FOOD

Theme 39. Arabian Adventure. Four Seasons Dubai, Sea Fu review

 Ulia Ali - travel and fashion blogger, fiction writer. Review on Four Seasons Dubai at Jumeirah. Sea Fu restaurant.

Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach - Jet Set Oasis

Dubai has made a name for itself catering to the luxury-minded jet set crowd over the years, so it was only a matter of time before the Toronto-based Four Seasons Hotels group installed their beach-side desert offering: Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach (FS for short because #carpaltunnel).

For those of you who have not had the privilege of gracing the threshold of a Four Seasons, let me be the first to tell you that you are in for a treat should the opportunity arise to visit one of their 109 (and counting) properties worldwide.

 Gorgeous Four Seasons
 Four Seasons Dubai beach

Like many of their locations, the FS exudes opulence from the moment you approach the grounds. A sweeping paver stone driveway lined with trees lifts you up and away from the bustle of Jumeirah St. Through gaps in the greenery as your drive deeper, you will begin to notice the neutrally colored, Arabian influenced lines of the main building. Terraced construction incorporating terra-cotta and neutral tones is the perfect complement to the landscape, causing one to forget that a city of steel and glass is only 15 minutes away. If you look closely at the buildings, you may notice nods to the Arabian culture in the form of Horseshoe Arches and large, ornate doors standing between you and marble lined lobby of the FS.

 Four Seasons Dubai Review

As one would expect from a Four Seasons, the lobby is the crown jewel. Every Four Seasons seeks to make the entry way to each of their hotels a statement. Dubai is no exception. With an attention to detail second to none, the FS unabashedly flaunts the line between palace and hotel. Gold trim, deep brown hues, neutral tones, complex light fixtures comprised of baubles and more flowers than Versailles in spring, the FS transports you.

Now, our engagement on this particular adventure was at one of the FS’s dining venues known as Sea Fu. The FS mantra is about experiencing sensory environments. So, if you can accept that the lobby overwhelms, Sea Fu relaxes, much to the same degree.

 Sea Fu Dubai, UAE
 Free People dress in Dubai
 Sea Fu menu, Dubai

Set in a quasi-outdoor, beachside setting, Sea Fu serves an Asian-inspired menu amongst pillars of wood and beneath umbrellas and billowing fabric. I highly recommend sitting outside as the breeze in winter or early spring is still pleasant. However, should the sun be too harsh, the interior of Sea-Fu is a perfect alternative and a welcome respite from the sun. There is something about an ocean breeze and eating lunch on a terrace that is just…pleasing.

The staff at Sea Fu was, for lack of a better term, phenomenal. From the moment we approached the host stand to announce our arrival, we were treated with near-perfect deference (I say near-perfect because I have a penchant for restaurants that maintain a dress code that includes white gloves for their staff, but that is a story for another time). The truly standout quality however, ignoring the smiles, friendliness and attention of the staff was something that I believe every restaurant should take to heart and do: responsive and thoughtful guidance on the menu.

 Best sushi in Dubai
 Sea Fu Dubai, Four Seasons review by travel blogger Ulia Ali Pillmore
 Four Season's Sea Fu review by Ulia Ali Pillmore.
sea-fu-review

This may sound like a simple task, but the vast majority of restaurants do not ensure that their staff knows the menu.

When I patronize a restaurant I like to ask the waiter or waitress to pick items from the menu that they believe will constitute a meal representative of the quality and diversity of the restaurant. Few get this right. More often than not, the selections are representative, but not of what is good, but what is popular, or what they think I will like based on their judgement. For those of you who know me personally, you will know that I drink and I know things. But you will also know that I eat. I love good food.

Sea Fu understood this. Our waitress selected dishes that complemented one another, were varied enough in their execution to not leave us bored and diverse in flavor to the point that we had to throw in the proverbial towel for lack of capacity. It was beautifully executed and showcased what I love best in a restaurant: mastery of a variety of techniques. 

In the words of Paul Prudhomme: “You don't need a silver fork to eat good food.”. Fine by me, the FS (and Dubai) happens to prefer gold anyway.

Until next time,

- BAP

 Free People dress in Dubai
 Desert in Dubai. Sea Fu at Four Seasons review.
 Lotus Flower Sea Fu
 Sea Fu review
 Impressive deserts of the world
 Dubai food - Sea Fu Four Seasons review

P.S. For the curious among you, here is what we had for lunch:

Small Plates: Edamame, Spicy Chicken

Sushi: Yuzu Tempura Roll

Raw Bar: Hokkaido Scallops

Main: Seared Black Cod

Dessert: Mochi Selection, Lotus Flower

 Four Seasons Dubai

SHOP MY LOOk:

My Dress - Free People (it comes in 4 colors and it is my favorite dress EVER!)

Bag - Louis Vuitton (It was a Christmas gift from my hubby)

Jewelry - Sequin Jewelry (My favorite Jewelry company! Everything is so gorgeous)


Theme 35: Fall in New York. Picnic in Central Park With Rueda Wines

 Bloggers Central Park Fall Picnic with Rueda wines that you can order from   wine  .  com

Welcoming Fall has always been one of my traditions, and this year I have decided to throw a cozy picnic in Central Park with my girlfriends to celebrate the last warm days in NYC. I wanted everyone to feel the excitement for the upcoming pumpkin-colored festivities and those long nights with a wool blanket, great-tasting wine and movies that make you cry and smile at the same time.

Speaking of delicious wine, I have recently discovered Spanish white wine! I especially like Verdejo wines from the Rueda region, and had to bring them to our picnic! A good white wine is a classy choice that everyone loves and it certainly uplifted the mood and created a friendly, intimate atmosphere, which helped our friendships to grow even stronger. 

I am not a wine connoisseur, but I wasn’t surprised to find out that Verdejo – which is similar to Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio – is apparently the most consumed Spanish white wine in the whole country and it has been its best-kept secret for decades. Luckily, the import of Spanish white wines has been increasing in the United States and you can easily get a wide selection of Rueda wines on popular websites like wine.com (I have linked them for you!)

Rueda Verdejo wines are refreshing, a bit fruity and consistent in their taste. Every time I take a sip (and I am shamelessly drinking a Flor de Vetus while I write this post), I feel like I am tasting a summer day. A sunrise on a summer’s day to be exact.

The fruit notes in the wines are mild, concentrated in the sweet citrus spectrum with some bits of apricots and peaches, and envelope me into this warm feeling of endless hope. I might be overly poetic, but that’s how these wines make me feel: inspired, romantic and happy!

Oh, I almost forgot the best part! The majority of the delicious wines from Rueda are ridiculously affordable. Many of them are priced under $15 per bottle, which makes it a perfect wine for any party, picnic, or even for a relaxed evening at home. Please give it a try, you will love it! Here is a 10% off code for you: RUEDA to use on wine.com when purchasing Verdejo wines from Rueda!

 Rueda wines FAll Picnic. Best white wine
 Best Spanish White Wine in Central Park, NYC. Ulia and Marilyn
 Wine Afternoon with girls and Verdejo white wines from Rueda regions.
 From left to right:  Marilyn ,  Jordan ,  Ulia ,  Vivien ,  Gabriella .

From left to right: Marilyn, Jordan, Ulia, Vivien, Gabriella.

 Pumpkin on my head
 Fall Picnic Inspo with Rueda Verdejo Spanish White Wine. Cheers. Bloggers drink wine.
 Rueda Spanish White Wine Review. Flor De Vetus. Verdejo. 2015
 Picnic of bloggers in Central Park, near Belvedere Castle.
 Fall Picnic Inspiration. Ulia Ali in NYC/
 Fun picnic shoot with wine and food. Bloggers just want to have fun!
 Best white Spanish wine in America. Verdejo

I guess you are all set with refreshments, so let me link some of my favorite beautiful fashions and decor elements to celebrate the beginning of Fall in style! Tag me on Instagram with your picnic and fall-inspired parties; I would love to see your unique ideas!

Week 30: Utah. The Most Romantic Restaurant in the United States!

 The Most romantic restaurant in The United States. Beautiful fairy La Caille.

When Ben and I were in Utah, he took me on a surprise date. I didn't know where exactly we were driving, but from the moment I saw the gates of La Caille, I knew I would inevitably fall in love with the place. The grounds of La Caille are like a magical fairytale land with stunning scenery a la Narnia in Winter or SnowWhite's little castle in summer.

We drove through the beautiful snow-covered forest towards the French-inspired Chateau, passing a frozen lake with a lonely, graceful swan white as winter, greeting us like a wild guardian. Have you ever seen a single, wild swan on a frozen lake? It is more magnificent that you can ever imagine, and reminded me of the Swan Princess fairytale (yes, yes, I love fables!).

 La Caille Restaurant
 Beauty and the Best USA restaurant
 La Caille
 La Caille Restaurant. Fairy Tale Castle

But the surprises didn't end there. After we parked and started walking to the main building, we saw peacocks - brightly coloured, proud and magnificent sitting on the snow dusted branches of trees, or strolling around, almost guiding us to La Caille's entrance. I was already imagining myself as Belle from Beauty and the Beast, secretly wondering if all these wonderful creatures were under some sort of spell. A few seconds later I noticed an abundance of fluffy bunnies and hares jumping around. Squealing with great delight like a 5-year old, I was finally dragged by my already freezing husband inside the little 18th-century Chateau. He knew I could spend hours just chasing bunnies and petting exotic birds, and we would probably never get to the actual dining experience if he let me do that :)

The decor of the castle is no less than a feast for your eyes, especially if you like opulent French style and a Marie Antoinette vibe. The story of this hidden treasure of Utah, is also fascinating,and deserves its own TV series: steamy affairs, multi-million dollar legal battles, and a murder-suicide of the owners, husband and wife, who fulfilled a pact to end their lives together on Christmas night a decade ago.

Such a tragic Shakespearean love story only adds to the mystique of La Caille, the most magical restaurant in the United States, that will put you under its spell the moment you set your foot on its grounds.


Need I mention that food at the restaurant is FANTASTIC?! From the most delicious cocktails to mouthwatering French dishes, and original desserts, La Caille will amaze even the most sophisticated gourmand. La Caille also has beautiful gardens, a huge greenhouse, and an amazing vineyard you should definitely check out.

Ladies, if you are looking for the perfect wedding destination, I seriously recommend you look into La Caille.

You won't regret it! To be honest, I cannot wait to visit La Caille in Summer, and bring more people to this little piece of a fairytale land in our mundane world.

 The most beautiful restaurant in the world! La Caille
 Photo of Ulia Ali
french-restaurant-utah
 Monkey Lamp in French Restaurant
 Gorgeous door
 La Caille Restaurant
 La Caille sculptures
 The most beautiful restaurant in the world
 La Caille
 La Caille fire
 The most romantic restaurant in the United States.
 La Caille restaurant
 La Caille bathroom
 La Caille gates
 Gorgeous romantic fairytale castle open to public. Restaurant.

Week 24: Candy Shop. Best Candy Stores of NYC + Willy Wonka is coming!

 Best Candy and Chocolate Stores in NYC, New York. Full list on Pastiche.today

Ben calls me a "fat kid on the inside" because of the amount of candy and chocolate I consume. If I see a candy store I always run to indulge my sweet tooth, while my husband sighs and mumbles something about me getting diabetes. Naturally, I explored a fair amount of chocolatiers and candy bars in New York this year, and I would love to share my yummy list with you!

1. Dylans Candy Bar

Founded by Ralph Lauren's daughter, Dylan Lauren, Dylan's Candy Bar is one of the biggest candy stores in the world! Dylan revealed that she was inspired to create her candy boutique by Roald Dahl's famous story, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

There are several locations all over New York (as well as other US and international locations!), but my favourite is their flagship store located on 60th Street and 3rd Avenue. Dylan's Candy Bar has been featured in films and TV series many times, including Gossip Girl.

 best candy stores in new york.
 best candy store in the world.

Bonus Tip: Everything I have ever tried in the store was AMAZING, except the macaroons. Go to Macaron cafe or Laduree for macaroons. 

2. MarieBelle

 MarieBelle yummy

The most gorgeous and sophisticated chocolatier in New York. You can find the sweetest and most original gifts in beautiful packaging here.

My personal favourite is Marie Antoinette's chocolate ganache cake in an antique book box. You can keep the box after you eat the DELICIOUS cake and use it as a decor item or a secret storage compartment.

3. Vosges Haut-Chocolat

Vosges is a luxury chocolate boutique that offers unusual and creative flavours. My husband often likes to treat me with a box of outstanding chocolate truffles with flavours like Indian curry & coconut, banana pudding, anise with fennel and absinth and many more. I literally have never tasted anything like Vosges chocolates before! 

 Best chocolate in NYC.
 Vosges chocolate

4.  Godiva

Godiva's gold boxes filled with high quality chocolates are always a great gift idea. For men I would recommend the chocolate cigars. I gave them to Ben on our second date and it was my first ever gift to him!

5. Hersheys, M&M's

Cute little candy store on Times Square stocking a great range of Hershey's chocolate and collectibles. By the way there is a great M&M's store super close by as well!

6. Leonidas

If I crave delicious fresh Belgian chocolate I go to Leonidas on 3 Hanover Square.

 oldest candy shop in New York

7. Economy Candy

Not as fancy as the other candy stores on this list, Economy Candy is the OLDEST candy store in NYC which makes it kind of worthy of a visit.

 

 

 

 

 

Did you like the list? Which of these candy stores have you already visited?

And as promised, I am sharing bonus Candy News with you! The most candilicuous show is back on Broadway. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory the musical will be in NYC in Spring 2017, and you can already buy tickets here. Happy Sweets Days to you!

Week 19: Honeymoon in Hawaii. Beach Babe in Black.

 Shein Black Fringe swimsuit

Today I am sharing another Hawaiian beach look that was shot in the cute town of Hanalei. I found this black fringed swimsuit on the Sheinside online store and was so excited to wear it!

This swimsuit definitely attracted a lot of attention and stole the show. I would advise buying a double-sided tape to keep the top in place especially if you plan to dance or move around town in this swimsuit, or else you might run therisk of flashing your boobage :) Luckily, I had tape in my purse for this kind of revealing top or bodysuit. So don't be shy, and grab your sexy swimsuit from Sheinside (they deliver worldwide and often for free!).

 Ulia Ali in black fringed swimsuit. Azerbaijani woman, girl.
 Blogger in Kauai. Beach look Sheinside.

Swimsuit - Shein (Only $11.99!)

SHOP THE POST:


 Азербайджанская модель в бикини. Фотосессия
 Girl holding dragon fruit
 Dragon fruit, beach accessories

After our beach photoshoot Ben and I went to Wishing Well Shave Ice  in Hanalei and I got their famous Rainbow Shave Ice that is so perfect for Instagram photos (and it's delicious of course!). Can you believe that what I am holding is a KID'S PORTION?! The normal one was the size of my head! So if you have a sweet tooth and you are in Kauai, check this place out.

 Wishing Well Shave Ice in Hanalei on Kauai island.
 Wishing Well Shave Ice Review. Rainbow Ice
 Black swimsuit on Kauai, Hawaii State
 sand love
 Kauai Hawaii. Girl on a tree