Va Bene

IMG_5895It’s Italian, of course. Pasta you pick, then you pick the sauce. They have pizza, more on that later. I feel like Rachel Ray and the Food Channel. It’s pretty inexpensive and actually tastes pretty good. I got the carbonara sauce. There are also baked pasta dishes. I couldn’t get lasagna one evening and they steered me to the baked pasta which was a good find.IMG_5898


IMG_5886Well, I’m not Japanese. And I’m not a fan of Sushi. There are few Chinese options. So Teriyaki beef makes the grade. It’s salty (very) sweet, crisp and hot. I did in fact have the tempura shrimp. The shrimp are really fresh and good. But the batter, though perfectly crisp,  is too oily to be able to finish the whole dish. This has been my go to meal until I couldn’t bear to go to the mall any longer. Soda is included and the guys know me on sight and always smile.IMG_5889

Ice Cream Bars


IMG_5881There are only so many places where you can waste calories. If my kids were still little, we would have gone through every flavor by now. Since they are grown and not accompanying me, it seems that the desire is muted. There are lots of flavors and it’s sort of tempting. Snicker’s ice cream bar? I’d just as soon not mix my food like that.IMG_5885

Juice Bar

IMG_5870My first try at custom blending, I asked for lemon, pineapple, and banana. At least the color was ok. The taste was a little too tart. There are no signs. But I found that I was sitting in the family, ladies section. Ahhh, the rules, you never know when you’re breaking one. So I just look like I don’t know what I’m doing and everything works out.


Hot Pot

IMG_5863My main problem was translation. The guys here did not speak English. I wanted lamb. I ended up pointing at a dish that left the counter and they made that for me. It was so hot (temperature) that it didn’t matter what the meat was. But I think it was chicken. The metal bowl is heated hot and holds the temperature. The flat bread is seeded and layered. It’s way large and probably meant to be shared.

Mall Food

IMG_5851Eating at the mall has been an experience. I started simple. One of the things I was guilty of succumbing to was the advertising of Baskin Robbins. I don’t remember the last time I had it in New York. After all we got Hagen Daz. They do too (here). But there is a poster for an orange milkshake…. I kept imagining a tart orange creamsicle shake. Oh well, it’s mango. Not tart enough, so I went with strawberry… yogurt, lower fat, complete with seeds and satisfying that urge to have a milkshake. Ok, so they use whole milk. I wasn’t having one a day. IMG_5855 IMG_5853 IMG_5852And crepes, I’ve been to too many street fairs. But I finally had them make me a banana and nutella crepe and later a three cheese crepe. The rectangular shape from a round crepe was a bit disconcerting but did little to interfere with the taste. IMG_5893IMG_5856There is a hot pot place that serves a stew in a hot pot with a flat bread underneath. The bread is huge about 24 inches round and enough to feed a family. Note the blended mixed juices. And there’s a guy selling ice cream bars, high end and multiple flavors. Nice presentation, he’s not your ordinary Good Humor guy.IMG_5858


IMG_5846It’s a high end chocolate store here. You saw Godiva a few posts back. This store is a big one. They do like their chocolate around these parts. Hospital rooms are often filled with large trays (larger than cafeteria) piled high with all sorts of chocolates. I had the occasion to be presented with this leather box of chocolates as a present from the manager of the villa compound in which I live. It was a gift during Ramadan. Thank you very much. I like this tradition and have enjoyed the chocolate.IMG_5844


IMG_5841I’ve been overly preoccupied with eating of late. It is perhaps because for about seven months I did not cook a meal and have depended upon the hospital cafeteria, local fast food, and a few restaurants. The cost of living is low enough to have sustained my laziness. My waistline did not suffer because of my exercise program and diving. You get cravings. On this night, it was for a good meatball. The meat here is lean. And I have come to understand that a good steak is based on the marbling of the meat to make it flavorful and tender. So the meatball hero was not memorable nor repeated. The Italian bread is not. The olive oil is real. They do have lots of olives somewhere ‘round here. Or at least they cook with it plenty. No alcohol, go with lemonade.IMG_5838


IMG_5827Here’s a mall that I suppose I will have to find the name. It’s up the block from where I live and has been accessible because of construction work, which allows me to cross the road without risk to life (mine). They have all the fancy brands. IMG_5824 IMG_5825Too bad I’m into photography and not clothing and shoes. In fact it’s not bad walking around with relative anonymity. I don’t have to dress to impress and I’m not planning to meet anyone I care to know. So I can wear the same thing day in and day out with a care. Same shoes, same pants, and change your shirt every once in a while for the fun of it. I admit that some fast food guys recognize me now. IMG_5829 IMG_5828 IMG_5836 IMG_5837Anyway, the food court complete with fountains has become one of my go to places for an evening meal. That is until recently when as all good things become boring, I was unable to make myself go there any more. But at the beginning it was and remained a nightly destination. There’s some variety so it’s not entirely boring.