Food

You can take the girl out of the Middle East….

Apparently you can take the girl out of the Middle East but you can’t take the Middle East out of the girl.  Last week we were in Japan roaming the Nishiki Market area in Kyoto, trying to decide on what to eat for dinner.  Suddenly, we stumbled upon the most fabulous sight, a schwarma stand!  Schwarma shops are on every corner in Kuwait, and were in a strong rotation of food we ate in the two years we were in the Middle East.  Hayden and I approached the Turkish worker with a happy “As-salam alaykom.” A huge smile spread across his face as he in returned the greeting to me in Arabic.  We exchanged quick chit-chat as I ordered and paid for my Schwarma, both clearly outsiders to the Japanese culture, enjoying a moment of connection with someone from the other side of the world.

img_9975Shukran Schwarma Man, Shukran.

Advertisements

Mitch’s Monday Happy Hour – March 16

Happy Monday everyone! Oh wait a second . . . . . . . . it’s Thursday.  Yikes!!!!!  I’m sure most of you are struggling through your week at work, as you have anxiously been waiting for our weekly Happy Hour post this week.  To you . . . . . I apologize.  Updating a blog can be a daunting task sometimes.  Even though we write short posts that only take about 2 minutes to read through, sometimes it takes over an hour to type up.  Finding free time to blog can be tricky, however we are going to try and keep posting 3 times a week (fingers crossed)!

We ended our week of work last Thursday as we usually do . . . .  with friends, on a patio, having dinner!  This week we decided on a place called Attila Mongolian Grill located on the coast, with amazing views of the sea.  The restaurant is a part of a new complex of over 25 restaurants called Miral.  It was a super nice place with so many different options to choose from.  We had a super good meal and will definitely be back again.

IMG_2353

 

 

When we returned from our trip to Egypt a couple of weeks ago, we got home super late the night before work.  We basically tossed our luggage on the floor, went to bed, then straight to work the next morning.  Our maid Lily came the next day and went completely above-and-beyond her duties . . . . . and emptied our bags for us!  Not only did she unpack our bags, but she washed all of our dirty clothes and even put them away for us.  We got home from work that day, still exhausted, and knew we had a big task ahead of us to put all of our crap away.  We were so surprised to come home to a spotless apartment.  We knew we wanted to “thank her” for her hard work, so we left her a little bonus money last week.  She left us this cute little ‘thank you’ note that ended with, “me so happy!”  It made us feel good, that we gave her such a small amount of money, but that she was so happy with it.

FullSizeRender-2

I was driving through a neighborhood the other day, when a certain vehicle caught my eye.  I did a double take . . . . . and notice a University of Minnesota Gophers sticker in the back window.  For a moment, it made me feel like we were back home in Minnesota, then I chuckled that there was another Gophers fan in Kuwait.  Ironically, I’m watching the Gophers hockey game against Ohio State University as I type this 🙂

FullSizeRender

The Gophers sticker wasn’t the only Minnesota connection I experienced this week.  We we were walking around downtown Kuwait City when I noticed an Arabic guy wearing a Jason Kubel Minnesota Twins jersey!  I chuckled to myself, and wondered if he even knew who the Twins were or who Jason Kubel was.  I wanted to try and get a picture with him, but unfortunately it just didn’t work out.

Last weekend we also went out and supported our school’s varsity basketball teams at their conference tournament.  They had a great weekend, but unfortunately lost in the semifinals to one of our rivals.  Teams from all over the Middle East participated including, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait.  While the players and spectators were from all over the world, it definitely felt like we were back in the States at a typical high school basketball tournament.  We had a ton of fun!

A group of 7 of us went to one of the games together last Friday.  In the car on the way to the game, I mentioned that I hoped that they had a concession stand there.  Everyone thought I was crazy, when I said that I was craving a “Taco in a Bag.”  (or also known as a “Walking Taco.”  Half of our friends hadn’t even heard of one before, so I had to explain how freaking delicious they were.  If you’ve never heard of one either, here’s what it is:

  • Start with a small bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos.  You smash them up into bite size pieces, then open the bag.
  • Next you add whatever ingredients you would like.  I typical add, taco meat, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, olives, and salsa.

Even I knew that it was a long shot of a request, but I’ve been craving them lately so I was keeping my fingers crossed.

Between games I found my way to the concession stand that was being operated as a fundraiser by the host school’s National Honor Society.  I almost crapped my pants when I noticed the last item on the menu board . . . . . Taco in a Bag!!!! It was fucking delicious and just what I needed to satisfy my craving!

IMG_2355

The inside view of my Taco in a Bag:

IMG_2354

Well folks, that’s all for now.  We hope to see you next Monday for our weekly happy hour, or maybe Thursday again 😉

Mitch’s Monday Happy Hour – February 9

Welcome to this week’s edition of Mitch’s Monday Happy Hour!  We are officially 1/2 done with our school year, and celebrate our 100th day of school next week!  Here’s what we are up to this week:

  • Last weekend we went to our first Kuwaiti Farmers Market.  It is called the Qout Market, and it is held once a month, from November to April in downtown Kuwait City.  It is pretty neat, because it is held on the top level of a huge parking ramp, with great views of the sky scrapers and downtown scenery.  The market had such a variety of items including, flowers, fruit, crafts, baked goods, clothing, bicycles, and tons of other stuff.  It was such a refreshing experience, and the entire time we were there, we kept saying, “it doesn’t even feel like we are in Kuwait right now!”  We didn’t really buy anything, just a few little treats to snack on as we walked around.
IMG_2167

Qout Market

  • This weekend, I also had my first run in with the Kuwaiti Police Department.  We were just cruising down the freeway, in the slow lane, minding our business, when I noticed a police officer pulled in behind us and started his siren.  I pulled over right away, he checked my license, and let us on our way.  No questions, no explanation of why we were pulled over, but no problems either.  I was pretty lucky that I had a valid license and all the appropriate paperwork with me, because I know quite a few people who are “rolling the dice” and driving here illegally.
  • My search for Miracle Whip has commenced!!!!!  During our first trip to the grocery store, when we arrived in Kuwait last August, we picked up a jar of Miracle Whip for my sandwiches. (I hate regular mayonnaise!)  We thought nothing of it, until a few weeks later when we ran out, and couldn’t find it any grocery store.  I literally drove all over Kuwait to different stores, in search of the most important ingredient in my daily turkey sandwich for lunch!  In fact, even some of our friends would check stores when they would go shopping!  We soon realized that a lot of our favorite american products are “hit and miss” when we try to find them.  Therefore we have to make sure we stock up on products when we see them, hence the reason I bought 3 jars of Miracle Whip yesterday. Yikes!!!
IMG_2224

Woohoo . . . . . I found Miracle Whip!

 

  • Last week, I started a new gig at school coaching the 5th grade girls soccer team!  After 2 days of tryouts last week, and 2 days of practice this week, we have our first game this Thursday against a neighboring school.  Wish us luck!  So far, the #1 thing that I have learned . . . . . . . . . is that 5th grade girls love to talk!!!! They’re full of questions, random facts, jokes, gossip, and humor.  They also brighten my day, but hopefully we score a goal or two this season too! (winning a game this season is not a goal yet)

Ma’a As-Salaama (goodbye in Arabic)

 

 

We Found Real Bacon!

Upon our arrival in Sri Lanka, I was in search for two things:

  1. Booze
  2. Pork, more specifically Bacon

We quickly found a bar on the beach, and started enjoying the first of many beers, however they didn’t have bacon.  We stumbled down the beach until we came to another bar/restaurant called Koko’s on the Beach.  It’s a little family run place owned by a super cool British guy, his Sri Lankan wife, and their two daughters.  One of their daughters was about 2 years old, and her job was to bring us our beers. One time her mother brought out a round for us, and the little girl burst into tears because SHE wanted to bring them to us!  It kind of made me excited to have a 2-year old kid one day to run back-and-forth to the fridge for me 😉

I noticed on the menu at Koko’s that they had a bacon cheeseburger. I asked the owner if the bacon was pork, and when she confirmed, I told her that we wanted a plate of JUST bacon!  Her english wasn’t the best, and she kept double checking that she heard me right, “you want 10 pieces of bacon?”  I smiled and said yes, however all I could think of in my head was: Yes lady! I haven’t had a piece of pork in 4 months, goooo!!!!!

Minutes later, her husband brought out a plate full of the best bacon that I have ever had! It was greasy, grizzly, crispy, and fucking delicious! (sorry for the language mom).  I kind of felt like the dog in this video when he was carrying it out to us.

IMG_1850

It was so good, that I had to take a picture of it!

The owner was baffled at my order, and started asking, “why so much bacon?”  After explaining that we lived in a Muslim country and that pork was illegal, he felt so bad for us that he didn’t even want to charge us for it. We slipped him some money, and returned again a few days later for another plate of bacon!

The World’s Greatest Cookie

We had to travel nearly 8,000 miles from the lakes of Minnesota to the desert of Kuwait, in order to find THE greatest cookie IN THE WORLD!  Come to find out though, the cookie is actually from Australia!  This post is sure to make your mouth water . . . so quick . . . . go grab a big glass of milk before reading on!

Introducing the Tim Tam!

IMG_4655

We were only in Kuwait for about 12 hours before we were introduced to Mr. Tim Tam.  We were just getting settled into our new home when we heard a knock at our front door. It was our next door neighbors who were stopping by to introduce themselves and welcome us to Kuwait.  They brought us a house-warming gift: Tim Tams!  They asked if we had ever had them before, and we explained that we hadn’t even heard of them. Our neighbor is from Australia, and she began telling us about how popular they were back home and how everyone just loves them.  We accepted their kind gesture and considered ourselves so lucky to be living next door to such awesome people.

We immediately busted open the pack and couldn’t wait to judge for ourselves the quality of the cookies.  Let me tell you . . . OMG!  Hands down, they were the best little cookie i’ve ever had!  As I sit here at the computer, I’m completely speechless on how to describe them, they would just melt in your mouth. So after a quick google search, here’s what I found: “A Tim Tam is composed of two layers of chocolate malt biscuit, separated by a light chocolate cream filling, and coated in a thin layer of textured chocolate.” (thanks wikipedia!)  The only bummer about the Tim Tam . . . . there’s only 11 cookies in each pack!  So with every purchase, we know that one of us is going to get screwed by only getting 5 cookies, while the other person gets 6!

cookie

Photo courtesy of http://www.bandt.com.au

Just when we thought the Tim Tam couldn’t get any better, we discovered that he has a few friends. Including:

  • Double Coat
  • Chewy Carmel
  • White Chocolate
  • Turkish Delight
  • Dark Chocolate Rum & Raisin
  • Dark Chocolate Mint
  • Honeycomb
  • Double Chocolate Vanilla
  • Chocolate Orange
  • Dark Chocolate Classic

We’ve tried the Carmel Tim Tams and the Double Dipped Tim Tams. Both are great, but I still prefer the original!

After a few weeks of enjoying this Aussie cookie of goodness, I discovered the Tim Tam Slam.  This is where you bite off opposite ends of the cookie, put one side in your coffee and the other end in your mouth. Then your slurp up your coffee through the cookie. The heat from your beverage slowly melts the chocolate of the cookie, and you end up with a chocolate/coffee concoction that tastes great.

Here’s the good news for all you folks back in the States: They’re for sale in the US by Pepperidge Farm and mainly available at Target. Apparently they are not as good as the original Tim Tams, but they are worth a try if you are looking for a sweet treat.

Pepperidge

Photo courtesy of http://www.buzzfeed.com

I’m going to leave you today with 7 Fun Facts about a Tim Tam that I found on Buzzfeed:

  1. Australians eat 45 million packs of Tim Tams a year.
  2. Tim Tams went on the market in 1964, 50 years ago! (why I haven’t I heard of these)
  3. They are named after a horse who won the Kentucky Derby in 1958.
  4. The chocolate used to coat the Tim Tams is supposed to have a slight carmel taste.
  5. There is a cheese flavored Tim Tam available in Indonesia (yuck!)
  6. The Tim Tam factory in Sydney, Australia produces 3,000 cookies a minute.
  7. One in every two Australian households contains a pack of Tim Tams.

Mitch’s Monday Happy Hour – December 8

Cheers, let’s go to happy hour!  If we were back home, we’d meet at Buffalo Wild Wings. I’d be drinking a big ass glass of Blue Moon on tap with 12 boneless buffalo wings! (1/2 mild & 1/2 parmesan garlic if you were wondering).  Holy smokes, my mouth is watering so much right now!  I’ve been craving Buffalo Wild Wings for the last 3 months.  Here’s what’s going on with us this week:

  • We had an absolute blast last weekend in Dubai for the Rugby 7s tournament!  It was a quick trip, but a great way to re-energize before these next two weeks of work prior to Christmas Break.  We went with some great friends and had a ton of fun meeting and celebrating our weekend with people from all over the world.  We also got a good dose of beer and pork ribs (both of which are prohibited here in Kuwait) during our vacation.  It was awesome!  We’ll post more info and pictures from our weekend soon.  In the meantime, here is a quick pic of the main stadium at the tournament.
IMG_1760

The picture looked good on my iPhone 4 when I took it over the weekend. However now that I am sober, I’m realizing that my sight must have been a bit blurry from all of the Heinekens I was drinking.

  • I used to hate Mondays. It was that stupid day after Sunday, that would ruin every weekend. However in Kuwait, I think it’s my new favorite day of the week!  Our work week here is Sunday-Thursday, so it no longer ruins our weekends anymore. I also like it because it’s the day our maid comes! Her name is Lily and she comes once a week. We leave for work and our house is a complete disaster.  When we get home . . . . VIOLA!!! All of our dishes, laundry, ironing, cleaning, and everything else is done. It is so fun to drive home from work on Mondays, with the anticipation of walking into a spotless apartment!
  • For the last couple of months, Rachel has been teaching an iMovie Club to a group of students at school. The school offers a ton of different after school activities for kids, and they meet once a week. She basically taught them how to use iMovie on Apple devices, and showed them some tricks and tips they could use to make some fun videos. She had a great group of about 10 kids from grades 3-5.  Apparently she was the only one who didn’t own the new iPhone 6, and the kids couldn’t believe that her antique phone (iPhone 5) still worked because it was soooo old!
  • For about the last month, I’ve been searching for a jar of Miracle Whip (mayonnaise).  Everyday for lunch I my wife makes me turkey sandwiches with Miracle Whip.  Not only is it my favorite, it is also the ONLY kind that I like.  When we first moved here in August, we found some at one of the grocery stores.  However since then, I haven’t found it anywhere!  I’ve tried a couple of different “local” brands, and they taste almost sour or something. NASTY!  We’re slowly realizing that when you see a product you like at the grocery store, it’s best to buy about a dozen of them because you never know if they will ever have it again. In case you are wondering, I still haven’t found another jar of Miracle Whip, therefore I have no idea what i’m eating for lunch tomorrow!

I’m still daydreaming of a Blue Moon and boneless chicken wings from Buffalo Wild Wings! See you guys next week.

We Discovered Something Awesome . . . .

Just before we moved to Kuwait, Rachel wrote a blog post entitled Things I Will Miss.  She listed a few of the things she was going to miss the most about Minnesota.  One of the things she mentioned was her favorite restaurant: Chipotle. We have only been in Kuwait for a couple of months, but we have already made a plan to visit Chipotle as soon as we return home next summer. We’ve promised each other that as soon as we arrive at the airport, we are going straight there!

Well, a couple of weeks ago we discovered something awesome!  A friend of ours discovered a new restaurant that just opened a few days earlier called Adobo Burrito.  He described it as similar to Chipotle, and we both thought to ourselves, riiiiiiiight! We both knew that there was no way possible that a place could be even close to as good as Chipotle was.  However we have been craving it since we got here, so we went to give it a try.

IMG_1601

Kuwait City is a major metropolitan area, but we were lucky to find out that Adobo Burrito was only about a 15 minute walk from our apartment!  As soon as we walked in, our jaws dropped!  Inside, it looked almost exactly like Chipotle.  It was laid out the same, similar decorations, and had that same “industrial” look with the corrugated metal on the walls. We were immediately greeted by the owner, a young Kuwaiti guy who just moved back here from Washington D.C.  We checked out the menu boards and the food line, and it was just like Chipotle!  You could order a burrito or a bowl with cilantro-lime rice, beans, fajitas, corn salsa, pico de gallo, cheese, and everything else!  They also had homemade tortilla chips with fresh guacamole that tasted so good!  To be honest, I don’t think it was quite as good as Chipotle, but it was dang close.  We definitely enjoyed it, and it will keep us going until we get back to Minnesota next summer.

IMG_1600

Since that first trip there a couple of weeks ago, we haven’t been back yet. Oh but don’t worry, we’ve had it at least once a week. Here’s the best part about Adobo . . . . . . THEY DELIVER!!  Yes ladies & gentleman, you can have a Chipotle/Adobo burrito delivered to you on your couch! #bestcountryever

The Coolest Thing in Kuwait: Talabat!

One of the most frequently asked questions we hear from our friends and family back home is: “What’s it like in Kuwait?”  Well, when it comes to ordering food . . . . it’s awesome!

There is a website here called Talabat, where you can order food, and have it delivered, from any restaurant in Kuwait City.  The delivery fee is only like $1.00 with a minimum order of only about $2.00!  It is so convenient to order dinner from your computer as you sit on your couch, knowing that you can order food from hundreds of restaurants!  You can order things like pizza, pasta, cheeseburgers, or even a fancy multi-course dinner.  We’ve had friends order a dozen chocolate chip cookies from one restaurant and then a dish of ice cream from a different restaurant!  Last week, I tried ordering Taco Bell and it was delivered in about 15 minutes.  It is such a nice service they have here, but definitely dangerous on my waste line!

IMG_1357

In Kuwait Taco Bell is open until like 4am . . . and they deliver!

 

IMG_1359

Even the hot sauce packets from Taco Bell have Arabic jokes on them. The one on the left is translated to: “What do you want with ketchup? I am much better.” The sauce packet on the right translates to: “They say the weather outside is pleasant? Please let me know.”

 

Just about every restaurant here delivers, including the major chain restaurants like McDonalds, Subway, Smash Burger, KFC, and even Caribou Coffee!  Even sit-down restaurants like Olive Garden, TGI Fridays, Applebees, and Mais Alghanim deliver.

IMG_4585

Here’s a pic of the Meat Tray I ordered one night from a Lebanese restaurant called Mais Alghanim. For just a couple of bucks you get multiple beef, chicken, and lamb kabobs and tons of pita bread with three different kinds of hummus!