Where We Are Going Today: Caffeination cafe

Where We Are Going Today: Caffeination cafe
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Caffeination’s main Alkhobar branch is open from 5.30 a.m. till midnight most days. A soft opening was held recently for their second branch, which is located in Riyadh in Larsen Valley. (AN photo by Jasmine Bager)
Where We Are Going Today: Caffeination cafe
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(AN photo by Jasmine Bager)
Where We Are Going Today: Caffeination cafe
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(AN photo by Jasmine Bager)
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Updated 12 October 2022

Where We Are Going Today: Caffeination cafe

Where We Are Going Today: Caffeination cafe

Caffeination cafe, already well known in Alkhobar’s Olaya neighborhood for its bottled iced coffees and ice-cream sandwiches made from fresh cookies, has recently revamped its menu.

We tried the spicy tuna sandwich, which consisted of slices of bread layered with fresh avocado, flaky tuna marinated in hot sauce, and greens.

Caffeination’s lattes, both iced and hot, hit the spot, but their refreshing iced tea mojitos really deliver the kick you need. We tried the peach-flavored version, which was sweet, but not too overpowering. They also offer a variety of non-dairy milk for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant.

The Wi-Fi is a bit spotty, but there is plenty of seating upstairs and downstairs, as well as a few places to plug in your devices. A large picnic-style wood bench faces the wall near the stairs, and there are four smaller tables with multiple chairs.

Framed pieces of art on the walls and small potted plants add to the comfortable decor.

Soft music is played throughout the cafe, but is turned off during prayer times. A prayer rug is available for customers to use. There is only one restroom, so you might have to wait your turn.

Several full-length mirrors are ideal for a mirror selfie, or for jolting you back into working mode when you catch yourself staring into space.

Caffeination’s main Alkhobar branch is open from 5.30 a.m. till midnight most days. A soft opening was held recently for their second branch, which is located in Riyadh in Larsen Valley.

Follow @caffeinationco for the address, operating hours and special offers. They also deliver locally on most food apps.


Spanish twin chefs earn third Michelin star

Spanish twin chefs earn third Michelin star
Updated 05 December 2022

Spanish twin chefs earn third Michelin star

Spanish twin chefs earn third Michelin star

BARCELONA: When they were just eight years old, Spanish twins Sergio and Javier Torres set a goal — they wanted to become chefs who were among the top in their field.

To achieve this, they strategically split up to get training in different esteemed kitchens around the world, published books on cooking and presented a popular TV show.

The plan worked.

Over four decades after they surprised their family by saying they wanted to be chefs, Sergio and Javier’s Barcelona restaurant, Cocina Hermanos Torres, was awarded a third Michelin star last month.

“We developed a plan, that I think is a perfect plan,” a smiling Javier, 51, said at the restaurant, one of only 13 in Spain and Portugal with the top three-star ranking from the prestigious French guide.

“When we started to go out of Barcelona, we thought that Sergio would take one path, I would take another, and we would never coincide until we were ready,” he added. The journey took the twins — who grew up in a working-class Barcelona neighborhood — to different elite restaurants in Spain, Switzerland and France.

Before moving to Paris where he worked with top French chef Alain Ducasse, Sergio spent two years at the award-winning Le Jardin des Sens in Montpellier which is also run by twins — Jacques and Laurent Pourcel.

“We were separated but every month we met up in a restaurant, ate well, we spent the little money we had and developed the next steps of our strategy,” said Sergio as he sat beside his brother.

Each brother specialized in different areas — one learned to cook meat and vegetables, the other fish and bread, he added.

Both siblings credit their grandmother for their passion for cooking.

She was part of a wave of people who moved from the southern region of Andalusia to the more industrialized Catalonia in the northeast in search of a better life following Spain’s devastating 1936-39 civil war.

“Our grandmother looked after us, and since she was in the kitchen all day we literally grew up in a kitchen,” said Sergio.

After earning two Michelin stars with their previous project “Dos Cielos” and becoming familiar faces thanks to their participation in a cooking show, they decided to open Cocina Hermanos Torres in 2018.

The twins visited some 200 possible locations before settling on an industrial building near Barcelona’s iconic Camp Nou football stadium.

They invested nearly 3 million euros to convert it into the restaurant, which seats a maximum of 50 people at tables with no wall separating them from the three workstations where staff prepare meals.

“We wanted to reflect what we experienced in our childhood, which was a kitchen and a table, and everyone around the table,” said Javier.


UNESCO adds Jordanian mansaf to intangible cultural heritage list

UNESCO adds Jordanian mansaf to intangible cultural heritage list
Updated 30 November 2022

UNESCO adds Jordanian mansaf to intangible cultural heritage list

UNESCO adds Jordanian mansaf to intangible cultural heritage list
  • Traditional dish is central to country’s lifestyle

PARIS: UNESCO has included mansaf, the national dish of Jordan, on its list of intangible cultural heritage.

A file was submitted to the organization, “Mansaf in Jordan: A Ceremonial Feast and Its Social and Cultural Connotations,” in March 2021, in a bid to include the dish on the list, the Jordan News Agency reported.

Makram Qaisi, Jordan’s permanent representative to UNESCO, said that the addition was announced during the 17th session of the intergovernmental committee for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, being held in Rabat, Morocco, from Nov. 27 to Dec. 3.

Mansaf plays a central role in Jordan’s sense of identity and is linked to the country’s lifestyle, in which meat and dairy are abundant.

Qaisi praised the efforts of the Jordanian public and private institutions, in collaboration with the permanent delegation to UNESCO, for helping to obtain recognition for the dish.

Other additions such as the oud, Khawlani coffee, and holy festivals, from Saudi Arabia, Oman, the UAE, and Egypt, have also been added to the UNESCO list in 2022.

 


Where We Are Going Today: Level 23 dinner club

Photo/Supplied
Photo/Supplied
Updated 27 November 2022

Where We Are Going Today: Level 23 dinner club

Photo/Supplied

The Level 23 dinner club is a recently launched fine dining experience located on the 23rd floor of the King Abdullah Financial District complex in Riyadh.

Every Friday, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., a chef from a Michelin-starred eating establishment serves up a diverse selection of dishes.

Chef Jesse Blake’s offering consisted of five courses starting with a leaf wrap, stuffed local chicken wing, black cod, curry leaf bearnaise, semi-dried tomato, and beef ribs.

The next course consisted of a buttermilk flatbread with cheese curds and rinds with white truffle.

His third dish was a local spotted grouper served with cucumber vinegar and cultured cream.

This was followed by ox cheek and loin with date molasses and burnt eggplant, served with fried garlic grains and greens with a hot bone marrow vinaigrette.

For dessert, Blake, who runs the Lowe restaurant in Dubai, provided local fig leaf with burnt rice and pressed coconut milk.

Dining outdoors, customers can walk pathways overlooking the city of Riyadh and can interact with the chefs working in an open kitchen space.

Tickets cost SR1,000 ($266) per person and must be purchased in advance.

 


Top chefs dish up Italian-Saudi fare at AlUla culinary event

Top chefs dish up Italian-Saudi fare at AlUla culinary event
Staged by the Italian embassy, the culinary gathering was organized with the Royal Commission for AlUla. (Supplied)
Updated 27 November 2022

Top chefs dish up Italian-Saudi fare at AlUla culinary event

Top chefs dish up Italian-Saudi fare at AlUla culinary event

ROME: Traditional Saudi dishes took pride of place on a menu alongside food from Italy and Sicily at the closing event of the seventh edition of the Week of Italian Cuisine in the World, held in AlUla.

Staged by the Italian embassy, the recent culinary gathering was organized in cooperation with the Royal Commission for AlUla, the Italian Trade Agency office in Riyadh, and Slow Food, an organization based in Italy that aims to protect gastronomic, cultural, and biological diversity.

Italian chef Pino Maggiore, a member of Slow Food’s cooks’ alliance and owner of the Cantina Siciliana restaurant in Trapani, Italy, travelled to AlUla to work on the menu with chef Osama Ahmed Alswayah of AlUla’s Suhail Restaurant.

The pair tapped into the heritage of Sicily, Maggiore’s homeland island, which for historical reasons is heavily influenced by Arab culture.

They used Saudi ingredients from the “Ark of Taste” catalogue of endangered heritage foods, produced by the Slow Food organization.

Members of the Italian business community in the Kingdom, Saudi officials, and representatives of AlUla’s hospitality sector were welcomed to the event by the Italian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Roberto Cantone.

This year, Slow Food and the RCU formed a strategic partnership focused on building local capacity, promoting AlUla as a destination for food lovers, and exchanging the philosophy of Slow Food with the traditions of AlUla to raise awareness and preserve the national intangible heritage of the region’s cuisine and agricultural practices.

Cantone said: “The project opens a new chapter in the history of Italian-Saudi cooperation in the cultural field and the relevance of Slow Food’s philosophy to the Kingdom’s efforts to preserve its cultural heritage.”

Along with enjoying the culinary experience offered by Maggiore, guests were able to tour a “Food Heroes” photo exhibition showcasing the excellence of four Italian artisans; a beekeeper, shepherd, mussel farmer, and restaurateur.

Jointly produced by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Slow Food, the exhibition was designed to highlight the importance of the intertwined values of tradition and innovation at the heart of Slow Food’s philosophy.


Where We Are Going Today: Jeddah’s 'It. Caffe'

Photo/Supplied
Photo/Supplied
Updated 25 November 2022

Where We Are Going Today: Jeddah’s 'It. Caffe'

Photo/Supplied

For a sweet and memorable breakfast or dessert, Jeddah’s “It. Caffe” has it all, and something new to offer too.

I always look for something unique when I visit a place, and this cafe and restaurant satisfied my curiosity. It has all the regular great foods, but also boasts the “croffle”, a mix between a croissant and waffle, and a circular croissant known as a “croll”.

I visited the caffe with my family and ordered different things to try together.

First was the Croque Madame: Sourdough bread, bechamel sauce, Gruyere cheese, smoked turkey, whole grain mustard, side salad, chili oil, and fried egg.

The It. Special French Toast was is a custard stuffed brioche served with custard dip, cream, blueberries, raspberries, corn crumble and creme anglaise sauce.

Honey, poached pears, berry coulis, and cinnamon powder took the cafe’s porridge to another level.

There are many items I was curious to try just for their name and look, such as Barbie’s choice, a chocolate sponge cake with ruby chocolate and Feuilletine mix) and a summer jam bubble waffle made with strawberry ice cream, berry compote, strawberries and white chocolate.

It. Caffe’s interior is mainly white and blue, with a giant glass window wall, allowing the sunbeams to light up the entire place.

If you like your food to look as gorgeous as it tastes, this is the place to visit. Dishes are always prepared and displayed in the most sophisticated manner.

Friendly staff with big smiles, who attended to all our needs, were the icing on the cake.