I spy with my little eye... Christmassy Cocktails!

Less than 10 days to Christmas and I'm running out of time. I still don't have all presents figured out, which is a great excuse to have cocktails and brainstorm so you can imagine how perfect Royal China's invitation to a mixology class sounded! Being raised in a French family came with a wine education (do not mess with my red wine: the last sommelier who tried to have me drink Syrah through a blind test was La Petite Maison's and he got disappointed), but I am clueless when it comes to cocktails. I learned how to drink martinis here in Dubai with my New Yorker friends, I know how I like my Bloody Mary and I like a good Hendrick's G&T but that pretty much it. Which makes me the perfect candidate for a mixology class!

I will be honest, I can't remember the recipes, but what I will take with me is that a good mixologist is one that serves as good a story as a cocktail. It's all about the entertainment and spending a good time. And at this game, Drago, Royal China's new mixologist was a real treat: good banter with the gentlemen, flirty with the ladies, I highly recommend him. Oh and the drinks were good too (nearly forgot about them!).
My cocktail education is clearly not done yet, I still have a lot to learn. For now, I am happy to observe and enjoy the ride and pretty colours!
Thank you Royal China, looking forward to more cocktail adventures!

I spy with my little eye... the "Hats of yesterday and tomorrow - Take 2".

Take 2 of the "Hats of yesterday and tomorrow" is with Aseya from Hello Pretty and Pretty in the Desert! She picked a 1920's burgundy little hat that I absolutely love!
For her look she chose to stress on the lips with a burgundy red lipstick and subtle brownish eye shadow. I love how her blond hair highlights the colour of the piece.

For me, she decided to keep it low and simple stress on the pink cheeks. It ended up being quite a natural dolly look, nothing flapperlike, no big eyebrow, no dark eyeshadow, just something light, which I love: the star is the hat!
I loved spending time with Aseya; half American, half Emirati, she's one on those people who have been in Dubai for so long they know all the good places and are unimpressed by the city of bling's Extravaganza. And I like that. She is easy going, chilled, fun and professional. So I figured if I liked her, you might like her too:
HOB: If you could live in a painting, which one would it be?
Aseya: It would be Georgia O'Keeffe's Abstraction Blue. The colours are so soothing, I would just flaot around in the painting all day.
HOB: If you could live in a different era, which one would you pick and why?
Aseya: It would be the late 60s/early 70s. I really love the music from that period.
HOB: What piece of clothing reminds you of your mother/father?
Aseya: Cropped pants always remind me of my mom, and traditional Emirati kundooras always remind me of my dad.
HOB: What scent takes you right back to your childhood?
Aseya: Christmas trees always take me back. Every year :)
HOB: When do you feel on holiday?
Aseya: I'm usually rushing around before a trip, so I am too busy to feel like I'm on holiday. But as soon as I'm in the new city and I open the curtains and look outside, I get that feeling of excitement that comes with being able to explore a new place.
HOB: What designer would you take on a camel ride?
Aseya: Betsy Johnson. She seems like she would be a riot!
HOB: Your favourite recipe to make?
Aseya: I make a really great fudgy chocolate brownie.
HOB: Best piece of advice you were ever given?
Aseya: Listen to your body; it knows what is best for you. Pay attention to changes in your mood and feelings.
HOB: What book changed your life?
Aseya: "Tuesdays with Morrie" was the first book I read that made me feel emotional. It really made me think about life.
HOB: The movie you've watched 30 times but might watch again tonight?
Aseya: I don't watch too many movies, but I love the show Arrested Development and I rewatch it every year.
HOB: Three favourite spots in Dubai?
Asyea: Smiling BKK, the Meydan Bike Park (I love skating there at night, when it's quiet and dark), Souq Al Bahar.
Don't forget to visit hellopretty.com

I spy with my little eye... a truffle galore.

A couple of weeks ago I was discussing food with D. and we were debating expensive taste, how very Dubai of us... The conclusion of this crucial conversation was that we both loved truffle, but I could live without oysters and she didn't understand caviar, but since we had truffle in common, I figured she was the perfect date to test the Oberoi Dubai's truffle menu at their restaurant Umai. the Oberoi has a special place in my heart: I love their warm hospitality mostly embodied by German chef Dirk Haltenhof who always has a story to share.
I will admit I didn't think they would push the truffle tasting so far as to put it in the cocktails! To be honest the white truffle pear Martini didn't work for me. The fact that I don't like pear should have been an indicator though... But D. was happy to take over my glass while I tried the Truffle aperol Spritzer, I'm usually not an Aperol gal' but the truffle was an interesting twist. All in all it was interesting but I'm not sure I would make it a regular.
 If the cocktails were not my thing, I loved the menu: mixing Japanese cuisines and truffle is not an easy thing and Chef Haltenhof made it work, Bravo Monsieur!
I was expecting black truffle since this is the one I am used to, but I was a little bit wary because it is a strong flavor and a whole black truffle menu would have been a bit much. So I was happy (and kind of relieved) to see that half of the menu was based on white truffle, which is a more subtle taste. The truffle scented dim sum smelled and tasted) heavenly.
I didn't know what to expect with the truffle lollipop, so these meat and truffle cheese balls were such a good surprise! The texture was rich, the cheese was melting, it felt very indulgent.
Then came the sushi with the truffle infused rice, followed by the truffle mash and black sea bream, that was more of a classic dish.
I enjoyed all of it, along with the joyful conversation of my truffle cocktail infused lovely friend! Thank you to the Oberoi for this unexpected experience, they keep surprising me and my palate and we are both loving it! Keep an eye on that hotel, they are full of surprises!
For more information, click here.
Hint of Beautiful. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.