Tag Archives: Out Door

Maya

Maya
I have to say a big thank you to Maya because it taught me a valuable lesson at the very start of my FIODTuesdays initiative. It was Tuesday morning, the second dinner I ever hosted and I had 11 dinner guests ready to join me for a review at Maya. I called Le Royal Meridien to book my table and the receptionist responded with “Sorry Mam but Maya is closed for renovation.” And there we have it, my FIODTuesdays tables are now booked a week in advance so my guests will never be inconvenienced by a last minute change of location. After a big re-launch event I was assured that Maya was open for all of us to enjoy. And yes, a week prior to this last Tuesday, I booked my table. “Would you like to walk to the restaurant or would you like to take the golf cart?” Is that even a question? Does anyone say walk? “Golf Cart!” I respond with my arms in the air. What is the fascination with golf carts? Is it their playfulness or a throwback to your childhood? Either way they are one of life’s simple joys. Rolling up to the restaurant I can’t believe its sheer size. Located as a stand-alone outlet from Le Royal Meridien, Maya’s size is definitely influenced from its origins of the West. Hanging on to the still beautiful weather like it was dear life, we decide to dine outside on the terrae. I have to give it to Maya, the lighting selected for the fit out of the restaurant, both in and out, sets the mood perfectly and is some of the best I’ve seen in Dubai. While taking our orders, the first question I have is “Can we please have the guacamole that you prepare at the table?” I’m not going to lie, the waiters response shatters parts of my heart. He explains that they used to have that option, but during the renovation process they decided to scratch that off the menu. Bad move. With a heart half shattered, I continue to make the rest of my order selecting some of my classic Mexican favorites along with dishes I’ve never tried. Our starters arrive and my tortilla chip goes head first into the guacamole and then into my mouth. Crunching through my bite, I realize that it lacks a kick of spiciness, salt and lime. Next I try their variation on the guacamole, which includes pomegranate syrup, but push it away after a bite. To this date, Loca’s guacamole goes unrivaled in Dubai. I fold up my langoustine mini taco and take a bite. The fresh flavors of the langoustine and the earthy warm flavors of the bean spread make up for the guacamole disappointment. The ceviche comes next. Its bright pink color appeases my eyes but holds up a stop sign for my taste buds as they wonder how can something so striking be natural. Licking the tip of my fork full of ceviche, I taste, Kool-aide, Pepsi and everything not so nice.  On a table full of organic flavors this chemically infused dish feels like a banker on a farm, out of place. My beef taco arrives and as a self-proclaimed compartmentalized freak, the dish puts a smile on my face. Having a taste of my beef taco, my commercially conditioned taco tastebuds melt away and I slowly realize what an authentic taco is supposed to taste like. The juicy meat and the creamy avocado bring it home. Within the radius of an arms length, I enjoy a bite of chicken cazuela, which is cooked in a pot and plays on sweet and tangy flavors, chicken fajita a classic everyone enjoys and chicken enchiladas which fails to meet the standard of other mains that were ordered. I lie back in my chair, sip my Jasmine tea, enjoy the breeze and listen to the sound of conversion from my FIODTuesdays dinner guests. My favorite thing. And then, he arrives, tall bronze and handsome. My attention is captured, I sit up and my eyes follow him until he is placed in front of me.  Pick, dip and crunch sweet, cinnamon and crispy. I have just tasted Dubai’s best churros. A true destination churros. Leaving the restaurant, I am satisfied and yet not satisfied. The fumble at the start of the meal may have derailed my experience. Mains and desserts made me smile, but the starters of bland guacamole and Kool-aide ceviche, instead of easing me into flavors of Mexico left me disoriented like a letter in a just shaken Boggle cube. Reminiscing about the dinner there is one thing on my mind, THE CHURROS.
THE DETAILS
LOCATION Le Royal Meridien  OPENING HRS. 7:30 to 12  CUISINE Mexican PRICE PER COUPLE AED 900 TELEPHONE # 04 399 5555 WEBSITE Maya
THE FORK-O-METER
Your Out Door Drinks and Churros Spot

Aprons and Hammers

crab
There is something in the air, closely resembling an electric vibe, when a nation holiday is announced in Dubai. It’s knowing that everyone is on vacation, laughing and trying to have a great time – a unison feeling of enjoyment that I relish. With a holiday and spectacular weather in tow the perfect restaurant recommendation is in order aka Aprons and Hammers. Just a big shout out to my beautiful cousin, Hana Zarour, for introducing me to Aprons and Hammers. Big love to her and to whoever introduces me to new places! Stepping onto the dhow, which is Aprons and Hammers, we climb to the top deck to take full advantage of the outdoor weather. Dressed in aprons on arrival, we take our orders. My friends focus on the starters and I keep my eyes set on the prize – buckets of Crab! Yes buckets – it’s the pleasure of grabbing your food from a bucket without the guilt of KFC. In addition to choosing your buckets of locally sourced “fruits of the sea”, you are also asked to select a sauce they would be cooked in.  We select some buckets avec sauce Provencale and others with a Pepper cream sauce. (There is an option that the crabs be cooked plain and a dip of your choice would be offered on the side – don’t select this option, the previous is much better) Our sides arrive and are annihilated in a second. Can you blame us? Comfort food classics from calamari, breaded shrimp, crab cakes, corn on the cob to ceasar salad. The crab cakes are my top pick – golden and crispy from the outside and white and soft on the inside. I would although request that they make their own sauce to accompany the cakes – I’m not a fan of readymade sauces. And then we wait, and we wait and we waited for our much anticipated mains – I’m not complaining I have a table of 10 close friends, a cool breeze and a chilled glass of Ksara white wine. Finally our buckets arrive, all 7 of them – which is about 0.7 buckets per person if you wanna get all technical. Eight pieces of warm crab drenched in the sauce of your choice. Cracking open the crab a billow of steam escapes, I pick  out the white soft, but not too soft, crab meat and submerge it into the sauce. With the bite dripping down my fingers I add a French fry and pop it into my mouth and repeat and repeat. The provencal is a light see through herb infused, French inspired sauce while the pepper cream sauce is a thicker cream based sauce. Every time I feel as though my mind is made up on which I prefer, I taste the other sauce and have to rethink my decision. Aprons and Hammers does a good job of providing all the necessary utensils to optimize your crab eating experience: Hammer: Which can be use to either bang away all your Dubai frustrations or crack open your crab. Just as a warning, with each bang comes a squirt to your neighbor so be careful and aim wisely. The Crab Cracker: Is my utensil of choice. The best way to use it is to go along the crab leg and ever so slightly crack the shell. The mini claw: A long metal rod with a small hook at the tip, which is excellent for grabbing the meat from inside the shell. Or just use your hands! There are two types of crab eaters, the first meticulously picks out all the crab meat and piles them on their plate. Then when appropriate, drizzles their favorite sauce and enjoys several bites of hassle free, pure crab meat. Then there’s people like me who get a small piece of meat, dunk it into the sauce and enjoy the bite right then and there! Which crab eater are you? At the end of the meal all I can see is piles and piles of shells and everyone leaned back on their seats with smiles on their faces. Aprons and Hammers encompasses what I always ask from a restaurant experience, exciting food, lively atmosphere and the desire to return!
THE DETAILS
LOCATION: Next o Barasti OPENING HRS: 12 pm - 12 am CUISINE: Crab Shack PRICE PER COUPLE: AED 260 TELEPHONE #: 04 454 7090  
THE FORK-O-METER
A Craving Quencher Restaurant