Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Top 10 Places to Eat and Drink in Abu Dhabi

Photo from
While Abu Dhabi is based in the Middle East, the variety of cuisines on offer is universal. From Mexican restaurants and Brazilian steakhouses, to Sushi bars and American-style burger houses, there’s something to suit everyone. 

1.   Sontaya, The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort
Sontaya really is something of a dining spectacle. Tucked away in one of Abu Dhabi’s most popular hotel resorts, it’s easy to get lost in the Southeast Asian ambience and flavoursome fare.

2.   AlMaz by Momo, The Galleria on Al Maryah Island
Facing the glistening waters of the ocean (if you manage to grab a seat outside), not only is this a cool place to simply ‘hang out’, but Almaz by Momo is a true delight for the culinary senses. A menu that’s inspired by traditional Moroccan cuisines and flavours from all across North Africa, it’s worth checking out for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

3.   Amerigos Mexican Bar & Restaurant, Park Inn by Radisson, Yas Island
This quaint restaurant features authentic Mexican dishes served in vibrant and lively surroundings, complimented by a great selection of drinks. Savour a variety of creatively presented dishes, including the traditional guacamole, prawn ceviche, quesadillas, fajitas and enchiladas at Amerigos.

4.   Dolmabahce, Al Zeina
This recently-opened Turkish restaurant is the closest thing you’ll get to dining in Turkey while in Abu Dhabi. The menu ranges from traditional meze, soups and salads with all the typically Turkish ingredients like rose water, olives, vine leaves, aubergine, filo pastry, yoghurt, lentils, nuts, pomegranates. And of course, meat - lots of it!

5.   Sho Cho Japanese Restaurant & Lounge
Sho Cho’s prides itself on contemporary Japanese cuisine.  Choose from cooked food and the more traditional Japanese sushi menu. , all washed down with a traditional Japanese Sake, or a little something from the extensive cocktail menu, encompassing both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

6.   Cipriani, Yas Yacht Club
Recognised as one of the world’s premium names in Italian fine dining, Cipriani on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island is a feast for the senses.

7.   Stars ‘N’ Bars, Yas Island
An American style sports bar and restaurant serving food, beverages, and a delicious selection of shisha, Stars ‘N’ Bars has a delightful outdoor terrace and shisha lounge, with a great line up of entertainment throughout the week.

8.  Ornina, Al Bandar complex
Whether you’re hungry, or just fancy a quick drink, Ornina offers a little something for everyone. This stand-alone restaurant, bar and lounge, overlooks the sparkling lights of Yas Island across the water, and offers a creative menu with a flavoursome fusion of Southern Mediterranean Cuisine with an Eastern twist.

9.   Ushna, Qaryat Al Beri Souk
Indulge in delicious, authentic Indian fare with a temporary twist, in a stunning location. The restaurant patio overlooks the water across with remarkable views of the Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque.

10. Lebanese Flower, Al Khalidiya
For a true taste of Lebanon, Lebanese Flower is your best choice. Tuck in to some traditional Arabic meze, followed by a main dish – or two! What’s more, the menu is pretty cheap too which makes it ideal if you’re travelling to Abu Dhabi on a budget.

As you can see, the UAE’s capital city is bursting with flavours, so you need not to worry about going hungry while you’re on a flight to Abu Dhabi.  You’ll be spoilt for choice! 

P.S. If you’re flying to Abu Dhabi from Dublin, you’ll be pleased to know there’s the odd Irish pub scattered around the city too.  

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Mt Matuon in Maligcong, Bontoc: Exploring New Trails with Human and Canine-kind in the Highlands

Tiny, one of our three companion dogs, surveying the scene from Chagachag
The sky threatened rains any moment now as we trudged up from the main village in Favarey.  It's not unexpected as it's the rainy season anyway.  I love traveling in the off-season though instead of joining the crowds during the peak season when catching buses and jeeps seem to be a challenge in themselves, and finding accommodations adds to the stress.  Sort of like wanting to find a vacation after a vacation.  The downside is finding good enough weather to shoot.  Save for work, I haven't found many opportunities to shoot.  But as I grow older, I want to find a balance between eagerness to shoot and inclination to rest.  I also subscribe to the local expression of "weather-weather" and enjoy what the weather brings.  Except for occasions when storms and typhoons would make a break dangerous, I would not want to wait for sunny blue sky weather to take a break when I feel my mind and soul are being called by nature.

I haven't had much cardio exercise in the past months and looking up from the main village to the steep mountainside, I had to summon enough willpower to not be intimidated.  When our guide, Mang Ruben, pointed to the mountain, I could hardly see the trail, the paved and cemented walking path from the terraces giving way to rocks and thick brush.  While some would say that hiking can be a torturous experience and I can agree to some extent that it seem to be an exercise in masochism, it is also rewarding.  Well, I can use the exercise for one.  Another thing is it's different just looking at the terraces from afar and walking through, over and under them.  Most of all, it is an immersive, sensory overload experience for me.  


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