Muchachas: Mucho to be happy about at this Mexican restaurant

Muchachas offers a set iftar menu for $44 during Ramadan. (Supplied)
Updated 02 June 2019
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Muchachas: Mucho to be happy about at this Mexican restaurant

  • Muchachas can be found at the Holiday Inn Express in Al-Safa
  • The setting is fun and inviting, with cacti and sombreros, and the staff are attentive

DUBAI: I don’t know why this gem isn’t more famous because its food and ambience are excellent.
Muchachas can be found at the Holiday Inn Express in Al-Safa and offers a set iftar menu for $44 during Ramadan.
The iftar has everything a hungry diner could want: Four courses and drinks at a pocket-friendly price.
We started with seasonal fruits, dates, creamy guacamole and tortilla chips. The chicken wings, which were also part of the first round, had crispy skin and moist meat, and were coated in a tasty combination of sweet and spicy sauce.
Guests pick three dishes from the selection offered for the second round. One of our favorites was the salmon, which was crunchy on the outside yet juicy on the inside, but we found the quesadilla to be slightly dry.
The third course is all about tacos and guests can pick three flavors out of the five available.
My favorite was the crab taco. It was crunchy, delicious and different. My friend's favorite were the chicken tacos - which were juicy and flavorful.
The desserts were delightful. Light and crispy churros, and dreamy ice cream with apple taquitos. 
We tried three mocktails - El Dorado, Berryland, and Carribean Sea - and they were all refreshing.
The setting is fun and inviting, with cacti and sombreros, and the staff are attentive.


Emirati artist Farah Al-Qasimi’s first solo US show set to open

Farah Al-Qasimi’s ‘Living Room Vape’ (2017). (Supplied)
Updated 16 July 2019
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Emirati artist Farah Al-Qasimi’s first solo US show set to open

DUBAI: Emirati artist Farah Al-Qasimi’s first solo exhibition at a US institution is set to open on July 30 at the MIT List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Working in photography, video, and performance, Al-Qasimi’s work explores themes of gender, nationality and class. Her photographs subvert ingrained expectations of how images are constructed and understood and she is known for borrowing conventions from various sources, including documentary photography and Renaissance paintings.

Um Al Naar (Mother of Fire) (still), 2019. (Supplied)

Camouflage and concealment play a central role in the artist’s work. In a recent series of portraits, Al-Qasimi obscures the faces of her subjects while capturing intimate images, despite the lack of a clear, engaging face. Various compositional strategies hide identifying features — behind plumes of smoke, a well-placed hand, or sumptuously patterned textiles and drapery — while she still manages to accentuate the opulent interiors her subjects inhabit.

Alongside a group of recent photographs, the exhibition will include a screening of Al-Qasimi’s new film, “Um Al Naar (Mother of Fire)” (2019), which was recently unveiled at Art Basel Statements.

M Napping on Carpet, 2016. (Supplied)

The 40-minute video is structured like a television documentary following a jinn — a ghost-like entity in Islamic tradition. Delivering a confessional, reality TV-style monologue, the jinn appears on camera beneath a patterned sheet. The video interweaves her thoughts on centuries of Portuguese and British colonial meddling in the modern-day emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah in the UAE. The video also explores the influence of the European presence in the region and the use of Euro-centric practices for the display of historical artifacts.

Curated by Henriette Huldisch, the director of exhibitions at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, the exhibition marks the first time Al-Qasimi’s work has been shown in a solo exhibition in the US — it is set to wrap up on Oct. 20.  

The artist lives and works between New York and Dubai and has seen her work exhibited in The Third Line gallery in Dubai, Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai and the San Francisco Arts Commission, among other locations.

Al-Qasimi received her MFA from the Yale School of Art and has participated in residencies at the Delfina Foundation in London; the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine; and is a recipient of the New York NADA Artadia Prize and the Aaron Siskind Individual Photographer’s Fellowship.