Memoirs of a Hiatus: The Food Edition

Sharing a blog post I wrote a year ago and never published.

Most of you know by now that I did a disappearing act this last year the last 2 years on my blog and resurfaced some time back to introduce by daughter. What I didn’t mention in the blog post was everything I ate in this time, and oh boy did I eat! Between being pregnant and then breastfeeding and just being a mother, I managed to use every excuse in the book to consume and indulge. Let’s just say, it was the year of food, nothing held me back. This is just a modest list of my most memorable meals last year.

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Breakfast at Kalha

1. A ChefXChange Engagement Dinner
My husband and I hosted an engagement dinner for my sister and her fiance during the holidays last year. The brief was: small, intimate, gluten free and dairy free so ChefXChange – the Airbnb of private chef hire – seemed a natural fit. A quick searched yielded Maldivian Chef Samih who was one of few who catered to stringent dietary requirements. A simple exchange with the chef and our 4-course menu was settled: Scallop Ceviche with fresh strawberries & cucumber, Pumpkin soup with cinnamon, Rosemary & Lemon lamb chops with carrots & sweet potatoes and Date cake with caramel.  Chef Samih showed up early with all dishes partially prepared, he socialized, cooked, served our plated dinner and even cleaned up before he left, all with a huge smile on his face. His food was simple, elegant and flavorful but more than that the concept of having a private chef serve a plated dinner at your home felt really special. Not to mention between catering to my 6-week old and 12 guests, ChefXChange couldn’t have been more appropriate for this mama.
2. Meeting Gordon Ramsey 
I was randomly checking my spam inbox last summer when I came across an invite to attend Bread Street Kitchen’s 1 year anniversary with a lunch prepared by epicurean mogul Gordon Ramsey. This was not spam! My bump and I quickly opted in and quietly slipped out of the office for my lunch date with the master chef. It goes without saying that the food was perfection but I found myself a little star struck when Chef Ramsey sat down at our table, I used the opportunity to ask him what the worse dish was that he’d ever tried and he revealed it was a pasta dish on Masterchef where a woman prepared a pasta dish using her own breast milk! Yikes! Don’t miss his Lobster Tagliatelle, Bread and Butter Ice Cream and of course Gorden Ramsey’s signature dish, Beef Wellington.
3. Chef Katsuya Chef’s Table 
In May was invited to a very intimate and private omasake chefs table with Master Chef Katsuya Uechi to celebrate with opening of his new digs Katsuya at Madinat Jumeirah. With only 10 of us in attendance we hoovered over the sushi bar in marvel as Chef Katsuya sliced and diced raw fish before our very eyes. Although he’s flourished in California with his chain of restaurants, he seemed keen on bringing Japanese etiquette back to the dining table with a few tips for us like eating with your fingers and not using chopsticks, eating the fish immediately as its served (his subtle plead that we not waste time taking photos before eating) and clarified the misnomer of mixing wasabi and soy sauce. Don’t miss his Torched Scallops with Kiwi, Miso-marinated Black Cod and Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna (a Katsuya original).
A Holiday in Amman 
No holiday in Amman is complete without foodie adventures. Baby in tow, I was able to maneuver around the city and pop into some of my favorite joints like Shams Al Balad, Fish Face and Al Kalha but honestly no trip to Amman is complete without a ludicrous amount of homemade indulgence and gigantic trays of knafeh (the breastfeeding made me do it).

4. Mortar & Pestle 
A Dinner Curated by Noreen Wasti and Hosted by Marriott Executive Apartments Downtown, Abu Dhabi 

When I received a dinner invitation from Noreen Wasti, Dubai aesthetics queen, I opted in so quickly I didn’t realize the dinner was in Abu Dhabi on a weeknight! In collaboration with Marriot Executive Apartments Abu Dhabi, Noreen transformed an executive apartment into the most charming canvas for a intimate dinner inspired by the spices of the Middle East – think vintage candlesticks and a table adorned with figs and pomegranates. The only thing better than the aesthetics was the food, Executive Chef Chris Dodds impressed with dishes like halloiumi crusted rack of lamb, beetroot and shanklesh spring rolls and saffron and Turkish chili prawn linguine.