Saturday, July 13, 2013

My first iftar...

     First impressions are not really excellent. Given that my husband was flying back to Munich the next day, we decided, against our first (lazy) instinct, to go out for iftar. We chose a more casual place, at the Le Meridien hotel and booked a table for two at their 99dhs buffet.

     We got there early and explored the surroundings. It is one of the oldest hotels in Abu Dhabi, inaugurated in 1979 by  His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late president of the UAE and Queen Elizabeth herself. Except for it's smaller size, by comparison to every other skyscraper-hotel around, it brings a much appreciated classic elegance.

     Come 7pm, the drapes opened and we got to go inside the buffet area, which looked and smelled ah-mazing!

     We were guided to our table, which was in the next to the stairs and in front of a door leading to the courtyard, so we asked for an exchange. Since we were amongst the first people there, we were accommodated in another area, the family area, to be more precise. Let's just say that it provided us with some interesting insight into how life could look like with children... We'll leave it at that.

     Oh, the food!! Everything looked so mind literally took a pause as I was sitting there with the empty plate in my hand, not knowing from which side to begin...

     I went for the hummus, baba ghanoush, bite-sized veggies, cucumber-yoghurt,  rolled vine leaves which pretty much sum up my favorite foods at the moment. Give me a plate of hummus and I am a happy puppy!

     Since we weren't supposed to eat yet, until the final prayer, we (me) made the mistake of hitting the main course buffet as well, piling up a big plate of everything... there was bulgur with chicken, hammour fish with veggie sauce, some sort of meatballs, lamb and rice.

     I also topped our table up with a nice plate of fresh fruits.

     As soon as we were allowed to eat and everyone around started to dig in, I dipped my fresh bread in the yummy-ness that was found on my plate, but a few moments later, I suddenly felt like I could not swallow anymore, as if I was already full from eating all day long (barely had a green juice and a snack), so I had to stop.

     I felt so sorry about having all this amazing food in front of me, but simply not being able to try it out... I guess, in the end, looking and admiring the entire gastronomic show and then having this huge plate, full of mixed flavors in front of me, really did it for me...I was full and about to feel sick.

     The people around us, who have probably been fasting all day long, seemed to be having the same issue, as the waiters kept taking away half-eaten or barely touched plates of food... So I realized then, that as nice as the iftar-buffet idea is and as delicious and savory the foods may be, it is unbelievably wasteful. And I don't think that goes so well with the whole meaning of celebrating Ramadan. Of course, I am not going to generalize after only this one experience and we will try it out again, as it is such a big part of the tradition of Ramadan, but I can definitely say it did not feel all that good and maybe it's just not for us. My husband and I would much prefer having some fresh bread, hummus, olives, labneh with olive oil and za'atar in the comfort of our modest home. Any day.

     So far, so good! As of today, my hubs is back in Germany tying up some leftover issues and reuniting with his mom and two brothers.
     I, on the other hand, am pushing myself a bit, in an attempt to succeed at the big summer juice detox! More on that later. Fingers crossed!  :D

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