There are many places to eat in Dubai. The amount of food and types will have you in a dizzy attempting to choose. Buffets and brunches are very popular in Dubai. With all of the many choices finding a great place to eat isn’t the easiest, but in a city like Dubai it also isn’t the hardest. Recommended by a gentleman who lives in Dubai, we decided to have dinner at Ewaan in Downtown Dubai.
Ewaan is located inside The Palace Downtown Dubai hotel. It is a beautiful five star hotel. Ewaan allows for a dining experience throughout the day, everyday, however we went on a Saturday night for their buffet. Originally we choose them because we were told by someone we would have a direct view of the fountain show as we were eating. However once we arrived we found out that was not the case. Even though our reservation was with Ewann the hostess was happy to accommodate us at another restaurant that did so, but we declined as we were looking forward to eating there.
It is a casual dress restaurant. The service was very good. Many different waiters and managers came over to make sure we were doing well. I ordered some water and a strawberry non alcoholic drink that was frothy. It was very good. My mother ordered a Coca-Cola. The buffet was made up of Arabic and Oriental food. There were many different amazing stations to choose from. I took a little bit from each area. They also had a gentleman carving different meats.
I took a peak at the salad station and got some salad with balsamic. Meat, rice, chicken. I also put some california rolls, meat, calamari, and more on a plate. I love buffets. I am always piling my plate with a plethora of different things. I went back a couple of more times to try different food.
The california rolls tasted so fresh! I got a crab leg thinking to myself I don’t have a cracker and I typically don’t eat crab legs unless I’m home. It is a messy ordeal. Once I sat down I realized there was no need to worry about a cracker or a mess. The crab leg already had part of the shell stripped off. All I had to do was pull the meat out. Amazing!
Of course the best part was the dessert! They had a couple of stations for dessert! There was candy, ice cream, mini cakes, dates, a chocolate fountain, and more. I of course got some strawberries dipped it in the fountain and put it on a plate with a ton of mini cakes. I went back again to try some more. Some of the cakes had real gold flakes on them. There was cheesecake, red velvet with fondant, chocolate mousse, and more. I also tried some traditional Arabic sweets which tasted so good.
There was also a fruit and cheese station, soups, breads, tea, and more. My mom ordered some coffee, but ended up not finishing it because she didn’t like it. From my seat I could see dancing outside. I asked a waiter and discovered there was a huge wedding going on. Once we finished eating we went outside and saw everyone dancing. We walked towards the fountains and sat down.
We had just missed the fountain show, but knew another would be starting shortly so we sat and waited. There was an amazing view of the Burj Khalifa lit up. The fountain show was beautiful and reminded me of the one at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The gentleman who designed the one in Las Vegas also did the ones on the Burj Khalifa Lake, just in true Dubai fashion…bigger!
It was a great experience. It isn’t cheap, especially when you begin to order any type of drinks including water! See the fountain show, restaurant, and more here!
Have you been to Ewaan? Does this seem like a buffet you would want to try?
Before heading over to the United Arab Emirates many people wonder what they should pack. Not only do you have to keep in mind the weather, but more importantly the cultural and religious aspect, as it is a Muslim country. The last thing you want to do is offend the locals. So here is some insight on what to wear in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Dubai in particular, is the most lax of the seven emirates that form the United Arab Emirates. Still it is important to remain respectful. While I was there I saw many people who either weren’t aware or simply didn’t care what they wore. Your clothing could warrant unwanted attention or something being said to you by a local. This doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy an entire new wardrobe or dress like the locals.
Malls, Marina, and Souks
While walking around at The Dubai Marina I saw many tourists from all over wearing many different types of clothing. Some were covered up and others not so much at all. I wore a capped short sleeve shirt and capris that almost looked like pants. I also had a light jacket I kept wrapped around my waist in case it got a little too chilly.
At The Dubai Mall I wore jeans, a t-shirt, and a light jacket. Walking around with a tank top, short shorts, and tight clothing is frowned upon. Shorts should be at least down to the knee. Shoulders should also be covered. The same goes for men, who are better off wearing t-shirts rather than tanks.
In the winter months, taking light jackets or a long sleeve button up would do well. It also helps in the summer time when you are inside and the AC is blasting. I am not really a fan of short sleeves. I had both a light jacket and a button down shirt I used to cover up, as most of my shirts are tank tops.
One time I did take off my button down shirt at the gold souks. The area is bit more rundown and old. I didn’t get a bunch of stares, but I did get unwanted attention from one gentleman. As humid as it became, I put my button down right back on!
Pool, Beach, and Hotel
If you are headed to the pool, beach, or hanging out at your hotel your clothing choices are a bit more lax. Swimming trunks, one piece, and bikinis are allowed. They are however not allowed on the way to the pool or beach. You must be covered up at those times and not with a towel! Bring a coverup or some actual clothes. There are many locals walking around many hotels so keep that in mind.
Nightlight and Restaurants
Heading out to explore the nightlife allows for you to wear what you would normally wear out. Again just keep in mind where exactly it is your going and how your getting there. Restaurants will typically alert you to their dress codes. Most are casual or as they call it “smart casual.” You will see many Emiratis in their national dress, which is welcome everywhere.
Many mosques don’t allow non-Muslims, but there are a couple that do, including the very beautiful Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. As a woman, your arms, legs, and hair must be covered. I was completely covered and I still had to wear an abaya. I believe it was because my hair is long and was hanging down. My mom was also completely covered, only had to cover her hair with a shayla (headscarf) rather than wear an abaya. Abayas go over the clothes, and will be lent to you at the mosque.
Men are to wear pants. No shorts! When entering the mosque shoes must come off. Clothing for both men and women must be conservative. If you aren’t comfortable walking around barefoot you can keep your socks on. There is also no intimacy allowed on the grounds. That includes kissing, hand holding, or even putting your arm around the opposite sex. I wouldn’t be too surprised if during Ramadan wearing anything to tight or short would be even more highly offensive.
On a desert safari you can wear shorts and tank tops if you wish. Once the sun goes down it can get cold. When I went it was very cold! I had on long capris, sneakers, 2 shirts, and a fleece. I was still cold with all of that on! People wearing shorts weren’t too happy at that point. The summer months I’m sure are much warmer at night than in the winter. It is still good to bring at least a light jacket with you.
Ultimately it is your choice what you wear, but if you are going to travel to other countries with a conservative culture, then you should respect it.
How do you feel about the “dress code?”
If shopping is your favorite past time, then Dubai is certainly the place you want to be! There are so many malls, and souks it could make your head spin. While in Dubai, we went to the largest mall in the world, based off area, The Dubai Mall. This mall is more than just shopping, but an experience.
The Dubai Mall is obviously huge, but you have no idea what that truly means until you arrive. We took a taxi to the mall. The taxi driver dropped us off near the parking lot area which is supposed to make it easy to get in. The hard part came when it was time to figure out how to exactly get into the mall. There are many floors and esculators. It was extremely crowded! Try a holiday shopping season, times 100. The first thing I noticed was a multi-floor movie theater and a Sega Indoor Theme Park.
After some odd minutes of walking around and taking the escalators up and down we finally figured out how to get into the actual mall. Being very hungry, we followed the signs and bee lined to the food court. The food court was extremely crowded and huge. There was fast food, restaurants, and cafes. Everything from Hot Dog On A Stick and Johnny Rockets to KFC and Subway. If you can’t find something you like to eat in this mall then I am not sure what to tell you.
After taking a walk around we decided on some Chinese food. Once we got our food we realized there was no place to sit. Walking around I spotted a door to more seating outside. I doubt that would be a place anyone would want to sit in the hot months. From the sitting area there was a view of the very top of the Burj Khalifia (the tallest building in the world.) After eating, we went back into the mall and walked around a bit. I spotted even more places to eat, including The Rainforest Cafe and The Cheesecake Factory, as we walked around.
We were in search of the waterfall inside of the mall. Following the signs towards The Waterfall we came across some pretty awesome findings. One being the ice skating rink. There were a ton of people skating around having a blast. As we continued to walk I spotted a gold Lamborghini. I love Lamborghinis and apparently so do people in Dubai because I saw a bunch of people driving them.
Continuing to follow the signs, in my mind we hit gold, A Disney Fashion Store! If you know me you know my LOVE for Mickey Mouse. I wandered around the store seeing all kind of bags, clothes similar to these boho clothes, and sneakers with Mickey everywhere. It was pretty awesome! Right near the store was The Waterfall.
The Waterfall is beautiful and has sculptures of divers made from fiber glass. The waterfall can be seen from all 4 levels. It was crowded with people taking pictures, but there is another area to the right that has the same view, but no people. So walk away from the main area if you want a better photo opportunity. The mall has a ton of information desks, so if you are looking for a particular store or area, they many people behind the desk will point you in the right direction.
From The Waterfall we asked someone where to find the Aquarium. Between them and the signs we found our way to the crowded area. This is a serious mall to have an Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. We didn’t go inside, but decided to view the beautiful tank, which is one of the largest in the world. It also features the largest glass panel in the world. As I looked up towards the ceiling it looked like a starry night. It was beautiful! There is also a replica of King Croc for those who don’t go inside the aquarium.
The amount of stores in The Dubai Mall would go beyond the term “shop till you drop.” Whatever it is your looking for, they have it. They even have their own souks. The souk at the mall is much more modern then the more traditional ones. You can also get a great view of the Burj Khalifa and the Fountain show once stepping outside.
The fountain show happens everyday on the Burj Khalifa Lake. There are a couple of shows in the afternoon, and then every 30 minutes in the evening from 6pm – 11pm. I didn’t catch the show the day I went to visit the mall, but I did watch it on another night after an amazing dinner. In true Dubai fashion it is the world’s largest dancing fountain.
Although not usually a place someone would make their business to visit when traveling, The Dubai Mall is a must see.
Have you ever been to the Dubai Mall? If not would you want to check it out?
I have always been a sports fan. I enjoy playing as well as watching many different ones. I have also had the opportunity to travel and cover many different sporting events. With the upcoming Floyd Mayweather VS Manny Pacquiao fight, I wanted to give a glimpse into my experience at some of the past Mayweather fights/events I have been to. I am also going to give some tips and information if you plan to go!
The MGM Grand in Las Vegas is home base for Mayweather, where his fights have been taking place. Like many of the hotels in Vegas, the MGM is huge. Leading up to the fight the hotel only gets more and more crowded. The prices for the rooms start to sore. In fact, for the fight of the century, as it is being rightfully called, rooms are currently ranging around $1600 a night and up for Friday and Saturday at the MGM. Keep in mind that is before taxes and resort fees.
Leading up to the main event many people go down to the Mayweather Boxing Club and watch him practice. I haven’t taken that opportunity, but I am sure it is a site to see. I have however gotten the opportunity to watch Floyd receive a plaque from Guinness World Record. This was rewarded to him for the highest selling paper view against Oscar De La Hoya.
If you happen to arrive in Las Vegas early afternoon Friday before the fight there is a weigh-in. The weigh-in is free and open to the public. There is music blasting, crowds cheering, and more. All the boxers on the fight card are in attendance staring each other down and being weighed. It is a lot of fun! At one weigh-in an undercard fight between Gabriel Rosado and J’leon Love led to Love being overweight. Long story short the end result was a no contest ruling.
Many people go to Las Vegas knowing they aren’t going to attend the fight, but just to stand around the MGM and catch a boxer, his entourage, or a celebrity walking around. There are also hopes of getting to attend a party afterwards. As long as Mayweather is around promoting or boxing there is sure to be a crowd! So if your planning to head to Las Vegas for the infamous May 2nd fight here are some things to keep in mind.
1. Get your hotel room ASAP. The prices are skyrocketing. Even hotels on the north side of the strip have rooms around $600 and up for Friday and Saturday night. Off the strips places that are typically around $20 a night are over $260.
2. Tickets to the fight will be ranging from $1500 – $7500.
3. Buy your plane tickets ASAP. The price of flights went up during the SuperBowl, I can only imagine how much they will climb to for the fight.
4. Think about flying into LA or San Francisco and driving. It is a 3 1/2 to 4 hour drive from LA unless you hit traffic. Rental cars in LA are affordable.
5. Keep in mind that everyone in Las Vegas is aware of the money this fight will bring and all the prices for that weekend will skyrocket for accommodations anywhere in the vicinity of Las Vegas.
6. If you are a Money Team fan, the MGM will be selling t-shirts, hats, and more.
7. There is a huge ring that is set up in the lobby of the MGM. Great place if you want a photo op.
Will you be heading out to Las Vegas for the Mayweather V Pacquaio fight? Have you ever been to Las Vegas during a fight? What was your experience? Which fighter is your money on?
Staying in or around the Jumeirah Lake Towers allows for many fun things to do in the area. The Beach, The Walk, and more is all encompassed into the Dubai Marina. On my first full day in Dubai, I decided we should hang out at the Dubai Marina. The Marina is an artificial canal city that was built along the shoreline of the Persian Gulf. Upon the completion of the Dubai Marina, it will overthrow Marina Del Rey in California as being the world’s largest man-made marina.
The Dubai Marina is accessible by metro on the red line. I took a taxi, which are inexpensive. Taxis start at 3.50 AED and the meter goes up from there. There was a good amount of traffic, but it gave me the opportunity to take in my surroundings. Tall buildings everywhere!
I was excited once we pulled up to the Dubai Marina. We were so hungry, and the taxi driver said this was a great place to get some food. He was not joking. There were many places to get food. Almost anything you can think to eat was there. I even saw a Johnny Rockets. In true Dubai fashion they were still building and planning to add more establishments.
It is hard not to notice the beauty of all the tall buildings in many different shapes and sizes. I found out that these buildings are known as The Tallest Block. That name derived because these buildings are said to be the tallest block of skyscrapers in the world. It is also home to the Princess Towers, which is the tallest residential building in the world.
It was absolutely beautiful to look at. The marina gave a Miami feel, but the skyscrapers gave it a New York vibe. There were so many places to choose from to eat that we weren’t sure what to get. It was our first meal in Dubai, and the first since the airplane food. We decided to sit outside at a place called Debonair’s Pizza. We ordered a Margherita pizza with a side of wedges.
The pizza was pretty good. It was a beautiful day to sit outside and enjoy the surroundings. I noticed a film crew nearby. I wasn’t sure what they were filming, but I did watch them launch a drone a few times that flew over the water. It was so cool to watch, I bet the footage they got looked amazing! A gentleman from Kashmir was walking around trying to sell a wooden basket that flattened into a disc. He tried to sell us one, although very nice we had to decline.
Once we finished eating we decided to walk around. There are a ton of boat tours, almost to the point we weren’t sure which was the best. We walked over to the Yellow Boats. They had a few options of tours and time length. They take you around The Palm (man-made island in the shape of a palm) and Atlantis Hotel. Unfortunately the boats were completely booked up for the day. Best to book reservations in advance.
After some walking back and forth I found a company called Bristol Charter offering their Catamaran Cruises. The price is 120 AED. They said the roundtrip would be 90 minutes. They also handed out soda, water, and snacks. It sounded like a plan to us. We quickly paid and boarded the boat. It was a very nice size boat. They had lots of technology aboard, including a marine GPS – a quick enquiry and they said they’d looked online on sites like gear surfer to find the best one for their work. I’m not sure why I was so curious about it, maybe because I hadn’t seen one before? Dubai is full of amazing technology. Someone on the boat even had a drone and was taking videos and pictures of the boat! I know a friend who owns a drone and he loves using it. After watching the film crew and the other passenger using one, it made me really want to buy one for myself! I’ve heard good things about DrDrone so if I do decide to buy one I know where to look! Anyway, there were also seating areas with bright orange life jackets. The front of the boat had a mesh bottom with colorful beanbags to sit on.
I was apprehensive about sitting on the mesh because I thought water may come up and get me wet, but that didn’t happen. The bean bags were comfortable and I enjoyed sitting there. The crew came around with snacks and beverages and we were allowed to take as much as we wanted. They also had a DJ on board and played some great music. The crew really made the trip enjoyable. They even answered the many questions we all had.
During the boat ride we could see part of The Palm, which allowed me a glimpse of Atlantis in the distance. We also saw the Sheikh Palace Yacht, the third largest yacht in the world, the beach, and the Burj Al Arab. The Burj Al Arab is a sail shaped hotel. The hotel has been called the world’s only 7 star hotel. That title stemmed from a journalist and not the hotel. Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi also has that title.
The boat ride was great, and we enjoyed it. Talking to some of the others on board, I realized that many people thought we were from the UAE. They were very surprised and excited to learn we were from New York. So excited, they even asked to take a picture with us. We had a brief, but very nice conversation with the people on board.
As we got back to land, we saw the marina completely lit up. There were many more people out walking around. Kids were playing in the water fountain, and kicking around a soccer ball. It is gorgeous all lit up. If you ever get the opportunity, I highly recommend checking out the Dubai Marina. See for yourself, my time at the Dubai Marina.
Have you ever been to the Dubai Marina? What did you do while there?
Afternoon tea is becoming very popular in the United Arab Emirates. Everywhere you turn a restaurant is hosting an afternoon tea. So much so, that it starts to get overwhelming on where is the best place to go. I wanted to do afternoon tea while visiting, as it was very high on my list of things to do. I looked at several options, and happened on a place called The Chocolate Gallery in Abu Dhabi. I love chocolate, and The Chocolate Gallery just sounded fabulous.
The location for The Chocolate Gallery couldn’t be any more perfect! It is located inside the beautiful Fairmont Bab Al Bahr hotel. The hotel is about 5 minutes away from the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque. While seated inside we had the most amazing view of not only the Grand Mosque, but the immaculate beachfront overlooking the Abu Dhabi Creek. Depending where you sit depends how good of view you will have. For those who prefer to sit outside when the weather is cooler, there is a very nice terrace overlooking a large lawn. We sat out there for a few minutes to take it all in and it was very relaxing.
The Chocolate Gallery
As soon as you walk into The Chocolate Gallery there is so much to take in. The gold alcove seating areas, beautiful chandeliers, a huge incased wedding cake, and minions. Yes, the minions from the movie Despicable Me! They were handmade from chocolate! I also saw a large table that had cocoa beans, and chocolate incased in glass. As we walked further in I spotted all kinds of delectable looking items.
Walking towards the golden alcove, I noticed to my left a gentleman making chocolate. I was able to stand there and watch him begin to create something. As I looked into the area he was seated, I saw other characters made from chocolate including Superman, Cupid, and the Hulk. I wasn’t quite sure what the gentleman was making, but I would soon find out.
The waiter brought over a couple of tea menus. There were a huge number of teas to choose from, over 80! I chose the Lemonade Strawberry Tea, while my mom choose the Indian Masala Chai Tea. The Afternoon Tea has 3 options, with differences being in sandwiches and desserts. If you were to go 3 consecutive days in a row, you would be able to delight your taste buds with something different each time. The day we were there was Afternoon Tea 3.
The waiter brought out these beautiful tea pots and a flame. He placed the teapot on top of the flame, and said to give it a few minutes. After letting the small time pass by I went to pour my first cup of tea, only to find the tea pot was heavy. I loved it though! I tried both teas and although my Lemonade Strawberry Tea was really good, the Indian Masala Chai Tea was even better! I am now on the hunt to buy some!
While sipping my tea and taking in the beautiful view, mini sandwiches were brought over on a beautiful serving plate. The serving plate was shaped in the form of a painters palette. The sandwiches were good. A couple of them had some spice to it that I wasn’t expecting. Regardless of the spice they were still good. I loved the attention to detail on the sandwiches.
A plate of fluffy raisin scones were brought over along with passion fruit spread, clotted cream, and strawberry jam. My favorite was the strawberry jam. I went to heaven eating those scones. I wish I had taken some to go with me! I have been craving those scones since I stepped foot out The Chocolate Gallery door. I am not too sure I will find scones elsewhere that will match the ones they served.
Shortly after, a plate of beautifully decorated desserts were sat down on the table. I partly wish they had used a tier stand, at least for the sandwiches, because the table became crowded. The desserts were so good! Surprisingly one of my favorites was the macaroon! I have had macaroons in Paris and wasn’t that impressed. This macaroon tasted amazing and gave me a new found love for them.
The Head Chef/Chocolatier
As I was finishing up my afternoon tea, I headed back over to the chocolate studio. I felt like a kid as I pressed my face close to the glass to see what was being made. As I got closer I saw he had created a camel. He then came out to speak with us. I soon found out that the gentleman behind the glass, Abe, was the head chef/chocolatier. He said he was also planning to make palm trees, a sheik, and other characters.
Abe has a very uplifting personality that allows for an enjoyable conversation. He is extremely passionate about everything he makes and wants nothing but perfection for his customers. Abe takes much pride in his work and is very knowledgeable. He was such a pleasure to talk to.
He then began to tell us about the hot chocolate they serve, which I was told many say is the best in Abu Dhabi. I love hot chocolate, so this was something I was more than happy to try. This too was something Abe was extremely passionate about. Abe informed me that he arrives early to taste the hot chocolate to make sure it was created properly, if not it has to be made all over again.
I tried a cup of the hot chocolate. I think I was a bit too anxious because it was still very hot. I attempted to be patient and wait for it to cool off a bit. I finally got to try the hot chocolate, and I can honestly say I have never tasted anything like it. It was delicious! If they don’t already, they need to box that up and sell it! I highly recommend getting some hot chocolate while there, you will not be disappointed.
Everyone was very kind and knowledgeable at The Chocolate Gallery. In 2012 Time Out Abu Dhabi awarded The Chocolate Gallery with The Best Afternoon Tea. After my experience I can see why, and hope they achieve this award for 2015! The presentation for their afternoon tea was awesome. I keep thinking about all the great food I ate, and tea I drank and wish I had it at this very moment.
Not only is their afternoon tea great, but well priced! Make sure you make a reservation! I also hear they have a 24 Carat afternoon tea. Upon visiting Abu Dhabi again I will make sure to make my way to The Chocolate Gallery. So if you are interested in afternoon tea, I highly suggest The Chocolate Gallery in Abu Dhabi!
Afternoon tea set including choice of tea and scones
95 Dhs standard set
125 Dhs ( standard set with 6 truffles)
195 Dhs (standard set, 6 truffles plus a glass of Prosecco)
Have you every been to afternoon tea? Ever visited The Chocolate Gallery in Abu Dhabi? How was your experience?
Disclaimer: Whilst receiving an invitation to The Chocolate Gallery for their Afternoon Tea, all opinions are my own and have not been influenced.