Celebrity Summit Cruise Recap
Celebrity Summit Cruise Recap
Celebrity Summit Cruise Recap Share A few weeks back I had the pleasure and excitement to go on a media sailing for the new Celebrity Cruises Summit – the ship just underwent a $500 million renovation in just about a month! How insane is that?! The ship, which had its inaugural sailing back in 2001, got a major facelift complete with tons of luxury accomodations, details, restaurants, and more. I hadn’t been on a cruise in several years, so this was such a special treat and it totally ignited the cruise bug in me again. Cruises are such a great way to see a handful of places at once which having so many necessities, activities, and things right at your fingertips on board! Going to give you guys a quick overview of the trip – my sister Julia came with me and it was also so special to have some QT sister time in the mix! We boarded the ship and headed right to our stateroom to drop off our bags, then headed out to explore the ship a little (of course had to stop at the pool deck!) to get our bearings on where things were + grabbed a bite to eat in the main dining area, Oceanview Cafe . Can we just talk about Ocean View for a second? HOLY. FOOD. You guys – every single thing you can possibly imagine, from Mexican to fresh fish, pasta stations, charcuterie, salads, stir frys, international cuisines and literally everything in between. Julia and I spent a good 10 minutes walking around the entire cafe (which is hardly a cafe if you ask me!) scoping out our options before we even grabbed a plate. We ended up grabbing just a few small bites since we had a group dinner planned for later that evening – but everything we got was so delicious and fresh! Our main activities and things were planned out for us since this media sailing was just two nights – our first night entailed a welcome cocktail reception, a show in the theatre (December 63 – a tribute to Frankie Valli + The 4 Seasons), and a group dinner at Qsine. I shared lots of these things in real time on stories while aboard so will just quickly walk through some of the highlights!+ December 63 – an hour long performance that included some of the best Frankie Valli hits and commentary. I SO enjoyed this since my guy and I recently went to see Jersey Boys in NYC! These 4 guys did such a great job on the songs and characters – a must see if you are on a Celebrity Cruise! + QSine – oh. my. gosh. One of the most exquisite meals I have ever had. This was a group dinner for all of us influencers on board, and it completely rocked our palettes to say the least. I don’t even remember how many courses total it was.. maybe 9? Each course was a different cuisine from around the world – ranging from seafood bites (like sushi rolls, lobster popovers, crab rangoons, and escarole meatballs) to an Asian Fusion course (egg rolls, teriyaki chicken, orange chicken, and stir frys), to Indian Cuisine and currys, to All American sliders and fries. I totally stuffed myself on the front end of the meal (not realizing what we were in for) and by the end, couldn’t possibly fit one CRUMB more in my mouth! I would go back on the Summit just for this meal, hands. down. Such a unique experience that our group absolutely loved! One of my favorite spots we peeked at the first night is The Retreat Lounge which is an exclusive area for all suite class guests. It has a sundeck (shown above), stylish pool chairs + cabanas, hot tub, and pool butlers who are gracious to serve drinks + food 24/7! It’s like it’s own little oasis on board and I loved the quiet, cozy vibe compared to the busyness of the main ships decks. It’s a great little ‘retreat’ to escape to if you want a break from the lively happenings elsewhere! Our second day, we woke up early to take advantage of the gorgeous weather, and found ourselves right near the island of Tortola – I feel like that’s a place you only ever really hear about so was totally giddy when I heard this from another guest on board! We grabbed breakfast at the Oceanview Cafe – YES, to their omelettes stations, fresh fruit, and crispy home fries.. and then planted ourselves out at the pool for the afternoon to catch some rays. The main pool deck has live bands that play all day long, as well as pool butlers who can grab anything if you ask! There’s also an outdoor food spot for quick grab + go things.. or you can walk right inside to the Oceanview Cafe – it’s on the same deck! After a day out at the pool, Julia and I got ready for another full night of activities..+ Cosmopolitan Restaurant – our dinner was in the main formal dining room our second night. This has a set menu you can order anything on the menu from.. we took full advantage and ordered salad, appetizer, and dinner! Julia got dessert but I couldn’t fit one more bite.. ha seems to be a theme of the trip here right?! This was good, but personally I enjoyed QSine more the first night! *Since our sailing was only two nights, we didn’t get to try every single restaurant on board. All guests were booked dining prior to the trip, to make sure all could be accommodated on such a short sailing. There’s a sushi spot, Italian restaurant, Luminae (the cafe in the Retreat Lounge), and Blu which is ‘clean cuisine’.. Given that the few restaurants we did have were so delicious, I am sure that all of these are just as good too! + American Ballet Performance + Violinist – our show for the second night was incredible and one of a kind! Celebrity has partnered with the ABT and has select sailings with performances on board over the next year or so. We were also treated with an incredible violinist performance – violin isn’t my favorite but I have a whole new appreciation for the instrument after this! Our last morning we had to disembark, but not before filling up on another amazing breakfast spread at the Oceanview, and then Julia and I stopped down at Cafe al Bacio – the ships coffee spot that also serves gelato and pastries. Girls had to get their ice coffee, ya know?! Thanks so much to the Celebrity Cruises team for hosting us – though a quick trip, it was SO worth it to experience the new ship.. and like I said, I totally have the cruise bug in me again! The Picks:
Chef Rakhee Vaswani Brings Her Cuisine to Dubai Beach Hotspot
Chef Rakhee Vaswani Brings Her Cuisine to Dubai Beach Hotspot Chef Rakhee Vaswani Brings Her Cuisine to Dubai Beach Hotspot By Friday, 26 April 2019 Popular chef, TV personality and YouTuber Rakhee Vaswani’s unique fusion recipes will be a feature at Le Meridien Al Aqah Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach resort
In case you are a foodie, love long drives and itch to go for a short holiday every now and then, there is good reason for you to drive down to the scenic Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort in Fujairah. Imagine, lazing by the sea, looking at the vast expanse of the ocean and relishing some delightful bites and drinks while sipping masala chai, all made by a super chef? Blissful? Well, that’s exactly the objective that the resort hopes to achieve with its collaboration with celebrity chef Rakhee Vaswani.
For those who love watching cookery shows, Rakhee is a familiar and popular figure. She has had a long and abiding passion for food and it was this passion that led her to set up Palate Culinary Studio, a cooking school in Mumbai where budding chefs, amateurs, professionals and food enthusiasts are trained. Rakhee has her strong Indian roots intact when it comes to cooking but her panache with world cuisines often lead her to experiment with traditional dishes to create something more exotic. So a regular chaat is given a twist with the addition of avocado paste to it (and believe us, it tastes delicious!), the indulgent but heavy biryani is packed into a small crispy wrapping that’s easy to pop into your mouth and the textures of cheese cake and biryani get fused to form a unique, eggless east-meets-west dessert. “It’s all about love and passion,” says Rakhee, adding her favourite quote about fusion. “Fusion, for me, means a marriage between two ingredients, or between an ingredient and a cuisine or between two cuisines,” she says.
Chef Rakhee Vaswani with a guest
It was this creativity that was on full display at the preview of her culinary magic at Gonu Bar & Grill at Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort recently. With the destination being quite popular among Indians for weddings, events and staycations, the idea is to bring a twist to the menu featuring Indian street food and classic delicacies. The plan is to integrate these into the main menu with live counters, special treats and the like.
Tangy tidbits, amusing fusion food (think black chickpeas and hummus sandwich!), traditional, tried and tested recipes (how about Tandoori prawns or a bite-sized dabeli pav?), this is a delicious trip worth taking. Check out the pics and drool!
Crisp, delicious prawns peppered with peri peri flavours
The absolutely delicous biryani parcels with dip
Melt in the mouth Galauti kebabs
Oysters with a hint of mango Newsletter
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Food-delivery apps score big in IPL
[br][br][br]Indian food-tech players, including Zomato and swiggy, are currently batting on a good wicket on the back of the ongoing IPL.[br][br]The average number of daily orders on food-tech platforms has jumped by 18.2% till now from pre-IPL days due to numerous consumption occasions created by the league, revealed data from RedSeer Consulting. The 50-day league hosts at least one match everyday.[br][br]With final rounds of IPL and the ICC World cup to follow, the momentum gained by the food-tech majors is expected to pick up pace, helped by none other than thousands of restaurant partners on their platforms that have menus curated especially for the IPL.[br][br]“During IPL 2018, snackable items like pizza, french fries, and ice-creams witnessed a 50% increase in orders compared to the previous year. This year too, the trend has been similar. While local cuisine has been quite popular during the matches, snackable items have witnessed a considerable increase in orders from last year during both snack and dinner hours. Some of the top 10 dishes ordered during the season this year are chicken biryani, paneer butter masala, pav bhaji and samosa,” said Srivats T S, VP (marketing) at Swiggy, which is the associate sponsor of India’s biggest cricketing league.[br][br]Bangalore has taken the lead in the total number of orders placed during the first fortnight of the IPL, followed by Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Delhi, according to the Swiggy. Even for Swiggy’s arch rival Zomato, the order frequency, as well as early dinners and evening snacks, have shot up significantly. [br][br]“This IPL season we have witnessed some relatively newer food delivery trends. Dinner (7-11pm) hours are usually busiest but with the IPL matches starting at 8 pm every day (and at 4pm on the weekends) our order frequency for early dinners and evening snacks has increased,” said Sandeep Anand, CMO, food delivery at Zomato.[br]
More than 80 percent off the dishes you mentioned were invented in majha Punjab not India INDIAISM said: ↑ Firstly Hindi is derived from sanskrit…
Secondly Hindi is just one of our 22 official language..
Thirdly 90% of our food is mughali cousine…I never knew mughal cousine included Butter Chicķen(which was btw invented by an Indian after independence) , Tandori Chicken, Dosa, sambar, Idli, Dhokla, Lal maas, Gatte ki Sabzi, Mirchi ka salan,Sarson ke saag, Shahi Paneer,Malvani mutton curry etc…You should know one thing Mughlai cuisine is just one of the many cuisine we have in India…. Click to expand…
Southern Cuisines Of The World
Southern Cuisines Of The World April 26, 2019 Share South African famous dish Potjiekos – Credits: https://www.geckoroutes.com
Both geography and tradition shape the culture of food all over the world. When you combine multiple cultures and rich histories, you’ll find that the world is one big table of deliciousness. From east to west, north to south, there is always incredible fare just waiting to be enjoyed.
In this hearty account, we’ll take you on a tour of the authentic flavors of Southern Cuisines – rich, aromatic, colorful, savory and made with exquisite ingredients. South American Cuisine Brazilian Feijoada – Credits: https://maracahostel.com.br
South America is home to a wide array of plants. So, it’s not surprising that this part of the world had already forged their own tastes before the first European settlers docked on South American ports. The locals grew corn, beans, potatoes, plantains, chili peppers, avocados, quinoa, cassava and, much to everyone’s delight, chocolate. Over time, Latin American food gradually adopted the influences of its European colonizers, the majority being from Spanish, Italian and Portuguese foods. Later, the migration of Asians and Africans also modified the cuisines of South America.
It’s a huge continent, which means there are plenty of feasting options. For example, take the famous Ceviche in Peru. Ceviche is a seafood dish made from raw fish, lime or lemon juice, onion, chili or other spices. The acidity of the marinade cooks, or cures, the fish. This dish is skillfully prepared and served cold.
If you travel to the east, you’ll discover the luscious Feijoada . This black bean stew cooked with sliced pork and beef is a big favorite in Brazil. The stew is best cooked over low heat in a thick clay pot. The feijoada reflects a strong Portuguese influence and is eaten with rice, cabbage, farofa (toasted cassava or corn flour mixture) and orange slices. It’s also typically served on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Asados is one of Argentina’s traditional cuisines, enjoyed around the world. It’s a variety of barbequed meat on a platter. The meats usually include steaks, ribs, chorizo and is accompanied by mollejas (sweetbreads), chinchulines (chitterlings) and morcilla (blood sausage). What makes this dish special is the asado technique. The meat is cooked on a parilla, slowly grilled and smoked to help keep its flavors.
South American food is closely shared among the different countries that comprise this continent. Of course, there are slight variations in preparation and taste. South African Cuisine South African famous dish Potjiekos – Credits: https://www.geckoroutes.com
The food from southern Africa is a fusion of many cultures. Primarily influenced by the indigenous tribes, South African cuisines initially featured millet, maize, sorghum, potatoes, cattle meat and different types of edible insects. As Dutch colonizers came and went, European cooking influenced local dishes. However, it was not just the Europeans who contributed to South Africa’s delicious fare. Slaves from the Malay-Indonesian region brought along their local spices, and Indian laborers shared different versions of curries. When you eat a delicious South African meal, what actually melts in your mouth is a beautiful blend of influences.
Potjiekos is one such food that is worth tasting. Potjiekos is a meat stew where beef is usually the star, but chicken, venison and mutton work well, too. Vegetables and alcohol (wine, beer or sherry) are added to create a depth of flavor. Potjiekos is cooked outdoors for hours in a potjieko over burning coals.
If you ask any Namibian who has the best Biltong in Africa, they won’t hesitate to tell you they do. Biltong is an aromatic, air-dried meat. Its taste is enhanced by natural spices and vinegar. The best kinds of biltong are those made from young cattle.
Another popular dish is the Seswaa of Botswana. This is basically a meat stew served over polenta or boiled cornmeal. Cooks boil the meat with peppers and onions for about 2 hours, shred it, and then add salt. It’s served on top of the polenta and morogo (African spinach).
Meat is an important ingredient in most African cooking. Hence, it is used widely and often prepared for special celebrations. South Asian Cuisine Kottu from Sri Lanka – Credits: https://www.theflavorbender.com/
What comes to mind when you think of South Asian cuisine? If it’s spices and herbs, then you’re on the right track. Spices and herbs are constants in South Asian cooking, dating back to the Indus period. Religious beliefs and culture played a significant role in the evolution of South Asian cuisine. Vegetarianism is widely practiced across the region, and vegetables like potato, eggplants, peas and okra are popular ingredients. Milk products such as yoghurt and ghee have also been used throughout the region’s history. South Asian food draws influences from its colonists, the Middle East, Central Asia, East Asia and Southeast Asia.
India is known for its famous Chicken Biryani . There are a lot of variations to this dish, but its main components include chicken, Indian rice, a distinct marinade, and spices. It looks appetizing and is very tasty, but don’t be surprised at how spicy it is!
In the northern country of Nepal, Momo is an absolute must try. It’s a type of dumpling and is a national delicacy. The filling is delicious, usually made from minced meat, onions, garlic, ginger and cilantro. The dumpling is either steamed or fried and then served with a sauce made from tomato, ginger, spices and turmeric.
Kottu is often the first choice when craving a delicious fast food in Sri Lanka. It looks like fried rice except that it’s made from flat, crispy bread known as godamba roti. You usually get to choose what ingredients you want to mix in. Kottu is served with a spicy curry sauce that you can use as a dip or can pour over the dish.
Most of the food from South Asia has a spicy kick. Its aromas are amazing, with beautiful scents of herbs and carefully-mixed spices. Southeast Asian Cuisine Gado-Gado from Indonesia – Credits: https://www.geckoroutes.com
Countries in Southeast Asia have their own distinct dishes, but there are similarities between them, too. Countries often borrow ideas from their neighbors. While some countries were colonized by the Europeans, other countries have managed to keep their own heritage, drawing only a little influence from foreign settlers. Southeast Asian cuisine is a good mix of foreign influence, other Asian customs and the local practices of preparing food. Its most popular staple is rice.
Thailand is highly regarded for their sumptuous food. One of its longest-running menu items is Padthai . Padthai is a rice noodle dish that is stir-fried with meat, tofu, mung bean sprouts and scallions, then topped with crushed peanuts. The sauce used to build its sweet and tangy flavor is actually tamarind paste.
If you happen to be in Indonesia, ask for a plate of Gado-Gado . It’s quite popular, not to mention delightful. Gado-Gado is a salad with a mixture of vegetables, tempeh or tofu and a boiled egg served in spicy peanut sauce. It’s a popular dish for breakfast as it’s full of vitamins that give a kickstart to your day!
In the east, you’ll find the Philippine archipelago that’s known for Chicken Adobo . Adobo is from the Spanish word ‘adobar’ which means marinade. Typically, chicken is slowly cooked in vinegar , crushed garlic , bay leaves , black peppercorns and soy sauce .
Southeast Asian cuisine is unique in that it always combines two or more flavors, which gives diners a more intricate tasting experience. The Famous, The Spicy and The Weird Vindaloo – One of the spiciest dishes in the world – Credits: https://www.taste.com.au/
Since every culture has its own ideas, what seems like a regular dish for some regions may be something unusual to others.
In Colombia, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela, Dulce de Leche is a famous dessert. It’s a sweet, caramel milk confection that’s used to glaze donuts, toast, muffins and other pastries.
Vindaloo , an Indian dish, is one of the spiciest dishes in the world. It incorporates meat, potatoes, vinegar, red chili and bhut jolokia. Bhut jolokia is known as the ghost chili and scores a whopping 1,001,304 on the Scoville heat rating.
In Africa, the Mopane Worm is served in most restaurants. It’s normally fried with tomatoes, onions and garlic. For those who are not exotic eaters, this dish might not look too appetizing. After all, it’s made of worms! Surprisingly, these worms have a very delicate blend of earthy and salty flavors.
Food is an amazing exhibition of creativity and skill, as people can take ordinary ingredients and combine them to make something magical. It’s exciting to discover each culture’s interpretation of what makes a fabulous meal.
GeckoRoutes is an online travel guide for transportation and activities in South East Asia. Their detailed guides explain step-by-step how to get from A to B for hundreds of different routes. Visit their website to start saving lots of time and money on your next trip to South East Asia.
Jom Buka Puasa | Sumptuous Iftar Buffet @ The Cafe, Berjaya Hotel, Penang
Other Apps By : Chha Berjaya Penang Hotel which is strategically located in the capital city of Penang Island is a part of the ‘I-Stop Midlands Park’ business and entertainment complex, the hotel provides a great accessibility to an array of fascinating shopping and entertainment options, tempting local delicacies, heritage and cultural sights. Berjaya Penang Hotel represents a stay in the heart of culture and heritage with its own authentic uniqueness. This year, as the Ramadhan is approaching, Berjaya Penang Hotel is bringing delicious Malaysian authentic cuisines back for this fasting month. The Cafe offers an exciting array of Kampung dishes, made with fresh and also from the finest quality of ingredients for the holy month of Ramadan. The menu is rotated on a daily basis so diners can sample try on different treats during each visit. Berjaya Penang Hotel always keep close to their local roots by bringing in local Penang food to their high class hotel setting. I would say that at Berjaya Penang Hotel is where you can find most of the local street food of Penang served at a luxurious hotel environment with its original street taste but with affordable pricing. For this sumptuous iftar buffet at The Cafe in Berjaya Penang Hotel, some of the must not miss dish is their chef creation Malaysian Malay Kampung dishes such as Gulai Nangka Muda Ikan Bilis, Rendang Daging Nusantara, Gulai Ketam Nanas, Gulai Kambing, Sup Tulang Berempah with Roti Benggali, Masak Lemak Belimbing Buluh and variety of rice such as Nasi Bukhari, Nasi Tomato, Nasi Briyani and Nasi Lemuni. Gulai Kambing Kawah Gulai Nangka Muda Ikan Bilis Daging Rendang Nusantara Ayam Masak Merah Resepi Bonda Prawn Masala Stir Fried Brown Cuttlefish Kong Poh Style Fried Mixed Vegetables The flavourful Rendang Daging Nusantara, which is a stewed tender meat in coconut milk and aromatic spices garnished with tomato wedges and onion rings is also one of the chef’s recommended dish. Other than that, the Gulai Nangka Muda Ikan Bilis, which is simmered Ikan Bilis with natural starch harmonizing the Indian spices and coconut milk to give a creamy vegan dish, the Bubur Lambuk, which is the original recipe inherited by the Muslim Chef’s family consists of rice boiled into a thick congee with a medley of spices, seafood and beef are some of the featured dish for this round Iftar Buffet. Laksa Buyong Bubur Lambuk Sup Tulang Lembu Pak Long Buffet dinner at Berjaya Penang Hotel is divided into sections with different food and this actually makes deciding what to eat next during the buffet easy. There is this section where they serve some prawns, fish, chicken and lamb. The Chef will be at this action station to BBQ the food of your choice and serve it to you hot from the BBQ area. May it be a main course or some Satay for a quick bite, Berjaya Penang Hotel got you covered. There are some random dish apart from the main course that allows diner to try on different types of local Penang cuisine. Though the main focus of Berjaya Penang Hotel is to serve Malaysia Malay Kampung dish but they do mix things up with some local’s Chinese favorite like the Fried Wantan and Hokkien Mee With Condiments to add variety to the buffet. Fried Wantan Hokkien Mee With Condiments Ikan Kering, Air Asam, Sambal Kicap Cili Padi, Sambal Belacan and Cincaluk is also available at one section of the buffet for any diners who would like to spice up their food taste. I like how Berjaya Penang Hotel takes every little small details in their food serving into consideration. For my opinion, a buffet would not be complete without something sweet for everyone to try on and here at Berjaya Penang Hotel, they have variety of dessert, cake and drinks for everyone. Since this is an Iftar Buffet, Berjaya Penang Hotel takes the initiative to add in some local Kuih and also Kurma, which is something light as a kick start for all to Berbuka Puasa. Rojak Buah Ice Kacang Ice Cream The main objective of Jom Buka Puasa Buffet at Berjaya Penang Hotel is to give a perfect opportunity for family and friends to spend their meaningful time together while enjoying sumptuous foods. The Jom Buka Puasa Buffet promotion is valid from 8 May until 2 June 2019 every day at 7.00 pm to 10.00 pm. The buffet is priced at RM 60.00 nett per adult, RM 45.00 nett per senior citizen and RM 30.00 nett for children aged 5 to 12 while children below 5 years old get to dine for free. For Booking Or Further Information : 04 – 2207373 Jom Buka Puasa Buffet Dinner : Adult : RM 60.00 nett Senior Citizen : RM 45.00 nett Children : RM 30.00 nett ( age 5 – 12 ) Children below 5 years old get to dine for free. Promotion : Buy 5 Free 1 (adults) Available : 8 May – 2 June 2019 7.00 pm – 10.00 pm
Taimur Khurram said: ↑
90% of your food is literally Mughlai cuisine.
No, I’m not. Hindi is derived from Urdu, which the Muslim elite used to speak. As a result, it has quite a few Farsi, Arabic and even Turkic loanwords (but nowhere near as many as Urdu itself).
Because it did. This is an undeniable historical fact. Click to expand… Firstly Hindi is derived from sanskrit…
Secondly Hindi is just one of our 22 official language..
Thirdly 90% of our food is mughali cousine…I never knew mughal cousine included Butter Chicķen(which was btw invented by an Indian after independence) , Tandori Chicken, Dosa, sambar, Idli, Dhokla, Lal maas, Gatte ki Sabzi, Mirchi ka salan,Sarson ke saag, Shahi Paneer,Malvani mutton curry etc…You should know one thing Mughlai cuisine is just one of the many cuisine we have in India….
Sandals aims to be the American Idol of resorts
Sandals aims to be the American Idol of resorts
By Debbi Kickham Tweet
Now, I’m spoiled for life. I don’t know how I can ever go back to staying at any other kind of luxury beachfront property.
That’s because I just spent time at Sandals Montego Bay, a top-notch all-inclusive, luxurious, adults-only property that offers its guests everything you’ve ever dreamed of in a beach vacation.
Despite the fact that Sandals has been in business since 1981, the laudable hospitality group remains a game-changer that yes, if you’re a first-time guest, will change your mind about beach resorts, hotels, and well, vacations in general. Especially at all-inclusives, which sometimes get a bad reputation for being too-mass-market.
Sandals is anything but that.
I interviewed Adam Stewart, CEO, who told me that Sandals resort in Montego Bay was their original location, founded in 1981 by wildly successful entrepreneur “Butch” Stewart, Adam Stewart’s father. Sandals Montego Bay has recently been upgraded and updated, resulting in an ultimate property to exceed all of your expectations.
“We’ve perfected the all-inclusives,” Mr Stewart told me. “We are fixated on the consumer experience. We are obsessed with customer care and aim to be front-and-centre of the best trends.”
“We’re The American Idol of hospitality,” he added. “Everything we do is so that we are the best.”
And indeed it is one of the best resorts I’ve ever stayed at. So the question is — Why would you ever go back to paying cost-plus at a luxury beach hotel when everything you crave is included at a first-class, posh Sandals resort on the water?
What Don’t You Love About Jamaica, Mahn?
Personality plays a huge factor in hiring, as Sandals seeks to hire individuals who are enthusiastic and excited about what they do at Sandals. The impact on you, the guest? An immensely pleasurable experience, from a staff that genuinely cares and graciously attends to your every need. Of course, the Jamaican people themselves are the epitome of graciousness, and their gratitude for life — and their tourists — overflows out of them like a beautiful waterfall at Dunn’s River Falls, one of the island’s top attractions. (Yes, we hiked it and it was wonderful.)
So it’s no surprise that Sandals properties have a HUGE return rate — averaging about 55 per cent of all guests. My husband Bill and I are not surprised. Just about everyone that we met at the Montego Bay resort raved about the Sandals organisation, and were loyal, dedicated customers. One man, from Canada, told me that he has been visiting all of the Sandals resorts, everywhere in the world, for the past 30 years. Another couple said that after they discovered Sandals, they couldn’t go anywhere else. After they stayed 70 nights over a period of several years, they earned a free week’s stay, and they were thrilled beyond belief.
Other guests arrive and simply request to be put in the best room in the house. At Sandals Montego Bay, in high season, that would be the Beachfront Millionaire one-bedroom butler suite with an outdoor soaking tub, at US$1,259 per night/per couple. (Next door at Sandals Royal Caribbean are the dreamy overwater bungalows with butlers and infinity pool: US$3,331 per night/per couple.) So now, you don’t have to hightail it to Bora Bora to get the world’s best bungalows. They are a lot closer at Sandals.
Sandals has 19 total resorts in the Caribbean, including its family-friendly, all-inclusive Beaches Resorts, and when you’re staying at the Montego Bay property, you can also hop over to the Sandals Royal Caribbean next door, as well as the nearby Sandals Inn, to take advantage of their superb sands, cuisine, and much more. It’s called the “Stay at one, play at three” programme, and a shuttle provides a quick ride between the properties every 45 minutes.
Your Louis Vuitton Wallet Will Like This
With all that it is included at Sandals, and all the incredible value that you get for your money, most other luxury hotels pale by comparison. Who wants to pay for everything as you go along, from a mere coffee to a five-star dinner? Sandals eliminates all that — and with aplomb.
At Sandals, in a (coconut) nutshell, you receive five-star service no matter what category of room you book. There are no resort fees, no hidden fees, no upcharges, plus a variety of high-end restaurants that you can enjoy on property, along with premium spirits, unlimited watersports, and for some of the suites, English-trained Jamaican butlers to make your trip even more memorable. Righto — Sandals is the Aston Martin of unforgettable experiences.
As far as beach vacations go, Sandals has thought of everything to pamper you. The Millionaire Suites, for example, are beachfront, allowing you to access the soft sands and azure waters faster than you can say “Splash.” Orange rafts float in the water, so you and your significant other can laze together and enjoy the sunshine while you stay soaked.
There are other rooms where you can emerge from your room and plop yourself right into a swim-up pool, where more floats are available. Hammocks and in-water swings are placed all around the property. Everything is designed so that you’re waterlogged — in a good way — the whole day. Staying here is like being on a luxury cruise ship, where you stash your wallet in the safe and forget about it.
Yet at Sandals resorts, you have the added advantage of land-based access to the beach 24/7. Just get up in the morning, put on your bathing suit, and hit the beach — and the beachside, barefoot-allowed, restaurants and bars. Plus, there’s a no-tipping policy (except for your butlers). With all of this, it’s no wonder, then, that “We earn multiple wows per day,” says Mr Stewart.
One of the little things that impressed us — and I’m not easy to impress — was that the in-room amenities by in-house brand Red Lane are all sulfate-free. That means no harmful additives in your shampoo and conditioner. My stressed strands were thankful, and it was one of those tiny things, and great attention to detail, that added up for a superb stay.
Ah! Spa! And Cuisine!
The spa itself, Red Lane, is another winner. “We look at our spa menu like a chef looks at a culinary menu,” says David Erlich, the corporate director of all the Sandals spas. “We look at our environments, and our menus are unique, with a lot of tropical curation.”
Indeed, I enjoyed a deeply relaxing facial with Red Lane products that including a cleansing milk and oil application, exfoliation with a papaya pineapple enzyme mask, an antioxidant firming mask, Vitamin C serum, deep pore cleaning, plus an illuminating serum. I emerged lightened, brightened, and tightened!
As far as the cuisine goes, we were extremely pleased with the high-end restaurants and the variety and quality of food available. I interviewed Paul Bauer, the group manager of food & beverage standards, and he emphasised and underscored just how important cuisine is to the Sandals group as a whole. “We are always pushing the envelope… We have to ensure that our standards are in place from hotel to hotel. Modern all-inclusives have to up their game, and we pay attention.”
For example, you can dine — with no added upcharge — at Butch’s Steak and Seafood, where you can enjoy first-class lobster, shrimp and other delectables, as part of the all-inclusive package. By comparison, such a dinner-for-two at a non-inclusive resort would cost around US$250, while a cruise ship would most certainly charge you an added US$35 fee. Throughout the Sandals resorts, you can experience simply great food — everything from Thai to French, to Indian, or just goodies from the donut shop. Why not partake of a frozen yogurt or soft-serve ice cream? And you know what’s coming soon? Vegans, take delight — a plant-based restaurant is right on the horizon (literally), along with a juice bar and even Greek food.
When it comes to alcohol, you’ll find that Sandals offers six varietals of Robert Mondavi pouring wine, says Mr Bauer, along with super-premium-spirits that include Glenlivet 12, Glenfiddich 12, Maker’s Mark, and Remy Martin VSOP. Yes, there is a Manager’s Wine List for an upcharge (the only upcharge at the resort), but chances are, you won’t need it.
At Sandals Royal Barbados, you will thrill to the Sky Bar and its unprecedented smoked cocktails. You read that right — how about a pineapple margarita filled with Jack Daniels smoke? In all, says Mr Bauer (whose nickname is “Hawkeye” as he can spot a culinary problem from 40 miles away), company-wide Sandals offers 35 types of beers and 24 types of restaurants. And, for a little more wow factor, here’s something else: When you are wearing your little black dress, the staff will exchange your white napkin for one in black, faster than you can say “Chanel,” so that your outfit doesn’t get covered in lint. All these small advantages add up for a remarkable experience.
OK — now down to the nitty-gritty. Was our trip perfection? No, and there are a few things we would like to see changed. For example, the luncheon deli meats in the Bayside restaurant were not of the high-quality we would expect at a luxury resort. At lunch one afternoon, they also ran out of most meats and had to go to room service to obtain tuna fish for my wrap sandwich. At the beach grill, the service occasionally was very slow at lunchtime, which was frustrating, as you spent time waiting around when all you wanted to do was to be in the water.
Yet, we’re not deterred, and urge you to enthusiastically embrace Sandals for your next vacation.
I’ll have to stop writing now. I’m impressed beyond words. And I’m dreaming about the little French cafe and its authentic Nutella crepes.
— This article was published on Forbes.com. Debbi Kickham is a luxury travel writer and a luxury marketing expert. She is former editor of Robb Report Magazine, loves to report on luxury, and has never met an overwater bungalow she didn’t like. For more information on Debbi, visit www.GorgeousGlobetrotter.com, and follow her at @SATWgal
Move Over Italian! 10 Desi Dishes To Make On Your Next Date Night
Whenever there is an impending date night or a cookout with your partner our mind always goes to cooking something fancy and decadent that can set the mood, highlight a conversation, and most importantly taste heavenly. And more often than not, we think of Western cuisine -whether it is a roast or pasta or pudding. However there are some delectable Indian dishes that are perfect for a date night. We tell you which!
This smooth fancier cousin of dhokla is light, savoury, and really pleasing to eye! So try it for sure!
2. Herby Potatoes
Potatoes are an Indian staple, and at the event of a sudden date night at home, you can simply roast some potatoes and put the choicest of masalas for some chatapatta taste!
If your date loves South Indian fare but you don’t have time to go full out, make a mini uthappam that has the elements of coconut and suji plus veggies, and is still super light!
4. Paneer Tikka
Wait! This should definitely be on your list for date night. Regardless when it is or with whom. Paneer Tikka is the food of Gods, especially vegetarian Gods!
You can’t go wrong with biryani . Well you can go completely wrong or not at all. More likely it’s the latter. Just enjoy some buttery rice with your favourite mutton, chicken, fish, aloo and soak in some love!
The wonderful thing about Naan is that even if you serve a bland daal with it, the smoothness of the naan will carry the meal to victory town. So whatever your curry maybe; make sure there is naan with it!
7. Chicken Tikka
Winner winner chicken dinner! You cannot go wrong with this. And you cannot feel unloved post this. Chicken Tikka is gooey, chewy, and aromatic. Don’t miss prepping this up.
8. Prawn Curry
For some coastal flavour- opt for some thick prawn curry that melts in your mouth as you dig into it. The herbs, the fragrance, the taste; they all come together in a wonderful way.
This is a tad difficult to make especially regarding how much sweetness and consistency there should be. But once you perfect it, there is no better way to ending your meal.
10. Shahi Tukda
Or you could go deep into the world sweet dishes, and prepare shahi tukda that drips in honey and caramel and dry fruits, and is absolutely lip-smacking.
‘It’s up to me to preserve it’: How Canadians are keeping cooking traditions alive
In a heated pan of cumin seeds and kidney beans, Smita Modi mixes turmeric, red chili powder and coriander powder. She’s making rajma, a popular curry that is made in variations depending on where you live in India. This version is from Gujarat, the state where Smita is originally from. Story continues below
Smita’s daughter Shetu is filming her for a YouTube series she started a few years ago; it details Smita’s vegetarian Indian recipes, and was originally conceptualized by her father.
“He’s always worried about the art of Indian cooking being lost outside of India,” Shetu Modi told Global News. “Also, lots of people love my mom’s cooking and we thought it would be a good idea to share her recipes with family and friends, and hopefully others.”
Gujarati people can be found in cities like Toronto and Montreal, but the food isn’t often seen in Indian restaurants.
“ While some of the recipes are common in Gujarati homes, no one makes them exactly like my mom does,” Shetu explained.
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“I’ve never had some of the dishes outside of home like the fusion dishes of kidney bean and corn pasta and spicy macaroni. Those meals would be completely lost if we didn’t document how they’re made.”
She and other children of immigrants not only enjoy eating home-cooked meals from their parents’ countries, but also fear that one day these dishes may be lost in a culture of fusion. Some, like Shetu, have decided to make videos of their moms’ best dishes so they can remember how to make them, while others have attempted to recreate these recipes themselves. Fear of losing culture
For Salima Jivraj, editor-in-chief of Halal Foodie , there is a legitimate fear of losing the Indian and East African recipes in her family. The Toronto-based woman, who also founded the Halal Food Festival, added there aren’t many restaurants in the city that cater to this type of cuisine.
“It’s up to me to preserve it in my own home. With my parents living in another province, it’s really all on me,” she said. “I want my kids to have the same values and experiences I did growing up. The easiest way is through my mother’s cooking.”
Jivraj’s aunt owned a restaurant in Vancouver called Zeenaz that served this type of cuisine.
“She did most of the cooking as well and all recipes were her’s that she learned from her parents and in-laws growing up in Tanzania and Kenya,” she said. “ My cousin saw her mother getting older and had the realization that once she passes, aside from losing her mother, she’s losing a part of her identity of being East African/South Asian. We all feel that way now that we’re parents ourselves.”
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To honour her culture and the dishes that come with it, Jivraj is set to release a 150-page cookbook full of her aunt’s recipes, a collection that was put together years ago. The cookbook includes recipes like makai paka (a coconut corn curry) and ugali (an African cornmeal).
“Because my aunt was aging and her daughter is also busy, it fell off their list of priorities… boxes of [recipes] are literally collecting dust in storage,” she explained. “This cookbook is the only way I can preserve some of my culture. I also want my kids to carry some of this on as well, understanding that the teachings will continue to get diluted.” How generations cling to food
Camille Hernandez-Ramdwar, academic coordinator of Caribbean studies at Ryerson University, said food is very important to people’s identities, but not everyone attaches themselves to it right away.
“What I found is that the second generation sometimes wants to distance themselves from the food of their parents and that’s in particular if you’re living in a place like Toronto; there’s the world in food available here,” she said.
So even though these children grow up eating whatever their mothers or grandmothers are cooking in the kitchen, they also have an interest in trying foods from other cuisines, especially being in diverse classrooms.
But when this generation has children, they want their kids to have the same meals they did growing up.
“And that’s when they might seek out how to cook them or try to procure the ingredients that they need for certain kinds of traditional foods.”
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For Jennifer Francis-Smikle of Markham, Ont., there is a fear that her eight-month-old daughter will not be able to eat the same meals she did growing up.
“It will be important for my daughter to learn because once her elders are gone, who will be there to teach her authentic Jamaican cooking?” she continued.
Francis-Smikle wants to eventually film her family members cooking staples because for her, food is a reminder of home.
“I remember being sick and my mom making Jamaican pumpkin soup… it’s full of chicken, pumpkin, flour dumplings and noodles,” she said. “If I were to make that for my daughter, I’d be lost.”
When you don’t live in a large city like Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver, not only are you limited in diverse takeout options, but it can be hard to find certain ingredients as well.
“That could limit your ability to continue culinary traditions,” Francis-Smikle said. How to preserve these dishes
Hernandez-Ramdwar said there’s good news: it’s getting trendy to cook again, and more second-generation Canadians are finding ways to cook these meals themselves. This could mean watching YouTube videos, getting lessons from their parents or even experimenting on their own.
And if you don’t want to cook from scratch, there’s also the option to cook these meals faster — you can buy curry “sauces” in jars or even microwave a frozen meal or boil ready-made dumplings.
She added in some countries, with an older generation dying out, young people are changing the way they eat.
“We have to start preserving the recipes from a generation, even a generation ago or two generations ago, because you know in a moment nobody is going to remember how to cook this dish,” she said.
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But how do we do this? In 20 years from now, a typical Gujarati dinner that Shetu’s mother Smita is cooking in 2019 may not be the same dish. As much as second-generation Canadians can preserve on their own, Hernandez-Ramdwar added it’s also about creating new staples for generations in the future to enjoy.
“The track has been fusion,” she explained. “When you take a place like Toronto, where there’s so many different ethnicities and so many different cuisines, the trend is to blend and mix and mould and create these different fusions.”
And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“ Just like what happens with language. We’re going to end up with these new dishes and only, like, food experts or, like, food sociologists are going to be able to give you the genealogy of food,” she explained. “Maybe [they will be able to] trace food back to where it came from but maybe [they] won’t. It is really an important project to preserve the original recipes.”
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