Sunday, July 31, 2011


It is official here in the UAE: Ramadan will begin tomorrow, August 1, 2011.  How do I know this?

For Muslims that means no more eating or drinking (even water) from sunrise to sunset.  After sunset.....look out!!

To get the real scoop on fasting during Ramadan, go to:

What does Ramadan mean to me?  Well, let's just say it takes the coffee out of the coffee shops; the eggs out of breakfast cafes; the sandwiches off of lunch menus; and makes dinner time later than ever!  That's all.  Just the fact that every coffee shop, cafe, restaurant, etc. will be CLOSED until sunset....every day of August. That's all.

ARGH!  I really shouldn't complain.  But I do.  But I really shouldn't because at least I can eat and drink.....just not in public during Ramadan.

So, I gotta run!  I'm meeting some friends for our "THIS IS IT" coffee at a coffee shop nearby. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

WELCOME jones the cafe!

I told you yesterday that I was meeting some ladies at jones the grocer for lunch.  We had two choices: lamb or cod. 

Here is what I ordered.....cod on a bed of lentils with a poached egg on the side.  IT. WAS. DIVINE.!! (Sorry, but they are not on the regular menu.  They made these two special entres JUST FOR US!)

And here is what the second option was: lamb with ?????.  I.WAS.TOLD.IT.WAS.SIMPLY.DIVINE.AS.WELL!!!

There you have it!  jones the grocer is really jones the cafe in disguise!  WELCOME, jones the grocer to Dubai!  We heart you already!!  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WELCOME jones the grocer!

There's something new along Sheikh Zayed Road these days.  A big, brown, contemporary building now sits along the side of Dubai's main thoroughfare.  It's hard to miss.

Since I have discovered (after nearly 30 years of marriage) John's love of the grocery store (seriously -- he's one happy camper if, in a weekend, we visit multiple grocery stores), it was number one on our list of "must do's" a couple of weekends ago!  We found the building and walked inside....

I've been in a lot of grocery stores in my life as a sales rep with Procter & Gamble, however, I can assure you that I've never walked the aisles of a store quite like this!

jones the grocer is Australia's leading fine food retailer, that offers a hand selected range of premium, gourmet foods from artisan suppliers from around the globe.

Established in 1996, with the launch of the flagship store in Woollahra, Sydney, jones the grocer has now opened stores across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and now the UAE.  Lucky us!

This place is a food connoisseur's heaven!  I'm no food connoisseur, but even I enjoyed browsing through the place!

There is an amazing walk in cheese room that is designed "to exhibit the extensive artisan cheese selection" in a temperature controlled and humidity controlled environment.

I've gotta say, the samples of cheese we tasted were oh, sooooo good, however, DANG was it ever cold in there!  John lingered; I got the heck out!

They offer a full bakery and pastry facility with bread baked fresh daily.  It smelled absolutely amazing!

Okay, so I'm not exactly a coffee aficionado (but I do love my Joe), but even I appreciated the coffee counter!

Pretty cool, huh?   Oh, I forgot to mention that not only is jones the grocer a grocery store, but it is also a cafe!

As much as I was dying to sit down and try something from the menu (created by the renowned Australian chef, Shannon Bennett) we had just eaten lunch and I had already downed a pot of coffee.  Darn! 

But guess what -- today the AWA Summer Gals are meeting there for lunch!  So I will report back on what I thought of the dining experience!  Can't wait to go!

Until then, I think this sign recaps what jones the grocer is all about: innovative concept, focus on quality, food emporium, unique flavor.

Is it noon yet?  I'm ready for lunch at jones the grocer!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


There is simply no better way than to start the day with......
a nice, fresh mango,

a really ripe banana....(NOT like the one pictured!),

and some yogurt.

All blended together....

to make an awesome mango/banana smoothie.  Yum yum yum! 

This is how John and I started our morning. 

How did you start yours?  No matter how you did....we hope it's a good one!*!

Monday, July 25, 2011


As you know, mosques are found on every street corner (just about anyway!) here in the UAE.  What once was a loud, strange and annoying "Call to Prayer" five times a day, has become a soft, unassuming and often times peaceful whisper.

There are two Catholic churches in Dubai, one on the north side and one on the south side.  We have attended mass at both, but John and I prefer St. Mary's which is located about a half hour north of the Marina. 

What makes St. Mary's really special is the mosque that is located right next door.

Interestingly enough, sometimes during mass we hear "The Call To Prayer" from the mosque next door.  I've always thought it was kind of a cool thing.

This past Saturday, as we were leaving the courtyard of St. Mary's after mass, John showed me something that we had never noticed before.  It was a plaque that was hanging beside our church bells.

Be sure to read carefully what the plaque says....

The church bells that currently ring at St. Mary's Catholic Church were donated by none other than His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum.  He was the Ruler of Dubai from 1958-1990, and was the eighth ruler from the Al Maktoum family.  Well loved and greatly respected by the residents of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid ruled the emirate with compassion and a clear vision of what was required in order to transform Dubai into a modern city.  Driven by this vision, Sheikh Rashid accomplished what many believed to be the impossible.

The present ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, is committed to his father's dream of making Dubai one of the foremost cities in the world.

All I have to say is that I am mighty impressed that the Muslim ruler gifted church bells to a Catholic parish located in Dubai. 

And there you have it....a mosque and a Catholic church
....contently standing side by side.   That, in and of itself, speaks volumes, don't you think?

Sunday, July 24, 2011


There is nothing quite like Friday Brunches here in Dubai.  They are celebrated here.  They are taken very seriously here.  And they are enjoyed here by young and by old!

We went to the infamous Al Qasr Brunch last weekend with friends.  IT.WAS.AMAZING!  We got there at noon and spent hours grazing (and I mean that literally) and visiting and grazing some more!  Al Qasr means "The Palace" and it is the centre-piece of Madinat Jumeirah -- one of our favorite places in Dubai.  It is designed to reflect a Sheikh's summer residence.

The setting was beautiful;

the food was divine!

There were ice sculptures,

and sushi and bread,

and desserts, oh my!

You celebrate anything and everything at Friday Brunches in Dubai.  You come with family and friends,

and you spend hours upon hours eating, drinking and being merry! 

When we had our fill, we waddled out (at least I did!), took some pictures.....

enjoyed the front lawn adorned by beautifully sculptured Arabian horses,

and waited on the "Big Guy" to bring us our car!!

Yes, Friday Brunch in Dubai -- ya just gotta love 'em!  And now it's time to face the music: another week of C25K just so that I can once again zip up my pants!!  Thanks a lot Al Qasr -- you were worth every single calorie!