Saturday, February 7, 2009

Off To Dubai! & Introducing...

Sneak Preview

Dear folks, I have been sent on a journey into the oasis of the dessert, the exotic and enigmatic Middle East, Dubai. I will not be traveling alone, I've brought a tiny friend with me this time. Squeezed into the tight corner of space my luggage could provide, smuggled into the country to keep me company, I introduce to you, Tea Leaf Picking Boy!

This little fella actually belongs to my Sis, let's call her Piggy. She just returned from a holiday in Taiwan and brought him home with her. Why the long name? It was on the label, and it stuck.

Take a deep breathe and wave goodbye, Tea Leaf Picking Boy. We'll see you when we land.

Blue Cheese Ravioli with Parmesan & Garden Peas

Traveling on business means one thing, you fly Business. And to that the airline provides a preview of the comforts to come, in the form of the airline lounge, for you to relax and recharge for the long haul flight ahead.

Not that I really care for free wifi, shower rooms with luxury toiletries or free booze. I was there to check out the grub, coz regardless of whether you're flying high or riding low, it's the food that matters.

Usual selection of sandwiches, soups, and of coz, the cheese selection aside, the ravioli caught my eye. An inch wide and cooked dry with a sprinkling of baby garden peas and grated sharp parmigiano reggiano, it was a light and pleasantly good dish, simple and not too filling. Not bad for lounge food, I have to admit.

Scallop & Mango Salad

The only time I've been served scallops on Economy was when I flew with Emirates to Europe. Singapore Airlines, sadly, does not serve scallops when you fly cattle class, ever. Not even when you pre order seafood meals on their website. I find that quite unsporting of SQ, especially given the premium you pay to fly with them, even on cattle class. But I digress.

Onto the scallops they do serve in Business, huge, lovingly pink in the middle, and well matched with slices of sweet mangoes on the side.

Lobster Thermidor

Here's a tip before you fly, folks. You can, and for the most part should, take a look at the special menus many airlines provide on their website. For those with allergies, special dietary or religious requirements, this is a convenient way to get suitable food on flight, and break away from the otherwise predictable and boring chicken-or-fish choices come feeding time.

But I do it for 2 very different reasons: You can get a choice of the more expensive meats or seafood selections (unless you're flying Economy with SQ, see grouse above) and you get your food way before the others do, up to 30 minutes earlier sometimes!

So being a creature of good food habits, the moment I learnt about my trip to Dubai, I went online, scanned the specials on demand, and chose the dish I last had more than a decade ago. Lobster Thermidor. Oh ya.

If the tail in the picture above looks huge, it was. Cooked just enough to stay tender and sweet, not tough or chewy, and coated in creamy hollandaise sauce that was rich but not too heavy, it was a well executed dish.

Roast Chicken & Mandarin Wrap

This was a red eye flight, which meant yours truly had dozed off with a smile on my face to dream of more lobster tails swimming in a sea of hollandaise, to wake up to the smell of coffee brewing in the gallary (now this is the closest you can get to coffee heaven on Earth, short of setting up camp in a Starbucks store).

Breakfast was a huge chicken and mango wrap, though a tad too big for breakfast, and slightly on the dry side. Maybe substituting lobster for chicken and adding some hollandaise would help...I'm just saying.

Across the Seas, Into the Night

The view from the plane as we cross the timezones never ceases to amaze me. Seeing the colors change so rapidly before your eyes, from the elevation you are at, is the reason I hardly sleep on flights. It is a priviledged view, don't you think?

Wow, all this excitement, and I'm not even arrived in Dubai yet! Just a few more hours to go!

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