Tag Archives: Beach

Bu Qtair

Bu Qtair
By virtue of coincidence and by my obsessive compulsiveness towards daylight, my friends and I experienced a seamless Bu Qtair evening. It’s 3:58 pm on a sunny Friday afternoon on the shores of Dubai. My eyes closed, I lie on my towel with my toes in the sand and enjoy the sounds of the waves crashing onto the shore. Sublime, nothing could be more relaxing. The clock strikes 4:00 pm and my beach bum persona washes away with the earlier wave as the general in me kicks in. “Alright everyone up… to Bu Qtair we go!” With two hours left till sundown, I hastily herd my friends over to their cars in order to capture our Bu Qtair experience in daylight. Upon our arrival at 4:10 pm, the fishermen are weaving their nets, the cats are taking a snooze but no one is in site. Inquiring with someone in the cabin, we are informed to return at 6 pm when the first order is made at 6:30 pm and no exceptions are made… not even if you say please… not even if you explain that you want to take photos… not even…. Anything. After a leisurely stroll around Jumeirah, we return at sunset and already notice a queue starting in the cabin. As customer number 5, our male friend (hero) selflessly volunteers himself to stand in the ordering queue as we graciously and happily accept while we wait outside. Fatigued from the beach and the walk around Jumeirah, my friend and I pop a squat on plastics stools. “Serene… I need to put my camera down somewhere, lets just grab that table over there…” As we move our stools over and make ourselves comfortable on the table, we notice in that short laps of time, the queue extending out the cabin and onto the road, with not a free stool or table in sight.  Phew… good timing! After enjoying the outdoor breeze and watching people from all walks of life join in, Arab, French, Pilipino, English and more our fish and shrimp arrive along with our side orders of rice, salad, sauce and bread. Breaking into the dark crusted fish which reveals the ever so white and juicy meat is beautiful. As juicy as possible and yet not as fishy as anticipated each bite, though on plastic chairs and tables, is as luxurious as can be. I adore fried everything, fried squash flowers to fried potatoes and fried dumplings, but I believe, one ingredient that should never touch the fryer is shrimp. Their meat is too delicate for harsh oils.  And so, my attention is subsequently set on the fish. The bread is extra fresh and warm. My bite, enclosing the juicy fish with the warm bread and drizzling the spicy tomato sauce on top… and repeat. Though I prefer a fresh tomato sauce to the cooked version… this version will do just fine. By the end of the evening my friends and I can easily count around 250 people, which is incredible. Bu Qtair symbolizes something I love, if you offer quality food consistently, everyone will come. Is it the best combination of flavors I have tasted? I’m not sure, I’ve had delicious fish at an Abu Dhabi fish market that I dream of, but I know that Bu Qtair delivers on one of the best food experiences in Dubai. Eating along side the beach, in open air, a stone throw away from the fishermen themselves, on a sand pit mind you, makes it surreally on some level and an experience I wouldn’t mind frequenting when ever possible. Oh and they’re happy to wrap up anything you haven’t finished, so don’t be shy and order as you please. The Plan of Action:
  1. Arrive at 6 pm sharp.
  2. Ordering starts at 6:30 pm although you should start queuing at 6:00 pm.
  3. Have one person order and the others wait outside wile securing a spot to eat.
  4. Order your choice of fish and shrimp.
  5. Pop a squat on some stools even before the tables are set up.
  6. Once the tables are out, grab your stool and claim a table.
  7. When you’re seated and have ordered your fish, a waiter will approach your table to make the order of sides being salad, bread and rice.
  8. Have fun, get your hands dirty and enjoy the fresh air and sunset.
THE DETAILS
LOCATION Jumeirah OPENING HRS. 10:30-3 6:30-12 CUISINE Indian Seafood PRICE PER COUPLE AED 100 TELEPHONE # 055 7052130
THE FORK-O-METER
An Experience to Remember

The Beaches of Sitges and the Padron Peppers

Beaches Stiges Pepper of Spain
I had just spent more then a handful of days in the Basque Country with a group of more than inspiring women surrounded by nature, crisp air and the serenity that comes with embracing the countryside. Stepping out of my cab, a stone throw away from La Rambla in Barcelona, almost trampled over by a group of Russians on tour, I think to myself, wait… I’m not ready yet. I lug my bags over the curb and under the view of another tourist, a Chinese this time, taking a photo of his beautiful family and check myself into my hotel. I freshen up grab my fedora hat and off I go to get out of the city. One ticket to Sitges please – the easiest and only town I know closest to Barcelona. After taking the wrong train, I don’t get the Spanish train system, I arrive to something more quaint, white low buildings, winding alleyways and the sounds of the beach not far away. Tourists? Yes, but nothing compared to Barcelona. Walking along the beach, a smile appears on my face as I take in the breeze and the blues of the water. I perch myself on a café stool, hungry from all the commute and browse through the menu for comfort food. My eyes and heart stopped at a plate of fried Padron peppers. A dish a didn’t grow up with, a dish I never knew existed 9 days prior and yet is my comfort food. Tied to it, beautiful memories I had in the Basque. As I pluck each warm pepper from its stem while enjoying a cool beer and salami along the beach, the feeling of comfort sets. A few hours later, happily tanned, that beautiful bronze Mediterranean tan, I begin to gather my things and enjoy my last moments of Sitges. Finally reaching Barcelona after getting off on the wrong stop, I still don’t get the train system, I strategize ways of getting as much peppers as I can back to Dubai. 7 am the next morning, positioned at the center of the farmer’s market, I’m loading up on peppers before catching my 10 am flight back to Dubai. If you do get your hands on some Padron peppers, please remember sharing is caring (just kidding… or am I?) try out this recipe, it couldn’t be simpler and is wonderful with some cheese and salami. Love, Tala   Ingredients: 500 g fresh padron peppers 1 cup olive oil ½ tablespoon coarse salt Preparation: Wash the peppers in cool water and dry thoroughly. Keep the stems on the peppers. Add the olive oil to a deep pan and let the oil heat up, around 3 minutes. Add a handful of peppers to the oil and cook for a round 3 minutes and turn occasionally so both sides are evenly cooked. Spoon out the peppers and place them on a paper towel. Repeat the above until all the peppers are cooked. Place the peppers in a serving bowl add the salt and serve warm.

Strawberries and the Beach

Beach
I enjoy the experience of creating, whether it’s creating a blog post, pictures, an almond tart or even dinner experiences. If I have created something, then it is a day well spent. Idleness is my biggest pet peeve, and I’m strictly stubborn about being un-idle.  I don’t go to the movies, I don’t watch TV and I don’t just do nothing. But there’s something about spending the whole day lying on the beach that’s so satisfying. At sunset with my hair curled from the sea water and my shoulders rosé from the sun, I always have a feeling of contentment. Is it being close to nature? Or maybe it’s being close to a body that is full of power and energy, two things I’m constantly attracted to. Rather than a spot to get away, the beach is a place that reenergizes me. With my book in hand, I always find myself drifting off to the sea. Staring at its endless horizon, it’s crashing waves and admiring the unknown of what it holds in its deepest blue. So it’s not surprising that every Friday, regardless of weather, you’ll find me on the beach! Leaning into my fridge, I see beautiful strawberries my mother purchased a few days ago and remember Jamie. Opening my drawer full of One of These Days Recipes I find Jamie’s Charred Eggy Bread With Strawberries and Honey and think this is the perfect pre beach breakfast, fresh yet filling. Getting my mise en place in order, I take out a must have in everyone’s kitchen, a cast iron stove top grill. Living 60 something floors up, I may not have the luxury of a barbeque but I have something that comes close. Cooking on a cast iron grill makes everything crispier rather than soggier which I get from everyday pans. Dipping my bread into the organic egg and milk mixture, I dust it with sugar and place it on the bottom half of the hot grill and it welcomes it with a sizzle. I then throw my sliced and sugar dusted strawberries on the top half. Waiting for everything to caramelized, I have a sip of coffee and flip through my summer plans. A few minutes later I plate my toast, top it with a spoonful of ricotta, grilled strawberries then honey and finally lemon zest. The warm bread forms a crispy crust from the caramelized sugar while the ricotta cools the almost soft strawberries with a sprinkle of lemon zest for freshness. Casually enjoying my last slice of strawberry and smudge of honey, I never rush food, I put on my swimming suit, kaftan, hat, sunglass, and towel in hand, off I go. And yes, I did ‘borrow’ the towel from Jumeirah Beach Hotel, but with the amount I pay for a single day entrance, on the rare occasion I don’t go to a public beach, I should be taking home the beach chair as well. A beautiful day at the beach makes everything colorful again! For the link to the full recipe, click here. Love, Tala