Thursday, August 28, 2014

La Yomall - JLT

"La Youmal" is an Arabic expression which means: "cannot be bored with". So, quite an interesting name for a cafe/restaurant that makes your mouth water from anticipation.

I tried "La Youmal" twice in the past 6 months. The first time was a disappointing Jordanian Mansaf which had nothing to do with the Mansaf other than the name.  I am not Jordanian and I was disappointed at the taste. My Jordanian friend really tried hard to give the dish a name and could not in the end.  He said it is an OK plate but it is not Mansaf.

The second time I tried "La Youmal"  was 2 days ago.  I said to myself, let me give it one more try. May be the Mansaf was a one off bad experience. I ordered beef shawerma sandwich (small sandwich AED 7) and believe me, I was searching for the meat while eating. It was a mix of tomatoes, onions and tahina sauce wrapped in Arabic bread and every now and then there is a tiny and very thinly slices piece (note the singular use of piece - not pieces) of meat.

I understand the business in JLT is not as good as cafe owners would like and I understand the community is not yet coming together as one to support businesses. Nevertheless, this kind of service/product delivery can do nothing but harm to the business.  It's a chicken and egg case. If more people come, the cafes will make more money and hence give better service and better quality products. But from the consumers' standpoint, we will only go to a place again and again if the quality of the product bought is good and the service is also good.

So, until somebody tells me "La Youmal"  has significantly raised its quality, I will not be placing orders anymore. If I really craved a shawerma sandwich from my community, I would be calling "Shawermaty" instead. But that is another post!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Body & Mind Spa - Cluster O

Knowing how much I love SPAs and massages, a friend of mine gifted me a one-hour oil massage voucher to Body & Mind Spa in JLT.

I was doubtful in the beginning - I have tried quite a few SPAs in JLT and was not happy with one thing or another about each.  Either the therapists are excellent but the place is quite shabby and border line questionable. Or the place is posh but therapists are far from knowing how to massage someone.

So, I went to "Body & Mind" spa with low expectations and almost anxiety on what awaits me there!

The spa is actually in Cluster O on the lake level - right next to the Gelato cafe (they changed its name now - I suppose they figured Gelato was too limiting).  This is how Body & Mind looked from outside:


 


Not so bad, right? In fact, quite decent and far from shabby.  I entered from the door on the side and was greeted by a nice Filipina lady who politely took my voucher and requested my therapist to come over the phone.  She did not offer me any information or offers or anything.  Just greeted me with a smile and answered "no" when I asked her if they were giving any special discounts for JLT residents.  This is how the reception area was: simple, nice rustic brown tiles, and overall woody feel that makes you feel you are surrounded by nature.



My therapist came - another Filipina - smiled at me and asked me to escort her to a small room that had a sink on the floor so she can wash my feet before the massage started. Well, I liked that. I always consider this something nice to offer (especially if it is not deducted from your 60 minutes).  The feeling of warm water and soap on the feet before massage gives me this fresh feeling and relaxation.  This is the small room where I had my feet washed:

After a couple of minutes of feet washing and drying, I was escorted to the massage room.  Nothing struck me as "wow" or as "yukk" in the room. It was rather a small tidy room with a massage bed that offers an opening for your face to rest when you are on your stomach (many other SPAs just offer a flat bed which is quite uncomfortable when one is on their stomach I should say!).  She asked me to change and she went out.  The room smelled nice and I was then anxious to see my treatment.

Heidi, my therapist, knocked on the door and adjusted the towel on my back, got on top of the bed and started stretching my body before she started with the oil. The oil smelled really different from any other place I've been to.  Usually the oil is either the Ylang Ylang or Lemon Grass or Lavendar, which might be more expensive than the oil Heidi used on me, I can't know for sure. However, this oil smelled like mild strawberry and really made me feel happy inhaling it.  Yes, happy is the word. I was relaxed for sure, but happy is how this aroma made me feel.

My massage was an "Oil Sports Massage" and it was quite good but I should say that the best surprise in this massage was when I suddenly felt this really hot oil on my lower back and I was not sure what the source was.  Heidi would remove both her hands from my back, rub them against something on the bed and then massage my back again with very warm hands!  After 5 minutes of this riddle, I felt hot stones were replacing her hands and it was heavenly.  This massage is not a hot stone massage but she does add hot stones for what seemed to be 5 minutes to warm up my back and trust me, if you ever go, ask for it to be included if they don't include it themselves.

When I rolled on my back, Heidi and I started a conversation. I was asking her about the oil and the hot stones.  Her reserved personality suddenly vanished and she started talking very friendly.  I must have been given an extra 10 minutes or so complimentary massage which was really nice.  Heidi told me she was the only Filipina masseuse in Body & Mind and in all honesty, I would not have guessed she could do such a great job. You know how we stereotype people, Thai are the best masseuse, etc.. So untrue!

Verdict: I will sure go to Body & Mind again and will sure ask for Heidi.  For now, it is my favourite massage place in JLT!

Promotion: The SPA offers a complimentary 30 minutes for every one hour booked every day between 10 and 3 p.m. So, if you book at 1:30 p.m. for instance for 60 minutes, they will give you 90 minutes! Not bad and the prices are quite average.  Ask for the promotion when you book. I think the receptionist will not mention it unless you do - I could be wrong of course!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

You want to speak Arabic? Let's do it!

So, you want to speak Arabic and you have tried memorizing words and phrases, bought books and even joined classes but nothing seems to really work?
For those of you who have and did not make it, there is good news.  Go to: http://arabicspeaking.blogspot.com/ register your interest to join the classes for the batch starting mid October.


One more thing: the first 2 classes are absolutely for free for the JLT community residents! So, try it out, you got nothing to lose.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tamweel Tower Fire.. never seen before pics

A massive fire broke out in the early hours of November 18th 2012 on the roof of the Tamweel Tower located in Cluster U in JLT. Below are some pictures taken on Sunday morning (7 hours after the fire had started).

Monday, January 28, 2013

Exclusively for JLT Residents: Nokia Lumia 920 Competition!

Do you own a Nokia Lumia 920 Phone? Send us what you like most about it and you can be a lucky winner of a Fatboy wireless charger to charge your phone with no wires!
The latest flagship device from Nokia, the Lumia 920, brings a significant upgrade to the related Lumia line. With a 4.5 '' 1280 x 768 IPS LCD display, Windows Phone 8 and LTE along with several unique features such as wireless charging and Nokia's PureView imaging, the Lumia 920 offers plenty to love. Key features: 8.7MP Nokia PureView Camera, 1.2MP Front-Facing Camera, 4.5 '' 1280 x 768 IPS LCD, Dual-Core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4, 1GB of RAM, 32 GB Internal Storage, 2000 mAh battery, Wireless Charging, LTE, Windows Phone 8. Email us your answers before Feb 5th on: jltcommunity@yahoo.com

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Body Sky Massage.. a real blessing

If you have a soft heart or enjoy only soft relaxing massages, this is not the place for you! Body Sky in Al Seef 2 Tower in JLT has some of the best masseuse I have ever tried. You look at them, they are all petite and sweet. Get inside the massage room and you will be massaged stronger than you have ever been massaged! Expect not to fall asleep.. this is not a relaxing massage, expect, however, that your body will be invigorated from head to toe. Expect to walk out feeling you have a new back or new feet. I have no idea how they do it but they do it so well I became an addict. Of course you can ask the ladies to take it easy on you but trust me, that spoils all the fun. They know what they're doing and you'd better let them do it right. The prices are quite competitive I say. Half hour is AED 80 and one hour is AED 150 (prices could differ if you choose other therapies). I have tried foot reflexology (heavenly painful yet leaves you with new feet) and I tried their full body Tui Na massage which is on the softer side. In Tui Na, they would brush, knead, roll, press, and rub the areas between each of the joints to get the energy moving in the meridians and the muscles of your body. One final things, the ladies are all new to Dubai and they are working on improving their English. So don't expect to have a conversation. Just show them with your hand where you want them to 'focus' on and what areas they should 'no massage'. Give it a try if you are looking for serious massage!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sam's Steak Hut - Open in Cluster T

Charcoal-Broiled Delivery They claim to bring the steak house to your home. Their address is: JLT, Cluster T, 1 Lake Plaza, Promenade Level, Shop #4 For Deliveries, call 04 369 7172,c Timing: 12pm - 10pm,c Minimum Order = 35 aed; Free Delivery

Laffat is now open in JLT

Laffat restaurant is now open in Cluster U, Al Seef Tower 2 in JLT on the Lake level. Try out their "lahm b'ajeen' and other great Lebanese/Palestinian dishes To order, call 04-4257778

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sweet Brazil.. not as sweet as I wished

So, I decided to order from Sweet Brazil in JLT and was quite excited to try a few things on the menu.
I called and requested the pot pie with shrimp filling. The menu said it comes with green salad. So, for someone who doesn't like green salad, I requested the person on the phone to substitute it with anything else and said I was happy to pay any difference in price. I thought that was a common practice everywhere I went and it was just a fair ask from customers since it is not necessarily what they would like to compliment a plate with. To my surprise, the person who was on the phone said to me that they only recommend salad with this plate and do not recommend anything else. Fair enough, I said. Thank you for the recommendation but if you guys send me the green salad it will end up in the trash bin because I simply don't eat green salad and hence would like to exchange it for something I can eat.
I think the debate about what they "recommend and not recommend" lasted for a few minutes and there was zero flexibility to what customers want and in the end I thanked her and said I won't be ordering.
I think many companies rise and fall because of consumer needs attention and no matter how good the products are, or the food is in this case, what really matters is customer service and how consumers feel they are 'heard'. It is unfortunate that I did not try the shrimp pot pie, but instead I ended up ordering from Pizza Amore and got a wonderful smile and whatever i wanted to "add" or "remove" was done with no questions asked!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The best Pizza Napolitana in town... Amore Pizza JTL

If you are one of the people who value pizza and think it is one of the best foods ever created, don't miss out Pizza Amore in JLT.
Pizza Amore is a new Italian restaurant that opened a few months ago in JLT Cluster T (right next to Dubai Marina metro station).

If you like to dine in, the place has a few inside tables as well as some tables outside (which is a horrible idea for the time being). The place is rather cute and small from the inside but you get to see the cook actually making and baking your pizza. The staff is very friendly and helpful - the manager, Julie, is a sweetheart and she will make sure everything you ask for is done perfectly well.

I have tried several pizzas from them and they all tasted very well. I am, however, hooked on the Napoletana pizza. It is just awesome - has the right amount of anchovies, the right amount of cheese and I usually add onions and it makes it the perfect pizza.

I tried their spaghetti bolognese but did not think much of it. I can think of a few places that do it better (like Carluccio's and Vapiano for instance). So, I'd stick to the pizza!

Their home-made icecream is really outstanding. The first time we went, Julie invited all of us to small cup tasters for the ice cream and we all ended up ordering our proper cups. My favourite is the coffe with caramel sauce ice cream. It is really as good as the ones I had in Florence last year!

Pizza Amore delivers to JLT and I am sure to other places, so give them a try, they are worth it. This is their phone number: 04-452-9900

If you have tried the place, share with us your comments here!