March 2015 | Lady & her Sweet Escapes

Mar 31, 2015

Itzza Pizza: Best Wood Fired Pizza in a Humble Pizzeria

Last Saturday, I discovered one of the best wood-fired pizzas I have ever tasted in the UAE... not in a shopping mall, not in a hotel restaurant, but in a humble neighborhood pizzeria called Itzza Pizza. 

A week before the discovery, Itzza Pizza was the center of a foodie conversation between me and my blogger friends. The name rang a bell; it's not new to me as I have been stumbling across that catchy sound since my first month in Dubai. But, honestly, I thought Itzza Pizza is just another pizza chain that I can live without. Well, not until my blogger friends crazily raved about it.
And so, I read and drooled over their blog posts and excitedly looked forward to the time that I can prove it myself. 

Itzza Pizza in Dubai
Itzza Pizza flagship store in Umm Suqeim 1

Mar 29, 2015

Sushi Counter: Sushi with a Twist in Dubai

I'm such a big fan of Japanese Rolls; those artfully presented, delicately tasteful, bite-size goodies! It is one of the non-Filipino dishes I can have on my plate for consecutive days! So, when an invitation to a sushi roll tutorial and sushi tasting session popped in my inbox, the maki monster in me excitedly said yes.

So, on a Friday afternoon, I learned the art of sushi-making and devoured freshly made rolls at Sushi Counter in Sheikh Zayed Road. 

Sushi Counter is a casual dining venue with eight locations in Dubai and two in Abu Dhabi - the one in Al Raha beach is up and coming. It is where Japanese cuisine receives a distinct touch. The team's passion is to reinvent the traditional Japanese dishes by creatively infusing various cultures around the world. They launch new collections annually and introduce fresh creations based on current trends; hence diners discover something new to love each year!  

Sushi Counter in Sheikh Zayed Road
Sushi Counter in Sheikh Zayed Road

Mar 27, 2015

India: Golden Triangle Trip Itinerary and Expenses

What better way to cap off our Incredible India blog series than with an answer to the question that I often receive after our trip: How much did you spend? 

I brought my travel journal with me to write down my thoughts. It helped me a lot as a blogger, but little did I know, I was still making a Blogger booboo by not documenting our daily spending. All I know is that Ed and I did not spend more than 6,000 AED in total for a 5-day trip at the Golden Triangle of India. Whenever somebody asks, I usually reply with an estimated price for flights, tours and food; hoping it would be enough to help them on their trip. 

Recently, I got an ample time in my hands to check the receipts (Thankfully, I kept some of them.) and over a thousand photos that we had during our trip as few of them are snaps of ticket counters and food menu. So, now, I can finally share a more detailed summary of our India-Golden Triangle tour expenses along with our complete itinerary.

5 Days in India
5 Days in India

Mar 25, 2015

India: A Night in Clark Shiraz - the Oldest 5-Star Hotel in Agra

Our last night in India was spent in one of the oldest 5-star hotels in Agra, Clark Shiraz. The hotel stay with breakfast is a part of our Golden Triangle tour package from Gets Holidays

Whenever we book a budget-friendly tour package, I usually don't expect much on the accommodation as I don't want to spend the night with disappointments. I have always thought that if the tour is good and complete, then the accommodation would be compromised. I think it pays not to have high expectations as I was caught in a pleasant surprise when we were ushered to Clark Shiraz's lobby.     

Clark Shiraz is an old yet well-maintained hotel in Agra. It has been awarded as the Best Leisure Hotel in North India Travel Awards 2014. Location-wise, it is in the heart of the city; close to souvenir shops and restaurants. The Taj Mahal, the main tourist destination in the country, is only a few kilometers away. 

Clark Shiraz in Agra India
Clark Shiraz in Agra, India

Mar 23, 2015

Dampa Seafood Grill: Fresh and Unique Seafood Restaurant in Dubai

I'm seafood-crazy!

I honestly think Dubai needs more affordable seafood restaurants and, lo and behold, a new one just popped up. I bet you've all heard about Dampa Seafood Grill, the latest Filipino seafood restaurant in town. I went crazy when I heard about the unique concept that I didn't stop bugging my blogger friends until they agreed to meet and dine on a Sunday night.

What made me more excited is that Dampa is located in the heart of Deira, a few steps from Deira City Centre metro station and just a stone-throw away from our new place! Yay! 

Dampa Seafood Grill in Deira Dubai
Dampa Seafood Grill in Deira (photo taken at closing time)

Mar 22, 2015

China Grill: Asian-inspired World Cuisine at The Westin Dubai

Saturday night, Ed and I were introduced to one of New York's finest restaurants that has just arrived in Dubai: China Grill at The Westin in Mina Seyahi. It is not a "Chinese" restaurant. It is a culinary destination where East meets West. NYC's award-winning restaurant, now the freshest and the hottest dining spot in Dubai, serves Asian-inspired World Cuisine; a beautiful combination of international recipes and Asian touches.  

The ambiance at China Grill is beyond compare. The feel is upmarket; from the elegant red elevator that whisked us to the trendy lounge to the sophisticated main restaurant located a level below. We were invited to have some drinks at the bar before we proceed to dinner, but we politely declined as Ed was nursing a cold and I don't drink. But I guess that's how dining at China Grill should be; commence with a few drinks at the lounge, then head to the main restaurant once you've succumbed to the chill vibe.   

China Grill at The Westin Dubai
China Grill at The Westin

Mar 18, 2015

Nowruz Feast at Shayan Restaurant in Al Ghurair Rotana

Living in a melting pot of cultures for almost seven years, I have developed a fascination for holidays celebrated around the world. So, you can't imagine how happy I was to be invited to an early celebration of Nowruz or Persian New Year at Shayan in Al Ghurair Rayhaan by Rotana. I saw it as a wonderful opportunity to experience the tradition, to sample authentic cuisine and to meet amazing bloggers in town.   

Shayan Persian Restaurant in Al Ghurair Rotana
Shayan: Persian restaurant in Al Ghurair Rotana

Mar 15, 2015

Slider Station: The Up and Coming Burger Joint at The Galleria Mall

The first conveyor belt burger joint in the world, Slider Station, has arrived in Dubai! And that gives us, foodies who love fun-dining, a reason to celebrate! :) Slider Station is a restaurant with an "Industrial Chic" theme brought by Basil Al Salem, the creator of the distinguished b+f Burger Boutique in Kuwait. It is set to open at The Galleria Mall in Al Wasl, Dubai on March 16, 2015.

Two days before the highly anticipated grand opening, I was given the privilege to experience the concept, the food and the service with Ed and his cousins. We often hunt new dine out spots together, hence the invitation to Slider Station VIP pre-opening was giddily accepted.

Slider Station at The Galleria Mall Dubai
Slider Station: the first conveyor belt burger joint

Mar 13, 2015

Kris with a View: Fine Dining with a View at Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel

I've heard great things about Park Regis Kris Kin, from the annual New Year's Eve countdown party at the rooftop pool bar to the delectable Pan-Asian cuisine being served in the restaurants. So, last Saturday, I was really excited when we were whisked away to the 19th floor of the fancy five star hotel within our neighborhood. Yah, we live a hundred and one steps away (or maybe a little more), but we have never been there before. Shame, I know. 

Ed and I were cordially invited to dine at the hotel's flagship restaurant, Kris with a View, to try the new menu that has just been launched by Chef Rong Wei. And it was then that we noticed how lovelier our beloved Karama can be from up above, and how wrong I was to seek for a fancy Asian meal somewhere else when I can have it in the comforts of my own neighborhood! 

Kris with a View restaurant at Park Regis Kris Kin Dubai

Mar 10, 2015

Fried Chicken and more at Max's Restaurant

A few days from now, Ed and I will be saying goodbye to the neighborhood that grew so much on us. Due to new endeavors, we will be leaving Karama and will be calling Deira our home district. I am excited, but relocating is quite difficult. It's not just because we have tons of stuff to pack. I also have to deal with some emotional attachment. 

I am a true blue foodie, hence I will surely miss being a few steps away from my favorite restaurants. Others may find this shallow, but mababaw ang kaligayahan ko eh. :) I love spontaneity, and here I can easily say "I'm craving for fried chicken today. Let's go to Max's." And off we will go for a stroll to one of our favorite Filipino restaurants across the street. I know I could easily satisfy my craving via food delivery when we transfer, but for me, Max's Fried Chicken is best enjoyed with warm Filipino hospitality and that hearty laughter that echoes time and again in the restaurant.      

Max's restaurant in Karama
Max's restaurant in Karama

Mar 7, 2015

#DubaiCanvas: 3D Art Festival at The Beach in JBR

I spent my weekend at The Beach in JBR, not for a swim but for a mind-bending experience. The pavement of the low-rise beachfront complex turned into an art canvas for the annual Dubai Canvas event. Focused on 3D pavement art this year, the week-long festival features the creations of world renowned street artists. 

Dubai Canvas at The Beach in JBR
Dubai Canvas at The Beach in JBR

I'm not really an artsy chick, but optical illusions and 3D effects fascinate me. What seems to be a simple painting on the pavement is a stunning three-dimensional masterpiece when viewed from the right spot! Ed and I circled each artwork looking for the perfect angle, and got shivers when we finally found it! 

As most 3D paintings create the illusion of falling from the heights, a little bit of drama is much needed. We went crazy over the artworks, to the point that Ed crawled on the floor just to get a good Mission Impossible pose on the Burj Khalifa 3D piece. Hahah! 

3D art in Dubai Canvas
We spotted a pearl... 
Burj Khalifa 3D art in Dubai Canvas
Ed climbed Burj Khalifa ala Tom Cruise...
Lady at Dubai Canvas
I conquered my fears...
magic carpet ride at Dubai Canvas
Then, we went on a magic carpet ride...
3D pavement art at Dubai Canvas the top of the totem poles. 
3D wooden boat at Dubai Canvas
Then, went back to reality after a wooden boat cruise. :)

Some artworks are still unfinished, thus giving us the opportunity to witness how a 3D pavement art is made. These people are born with awesome skills! My eyes popped as an artist transformed a plain canvas into sand dunes! If only that painting was ready, we would have flaunted some sand-boarding moves that we could never do in reality. :)    

3D art in the making at Dubai Canvas
3D art in the making
Kurt Wenner at Dubai Canvas
What an honor to see Mr. Kurt Wenner, the inventor of 3D pavement art illusion and 3D street painting! 

Dubai Canvas is only until March 7, 2015. The amazing 3D pieces will then be displayed in various locations around Dubai. I wonder where will that "sand-boarding in the dunes" artwork go. If you'll see it somewhere after the event, please tell me! My sand-board pose is ready! ;)

Dubai Canvas Map
 Dubai Canvas map: Find the stunning 3D pieces in these locations until March 7, 2015.  

3D Art Festival
Dubai Canvas 2015
The Beach, JBR

How to get there by public transport?
Take the Dubai Metro to Damac (formerly Dubai Marina) - Red Line
Take the Dubai Tram to Jumeirah Beach Residence 1 
Walk to The Beach

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Mar 4, 2015

My Five Favorite Food Stalls at the Ripe Market

For the second time, I ditched the lazy weekend morning habit just for the Ripe Food and Craft Market, or simply called the Ripe Market, in Zabeel Park. Every Friday morning, a portion of Zabeel Park turns into an open air market for locally grown organic fruits and vegetables, and for home grown food and handicraft businesses. It is a seasonal event, which means it will be over when summer season comes. 
Ripe Market in Zabeel Park
Ripe Market in Zabeel Park

Mar 1, 2015

Boulevard Kitchen: An Arabian Culinary Feast in Downtown Dubai

Finely detailed with an arabesque glow, the Boulevard Kitchen glistens at the most prestigious square kilometer on earth. It was a very welcoming sight for us who just came from a traffic chaos and a long stroll caused by our own mistake of taking a new route. The warm hospitality, despite us being an hour late, was a relief. Right then, I felt my weekend night turned from disastrous to almost perfect.

Just as the world outside was in a weekend rush, Ed and I were tucked in a cozy and relaxing atmosphere. Boulevard Kitchen, Manzil Downtown's all day dining restaurant, has a contemporary vibe, yet dons classic arabesque patterns; an exemplary combination of the old and new. The restaurant offers dishes from the Middle East region; dishes that my Filipino palate considered as exotic a few years back, but eventually went down on my staple food list as years go by.

Boulevard Kitchen in Manzil Downtown
Boulevard Kitchen in Manzil Downtown