to get messy! P.F.C’s prides itself on gluten-free options, though I did overhear a man explaining to the waiter several times, and then a manager, that his wife MUST have gluten-free food…and the staff seemed to be confused as to what that meant.

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The wontons and honey chicken were sitting under the warming lights for too long, so they aren’t worth much talking about. The honey chicken wasn’t much better than the low-end Chinese take-out you would order at 2am after a long night. It might taste good then, but will cause you trouble in the morning!

P.F. Chang’s, though a nice sit down option for the Villagio restaurant scene, doesn’t have the menu that will bring US back again. It is just the first week, but I believe my opinion wouldn’t change much if we were to return in a month of two, especially with good Indian a few doors down at Asha’s.

Check P.F.C’s out for yourself if you have an itch to scratch, but if you are looking for more authentic Asian fusion cuisine I think your appetite will be disappointed and your pocketbook will be empty.

Cost of food with drinks: 350QR

 

 

Whatever/Whenever

My love for W Hotels started in Taiwan 5 years ago. Their hotel motto of “Whatever/Whenever” was an attractive invitation to the motley crew of great pals we had accumulated over the 7 years we lived in Hsinchu City, Taiwan. As it went, usually one of us would suggest a day trip, so we would pick a spot in Taipei for a lovely breakfast, then shortly after (yes, before noon!), we’d take up our spots on the W Taipei Hotel rooftop bar, WET bar. We would sit poolside for the day sipping some of the best mojitos ever made, watching the many attractive visitors meandering around the deck, and share a day of giggles, food, cocktails and conversation. The day would pass and an evening would arrive. Here’s what it looked like:

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James, Christy, Andrea, Steve, and Tania (of welovemondays – A great travel blog) listening to one of Steve’s  tangents.

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Steve, Tania, Amber, Sarah, and Justine sharing a laugh.

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The gang waiting for sunset. We had been there for hours!

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James, Ray, and Caroline bundled up in the fall.

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The view at the end of a long, relaxing day.

Here in Doha, the poolside option is not as inviting to me, but the service, indoor atmosphere, and especially the food at W Hotel Doha is divine. I love having after work drinks with friends at the Spice Market happy hour, or heading downstairs for a glass of vino in La Spiga, by Paper Moon and listening to some jazz. Also, Brunch at Spice Market is one of the “must-do” brunches in Doha…and is definitely in MY top 3 choices for brunch in Doha. With an expansive array of Asian cuisine, it’s the best place in town for a feast of sushi, Peking Duck, Thai curry, or steamed dumplings…and don’t get me started on the desserts! Often you can chat with the friendly W pastry chefs admiring their work, while (actually) making sure it’s absolutely perfect. It’s nothing but the best for the W.  The Market by Jean George, La Spiga, and/or Spice Market are places you really should try when living in Doha, or just stopping by for a vacation or business trip. The W Cafe on the main floor serves a great cup of coffee alongside beautiful pastries, or a light morning breakfast.

Recently, during a week of staycationing, I had the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely kid-free lunch with a couple of good friends at Spice Market. We went for the bento box business lunch. It was excellent eats, sushi was perfect, drinks spectacular, service was top-notch and the bento box (95RQ) and sushi express (140QR) prices were very, very reasonable. I work full-time, so often miss out on these wonderful daytime dining opportunities. I was very glad to have had the chance to partake in this daytime luxury. Here is what it looked like:

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And then they brought me this….

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Is your mouth-watering yet? Well, it should be! Make a reservation…and bring some friends along. You won’t regret it!

W Hotel Doha – West Bay, Doha, Qatar. Phone: (974) 4453 5000Fax: (974) 4453 5354

W Hotel Taipei – 10 Zhongxiao East Road Sec. 5, Xinyi District, Taipei,  Taiwan. Phone: +886 2 7703 8888