Blog Archive: #Foodies

10 Things A New Food Blogger Should Know

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The decision to start blogging about food should really come from passion and lots of dedication. For those who are about to embark on this journey I would say there are main 10 things you should keep in mind:

1- Your recipes should be ones you have tried and tested and never ones you copy from other sites.

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2- Recipes should be simple and easy to follow in sequence.

3- Your credibility is part of your brand reputation, when you write about restaurants make sure you know their quality and can actually vouch for them, one time experiences cannot be the judge for any culinary experience.

4- If you smoke, you probably do not have fresh taste buds and most of your tasting would be of only sharp tastes, while the subtle flavors completely surpass you (My advice quit smoking before you blog about food coz you frankly can’t taste food)

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5- If you use ingredients that not many people can find abundantly, put alternatives that do not affect the recipes.

6- You will receive many treats to try out and test, make sure you deliver the actual experience and not feel obliged to say nice stuff just to keep people happy (this follows point 3)

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7- You will be known for what you post, take a line of food blogging and stick to it to keep your image clearly unique to your audience.

8- Use your social media platforms to spread your posts to as many people as you can (Don’t forget the hashtags)

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9- Keep up with what is new on the world food trends and try to see if you can follow that for the day on your blog or others social media channels

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10- When you go to try all that nice food remember, a bite of the right dish is better than a pile of a dish not worth it, don’t feel obliged to finish your plates when you are tasting you can even ask for a sampling portion which would keep your figure and taste palate entertained!

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Happy Blogging!

Good Goes American

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Country Music
Steak Variety 
Side Dishes Galore 

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to what I would call a night of steak, music and great company an experience worth . I arrived at Grand Hyatt Amman and did not know what was waiting for me. I walk into 32 north restaurant to be welcomed by the team working that night all dressed up in western country  theme.

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The meat station has all what your stomach could year for from tenderloin to t-bone to ribeye cuts to satisfy your meat cravings. Then to give you a welcome and a good wait while your steak grills to perfection as per your order, there is the station with ribs, brisket, mash, corn, spinach and cream and not to forget the salad station with refreshing bites.

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All in all it is an experience worth trying out. I would say bring on the Beef!

 

Grain & Grass

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After work and in need of a warm hearty meal, I head out of my office to remember that invite to try the latest promotion from Grand Hyatt Amman Hotel. Grain and Grass, a combination of imported top class meat from The Meat Master and a local brilliant beer to wash it down. I head there expecting a regular set up but to my surprise they have managed to flip their regular Asian food venue into a new and brilliant American style venue with a twist. There is a balcony with all sorts of drinks and Carakale beer stand, on the inside you have a fridge of wonders, filled with different types of salads ranging from cobb salad to pomelo with shrimps and even Thai beef (a refreshing necessity I must say).

The dishes varied from beef cheeks to skewers with an amazing fried rice with a beautiful sauce. The beef curry was a totally soft and delicious combo (but I must say I love it a bit thicker sauce though with all the dishes I needed to try it was better that way). The burgers were so tasty, the chicken, ribs and beef with what I can say a hint of truffle if I’m not mistaken an absolute delish. I would say going to visit this event while it lasts is a must between 6th and 9th of April.

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P.S.: This Post Is Not Sponsored

San Francisco In a Bite & a Cup (2)

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I know it took me a while before I got to write my second part of SF trip but there was a series of mishaps that happened to stop me from getting to it, but hey better late than never because this list is of a high caliber places sort of speak and definitely worth writing up.

As I recall my last post ended with me having a late breakfast at a cafe, as my sister caught up with me there we decided to enjoy the market that was set up and check the items at display which was both fun and funny (I kept losing my sister at different areas of the market and we kept texting each other our location although the whole thing was not huge). After running around the block she ended up getting famished and decided to hit Reverie Cafe for a lush Salad, I must say I didn’t try anything there but the setting of that garden was so beautiful and I enjoyed a lovely lively conversation with a sweet lady who happened to be a regular customer there and was writing her speech for a big event in that setting.

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My sister lived in a very convenient space with B Patisserie right beneath the house, which made waking up to all the yummy smelling baked goods and coffee almost torturous. My favorite there was an almond milk cappuccino that just hits the spot but doesn’t fill you with guilt, at some point I picked a few morning bakes to explore the tastes there so I hit the much raved about Kouign Amann and I must say it lived up to my expectations but to mention and be honest I have to say their sweets are much nicer than their savory creations.

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On that afternoon I went hunting for a good cup of coffee and walking around aimlessly for a while got me thinking I should use social media in order to get some directions and there it was the interesting looking account of Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters, so I followed my instinct and headed there with sure steps. The entrance being small  only made me more curious to what it had inside, I walked in and I was on the phone yet this strange feeling that it would be a good coffee hit me, I put my phone aside and I ordered a cup of black coffee to satisfy my craving. Walking in I saw the design was strangely shocking white almost like a sterile hospital ward but the famous pineapple wallpaper turned that around and made me at ease, the staff  (yes I linked you up here as I promised Brenna) was super polite and once I broke the ice I had a great conversation with the two baristas and the owner who happened to pop by, I must say I had a great afternoon there and would highly recommend it.

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I still had many places to explore and my appetite that evening was calling for something more on the mexican side of cuisines, my sister’s housemate Sam was nice enough to humor me and take me out on a night for tacos at what she described as “reliable tacos and a great atmosphere”, so we headed to Tacolicious , we had a great time, good food and a nice waitress to complete the night.

Next day I had a serious craving for a big breakfast and a good coffee, so I rummaged through the social media sites again to check out another place and I was guided to head to Sweet Maple, I must say it was value for money meal with a lot of flavors and lovely service.

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Later on that day I headed to The Mission area and walked around enjoyed the sun and the lovely creative graffiti on the walls, enjoyed going through some antique furniture stores and thrift stores. It was a lot of fun but I needed a coffee to keep me going so as I walked around I came across a place called Samovar, I walked in to find an ultra modern design with  a familiar smell of spices just enough to tackle my curiosity and after chatting to the barista he offered me a sample of their pumpkin chai with different milk bases which was lovely then something else caught my eyes, the dessert small fridge in the front, so I took a plunge and ordered a bite of a dessert that did not taste as good as it looked.

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A few steps down the road and I found what I was looking for Four Barrel Coffee place which immediately struck me as the place for my much needed coffee cup, on the left I noticed something called (the slow coffee bar) so walked up to it and began to explore with the help of a great barista different kinds of coffee from around the world and how each of them can give you a different finishing taste, I must say if you have time at hand you would enjoy this experience a lot and find it very informative.

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As I left the place and walked further down the road I found a small gem called Mission Cheese which looks like absolute heaven to cheese lovers like me. After a chat with the staff and some tasting here and there I was truly won by their cheesy sense of humor and cute wall drawings.

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“Let It Brie”

 

As my sister finished her work she called me up to join her for a light dinner so we headed to Green Heart Foods so we went into the place that looked a lot like an open back area of a restaurant, almost industrial but with a light spirit, I ordered a veggies soup and was good but felt like I wasn’t so hungry to finish the whole thing, but the plate looked so cute I had to take a picture of it.

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After all that we went home to rest and then I was invited out for a lovely catching up session with a relative of mine who happens to also live in SF and since the sister was busy we headed out for some all American creation for a gourmet burger. We walked to a place nearby called ROAM, after staring at that menu for a while with all the interesting items I decided to try something I’ve never tried before and went for the Bison meat burger and a mixture of different fries, the burger itself was tasty and not very fatty which made it more enjoyable, and as for the  fries the zucchini and sweet potatoes were yummy and crunchy worth every bite.

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Waking up in a sweet breakfast mode isn’t easy to tackle for someone like me who doesn’t like things too sweet or deep fried. My sister and I decided it’s time to try JANE, we head there and it was packed with a long line but the process seemed to go fairly quick as they are really organized. I ordered the figs and walnut bread with ricotta cheese and honey. To my pleasant surprise it was crunchy, creamy and subtly sweet to perfection (I must say I did order extra jam and some honey to try on different sides). All in all it was a great experience and I would recommend that loaf of bread to anyone.

Later on that day we went to explore the public library and I was quite impressed with what it offers from book collections, kids area for reading and even small meditation sessions (I went on and attended the session that was happening, it was simply calming and much needed). Out of the library and willing to grab a special lunch as it started to drizzle over our heads I headed to Rosamunde Sausage Grill and my oh my what a lovely experience that was, the person behind the counter was a very polite young man who knew exactly how to do his job. I ordered a duck sausage and a wild boar sausage, then as per the ritual around there I headed to the bar next door called Toronado to get the beer match made in heaven for what I ordered. I sat there and got myself a pint of dark beer, the taste of the sausage and that beer still mingles in my taste buds memory till this day. I met a lot of lovely people and enjoyed a great time.

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After all that eating I met with my sister again and it was time for a caffeine hit and my sister decided to take me to The Blue Bottle  I grabbed it and chit chat to the baristas for a bit as they prepared the other coffee orders, the coffee was light bodied and a bit acidic but nice. I enjoyed it while the sun warmed me up. I must say it was an awesome day all together.

 

I could say these experiences were the most remarkable but there were places that are worth mentioning like Plow breakfast place, the amazing pizza at The Mill Coffee place (only served once a week), awesome space called Cafe Trieste where the original The God Father movie was written and Sightglass Coffee Roasters which had a stunning industrial coffee house design.

 

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Have a Great Day San Francisco Lovers….

Tkiyet Um Ali- Food For Thought

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World Food Day, It’s one of these days that you pause at the word “Hunger” as some of us would never believe it exists anymore and that some people do not have the privilege of having a decent nutritious meal during the day/s due to being poor.

Hunger is spread all over the world and still manifests badly in every continent, yet we all have an option to turn a blind eye to the facts or move and do something about it. In my pursuit for an answer I turned to see my local Hunger Fighting Entity otherwise known as “Tkiyet Um Ali”.

Once you look for a short bio you would find “To feed & sustain underprivileged citizens all year long through the provision of “#FoodforLife” while guiding them towards long term self-sustaining solutions” on their twitter account which leads you to want to know more and more and learn how it all goes down.

Luckily everything “Tkiyet Um Ali” does is out for the public to explore and you are always a phone call away from any piece of information you need about their work. Started in 2003 under HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein as the first initiative fighting hunger in Jordan, as it was the first NGO to supply hot meals and supplies to the poor and those in need.

So “Tkiyet Um Ali” has a main goal which is working towards Jordan with no one suffering from hunger. What makes this NGO special is that you would know 100% of what you give is going directly to the beneficiaries and does not take cuts away for the administration. Working with various local NGOs who have similar goals and standards in the process of choosing the families to benefit, which is later on followed by “Tkiyet Um Ali” in order to insure that everything is being delivered to the beneficiaries.

Their food support program covers 18,300 families and they aspire to push that number to 20,000 monthly. The food package contains 22 kinds and insures full nutritional value. On the other hand, there are always passersby who are in need of a hot meal and they serve around 400 individuals daily. While during the month of Ramadan they open their doors to almost 1500 individuals.

I happened to volunteer a few times in Ramadan over the past two years and to my absolute privilege I got to be part of the action and part of this noble cause. You can say after experiencing things first hand you tend to keep tweeting for that cause.

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As you can see this entity has worked hard to grow a great reputation and stay on track with its services which makes me proud to be Jordanian. Helping out these people would be as simple as buying the monthly package for a family throughout the year or more than just that and so many different ways but I will link you up to learn more on your own:

https://www.facebook.com/TkiyetUmAli?fref=ts

https://twitter.com/TkiyetUmAli

www.TUA.jo

Phone number: +962 6 490 0900

It is the ugly truth but absolute poverty in Jordan has hit the 14.4% of its people. I think it’s time to make a difference; it is time to support the cause.

 

NB: I wrote this article solemnly out of my own support to this entity and it is not by any means sponsored.

Jordan In a Glass Of Wine

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On a random end of summer evening, I decided to grab a glass of wine at a local restaurant and enjoy it with a side cheese platter. As I sipped away I kept watching others around me and noticing the behavior of most, it did not take long to see that barely anyone goes for wine in Jordan. My usual favorite in summer is a cold glass of Rose but it was one of those days where I was craving Red (for those of you who know me, I love red the most because I am a beef lover and for those who love white meat you would best get a white wine or a rose for things alike salmon). Maybe it was not the season yet but it provoked me to ask around and learn more about the behavior of Jordanian residents whether citizens, expats or tourists passing through.

I began my quest by calling a few pub owners that I happen to know and ask about the highest selling of wine they get their answers varied but the majority agrees that wine is not usually on the mind of a drinker in Jordan and that the culture of wine has yet to develop in this country. In reality I believe it was all about the pricing and that most people feared ordering a bottle of wine due to the high prices and taxes that come with it.

The biggest chunk of sales in Jordan for wine is actually coming from expats and tourists and both tend to order local wines, mostly to experience the product of the land they are visiting and others because they believe it has a great taste and quality. We could definitely say that the inclination of choice goes towards Saint George wine by Zumot winery (I usually do not pick it but I definitely enjoyed the Shiraz). As for imported wine, the choices varied as well as the prices and availability so we can say that Chilean wine has ranked top in sales neck to neck with the Italian collection, followed by South African, Australian and Californian.

To complete that study I had a plan to invite different circles of people over for a wine and cheese night, some could not wait to come over and indulge themselves in great wine and company, while others were quite reluctant. The first group (you know yourselves) were close friends who have a high taste in life and know how to spoil their senses, they enjoyed their wine and talked about wines in detailed descriptions. I learnt that they all tend to enjoy full bodied red wines with plum notes accompanied by a nice chop of meat or a variety of strong cheeses. Some of them though enjoyed the lighter, fresher, fruity, citrus variety that reminded them of a good time by the beach or pool.

My second group of tasters were a group of people I didn’t know much; of different backgrounds, young and old with various experiences. At the first sip of the first wine bottle, I realized that the taste buds and choices are totally at the other end of the line in comparison with the first group. Their comments were coming from light wine drinkers who knew very little about wine yet enjoyed the company and came out with a better perspective about the wine taste and the reasons behind why it has that kind of taste. Some declared that drinking wine for them was solemnly connected to romantic dates or cozy winter nights of the sort, but mostly they would not think of going to a bar or liquor shop to get wine.

My third group of tasters were expats in Jordan who enjoyed a glass of wine with a good spread. The setting was very friendly and I must say I have learnt more from their notes about how much a good wine for a cheap price is needed in Jordan to be a set staple for dinners. The prices in comparison to salaries tends to push away buyers as they would not have that much of the budget set for a good quality wine with a great taste. They have enjoyed the various wines that were on the table but most enjoyed were the French Dourthe and the Escudo Rojo as well as the Santa Digna.

 

Here are some of the top winners in my study:

Santa Digna

Casillero-del-Diablo

Il Diavolo

Escudo Rojo

Danzante

Bottega

Dourthe

Saint George – Shiraz

Bolla

Long Mountain

Carlo Rossi

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So all in all I have to say Autumn and Winter are knocking the door soon and the perfect setting for that would be a glass of red wine with a juicy steak and side of jacket potatoes to compliment it. I would highly recommend that we enjoy a glass with the family, friends and loved ones for wine is not just a drink for dates (like some might think) but a classy drink to complete the tone of a meal or the setting of a cozy conversation. It makes the hearts open and the minds to calm down while the soul opens it’s arms to make room for passion.

Cheers To All…Pouring

2015 Food Trends

According to the site http://thefoodpeople.co.uk/ there will be a trend for food 2015/2016 that will take over. What do you think about that?

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2 Years Blogging

It has been an amazing two years thank you so much for following this blog. I promise to keep bringing you great recipes and more! 

Southern Italy Comes To Amman

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Got invited to try out the italian promotion at the Four Seasons Hotel Amman Vivace Restaurant, and I had no expectations whatsoever because I believe that it does not really matter where you are to get a great meal. I head there and got welcomed with a warm smile and a waiter who knows exactly what the menu is all about, which is something of a rare existence around here. The wine was fruity and just the right tone to set the evening off.

The resident Chef Luca accompanied the Chef Ippazio (Who is visiting for the next couple of weeks) to see what kind of dishes we would like to order and since everyone was very indecisive the Chefs surprised us by a little of everything tasting experience. I have to say some of the dishes just blew my taste palate off with amazing flavors and others were just perfect. All in all this experience is definitely something I would highly recommend. If you ever go there and you are confused with the menu items just ask for the Chef Luca and he surprisingly will speak to you in arabic as he spent quite a while in the middle east region.

I cannot describe the beauty and taste but I can surely share with you my humble phone captures of the evening:

 

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California “SB” Love 1

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On a swift trip to the United States, my taste buds were yearning to explore and wander in taste all over the new area. The city of choice was Santa Barbara, what a calm beauty and beautiful weather it was. The whole atmosphere calls you to relax, soak in the sun and enjoy an array of colourful, bursting with flavor meals.

There was a special kind of joy to wander around State Street just aimlessly watching people pass by or run their errands, but as lunch time came close I was getting hungry and I had heard of a burger joint with a very special menu called “Eureka!”

 

 

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Wandering in I was faced with a busy buzzing place, full of people who are enjoying a pint of fresh cold beer and some bruger of their choice watching one of the big World Cup games. Finding a place to sit was pretty set since there was only one sofa seat free, feeling lucky I sat down and decided to make myself comfy and wait for my soon to come menu and recommendations.

My server was absolutely attentive and explained to me the whole concept of their beer collection. Eureka has a unique concept of having guest beers around for a “Keg” amount of time and when that finishes they replace it with another in season, of course there is the set bar usuals but the seasonal beer has its own list for anyone to explore.

The menu is pretty brief and straight to the point, wings, salads, burgers and accessories of that. One thing caught my eye and I could not get myself not to try, truffle sauce. I ordered a regular burger and added some bacon to that, a side of fresh house fries and some truffle sauce to accompany that.

It wasn’t long before my server popped back with my order which was something I was very pleased with (since I was hungry), the size of the burger sort of intimidated me but it was surely tasty but to be honest I guess some ingredients would be best if thinner to make it easier to grab and enjoy without dripping everywhere (specially tomatoes and sauce). The truffle sauce was pretty intense and the fries were truly a delight.

All in all I would highly recommend that you visit Eureka at least once if you are visiting Santa Barbara, as I happened to visit for a second time after a few days and also tried their “naked” version of their burgers without the bun.

I had such a lovely time exploring the rest of SB after that and had such amazing meals that I cannot wait to share with all of you. Tip, recommendations and notes for you to explore.

Loving Wishes To All